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    SPS and SEA Reach Tentative Agreement for 6-12 grade In-person Learning
    Posted on 04/01/2021
    Two logos side by side: SPS and SEA

    SPS and SEA Reach Tentative Agreement for 6-12 grade In-person Learning

    Seattle Education Association and Seattle Public Schools have now reached a tentative agreement to provide in-person learning for grades 6-12 that meets the guidelines of the Governor Inslee's proclamation. The agreed to schedule does its best to finish this year strong keeping educators and students connected. Students, in-person and remote learners, begin April 5 for 6-12th grade Special Education Intensive Service Pathways students and April 19 for all other secondary students.

    “SEA remained focused on ensuring every student had options that met their individual physical, social, and emotional needs,” said Uti Hawkins, vice president of Seattle Education Association. “It is critical we support learning with options as our school communities navigate this pandemic. We are committed to ensuring equitable systems of support for those students that stay remote and those students who opt for in-person instruction.”

    The tentative agreement strives to keep students with their current educators and provides four full days of instruction for all students. Students in secondary schools regardless of learning model will receive synchronous remote classes in the morning four days a week. In the afternoons, middle and high schools will offer all students both remote and in-person small group and individual instruction and support. Students that select the in-person instructional model will attend class two, ½ days per week. Students enrolled in an intensive service pathway will receive four, ½ days of in-person instruction. K-8 schools will determine whether secondary students receive in-person instruction in the morning or afternoon. Wednesdays will continue to be remote for all students. More information will be distributed to families by email and on the SPS website.

    “Thank you to the hard-working bargaining teams. This agreement helps to ensure a high-quality learning environment for all students, whether they choose to stay 100% remote or return for in-person learning,” said Superintendent Denise Juneau. “On Monday, elementary students served in Special Education Intensive Service Pathways and preschool students across our district had the opportunity to reunite with classmates and teachers in-person. I joined families and staff in celebrating the return of these students. This past year has undoubtedly been difficult, but the joy and learning I witnessed in classrooms this week gives me immense hope as more students return to buildings.”

    “Both the district and our partners at SEA have always put top priority on the health and safety of our students and staff, and it’s a testament to this commitment that we have reached this tentative agreement,” said SPS Board of Directors President Chandra Hampson. “Returning to in-person learning is important for many of our students, and we are ready for them. We are excited to welcome them back, and for students remaining remote we express our deep commitment to the quality of their remote learning experience as well. For both our in-person students and remote students, we are fully focused on continuing to provide the best instruction possible.”

    This tentative agreement is subject to approval by both SEA members and the school board. SPS will send families an intent to return survey. Families will be asked to select the 100% remote model or hybrid, in-person model for the remainder of the year.

    Read the full SPS and SEA Tentative Agreement for Secondary Instructional Model; Subject to approval by SEA and Seattle School Board

    Previous Updates

    Proposals and Counters for the Secondary Instructional Model

    Tentative Bargaining Agreement Reached

    Throughout our response to the pandemic, the well-being of our students, staff, and families has always come first. On March 16, Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association (SEA) came to a tentative agreement that supports a safe return to school buildings for all preschool, K-12 Special Education Intensive Service Pathways, and all kindergarten to 5th grade students.

    Read the March 16 Family Update: Tentative Bargaining Agreement

    March 8 SPS and SEA Joint Statement

    It is in the best interest of our students, staff, and families that Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Seattle Education Association (SEA) are unified in our approach to a return to in-person learning.

    We are committed to returning students receiving special education services in Intensive Service Pathways and our youngest learners to classrooms first. We are partnering to ensure equity and safety across our school buildings as we continue to plan our phased-in approach to in-person learning.

    SEA and SPS have been bargaining an increase to in-person learning for students enrolled in Special Education Intensive Service Pathways (Focus, Moderate/Intensive, Social Emotional Learning, Distinct, Medically Fragile, Bridges, and Developmental Preschool) and PreK-1st grade students since January as directed by the School Board in the December 17 Board resolution. We are close to a tentative agreement (TA) on the return of Intensive Pathways and preschool.

    On March 8, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and an independent HVAC contractor, together with SPS and SEA leaders, reviewed the readiness of multiple SPS school buildings. While this was not a required reopening step, it was an important one to help ensure staff and families are confident in the district's adherence to Washington State Labor & Industries, Washington State DOH, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and federal CDC guidance and recommendations.

    At the conclusion of this walk through there were no major issues identified. However, SPS and SEA together agreed that school staff could benefit from additional time to prepare to offer the safest, most equitable in-person learning environments possible in every SPS building. SPS and SEA's bargaining teams are negotiating in good faith to reach an agreement this week and allow the time needed to ratify the agreement.

