Newsletter May 2012

CAP Data and
WSD Survey Results!

By: Dave Najduch, President

For many elementary members, CAP continues to be an area of concern in their ability to deliver an educational program to their students. The following is a copy of the most recent letter sent to the WSD on May 11th, 2012 related to the CAP.

I am writing in regard to a number of issues related to the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) Comprehensive Assessment Program (CAP).

Data:

The CAP program has been in place for 13 years and the WSD has generated significant amounts of student based data. At the same time the CAP has been administered across the WSD, students in the Division have also participated in provincial assessments at the Grade 3 and Grade 8 levels along with a number of national and international assessments.

It is clear that there is a large volume of student based data that the WSD has in its possession. If the CAP has been successful at identifying and driving program instruction across the WSD for this period of time, the data should demonstrate a clear measurable improvement in student achievement in the Math and English Language Arts areas.

The Association believes it is time the WSD share the results of the data. For many members, there is a feeling student achievement has at best, remained the same, or in fact decreased over the time the CAP has been in place.

CAP Review:

The WSD has used Prairie Research and Associates (PRA) to conduct external reviews of the CAP over the last two years. It is my understanding that the following has occurred:

2012 April Online Survey – Review of the Math CAP which occurred during the fall of the 2011 school year. (All members involved with CAP could respond.)
2011 June -July Online Survey – Review of the Math CAP training and implementation which occurred from January to November of 2010. (All members involved with CAP could respond.)
2010 Fall Phone Survey – Review of the Math CAP training and implementation which occurred during 2010. (A limited number of members were contacted.)

Where are the reports related to the data and feedback generated by the WSD through this survey process? The use of an external company to survey members is something the WTA has recommended over the years. The problem is the reports generated through this process appear to be stuck in limbo. A number of members have asked why they should respond to the April 2012 survey when nothing has been shared with them from the June-July 2011 survey or the phone survey conducted in the previous year.

In speaking with the Superintendents’ Department about the issue, it is not clear if changes have occurred as a result of the survey work, what those changes are, or what members have said through the survey process. Doing the survey work is very important, but compiling the data and reporting on it in a timely manner to those surveyed, is critical to building confidence in what the WSD is doing both with the Math CAP and the CAP overall.

Beyond the PRA survey process, recent media reports have talked about the WSD conducting an internal review of the length of time the CAP takes to administer. This is problemactic for many reasons. First, why would members respond given the track record of the PRA surveys? Second, many members are not confident or comfortable sharing CAP concerns with WSD staff. Third, the WSD has said consistently that the CAP and the new Math CAP is part of regular instruction and that it does not take time away from teaching in the classroom. How does the WSD intend to measure something they think is part of regular instruction? How does the Division intend to address these issues through the fall survey process?

The WTA acknowledges that members have provided feedback over the years to the WSD on the CAP. It has never been clear what was said in the feedback, who collected the feedback and what changes occurred as a result of it. Until this mechanism is clarified and specific information is shared with the Association and the membership, the WSD processes in this area will be viewed as suspect.

Prior to conducting another survey or review in the fall, the Division needs to release the detailed results of the PRA surveys and also share the data on student performance with members. Both need to occur over the next few months.

 

Looking Ahead

By: Nathan Martindale, Vice-President

Negotiations Timeline

As you are aware, we are currently in the second year of a four year Collective Agreement, which expires on June 30th, 2014. Your salary will see a 2% increase on the first teaching day in the Fall of 2012 (the beginning of the third year of the collective agreement) and a 2% increase on the first teaching day in the Fall of 2013 (the beginning of the fourth and final year of the collective agreement).

During the fall and winter of the 2011-2012 school year, the new collective agreement was ratified, checked for errors, signed and uploaded to the WTA website (wta.mb.ca). In the near future, the 2012-2013 WTA Negotiations Committee will be named. This committee will start initial research of wording and clauses as well as begin to determine priorities for the next round of collective bargaining. During the 2012-2013 school year, the Negotiations Committee will meet regularly to begin preparing our opening package. The committee will ensure that members are able to submit proposals and have their opinions heard in regards to the opening package which will be ready to present in the Spring of 2014.

School Visits

Although it is only the middle of May, schedules, meetings and plans are already underway for the 2012-2013 WTA year. One of which is scheduling school visits. For the visits scheduled from October to December, the administrator and Council Representative at each school/location will receive a letter with a proposed date. For the visits schedule from January to June, the letter will be sent in December. When the date is announced please make an effort to attend the meeting, as it serves as a crucial face-to-face method of communication between members and the organization. Not only is important information shared, but the school visit also serves as an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification. Check with your Council Representative for the date and location of the WTA meeting.

