President’s Message: September, 2017

WELCOME BACK TO THE 2017-18 SCHOOL YEAR IN PEACE RIVER SOUTH

At last word, the District has hired 31 teachers so far for this year.  Some are our retired teachers are returning to the classrooms to help out in a pinch!  Our new teachers are from other countries, other provinces, other regions in BC and some are from the community up the road or a school down the street!!!   Please make these new teachers feel welcome in our schools and communities.  Give them a helping hand, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and an invitation for a bit of rest and relaxation after a tough day or week!

I am looking forward to another great year!  Always, there are challenges, especially at the beginning of the year as the whites of students’ eyes are counted, classes are arranged, changes to schedules and plans are done in the general business of starting up.  The District has indicated that they are intending to meet and maintain the classroom numbers expected with the re-instated language by the October 1st date.  There is still the challenge of ensuring there are teachers in every classroom in the district, especially in Chetwynd.  The District has approached the Union with some possible “temporary” measures if needed as we move forward into the school year.  We will try to get the information out as quickly as possible but I would ask everyone to be patient as we all try to get things in place this year.

As you may be hearing on the news, the challenge of staffing both classrooms and non-enrolling positions is common throughout the province.  TTOC lists are also affected in most school districts as hiring has occurred off of those lists, depleting them as well.  I am anticipating that this may also be a problem in our district for the coming year so we may find it necessary to “re-arrange” planned group Pro-d, Foundation, Support for Growth and other District in-services differently.

On the more positive side of things, I am looking forward to getting out to schools in all three of our sub-locals over the next few weeks.  We are also planning to host a Fall Social, hopefully in each sub-local, on October 5 to celebrate International Teachers’ Day.   I know that Chetwynd and Tumbler will be planning their Sub-local AGM in the next month and I hope to see many of you out at the meetings.   This coming year is the “prep” year for provincial negotiations so the PRSTA Executive will be focusing on preparing for both Provincial and Local bargaining.  We will be listening to what is important to our members and what needs to be addressed in this next round of bargaining.  Please watch for opportunities to be part of focus groups on the topic of Working and Learning conditions as I hope to begin that process in the Spring.

Again, Welcome to a New School Year.

Elaine Fitzpatrick
PRSTA President

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