Avoiding Racial Detours
Paul Gorski has written an excellent article entitled, Avoiding Racial Detours. Gorski's studies of "racial equity" efforts in school districts finds that most initiatives and strategies "pose less of a threat to racism than to the possibility of racial justice." He describes four "Racial Equity Detours" that actually cause additional harm to people of color in schools. The he establishes five "Principles of Equity Literacy." The SEA-SPS bargaining team has committed to advancing Racial Equity as a primary focus in their work this year. Gorski's article is being used to guide their bargaining decisions.
You may read the article
New Paraprofessional Professional Development and Certification Requirements Begin September 1st.
The paraeducator PD and certification requirements encountered a pothole in its six-year journey from concept to law when the legislature funded only half of the requirement this legislative session. The law passed two years ago required school districts to offer a four-day Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) to all paras starting 2019-20. After completing the FCS, paras would have been required to complete another 70 hours of PD over three years with the coursework being selected by the para. Completion of the 70 hours will grant the para a General Paraeducator Certificate good for life. The state pays school districts for the cost of these additional days of work. This would have amounted to another four days of paid work each year for paraeducators.
Since the legislature can only require what they fund, the requirements have changed to match the decreased funding. The FCS will now be required by the end of the 2020-21 school year and the General Certificate not until much later unless the funding is "fixed" in a future legislative session. The optional Special Education, ELL, and Advanced Paraeducator Certificates are still available however, cannot be started until after completing the FCS. The state is now funding only two additional days of PD for paras.
Locally, SEA has a bargaining team that is meeting with SPS. The team is seeking to implement the FCS training next year and to offer the FCS as close to the original timeline as possible. Keeping to the original plan will require additional district funding or utilization of existing PD resources. Therefore, there is a sizeable challenge in developing a plan that will work in Seattle, followed by a massive task of training trainers and creating the time in the work calendar to provide the PD.
SEA bargaining team members are
SEA staff are
More information about paraeducator certification is available at the Paraeducator Board webpage.
Click HERE to view
More information about the progress in bargaining is available on the SEA Facebook page and
in the SEA bargaining update newsletters. Click HERE to access them.
Major change in insurance benefits coming in January!
Last year WEA and other unions negotiated with Governor Inslee to establish a health benefits program for school employees that will be like the plan that covers state employees. The new plan for school employees will be governed by a board referred to as
Here's how health benefits will be different under SEBB:
Multiple insurance companies will administer health plans. School employees will choose the level of coverage and the company they prefer during the open enrollment period. Benefits will include medical, dental, vision, life, and disability (both accidental and long-term).
Open enrollment for the SEBB provided insurance will be in October and November 2019 for benefits that start January 1, 2020. Current plans will be extended until the end of December with an open enrollment period if you want to change plans for the last two months of the year.
Health benefit plans will be the same state-wide. Benefit plans will no longer be determined at the school district level. Pooling will be used at the state level to reduce rates. There will be no school district pooling.
Everyone will pay a portion of their benefit costs. The employee share for employees covering family members will decrease. Program details (cost and coverage) are expected in July.
Part-time employees who are anticipated to work 630 hours or more will receive full support (rather than pro-rated by FTE).
SEA may bargain enhancements beyond what is offered by the state. The union may also negotiate some of the rules for implementation. One example is the method of calculating which employees are expected to reach the 630-hour threshold that qualifies them for full coverage.
The Unity will provide updates as more information comes out. An FAQ for school employees is available
New feature: Meet the Bargain Team!
