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E a s t e r n   U p d a t e - Tuesday, October 5th

Survey of Teachers’ Professional Development Needs

On a yearly basis the Joint Board - O.E.C.T.A. Professional Development Committee issues a survey of teachers’ professional development needs. The survey is used to inform programming on PA Days, to establish best practices in Catholic Professional Learning Communities and to select O.E.C.TA. workshops to bring to the Unit. The survey is an opportunity for teachers to give input and feedback on their preferred P.D. topics and delivery modes. It is expected that the responses to this survey will reflect stated professional development goals from the Annual Learning Plans that teachers are now completing.

The survey is being conducted on “Survey Monkey.” All teachers are invited to complete the survey, which takes approximately 10 minutes. The URL for this survey is:


In an effort to get a high level of participation, Staff Reps are asked to convene a brief OECTA meeting in the school’s computer lab sometime over the next week. At that time teachers would be asked to log on and complete the survey. The survey is now activated and will close on October 17th. Thank you in advance for your participation!

Teacher Comments on Progress Reports and Provincial Report Cards, Gr. 1 to 12

The Ministry of Education’s GROWING SUCCESS document (Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools), says the following with regards to teachers’ anecdotal comments on progress reports and provincial report cards:

“In writing anecdotal comments, teachers should focus on what students have learned, describe significant strengths, and identify next steps for improvement. Teachers should strive to use language that parents will understand and should avoid language that simply repeats the wordings of the curriculum expectations or the achievement chart. When appropriate, teachers may make reference to particular strands. The comments should describe in overall terms what students know and can do and should provide parents with personalized, clear, precise, and meaningful feedback. Teachers should also strive to help parents understand how they can support their children at home.

It is important that teachers have the opportunity to compose and use personalized comments on report cards as an alternative to selecting from a prepared set of standard comments. School boards should not enact policies that prevent teachers from providing personalized comments on report cards. It is expected that principals will support best practice and encourage teachers to generate their own comments.

In the case of the Elementary Progress Report Cards, it is not necessary for teachers to comment on all subjects/strands in the one space provided for comments.

Students in Grades 1 to 8 whose achievement is reported as “R” on the provincial report card, and for students in Grades 9 to 12 whose achievement is recorded at below 50 per cent, teachers should describe specific remedial measures that are planned or strategies that have been developed to address the student’s specific learning needs and promote success in learning, as well as the kind of parental support that will be required. In such cases, teachers should contact the parents as soon as possible in order to consult with them and involve them in supporting the student.”

The question has been asked, “Can teachers still generate or use a bank of comments when completing reports?” The answer to this question is yes. As in the past, teachers can use generalized comments from a bank, and personalize them as appropriate. The Education Act is clear that it is a teacher’s duty to be responsible for the evaluation of the progress of pupils and to report on this progress. Teachers are charged, therefore, with using their professional discretion in deciding on how best to do so, with consideration of the direction given in the Growing Success document. Another question that has been asked with respect to the Elementary Progress Report is, “Do we have to fill up all the space?” The Ministry has clearly answered that it is the teacher’s professional discretion regarding how much is written in that space.


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