Newsletter: PERB Meeting, Summit Board Meeting, and Outreach to Other Educators

It’s been a busy summer for Unite Summit! Please continue to check unitesummitteachers.com for updates as we approach the start of the new school year. You can always reach us at unitesummitteachers@gmail.com.  Also, look for us at New Teacher Orientation and all-staff Professional Development at the start of the school year! We are excited to welcome back our returners and meet our new teachers. 

Below you will find information about:

  1. Our meeting with Summit and the Public Employment Relations Board about recognizing our union 
  2. The Summit Board meeting
  3. Our outreach to other teachers who use our model

PERB mediation regarding recognition of our union

On Thursday, June 20th, Liz DeOrnellas, Enrique Coon, and an organizer and a lawyer from CTA had a meeting at the Public Employment Relations Board with two lawyers from Summit. A lawyer from PERB tried to facilitate us coming to an agreement about who should be in our bargaining unit (in other words, the people represented by our union).

As you may remember, back in April, Summit denied recognition of our union because they objected to residents being included in the bargaining unit. We subsequently learned that Summit had also added 90+ Home Office and other non-teaching staff into our bargaining unit.  On May 16, we asked for a list of names, job titles, and job descriptions for these 90+ people. At 4:30pm on Wednesday, June 19, we received a list of job titles with the names redacted and did not receive any job descriptions. We believe that this failure to provide necessary and relevant information is a violation of the law, and we have filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge in the hopes that in the future, Summit will furnish us with requested information and data in a complete and timely manner as required by law.

We learned from the list that we received Wednesday afternoon that Summit wants to include the following job titles in our bargaining unit: 

  • Professional Development Teacher
  • Summit Learning Program Mentor
  • Director of Base Curriculum
  • Dean
  • Site Based Research Manager
  • Director of Curriculum and Assessment
  • Dean of Culture
  • Operations Manager
  • Specialist, School Leader Professional Development
  • Specialist, Districts and Partners
  • SLP – Director of Mentor Operations
  • Manager of Data Operations 
  • Curriculum Manager (including Literacy Interventionist Curriculum Manager, Elementary Math Curriculum Manager, Curriculum Manager – English, Habits Curriculum Manager, etc.)
  • Project Director Summit Learning Growth
  • Director of Curriculum Operation
  • Director of Government Affairs
  • Professional Development Specialist
  • Curriculum Support Manager
  • Manager of Habits Curriculum
  • Director of Research and Development
  • Diploma Curriculum Manager
  • Special Education Program Specialist
  • Program Manager – Induction
  • Manager of Summit Learning Teacher Residency
  • Mentor for Summit Learning Teacher Residents
  • Elementary Curriculum Projects
  • Director of Research Projects
  • Manager of UX Research

We petitioned to form a union for teachers, those who work at our school sites and on the Expeditions team. We explained to Summit why including people from Home Office (especially with the separation of our schools from Summit Learning/TLP) was not appropriate since we didn’t intend for them to be in our union. Summit refused to come to an agreement on this issue. We did agree, however, that Residents cannot be in our union because they are not technically employees of Summit. The next step will be to have a hearing with the Public Employment Relations Board over the issue of Home Office and non-teaching staff, hopefully within the next five weeks. 

It is confusing that Summit continues to insist that Home Office and other non-teaching positions should be included in our union, especially when the law is very clear on this issue. Summit’s actions indicate that they seem intent on using legal maneuvering to avoid sitting down at the bargaining table and working together to negotiate a contract that will increase support services for students, help reduce teacher turnover, and include teachers in decisions that directly impact our classrooms. We encourage Summit to immediately recognize our union and stop the legal delays.

The Summit Board Meeting

On June 20, Unite Summit teachers, as well as supportive parents and students, spoke at the Summit Board Meeting in support of our colleagues who we feel were wrongly terminated on the last day of school. Unite Summit members attended the Board Meeting in-person at Summit Prep and also joined from remote locations. The parents and students who attended remotely from K2 were especially disappointed with the last-minute change in the date of the board meeting, as more parents and students were planning to attend the meeting on its original June 27th date. 

Unite Summit members explained to the Summit Board that we organized in order to increase support services for students, improve teacher retention, and provide a voice for teachers in the decision-making processes that govern our schools. Parents emphasized their concerns regarding teacher turnover and inequities between campuses. They voiced that they believe Unite Summit will be an important part of the process of increasing stability and support for students at all our campuses. A parent also attended to voice their concerns regarding the cancellation of the camping trip and the nontransparent process that led to that decision. 

We hope that the Summit Board will support our efforts to resolve legal delays and expeditiously reach full union recognition so that we can move on to the important process of bargaining our first contract. Please don’t forget that there are spots open on the bargaining team. Our members expressed a strong preference for a larger bargaining team that includes representatives from each campus (middle and high separately), plus Expeditions. Future summer newsletters will include more information about how to run in those upcoming elections at the start of the school year. The elected bargaining team is tasked with writing contract proposals and participating in the contract negotiation process. We are working to update our website with more information on the current bargaining team and organizing committee; our goal is to help easily connect each of you with the organizers on your site team. 

Outreach to teachers who use our model

Pictured (from left): Evan Anderson from Everest, Eric Jones from K2, and Mahmoud, a union charter educator from Chicago share info about Unite Summit at summer training!

At the end of June, Summit Learning had a training for teachers and administrators from around the country who use the Summit Learning model. On the last day of the training, Summit teachers and a Chicago charter school teacher passed out information to the attendees about our unionization efforts at Summit and how teacher voice is important to the successful implementation of our model. Teachers there were encouraging and positive about our efforts. We are excited to continue connecting with our colleagues around the country to share our ideas about how to make the implementation of our model more successful.

There will be at least one more summer newsletter before the start of the upcoming school year. We hope you are enjoying rest and rejuvenation during our break, and we look forward to seeing everyone when school resumes!

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