SEA Bargaining Team: Katie Bishop, SEA Lead Bargainer; Michael Tamayo, SEA Vice-President; Peter Aiau, SEA Interim Executive Director; Caritha Blair, SPED Paraprofessional; Carolyn Hostetler, Admin Assistant; Carrie Alefaio, SAEOP Vice-President; Celina Austin, Paraprofessional Board Secretary; Dazanne Davis-Porter, Kindergarten Teacher; Derek Grandbois, 3rd Grade Teacher; Edmund Trangen, Humanities Teacher; Elizabeth Ward-Robertson, SAEOP President; Erin Carroll, OT/PT; Guillermo Carvajal, Family Support Worker; Gwendolyn Jimerson, Paraprofessional Vice-President; Herminia Helms, SPED/ELL Paraprofessional; Jennifer Matter, Humanities Teacher; Joyce McDonald, Substitutes; Kara Golgert, Pre-K Teacher; Kate Eads, Librarian; Kathryn Korch, Conselor; Kelly Robideau, SPED Teacher; Laura Lehni, Humanities Teacher; Lynne Oliphant, Nurse; Marquita Prinzing, Director of Center for Racial Equity; Megan Isakson, 4th Grade Teacher; Micheal Melonson, Paraprofessional President; Peter Henry, Substitutes President; Rachel Sanyal, ELL Teacher; Shelly Hurley, Consulting Teacher; Stan Strasner, Substitutes Vice-President; Summer Randolph, SPED Teacher; Teresa Olmstead, Admin Secretary; Uti Hawkins, SPS DREA; Vallerie Fisher, SEA Treasurer/Family Support Worker; Veronica Nuno, ELL Paraprofessional
Each Unity Newsletter we'll tell you more about the team members. Here are a few for June:
Carolyn Hostetler, North Beach ES Elementary School Assistant
Carolyn: "In the bargain session we just had, we had a budget overview, talked about the SEBB and had a chance to present our story around SAEOP workload. The Interest Based Bargaining process allows us to come together with equal voices to come up with ideas that are creative and better than of us could come up with on our own. I'm encouraged by the goodwill, open-mindedness and striving for understanding by those in the room."
Kathryn Korch, Ingraham HS Counselor
Kathryn: "At last week's bargain the focus was on the whole child. We talked in depth about supporting every student in SPS; academically, socially and emotionally. We also discussed the importance of having a comprehensive school counseling program supported by our district. It is equally important to support our staff with compensation, benefits and their overall well-being. We discussed the whole employee and specifically about School Employee Benefits Board, SEBB."
Debbie Judd, 2nd grade teacher from Laurelhurst Elementary survived a shooting in North Seattle in March will be on medical leave until the end of the school year.
Ms. Judd brought awareness of community safety to the larger Seattle community with her comments in the media.
"I didn't want to just be the woman that got shot, because there's a real person that got shot, and they have real family," said
Deborah Judd, a teacher at Laurelhurst Elementary School. "And
"I don't want it to be my identity for the rest of my life, but for now I want to own it so I can move on."
She will be in need of 440 sick leave hours. Please support Ms. Judd
(See below for the link to how to access the form needed.)
Don't miss out
on breaking SEA text alerts: text
to 41411 to stay informed!
SICK LEAVE REQUESTS
Thank you all for your generous donations to those who share their need for leave.
Heidi Van Brost, SpEd IA at Pathfinder, shared the following to express why she is in need
of Sick Leave donations: "Two months ago my oldest daughter, 16, an athlete and dog trainer, started experiencing intense knee pain. Her medical team searched for answers from several specialists and through many ongoing appointments. She's now in a wheelchair, and has been diagnosed with a degenerative bone condition affecting both of her knees, along with tears in her meniscus.The doctors hope that the bones will begin to regrow with non-surgical therapies, which will continue all summer. I feel grateful to support my daughter full time and relieved that I can be with her, but torn being apart from my school community. My sick leave ran out in early June and I'm in need of 133 hours. I would greatly appreciate any help with donated hours to get us through. Thank you for your consideration. With gratitude, Heidi."
From Ellen Carelton, Special Ed teacher in the Bridges Transition Program for Medically/Fragile students
: "I'm asking for sick leave hours to be donated to cover treatments for possible breast cancer, and related counseling sessions. I would appreciate any help anyone can give me."
Amber Torrence, teacher at Van Asselt Elementary is out on leave as of today through the end of the year. She is a new teacher and not FMLA qualified and she is out of paid time due to her leave for her medical issues earlier in the year. Ms. Torrence has expressed that she cannot go unpaid, and very much appreciates any hours you can donate to help out.
Ms. Sophia Chen, Special Education Asst at Garfield High School, is in desperate need of Shared Leave donations due to a very serious family emergency. Any and all help you can give is very appreciated.
Sydnee Matthews, a paraprofessional IA and SEA member from Rainier View Elementary School is in need of donated sick leave. Sydnee has been on leave for medical complications and exhausted both her sick leave and FMLA benefits and is on unpaid status and currently without benefits. She just gave birth to premature twins and is seriously in need of help. If she receives enough donated leave, it may be possible to restore her benefits but the need is urgent. If you are able to help, please contact HR and complete a leave donation request to help Sydnee's family.
Members can access the shared leave form to donate hours by clicking
. Forms can be submitted to
or FAXED to 206-252-0021 or mailed to Seattle Public Schools, MS 33-380, PO Box 34165, Seattle, WA 98124-1165.