NTA Reaches Agreement on Distance Learning for Special Education Students

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

Between Natomas Teachers Association And Natomas Unified School District

CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE

Blue Language Represents: Distance Learning for Students with an IEP

This memorandum is agreed between Natomas Unified School District (“District”) and the Natomas Teachers Association (“NTA”), collectively referred to hereinafter as “the parties”, concerning the District’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

This Memorandum of Understanding sets forth the protocol and terms that the District and NTA have agreed upon to govern working conditions for NTA bargaining unit members due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

The District and NTA recognize the importance of maintaining safe learning opportunities for the benefit of the students and communities served by the District and its teachers and staff. 

The Parties agree that continuity of District instruction is important for and provisions should be made for District employees who are impacted by the epidemic.

Defining “Distance Learning”

In the light of the fact that the District has called for school closures, NTA members are certain to be impacted in their professional and personal lives. In an effort to alleviate those impacts, the District wishes to allow teachers–as long as their services are not otherwise required as Disaster Service Workers–and students to engage in a unique education delivery model (Distance Learning) that will provide teachers an alternative method of delivering instructions that does not require them to physically report to work and ensure that students are able to continue learning with minimal interruption.

In the interest of implementing Distance Learning, the parties agree:

  1. Bargaining unit members (“staff”) will receive time to prepare lessons and resources in order to align with the following schedule:
  • Week of March 23: teachers will plan and prepare lessons using existing instructional platforms suitable for Distance Learning. If a staff member struggles with remote Internet access, they will contact their Principal, and the District will endeavor to support them with temporary remote Internet access
  • Weeks of March 30 and April 6: teachers will begin to “pilot” lesson plans with students as families are provided orientation and necessary resources.
  • Special Education staff will attempt to virtually make contact (via email, Google Hangouts, etc.) with parents the weeks of March 30 and April 6 to hold an Amendment meeting and present Distance Learning Plan
    • The Amendment IEP team will include the teacher and parent/guardian, if they respond to the IEP amendment invite. In addition, if the student has Related Service providers, they will participate to the maximum extent feasible.
    • Each meeting will be scheduled for no more than 30 minutes. Teachers can use email pre-meeting to answer anticipated questions.
  • Special Education staff in a self-contained class (e.g. SDC and ILS classes) will provide curricular and enrichment activities for each student. The amount of curricular and enrichment materials will be suitable for the weekly equivalent of five weeks’ worth of instruction, commencing April 20.
  • RSP staff will provide support to general education teachers’ lessons to the extent feasible.
  • Week of April 13: the District will be on its regularly scheduled spring break and students will not be provided new instruction.
  • Weeks of April 20 – May 21: Staff will provide instruction through Distance Learning.
  1. Staff will use currently existing instructional platforms suitable for Distance Learning, and will not be expected to employ additional platforms through the end of the school year. The standard platform for the District is through Google, however, programs such as Class Dojo and others used by teachers as their primary platform are acceptable.
  2. Staff may collaborate as necessary and appropriate while they are engaged in Distance Learning. It is expected that collaboration meetings will be conducted in a manner that adheres to Center Disease Control, Sacramento County Public Health, and state guidelines. Recognizing this unique situation, time and manner of collaboration will not be determined by District or site administration. 

In order for NUSD to do their best to meet the summary of Federal and State Guidance for Implementing Distance Learning for Students with an IEP, as feasible the teacher may virtually communicate with related service providers and classified staff to develop and monitor plans for students based on IEP amendments as necessary and appropriate. 

4. While staff may not have a set daily schedule in light of the challenges presented during this pandemic related to things impacting them personally (i.e. childcare), staff will be expected to consistently provide instruction, resources and support to students through Distance Learning. Staff (including Special Education staff) will consistently communicate when they will be available to students and families for that week, to be the equivalent of one hour per day via email and/or other virtual platforms to respond to and support students’ needs.

  • Special Education teachers will only be responsible for their regular caseloads unless they mutually agree to support a currently vacant position. They will be paid hourly based upon their per diem rate to provide additional support, using a timesheet.

5. Distance learning activities provided to students shall include enrichment, engagement, and review. The activities provided will not require summative assessments or grading. In addition, students will be held “harmless”, and will not receive a lesser grade than their current grade as a result of engaging in Distance Learning during this unprecedented time. This aligns with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s recent statements that assessments should not be used during this time as a summative measure, but rather as a formative measure to gauge instruction and where students need support. Students will, however, be able to earn a higher grade as a result of engaging in Distance Learning, and if appropriate, may be assigned APEX as an option for credit recovery. 