 

Investigating Harassment and Discrimination Complaints

By: Shahram Hakimelahi

On April 2, 2012, I attended a Lancaster House Conference in Toronto, ON entitled HARASSMENT INVESTIGATIONS: CONDUCTING INVESTIGATIONS THAT ARE FAIR AND EFFECTIVE. At this conference, I was introduced to a panel consisting of a Labour Lawyer, a Management Lawyer, and a Human Rights Investigator. This group referenced various legal cases around the topic of harassment and discrimination while providing examples of processes that can be utilized in effective management of cases. Two scenarios were provided as examples and utilized to review the investigative procedures.

The passage of new Workplace Safety and Health Legislation in Manitoba in August of 2011 has changed the bullying and harassment landscape in the Province of Manitoba. There is tremendous interest both by Labour Organizations and Employers in developing policies, protocols and processes that provide for a safe work environment for employees. Employers under legislation have an obligation to investigate and resolve issues where situations arise causing the safety of employers in the workplace to be compromised.

From the presentation it was clear that Manitoba has one of the broadest and most powerful pieces of legislation dealing with harassment, violence, and bullying. Where protocol and process are concerned, the conference referenced the following:

  • Critical Elements of Fair and Effective Investigations
  • Consequences of Investigations not conducted fairly and effectively
  • Consideration of key issues from the perspectives of employers, the union, and the investigator
  • Getting the best evidence possible
  • Legislative Provisions and Effective Policies for Code Based and Personal Harassment
  • Restorative Measures – Dealing appropriately with All Parties and the Workplace at the Conclusion of the Investigation

In conclusion, the conferences provided a very valuable picture of changes in legislation related to harassment and bullying. It also outlined steps in conducting an investigation and successfully resolving a complaint. I hope to share the binder and insights with the WTA Executive in the future.

 

CAPSLE Report

By: Jennie Matteis, WTA Treasurer

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the 2012 CAPSLE conference in Ottawa. The theme this year was “Striving for Justice and Fairness: A Capital Experience.” It was held at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel from April 29 – May 1, 2012 inclusive. This year there were 32 sessions offered, with five being offered in French.

We started with an Opening Ceremony by an Algonquin Elder, Anne St. Georges followed by a Keynote speaker, Cindy Blackstock. Cindy, was a very interesting and informative speaker on the condition some of our Aboriginal students have to endure because of lack of funding.

I attended six different sessions. Four were on Special Education, one was on Unprofessional Conduct in Alberta 1958-2010, one on Workplace Investigations-Protecting Achieving Fairness and the last one on You Say you have What? Provision of Medical Information by Teachers to Employers.

The session I will be reporting on is “Accommodating Students with Special Needs the Human Right Code of Ontario and Bill 168 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act”. The presenter was Jerry Raso, Counsel, Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

Mr. Raso started his presentation by providing some definitions and information on Bill 82, “The Education Amendment Act. Also bill 168 which amended the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.

We were told that since 1982 with Bill 82 the Education Amendment Act, the Education Act required Ontario’s publicly funded school system to accept students with exceptionalities into their schools. Prior to Bill 82 the families of school-aged children who would be considered exceptional were reliant on the good will of the participating school to provide an education for their children. It was thought that the medical system was responsible for children with complex needs rather than the educational system.

In 2009, 200,000 students identified as exceptional in Ontario. In addition, there were approximately 100,00 students who received services but were not identified as exceptional.

Under “The education Act” section 8(3) requires that school boards provide to students with special needs, defined as exceptional students, appropriate special education programs and services.

Ontario also has Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The general principle is parents who feel their exceptional child has not received appropriate programs and/or services may file an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging that is s.1 of the human Rights Code of Ontario has been violated on the basis of disability.

One particular challenge concerns balancing an exceptional student’s right to an education who may be violent, with the right of other students and school staff to a safe school. It is submitted that they are not in conflict.

Bill 168 now Part 111.0.1 of the OHSA (Occupational Health and Safety Act) which came into effect on June 15, 2010 has directly impacted the issue of violence in schools, both in terms of the issue of confidentially of students records, the rights of workers to be safe from violence, including from students with special needs.

The OHSA now requires all employers in Ontario, including school boards, to take measures to both inform workers of potential violence and to protect workers from violence and harassment in the workplace. Employers must among other things, “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers from the hazards of workplace violence.

I found that the issues of workplace safety to be very similar in Manitoba although the legistration in Ontario is more defined. It was a very interesting and informative session.

If anyone would like more information on this, or other session you can contact me at jmatteis@wta.mb.ca

I would like to take this time to thank the WTA for giving me the opportunity to attend CAPSLE and look forward to next year when for the first time CAPSLE will be hosted in Winnipeg.

WTA Ad Hoc Committee – Special Education Forum

By: Jennie Matteis, WTA Chair, Ad Hoc Committee – Special Education

On March 13th 2012, the WTA Ad Hoc Committee – Special Education held a forum at Mc Master House on concerns related to safety and other issues as they pertain to Special Education. The forum was very well attended and well represented by both Elementary and High School teachers. In all there were 50 teachers in attendance.

