Monday Memo – December 12, 2016

Happy final week and Winter Break!
Best wishes for this last week of school, and for a safe, happy, and rejuvenating holiday, on behalf of everyone at the STA office!

Important updates on implementation of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision
The BCTF’s Full-Time Table Officers Glen Hansman, Teri Mooring, and Clint Johnston have recorded a message to members, here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ5k4NwHopQ
Locals across the province (Surrey included) are filing Step 3 grievances advising boards that they must bring all classes, specialist ratios, case loads, and stripped processes into compliance with the collective agreement, immediately. These will be put into abeyance pending the outcome of the talks the BCTF is having with BCPSEA.

The BCTF presidents ALSO created a shareable message to parents and the public explaining the court win for students and how parents/the public can help us achieve our goal of restoring our language ASAP. Please feel free to forward this link to raise awareness of the court win and its significance for students – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO51bRh_US8&t=12s

STARA Meeting – This Wednesday
Reminder that there will be a STARA meeting on Wednesday at Eaglequest Golf beginning at 4:00 pm. All members may attend, but only school staff reps are eligible to vote. Following the meeting, there will be a cocktail reception as a holiday thank you to staff reps. We will also hold our annual turkey draw at the end of the meeting.

TTOC Bowling Event this Thursday!
Join the Surrey TTOC Committee after school on Thursday, December 15, 2016, at Dell Lanes and Sports Bar for an evening of fun! Free pizza, snacks, bowling, shoe rental, bottomless pop & one adult beverage per TTOC are included. Prizes for the best bowler, worst bowler, and most outrageous tacky sweater! We look forward to seeing you there! Please register asap at https://ttoc-tacky-sweater-bowling-event.eventbrite.ca/

Opportunity for members: Trauma-affected children and youth
As we welcome refugees from Syria and other countries into our classrooms, we may need to learn more about how trauma affects learning. You are invited to register for a learning series on this issue organized by your STA Anti-Poverty Committee. Featuring DiverCity presenter Corina Carroll, the series will explore issues around pre and post-migration trauma together as colleagues. Dates of the sessions are January 17th, February 17th, and April 5th. A catered dinner is included. Please see the attached flyer and register through the eventbrite link ASAP.

Elementary Staff Reps – re reporting
Now that report cards have been completed for the first time using the new processes, please hold a union meeting at your school to gather information about the strengths, weaknesses, frustrations and positive aspects of the new reporting formats (FreshGrade and CSL Template). Submit your findings to Anne McNamee at the STA office. Remember, each school has a small budget to buy snacks for school union meetings to help members feel welcomed, so you could plan this for the first or second week back after Christmas break. You can also use the union meeting to encourage teachers who haven’t yet done so to fill out the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ElementaryReporting

Use of personal devices for reporting
The BCTF is as concerned as we are about the use of personal devices for reporting. In our November 28th Monday Memo, we let members know that we had filed a grievance with the district on this matter and the STA Executive passed the following motion:

THAT, based on the advice of the BCTF, we recommend that members should not use their own mobile devices and data plans in taking and then uploading pictures of students, school activities, or students’ work to any reporting tool.

The BCTF raised their concern about FreshGrade and the use of personal devices with BCPSEA, and issued the attached memo, which has been sent to locals throughout the province.

Grades 4 and 7 teachers: Please send us your info for the FSA!
In order to best communicate with parents of Grade 4 and 7 students about reasons that teachers oppose the FSA, please send us the following information as soon as you have it:

– the dates when the FSA test will be held at your school (this is especially important ASAP for those schools scheduled in early/mid-January);
-the number of Grades 4 and 7 students at your school;
-a rough estimate of the number or percentage of Grades 4 and 7 students’ families who predominantly speak one the following 4 languages at home: Punjabi, English, Mandarin, or French so that we can send the appropriate materials to you. (Unfortunately, we don’t have other languages available at this time).
Please send this info to Dana at carly@surreyteachers.org
Finally, please review the attached letters outlining the process of our anti-FSA campaign this year – one for elementary and one for secondary. The packages of letters for parents will be sent to schools in early January.

