Dear Summit Staff,
You have been the frontline workers to provide our students with a safe learning environment, and we want to sincerely thank you for the tireless effort you have given to our communities. Currently, as COVID cases have risen again, we know you have heightened concerns over the safety of students, their families, your own families, and yourselves. Acknowledging these rapidly changing circumstances, SPS and Unite Summit have been meeting and working collaboratively to respond and best meet the needs of our school communities — we are pleased to share some updates from the past month.
From our meetings with Diane and Kelly, we received clarity around testing, access to masks, and threshold for school closures.
- Sites are continuing to test 25% of unvaccinated students and staff, as well as anyone who is showing any COVID symptoms. Since the Omicron surge, site-based testing supplies have been limited, but SPS expressed that school sites are in a good place with their supply and demand.
- Staff are entitled to 2 PPE masks (surgical masks and KN95 respirators) per week when requested.
- The threshold for school closures is 25% of teachers are out, with no external sub coverage and no deans/directors available (admin subbing a class would count as unavailable), or by the order of a county health official.
For any specific site-based concerns, we encourage you to communicate with your site-based admin and your site rep.
Internal Sub Coverage Pay Increase
In response to the growing demand for sub coverage this year and in an effort to demonstrate an appreciation for the time teachers continue to invest in their students and supporting their colleagues, we have agreed upon increasing internal sub coverage pay to double the current rates. Teachers who have subbed this year will receive retroactive pay for all classes they have covered as long as they have submitted the SY22 Internal Coverage Payment Request form by Monday, January 31st, 2022. Doubled internal sub coverage pay will continue until the end of this school year.
Last week we had another mediation session and came to a tentative agreement on class size.
- No teacher will have an average class size above 29. If this average is exceeded, there is a formula to compensate teachers for each additional student above the average
- Mentor groups are capped at 28 students
- Education Specialist caseloads are capped at 27 students
We’re excited to have reached this tentative agreement with Summit. (Reminder: none of these tentative agreements go into effect until we have agreed to the entire contract.) It is in alignment with Summit’s small school model, allows flexibility in scheduling, and brings some relief to teachers, such as 9th grade teachers and Spanish teachers, who have traditionally faced higher class sizes.
While we’re encouraged by these tentative agreements, we continue to be deeply concerned about the amount of time it has taken to get them. At least 15 teachers Summit-wide have quit since the start of the year. This startling number represents an intensification of Summit’s teacher retention crisis — only 32% of teachers currently working at Summit have been with our schools for more than three years. Summit must treat the teacher retention crisis like the serious problem it is and work with urgency to settle our contract.
As a reminder, in addition to testing in our schools, there are also increasing resources for accessing rapid tests. You can go to https://special.usps.com/testkits to get 4 rapid antigen tests per household via the US mail. Additionally, insurance companies are now required to reimburse or provide eight tests per month per person on your health plan.
Please, if you haven’t done so already, fill out this short, five minute Unite Summit career matrix survey to help us in our contract negotiations with Summit. We want to hear from you — what will make you more likely to come back next year? What will make you less likely to come back next year?