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E a s t e r n   U p d a t e - Friday, October 3, 2014

World Teachers’ Day- October 5th

Sunday, October 5th is World Teachers’ Day. This year we’d like to ask you to do something special to celebrate the day. OECTA is encouraging teachers to participate in the Education International campaign at noon on October 5th by sending an email, text or tweet to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, expressing support for the global goal of quality education for all, and getting all girls into school. Watch for an email from us to prompt you to participate on Sunday. What a great way to celebrate the day- teachers working together to promote access to education for all!

Unit Office Open House and Blessing- October 9th

We will be holding our new Unit office open house and blessing next Thursday, October 9th, following our Staff Rep in-service. It will be held from 3:00 to 6:00. All are welcome to attend! Please drop by!

Board Appeals Eastern Arbitration Win

The Board has appealed arbitrator George Surdykowski’s decision ordering that the July 5th MOU be appended and form a part of our Collective Agreement. The decision will now go to judicial review. The decision still stands while the appeal goes through the court. OECTA feels confident that the decision will be upheld.

Diagnostic Assessment

Just a reminder that under our collective agreement teachers use their professional judgment to decide which assessment from the Board list of preapproved ssessment tools is applicable, for which student(s), as well as the frequency and timing of the tool. To inform their instruction, teachers must use diagnostic assessment during the school year.

Progress Reports

Soon it will be time to begin writing progress reports. Please keep in mind the board’s position with respect to completing progress reports:

“We value teachers’ professional judgment to determine the length and detail of the comment(s) required to convey “personalized, precise, clear and meaningful feedback to parents,” on the subjects(s)/strand(s). For the Progress Report Card, it is not necessary to comment on all the subject(s)/strand(s), nor is it necessary for teachers to fill in all of the available space in the text box.”

This is in-line with the Growing Success policy. It is up to the teacher to decide how much to write and which learning skills and subjects/ strands require comments

Tracking Use of “5 Other Leave Days”

For your convenience attached is a tracking sheet that you can use to track your usage of your “5 Other Leave Days.” These are separate from your 11 sick leave days. These days include, among other things, your 2 personal leave days, medical/dental appointments, and leave to care for ill family members. Please keep careful track of your usage of these days. If you use more than five, the board may deduct pay from you.

VLAP Days and SSI (Attendance Recognition)

We’ve received many calls asking whether the opportunity to request VLAP days (unpaid days off) still exists as last year. Likewise teachers are wondering if there still exists an attendance recognition program that gives you a day of pay for using less than six sick leave days. The answer is no; both programs were time definite under the MOU and ceased on August 31st, 2014. Teachers still have the opportunity to request unpaid leave days under Article 19.12, Leave of Absence Without Pay. However the Board’s practice in granting such days is as it was prior to the MOU, and will vary depending on the circumstances. Don’t book holidays without having received approval in advance.

Parent-Teacher Interviews

Prior to last year our Board scheduled an early release day the Friday of the week of parent-teacher interviews following the progress report. The early release day allowed teachers to schedule overflow interviews that they could not fit into the parent-teacher interview evening. OECTA lobbied the Board to maintain this practice however the Board decided not to do so. OECTA had made its position clear to the board: we will not be expanding parent-teacher interviews to two nights. Where necessary the length of interviews will have to be shortened in order to fit within the constraints set by the Board.

ONDP Supporters

If you are an Ontario NDP supporter, OECTA is encouraging you to attend the ONDP convention being held from November 14-16 as an official delegate. To attend as a delegate you must be elected by the local riding association. It’s important that we have OECTA members attend because we are aware that there is at least one motion coming to the floor from a riding calling for the merger of the Catholic and public school systems. We need members to advocate for our position at the mic’s. OECTA will cover travel and accommodation costs. Please contact the Unit office for further information if you are interested in attending.

Johnson’s Insurance Scholarship Program

If you have a child or grandchild beginning post-secondary education this fall, they could be eligible for one of 50, one-thousand dollar scholarships through Johnson’s. No need to be insured by them. Visit www.johnson.ca and click “About Us”, for more information.

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