November 3, 2016
- BCTF and Local Presidents reach out to teachers impacted by the violence in Abbotsford school
- Important updates on curriculum changes and reporting
- BCTF urges government to take immediate action on seismic safety in schools
- Do you know a nurse? Help end the BCNU’s raiding of other unions
- Professional development opportunity in Cuba
- Vancouver Canucks new BCTF Advantage Marketplace Partner
BCTF and Local Presidents reach out to teachers impacted by the violence in Abbotsford school
Following the violence and murder at a school in Abbotsford on Tuesday, BCTF President Glen Hansman and Abbotsford Local President Doug Smuland reached out to teachers who teach or live in the community to offer the union's support. The letter below was sent to those members.
It's important for all BCTF members to remember that the Federation has specialized health and wellness programs to help in times of crisis or any other difficulty you may be facing. Visit our Health and Wellness page or Starling Minds, a free online program for BCTF members that provides education and a mental health toolkit to manage stress and prevent depression and anxiety.
Like us, you are no doubt horrified and saddened by the terrible violence that took place at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School yesterday afternoon. Events like this happen rarely, but when they do our sense of school as a place of safety can be shattered.
Some of you were at the school as the stabbings took place, and are struggling to process this traumatic experience. Others of you have friends or family members who are directly involved. Some of you have students whose young lives will be changed forever. Many will be deeply disturbed by the video posted online last evening. Whatever our connections to Abby Secondary, we are all shaken by this awful crime.
In a crisis, teachers are often the first to respond to the needs of others. That's just who we are as caring professionals. We're thinking about what the kids need and how we can help the community. At the same time, though, it's important to remember to take care of ourselves. Members can call the Employee Assistance Plan toll-free at 1-800-387-4765. The lines are open around the clock, seven days a week. Counselling and other support is also available through our extended health plan.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to one another and to your union for help. We're in this together. You can reach the Abbotsford District Teachers' Association at 604-854-1946 and the BC Teachers' Federation at 604-871-2283.
Glen Hansman, BCTF President
Doug Smuland, ADTA President
Important updates on curriculum changes and reporting
The Federation has created a new publication called the Education Change Bulletin that will provide monthly updates and give teachers advice around the ongoing changes to curriculum and reporting. The purpose of these updates is to address emerging issues and concerns as identified by members as well as what's working well and what supports are needed. This first issue focuses on student reporting.
The Ministry of Education has also launched a consultation process on reporting. They have opened up an online feedback form and will be hosting several community meetings. The BCTF is encouraging members to add their voices to this process. The schedule for the community meetings is available online.
BCTF urges government to take immediate action on seismic safety in schools
Recently, the BCTF Executive Committee passed the following motion urging the government to take immediate action on seismic safety.
That all new public schools be constructed or upgraded and all existing schools be upgraded to mitigate earthquake damage and that:
- adequate provincial funding for these upgrades be provided.
- the government fully fund this urgent imperative as a public safety concern, rather than as an additional pressure on education budgets.
- that a concrete plan be put in place and adhered to in order that all upgrades be completed no later than 2025.
This week, the issue was covered by the Vancouver Sun and other media outlets as the Official Opposition released internal government documents that suggest the government has been misrepresenting how it selects schools for seismic upgrades. Read Glen Hansman's full response in the Federation's news release. In it he stated, “for too long, seismic safety in our schools has been treated like an additional cost burden on education budgets, instead of the urgent public safety concern it is. Protecting lives in our schools shouldn't be treated as a political or partisan tool by the government.”
Do you know a nurse? Help end the BCNU’s raiding of other unions
The BC Federation of Labour's new campaign, Know A Nurse? is an effort to raise awareness among union members like teachers about the efforts of the BC Nurses Union's leadership to target and attack other health care unions. Raiding hurts health care and the people who depend on it. It also undermines relationships between nurses and the other members of the health care team who work side by side to deliver high quality services. Learn more, show your solidarity, and take action.
Professional development opportunity in Cuba
Each year the teachers' union in Cuba hosts a pedagogical conference that draws teachers from around Latin America. As part of the BCTF's international solidarity work, we received an invitation to send participants. The BCTF will send one member from the general membership to the conference being held January 29 to February 5, 2017. The cost of TTOC and travel expenses will be covered.
At the conference, participants will share education strategies with colleagues from around the Americas, visit schools and other Cuban educational institutions, and meet with Cuban teachers and teachers' union leaders. If you are interested, send a letter of application with information about yourself, your teaching area and why you would like to be a participant. Applications must be received by the BCTF by November 17, 2016. Send the application by email to email@example.com. Fluency in Spanish would be an asset, but is not required.
Vancouver Canucks new BCTF Advantage Marketplace Partner
The Federation has added another new addition to the BCTF Advantage Program-the Vancouver Canucks! This year BCTF members can obtain exclusive discounts to three upcoming games:
- Tuesday, November 29 vs. Minnesota Wild
- Tuesday, December 20 vs. Winnipeg Jets
- Monday, January, 2 vs. Colorado Avalanche
For more information please visit the Advantage Program website.