|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 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.
|Posted by pgparents on October 28, 2011 at 8:05 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by pgparents on October 15, 2011 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
Everyone is warmly encouraged to come to our October PAC meeting on Tuesday the 18th at 7 PM in the staff room.
Teacher Sue Inglis will update us on the job action (and we'll feed her tea and cookies). The Point Grey principal, Irfan Sheikh, will let us know what's coming up at Point Grey. Student Council will let us know how their plans to increase community spirit are coming along. And we'll unveil a top secret, highly exciting whole-community event for December.
See you there!
|Posted by pgparents on October 15, 2011 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
This is an excerpt from the Vancouver Sun. To see the whole story by Tristin Hopper (Post Media News) click here.
Toronto philanthropist Schulich serves up endowment of $100 M
|Posted by pgparents on October 6, 2011 at 1:10 AM||comments (0)|
The Vancouver Sun has a story that explains the worrying need for seismic upgrades to schools, and the vast cost just for Vancouver schools alone. I'm posting this because a parent who came to our first PAC meeting asked how safe our school was and expressed concern about letting her son attend.
Here's an excerpt:
VANCOUVER -- Seismic upgrades to 48 of the city of Vancouver’s most vulnerable schools will cost $618 million, about 40 per cent of the amount budgeted for the entire province, according to a consultant’s report released Wednesday.
The B.C. Ministry of Education, which largely financed the report, announced $1.5 billion over 15 years in 2005 to seismically upgrade more than 700 of the province’s schools.
The $618 million would cover bare-bones seismic upgrades. But Vancouver school board of chairwoman Patti Bacchus said many schools require major renovations that should be done at the same time, which means her district would need more than $1 billion on its own.
The 48 schools identified in the report have structures that are considered by consultants to be high risk in the event of a “significant seismic event.”
That means those buildings could sustain “widespread damage,” or “structural failure” in the event of a major earthquake in the region, according to the report.
In many cases, it makes sense to take care of major building renovations at the same time as the seismic upgrade, said Bacchus.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to move students out of a building for two years, to open it up and seismically upgrade it and not replace electrical, heating or plumbing or a new roof that we know needs doing.”
The total cost to replace all of the 48 seismically at-risk schools is estimated at $857 million. For 16 of the 48 schools listed, the estimated cost of replacing the school is equal to or less than the cost of seismically upgrading the existing building or buildings. Six years ago, when officials were looking at the issue, no one anticipated that it would be cheaper to build new schools than to upgrade old ones, Bacchus said.
But the more the auditors, who were well-versed in how buildings respond in earthquakes, investigated, it became apparent how bad the construction was and the extensive nature of the work required to reinforce the buildings, Bacchus said.
“A lot of these buildings are around 100 years old. They’ve got rubble foundations, unreinforced masonry in many cases ... some of the worst construction materials and techniques for a seismically active zone,” she said.
Buildings deemed as having high heritage value are identified as some of the most expensive to upgrade. Consultants peg the cost of seismically upgrading John Oliver secondary, the most expensive school on the list, at $44.1 million. Throw in some renovations and the tab rises to $66.2 million. Because of their heritage value, these buildings are also the least likely to be replaced.
Edited to add: Click here to read the Ministry's rating of seismic safety for individual schools in the province. Point Grey's risk is considered "high".
|Posted by pgparents on September 28, 2011 at 1:30 AM||comments (0)|
We had our first PAC meeting of the year and it was a significant one. I'll post the minutes later, but for now I'll just say that Sue Inglis (teacher rep) gave an extremely helpful, in-depth glimpse into the job action, its purpose and its effects on the school. Two student council representatives (Tessa and Max) cheered parents by describing all the things that students are up to, such as Club's Day. And Irfan Sheikh, the principal, gave a detailed picture of the decision-making around class composition, the issue of school fees, and more.
Keren introduced the idea she's come up with for a new fundraiser: a movie night at Oakridge.This was very well received and several people came forward to help.
Because of all the material covered by the other speakers, I did not give my Chair's report. In case you're interested, here it is in rough note form:
-Our PAC website has been updated and has a blog. The blog seems like the best place to put opinions, while the website carries archived minutes, gift card forms, and information about upcoming events. www.pointgreyparents.com
-A huge thank you to Fran Alexander for making the Point Lines. This took her umpteenhours. Point Lines are student phone books and you can buy one from the PAC for $3.
-On September 16, I made a presentation to the Gaming Review on behalf of our PAC. I asked the Gaming Review to consider allowing PACs morediscretion in the way that we spend the gaming grant funds, so that they can better reflect our students’ needs and interests. You can read the presentationon our website, and I think that it will also be posted on the Gaming Review’swebsite along with all the other presentations.
-Next month, we’ll elect 3 parents to the School PlanningCouncil. If you’d like to stand for election to theSPC, please let me know or contact Irfan. Your main qualification should be that you care about all the kids in the school, particularly those who need extra support.
-The job action has been somewhat challenging because as parents,we want to rush in and help with fee collection and so on. Many of us offered to collect money because we didn’t understand that teachers couldn’t accept our help. Sue and Irfan were extremely helpful in helping the PAC understand what was going on and what we could do. Without a good flow of honest information parents couldn’t be involved in a meaningful way, so we appreciate their help. In the office, Signe and Janet helped us with some logistical issues like Synrevoice and snail mail.
-One thing that we have learned from past job actions and the last strike is that a community is easily divided at times like this even though the job action is a province-wide action. So, the best thing that we can do is to be as supportive and understanding of our teachers, staff and administrators as we can be, so that our community comes through this as close asever. Our PAC executive is sponsoring Random Acts of Cookies: where parents leave plates of cookies with a friendly note in the staff room. If you think you could drop off some baking or perhaps a fruit plate or some flowers from your garden, just goahead and do it. You can’t have too many cookies during a time of stress! Itwould be great if you could email me so that I can keep track. And, please note whether there are nuts or peanuts in your baking.