Monday Memo – May 16, 2017

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


End of School Year at Secondary Schools: Action for Staff Committees!
We have received various inquiries from secondary schools regarding year end. There was an action item on this issue in the May 1 Monday Memo. To reiterate, the STA has had numerous discussions with the District regarding how poorly the end of Semester 1 went at secondary schools, and what the end of this school year will look like. We have raised this concern with our School Board Trustees. We have shared with the District the different approach that is being taken to this issue by other school districts. The District remains firm on its position that, based on the statutory minimum hours of instruction, the expectation is that all students are in attendance through June 28, and that activities need to be planned for them. However, this does not mean that the only alternative is to have regular classes run through June 28. There is flexibility about what sort of activities can take place, and principals have been directed to work through these issues collaboratively with their staffs to devise a plan that will work for each school. Accordingly, it is essential that secondary teachers discuss these issues at their staff committees to develop a plan that will meet the District’s requirements, while also providing flexibility to staff and students regarding meeting course requirements. Please see the attached document for more information.

Message to Secondary Staff Reps re Flex Factor
Our restored collective agreement language contains a “flex” factor whereby a secondary class can exceed the class size limit by up to 3 students, provided there is a corresponding reduction in another class size so that the teacher’s total teaching load does not exceed the sum of the class limits. Thus, for example, a typical secondary teacher could teach 7 blocks of 30 students each (totaling 210 students for the year), so if one class has 33 students, another class must be no higher than 27. Someone teaching seven blocks of English (class size limit of 25, for a total of 175, could have one class up to 28 if another were reduced to 22.

The key point is that this flexibility factor only applies during the school year. Accordingly, the STA’s position is that schools should not be organizing classes for next year using the flex factor. Staff Reps, if this is happening at your school, please email the STA immediately.

LST Update
Last week we sent out two memos regarding the cuts to LST. The second memo had revised advice. Please see the attached memo consolidating the information shared last week.

You may be wondering – how is it that having our specialist caseload and ratio language restored is resulting in fewer LST teachers?!

The District’s position is that they do not need to include staffing linked to programs and delivery models (e.g tutorial, resource room, SLD, other special ed classes) that no longer exist. Our position is that we are not trying to restore the old model, but the types of students who were serviced under the old model still exist in the schools (MID would be the most notable example in elementary, but there are others, such as physical disability and high-functioning autism), and are still receiving service, so teachers doing the work of providing service to those students should do so based on the staffing ratios and class limits in the restored language. That is, we still generate FTE from these staffing categories, and include it in the overall LST pot. In addition, based on advice from BCPSEA, the District’s position is that professionals like Speech and Language Pathologists and School Psychologists should be included within the same ‘pot’ of non-enrolling FTE as LST teachers which has never been the case in Surrey. These associated professionals have always generated their own FTE through our language, which is why the BCTF and STA are against BCPSEA’s position of suddenly including them at this time.

We are working with the BCTF and following the dispute-resolution-mechanism as per #LOU 17. We will continue to keep members updated as we learn more.

Notice of Resignation
We have received questions from members about requirements for resignation from the district (e.g. to take a job in another district). Our understanding is that the District has been saying that teaching staff who will not be working in Surrey next school year must resign by June 1 to be effective June 30. The collective agreement (Art. C.1.1) is clear in requiring “thirty (30) days’ prior written notice to the employer”. This notice requirement is not restricted by the end of the school year. Accordingly, all that is required is written notice thirty days before the teacher would be expected back at work in September. We have informed the District that this has been our advice to members.

Provincial Election results
Thanks Surrey teachers! 6 ridings in Surrey are now held by candidates we endorsed, which gives us strong voices in Victoria advocating for proper funding of education. We now have to wait to find out how the government will form! Thanks to all who volunteered with campaigns. If you volunteered at least three hours on a political campaign during the election, and have not been entered into our draw for prizes, please email Julia MacRae at so that you can be included in the draw, which will happen at the end of this week.

STA AGM this Wednesday May 17, at Bombay Palace Banquet Hall!
If you attend only one union meeting this year let it be this one! We will elect our new executive and table officers, we will make important decisions that affect you, we will hear an update on the state of the provincial union from our BCTF president Glen Hansman, winners will be drawn for our International Pro D draw, you will receive a draw ticket for our regular pro D prize, you will enjoy the famous butter chicken buffet! Come out and support your union and learn more about our organization. Agenda, candidates’ statements, proposed budget and minutes were sent to each member through the courier (check your mail room if one wasn’t put in your box) and through Canada Post for TTOCs and members on leaves. See you there!

Opportunities through and in the BCTF
Several openings for committees, Ministry teams, a world Environmental conference as well as a spot on the TQS board are available. We would like to see more Surrey teachers in these roles. We are the largest local and need our voice present at the provincial-level as much as possible. Please consider applying! Contact any of our table officers or executive members for more information, and don’t forget you can look at opportunities for teachers regularly on the BCTF website. See attached PDFs for detailed descriptions and deadlines of the current opportunities.

Lost and found at convention
A small fit-bit was found at Kwantlen Park. A black hardback coil notebook with teachers notes in it was found at Mountainview Elementary. Contact our receptionist at (604) 594-5353 to claim your item.

STA Retirement Dinner: Friday June 9, 2017
The STA Retirement Dinner will be held at the Guildford Sheraton Hotel on June 9th, 2017. Retiring members will be treated to a fabulous buffet dinner, as well as a dance with a live band and a special gift to thank you for your years as a member of the STA. If you are retiring by the end of this school year, please contact Donna Stewart at to get your invitation for you and one guest. RSVPs are required.

Pride Prom June 1st: Save the Date!
Attention all GSA sponsors, Pride Prom is back Thursday June 1st. It’s being hosted at Guildford Park Secondary. More information to come ASAP!

Joke of The Week
Q: What do you call a Pokemon with a cold?
A: Pik- ah choo!

This week’s joke was submitted by Laura Villeneuve. 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?

May 17 – STA Annual General meeting
May 22 – Victoria Day
May 23 – International Solidarity Committee meeting
May 24 – Labour Affairs Committee meeting
May 25 – Local Reps meeting
May 26 – Aboriginal Education Committee meeting
May 26 to 27 – BCTF Rep Assembly
May 29 – Status of Women Grade 7 Girls Conference
May 30 – Executive Committee meeting
May 31 – International Solidarity Committee meeting
June 5 – Bargaining Committee meeting
June 6 – Executive Committee meeting (including Committee Chairs)
June 9 – STA Retirement Dinner & Dance
June 13 – Executive Committee meeting
June 14 – STARA meeting
June 19 – International Solidarity Committee meeting
June 27 – Executive Committee meeting

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017. Filed in Category: Monday Memos

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