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E a s t e r n   U p d a t e - Monday, December 13, 2010

Teacher Directed Preparation Time

There have been reports from several elementary schools where it has been suggested that teachers meet with the resource teacher, biweekly, during the classroom teacher’s preparation time. This is to remind all teachers that, as stated in Article 36.04 a), teacher planning and preparation time is teacher directed. This means that no teacher is required to schedule such meetings during their planning time. Though the premise of meetings between a resource teacher and a classroom teacher to discuss the needs and progress of identified students is good, the frequency and scheduling of such meetings is at the discretion of the classroom teacher.

Meetings Outside of the Instructional Day

Teachers are required to attend some meetings outside of the instructional day, such as monthly staff meetings of approximately one hour duration, “Meet-the-teacher” nights, parent-teacher interviews, and graduation exercises. Attendance at other meetings such as divisional meetings and prayer meetings, is absolutely voluntary when these meetings are held outside of the instructional day. No teacher should feel pressured or intimidated into attending such meetings, and there should not be any reprisal against a teacher who chooses not to attend. Please contact the unit office should there be a problem of this nature at your school.

Half Days with O.T. Coverage for Elementary Assessment

For elementary teachers who have to complete assessments from the board’s assessment calendar, this is to remind you that you can book an occasional teacher for half a day to conduct, mark or input the assessment. (Letter of Understanding, p. 49, Collective Agreement) The arrangement for the half day is done in consultation with the principal. For teachers who are responsible for two grades of assessment, for example, in immersion schools one teacher may be teaching the language arts program for two separate grades, the school board has indicated its willingness to afford to such teachers two half days with occasional teacher coverage to conduct the assessments from the board assessment calendar. Please arrange for this with your principal and call the unit office should you encounter any difficulty with this arrangement.

Political Action

The OECTA Political Action committee is seeking new members. The Committee will be meeting in January in preparation for the October 2011 Provincial election. Provincial OECTA will be holding a training session in April to prepare teachers to participate in the election process. Please contact the Unit office if you would like to join this committee. It cannot be emphasized enough that teachers’ working conditions are tied to politics!

Preparation During Absences

This is to remind teachers of Article 18 of the Collective Agreement: Preparation During Absences. “Teachers shall be responsible for the preparation of classes for the first day if the absence is due to illness or other reasonable cause.” After the first day, the teacher is no longer responsible for preparing work for their class.

PD Survey

In October teachers were asked to participate in a survey regarding their PD needs. Though participation in the survey was lower than in the first survey of this type about a year ago, the general information garnered was quite consistent. On the basis of the feedback from the survey, the OECTA PD Committee has made recommendations to the Board at the Joint Board-OECTA PD Committee table. These recommendations are attached for your information.


Joint PD Committee Survey
OECTA Recommendations, November 2010

Teachers were asked to complete a survey of their Professional Development needs from October 5th to the 17th. In total, 101 teachers responded. (This is a decrease from 249 respondents in May 2009.) Of these, 89 were Elementary teachers and 9 were Secondary. Of the 101 respondents, 14 identified themselves as beginning teachers (with less than 5 years teaching experience.)

The OECTA Professional Development Committee met on October 29th, to review the results of the survey and make recommendations. The following are the committee’s recommendations:

  1. That the Board recognize and plan for the preferred modes of professional development as identified by teachers: 1- PA Days organized by a school on site; 2- PA Days organized by the Board at a regional site (Smiths Falls, Kemptville, Cornwall); 3- PD on a regular school day, at the school with OT coverage (CPLC’s, coaches, consultants)

  2. That Professional Activity Days include hands on sessions. (i.e. Teachers come away with resources and activities that can be immediately applied in the classroom.)

  3. That CPLC’s be facilitated with the use of OT’s and occur during the regular school day. (The survey shows a decrease in the use of occasional teacher coverage for CPLC’s, from 71.4% to 59.7%, and an increase in CPCL’s occurring after school hours 29.5% as opposed to 19.5%.) As agreed to by the parties to the PDT, “valuable professional development is job- embedded.”

  4. That CPLC topic selection be arrived at collaboratively. (Collaborative topic selection was recommended last year, but has actually reduced from 38% of teachers indicating collaborative topic selection, to 28.9%.) 47.4 % of teachers responded that their Annual Learning Plan was not considered as a basis for PD (CPLC’s, Board Workshops, and other PD opportunities.) The PDT indicates that the teacher’s annual learning plan will inform Professional Learning opportunities, including the CPLC. Again, the PDT parties agreed that the success of CPLC depends largely on the environment and climate in which it is set up, and with a focus on collegiality and partnership.

  5. That the Religious Education department help schools incorporate information about programming and resources as a component of the Professional Activity day designated as a Faith Day (61%). The second and third preferences for PD in Religious Education were “Integrating Catholic Graduate Expectations into Curriculum” (36%), and “Ongoing Adult Faith Development” (33%.)

  6. That the Curriculum Department offer PD in the following areas: 1- “Developing and Implementing Strategies to Close the Gaps in Mathematical Literacy” (32%); 2- “Integrating the Use of Manipulative Aids and Technology to Support a Range of Learning Styles” (31%); “Assessment and Evaluation”(30%)

  7. That there be more professional development opportunities for French teachers, including literacy strategies, and with grouping of French teachers by type of French offered (e.g. Core, Immersion, Intensive etc.) (29% of respondents called for FSL Specific Strategies in curriculum PD.)

  8. That teachers be given more opportunities for collaborative planning with peers.

  9. That subject and grade-specific collaboration be facilitated on Professional Activity days.

  10. That the Special Education Department include the following topics as part of their PD strategy for the year: 1- Implementing Activities Related to Differentiated Instruction (65.3%); 2- Implementing Activities Related to Assistive Technologies (64.2%); 3- Developing Individual Education Plans (49.5%)

  11. That the Joint PD Committee identify in the spring any training that is required on a yearly basis (e.g. Sabrina’s Law, WHMIS) and new training that is required (e.g. Safe Schools, Violence and Harassment in the Workplace, New Report Cards.) (Fewer than half of the teachers report having been trained in Sabrina’s Law. Only 63.4% of teachers report having been trained in WHMIS. Only 30.5 % of respondents indicate that they are aware of and understand their new responsibilities under Bill 157.)

  12. That the Joint PD Committee agree upon the mode of delivery of said training as well the designated Professional Activity days or other times when this training shall be delivered, ensuring that all teachers, including occasional teachers, have the opportunity to be trained.

  13. That the Joint PD Committee work collaboratively to plan all Professional Activity days, including the selection of keynote speakers; the selection of workshops offered; structure of the day, including start time, end time, breaks, so that there is consistency from region to region and so that the collective agreement is respected (i.e. not longer than a regular school day.)

  14. That the Joint PD Committee schedule its regular meetings at the beginning of every school year to coincide with planning required for Professional Activity days, requisite training (e.g. progress reports, new report cards etc.), and other timed issues (planning the school year calendar.)

  15. That no preparation be required of teachers for a Professional Activity day (e.g. bring in an artifact), and that teachers be given more choice in workshop selection on PA days. Presenters should be called for (volunteers) well in advance of the PA day. A full day of release and a stipend of $200 should be afforded to presenters.


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