The forum began by Andrew Peters, MTS Staff officer presenting on “Dealing with Violence and Harassment in the Workplace.” Mr Peters was able to share some important and surprising information on both the new Violence and Harassment Legislation which came out in August 2011. As well as some changes in who is responsible for the special needs students. We were given definitions and examples of what is considered violent and what is considered harassment. Mr. Peters also gave out a package with the new Legistration and definitions on Workplace Safety and Health Act. If anyone is interesting in one please contact me atjmatteis@wta.mb.ca. This package included the Legislated “Duties of Employers, Supervisors and Workers.”

The biggest surprise to everyone was the change in that resource teachers are now the case managers for special needs students, where before it was the Principal. Also all EAs need to be formally trained in all Practical Arts classes before they can go to the classes they include; woods, electronics, and metals.

The attendees then broke into groups to discuss the questions provided and also any other concerns that they felt were relevant. This also gave them an opportunity to share their experiences in their classroom. Everyone then came back to the big group to share their discussion and ask questions. Some of the concerns that were discussed were as follows;

  • more time is needed to meet with their team
  • the need for consistency across the division
  • there no substitutes sent out for resource teachers which disrupts the programming
  • more classes should be offered at the Faulty for Special Education
  • knowledge of student’s background violence/medical issues
  • more space in the school for students who need time to calm down
  • hire more trained teachers in Special Education issues
  • more Administration support is essential
  • more time within the school day to work on the IEP reports
  • more teachers trained on ASD students
  • better communication between teacher/principal and school board
  • centers are being used as a dumping ground/babysitting

There were also teachers that very concerned that were there not necessarily for safety issues, there was a concern that we as Special Education teachers have forgotten that we work with vulnerable students and we need to advocate for them. We need to remember that inclusion is not a place but rather philosophy by which we provide everyone, regardless of ability, illness, or need. One teacher stated that yes we should be concerned with employee safety, we cannot lose sight of the fact that our responsibility lies in providing all students with adequate programming. While I agree with this statement I do believe we have to take care of ourselves or we will not be able to provide proper programming to our students.

I would like to take this opportunity to give a big thank you to my wonderful committee that has worked very hard all year: Kyla Shore, Paulette Krovats, Joyce Billinkoff, Shahram Hakimelahi, Michelle Bradley Hakimelahi, Lisa Costello, Carol Boyko, Janet Toews and Cree Crowchild.

I would also like to thank the following Executive members for coming out to help at the forum: Dave Najduch, Nathan Martindale, Chris Pammenter, Kristen Insull, Dave Harek, Terry Willerton. In addition, I would like to thank Glenda Shepherd for all her support and help with the administrative work.

 

General Information

Reminders…

  1. Please remember that the staff vacancy bulletins will start to appear online and in print in May. They are available for teachers to read when they wish, however you still must adhere to the timelines provided.
  2. If you are contemplating maternity leave during the summer months and need more information please contact either Henry Shyka or Nancy Kerr – 888-7961 regarding Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Manulife Extended Travel Coverage

Please be advised that for WTA members who are anticipating extended periods of travel (i.e. those individuals who are going on Deferred Salary Leave Plan (DSLP)) Manulife will only cover the extended travel if individuals have the prior approval of Manitoba Health to extend provincial health coverage for the length of their travel. If you do not obtain Manitoba Health’s approval for the full duration of your travel you will not have Manulife’s extended travel coverage for that portion for which provincial coverage does not exist. In this event, we suggest the purchase of individual travel insurance.

Council Meeting Dates for 2012/2013

(5:45 PM – McMaster House Arnett Auditorium unless otherwise stated. Snack will be provided in the lobby outside the auditorium.)

September 20th, 2012 Note: 4:30 PM start – Council Dinner
October 16th, 2012 Note: 4:30 PM start – mini-PD session
November 12th, 2012
December 5th, 2012
January 23rd, 2013
February 21st, 2013 Note: 4:30 PM start – mini-PD session
March 11th, 2013 Note: Election Forum
April 22nd, 2013 Note: 4:30 PM start – mini-PD session
May 14th, 2013 Note: WTA AGM
June 10th, 2013 Note: WTA DSA Reception
WTA Retirement Reception TBD

Electoral Units Absent at the April Council meeting:

Adult EAL, Children of the Earth, College Churchill, David Livingstone, Dufferin, Fort Rouge, Glenelm, Interdivisional Student Services, John M. King, Machray, Montrose, Mulvey, Special Ed., Substitutes, Support Services, WAEC, WAEC – 700 Elgin Ave. and Wolseley.

The views expressed in articles in the Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association