This is the official blog of the Point Grey Secondary School Parents Advisory Committee.
|Posted by pgparents on February 12, 2012 at 8:35 PM||comments (0)|
NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release 2012LCITZ0003-000134 Feb. 9, 2012
Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government Assistant deputy minister to report on teachers' talks
VICTORIA -Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government Minister Margaret MacDiarmid has instructed the assistant deputy minister of industrial relations to report on the likelihood of a negotiated settlement between the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA).
The minister appointed Trevor Hughes to inquire into the dispute in response to a request from Education Minister George Abbott. Hughes has been with the labour ministry since October 2008 after gaining 16 years of direct collective bargaining and labour relations experience in the broader public sector. The industrial relations division of the ministry monitors and, when requested, offers assistance in collective bargaining disputes that impact the public interest. Hughes will meet with the parties over the next two weeks and provide a report to MacDiarmid by Thursday, Feb. 23.
Quote: Minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government Margaret MacDiarmid - "Minister Abbott has asked for and I have agreed to seek an expert assessment of whether or not the parties will be able to reach a negotiated settlement. During this process, I encourage the union and the employers' association to continue working towards an agreement and hope they can reach a resolution to this matter on their own."
Contact: Melody Wey Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government 250 508-5030 Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect
BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC)
Suite 200, 4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, BC V5C 6C6
(P) 604-687-4433 ext. 100 w Toll Free 1-866-529-4397 w (F) 604-687-4488
|Posted by pgparents on January 18, 2012 at 5:45 PM||comments (0)|
From the Vancouver Sun (Janet Steffenhagen reporting):
Education Minister George Abbott is planning a one-hour "Twitter chat" Thursday to get public feedback on his government's plan for education reform.
In a release today, his ministry said the Twitter chat is part of its "commitment to public engagement to shape BC's Education Plan."
Abbott hopes to get tweets from teachers, students, parents and administrators on the question of what the curriculum should look like in a school that promotes personalized learning.
The Twitter chat is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. and can be accessed by using the hashtag #bcedplan.
The ministry released a vague plan for education reform in October and then created a website (http://www.bcedplan.ca) to receive public input. "The world has changed . . . the way we educate our children should too," says the website, which calls for more personalized learning, better use of technology and increased parental involvement.
Thursday will mark the second time that Abbott has engaged in a Twitter chat about education.
|Posted by pgparents on December 6, 2011 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
Last night, the PAC voted on the teachers' wish list at an extraordinary PAC meeting. If you'd like to read the list of things we decided to purchase, please go to the "PAC" tab. Here is the letter we sent to teachers after the meeting:
Dear Point Grey Teachers, This evening, the PAC voted to purchase $31,794 in items and resources for the school. That sounds like a lot, but we barely made a dent in the wish list and some very deserving departments did not get anything. If that has happened to you, please don't feel abandoned. We are starting some new fundraisers and we hope to be able to make more purchases soon. We will not forget you.
Just over $25,000 of our money came from gaming grants, which are very restricted in their use. They can only be used for extra-curricular enrichment, field trips and clubs, etc -- not for classroom use. Since the gaming grant program began, the PAC's tradition has been to give $6,000 in gaming funds to the Music/Fine Arts program and $2000 to the Mini, and we did that. We also prioritized student club requests, as these fit best with the intention of the funds. We directed the remaining funds to the library and to a cart of iPads that could be used by students anywhere in the school, a ping pong table and a field trip for the Life Skills class.
Fortunately, we are allowed to spend the money we've fundraised on anything we wish. With the $4400 we have earned from gift card sales, movie night and a direct appeal, we prioritized requests that came from heads of departments, taking into consideration the purchases we've recently made, whether the department had another way to get the item, and whether we could afford it. We did not want to buy half a projector-and-laptop set, for example. The decisions were very hard and if you didn't receive money from this budget it was only because we had too little. We also provided money for fans because we were alarmed at the stories of kids and teachers fainting in south-facing classrooms.
