Monday Memo – April 3, 2017

MEMO TO: Staff Reps
COPIES TO: STA Executive Committee
FROM: Gioia Breda, President
Date: April 3, 2017


Dinner series: Trauma-Affected Children and Youth – Wednesday, April 5th at Fraser Heights Secondary
This Wednesday is the last one of our series organized by the STA Anti-Poverty Committee, please feel welcome Surrey teachers, one and all, to hear Corinna Carroll from DiverseCity speak about receiving refugee students. A delicious Greek dinner will be served. You do not need to have attended the other two sessions. Shall we organize an STA Committee about receiving refugee students? This concept could be discussed!
Please register ASAP for catering purposes via this Eventbrite link:

Implementing the restored language of our Collective Agreement:
As we delve further into the process of restoring and working with language that hasn’t been used in 15 years, we are learning new things. For instance, our Local flexibility factor language (article 22.30 of the restored language) DOES NOT APPLY to grades K-3 as we can rely on a superior provision in a Provincial agreement from 1998 that has hard caps for all primary grades.

Please refer to the attached document “Fact Sheet updated April 3rd, 2017,” with the aforementioned flex factor adjustment as well as additional information on special education ratios.

Were you a Humanities teacher before 2002?
In Surrey we have a cap of 25 students for Secondary English classes and we believe that limit should also be applied to Humanities classes. If you taught Humanities prior to 2002 and can give us some of your historical context, please contact STA President Gioia Breda at

STA Staff Rep Training Starts Next Week!
For our final round of staff rep training this year, we will be offering two options:

Tuesday & Wednesday, April 11, 12 and Monday & Tuesday, April 24 and 25.
This workshop addresses important issues concerning teachers’ professional role in dealing with students. Social media issues and the Code of Ethics will also be discussed.

Thursday, April 13 and Wednesday, April 26
This workshop will develop an understanding of the needs of trans* students, and build awareness of general identity and gender expression. The Surrey LGBTQ policy will be examined. This workshop will both assist you in your own teaching practice, and help you to address these issues at the school level.

If you have not yet attended training this year as an STA staff rep, now is the time to come, get some training, and connect and get support with other staff reps from across the district. You MUST register in advance to attend one of these workshops, and they tend to fill up, so please register as soon as possible. See the attached poster for registration.

More high schools to go on extended days
Last week the District provided us with notice under Article D.22.3 of the Collective Agreement that it will be implementing an extended day at the following secondary schools to deal with issues of enrollment and space:
Clayton Heights, Earl Marriott, Fleetwood Park, Fraser Heights, Guildford Park, Lord Tweedsmuir, North Surrey, Panorama Ridge, Semiahmoo, Sullivan Heights, Tamanawis

Administration at these schools are in the process of developing specific proposals. (Clayton Heights, Earl Marriott, Lord Tweedsmuir, and Sullivan Heights are already on an extended day.) There are different models for how an extended day might work: for example, EMS has two lunch hours, with juniors and seniors on different schedules, while LTSS, SHSS, and CHS have a single lunch hour, with two blocks before, and three after. The STA will be meeting with the District to make submissions on the issue, including on the question of whether an extended day is actually required at all of these schools. To prepare for this change, the staff committee at each school should should conduct its own study of the implications of an extended day at the school, consult with staff to determine what would best suit the school community, and develop one or more recommendations to be brought to the staff as a whole.

STA Convention 2017 – Registration opens April 10th
We are finishing up the scheduling of workshops and excursions and are planning to open registration on April 10th. Have a look at our website – and browse the workshops before that date so you are ready to register when we open. There are many fascinating offerings this year!

Federal Government Changes to Parental Leave
Teachers may have heard that the federal government will be extending the period of time a parent can take parental leave from 12 to 18 months, but will be keeping the EI benefit the same (just spreading it out over a longer period of time). Our Collective Agreement provisions on the length of parental leave that teachers are entitled to will be impacted once this federal change is implemented but there is, at this time, no definitive word on when these changes will take effect. When we have more information we will post it in a future Monday Memo. Please check the following links for more information.

Call for Nominations: STA Annual General Meeting – May 17th
The STA Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 17th at the Bombay Banquet Hall from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. All members are encouraged to attend. We will be holding elections for Executive Committee positions, including table officer positions as well as the Resolutions Committee. We will also be adopting the STA budget for 2017-18, and setting the STA fee. If you are interested in putting your name forward for a position, please email a short statement before Friday, April 21st to We will send out detailed job descriptions for each position in next week’s Monday Memo. If you would like information before then, please contact the STA.

May 9th Provincial election – Teachers getting ready!

More STA sharables!
Please check out our NEW STA Facebook page or STA webpage – to access our sharables for social media to promote public education as a vote-determining-issue on May 9th!

Champions for Jinny Sims:
Tuesdays and Thursdays are teacher action nights for Jinny Sims’ campaign in the Surrey-Panorama riding, and all teachers are invited! We need to be warriors for Jinny! This is an extremely close riding that the Liberals have targeted due to Jinny Sims (BCTF President during the 2005 strike) being the candidate. Jinny was our champion in 2005, and she needs us to be her champions now!

