Newsletter: Update on Schedule Changes

In this newsletter, you will find:

  • Update on schedule changes
  • Update on US recognition process
  • What are we working on now?
  • How can you participate?

Update on Schedule Changes
Yesterday afternoon, a group of teachers from Unite Summit met with Diane and Anson to discuss concerns we’ve heard from many teachers about the changes to our schedules this year. Given that the new schedule impacts different sites in different ways – some more dramatically than others – we proposed a process for sites to be able to make changes to the schedule to best meet the needs of their school communities.

After some discussion, we agreed to the following plan:

On Wednesday, August 14th, each site will have their first scheduled LT meeting as planned. The first topic on the meeting agenda will be to come to consensus on the 2019-2020 Schedule for their specific site. Below is the agreed upon decision grid and process that will be used.

The decision grid is:

  • Decision (D) = Executive Director (delegates the decision to consensus of the school site Leadership Team*)
  • Proposal (P) = Primary Team (this cross-functional group of people from across the organization has made a proposal)
  • Input (I) = Extensive input was considered during the proposal process. It came from teachers, school leaders, operations, data, learning experience, leadership, students and parents
  • Veto (V) = Chief Operations Officer (if the schedule is not legally compliant, does not meet instructional minutes requirements, etc….it will be vetoed). Any veto will be accompanied by a written rationale.
  • Must be informed (MBI) = All Summit Schools and employees, authorizers, parents, students, neighbors, co-located campuses, etc…

The specific process for Wednesday, August 14-19, 2019:

  • During the Wednesday, August 14, 2019 leadership team (LT) meeting of each school faculty, the Executive Director, Assistant Director, Dean of Culture and Instruction(s), and Dean of Operations will present a proposal for the 2019-2020 schedule, inclusive of office hours and meeting time.
  • The faculty will consider the proposal and attempt to reach consensus on the proposal or a revised version of the proposal. Consensus will consist of a thumbs-up of the proposal from every member of the Leadership Team.
  • If consensus is reached, the proposal will be reviewed by the COO by 5pm on Thursday, August 15, 2019, and if not vetoed it will be implemented on August 19th. If the schedule is vetoed it will include a written explanation as to why from the COO.
  • If consensus is not reached by the end of the meeting, the Executive Director will make the final decision on the 2019-2020 schedule. The proposal will be reviewed by the COO by 5pm on Thursday, August 15, 2019, and if not vetoed it will be implemented on August 19th. If the schedule is vetoed it will include a written explanation as to why from the COO.

Some school sites may be perfectly OK with the schedule, so this should be a quick process. For others, they may want to propose adjustments. Our goal was to make sure sites had the ability to propose necessary adjustments, have a clear timeline for decision-making, and have a clear explanation as to why any changes were vetoed. 

Changes Moving Forward
Given the short timeline, we thought that some sites might decide not to propose changes and simply see how the new schedule works out. But, it was important to us that teachers have the ability to suggest changes to the schedule for next semester if it’s clear the current schedule isn’t working.

While we had initially put a timeline on possible changes for next semester, Diane said the below process could be used at any time (our only suggested addition was the timeline for the COO to veto changes with a written explanation)

  • Any school site can use the above decision grid and process to decide on changes to the schedule at any point. 
  • While the D will always be the Executive Director and the V will always be the COO, the group proposing the change can be people other than the Primary Team. For example, it can be the teachers of a particular site.
  • The expectation is that the COO will confirm or veto any schedule changes within one week of a decision being made by an LT. If the schedule is vetoed it will include a written explanation as to why from the COO.

We started to hear about proposed changes to the schedule in April, and Unite Summit proactively reached out to SPS leadership to request that they follow their legal obligations by discussing any proposed changes to working conditions with our union. We continued those requests to meet at the end of July. During PD, teachers wrote down some of the issues we saw with the schedule and presented them to Anson on August 6. Then, on Friday, August 9, Diane agreed to meet with a group of representatives from Unite Summit on Monday afternoon.

We appreciate Diane and Anson meeting with our union — which was represented in this meeting by Brendan Boland (K2), Dan McClure (Prep), Eric Jones (K2), Keith Brown (Expeditions) and Liz DeOrnellas (Expeditions) — and engaging with our proposals. While we wish the meeting had happened earlier, we believe this was a positive step in building a productive relationship between our union and SPS leadership. 

We are cautiously optimistic that this process will help address teacher concerns. If you have any questions or concerns about the process, or the implementation of the process, don’t hesitate to reach out to members of the organizing committee or bargaining team at your school, or email unitesummitteachers@gmail.com  

 Update on US Recognition 

  • The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) wrote to SPS saying that they could not find any reason for why the additional employees listed by SPS should be included in the Unite Summit Bargaining Unit. They asked SPS to respond by August 7 with a rationale for these additional employees, which included roles from home office and in other groups that were not classroom teachers.
  • SPS filed for an extension and now has until August 28 to send a justification for the roles that they want included in our bargaining unit.
  • Once this justification has been received by PERB, PERB will then assess whether the rationale has merit. If it does, then this process will move to a formal hearing. This hearing will determine who should belong in the Unite Summit Bargaining Unit. If PERB does not find adequate justification for these additional employees joining the unit, then we will not go through an additional hearing. We will be recognized by PERB.

What this means:
Unite Summit will be recognized, the only question is when this will happen. As soon as Unite Summit is recognized, we will officially be able to bargain a contract with SPS that addresses issues teachers have voiced were important to them.

What are we working on now?
Even though we are still waiting to officially be recognized, your elected bargaining team representatives and organizing committee members are working to ensure that we are ready when the time comes!

Here are some of the key actions that your colleagues are taking now: 

  • Your organizing committee members are beginning to draft bylaws that will help provide structure to our union for years to come
  • Your elected bargaining team (BT) representatives have drafted bargaining proposals, and are continuing to craft them in preparation for bargaining. They will be assisted moving forward by members of the Contract Action Teams (CAT) at each site.
  • These CAT teachers will help by making sure we are hearing the needs at each campus and incorporating the feedback into proposals and future conversations with SPS leadership. 
  • While there are teachers currently involved in various committees on Unite Summit, we always want more people involved! We are currently solidifying CAT and BT teams for the following sites: Shasta, Denali, Tahoma and Tam.

How Can You Participate?

  • Join the Bargaining Team at Denali, Shasta, Tahoma, or Tam
  • Join the Contract Action Team at any school
  • If you didn’t get a chance last year, of if you’re a new teacher, fill out our first bargaining survey.

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