Finally, two parents donated a total of $2100 in the past couple of days. Those funds were directed to specific departments or classes. At this time, I cannot give you the names of the donors, but we are extremely grateful to them for thinking of the school. Please check the attached list to see if your department is receiving funds. If you don't receive the attachment, please send me an email: email@example.com. The first page explains the gaming grant rules (very important if you are receiving gaming grant funds) and the second page lists the items we voted for. Again, I can't emphasize how challenging this decision-making process was. We tried to consult all the teachers through SurveyMonkey and email and then weigh requests carefully. I met with Greg Mar to discuss the school's technology plans. He also told me that the school might be able to help with some of the items on the wish list, and we considered that information carefully. Several members of the executive met last night for an extended discussion of the list. Our recommendations were approved at tonight's extraordinary PAC meeting.
In addition to continuing our fundraising, we are actively trying to find items for your classrooms in a more direct way. For example, at tonight's meeting one parent offered to donate a brand new printer, another may be able to give two high-quality pping-pong tables, and we may also be able to obtain a television or two. If you would like something that parents might have at home, please let me know and I'll add the item to our online "things teachers need" list. Again, I can't tell you how sorry we all are that we can't buy everything on your wish list. We will keep working at it.
And, finally, a heads' up for next year. Rather than purchasing things on the wish list that just by chance qualifiy for gaming grant funds and also guaranteeing $6000 to Music and $2000 to Mini, we may opt to give every department some funds for enrichment like field trips or guest speakers, that departments could spend at their own discretion (provided that they meet the grant rules). This will depend on any changes that might be made to the gaming grant rules, but I thought I'd let you know in advance.
With best wishes,Maureen Bayless, PAC co-chair
|Posted by pgparents on November 28, 2011 at 4:15 PM||comments (2)|
Our Virtual PAC member, Scott Rose, commented on The Flipped Classroom:
"Thanks for bringing this to our attention. There is a whole lot of interest in this approach at the post-secondary level, at least in the US. Part of the thinking is that since a lecture is largely a one-way communication-- particularly in this era of auditorium-sized classrooms-- you lose little and gain much by delivering recorded lectures prepared by the very best lecturers and preserving the local instructor resources for 1:1 interactions. Institutions like Stanford and MIT are putting Computer Science lectures by their best people up for free. Not sure how much spread there has been to other disciplines."
|Posted by pgparents on November 28, 2011 at 4:05 PM||comments (2)|
The Globe and Mail has an article about the "flipped classroom" in today's paper, the first of a 5 part feature on education. Some of you might be interested to read it (here), especially as Point Grey's #1 goal on our school's growth plan is to "leverage the use of technology."
The flipped classroom is a setup where students watch high-quality lectures at home and then do their work with their teacher's help at school. This is the reverse of the current usual setup, where teachers lecture or teach in the classroom and homework is done at home.
It's an arrangement that is becoming increasingly common and apparently has surprisingly good results sometimes, including for inner city classrooms (eg. Detroit).
For me, the main message is that technology is a tool. You can purchase iPads or laptops but just putting them into the school building won't make a difference: you have to think about how to make the technology work for your school community. Sometimes, this involves some creative thinking about how class time is structured.
It was interesting to me to see that individual teachers are flipping their classes just to see what happens. It's not something that the whole school or district has to decide in advance.
Here's the beginning of the article:
This fall, Graham Johnson gave up lecturing to his students. YouTube, he figured, could handle that.
So he had his math classes at Okanagan Mission Secondary School in Kelowna, B.C., watch prerecorded video lessons from home – freeing up school time for one-on-one work.
Turns out pixelated teaching works well: His students’ grades are up about 5 per cent.[...]
|Posted by pgparents on November 28, 2011 at 1:05 PM||comments (3)|
Teachers Job Action
At the City-wide PAC meeting in October, our DPAC was asked to write to the Teachers and BC Public School Employers Council to convey concerns on behalf of our PACs.
This is the letter that was sent out.
November 17, 2011
BC Teachers’ Federation
100 - 550 West 6th Avenue
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Attention: Susan Lambert, President
400-1333 West Broadway,
Attention: Melanie Joy, Chair
Dear Ms Lambert and Ms Joy,
Representatives of the 109 Parent Advisory Councils (PACS) within District #39 requested that theVancouver District Parents Advisory Council (VDPAC) express our growing frustration with the lack of progress in concluding the bargaining between Teachers and their employer.