    Together, we commit to bargaining an agreement so students enrolled in Special Education Intensive Service Pathways and preschool can begin in-person learning services on March 29. Families will still have the option to stay in a 100% remote learning model. In response to this joint commitment, SPS is rescinding its order from February 25 designating additional staff as "essential."

    As part of this joint partnership, staff that support preschool and Intensive Service Pathways will return to buildings as early as March 22 to receive health and safety training, set up classrooms, and prepare for students. These extra weeks of preparation will help build confidence in the district’s approach and provide an opportunity for school staff to engage with families and students prior to the first day of in-person instruction.

    The district and SEA will continue negotiating the return of K-1st grade students as directed by the School Board on February 25, 2021.

    SPS and SEA Bargaining Update Week of February 22 -26

    On February 25, 2021, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) provided a counter proposal to Seattle Education Association (SEA). This counter is the latest version of what is being negotiated.

    SPS and SEA Bargaining Update Week of February 8 - 12

    SEA and SPS continue to bargain each Tuesday and Thursday, exchanging proposals and counter proposals. SEA still has proposals to bring to the negotiating table next week.

    As of today, the district has made a decision to request mediation support from the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), to help facilitate and support a more timely resolution/agreement. PERC is the Washington State agency that has jurisdiction over public sector labor relations and collective bargaining.

    Often times when negotiations support is needed one or both parties will contact PERC to support a resolution. PERC is impartial and will help the district and the union explore solutions that lead to a mutual agreement. Bargaining teams will continue to bargain through mid-winter break.

    Bargaining Updates Week of February 1 - 5

    The district and SEA continue to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for formal negotiations.

    This week in negotiations, Dr. Concie Pedroza led the SPS Bargaining Team through a Racial Equity analysis on the proposals that the district has submitted to Seattle Education Association (SEA). This analysis was shared with SEA at the joint bargaining session on Tuesday, February 2. On Wednesday, February 3 we received the first half of SEA's Health and Safety proposal and discussed this at our joint session on Thursday, February 4. SEA plans on providing additional proposals to the District next week. We continue to make progress and are hopeful to have a negotiated agreement within the next couple of weeks.

    The SPS Racial Equity Analysis was completed on the first round of data and bargaining proposals. This is an iterative process. The racial equity analysis will continue to be reviewed and adapted throughout the bargaining process as new data and information becomes available.

    COVID-19 Racial Equity Analysis Summary Tool pdf icon

    Bargaining Updates Week of January 25 - 29

    On December 17, 2020 the School Board passed a resolution for a phased return for in-person services for students in preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade and students enrolled in Special Education Intensive Service Pathways (SEL, Moderate Intensive, Focus, Distinct, Developmental Preschool, and Medically Fragile). The district will continue to provide in-person services to select students through the IEP process.

    The current Seattle Public Schools/Seattle Education Association joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) requires that we negotiate with the Seattle Education Association any changes to the current remote instructional model. SPS will provide bargaining updates on this webpage.

    The district and SEA continue to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for formal negotiations. The district has provided proposals that outline in-person services for students in preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade and students enrolled in Special Education Intensive Service Pathways that will be phased-in beginning March 1, 2021.


    Our current proposal outlines an A/B cohort model for the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP and SPP+), kindergarten and first grade students that would provide in-person instruction two days per week. This will allow for greater consistency between remote/in-person instruction and prioritizes the current relationship between students and the classroom teacher. While any change from remote to in-person will cause a shift in classroom teachers, this model would be the least disruptive.

    Intensive Service Pathways

    The proposal we have provided for Special Education Intensive Service Pathways Pre-K -12 (SEL, Moderate Intensive, Focus, Distinct, Developmental Preschool, and Medically Fragile) provide for a four-day a week (M,T,Th,F) schedule with Wednesdays being remote for all students.

    The joint Bargaining Team met the week of January 25 to discuss both of these proposals. The proposals include: details about each learning model, proposed educator workdays/workweek, sample school day schedules, health and safety protocols, support for high-risk educators, guidance on cohorting, and substitute coverage.

    The Seattle Education Association has not yet provided the District with a proposal for in-person instruction.

    District's Current Bargaining Proposalpdf icon (January 28, 2021)

    Bargaining Timeline

    • SEA will send SPS a list of issues needing proposals from the district on Monday, January 11
    • SPS will provide bargaining proposals to SEA by Friday January 15
    • SEA will review the district's proposals and seek engagement from their members the weeks of January 18 and 25
    • SEA intends to respond to the district's proposals by the end of January
    • The district has communicated our intent to complete negotiations by mid-February
    • Final plans for March will be communicated to families and staff by February 22, 2021