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Kootenay Lake Superintendent Jeff Jones sends out letter to parents regarding six-month teacher dispute

Dear Parents:

It is February, and the strike action taken by members of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) throughout the Province of British Columbia is still continuing.

This is the sixth month of their action, and this marks a year of collective bargaining.

At this point, teachers are still in Phase One of their action. This phase of the teachers’ job action focusses on the withdrawal of many services normally provided by teachers.

School and district administrators have continued to be required to assume many of these responsibilities in order for our schools to continue to function with as little impact on students as possible.

I would like to remind you that there are many issues underpinning this job action. If you would like more information, I invite you to visit our website www.sd8.bc.ca .

I strongly advise that you visit the British Columbia School Employers’ Association Website as well www.bcpsea.bc.ca .
There are three matters I would like to bring to your attention at this time.

School and District Administrators

The workload of our school and district administrators has increased significantly during this six months. In addition to their normal workloads, administrators have taken up duties normally carried out by our teaching staff.

Our District is very concerned about the toll this strike action is taking, especially on our Principals and Vice Principals. As a result, we have asked our Administrators to carefully determine what activities they can
continue to support.

Unfortunately, there will be instances where some activities simply cannot continue in our schools without the involvement of teachers.
We are asking the parents of our students to be patient, and recognize that timelines and turnaround time for information will need to be extended. Also recognize some activities may not be able to be facilitated anymore.

Report Cards

Some of the specific activities that the BCTF indicated teachers will not engage in during their current strike activity include the following:

1. Prepare or distribute report cards; and

2. Provide any student assessment data to Administrative Officers or the school office, except Grade 12 marks required for graduation, post-secondary applications and scholarship purposes.

Previously, school districts were directed by the Ministry to issue report cards, even if they were blank. Since that time, the Ministry has changed its position, and now has directed that where teachers have refused to complete official report cards, the District does not need to send out blank report cards.

Therefore, you will only be receiving a report card if your child has completed a grade 12 course or courses.
The BCTF have made it clear on their website that “parents can contact teachers to set up a meeting at a mutually agreeable time.” Therefore, if you wish to receive an update with regard to your son or daughter’s achievements in semester one and are not receiving final grades for some or all courses at this time, you are invited to contact the appropriate teacher(s) by either email or phone.

What Can (Parents or Guardians) Do?

We recognize that there is an increasing sense of frustration regarding this issue in our communities. If you would like to, you could certainly express your concerns to the Minister of Education, BCPSEA, or the BCTF:

Minister of Education:

HONOURABLE GEORGE ABBOTT
PO BOX 9045 STN PROV GOVT
VICTORIA BC V8W 9E2
Telephone: 250-387-1977
Fax: 250-387-3200
EMAIL: minister.educ@gov.bc.ca

BCPSEA:

400-1333 West Broadway,
Vancouver BC V6H 4C1
T: 604-730-0739 F: 604-730-0787
EMAIL: contact.us@bcpsea.bc.ca

BCTF:

100 - 550 West 6th Avenue
Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 4P2
T: 604-871-2283 Toll free: 1-800-663-9163
EMAIL: susan@bctf.ca

Sincerely,

Jeff Jones
Superintendent of Schools/CEO
jjones@sd8.bc.ca