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In this Issue:Educator and Community Member Voices at the School Board Meeting

  1. November and December Events 
  2. HR memo Clarifying Sick Leave Documentation for absences next to holidays 
  3. Quick Links to Membership Support including the COVID Safety Concerns Form
  4. Register by 4PM today: Guest Teacher Training Tomorrow (9AM-1PM) on zoom 
  5. Substitute Fill Data Chart 

November 18, 2022

Dear Supporter,

As a reminder, Public Health-Seattle & King County and affiliates are continuing to host COVID-19 vaccination events for first and second doses as well as boosters in south and southeast King County. For a list of community vaccine clinics visit this website. All adults, regardless of age, are eligible for booster shots.  Depending on your health status or if you recently contracted COVID, it is recommended you consult with your physician.

This past Wednesday, HEA members and community turned out for the school board meeting. The topics varied, but the passion for caring staff, healthy facilities, and fact-based based, affirming curricula was the same.  Board members were moved, and we will continue to organize to let them know this is the heart and soul of our work as educators and a core responsibility as parents and community.  Please sign up to share how amazing our students are, and what we appreciate about school board, their policies as well as what we still need to carry out our work.  

Your next chance to ADDRESS THE BOARD will be December 7 @ 6PM.  Register in a timely manner by calling 206-631-3070 beginning on December 2 at 4:00PM.  Scheduled speakers have up to 2 minutes at the start of the meeting while the first ten who sign up at the meeting have up to 2 minutes at meeting's end. Here is the list of this week’s amazing speakers and their messages:

  • Katie Wilson, Organizer for the Transit Riders Union- After organizing to achieve an overwhelming victory for workers in Tukwila (who will earn a minimum of $19/hr starting next year), Katie spoke passionately for the need to raise the minimum wage for workers throughout our Highline communities.
  • Emily Acquino, ELA teacher at Evergreen HS- After expressing appreciation for the Race and Identity Work that is currently underway, Emily talked about the wonderful experiences she had as a student learning about cultures around the world through literature. The classroom materials she selects serve as both windows and mirrors for her students.
  • Kristin Plischke, Learning Center teacher at Evergreen HS- After expressing appreciation for the new facilities coming to Evergreen, Kristin shared that inclusivity is a non-negotiable because students benefit on many levels from educators supporting their identities.
  • Renee Agatsuma, Science teacher at Evergreen HS- After expressing appreciation to the board that their policies allow us to teach factual, relevant topics without censorship, Renee shared that all subjects, even science, have a social justice component that students benefit from thinking about critically.  She then shared examples of specific topics she has studied and analyzed with her students.
  • Heather Kurtenbach, Business Agent for the Ironworkers International Union Local 86- Speaking on behalf of over 20,000 members, Heather spoke in support of community workforce agreements (CWA) for the upcoming school construction contracts. CWAs bring non-traditional construction workers into the trades and ensure the job sites reflect the surrounding neighborhood.  She was grateful for going into a trade as it gave her a good living, as college is not for every student. 
  • Sarah Moore, Master Gardener and BOD of the SeaTac Botanical Garden- Being a parent of a student at HHS, she saw the benefit of a modern, inspiring facility for her own child.  Sarah spoke of the resources available to educators at the SeaTac Botanical Garden where students can learn biology, botany, and local history. She also matches local master gardeners with a school garden where they help make the garden a more instructional component of the curriculum and support the space over summer vacation. Email Sarah here
  • Jeb Binns, Social Studies teacher Highline HS- Appreciative of all the work done by HEA members and others on the bond, Jeb was happy to see it pass on the first try.  He spoke on the need for teachers to have access to a technology tool that is up to the task of standards-based grading.  The system currently being deployed is creating unintended consequences of high stakes grading.
  • Richelle Monahan, Intermediate teacher at North Hill ES- Speaking on the value of SEL and IRI, which for many students are difference-makers in their learning, Richelle gave specific examples and statistics illustrating the need for support of our trans and nonbinary students. For example, using students chosen pronouns has been shown to reduce the rate of suicide.  
  • Benjamin Folders, ELA teacher at Mount Rainier HS- Based on his experiences as a teacher and working in an emergency shelter for self-identified queer youth, Ben shared stories and statistics in advocacy for the board to do more in our policies to enshrine support for our LGBTQ youth.
  • Katie Reka, Intermediate teacher at Gregory Heights ES- Sharing that it is our pleasure and our duty as educators to empower our youth, Katie expressed her confidence in the future based on the brilliance of the students she interacts with everyday.  
  • Michael Stein-Ross, Humanities teacher at Maritime HS- Expressing both sorrow and appreciation, Michael recounted a recent incident involving homophobic graffiti in the school bathroom.  His appreciation was for his principal whose immediate response supported the GSA group.  Our message must be: All learners must be accepted as they are.  Hate has no home here in Highline.
  • Amanda Stanley, CTE and Math teacher at Highline HS- While district facilities has sent plumbers to the school, Amanda reported the sewage odor in her wing abates but then returns after a few days.  She wanted to alert the board and administration that this is a systemic issue that still needs to be resolved. 
  • Veronica Fairchild, IBB Program coordinator and Spanish teacher at Mount Rainier HS- After presenting the goals of the IBB program, an international program, Veronica shared integrity and honest as specific examples.  Students represent many identities, and it is important for educators to support those identities and acknowledge the accomplishments of all groups.  IBB schools around the world operate under an umbrella that fosters the growth of students’ critical-thinking and perspective-taking skills.
  • Andrea O’Ferrall, Climate activist and former intermediate teacher at Shorewood ES- With evidence all around us that the extractive, fossil-fueled world is ending, Andrea challenged us to work on making a just transition and acting now to make a more equitable, safe, and healthy world.  The school board could be working on this at the local level by signing a Community Workforce Agreement which would build the skills and capacities of Highline residents as a path to a more climate resilient future.
  • Brandice Tranholt, Intermediate teacher at McMicken ES- Addressing a parent request for information on our health curriculum, Brandice shared topics she covers in the reproductive health unit taught at 5th grade.  She explained that the material she presents helps students stay healthy, build skills for appropriate boundaries, and make sense of changes they are undergoing socially, physically and emotionally.

