Monthly Archives: March 2012

BCPSEA update – “Cooling Off Period” and Return to Normal Operations

“Cooling Off Period” and Return to Normal Operations
From an update posted on the BCPSEA website:

We are receiving reports from school districts regarding information they have been provided outlining the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and some local teacher associations’ “plans for action” in their opposition to the Education Improvement Act (the Act).

Some of the items in these plans appear contradictory to the “cooling-off” period required by the Act that could interfere with the return of schools to their normal operations. Districts are also hearing that many teachers are expressing confusion about what is expected of them during this time. BCPSEA will be monitoring this situation and working with districts over the coming weeks.

With the cooling-off period and the 2006-2011 collective agreement currently in effect, teachers must resume any activities that were a normal requirement of the job. The two issues that appear to be of most urgent concern to districts are the preparation of spring report cards and participation of teachers in meetings called by administrators. Our recommendations at this time regarding these matters are outlined below.

Spring Report Cards
During the strike teachers were required to continue to perform assessment, evaluation, and marking. Now that the strike is concluded, school districts are entitled to direct teachers to enter marks in the normal manner and to prepare and distribute report cards, and teachers who are directed to do so must comply with those directions. An individual refusal to perform such work would be failure to follow a lawful order and be subject to discipline; concerted refusal to do such work would constitute an illegal strike.

Districts have reported that they are being told by some teachers that they have been instructed by their union not to do certain work because it is “struck work”; i.e., work that they were entitled to refuse to do under their Phase 1 strike activity. There is no concept of “struck work” in this context that would allow teachers to continue to refuse to prepare report cards even after the lawful strike has concluded. “Struck work” is a concept that is sometimes applied in a situation where a union is currently on strike and others are asked to do the work of the striking union. It is not a concept that is applied to ongoing work when a union is no longer on strike and its members are resuming their normal duties.

Simply put, when a strike is over, employees are required to resume normal duties and there is no recognized exemption for work that may have accumulated during the strike. If such a concept existed, then health care union members could refuse to do surgery on patients who, but for the strike, would have had an operation performed at an earlier time; or a construction crew could refuse to build a particular floor in a building, etc. In the context of returning to normal duties after a strike has ended, the refusal to do such activities constitutes an unlawful continuation of strike activity if the refusal is concerted, and may also appropriately attract discipline.

Districts have also heard from some local teachers’ associations that the district is now precluded from issuing a report card until the end of the year as “two report cards” have either been distributed (in November) or were “cancelled” by the Ministry of Education (in January). It is BCPSEA’s opinion that this is simply incorrect and, in any event, the School Act speaks to a minimum of three formal reports and does not limit districts from determining that additional reports are necessary.

Prior to directing teachers to prepare and distribute report cards, we recommend that districts speak to their local teachers’ association to discuss the district’s expectations about the contents of the report card (e.g., will the current report card reflect all progress and/or the cumulative grade from September to the current date or will separate entries be made for September to November and November to April) and the timing of this report card. It will also be necessary to provide sufficient time for teachers to prepare the report cards. We recommend that districts follow up on such discussions with a letter to the local teachers’ association that clearly outlines the district’s expectations regarding a Spring report card.

For example, districts may require the following:
Elementary Students: A report card will be issued on [date]. That report card will reflect the student’s progress from September to April.

Middle School and Secondary Students:
Linear timetable: A report card will be issued on [date]. That report card will contain [all progress and the cumulative grade from September to April or separate entries for progress and grades from September to November and November to April].

Semester timetable: A report card will be issued on [date], which will contain the first semester final mark and the student’s semester two progress and grade from January to April.

Quarter system: A report card will be issued on [date], which will reflect all progress and the student’s grades from September to April.

BCPSEA is hopeful that teachers will recognize the importance of this reporting for parents, students, other teachers, and administrators to be able to properly support children in the successful completion of this school year. Please inform us if there are refusals by teachers to comply with instructions regarding report cards. It may be necessary for districts to issue further directions and/or follow-up appropriately on refusals.

Meetings Called by Administrators
Some districts have reported that they are hearing that teachers will not attend staff, committee, or parent meetings outside of instructional time and/or that teachers will not attend meetings with administrators unless they are given written direction to do so. In fact, administrators may set staff and other meetings outside of instructional time, except as limited by the collective agreement and there is no requirement for written directions to be issued for setting up these meetings. Teachers are not permitted to refuse to attend meetings outside of instructional time if they are normally required by the job, and they cannot refuse to meet with administrators except as provided in the collective agreement.

