Monday Memo – January 31, 2017

MEMO TO: Staff Reps
COPIES TO: STA Executive Committee
FROM: Gioia Breda, President
Date: January 31, 2017


Implementation processes this week:
The STA and District have worked together, using your school requests and district data to help determine how to best distribute Surrey’s FTE allotment of the $50 million interim implementation agreement. Attached is a joint communication drafted to help outline the collaborative process that we envisioned taking place at the school level for allocating these supplementary resources in the most equitable and meaningful way possible to support student learning and compositional complexity in your schools. Please contact us if your school is in need of assistance.

Wednesday February 15th: Special General Meeting with STARA to follow:
Join us at Eaglequest at 4 pm. Items on the agenda include gearing up for the provincial election, getting updated on where we are in the implementation process both locally and provincially, learn about decisions that were made at the BCTF Winter Rep Assembly. If you require childcare please contact Donna Stewart at by February 10th.

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 – 6:00pm. Please see the attached flyer for further information.

Seeds of Social Justice
Please see the attached pdf outlining all the many social justice initiatives and member opportunities that are happening in the month of February!

Pensions and Retirement
It has come to our attention that some people who are in a position to retire this year believe they must retire before December 31, 2017 in order to avoid a financial penalty from losing the bridge benefit. Although as a local we do not administer the pension and cannot provide detailed advice about it, we want to clarify for members that this belief is incorrect. All pensionable service up to and including December 31, 2017 operates according to the current rules (including the bridge benefit), and the new rules only apply to pensionable service beyond that point. Before making retirement decisions, please contact the Teachers’ Pension Plan at or Victor Choy at the BCTF at, so that you can get detailed advice about the financial implications of different retirement dates.

New schools for Surrey – it’s about time, and it’s not nearly enough!
You may have heard about announcement for new capital money coming to Surrey to build new schools. Let’s be clear, while certainly $217 million is needed for new capital projects, let’s break it down…

We CURRENTLY have 6000 students in portables and this new money is adding 5200 seats. We also have a projected 1200 new students coming each year to our district. If this money was transformed magically into schools tomorrow, we would still have 2000 students in portables in September (and that’s not even contemplating all the hundreds of new classrooms needed to support students through our restored language.)

So, this is NOT nearly enough money to get the number of schools we need built in Surrey. These new schools will likely require portables on day one. Do not be fooled by BC Liberal ‘random acts of funding’. We are on the precipice of a provincial election. Overcrowding in Surrey schools is not a new problem. What have they been doing to address this problem over the past 15 year as students have taken P.E. in hallways and cafeterias, and high schools have moved to extended days to accommodate overcrowding?! On May 9th, let’s vote for change.

Congratulations to all secondary colleagues for completing first semester, and good luck everyone as you take a deep breath and start second semester. We know the turnaround time has been extremely short this time around, and that last week was extremely stressful for Secondary teachers. The STA will be meeting with the District to discuss alternatives for June and next year, because in our view one day was simply not enough for staff or students to take care of all the tasks involved in semester turnaround. To assist us in this task, we would like to gather feedback from Secondary teachers about what their experience with turnaround was this year so that we can give specific examples of the impact on teachers and students of the District’s decision to provide only one day at the end of the semester. We will send Secondary staff reps a link to a survey to be completed on this issue.

Combating Islamophobia
Recent events in the USA demonstrate the need to combat Islamophobia. The BCTF has compiled a list of resources that can be used in addressing this issue:

Gearing up for the Provincial Election – May 9th, 2017. Just over 100 days away!
By now all of you should have received a one-page notice in your boxes with a snapshot map of the Surrey ridings on the back. We want you to know that you have an active committee here at the STA preparing to highlight education issues in the election. The PA/PR (Political Action and Public Relations) Committee has a budget that will be spent on such things as radio ads, bus ads, creative social media content, interviewing candidates on education issues and publishing their answers for teachers to read, organizing all-candidates meetings on education issues, sending letters to teacher-voters living in Surrey etc., all to draw the attention of the Surrey voters to our key education message: We are fed up with the underfunding of Surrey schools, and our students deserve a fully funded and excellent education system. Teachers should not be shy in letting voters know what we think.

We will need many volunteers to help us do the multitude of tasks it takes to carry out a campaign. Could you spare some time to call teachers who live in Surrey to encourage them to vote? Would you like to help stuff envelopes? Wave at cars on the brink of election day? Stir up your social network with information about education issues in this election? Please don’t hesitate to join us or volunteer some time. Contact the STA if you would like to get involved!

STA Convention
Dear colleagues, please consider offering a workshop at our wonderful Convention, which is fast approaching on May 5th. You have an opportunity to share your passion, your innovations, your ideas with your colleagues. We need workshops and sharing sessions for all subject specialties and age groups. You may work with a teacher-friend! You will receive a gift for your work! You can take release time to prepare your workshop! Go to to submit your proposal. Thank you in advance for making our Convention another success!

February 17, 2017 Focus Day – The Nature of Learning and Identity
Registration now open
Our wonderful Focus day in collaboration with the district is happening on February 17th, 8:30 am – 2:30 pm at North Surrey Secondary. If you did not attend Summer Pro D last year this is one option you have for your upcoming PD day. is where you go to view all the workshop offerings and to register. There are lots of interesting options of workshops this year and an amazing keynote speaker, Catherine McGregor speaking on “the intersectional nature of identity and learning.”

BCTF New Teachers’ Conference Feb 24-25 2017
Our rights, our movement, our strength / Nos droits, notre mouvement, notre force Feb 24-25, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel 8181 Cambie Rd., Richmond B.C.

The STA Executive passed the following motion:
THAT we invite new Surrey teachers to request STA funding to attend the “BCTF New Teachers, New TTOCs and Student Teachers Conference” on February 24th-25th, 2017 up to a maximum combined expenditure of $8000, with funds to come from the BCTF New Teachers Conference budget line. Costs covered for teachers include TTOC costs, conference registration fee, and mileage; TTOCs are eligible to attend under article G.7 TTOCs conducting union business, with cost of substitute, registration fee and mileage covered. Attendees will be selected on a first come first served basis until the $8000 maximum is reached.

This is a great conference to attend, with many workshops to choose from and opportunities to meet our provincial union leadership and find out more about what is going on! Please email to put your name in, first come first served! Remember you may also use individual and consolidation PD funds for this event. Here is the link to the forms page on the STA website.

Joke of the week
Q:Why was the cell phone wearing glasses?
A: Because it lost its contacts!

This week’s joke was submitted by Sapna Pabla-Brar. 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 January’s winner Sabrina Ali-Treat! *We NEED more jokes! Please keep them coming!

Calendar of Events:
February 2 – STA Job Share Meeting
February 3 – New Teachers’ Conference
February 7 – Executive Committee meeting
February 13 – Family Day
February 15 – STARA meeting
February 17 – Focus Day
February 24-25 – BCTF New Teachers’ Conference

Monday, February 6th, 2017. Filed in Category: Monday Memos

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