Our 4th Bargaining Session

Unite Summit and the SPS bargaining team held their fourth contract negotiation meeting today. 

As part of the meeting, Unite Summit received Summit’s counter proposal on our calendar and schedule proposal for the 2020-21 school year. Here is Summit’s proposal. The proposal cuts after-school time from 300 to 200 minutes a week (ending each school day at 4 p.m.), but adds 21 additional work days at the end of the school year (extending the contract year until June 30). The SPS proposal also includes an additional 10 required school events (including up to 3 overnight events) plus mandated PLP hours completed after work hours.  

For contrast, here is the formatted proposal and proposed calendar from Unite Summit. We expressed the need for a shorter work day and work year in order to make our jobs more sustainable and to decrease teacher burnout and turnover. We were surprised to see that Summit took that feedback and decided to shorten our daily schedule but add so many additional work days in June (which don’t clearly define what type of work we will be doing) along with multiple after-school activities.  

We will continue to push to reach an agreement that offers a truly sustainable schedule and calendar for our teachers. We still have multiple questions about the implications of this proposal, but we ran out of time and will begin discussing this proposal during our next bargaining session. 

Unite Summit also raised concerns today regarding Phase 2 plans for Virtual School. Based on our discussion, the following remain concerns:

  1. How can we best adjust the schedule for our middle school teachers to account for their increased screen time relative to the high school schedule? In virtual school, middle school teachers have 220 weekly minutes of prep time for , while high school teachers have 340 weekly minutes of prep time. For a more complete look at the schedule times, here is a spreadsheet detailing the differences. Our ask is that lunch be extended and/or passing periods be lengthened. SPS says those requests do not align with the feedback they’ve heard. Please reach out (and have your middle school families reach out) to SPS leadership (dtavenner@summitps.org) and Denali Middle School representative Amber Steele (asteele@summitps.org) if you are also concerned about the schedule. 
  2. How can we best inform families of the available support systems? We are concerned that families do not understand how to access resources such as counseling sessions; our ask is that information be included in weekly newsletters to increase transparency for our families. 
  3. For students who have either chosen the Pass/No Pass or Step Back pathways, are there options for allowing them to pass if there are extenuating circumstances given the climate of the pandemic? We’ve been told this will be calculated on a case-by-case basis, but we’re hoping for more concrete guidance about how mentors can help facilitate such cases. 
  4. Is Summer School happening? SPS leadership expressed a willingness to consider Summer School as an additional support structure; we would appreciate a guarantee and more clear communication to our students and families. 

In addition to discussing the calendar and Virtual School, Unite Summit introduced the following contract proposals:

  • Employment Status. Ends at-will employment. After a probationary period, teachers continue to be employed year-to-year unless there is cause to fire them.
  • Discipline and Dismissal. Lays out a clear, fair process for disciplining and dismissing teachers. 
  • Evaluation. Proposes the creation of a committee of SPS admin and teachers to develop an evaluation process over the next two years. 

We plan to present the rest of our original proposals at our next meeting, which will be held on May 4. 

The following Unite Summit Bargaining Team members attended today’s meeting: Liz DeOrnellas, Expeditions; Sarah Rivas, Denali High; Amber Steele, Denali Middle; Hillary Odom, Shasta; Fuchsia Spring, K2; Dan McClure, Prep; Evan Anderson, Everest; Douglas Wills, Tahoma; and Isela Mosqueira, Rainier. Ona Keller and Daryl Hemenway from CTA also joined the discussion. 

The following Summit Bargaining Team members attended: Diane Tavenner, CEO; Kelly Garcia, Chief of Staff; and Jimmy Zuniga, Everest Executive Director.

If you have questions, please reach out to your site rep or contact us at unitesummitteachers@gmail.com

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