Virtual School Agreement Reached!

Virtual School Agreement Reached!

Today, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Summit for virtual school. This MOU will be in effect through the end of the school year.
 

Highlights

  • Reduction in projects and power focus areas. English, history, Science and Spanish teachers are expected to teach a reduced number of projects, with one PFA per project.  Red Team will develop the details of implementing this.
  • HCD becomes Student Support Block.  This should be used for project/concept unit support for students who need support completing this work.
  • GLT reduced to 60 minutes, held between 10 and 12 AM Wednesday. We are pleased with Summit agreeing to move GLT on Wednesday to an earlier time during the day. We believe this will greatly increase the quality of life for teachers by reducing their work day length and empower site leaders to organize the schedule in the best way for their faculty.
  • Student cameras are not required: In order to strive to be a more equitable school system for all students, we have agreed on new camera norms. Students will no longer be required to turn on their cameras during any part of their day, although we hope they choose to turn on their cameras when it is safe and comfortable to do so to increase engagement. By no longer requiring cameras to be on, we are acknowledging the different socioeconomic realities of students at our schools.
  • Teachers will receive a premium PearDeck subscription.  This interactive teaching tool will improve classroom communication.

Implementation

On Thursday 1/14, Red Team will be informed that the MOU is accepted.  Changes will be implemented on a rolling basis, guided by Red Team. The intent is to implement changes as soon as possible. 

Context

Many of the items in this MOU address issues we have raised  since the beginning of the school year. Frankly, we believe that Summit management could have taken these concerns seriously months ago.  We could have come to this agreement much sooner and have provided timely relief for our students and teachers. 

However, even though this took longer than we would have liked, we are pleased that Summit has agreed to many of our top priorities — your advocacy and support was crucial! We will also get a second bite at the apple; Summit informed us today that there are likely going to be changes to the middle school schedule and that a second round of improvements could come as a part of that. 

Significant Clarifications on Virtual School Expectations 

Site leadership discussed the MOU — at that point, a proposal — to sites recently.  During those discussions, the following concerns were raised by teachers.  We therefore discussed these concerns with Summit’s bargaining team.

  1. Are teachers expected to keep cameras on at all times during faculty meetings, such as GLT or LT?
  2. Will teachers who have paid for a PearDeck subscription be reimbursed?
  3. What are the expectations for AP teachers, who may feel pressure to both reduce curriculum and prepare students for AP exams, particularly with the change from HCD to a student support block?
  4. What does it mean for students to have individual and small group work time for half of every PT block?

If these concerns are relevant to you, consider the following information which Summit’s bargaining team shared:

  1. Teachers may use discretion as to keeping cameras on and should report to your bargaining team rep if they experience otherwise so that we can raise it with the SPS bargaining team
  2. Summit’s finance team will develop a system for reimbursement for teachers who have already paid for Peardeck. 
  3. AP teachers are not expected to prioritize AP Exam preparation. They should focus on supporting all students with projects/concept units.  Diane Tavenner will consider how to provide AP teachers with fuller context and support around this decision.  
  4. Students should spend half of the class completing work — as opposed to listening to instruction

Contract Bargaining

Today we also had our 17th contract bargaining session. 

Summit presented:

  • Union Rights — We continue to move closer to agreement on many aspects of this article.
  • Technology, Resources, and Curriculum — Summit continues to not address key parts of our proposal, including teacher autonomy in using outside curriculum and resources and student and teacher data privacy. 
  • Health and Safety — Given the recent white supremacist violence in our nation’s capitol. Summit’s continued refusal to committing to protect undocumented and DACA students and staff is extraordinarily troubling. Additionally, Summit continues to reject our more detailed and specific language that deals explicitly with infectious disease and other health concerns, which is especially troubling given that we’re in a pandemic. 

Our next contract bargaining session is Tuesday, January 19.

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