Reminder: August 9th is a non duty day for all OPS teachers. Teachers should not be asked to report to school on August 9th. Teachers’ first duty day is August 10th, 2017.
OEA and OPS met and agreed to a solution that addressed the district’s decision for teachers to “make –up” a 190th that had been inadvertently left off the 2017-2018 calendar.
I was not happy about this situation, as I am well acquainted with the destruction of trust caused two years ago by the district’s decision to extend the school day. I cautioned the district about creating the same feelings with this “missing day”. The district leaders including the superintendent, legal counsel, HR, and Research were in agreement with OEA that they also, did not want to the solution to create any further distrust between educators and administration, and worked with OEA to create the agreed upon solution .
Knowing that teachers already work beyond the equivalent of 190 days with the extra time they volunteer above and beyond their duty hours we wanted a solution that would reflect this work. Teachers are to pick their own days and times to “make-up” the 7.5 hours. Each individual teacher is free to choose any non-duty day or time when the building is open, and their classroom or work-space is available. Teachers are free to pick a non-duty day over the summer, or during the 1st quarter – before or after school. Teachers were asked to try to not spread this time over more than 4 separate work days. Teachers choose whether to use this time to attend training, or to work in their classroom. There were two specific requests regarding the time. 1) We asked that teachers pick a time when the building was open and the teachers’ room was available. We did not want our custodians or any other group to be kicked of their already arranged required upkeep of schools. The support staff at OPS has been extremely supportive of the teachers of OPS, and OEA believes we should return their support and respect with our support and respect. 2) Teachers were/or are to inform their principals or principal designee of their chosen time. * There is no requirement that principals approve the time. Principals may not choose dates and times for teachers.*
In creating this solution, OEA noted positively that OPS was not creating any type of onerous paperwork, by requiring a specific form be filed. We noted that an email would be an acceptable method of informing the principal. We also commended OPS on collaborating on a solution that honored teachers’ professionalism and recognized the need for teachers to use their best professional judgment regarding when the time would best be used.
Details regarding this agreement were sent out by the district to all OPS educators’ school email accounts on May 25th, 2017, from Monique Farmer. The language of the email was specifically worked out between Scott S. SchmidtBonne, Director – Division of Research, firstname.lastname@example.org (531) 299-0226, and myself, Bridget Donovan, President of the OEA, email@example.com (402) 709-1061 . It was subsequently approved prior to sending. If a principal is requesting that staff report on 8/09, even if they offer a make-up date, that is not in compliance with the agreement between OPS and OEA, and is likely a miscommunication. Please contact OEA (402) 346-0400 immediately if you receive information that is different from the facts contained in this communication. The solution was agreed upon in good faith by both parties, and any action not in compliance with it is an error that will be addressed once we are informed. OEA considers the collaborative nature of this decision to be a positive indicator regarding future problem solving with OPS.
Bridget Donovan, President
Omaha Education Association
Email from OPS Sent: Thursday, May 25
Good Morning! I wanted to make you aware of an issue recently discovered within the 2017-18 school year calendar which has resulted in the assignment of only 189 of 190 possible teacher days for the 2017-18 school year. OPS and the OEA have collaborated to find a one-time solution whereby teachers will work their 190th day on a non-duty day or time that best works with teacher’s schedule during the 1st quarter. Teachers can choose any day or time when the building is open, and their classroom or work-space is available. Teachers are free to pick a day over the summer, or during the 1st quarter – before or after school. The time need not be taken all at once; we would ask, however, that teachers try to not spread this time over more than 4 separate work days. Teachers are welcome to use this time to attend training, or to work in their classroom. We would ask that teachers: 1) choose a day and time where they will complete all or some of their 7.5 hours, and inform the principal or their designee; and 2) to pick a time when the building will already be open and other staff will not be inconvenienced (e.g., building access, disruption of janitorial work). If there are specific questions about this update, please feel free to call the Research Division at 531-299-0226, or by emailing me – firstname.lastname@example.org. Given that there are thousands of you; I will respond to this email with answers to general questions that I am getting, as many of you may also have the same questions. Thank you so much for all that you do! Each year your efforts return increased outcomes for students, and that is just what we can measure. No doubt students have also benefited emotionally and in other ways through the caring relationships you establish. You are not only professionals, but heroes in my eyes. I hope you all have a fantastic summer! Highest Regards, Scott Scott S. SchmidtBonne Director – Division of Research (531) 299-0226 (Office) (402) 557-2049 (Fax)