Thank you to fellow members and our community for sharing valuable information and perspectives with your lived experiences.  The HEA Rep Council, Executive Board and I thank you all and invite our members to speak, attend, or listen online to future HSD School Board meetings.

Thank you all for your bold, fact-filled, and loving statements!


1. November and December Events


1. Student Led Conferences - Next week, unless your school voted otherwise. 

2. HEA Executive Board Meeting: November 28 @ 4:30PM. Meetings are open to all members except when in Executive Session.  Email HEA Secretary Veronica Fairchild for the link.

3. Pre-Retirement Seminar-Take Charge of Your Future!This seminar consists of two sessions, Friday, December 2 (5-8PM) and Saturday, December 3 (8:30AM-2PM).  Participants must attend both.  The Zoom link will be provided after registration is completed. Access flyer here.

4. HEA Rep/HSD Administrator Labor Management Training: December 5.  Two options for teams to participate:  Session A (3:00-4:15PM) and Session B (4:30-5:45PM).  This session replaces the December Rep Council Meeting.

5. HPS School Board Meetings: December 7 @ 6PM. (in person & via zoom) Scheduled and Unscheduled Speakers encouraged to sign starting December 2 at 4PM.  Call 206-631-3070 and leave your name, contact number, and your topic.

6. Winter Break. December 16, 2022- January 2, 2023. Return from break TUESDAY, January 3. 

2. Know Your CBA: Sick Leave Use Next to a Holiday

(notice from HR) 

In an effort to support the appropriate use of substitutes while applying the same expectations to all members, the following notice went out to HEA members this week from HR: 

As we are in the midst of flu season, illness-related absences are naturally higher both due to the flu and now also COVID. However, over the past several years there has been a reoccurring pattern of increased “daily illness” absences entered adjacent to holiday weekends/school breaks. For this reason, from this point forward, Highline Public Schools is exercising its right to request a health care provider’s certificate of disability* (Section 14.1 C) from employees who enter “daily illness” absences adjacent to ALL holiday weekends/school breaks. 

Documentation must be submitted to Human Resources either in-person or by email Human.Resources@highlineschools.org no later than 5 workdays from the date of the absence. Documentation of medical need may come in a variety of ways such as a note from a healthcare provider, or confirmation of a visit with a healthcare provider on the date of the absence. This includes both in-person and virtual/telehealth visits. In lieu of providing this documentation employees may elect to access personal leave if they have personal leave available.

Call Human Resources (206)631-3000 or email human.resources@highlineschools.org for clarification or more information.

*A “certificate of disability” is the technical term for a note from your healthcare provider indicating you consulted with them about symptoms that were serious enough to keep you or someone you are responsible for out of work for that day.  If documentation is not provided, the district retains its right to conduct an investigatory interview about the absence.  All members are encouraged to take advantage of their due process rights which include union representation during investigatory interviews and discipline proceedings.






SATURDAY 11/19/2022  9AM-1PM VIA ZOOM