We suggest that administrators begin to schedule staff and committee meetings to meet the needs of the students, teachers, and the school and inform teachers of the nature, agendas, and time of those meetings in the normal manner. Given that many of these meetings have not occurred this school year, it may be necessary to remind teachers about the specific purposes, timing, agendas, and procedures for the particular meetings. If teachers specifically refuse to attend meetings, it may be necessary for districts to issue further directions and/or follow up appropriately on refusals.

BCPSEA will work with districts and liaise with the BCTF over the next few weeks. It is important that regular routines are re-established reasonably soon, but a cooperative approach to this process is preferred.

Looking for Expressions of Interest for BCCPAC Conference Delegates

The BCCPAC Spring Conference is coming up, May 25 to 27th:

http://sd57dpac.ca/2012/03/bccpac-spring-conference-and-agm/

As per our policy on conference delegates:

http://sd57dpac.ca/2011/12/revised-draft-policy-for-conference-delegates/

If you wish to attend the conference as a delegate from DPAC, you will need to submit a brief written application detailing your reasons for wanting to attend the conference, and how you believe this conference will benefit DPAC and/or your PAC.

At the latest, expressions of interest should be received by April 15th.

A delegate selection committee has been established, consisting of Jacqui Dockray and Chris Finke.
Email Delegate Selection Committee

DPAC Anti-bullying letter

2012 march 27 DPAC Letter on Bullying

CKPG news report:

http://www.ckpg.com/news/18571-sd57-reviews-bully-policy-video.html?tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=

March 27, 2012
Attention: School District 57 School Board Members
Re: Bullying in Schools
Dear School District Trustees;
Our District Parent Advisory Council is concerned about the multiple stories of bullying in schools brought forward by adults and youth from the LGBTQ community at the January and the February 2012 Public School Board meetings. Furthermore, we are aware of other issues with parents bringing bullying concerns to DPAC, such as harassment of a fragrance-sensitive student, Twitter threats to students, and reports of bullying on unsupervised areas of playgrounds.

This leads us to believe that bullying is a very real issue within a number of elementary and secondary schools in this School District.

DPAC appreciates and supports the School District’s “zero tolerance” policy on bullying in schools; however, there seems to be multiple examples of a disconnect between the purpose of that policy, and its actual application in schools within this district. We understand that there is an education and awareness component, and an enforcement component to addressing bullying in our schools.

It is our opinion that the policy needs to be seen as being enforced within our schools, on school grounds, and online.

As an example, there are very progressive anti-bullying initiatives being implemented in other school districts that utilized online social media. The Teens Networking Together (TNT) project is just one example of new social media initiative that helps teens combat bullying, report concerns, and access support services within a school district, as an initiative between School District 68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Central Vancouver Island Crisis Society, and the RCMP. This initiative can be accessed online at www.tntnanaimo.com.

Our District Parent Advisory Council wishes to be involved collaboratively with anti-bullying initiatives across the district, and would like to work with the School District on the matter.

Sincerely,

___________________________________
Don Sabo; SD 57 DPAC Chair

April General Meeting

Our April meeting is Monday, April 2, at 7pm,at the Van Bien Training and Development Centre.

http://sd57dpac.ca/2012/03/draft-meeting-minutes-march-2012/

For those logging in from their home computers, we will be providing a link for a web conference of the meeting. We have recently upgraded the microphone system in the expectation of better sound quality.

Web Conference link  – the link should be active at 7pm, or shortly thereafter.

