As the school year is starting to wrap up, it is important to start looking ahead to next year. I firmly believe that teachers are best informed to help make decisions involving our schools. One of the most efficient ways to get our voices heard is through involvement in the various committees that exist at the school and centre level. In accordance with our local and provincial agreements, administration is obligated to consult with teachers on a number of critical dossiers.
The most important of these committees is School Council. Here, teachers can consult and collaborate on a wide variety of issues, including such important items as the school's Educational Project, the standards and procedures of evaluation, procedures for submission of marks, supervision schedules, the school calendar and emergency substitution. The members of School Council play an important role in shaping the culture of the school and making recommendations to the school's Governing Board. It is also important to have strong teaching voices on Governing Board in order to ensure that the recommendations made by the School Council are heard.
Equally important, but often neglected, is the school's Special Needs Committee. This committee should be meeting regularly to not only prepare a special needs plan and distribute the allocated resources where they are needed at the start of the year, but also review it periodically throughout the year and make changes when necessary. This review is not done in many schools!
The Professional Improvement Committee (PIC) is another committee for which teachers often don't realize how much influence they have. An amount of $240 ($300 in vocational training) is allocated to each full-time equivalent teaching post for professional improvement. The majority of these funds go directly to the schools and are distributed by the local PIC. This is teacher money: we should have a say in how it is spent!
Together with the LBPSB, PTU will be helping to make changes to the practice of the implementation of the school organizational plan, so that class groupings are made in a more consistent and clear manner.
Although all of these committees require time in our already busy lives, it is critical for teachers to participate at the local level to ensure that our school policies reflect the needs of the teaching staff. If you feel that your voice is not being heard, speak to your teaching colleagues and find out how your school chooses who sits on each committee. Together, we can use these committees to make great improvements to our school environments.
- Matt Wilson, President