  • Due to the unique needs at our continuation high school (DHS), we will work with the staff to ensure that students are properly supported toward earning credits toward graduation.

6.Current collectively bargained timelines for staff evaluations and related components shall be suspended for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. In addition, it is recognized that staff may be developing activities to be delivered via a new modality, and as such, they shall not be evaluated or disciplined based on the “quality” of those lessons and instruction during this crisis.

7. School Psychologists may provide appointments to students for social emotional needs as possible.  Any appointments scheduled can be conducted virtually or by district provided cell phone/equipment. 

SpEd addendum:

  • To the extent feasible, related service providers will be responsible to review individual caseloads and determine the therapeutic and enrichment needs of each student; communicate individualized plans to the case manager and participate in the Amendment meeting. 
  • Related service providers will arrange virtual services to the extent possible, and push out individualized support plans

8. Counselors may provide appointments to students for academic counseling as possible. These appointments or conversations may be conducted via email or when appropriate via tools such as Google Hangout.

9. Unit members who are exposed to the coronavirus and are required to be quarantined or who self-quarantine shall be placed on paid leave, which shall not be deducted from the member’s sick, personal, or extended illness leave. Unit members who are not available to work remotely may use any available sick leave or other applicable leaves consistent with the CBA. 

10. Specific provisions related to offering Special Education services are not included in this MOU and will be addressed as more federal and state guidance is provided in a separate agreement.  See blue language for appropriate Special Education services provisions in this MOU.

11. Specific provisions related to some of our specialty secondary programs are not included in this agreement and may still need to be negotiated, such as IB requirements.

12. Bargaining unit members’ compensation and benefits shall not be reduced as a result of the emergency school closure.

13, Other items regarding school closures and the crisis may still need to be negotiated.

14. This MOU shall expire on June 30, 2020, but may be extended by mutual written agreement.

 

 

 

NTA Reaches Agreement- Distance Learning

Hello NTA Bargaining Unit Members,

We are hoping you are doing well as this crisis has had such a huge impact on all of our lives. We wanted to let you know that in light of the latest guidelines from the state, NTA leadership spent most of the day negotiating and discussing with the District regarding “distance learning.”

As such, we are pleased to announce that an MOU has been agreed and signed off regarding Distance Learning. While there may be additional items and issues that come up, we wanted to be proactive and address as many items as possible. Here are the highlights (full agreement attached):

  • Short term calendar:
    • Week of March 23: teachers plan and prepare lessons
    • Weeks of March 30 and April 6: Teachers begin “pilot” lesson plans
    • Weeks of April 20-May 21: Staff provide provide instruction though Distance Learning
  • Staff will be allowed to use existing instructional platforms (google, class dojo or whatever else currently used by teachers)
  • Staff may collaborate as necessary and appropriate
  • Staff expected to consistently provide instruction, resources, and support to students through distant learning. Staff expected to be available weekly for the equivalent of one hour per day to students and families.
  • Distance learning activities will not require summative assessments or grading
  • Educators will not be evaluated during school closures
  • Educators will not be evaluated or disciplined based on the quality of lesson plans and instruction during school closures
  • School psychologists may schedule appointments virtually or on a district provided cell phone/equipment
  • Counselors may provide appointments for students via email or when appropriate using tools such as google hangouts
  • Educators that are exposed to coronavirus will be placed on paid admin leave, for other illness or if educators are not available to work remotely they can use regular sick leave or other leaves
  • Special education provisions will be negotiated in a separate agreement
  • No one will lose any pay during school closures
  • We reserve the right to negotiate additional items
  • MOU expires June 30, 2020

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns or additional items that you think should be negotiated.

We are proud and appreciate all the hard work NTA members have been doing and will continue to do on behalf of our students and community.

MOU COVID Distance Learning March 2020

Update from CTA and NTA on Corona Virus – FAQ

Important update regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) for NTA members

Yesterday, the Elk Grove Unified School District confirmed that one of their families was placed into quarantine for testing positive for COVID-19. As a result,  the Elk Grove Unified School District decided to close schools down for the upcoming week (3/7/2020-3/13/2020). In addition, it has been reported that students from two schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District may have been exposed to COVID-19. However, Sacramento City Unified School District has decided to not close any schools.

Currently, there have been no current reports regarding any NUSD students or families being exposed or testing positive for COVID-19. However, we will remain in contact with the District leadership as we collaborate to create an adequate plan and engage in clear communication with all employees.