AGENDA DPAC GENERAL MEETING – MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2012

7:00 p.m. Van Bien Training and Development Centre

 

1.               Adoption of Agenda

2.               Adoption of March 5, 2012 Minutes

3.               PAC Networking

4.               Reports

(a)                DPAC Chair Report (Don Sabo)

(b)               Treasurer’s Report (Chris Finke)

(c)                Superintendent Report (Brian Pepper)

(d)               Trustee Report (Kate Cooke)

(e)               PGDTA Report (Matt Pearce, Tina Cousins)

(f)                 PGPVPA Report (Faith Mackay)

(g)                CUPE Report (Lorraine Prouse)

(h)               DSAC Report

 

(5 – 10 minute coffee /Snack break)

5.               Committee Reports

(a)                EPPC Committee Report – Chris Finke (Alternate:  Gillian Burnett)

(b)               Education Services Committee Report– Stephen Shannon (Alternate:  Sarah Holland)

(c)                Policy/Governance Committee Report –  Don Sabo (Alternate: Dennis Fudge)

(d)               DPAC Budget Planning Committee – Chris Finke

(e)               DPAC Bylaws and Policy Committee – Sarah Holland

(f)                 Nominating Committee – Jacqui  Dockray & Darlene Campbell

 

6.               Announcements/New Business

(a)                BCCPAC AGM, May 25 – 27, 2012 Expression of Interest

(b)               BCCPAC Resolutions Workshop

(d)          Consent Agenda (Sarah Holland)

 

7.               Other Business

(a)          Other

8.               Agenda items for next meeting

9.               Adjournment – Next meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm Van Bien Training and Development Centre.

Teachers withdrawing from extra-curricular activities

http://ckpg.com/news/18542-teachers-in-sd57-withdrawing-all-volunteer-and-extracurricular-activities-into-2013.html

Prince George District Teachers Association President Matt Pearce says imposing Bill 22 has demoted teachers from employees to public servants. Teachers in School District 57 have voted to withdraw all volunteer and extracurricular activities for the end of this year, and into the next, unless Bill 22 is repealed. He says the controversial bill was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and he’s never seen teachers this angry. The withdrawal is effective immediately, though he adds teachers will follow through on commitments that have already been made. In the absence of teacher support, he says it will be up to the community to pick up the slack. Pearce says they are considering some other things on a province-wide basis, but for now this is what local teachers have decided.

BC Education Plan Updates

On behalf of the Ministry of Education, we’d like to thank you for your recent comments on the BC Education Plan Engage page. Your thoughts and ideas are helping us to better understand how the public feels about K-12 education in BC and what changes may be needed to make our system even better in the future.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to expand the conversation and we’ve just changed the questions to focus on enabling teacher led change, preparing new teachers for success and learning from inspiring teachers. Please come and take a look at the questions and share your thoughts and ideas with us.  Your continued input is very important to the engagement process.


We encourage you to share this invitation with your friends, colleagues, and personal networks as well. To get a realistic sense of how the public feels about BC K-12 education we need to hear from as many people, from as many places, and as many walks of life as possible. So, please share – we want to hear from everyone who has an interest or a stake in the BC K-12 education system.

See you on the discussion forum!

Sincerely yours,
The BC Education Plan Moderation Team



B.C.’s EDUCATION PLAN
ON THE WEB: WWW.BCEDPLAN.CA <http://www.bcedplan.ca/>
ON TWITTER: @BCEDPLAN

Mediator Named for BCTF/BCPSEA talks – Dr. Charles Jago

http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2009-2013/2012EDUC0031-000370.htm

Dr. Charles Jago to mediate teacher contract talks

 VICTORIA – In line with the provisions of Bill 22 – the Education Improvement Act, government has appointed Dr. Charles Jago to mediate contract talks between the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA).

As mediator, Jago will be guided by the best interests of students and the pursuit of high-quality learning as he assists the parties in negotiations. The scope of mediation is broad and will seek to address all issues outstanding at the bargaining table, including:

  • Manner and consequences of class size and composition.
  • Local-provincial split of bargaining issues.
  • Effective feedback and evaluation of teachers to promote improvements.
  • Alignment of professional development with teaching needs.
  • Scheduling and selection of teachers suited to student needs.

Jago can help the parties arrive at compensation improvements, whether to wages or benefits, by looking for trade-offs within the contract – just as other public sector unions have achieved under the net-zero mandate. However, contract proposals or agreements cannot impose net additional costs on the employer.

Jago will have the resources he needs to fulfil his mandate, including the ability to engage support staff and independent advisors. The mediation period will run to the end of June. If there is no agreement, Jago will issue a report with non-binding recommendations.

The existing collective agreement remains in effect during the mediation.

Biography:

 Dr. Charles Jago is the author of the 2006 report, Working Together to Improve Performance: preparing BC’s Public Education System for the Future.

