Monday Memo – January 16, 2017

MEMO TO: Staff Reps
COPIES TO: STA Executive Committee
FROM: Gioia Breda, President
Date: January 16, 2017


Qualifications Deadline for Positions Requiring Special Training/ Experience
We are expecting that there will be a large number of postings for positions that require special training or specific experience, especially LST and IST teachers for next school year. In order to be shortlisted in Rounds 1 and 2, teachers need to be listed in the District Qualification Book. Teachers who are interested in changing their assignments to such positions need to apply to the Human Resources Department by January 31st to have their qualifications evaluated. The evaluation will be completed by March 31. (CA, Article E.28.1)

Wednesday January 18th – STA General Meeting
Reminder this Wednesday January 18th is our General Meeting at the Bombay Banquet Hall.
A number of important items are on our agenda which will be interesting to all members, such as a report on how the consultation meetings with senior management are going re the implementation of the first fruits of our court victory! Teri Mooring, 1st Vice-President of the BCTF, will be in attendance to share the perspective from the provincial table. We will also have our election for BCTF AGM delegates for the AGM meeting during spring break. So many key items will be debated at the AGM that will affect us all as teachers into the future. Why not make this the year you attend! See below for details.

The Ministry of Education’s community meetings on student reporting
…will also take place this Wednesday, January 18th at Panorama Ridge Secondary. There will be a drop-in from 5 – 7 pm. It would be great if teachers who are also parents attend to add our voices and perspectives to issues around reporting. For more information go to:

District-based LST, IST and Counselling Postings in Surrey, and our consultations
Last week we sent out memos asking staffs to have meetings to determine the priorities for each school, and we know many of those meetings have been taking place. Please send your suggestions for staffing ASAP to Laura Barker at (this email was incorrect in the original memo that was sent out!) We want to emphasize the professional opinions of our members in schools when we meet with senior management to recommend these first hires. The district posted 55 District-based positions in LST, IST and Counselling late last week and we know this is only the beginning. There are still many other positions to figure out and then fill in specific schools. For more information on this process, Friday’s memo to Staff Reps is attached. There was a glitch at the district and the LST position was pulled down Sunday at 4 pm, when all postings were supposed to close Monday at 4 pm. The District has agreed to keep the LST posting opened until 8:00 am Tuesday, January 17. Stay tuned as more postings will become available this week! Please note, the postings that have gone out thus far have been SPECIAL BULLETINS, meaning they are positions that are also available to teachers who currently have Continuing Assignments with Surrey. Contract teachers who assume these term assignments will be able to return to their current assignments in September 2017, as per our signed letter of understanding with the District.

STA Job Share Information Meeting: Thursday, February 2, 2017
If you are interested in Job Sharing in the coming school year, you are invited to attend our Job Share Information meeting at Eaglequest Golf Centre at 7778 – 152 Street, Surrey on February 2, 2017 from 3:45 – 6:00 pm. Please see the attached flyer for further information.

STA New Teachers’ Induction and Conference: Friday, February 3, 2017
Beginning teachers in their first or second year of contract teaching are invited to attend the STA’s day-long New Teachers’ Conference and BCTF Induction Ceremony. Find out more about your rights and responsibilities as both a new teacher and as a new STA /BCTF union member. Release time and lunch are provided. Please make sure all new teachers in your school are aware of this opportunity! More information on how to register is on the attached poster.

Surrey Delegates to the 2017 BCTF Annual General Meeting
The BCTF Annual General Meeting will take place from March 18-21, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Vancouver. Each year, over 750 delegates from around the province attend the BCTF AGM. It is a great opportunity to see how the BCTF operates, to hear new perspectives on important issues, meet colleagues from other parts of the province, and to have a voice in decisions made by the union. Surrey is able to send up to 62 delegates. Since, under our policies and procedures, 10 members of the Resolutions Committee will automatically be delegates, we will need to elect 52 delegates, plus alternates. Delegates will be elected at the January 18th Special General Meeting at the Bombay Banquet Hall. Elected delegates and alternates are expected to attend all STA training sessions leading up to the AGM:
February 10 – Rookie AGM Delegates training (8:30 am to 2:45 pm at STA)
February 22 – AGM Delegates training (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Eaglequest)
March 1 – AGM Delegates training (8:30 am to 2:45 pm at Eaglequest)
March 8 – AGM Delegates training (8:30 am to 2:45 pm – Eaglequest)
The list of current candidates and statements is attached to this email. If you are interested in becoming a delegate, it is still possible to be nominated or to nominate yourself from the floor at the January 18th meeting. Hotel accommodation and expenses are covered by the BCTF. Childcare arrangements are also available. If you have any questions about the AGM or the process of becoming a delegate, please contact Matt Westphal at