As of now, NTA has confirmed that District leaders are in close contact with the county regarding any changes and that schools will remain open (no schools will be closed). If anything changes, we will send an update as soon as possible.

Lastly, below are Frequently Asked Questions that were recently published by our California Teachers Association. Please review and let us know if you have any additional questions.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should school employees do to help prevent the spread of coronavirus? 
The CDC has issued guidance regarding prevention of coronavirus, including tips like washing your hands with soap thoroughly and frequently, not touching your mouth, nose or face, and regularly disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. The CDC’s guidance can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/ 2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html. 
More information from the CDC, including information about how coronavirus spreads and what to do if you are sick, can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html. 

What happens to the district’s funding if a school temporarily closes to contain the spread of the virus? 
The district should not lose funding in this situation. The Education Code contains a hold harmless provision specifying that in the event a school is closed due to an epidemic or emergency order by a state, city, or county official, the district is credited for the estimated average daily attendance (ADA) funding the school would have received if not for the epidemic or emergency order (Educ. Code Secs. 46390, 46392). The Code further specifies that a district unable to operate a full school year due to an epidemic or an emergency order by a federal, state, city, or county official is to receive “the same apportionment from the State School Fund as it would have received” if it had operated for a full school year of 175 days (Educ. Code Sec. 41422). 

Will schools that are closed have to make up the days at the end of the year? 
The Education Code excuses districts from complying with the full school year requirements in the event of an epidemic or order by a federal, state, city, or county official in response to an emergency (Educ. Code Sec. 41422). See also Educ. Code Sec. 37202 (excusing such schools from the “equal time” requirement). 

Are districts obligated to pay staff at schools that are closed? 
Nothing in the Education Code excuses districts from their contractual obligations to pay staff in the event a school is closed due to an epidemic or emergency order. The fact that the Education Code protects the district’s funding makes it extremely difficult for districts to argue that they cannot comply with contractual commitments due to the school closure. For these reasons, the past practice in California has been to pay school staff even when schools are shut down due to an emergency. 

It is important to understand, however, that the legal basis for this obligation is the commitment the district made in the collective bargaining agreement, which the district cannot modify without bargaining. 

What are my legal rights to take a leave of absence if I get coronavirus? 
The same sick leave provisions apply to illness from coronavirus as apply to other illnesses. 
In addition to leave provided for in your collective bargaining agreement, the Education Code guarantees certificated employees who are employed five days a week a minimum of ten (10) paid days of leave due to illness for a school year of service (Educ. Code Sec. 44978). A prorated amount of leave is due to part-time certificated employees. Classified employees employed five days a week for a full fiscal year are entitled to twelve (12) days of paid leave due to illness (Educ. Code Sec. 45191). A prorated amount is due to classified employees working less than five days a week who are employed for less than a full fiscal year. Employees who have exhausted all available and accumulated sick leave and continue to be absent for up to five months due to illness are eligible for differential pay leave (Educ. Code Sec. 44977 for certificated employees and Sec. 45196 for classified employees).

Additional unpaid leave may be available under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

Finally, the Education Code specifically gives districts discretion to grant paid leave to certificated staff due to an epidemic. This is in addition to the leave the district already provides, and includes not only leave due to illness, but also due to quarantine. (Educ. Code Sec. 44964). Similarly, districts have discretion to grant additional leaves of absence, including with pay, to classified employees for purposes including illness and quarantine (Educ. Code Sec. 45199; see also Educ. Code Secs. 45190, 45195, 45198). 

Can a district force someone off work if s/he is suspected of being infected but is not officially quarantined by any health agency? 
As stated above, in addition to other leaves a district provides, Education Code Sections 44964 and 45199 give districts discretion to grant paid leave to certificated and classified staff due to an epidemic – both for illness and quarantine. Therefore, if a district wishes to compel someone to take leave due to suspected illness or exposure, chapters should insist that such leave be paid under Section 44964 or 45199 and not be deducted from the employee’s accumulated leave time. 

My district rewards students and/or staff for good attendance. Is continuation of this practice a good idea under these circumstances? 
No. Chapters should urge districts to suspend all student and staff attendance-related programs, incentives and/or awards and instead urge those who are sick to stay home. 

Are hand sanitizers allowed in schools? 
Association leaders should insist the district maintain a safe and sanitary school environment, such as by providing adequate sanitary supplies (like alcohol-based hand sanitizer) and additional cleaning of school facilities to prevent the spread of the virus. There is nothing in the law that prohibits the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers in school settings. The California Department of Education (CDE) has issued guidance for the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers at this link: www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/ handsanitizers.asp. 

