It's that time of year again when we welcome cooler nights, brighter colours and watch carefully for children in dormant school zones. For many parents, students and teachers, this month is hectic but filled with renewal and promise. Teachers have spent their own time and money in the summer getting ready for your children to return to class. Let's look ahead at the coming school year in Burnaby, shall we?
By the date of this publication, we will know whether CUPE Local 379 is moving towards the settlement of its contract with the Burnaby Board of Education. By this publication date, things looked promising. But what about the teachers? We are trying to get a fair and reasonable contract settlement with the provincial government that will address our long standing issues of class size and composition and one that addresses our lack of a pay raise for the past 3 years, as well as improvements to our preparation time. Our working conditions and students' learning conditions are intrinsically linked, as parents and guardians are well aware. Teachers want a deal based on substance and not a politician's "10 year deal" sound bite. Stay tuned.
The Burnaby Teachers' Association is working closely with the Burnaby Board of Education on further implementation of Policy 5.45, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. This will manifest itself this year with more LGBTQ resources and staff training across our district. Links to the provincial curriculum will be emphasized.
The BTA will once again be offering parent workshops to assist them with their child's learning and to help strengthen our public education system. Check out our website www.burnabyteachers.com for upcoming registration/date information.
A number of Burnaby schools will undergo seismic upgrading this year, or as I like to call it, substantial short term pain for substantial long-term gain. Teachers will be vigilant in observing health and safety conditions for their students and themselves but parents have an important role to play through their parent advisory council and the district parent advisory council involvement. Make sure you speak to your child's Principal if you have concerns about the conditions in any of these construction zone schools. Work Safe only covers workers; parents must advocate for appropriate learning conditions in these affected schools. The Burnaby Teachers’ Association is hopeful that the district has learned much from past seismic projects and we will be there to observe.
Technology in Burnaby schools is evolving rapidly - teachers are blogging, emailing and posting lesson supports in growing numbers. It is important to see technology for what it really is – a teaching tool and to remember that it is not unto itself the curriculum. Critical thinking, interpersonal skills and socialization of students are critical learning outcomes for our students to take into this ever changing and evolving world of ours.
So, here's to another year of teaching and learning in our schools. May it be one that is memorable for all the right reasons, putting the learning of our students and children at the centre of all that we do.
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