WTA in Transition
The following is staffing information that has been shared with the WTA Executive and Council as information. It is based on the best information that our office had from the WSD at the time the report was developed.
WSD Staffing Update:
- WTA Retirements as of May 8, 2014
- 19 members prior to June 30, 2014 (December, January, other)
- 54 members effective June 30, 2014
- 73 in total for 2013-2104 (includes 8 Principals & 1 Vice-Principal)
- Posting # 1 May 2, 2014
- 178 positions (43 part time +135 fulltime = 178 / of those 32 term)
- Amendment Sheet May 2, 2014
- Amended 13 positions, added 5 positions, deleted 9 positions
- Removed 4 terms and added 1 term
- Posting # 2
- Friday May 23, 2014 – Second Ad. in schools
- Monday May 26, 2014 – 12:00 PM deadline for application
- Surplus Declarations: approximately 20 across the WSD
- According to HR, your school Principal cannot “block” you from being short listed or interviewed for a position.
- HR will be speaking with school administrators to review the Surplus Declaration process.
- The WTA asked the WSD to ensure staff placed in programs such as LAC, FASD or Autism have experience in these areas or be provided with significant opportunities for training and professional development.
STAFFING CONCERNS…IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, COMMENTS OR CONCERNS ABOUT THE STAFFING PROCESS, PLEASE CALL THE WTA OFFICE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
The following is the full text of my report which is included in the WTA Annual Report booklet provided at our May 15, 2014 Council meeting.
Writing this report has always been difficult. To take an entire year’s worth of work and squeeze it into a few short paragraphs is a challenge.
This school year has seen unprecedented levels of change in the WSD. Some of the changes have been implemented as the result of demands made by the province and others have been generated at the divisional level. The changes include:
- Math CAP changes
- Fountas and Pinnell
- The writing assessment process
- New Report Cards
- The new IEP’s
- Workplace Safety and Health Training
- VOIP (new school phones)
In addition to the list provided above, many teachers are working in new program areas related to Math, Reading or Writing that are based in individual schools. On top of all the new programming, work-shopping, training, assessment and reporting, members were/are still delivering a quality educational program to students.
Much of the ongoing dialogue between the WTA and the Division this year has focused on the changes, the processes by which they have been implemented, the impact on teacher workload and morale.
Since September 2013, the WSD has appointed 17 new school Principals, a new Area Superintendent and a New Director of Aboriginal Education. Along with these changes, numerous Vice-Principals have been moved or new people have been put in place. What is also unique is the fact that the WSD has chosen to make these changes during the school year. There is still the possibility that other Principals will be announcing their retirement and further changes will occur.
A number of issues related to the selection, interview and appointment of senior divisional staff and school administrators have also formed the basis for discussions with the Superintendents’ and Human Resources Departments. These discussions have also led the WSD and the WTA/MTS into preliminary talks about a joint leadership/professional development training model for members in the future.
The school visits undertaken by our office continue to be one of the most interesting and rewarding parts of the job. By the end of June, Nathan and I should have visited 85-90 locations and spoken with well over 1000 members. The visits allow us the opportunity to hear directly from the members about what is going on across the system.
In previous years, the visits were organized so that Junior and Senior High locations would be visited before winter break and elementary schools later in the year. This September we deliberately choose to visit elementary schools prior to the break. To those school staffs we spoke with, I would like to say thank you. Our frank conversations and your sharing of information was most helpful. During many elementary visits, members spoke about low morale, increased stress, and feeling overwhelmed by all of the changes they were being asked to implement. Frustration was also a factor because there was not always a clear and consistent message from the WSD regarding implementation of the changes. Much of the information provided through these visits became the substance of lengthy discussions with the WSD. As visits progressed through the year, much of the initial information received was confirmed.
The membership feedback process was expanded this year to incorporate Liaison Groups at the WTA Council meetings. Twice this year Council Representatives were split into working groups chaired by an Executive member and discussed a series of topics. The notes from these sessions were then provided to me and the feedback reviewed at the next Executive meeting.
The theme of change is also extended into the WTA Office this year. This spring two individuals who have provided long standing and exemplary service to the WTA announced they would be retiring.
Henry Shyka is an MTS Staff Officer who’s primary assignment for twenty years has been as the WTA Business Agent. He has been at the Bargaining Table with our Negotiations Committee, supported countless individual members through difficult personnel issues, taken a lead role in shaping the Health and Dental programs provided by the WTA and has provide wise counsel through his work with the Executive and WTA Council. I would like to acknowledge and thank Henry on behalf of the membership for his commitment to our organization.
Glenda Shepherd, the WTA Administrative Assistant, announced her retirement effective May 30, 2014 after twenty-five years of exemplary service to the WTA. Glenda has been the voice you hear on the other end of the phone when you have called our office. Her knowledge, expertise and understanding of how our organization operates is second to none. Presidents have come and Presidents have gone, but Glenda has remained as the voice of experience throughout. Beyond the day-to-day operation of the WTA, Glenda has also taken on the complex role of Plan Administrator for Manulife Retirees in our Extended Health Plan and worked with the Group Benefits Committee to help ensure our programs are meeting member needs. As the office has expanded through numerous renovations, it has also been Glenda’s good taste and sense of colour that has shaped our work environment. On behalf of the membership, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you. Your service and commitment to the organization has been very much appreciated and you will be missed.
On a personal note, Henry, Glenda and I have been with the WTA through some challenging and difficult times. Whether it be the WSD threatening to fire an entire Executive for speaking out about an important educational issue or supporting each other through the untimely illness and death of a former President. We have also celebrated the birth of children and grandchildren together. We have helped each other mourn the passing of loved ones. To both Glenda and Henry I would like to say a special thank you for your support and encouragement throughout my various terms in the WTA Office.
To this year’s Executive, thank you for your service on behalf of the membership. It has not always been exciting, but it is work that needs to be done and your efforts have been very much appreciated. To the incoming Table Officers and Executive, good luck. As always there is still much to do. Next year will bring with it a unique set of challenges and opportunities for the WTA.
To the new WTA President, Nathan Martindale, good luck. I have enjoyed working with you over the last three years and look forward to serving as your Past President. As always, the WTA is facing many issues in the coming year and your plate will be full.
To all of you who have offered me support and words of encouragement over the years, thank you. I truly have enjoyed the phone calls, emails, school visits and personal conversations that have occurred.
To my family must go the final thank you. Without your love, support and patience I would never have been able to do the work I have done. I hope to be spending a little more time at home and less time at meetings.
David Najduch, President