What else can districts and associations do to prepare for the possible spread of the virus? 
The Education Code requires every school district have a comprehensive school safety plan (Educ. Code Secs. 32280-32289). To respond to the current coronavirus, the CDE is urging districts to review their plans and to follow their existing protocols for responding to a flu pandemic. 

For a list of those elements, see “The Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist for K-12 School Districts,” which is found at www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/coronavirus.asp and www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/pdf/ schoolchecklist.pdf.

NTA Bargaining Update, Aug 12, 2019

NTA Bargaining Update August 12, 2019 (use this link)

12 August 2019:

  Natomas Teachers’ Association

Bargaining Update…

Keep Quality Teachers in

 Natomas Campaign 

Students are the center of everything we do. 

As NTA members, we are committed to the success and well-being of every student.

NTA Negotiation Team 
Please forward feedback to your negotiations team. 

Kristen Rocha, Chair

krochanta@gmail.com

Justin Vorhauer

ntajmv@gmail.com

Mara Harvey

maraswan@gmail.com

Randy Hodge

hodgemath42@gmail.com

Emilio Moran

emoran1972@gmail.com

Achim Dangerfield

dangewrite@gmail.com

 

NTA and the District met for the second day of mediation on Monday August 12. The NTA bargaining team is working diligently toward a mutually agreeable outcome. The lack of movement from the district has been frustrating however, NTA is continuing to work toward a settlement being reached in mediation. 

Don’t let the district’s rhetoric about state receivership and bankruptcy fool you. Every other district in our region spends a higher percentage of their funds on teachers and yet none are facing insolvency. This conversation is about priorities. Our goal is to attract and retain teachers in NUSD. The district employs four attorneys and just the cost of one of those could translate to about a 2% salary increase for all members! According to the district salary data, in the last year the Superintendent – who is already paid more per student than any other Superintendent in the region – received a 6.1% salary increase for 27 less days of work per year. Remember – this district has choices in how they spend their money. Sadly, teachers are not their current priority.

If an agreement is not reached in mediation the parties will move to fact finding which is the final step before the imposition of a contract or moving toward a strike. Meetings led by organizing team members will be held at your site in the within the next two weeks. Please watch for upcoming meeting dates and make sure you attend. NTA represents 630 professional educators who deserve a competitive wage. The district is proposing pay increases which are distributed unevenly among the staff. 

AS WE MOVE FORWARD – STAY ENGAGED – STAY INFORMED – STAY CONNECTED! YOUR ACTIVE SUPPORT AND YOUR SOLIDARITY ARE NEEDED

Who is Left Out? – What they won’t tell you…

Class/step District Proposal  Increase 
Class III/Steps 1-11 No Increase from the 18/19 Schedule 0%
Class IV/Steps 1-15 No Increase from the 18/19 Schedule  0%
Class V/Steps 1-8  No Increase from the 18/19 Schedule  0%
A payoff of 1,000 dollars (pre-tax) is not an ongoing raise!
The NTA proposal includes and raise of 5.18% for ALL members

 

It’s NOT just the money – There are many other proposals below that NTA members have asked for and the bargaining team will continue to fight for these priorities.
Article:  Priority Proposals and Updates:
Article IV- Salary Proposal: A 5.18% raise on all current salary schedules, along with a compression (longevity boosts are sooner) that will impact all schedules at a cost of  1.42%.  This would increase career earnings and help to keep quality teachers in Natomas.  See proposed language and example certificated salary schedule below. Unlimited in-district units applied to the salary schedule: moving more than one column per year:  compensation for sub coverage when classes are split among teachers for ½ and full day; recognition of CTE experience. 
Rationale: Move Natomas out of the bottom of the pack compared to other districts. Keep teachers from leaving our district. A budget is a statement of values. The district is not choosing to value teachers. Teachers should not be the last line item.  
Article VI- Health and Benefits  Proposal: Increased monthly district contributions $25/single; $50/emp + 1; and $75/family
Rationale: Provide relief to healthcare premium costs (ongoing 0.40% increase)
Article IX- Evaluation Procedures Proposal: Nurse and Speech Language Hearing Specialist evaluation forms. Ability to attach response to summative evals
Rationale: With the support of specialists created relevant evaluation forms for both
Article V- Hours Proposal: Collaboration agendas are created by teachers, departments or grade level teams. Elementary teachers are compensated for split classrooms when a substitute is not secured. Equitable duty schedules
Rationale: Teachers have the ability to determine where they want to focus collaborative meeting time 
We Reiterate: Teachers continually express the need for quality, self-directed, collaboration time not necessarily more time.
Article XVII- Assoc. Rights Proposal: Clarifying language for membership dues, release time, new employee orientation, employee privacy, academic freedom, and vendor restrictions 
Rationale: Natomas teachers are treated as professionals and have voice and control over curriculum use.  
Article I- Agreement  Proposal: One year agreement;  Attaching agreed upon Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) to appendices 
Rationale: Continue to have the opportunity to work toward our goals and keep all current agreements 

