Monday Memo – October 26, 2016

MEMO TO: Staff Rep
COPIES TO: STA Executive Committee
FROM: Gioia Breda, STA President
Date: October 26, 2016

Rookie Staff Rep Training: Tuesday, November 1st (Staff Reps you can delete this 1st section of the MM before sending it out as it only applies to you.)
By popular demand, we have added a third session of rookie staff rep training! New(ish) staff reps who have not attended rookie training are welcome to attend. You can still attend the rookie training, even if you also attended the Code of Ethics staff rep training; there will not be much overlap in subject matter. Please note that you may only attend staff rep training if you have registered at this Eventbrite link:
Please forward:

Workshop at the STA Office: Effective School Staff Committees Monday, November 7th 4:00pm-6:00pm
Are you having trouble getting a School Staff Committee started at your school? Are you finding that your current Staff Committee could be more effective? This workshop offers practical advice on how to establish and maintain a school staff committee that is modelled on effective and democratic decision-making. It makes the most sense for Staff Committee Chairs to attend but Chairs can send an alternate in their place. Snacks will be provided starting at 3:30. The workshop will promptly start at 4 pm. Please register using this Eventbrite link –

*Because this is a BCTF workshop, we need to have a minimum of 15 people registered for a BCTF facilitator to be granted. Please sign up ASAP!

Last year the District approached us to seek our interest in surveying all schools through a company called BrightBytes to help them understand the correlation between their investment in technology and student access to technology. After some preliminary research, we were not interested in lending our support. There appears to be a connection between student use of technology and teacher professional development that concerns us (see the attached photo). Other selling points of this company are to “prioritize professional development agenda in order of impact” and to “Increase alignment of instruction with key district goals.”

Recently the District let us know that instead of doing a district-wide survey, they would seek around 10 schools to volunteer to pilot the survey, including an incentive to motivate interest in participation. We voiced our concerns with Brightbytes at Wednesday’s STARA meeting and the following motion arose and was carried from the floor:

THAT STARA recommend that STA members not participate in the BrightBytes survey at this time.

Variance applications – Deadline November 16th
Secondary teachers in continuing assignments teaching credit courses within the instructional day who wish to apply for a variance for the 2017-2018 school year are encouraged to complete the variance application form (see attached) and submit it to the STA no later than November 16, 2016. Teachers teaching in extended day schools will not be approved for a variance as collective agreement Article D.22.1.d. does not apply to an extended day.

A separate application should be completed for each variance that you are applying for. The application must be approved and signed by the school staff committee before being sent to the STA. The STA will have final approval, however the applications must be sent to the School Board and they may decline any application.

Reporting Update from the Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education has produced a document that discusses some of the K?9 reporting guidelines and addresses some common Q&As. Here is the link: Educator Update: Reporting Student Progress K?9 Guidelines

The STA is engaging in a consultation process with the District regarding the reporting tools and the DRAFT reporting guidelines. This is our opportunity to address any concerns that teachers have about reporting. Please send feedback to:

Opportunities for Members
We are now accepting applications from beginning and experienced teachers for our mentorship program. Please see the attachment for more information on our redesigned STA/SD36 Mentorship program.

Curriculum Non-Instructional Day – November 4th, 2016
The SD/STA Joint Curriculum Implementation Committee has arranged for a variety of options for teachers to choose from on the November 4 NID. Teachers can:

    Work independently or with colleagues on curriculum implementation at their own site or another school;

      Attend an EdCamp @ Fleetwood Park Secondary to share ideas, network and dialogue with colleagues; (a flyer with more information is attached)
      Attend a session facilitated by a Helping Teacher (offered at various sites).

    Watch for information about these sessions in the next day or two.

    Please note: PD funds cannot be used for any costs related to the Curriculum Implementation Day We recognize that elementary school teachers are under tremendous pressure at this time to work on reporting and learn how to use the reporting tools provided by the district. We continue to advocate with the district to provide training/inservice on the reporting tools, so that teachers don’t feel obliged to commit their own time, their professional development time, or their curriculum implementation time to working on reporting. We strongly advise that teachers resist the pressure to use November 4th for reporting purposes. We have this day available to us because the BCTF advocated for it. We should not be using the day to relieve the District of their obligation to provide time for teachers for reporting.

    Professional Development Day: November 10th: The STA Professional Development Committee and the STA Aboriginal Education Committee are planning some workshops at Queen Elizabeth Secondary. PD reps were emailed last week with details. You can find out more information and register at A flyer describing the “Shining a Light On It” Aboriginal Education event is attached.

    BCFed Convention: November 28 – December 2, 2016
    The STA Executive passed the following motion: THAT the STA send as many members to the BC Fed Convention as the BC Fed Convention budget line will permit given that costs will include registration fee, release time, hotel room, mileage, parking, per diem, and child care.

    The 57th Convention of the BC Federation of Labour will take place in Vancouver from November 28 to December 2, 2016. Preference is given to those who can attend all 5 days. Interested members should submit their name and a brief statement to the STA by November 8, and must be elected at the STA General Meeting on November 23.

    Labour Affairs Film Night! October 27th
    The Labour Affairs Committee of the STA is pleased to host a film & dinner night featuring the film, Resistencia – The Fight for the Aguan Valley on Thursday, October 27th, 3:45 pm @ Queen Elizabeth Secondary School. Dinner will be provided for free to STA members; non-members $15. All welcome. Please register at You can watch the movie trailer for this film of the amazing plight of the Honduran people at:

    Speaking out for Public Education: Axed by Christy Clark:Patti Bacchus’s account of the final hours of Vancouver’s school board Patti Bacchus shares the behind-the-scenes story of how Premier Christy Clark fired the Vancouver School Board and outrageously took over the management of its public schools

    Why Is the Government Increasing Funding For Private Special Needs Schools?
    An Oct. 4 announcement of $1 million in additional funding for 15 private schools in B.C. was met with outrage and renewed debate on support for special needs kids in the public system.

    Joke of the week
    Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher?
    She couldn’t control her pupils.

    This week’s joke was submitted by Eric So. 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!

    Calendar of Events:
    October 25 – STA Executive Committee Meeting
    October 26 – Resolutions Committee Meeting
    October 28 – STA New Teachers’ Conference, STA office
    November 1 – STARA Rookie Training – STA office
    November 2 – Grievance Committee Meeting
    November 4 – Curriculum Non-Instructional Day
    November 7 – Effective School Staff Committees workshop – STA office
    November 8 – STA Executive Committee Meeting
    November 10 – Non-Instructional Day
    November 11 – Remembrance Day
    November 15 – Executive and Committee Chair Liaison – STA office
    November 17-19 – BCTF Federation Leadership Institute (FLI)
    November 22 – STA Executive Committee Meeting
    November 23 – Reconvened Annual General Meeting & Special General Meeting – Bombay Banquet Hall
    November 28-December 2 – BC Federation of Labour Convention

Saturday, November 26th, 2016. Filed in Category: Monday Memos

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