Invitation to new teachers to join mentorship cohorts
Teachers new to the profession or new to a teaching role, are you looking for a place to ask questions, develop relationships, and inquire into your practice with mentor support? Join a mentorship cohort, a small group of teachers who will meet throughout this year and the next to support each other in their practice. If you’re interested, please register through the below link and you will be connected to your cohort based on the learning needs you share. Release time is provided. Cohorts will be meeting in January and February. Come out and connect with your colleagues!
The mentorship program is a joint STA and district initiative. Register at https://mentor36.com/join/

New BC Federation of Labour campaign, Together for BC
At its convention last week, the BC Federation of Labour launched its new election-focused campaign Together for BC, please refer to the following link – https://togetherforbc.ca/ . The campaign raises concerns about the government’s record of putting the interests of insiders ahead of working people and highlights issues around precarious jobs, stagnant wages, rising costs, and attacks on important public services like education and health care. Through this campaign, the BCFED is calling for change and for union members to get engaged over the next six months leading up to the election on May 9, 2017. The kick-off piece of the campaign is a new 30-second ad you can view and share with your friends, family, and networks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaXyloSQbCc&feature=youtu.be
The campaign is a strong message for a better BC with a strong economy based on good jobs, as well as investment in key public services like healthcare, education, affordable child care, and better support for seniors.

Snow Day Information
The STA website has detailed information on snow and snow days, which you can look at here: http://www.surreyteachers.org/snow-day/ Below the article is a link to School District 36 policy and procedures including a checklist for administrators to use to help them determine whether or not to close their school site. Where possible, a teacher at each school site should participate in filling out this checklist. This could be one of the teachers who lives closest to the school, for example. Please listen to the early news for weather reports. School closures are announced on CKNW and on News 1130. Please note that if schools are closed, they are closed for students only and staff is expected to report to work unless otherwise directed. Employees, though, have the right and the responsibility to determine whether attempting to attend their school site in severe weather conditions could compromise their safety; their personal decision supersedes any district determinations regarding cancellation of classes. If you have questions or concerns, please contact STA Health & Safety Officer, Kristine Olsen.

Teachers get a Raise!
We received some good news recently on the Economic Stability Dividend, which was part of our settlement in 2014. You’ll be happy to hear that the 3.3% growth in BC’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2015 will result in a 0.35% wage increase on May 1, 2017. The 3.3% growth exceeded the Economic Forecast Council (EFC) forecast of 2.6%. Under the terms of the Economic Stability Mandate, the wage increase is calculated at 50% of the positive difference between the EFC forecast and the data released by Statistics Canada. Because that difference is 0.7% our members will realize an increase of 0.35%. While not a lot, it does mean that an average teacher earning $75,000 will receive an increase of $262.50 in their gross annual salary starting in May 2017. Salary grids will be amended to reflect this change and the BCTF will work with BCPSEA to verify the grids in the new year. The news release from the Ministry can be accessed here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016FIN0055-002527

Fascinating Social Justice and Reconciliation opportunity
Are you thinking you would like to learn more about Reconciliation? Why not join a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to engage deeply with questions around this great challenge of our time? This free online course, entitled “Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education”, will help educators to envision how Indigenous histories, perspectives, worldviews, and approaches to learning can be made part of the work they do in classrooms, organizations, communities, and everyday experiences in ways that are thoughtful and respectful. In this course, reconciliation emphasizes changing institutional structures, practices, and policies, as well as personal and professional ideologies, to create environments that are committed to strengthening our relationships with Indigenous peoples. See the attachment for registration information.

Joke of the week
“A man called his dentist and asked when he should make an appointment. The dentist told him, “Wait ‘til tooth hurty”

This week’s joke was submitted by Sabrina Ali-Treat. 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 pres@surreyteachers.org . 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! *We NEED more jokes! Please keep them coming!

Calendar of Events:
December 14 – STARA meeting
December 16 – Last day of school before winter break
January 10 – Executive Committee meeting
January 10 – 12 – Staff Rep training
January 17 – 19 – Staff Rep training
January 18 – General meeting


Thursday, December 22nd, 2016. Filed in Category: Monday Memos

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