Buscador de Noticias Mundial. La mas completa informacion para todos los usuarios en todos los idiomas.



VSB official trustee Dianne Turner on the first day of school

The uncertainty around hiring more teachers to meet B.C.’s new class-size rules led to some frustrating changes to a number of Vancouver high school timetables, but no elementary or secondary class was without a teacher for the first day of school Tuesday.

“The hiring process is still underway. We have 342 full-time (positions) that we were given additionally for the Vancouver School Board, and we are very close to completing that task. But this morning I can tell you there is a teacher in front of every student,” VSB official trustee Dianne Turner said in an interview Tuesday.

Every September typically involves some jockeying of teachers and classrooms, but this year is expected to be even more chaotic as a 2016 court ruling on class size and composition resulted in 3,600 new teachers being hired across B.C.’s 60 school districts.

Vancouver is approved to hire 342 new teachers, and as of last week about 70 positions were still vacant.

“We’re closing in on things over last week,” Turner said. “We expect there is going to be a very short handful of positions (still to fill), notably in French Immersion and some special education areas and some psychologists and speech language pathologists.”

Many boards had not completed this year’s unprecedented hiring in time for back to school, meaning substitute teachers would be in classrooms until the permanent hires are made.

Although the renewed provincial funding for more teachers is a good-news story, there are some growing pains.

High school teachers in Vancouver tweeted concerns that 80 anticipated full-time jobs had not materialized, resulting in a scramble to adjust course offerings and teacher schedules.

“We’ve only heard from a couple of schools so far this morning, but there has been some really big timetable disruptions,” Vancouver Secondary Teachers’ Association (VSTA) President Katharine Shipley said Tuesday. “There have been some pretty radical changes to some people’s loads and they are really upset.”

This is based, Shipley said, on the board originally asking for 420 new teachers. Because schools create the next year’s timetables in the spring, the 2017/18 schedule was based on the anticipated larger number.

To accommodate the smaller number hired, for example, the teacher-librarian at Britannia secondary just lost two library blocks, and now has been assigned two courses to teach instead, Shipley said.

Turner, though, said the request for about 400 new staff was an estimate provided after the court ruling, but the ministry thought it was too high. She said high school administrators were warned in late June that those schedules based on the larger number of teachers might change.

The ministry promised, Turner added, to take another look this fall once class enrolments are finalized, to see whether more teachers are required.

Another challenge for all school districts this year is their teacher-on-call (TOC) lists, which have been decimated by the hiring spree.

Ideally, Vancouver’s list has 800 teachers on it, but last year had just 600 names. The board buffered the list for this September by taking the unusual step of adding 100 retirees, but still needs many more, Turner said.

“Our TOC is significantly shorter than what we really want it to be, so we going to continue to recruit TOCs and we are going to keep it up all year,” she said. 

The court ruling also required the creation of 550 new classrooms across the province. Vancouver, unlike Surrey, did not have to buy new portables, but about one third of the district’s 109 schools converted spaces such as computer or music rooms into classrooms.

One casualty this fall was Vancouver’s French Immersion program which offered 136 fewer kindergarten spaces because the board couldn’t find enough qualified teachers. These spaces could be reopened next September as this group enters Grade 1, though, if additional staff can be hired.

Turner, a former Delta school board superintendent, was appointed to oversee the VSB in October 2016 when the then-Liberal government fired the trustees for failing to balance the budget.

Under NDP rule, the trustees will be replaced in a byelection next month. Turner will stay on, for up to a year, in an advisory role, in particular to help foster a more collaborative relationship between the once-warring administrators and trustees.

“My hope for this new board is to find that common ground to work on together (with management), and to leave some of the partisan politics out of the work they do,” she said.

The union’s Shipley, meanwhile, said teacher are generally optimistic there will be more staff in the system once all the startup dust settles by the end of September. “We’re excited for a good school year and we can feel a shift in tone with the changing government,” she said.

In late August, the school boards’ recruitment arm said there were 400 teaching job openings across the province, most of them in Metro Vancouver and northern B.C. No update was available Tuesday, said Deborah Stewart of the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association.

lculbert@postmedia.com

twitter.com/loriculbert

FUENTE:

http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/vancouver-school-board-official-trustee-dianne-turner-chats-education-on-the-first-day-of-school