He is a former president of the University of Northern British Columbia and he has held academic appointments in Canadian universities for over 40 years, serving on the boards of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada as well as the Association of Commonwealth Universities. As UNBC president, he initiated the development of the Northern Medical Program.

His extensive involvement in major public issues includes service as a commissioner on the Nechako Environmental Enhancement Fund, chair of the Fraser Basin Council and co-chair of the Premier’s Consultation on Northern British Columbia Cancer Care, which has led to the construction of the Northern Cancer Centre.

He is the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the Order of Canada.

Contact:  Government Communications and Public EngagementMinistry of Education

250 356-5963

 

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

 

According to a Tweet by reporter Keith Baldrey, “George Abbott says high court refused to release either of the two judges suggested by BCTF for mediation. #bcpoli #bced

March 27, 2012 Board Meeting Notes

Experiment #2 in posting updates from school board meetings.

This is only one person’s notes from the board meeting, and is not intended to be a full representation of what happened during the meeting, or any type of official minutes of the meeting. There may be major errors in fact, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

The official minutes of this meeting will eventually be published on the school board website.

Board Agenda Package: http://www.sd57.bc.ca/fileadmin/cao.sd57.bc.ca/Trustees/Board_Meetings/Agendas/2011-2012/2012.03.27_Board_Agenda.pdf

Public Input session

Susan – Discussing discrete policy – lgbtq
Pink elephant campaign – posters with elephants and hurtful words
Asking for discrete, standalone anti-homophobic policy

Anthony – You guys think the policy in place works, but if so, it needs to be enforced. Gave example of a slur being used in front of 4 teachers, who did nothing.

Denise McDonald, Giscome – request a memorandum of understanding from the board regarding steps to be taken for a Giscome school.

Tina Cousins – discussing stand alone policy for lgbtq. PGDTA does not feel that the board has taken a leadership role in this issue. Reissuing a document from the past does not solve it, request to work with partner groups on this issue.

Trustee Warrington thanked presenters for reminding board fo the importance of this issue.

Comments from Trustee Bella and Trustee Cooke.

Partner Groups

Don Sabo for DPAC
Would like to trustees live up to election promises of more accountability and transparency – seeing some changes, and thanks for that.
Discussion of change to bylaw 1
Enforce positive behavior – timbits as a reinforcement
Read part of letter regarding anti-bullying, letter presented to board
Comments from Trustee Bella – Shawn Peters workshops on antibullying for gbtq – perhaps have him come and speak at DPAC.

Lorraine Prowse for CUPE
Feb – agreement ratified, only to have it expire June 2012

Matt Pearce for PGDTA
Thanks to board for letter to Minister Abbott. Teachers feel that they have been demoted from employees to public servants. Local has voted to withdraw themselves from extracurricular activities for the remainder of the school year and for next year, should Bill 22 not be withdrawn. Hopes that the community will step up to replace teachers for these activities.
Teachers will withdraw from First Class communication system, although will continue to use it to communicate with parents.
Members have supported choice programs in the past. Have concerns over unintended consequences in this district, and in others, but they can create a two-tier education system. They have barriers in there to keep children out – such as the 30% who live in poverty, and those with learning disabilities. Issue a challenge to board – the economically disadvantaged children can get into those programs in the first place, not just for those already in the programs. Example given of East Vancouver – mainstream population of ESL and choice programs of almost no ESL students.
Comment from Board – They recognize dangers that can happen when not all children have the same opportunities, this board is very concerned.

Continue reading March 27, 2012 Board Meeting Notes

School Board Meeting Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The agenda package is available online:

http://www.sd57.bc.ca/fileadmin/cao.sd57.bc.ca/Trustees/Board_Meetings/Agendas/Next_agenda.pdf

Meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. and are held in the boardroom at 2100 Ferry Avenue in Prince George.  Agendas are available on the Friday prior to the meeting.

Meetings are also broadcast live over the Internet.  Visit the school district’s main page  on meeting night to link to the webcast.

At the beginning of each meeting, time is set aside for public input; any member of the public may make a presentation during this time.

For information on making a presentation to the Board of Education, see Policy 1120 (Access to the Board)
For further information on board meetings, contact the board’s executive assistant at 561-6800, Ext. 301.