Bargaining Update – May 16, 2019

May 16, 2019:

  Natomas Teachers’ Association
Bargaining Update…

Keep Quality Teachers in Natomas Campaign

Students are the center of everything we do.

As NTA members, we are committed to the success and well-being of every student.

NTA Negotiation Team
Please forward feedback to your negotiations team.

Kristen Rocha, Chair

krochanta@gmail.com

Justin Vorhauer

ntajmv@gmail.com

Mara Harvey

maraswan@gmail.com

Randy Hodge

hodgemath42@gmail.com

Emilio Moran

emoran1972@gmail.com

Lydiana Alfaro

lydiana.alfaro@gmail.com

Achim Dangerfield

dangewrite@gmail.com

 

KEEP QUALITY TEACHERS IN NATOMAS

Natomas Teachers’ Association has put forth all of our initial proposal for our articles.

NUSD has put forth all of their proposals. Both sides are currently writing counter proposals.

Invest in Collaboration, Compensation and Curriculum

HOW MUCH LESS IN NATOMAS?

Article: NTA Priority Proposals and Updates : District Proposal:
Article IV- Salary
  • Seven percent (7%) increase on all salary schedules Every step & column cell gets the increase in percentage.
  • Compress longevity (pay increase) steps to reach the steps sooner.
  • Remove and compress Column 0 to combine into Column 1 on salary schedule
  • Move Natomas Unified out of the bottom of the pack compared with all other districts in our area.
  • Offers to move column 0 ( interns) into Column 1 BA
  • Offers to combine/move Column 1 BA people to join people in Column 2 (BA + MA).  No money across certificated salary schedules for other teachers.
  • 3% offered for LGA ,

Speech, Psychologist, Counselor and Nurse salary schedules

  • Token one time $1000 check for any person who is not already moving into a raise of step or column cell  
  • In a second year, then add 2% on certificated salary schedules.
Article VI- Health and Benefits
  • Increased monthly district contribution of:  

        $25/single; $50/emp + 1 $75/family  (.42%)

  • Committee to provide staff input on applicable HB topics
  • Proposed a Health and Wellness committee
Article IX- Evaluation Procedures
  • Nurse and Speech Language Hearing Specialist evaluation tools shared..
  • Ability to attach response to summative evals
  • Proposed a committee to design evaluation tool for Nurse and Speech.
  • Ability to attach response to summative evals
Article V- Hours
  • Collaboration time to be teacher/department directed
  • Compensation when no substitutes (split class) in elementary. $10 per day per child.
  • Limit Duty to every other week- equity site to site
  • Clarify minimum vs early release day.
  • Extend staff and collab meetings 15 min. Per week  (increase of 9.25 hours)
  • For second hour of an IEP then allow $40 per hour for IEP time after school
  • Early release clarification from minimum day
Article XVII- Assoc. Rights
  • Added clarifying language for membership dues, release time, new employee orientation, employee privacy, academic freedom,and vendor restrictions
  • Academic Committee
  • NO protections for employee privacy,  academic freedom or vendor restrictions.
  • While some language in agreement for release time and new members, different committee criteria than NTA proposes.
Article I- Agreement
  • One year agreement was proposed
  • MOU documents to be attached in appendices
  • Two year agreement

Topics of discussion:

 

 

  • Review the Governor May revise of Projected COLA (COST of Living Adjustment) projected at State Budget adoption to 3.46% is projected in May revise to become 3.26%. It will be revised or finalized June 30th.

 

 

 

  • Continue discussion on district choices and priorities for NUSD budget.  District has a 13% RESERVE! Remove excessive administrative, attorney, and consultant fees.  Step Natomas up from the bottom.

 

 

 

  • Governor’s Budget for STRS proposes funds to reduce STRS contribution by the District, which means more money back in the district budget.

 

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