Healthcare for substitutes!
"I have type I diabetes," paraprofessional substitute Whitney Kahn told our SEA and SPS bargaining team
members. "I have loved subbing in a Head Start classroom, but if I keep working I won't qualify for Medicaid and I can't afford insulin without insurance." (see his video on our YouTube channel)
Whitney's situation was echoed by other substitutes as well: substitute educators rely on government programs (Medicaid, AppleCare, Medicare), on their spouses' insurance, on insurance through additional jobs, or they simply go without any health insurance.
Substitute educators are essential to running our schools - as
substitute teacher Jan Bowersox noted, students have a substitute teacher for a full year of their K-12 education.
SEA and SPS team members both identified a shared interest in recruiting and retaining a strong force of substitute educators. Both teams recognized a lack of training opportunities and began crafting ideas to address that.
"Training is especially valuable for our paraprofessional subs because so many of them end up in contracted positions," said Rebecca Northway, special ed paraprofessional at Pathfinder.
Equity concerns paramount
"Equity is a central interest in almost every bargaining conversation," said
Michael Tamayo, SEA vice president
. "The District usually shares that interest, but it's through bargaining that our perspective on that interest and how it's met is added to the equation."
Libraries are obvious place where equity issues are impossible to miss. Elementary schools don't get a full time librarian until a school has 600 students. PTSAs at wealthier schools often buy up the other half to make a full time position, and provide funding for supplies, and provide a vast pool of parent volunteers.
"I have seen such a difference in schools with a half-time versus a full-time librarian," said
Toni O'Neal, teacher at Lowell Elementary. "There is just so much more excitement about reading and books with a fully staffed library. I try the best I can in my classroom, but it can't make up for it."
"There is no one to turn to in SPS about dual language education," Maria Guzman, teacher at Beacon Hill Elementary. "We have to look within for the answers and it causes burn out, confusion, and a feeling of lack of support. Our students deserve more and better."
"Our students are Spanish-speaking, mostly students of color. We have not received any PD on how to teach students Spanish literacy. We have to create it and develop it ourselves- trying to create scope and sequence so that there are no holes from students," said Mayra Sales, teacher at Concord Elementary. "We promised our families that their children would have these skills, so we have to find a way to make it happen."
Professional development for paraprofessionals and office professionals
"Many of our Instructional Assistant's are struggling to make ends meet or find the time (on the weekend or evenings) to take professional development offerings,"
Micheal Melonson, SEA Paraprofessional President told our bargaining teams. "Access and time are huge barriers for paraprofessionals that we have to consider. We also have to prioritize creating a real mentoring program."
"I have had the chance to support colleagues who are on performance plans for the last two years as a mentor. We are all here to support the students, but we are not supporting our paraprofessional staff. It is backwards that we do not offer more support when new IA's start," said Steven Alvarez, SEA mentor and special ed IA at Wedgwood Elementary. "We get sent in when paras are in distress, when we could better support them on the front end with resources and training."
Bargaining resumes July 26
"We've covered a lot of ground in just 5 or 6 sessions," said
. "We've also explored a lot of potential ways to address the concerns together with the District. We're asking members to all come to our General Membership Meeting on August 28th - we plan to either be voting on an agreement, or voting on an action plan."
Click here to meet the members of the Bargaining Team!
SAVE THE DATE!
SEA General Membership Meeting
Vote on Agreement or an Action Plan
Tuesday, August 28
5PM - Benaroya Hall
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to 41411 to stay informed!
SICK LEAVE REQUESTS
Thank you all for your generous donations to those who share their need for leave.
From Carolyn Sabo, Roosevelt HS
My name is Carolyn Sabo and I am requesting any donated leave that is available. I was transferred from working with Access students to work at Roosevelts SEL program this year working with extremely oppositional and emotionally abusive students. This took a huge toll on my physical and mental health. As a result I was extremely prone to getting sick as well as suffering extreme panic attacks from anxiety and stress. As a result, I used up my sick and personal leave and have accumulated many days of leave without pay If anyone is willing to donate some extra hours I would be extremely grateful as this has been a very hard year for me personally.
Thank You for your consideration.
Please consider donating leave to
Paula Tortorice, cert. at West Seattle HS. She has had her surgery which took place on Monday June 11. Any help is greatly appreciated.
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.