DPAC acknowledges the professional and focused effort of the leadership within the Vancouver School Board to make plans to support the frontline staff and minimize impacts to our children whenever possible. We admire the personal efforts of some of our children’s teachers and their frontline administrators to minimize the impact to our children. We also have respected and supported the collective bargaining process between the organizations by waiting quietly and patiently for its conclusion.
Nevertheless the above efforts can be sustained for only so long and our growing concerns are that as bargaining stretches to three months of the school year, with no foreseeable end near, we are starting to see signs that we have reached the capacity to maintain the norm with impacts to our children increasing in number and volume. We are very frustrated with the lack of clear and consistent information on the progress of bargaining which adds to our concerns. Most information we are receiving is reactive and unreliable.
VDPAC represents the clients served by both the VSB and the teacher associations, and we request that the Bargaining teams for both the teachers and the education employers re-focus your bargaining strategy and increase your efforts to conclude your collective bargaining quickly and respectfully. VDPAC further requests that during the remaining bargaining period you improve the frequency and reliability of information to families to aid in reducing our concerns.
We look forward to a speedy conclusion of the present, unacceptable state of affairs.
Colin Redfern (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jennifer West (email@example.com)
Co-Chairs on behalf of the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council
Cc Honourable George Abbott, Minister of Education
Steve Cardwell, Superintendent, School District 39
Trustees, School District 39
Hugh Finlayson, CEO, BCCPSEA
Vancouver DPAC Executive
Ann Whiteaker, President, BCCPAC
|Posted by pgparents on November 21, 2011 at 11:50 PM||comments (0)|
Three of the candidates for Parks Board commissioner who responded to our concern about ice time for girls' hockey have been elected: Niki Sharma, Constance Barnes and Trevor Loke.
Congratulations to them. I look forward to following up with them about hockey!
|Posted by pgparents on November 16, 2011 at 8:05 PM||comments (0)|
Thank you to Courier reporter Megan Stewart, who wrote about our girls' hockey team trying to get better ice time. This reporter took the time to interview Mori Hamilton (the coach), me, and people at the Parks Board before writing the story. And there's a nice photo of the team included.
"In 10 years, the skaters on the Point Grey high school hockey team haven't played more than two games at the nearby Kerrisdale "Cyclone Taylor" Arena where they practice, according to the team's coach.Ice time, always in high demand at Vancouver's eight public rinks, isn't available after school to host games at the Kerrisdale rink.
"The times from 3 to 8 o'clock are golden times. We're definitely down the hierarchy of users," said Mori Hamilton, a Point Grey teacher and the Greyhounds' hockey coach.
"The main thing is that I don't want ice time that doesn't exist and for our league I don't want anything that isn't fair. I want to make sure our voices are heard because this group of users is one that if they don't have this hockey, this opportunity, then they don't play."
Read the rest online or in the paper that comes to your doorstep.
|Posted by pgparents on November 14, 2011 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
Municipal elections across BC will be held on November 19th, this coming Saturday.
To read about school trustee candidates in Vancouver, click here.
Remember to do your research. Read about the candidates. You will be surprised at what some of them stand for. For example, one of them observes, "MY FORMER PUBLIC EMPLOYER HAS ACCUSED ME OF BEING “A RISK FOR CONTINUED OR EVEN ESCALATING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE ...OF COURSE THE ISSUE FOR THE ELECTORATE IS WHETHER OR NOT IT IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST THAT SOMEONE SO WIDELY CHARACTERIZED IN SUCH NEGATIVE FASHION BE ALLOWED TO STAND FOR ELECTION TO PUBLIC OFFICE."
Vote for people you believe will help our schools. Take a list in with you when you vote. This matters!
|Posted by pgparents on November 14, 2011 at 2:15 PM||comments (0)|
Everyone is warmly invited to attend our PAC meeting. Look for us in the staff room at 7 pm on Tuesday, November 15th.