Teachers are well respected members of the community. Volunteers would get the chance to work alongside Jinny and discuss their education concerns with her. There are many different ways to get involved such as: canvassing, voter contact, data entry, sign crew, event organization and more. People would have their choice with what they feel comfortable in doing and would be asked to volunteer just an hour or two of their time. Training is provided and teacher action nights include pizza!

Our STA President, Gioia Breda, is volunteering with Jinny twice per week and challenges teachers to try to find 1-2 hours per week they can come and help support the campaign of this strong public education candidate. For those that want to volunteer with our STA President, Gioia will be at Jinny’s office on April: 3rd, 6th, 12th, 13th, 20th, 24th, 27th and May 3rd, 4th, and 8th! Send Gioia a picture of yourself each time you volunteer to be entered into a draw for a gift card ( See the sample picture attached. *Pictures may be used in the Monday Memo or in our Facebook group.

Please confirm the dates you are coming in with Bhupinder Mattoo, our Local Election Contact, at (778) 846-4532 or
Jinny’s campaign office address: 6289 King George Blvd and phone number: 778-564-7467

Grade 7 Girls’ Conference: May 29th
The Status of Women Committee is now in the planning stage for the Grade Seven Girls’ Conference on May 29th. If you are interested in providing a workshop, or would like to help to organize the event, there is a planning meeting scheduled for Monday, April 3rd, at the STA office at 3:45 pm. Everyone is welcome to come to help us to provide a successful conference.

Member participation in recent TRB survey
Recently, BCTF members received communications from the Teacher Regulation Branch (TRB) about potential changes to the Standards for the Education, Competence and Professional Conduct of Educators in BC. The most significant change is a new ninth standard focused on Aboriginal education. The BCTF will make a formal response indicating the Federation agrees in principle with the proposed addition. The Federation will also communicate suggestions on wording and the need for proper in-service training and resources. The BCTF’s position is that the Ministry of Education and school districts need to ensure certificate holders are provided with a wide range of opportunities, regardless of where they work in the province, to access accurate, up-to-date, and culturally appropriate professional development opportunities reflective of local First Nations communities.

Teachers may choose to respond to the survey. There is a yes/no question about each of the revised standards, as well as a comment box where teachers may want to indicate the challenges we face in perfectly achieving some of these professional standards in an underfunded system where student needs may not be met due to inadequate time and resources.

Adult Education Writing contest – extended deadline April 28th
In 2015, The BC Liberals cut $15.9 million from adult education in BC. Students aged 18 and over used to be able to upgrade as part of their high school completion/upgrading. Now, any students who graduate but need to return to upgrade or add a high school course in order to go to post-secondary must pay $550 per course to do so, or go to a local college. This puts education out of reach for many students. Our Continuing Education course offering in Surrey have declined significantly, leaving even students who can afford to pay with fewer options.

The BCTF Adult Education Advisory Committee is sponsoring a writing contest for Continuing Education students aged 18 and over, to raise awareness of this important issue. Please forward the attached poster to all Continuing Education teachers and to any CE students who may qualify. Cash prizes and publication of the submissions are among the great prizes offered.

Burns Bog Earth Day Event – Sunday, April 23rd
Burns Bog Conservation Society
This is a cross cultural event that is open to the public and is free on Sunday April 23, 2017 at the Delta Nature Reserve (10388 Nordel Court) from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. The Pilgrimage will incorporate live entertainment, with a walk through the Delta Nature Reserve. Performers sing, drum, and dance as we walk through the Delta Nature Reserve. This is a great way to get your family and friends outdoors to celebrate Earth Day. Aline LaFlamme and the Daughters of the Drum, as well as Susan Summers and the Sacred Web Singers will be providing entertainment.

Joke of The Week
Q: What do an island and the letter T have in common?
A: They are both surrounded by waTer.

This week’s joke was submitted by Mirek Marounek. If you would like to participate in joke of the week, please submit a short, clean, (but not necessarily education-related) joke to Gioia Breda at . If your joke is drawn for publication, your name will then be entered into a draw for a gift card at the end of the month. *Thanks for the jokes! Please keep them coming!

Calendar of Events:
Reminder to all teachers – All STA meetings are open to members who are interested in attending. If you are thinking of getting involved, why not come and check out what is going on in our committees?

April 4 – STA Executive Committee meeting
April 5 – Anti-poverty Committee dinner series @ Fraser Heights 4-6:30 pm (Pre-register)
April 5 – Grievance Committee meeting
April 6 – Aboriginal Education Committee meeting
April 6 – Ad Hoc Assessment & Reporting Committee meeting
April 10 – Anti-poverty Committee meeting
April 10 – STA Convention website opens for registration
April 11 to 13 – Staff Rep training
April 11 – Political Action & Public Relations (PA/PR) Committee meeting
April 11 – Ad Hoc LGBTQ Committee meeting
April 12 – Anti-poverty Committee meeting
April 18 – Executive Committee meeting
April 19 – STARA meeting
April 20 – Finance Committee meeting
April 20 – Labour Affairs Committee meeting
April 24 to 26 – Staff Rep training
April 25 – Executive Committee meeting
April 27 – Aboriginal Education Committee meeting
April 28 to 29 – BCTF Zone meeting
April 28 – National Day of Mourning

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017. Filed in Category: Monday Memos

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