I have been receiving several emails asking about whether any progress has been made with the current labour dispute and whether I have any resources to share so that students can start working on some of their studies. So, I’ll start with the latest update on the strike.
Vince Ready has been the mediator assigned to help both parties work through their differences. The positive news is that Mr. Ready has been meeting since last night with Jim Iker, President of the BC Teachers Federation and Peter Cameron, lead negotiator for the BC Public Employers Association. While I have not heard anything about what has come from those talks, it is good to hear that they are meeting again and that the negotiating teams for both sides are on standby in Vancouver to join those talks when appropriate. The reality is that if Mr. Ready is able to bring the BCTF and BCPSEA closer together with their requests, such that the rest of the negotiating teams are able to join in, it’s very possible that things will move quickly to see students and staff back in our schools. The latest rumour on Twitter is that there will be an announcement this afternoon indicating that both sides are ready to mediate again. Fingers crossed at this point that we see an end to this dispute very soon.
I have had multiple requests for timetables and textbooks. When counsellors are back, they will need to program all our new registrations and reprogram those students who could not take summer school due to the strike. This may result in us needing to reorganize classes. If this happens, it is very possible that timetables may change. So, at the moment, we are very reluctant to provide timetables, knowing that there is a real possibility that they will be changing. With respect to textbooks, we are also hesitant to hand them out because once we reconvene, we will be placing our focus on getting students into classes and getting classes up and running as quickly as possible. While we will do our best to make the start-up positive for students, I can tell you that it will not be as smooth as it traditionally has been. We expect that when we reconvene, the first day will be a typical first day with distributing timetables and then releasing students so that teachers can begin planning for classes to commence the following day. Given the challenging start-up that we anticipate, collecting textbooks back from students during the first week presents us with a further challenge at a time when we need to focus on getting our school back up and running.
Here are a few resources if your child is interesting in beginning some of his/her studies:
- One primary resource is the Ministry parent site, BC Parent Info, which includes many useful resources for all grade levels as well as OpenSchool BC online course material. The Learning Resources page can be found at http://bcparentinfo.ca/learning-resources/
- I’d also recommend LearnNowBC:
o http://www.learnnowbc.ca/LearningResources.aspx - includes more resources, often grade specific, including digital activities and videos
o http://www.learnnowbc.ca/studycentre/default.aspx – offers free online tutoring services
- There are also several student resources on our school district web-site, including math lessons at:
From the number of emails I’ve received from parents, it’s very evident that the majority of angst right now is coming from grade 12 students. My suggestion is that Grade 12 students begin to work on Grad Transitions. This is something that they are able to do from home and can get a lot of it completed before school starts. The link below will take them to all the information they need to begin working:
Several grade 12 students are also wondering what will happen with post secondary admission requirements due to the current strike. At this point, we have heard from UBC who has indicated that admissions for grade 12 students in public schools should not be affected. The message below is directly from UBC:
“We recognize that this is a challenging time for public schools as the current dispute between the BCTF and Government continues. We want to provide you some information about how UBC is working to provide information that we hope will help students at this time, and for counsellors, once you return to work. The three messages we wish to convey at this time are:
* Admission to UBC should not be affected by the job action
* Our campuses are open for students and families to visit to receive the information they need
* We will be timely and swift to provide counsellors what they need, as early as possible
The Associate Director of Admissions has recently published the following entry on our Admissions blog<https://account.you.ubc.ca/ubc/link/551F38C0759D14ED43029BCD24690EDB>. The core of the message is that we do not expect that admissions decisions will be affected as long as we have (at least some) senior-year grades available in March. We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with you should the need arise.”
Given that public school students make up the majority of students in BC, we expect that post secondary schools (at least in BC) will make accommodations for grade 12 students due to the current labour dispute. So, at this moment, I’m not panicking. Our teachers will find ways to make up work missed over the past two weeks, expecially given that the first week of school was really a partial week.
Grade 12 students can also begin searching the internet for various scholarship opportunities. For example, the Loran Scholarships are now being advertised at http://loranscholar.ca/spread-the-word/. Riverside is only able to sponsor our top three applicants, but students may also apply into the direct pool entry without nomination from the school. Beginnng the process of finding and applying for scholarships will assist students in creating a scholarship package that they can use to apply for all of our school based scholarships that we will advertise in the coming months.
That’s it for now. I apologize in advance if my response to your emails is not as quick as I normally get back to you. We are doing our best at replying to the numerouse emails we are receiving daily. This strike is going to end and when it does, we will all feel like we are back into a normal routine within a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more updates to come.
Riverside Secondary School
2215 Reeve Street
Port Coquitlam, BC, V3C 6K8