PPS, union negotiates to give teachers more time to prepare for lessons

After two days of negotiations, the district said on Friday that the two sides had yet to come to an agreement.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Teachers Association (PAT) is negotiating with Portland Public Schools (PPS) to give teachers more time to plan their workdays and better serve students.

Teachers said they needed more time to cope with increased needs in classrooms due to staff shortages and other challenges related to the pandemic.

After two days of negotiations, the district said on Friday that the two sides had yet to come to an agreement.

“Although we have made significant progress in our conversations to provide a solid educational experience during a difficult year for our students, we have not reached a tentative agreement with the union,” the statement said. PPS.

In late November, the teachers’ union proposed converting one day a week in district high schools to an asynchronous day, meaning students would stay home and finish their homework but not have in-person classes.

On these days, teachers would be available to help students for three hours a day. Teachers would use the other three hours of the day for planning, including activities such as grading student work and creating or adapting lesson plans.

The union’s proposal also included such things as limiting staff meetings, teacher shifts evaluations, “busy work” at some educator meetings and a professional development day dedicated to improving the school climate.

In a letter to parents on Friday, PPS said it would instead offer the following to the teachers’ union:

  • Three (3) full days of professional development and planning with an additional student day in June. We have proposed to extend the school year by one day, ensuring that our students have as many experiences in school as possible.
  • Alternative school timetable: All elementary, middle and K-8 schools would have weekly one-hour early exit days extending educator planning time. At the secondary level, we proposed to adjust the schedule to allow students to participate in ‘flexible’ schedules every two weeks, giving students the opportunity to get additional support from their teachers and counselors, to extend their learning in class and / or to participate in educational enrichment activities. during the school day.

“The goal of the district’s proposals is to balance the need for students to be in schools, in person, while giving our educators time to plan and collaborate with each other in a year with staff shortages and continued demands for COVID, “the statement read. from PPS says. “PAT continues to offer more reduction in in-person learning experiences for our students – and other ideas – which we believe don’t create the right balance for student preparation and student needs. “

The district said it had offered to meet with the union again on Monday, December 20 and continue negotiations, but no time was set.

“Our community recognizes the tension of the compromises involved in these discussions between the union and the school district,” PPS said. “We hope we can come to a common understanding with the union that balances the need for teachers to prepare with students being in school.”

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