Monday Memo – January 3, 2017

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


Welcome Back and Happy New Year!
From everyone at the STA office, welcome back and all the best for 2017.

Restored language updates:
This week we will be meeting with the District to go over the restored language together. Here at the STA, we are hopeful that discussions at the provincial level will lead to an interim implementation plan in place before the end of January for the remainder of this school year. We will share any progress or updates at the January 18th Special General Meeting at the Bombay Banquet Hall.

School Parking Lots Plowing
In December many parking lots were unplowed after the snowfalls we had, which made it difficult for teachers to get to work safely in some cases. We are very concerned about this! What teachers should do is attend your school-based Health and Safety committee meeting and raise your voice about this hazard, especially if it persists at your school now that we are back at work. The committee should recommend to the employer that the parking lots and access paths be plowed and or cleared. This is the appropriate committee to address health and safety issues such as this in the school. Once a recommendation has been made through this H&S committee, the employer has 21 days to respond and or mitigate the unsafe situation.

Remember, The STA website has detailed information on snow and snow days, which you can look at here:

NB! If you or any teacher at your school has suffered a fall or injury as a result of slippery conditions at school because of icy conditions recently, we REALLY want to hear from you at the STA. Let’s work together to raise our concerns effectively with our employer. Call or email Kristine Olsen here: 604-594-5353/ Also, if you have photos of your school’s unplowed parking lot or unsafe walkways, please send it and the details to Kristine.

Staff Rep Training starts next week!
Our second round of staff rep training will take place in the next two weeks, on January 10-12, and 16-18. The topic is “Contract Awareness: Know your Collective Agreement”. This workshop, suitable for both newer and experienced union representatives, familiarizes participants with features and provisions of the local and provincial collective agreement and helps develop strategies to increase member awareness and effectively enforce those provisions. We will also examine the stripped language that was restored by the Supreme Court of Canada in November 2016. Please see attached poster for more information, and registration links. Please note: you MUST register in advance in order to attend. We set our size limits based on what the room and parking lot can handle, and order food based on the number of registrants, so we cannot accommodate extra people who have not registered.

General Meeting at Bombay Banquet Hall on January 18th
(behind Costco on King George Blvd.)
Please mark your calendars to attend our upcoming general meeting. As well as electing our BCTF AGM delegation, we will be going over what has been happening in our district in terms of implementing our formerly stripped contract language. All are welcome at general meetings, and delicious food is served. If you require childcare, please e-mail Donna Stewart at on or before January 13th.

Opportunity for members: Dinner learning series for teachers on 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. January 17, February 17, and April 5th. Catered dinner included. Please see attached flyer and register through the Eventbrite link ASAP.

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)

If you are interested in becoming a delegate, please submit your name and a brief statement to by 4:00 pm, Monday, January 9, 2017. Your chances of being elected a delegate are much better if you have a written statement! It is also possible 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

Speaking Out for Public Education, Election Edition
The provincial election will take place in just over four months, on May 9th. If you are interested in ensuring that education is a vote-determining issue, get involved in the Political Action/Public Relations (PA/PR) committee. We will be meeting at 4:00 tomorrow, Thursday January 5th at the STA office to discuss strategy. New members, or people who are just curious, are always welcome!

STA Reps! Take a few minutes to groom your memo-forwarding list!
When you receive the Monday memo each week for forwarding to teachers at your school, it is easy to miss a couple of people with all the changes in staffing that take place throughout the year with new hires, maternity leaves, etc. Please compare your outlook STA members list with the school staff list and add people who may not be receiving the memo. Remember, members on leaves should still be receiving it. Thanks so much!

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.
To register:

February 17th Pro-D Day – Focus day – Save the Date!
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. Registration will open January 27th.

STA Convention May 5th, 2017
‘Tis only 4 months ‘til we will be basking in early May sunshine and attending our signature PD event of the year. We are in the ‘submission of proposals’ part of our planning process. We heartily encourage all Surrey teachers to consider offering a workshop in their area of expertise or inspiration, leading an excursion of some kind, or facilitating a sharing session as a part of our Convention. You will receive the adulation of your colleagues plus a nice gift for doing so. Go to to propose your workshop!

Excellent opportunity to educate ourselves on Reconciliation
Reconciliation through Indigenous Education is a 6-week course January 24 – March 7, 2017. Engage with Indigenous knowledge keepers, educational leaders, and resources to enhance your understanding and knowledge of practices that advance reconciliation in the places where you live, learn, and work. Sign up for this MOOC through UBC!

BCTF Conference for New Teachers, New TTOCs, and Student Teachers / Conférence de la FECB pour nouveaux enseignants, suppléants et maîtres-stagiaires
The BCTF New Teachers, New TTOCs, and Student Teachers annual Conference will be held on February 24-25, 2017, at the Radisson Hotel in Richmond, BC. Registration opens mid-January 2017. Mark your calendars for this excellent opportunity, and bring it to the attention of your student teachers and newer colleagues because sometimes they do not realize they could attend this and get an LOA to do so. Stay tuned for registration information in a couple of weeks.

BC Alternate Education Association (BCAEA) 30th Annual Challenge and Change Conference Feb 16 to Feb 17, Vancouver, BC
Will Richardson will be the keynote with workshops featuring well known presenters like Dr. Gordon Neufeld. Over 35 sessions will be offered, covering a myriad of topics helping those who work with at-risk youth in alternate education learning environments.
Location: Vancouver Sheraton Wall Centre, 1088 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC. For more information:

Teachers of Inclusive Education (TIE-BC); formerly Special Education Association of British Columbia (SEA) Annual Crosscurrents Conference
Feb 23 to Feb 24, Richmond, BC
Crosscurrents features keynote speaker Michelle Garcia Winner, as well as an impressive roster of speakers, including Faye Brownlie, Shelley Moore, Leyton Schnellert, Colleen Politano, Colleen DeVerak, Dawn Reithaug, and Maureen Dockendorf. Sessions cover a range of topics related to inclusive education, such as self-regulation, literacy, numeracy, social-emotional learning, brain research, ASD, FASD, ADHD, Indigenous approaches, behaviour, anxiety, and mental health issues.
Location: Sheraton Richmond Airport Hotel, 7551 Westminster Highway, Richmond, BC Program will be released mid-October. Website link:

Joke of the week
Q: What did the Christmas card say to the stamp?
A: Stick with me and we’ll go places.

This week’s joke was submitted by Samara Bassett. 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! Congratulations to December’s winner Lee Ferrier! *We NEED more jokes! Please keep them coming!

Calendar of Events:
January 5 – PAPR meeting (We are planning how the STA can highlight education issues in the upcoming provincial election) 4 pm STA office – all are welcome!
January 10 – Executive Committee meeting
January 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 – 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 – register through eventbrite link in above attachment.
January 24 – Executive Committee meeting
January 27-28 – BCTF Representative Assembly
February 3 – New Teachers’ Conference

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017. Filed in Category: Monday Memos

Go Back To -> Monday Memos