Newsletter: Elections and status of residents

cropped-us-logo.pngIn this newsletter, we seek to provide updates on the status of our negotiations and further context around recent developments with the organization.  

Bargaining team elections

The following teachers have been elected by their peers to represent their campus. Elected bargaining team members will attend bargaining meetings with SPS representatives once the contract negotiation process begins.

We are also looking for volunteers to join each site’s Contract Action Team. Members of that team will help the bargaining team representative by collecting input as needed throughout the bargaining process, and will work to make sure all teachers at that site are fully informed as bargaining progresses. Please reach out to your site organizers if you’re interested in that role!

Summit Rainier:

Elected: Isela Mosqueira, Spanish

Expeditions:

Elected: Liz DeOrnellas, Journalism

Denali Middle School:

Elected: Sara Ragey, English

Denali High School:

Elected: Andrew Stevenson, Science

Tam Middle School:

Elected: Matthew Ploch, Expeditions

Tam High School:

Elected: Synclair Young, SPED

K2 Middle School:

Elected: Haley Ralph (Holt), History

K2 High School:

Elected: Brendan Boland, English

Summit Prep:

Dan McClure, Science

Everest:

Evan Anderson, Science

Upcoming elections:

TBD: Shasta, Tahoma

For more information, contact:

Shasta: Sarah Day Dayon

Tahoma: Morris Shieh

Status of the residency program

Last week, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing heard Summit’s appeal on continuing to operate the resident program.

Here is a summary of the dispute between SPS and CTC regarding the current operation of Summit’s teacher residency program:

  • Under current law, districts and charters can only have intern programs (in which the intern is actually a full-time employee).
  • Only institutes of higher education can run student-teacher (resident) programs. Districts and charters are not allowed to run a student-teacher program, and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing has been consistent on this over the past 20+ years.  
  • It’s much cheaper to pay residents $20,000 than to actually hire them as intern teachers and give them a salary and benefits.
  • Summit got approved for an intern program but in fact did a residency program instead, which districts and charters are not allowed to do.
  • The entity that accredits intern and resident programs noticed that Summit was not running the program they were approved for (they actually found out about this by reading an article in the newspaper).The accreditor told Summit they had to either shut down or actually run the program they were approved for.

In the end, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing ruled that Summit has six months to either: a. partner with an institution of higher learning that’s accredited to do teacher residency programs or b. apply to be an experimental teacher training program. A teacher on the Board of the California Teachers Association sits on the CTC, and she voted in favor of that decision.

A representative from CTA (different from the person on the CTC) said during public testimony that Summit should be allowed to keep operating as an internship program (which is what they were approved for), but that allowing any charter or district to operate its own residency program is not currently lawful and raises larger policy and legal issues. If people want to hear what she said, they can go here: http://stream.ctc.ca.gov/userportal/index.html#/player/vod/R8d1ba528d6d44a99bf919933f6d46010 and fast forward to 03:03:56.

And if you listen to the testimony that follows her, you’ll hear that other stakeholders agree – their objection was not to Summit’s program but to the fact that Summit didn’t follow the same rules that every other charter and district has to follow.

We will keep you updated as this issue develops. We continue to be concerned that resident program, as it was structured this school year, creates too many barriers for folks who want to enter the teaching profession, especially lower income candidates without families to live with or families to support them financially during this time. We are concerned that Summit circumvented the CTC process by not hiring residents as interns (as they were approved to) and not paying them a living wage. Unfortunately, after taxes, residents can earn significantly less than $20,000. The decision of the CTC last week allows Summit to continue training excellent teachers while holding the organization to the same standards as any other school.

Update on recognition petition

On March 21, 2019, PERB notified Unite Summit and Summit Public Schools that Unite Summit demonstrated majority support for our union and that recognition must be granted unless the employer doubts the appropriateness of the bargaining unit (AKA positions covered by our union). SPS denied recognition of our union on April 9, 2019, because they don’t think residents should be included in the bargaining unit (for more context, see above and last week’s newsletter). We also remain concerned that Summit is seeking to add 94 positions to our bargaining unit; those positions consist mainly of Home Office employees, who we feel do not perform the duties of a teacher and are therefore not eligible to be a part of our union.

The Public Employment Relations Board will now investigate which job classifications should be covered by our union. As part of this process, a lawyer from PERB may convene  a meeting with Unite Summit and Summit administration to try to resolve the issue. We hope to come to an agreement and be recognized as the exclusive representative so we can begin bargaining our contract. If we don’t come to agreement, PERB will make a ruling about which jobs should be included in our bargaining unit. Since we have majority support from our colleagues for Unite Summit, we will be recognized as the “exclusive representative” either by Summit or by PERB. We will continue through the PERB recognition process and are confident that our union will be officially recognized soon.

Currently, we are concerned that many of our members have expressed that proposed scheduling changes for next year will make their jobs less sustainable and could affect their decision to remain employed with SPS next school year. We are gathering testimonials from members who want to have their voices heard on this issue. Please use this form, or email unitesummitteachers@gmail.com, if you would like to contribute your perspective. We are working hard to open the lines of communication on this issue. During the unionization process, working conditions are required to remain status quo unless Summit bargains with US to change them.  

We are seeking to ensure that all our members are fully informed as we progress through our unionization process. Please reach out to your site organizer or email us at unitesummitteachers@gmail.com if you have questions! You can also subscribe to our website for updates!

 

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