DECEMBER 9, 2016

Educators Not Invited to Seattle Times Education Forum

More than forty SEA members passed out an alternative program and stickers saying "Ask an Educator" at the November 30th Seattle Times Livewire forum on education.

You would think that the state's leading newspaper would want educators to be part of its series of forums on educations. But you'd be wrong.

Instead, the Times Livewire panel featured pro-charter school state legislators, superintendents and business people to tell the public what our schools need.

Perhaps the Times should have realized it was out of step with the public when one of its featured panelists, leading ed reform state senator Steve Litzow, soundly lost his re-election race in the weeks prior.

Bowing to pressure, at the last minute the Times added Jeff Charbonneau, a former state teacher of the year. He was in no mood to be used by the Times, however, and called them out for their omission and repeatedly challenged their assertions about what our schools need.

Thousands of postcards flood Governor Inslee's Office

Thou sands of educators from around the state sent postcards to Governor Jay Inslee this 
week calling on him to provide leadership on education funding in his upcoming budget. Included in member's "winter wish lists" were funding for materials and supplies, counselors 
and nurses in every school, and real class size reduction in all grades, to name a few. The recently announced budget shortfall in Seattle Public Schools is a direct result of the failure of the state legislature and of the Governor to prioritize our schools. The governor's budget is scheduled to be released on December 15th.
Photo: SEA President Phyllis Campano and Vice President Michael Tamayo deliver thousands of postcards to Inslee Chief of Staff.
 FAQ on Parapro and SAEOP PD time

How much professional development (PD)/leadership time do we get?
Parapros and SAEOPs can submit to be paid for the hours equivalent to 8 days. So if you work a 7 hour day, you can submit up to 56 hours, while if you work an 8 hour day, you can submit up to 64 hours.
Does my principal need to approve it?
Yes. You can appeal to an SEA/SPS committee if you are denied approval. Contact your Parapro president (Micheal Melonson) or SAEOP president (Lynne Hubbard) to ask for an appeal.
What counts as professional development?
Professional development is activities that are learning-focused as opposed to business or task-related meetings. There are lots of things that might count, here are just some examples:
  • Classes inside and outside of the district
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • Collaborative Work Groups
  • Building-based professional development
  • Departmental-based learning opportunities
  • Online learning
What counts as leadership time?
Per our contract, " participating in school/program decision-making" and "building leadership activities" would be covered. So, staying beyond your day for staff meetings, or PTA meetings, would be two examples. Participation on the BLT is covered separately, and not as part of your 8 days.
Can I use these hours just for overtime?
By our contract, only SAEOPs (and only SAEOPs) can submit up to three days for payment as for extra time worked.
What about summer opportunities?
These days cover summer (July and August) as well. You can use unused days from the just completed school year, or start using the ones from the upcoming school year. Turn your form in by August 31st.
What is the Professional Development Training Credit?
Parapros who complete 64 hours of professional development training in a given year - here defined as attendance and successful completion of requirements for workshops and institutes inside and outside the SPS which are "primarily a concentrated study session and/or classes for the improvement of skills" - can receive an additional $3 per day (maximum of $546 for a 182 school year). See Article II, Section F of our contract.

What are Professional Certificates?

SAEOPs can take coursework to achieve a variety of different certifications. SAEOPs are eligible for $40 per month for each certificate that is completed. See article IX, Section B of our SAEOP contract for more information.

Beacon Hill Students Connect with Students at Dakota Pipeline Protest

Looking for a way to develop students' understanding of contemporary indigenous people and the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, Rebecca Chase-Chen, a 2nd/3rd grade literacy teacher at Beacon Hill International School started showing students images from Project 562, Seattle-based artist Matika Wilbur's endeavor to take portraits of living people from all federally recognized tribes ( ). Students noticed that the most of the settings were outdoors and concluded that the people in the photos might especially value nature and the earth. 

Next, Chase-Chen introduced the controversy between the Dakota Access Pipeline and the water protectors by showing students news clips from PBS and other outlets.  Students made connections to the people in the photographs and videos and themselves. She asked students if they wanted to write letters, and if so, what would they want to say to the water protectors. Many students shared things like "We're proud of you," "thank you for protecting the water," and "Be tenacious!" (the school's mascot is the "tenacious tiger").

A friend of Chase-Chen's, Sarah Tran , was supporting  native-led fundraising for the
protectors and planning a trip to the protest site. She carried the letters with  her and gave them to a teacher at the school at the water protectors' camp and  initiated communication between the two schools. Beacon Hill students have continued  to follow the news about the conflict.

Chase-Chen supports students in seeing contemporary examples of people standing up for what they believe in, particularly for justice. "I wanted to show students that they can have an effect as well," said Chase-Chen. "Sometimes all we need to do as teachers is observe local and national communities and invite students to make connections." Chase-Chen didn't stop to create an entirely new unit.  Often, activities like these can be done in one or two lessons that can be tied into current units and themes, such as nonfiction reading and environmental or physical science.

Do you have a story about your work to provide culturally responsive teaching? Send your story to 
Marquita Prinzing, project leader of the SEA Center for Race and Equity (
 > > > QUICK NOTES < < <

Interested in learning more about detracking? One of the nation's leading researchers on detracking, Carol Corbett Burris, co-author of Detracking for Excellence and Equity, will be at Garfield High School on the evening of January 11th. Details TBD.

Attention special education teachers!
If you were required to update your service matrix or write any other amendments to fulfill the OSPI MOU (and most of us did), remember that you should submit a timesheet in order to be paid for that additional time. It does not count as part of your regular 30 hours of IEP compensation.


Please submit your need regarding sick leave via the SEA email below so it can be posted on a future Unity newsletter.

Members can access the shared leave form on the District website (  Go to the Human Resources section to access  "Current Employees" and "Leaves of Absence" to find the form. Forms can be submitted to Monica Menchaca, 206.252.0614 /, leave department analyst.

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