Call for Nominations: BCTF Honorary Life Membership
The BCTF Annual General Meeting can confer Honorary Life Membership upon “active and retired members who have given outstanding service to education at a provincial level”. The purpose of the award is to recognize people who have given long and outstanding service to the BCTF and education in general. If you know of someone who you think would qualify for this prestigious award, please forward a written nomination, with a brief description of the individual’s contributions to the Federation and education, to Matt Westphal, 2nd Vice-President, at Please submit nominations to Matt no later than January 18th, 2017. Nominations will be considered by the STA Awards Committee, and submitted to the Executive Committee for approval, and forwarding to the BCTF.

February 17th Pro-D Day / Focus day – Registration opens Jan 23rd.
Our next non-instructional day will be Friday, February 17th. For some teachers who participated in a summer PD event, this will be an in-lieu day, but for most, it will be a teacher-directed Professional Development Day. The STA/SD36 Focus Day Committee is planning a pro-d event similar to last February’s Focus Day event. The theme is “The Nature of Learning and Identity” and will feature workshops for both secondary and elementary teachers, and a keynote address from Dr. Catherine MacGregor, who was so well received at our 2016 Focus Day. Check out the website which is open now with more details:
Registration will open January 23rd. Attached please find the flyer with more details.

STA Convention 2017
The time is now to submit your workshop proposals, or suggestions of presenters you have seen recently at conferences or other PD experiences. We want to make this year’s convention fabulous, but we need more workshops! Surrey teachers are interested in all topics pertaining to teaching K-12, micro or macro, general or specific. Got an innovation that has been working for you that you want to share? Want more time to chat over curriculum change from a certain point of view? Feel like leading a guided walk in the woods? Go to and click on presentations proposals. Thanks in advance, all you wonderful people!

Something to ponder regarding Freshgrade
Freshgrade is owned by Lane Merrifield (, and is being pushed heavily in BC’s schools. Lane Merrifield also happened to donate $100,000 to the BC Liberal Party in October. Hmmmmm.

We know many Surrey teachers are using Freshgrade to great effect in their classroom practice this year and we also know others are feeling frustrated by its glitches and limitations. This is not a criticism of the tool. The optics of this potential conflict of interest is what is concerning.

Speaking up and out for Public Education
Retired Surrey teacher Niovi Patsicakis shares her perspective on the supports available to students with special needs prior to having our language stripped and the importance for us to ensure full restoration ASAP!
BCTF President Glen Hansman took to the Breakfast Television couch to talk about what’s next when it comes to implementing our court win and restored language.

Status of Women Wellness event – Thursday, February 2, 2017
Come relax, unwind, stretch and dance with colleagues! Learn more about healthy living and stress reduction at our Wellness event! See attached poster for more information!

Documentaries on DVD
Did you know the STA International Solidarity Committee has a collection of DVD docs for use by all Surrey teachers? Browse the list at, and send Julia MacRae and email with your requests. She will just pop them in the courier for you to use over a couple of weeks, and then you can send them back to her the same way. Some films are good to show to your classes and some may be just for your own amusement or personal development.

Joke of the week
Q:What did the big furry hat say to the warm fuzzy scarf?
A:You hang around, while I go on a head.

This week’s joke was submitted by Sharon Dhudwal. If you would like to participate in joke of the week, please submit a short, clean, (but non 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! Congratulations to December’s winner Lee Ferrier! *We NEED more jokes! Please keep them coming!

Calendar of Events:
January 17, 18 – Staff Rep training sessions at the STA office
January 17 – Dinner series on Trauma affected children and youth (sponsored and organized by STA Anti-Poverty committee)
January 24 – Executive Committee meeting
January 27-28 – BCTF Representative Assembly
February 3 – New Teachers’ Conference
February 7 – Executive Committee meeting
February 10 – Rookie AGM delegate training
February 13 – Family Day
February 15 – STARA meeting

Thursday, January 19th, 2017. Filed in Category: Monday Memos

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