As many of you know, the STA filed two grievances on reporting in the fall of 2016. This was in response to what many teachers saw as an unreasonable change in expectations from the district around the reporting tools. The two grievances were filed on the Professional Autonomy and Technological Change clauses of the collective agreement, and both were referred to arbitration by the BCTF. Both of these grievances have now been settled, the first through negotiated settlement two weeks ago, and the second through mediation last week.

The professional autonomy grievance was settled through an agreement that the district would not refer to reporting tools in any postings or school profiles, going forward, and would not use a teacher’s choice of reporting tool as a way of determining suitability in hiring for teaching positions. We had heard many reports during the spring transfer rounds last year, and during Round One this year, of principals determining suitability for positions based on an applicant’s choice of reporting tools, so we were quite satisfied to settle the grievance in this manner.

While participating in the arbitration to settle the second grievance around technological change, we were dismayed to see that 17 school profiles associated with the postings in Round Two made reference to reporting tools. We brought the error to the attention of HR, and the school profiles were changed promptly and teachers were notified of the change by an email from Jordan Tinney last Wednesday.

We hope that principals have now been informed of our agreement, and will not be considering choice of reporting tools as a factor in the awarding of positions in the upcoming or future transfer rounds. If it appears that a principal is doing so, please notify the STA as soon as possible.

With the assistance of the arbitrator acting as a mediator, we settled the technological change grievance last week. The settlement put processes in place that should lead to eventual improvements in reporting processes and tools for elementary school teachers:

  1. The district has committed to providing some training for teachers on the privacy
    implications of using digital tools for reporting.
  2. The district has committed to increasing transparency regarding the numbers of digital
    devices (laptops, iPads, iPods) available to teachers at each school.
  3. The district has committed to meeting with STA representatives to review feedback and consider improvements to reporting tools, in good faith.

Elementary teachers have a choice between the current reporting tools and they are free to choose the one the makes the most sense for them and their students in any given year. The STA will be seeking feedback from teachers regarding their views of how reporting tools can be improved in Surrey.

We recognize that the changes to reporting over the last two years have caused significant uncertainty and hardship for many of our elementary school teachers. Thank you to all of the teachers who have taken the time to communicate with us about their experiences, and an especially big thank you to all teachers who assisted in the grievance process.

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