Check-in, November 20th, 2017

Hi County! Happy Monday.

Let’s start off with another huge shout-out to members of the Social Wellness committee for all their hard work organizing the Thor-Ragnarock movie event. I had an opportunity to speak with a number of teachers who attended and, as always, it was very well received. Thanks to the whole team for all their great work on the event.

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Check-in, November 14th, 2017

Good morning County.

Two feel good pieces to start off your week. First off, we have started distributing gift cards from the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario, and have managed to get them out to a number of schools through the reps. These cards were originally designated to be put towards a teacher luncheon on Teacher Appreciation Day in October, but we were unable to distribute them in time. If your school has not yet received your gift cards, they will be mailed out this week, and, if you are willing and able, drop us a quick line as to how they will be used. I would love to have that information (and maybe some pictures) for my next monthly report. Read more

Check-in, October 30th, 2017

Good morning County. Happy Monday!

I hope many of you had a chance to partake in the Professional Association PD day on Friday. If you did, the appropriate reimbursement form can be found by accessing myhrsb and looking under article 60. The provincial conference day information is right at the top. (

Last week, the substitute shortage hit the airways, and I know that many of you are feeling the pinch. HRSB sent a list out last week to principals of all the efforts they are making in order to secure substitutes, which includes a fairly aggressive recruiting strategy. While we applaud the board’s efforts, we also have a very keen interest in exploring how the board is working to reduce stress levels amongst staff. We all know that stress is a major contributing factor to personal wellness, but there have been a string of announcements that have come out from the HRSB recently that have seemed to only increase stress amongst the members. We are hoping that we can work with HRSB to find ways they can help maintain a healthy workforce, thus reducing the need for substitutes. Read more

Check-In, October 23, 2017

Hello there County! Happy Monday.

A few key issues were burning up my airways last week, and I would like to address a few, as much as I can.

First of all, the new HRSB staff attendance policy, which is actually called the ATTENDANCE SUPPORT POLICY FOR EMPLOYEES does not apply to NSTU members for the 2017-18 school year. I mention this again because I was seeing some concerns expressed this past weekend on social media. This is a program that the HRSB is rolling out  which is, according to the board, meant to be supportive of staff who are missing time. Although we recognize the right of the employer to monitor attendance, we do have some concerns, particularly around member privacy. We are working with the provincial NSTU body on this, and will be monitoring this program closely as it is rolled out across bargaining units. Read more

Check-In, October 16th, 2017

Good Morning, County. Happy Monday!

Last week was relatively quiet, with a few key exceptions. To start with, we did have a general meeting on Wednesday, October 11th, and elected a brand new Social and Wellness chair to take the place of Preman Edwards who has moved on to a staff officer position with the NSTU. Thanks to both Jason Jennings and Mona MacNeil for putting their names forward, and a big congratulations to Mona who will be joining the executive team! Read more

Check-In, October 10th, 2017

Good morning, County! I hope that all of you who partook in the Thanksgiving tradition are enjoying your turkey sandwiches today.

First of all, thank you to everyone who responded with your concerns about the extended P-2 school day. I have amassed quite a list of issues and will bring them to the attention of HRSB. They did have the right to extend the school day, but it is my hope that, with the help of your input, they will recognize a need to provide more supports for teachers who are struggling with the transition. Read more

Check-In, October 2nd, 2017

Hello County! Happy Monday!

I hope that your PD days of last week were of value to you as we head into month #2 of the 2017/18 school year.

Last week was busy here, as we had both a management/teacher meeting as well as two days of regional negotiations. By now, most schools should have copies of the asking packages, and I hope that you have found time to review it. Trust that we are working hard on your behalf!

I did bring forward some key issues at management teacher, including the removal of small appliances. I will be going into this in more detail at our next general meeting on October 11, but suffice it to say that the directive to remove personal appliances was not altered in any way. Read more

Check-In, September 25th, 2017

Good morning County! Happy Monday.

As you may have heard by now, the DoEECD, with the help of the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions, last week released its long awaited attendance policy.

At first blush, the policy does seem to be a legitimate attempt to provide educators with a framework within which they can work to support increased student attendance. There are, however, still many questions to be answered about how the policy will be implemented, and to what extent the new policy increases workload. The Operational Plan contains the most detailed summary of the new policy, and I would encourage all members to become familiar with the document, and would ask that you forward your thoughts and concerns on to me. Read more

Check- In, September 18th, 2017

Good Morning County,

I hope your first week went well.

As school begins in earnest and folks start to settle into a routine, I would like to take a moment to reflect on “The new normal” and what I am hearing from teachers. Of course, one of the unfortunate truths of this gig is that my phone seldom rings when people are happy. However, the first week here was remarkably quiet.

What I did hear, however, was a bit disquieting. Read more

Welcome Back to a New Year

And away we go! Our first full week is here!

I know that for many of you, start up has been challenging. I hope that you have had a chance to read my message from last week and have looked for ways to put the caregiver 1st.

With that in mind, I have been getting many questions about what teachers “must do” versus what they “may be asked to do” as we start up the 2017-18 school year. This is a very complex question, with what may seem to be some wishy-washy answers, but I will try to do my best to give you some guidelines. Read more