Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Fair Hiring Practices; Red on Friday; What's really going to happen in our classrooms, Retirement Planning Workshop

Fair Hiring Practices under Threat 
As many of our TVOT members have recognized, this government is threatening to do away with Regulation 274 which legislates Teacher/LTO hiring across Ontario.  TVOT members are concerned about losing transparency in the hiring process and they worry about a return to hiring based on "who you know" or being "the right fit" for a position with no clear path to permanency.  Those on the LTO List are concerned that the newly graduated will leap-frog into LTOs and permanent hires without ever honing their skills as the sole authority in the class.
Prior to Regulation 274, our Local had identified a pool of Occasional Teachers who were so successful in their LTOs that Principals would call them first for full year assignments, yet these same people could not get a permanent position (unless one became available in that school) because they were anonymous to the rest of the system.  Regulation 274 successfully moved these OTs into permanent positions within one year.
Judging one candidate a better fit over another neglects the fact that a Teacher's credentials will change over their career and it overlooks that a Teacher is hired to the Board and not to a specific school where those needs and/or the Principal may change in a just few years.
As we have seen before, rather than address any flaws or challenges, this government is all too quick to revert to past practice and so Regulation 274 is on the line.
ETFO has developed a website making it easy to add your voice to those who want to preserve fair hiring so we urge you to visit https://buildingbetterschools.ca/fairhiring at your earliest opportunity.
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RED for EDucation Campaign
Provincial ETFO urges all ETFO members (Teachers and Occasional Teachers) to wear "Red for EDucation" every Friday moving forward in protest of the continuing cuts to education. We are all aware that thousands of children who are dealing with autism will be returning to our classrooms in April with very little additional support. This is not good for anyone. The government predicts that their newly announced increase in class size will result in a loss of 18,000 teaching positions over the next four years. How is this good for students? 
This Friday, stand in solidarity with your fellow ETFO members and wear RED for EDucation .
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Beyond the smoke and mirrors - what's really going to happen in our classrooms?
by Diane Dewing, OTF President:
The recent announcement by the Ontario Minister of Education reveals the true goals of the Ford government and they are not pretty. Forget the issue to cell phones and sex education - essentially these issues are smoke and mirrors for the government to distract parents from the real issue of an estimated $ 1.4 billion being cut from public education.

What's going to happen to our kids in the classroom? Well, if you take a small secondary school of 700, the proposed change in average class size from 22 to 28 means a reduction of seven teachers. This translates to larger classes for compulsory secondary school subjects, loss of smaller programs such as technology, and puts our most vulnerable students at risk of not having supports within the school. These job losses will negatively impact the programs and quality of the education of all Ontario's students.

Online courses may be meant to compensate for the thousands of teacher job losses. Evidence proves that these courses are only effective for some students. An Ontario Student Trustees' Association (OSTA) survey of 2017 showed that 75% of student respondents rated online courses as not giving comparable-quality learning capabilities of the classroom. Making online courses mandatory puts vulnerable students at greater risk.  The support of a real teacher in a real classroom is the best answer for our students.

Although the Ontario Government still has not released the consultation results to which it refers, OTF doubts that parents want to see fewer programs and supports for their children, thousands of teacher jobs lost, or a move to mandatory online secondary credits.

Ontario's public education system has earned world-wide recognition as one of the best. Premier Ford is not keeping his election promise; instead, he and his government are threatening our children's hopes for the future.
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Retirement Planning Workshop
District 8, Retired Teachers of Ontario, is hosting a Retirement Planning Workshop on Saturday, April 6 at the Best Western Lamplighter on Wellington Rd. S. in London from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm, registration starts at 10:00 am.  Hot & Cold buffet Lunch at 12:00 pm.  All members and their spouses/partners are invited to attend this workshop at no charge. This workshop will include presentations about the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and the RTO Health Benefits plan.

Register online: rto-ero.org/rpw
Questions? rpw@rto-ero.org or 1-800-361-9888




Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Elementary OT paid PD opportunities - Remainder of the year & New web-based Leave Request Process

To help everyone who has not used their paid PD entitlement of 6 half days,  the Board has sent the following detailing the opportunities for the remainder of the year to assist with your PD planning. All paid elementary OT opportunities are located under Conference/Session Registrations, Elementary Occasional Teacher PD 2018-2019.

April 5th

  • OTEs who are interested in taking advantage of the Self-directed option for this date are invited to participate. Schools are doing a half day PD around school improvement; OTEs cannot be paid for the health and safety that day. It is a great opportunity to network with colleagues and learn about schools where you may regularly teach. Interested OTEs should speak to the principal at their school of interest. A Principal Permission Form must be submitted before the PD day, 3 days is best. Full details are under the session title.
  • OTEs can choose to do an on-line PD session for the other half day if they wish.
April 25th

  • ETFO is organizing another evening paid PD session. Details will be coming out later in late March or early April. These evening sessions will be processed in TVARRIS to a half day when you are not working. Information will come through the OT Elementary Outlook group.
June 7th

  • Health and Safety training will be offered in half day sessions for OTEs. This half day session is a learning opportunity beyond the mandatory training that OTEs must do. The day covers safety policies, safety plans for management of aggressive behaviour, accident incident procedures, water testing and air quality and employee mental health.
  • OTEs can choose to do an on-line PD session for the other half day if they wish.


June 28th

  • Mandatory training must be completes by end of day on June 28th. There will be an email sent through the Occasional Teacher Elementary Outlook group which will detail how to access the training. The training will be processed to this date.
  • Last day to do on-line PD sessions - only one can be dated June 28th. On-line PD forms and resources cannot be accessed after this date.

If you have any questions about these PD opportunities, please connect with Charlene Hofbauer, ext. 20506 or c.hofbauer@tvdsb.ca

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TVDSB has developed a new web-based leave request process using LaserFiche to create a consistent, efficient, online method for employees to submit HR approved leave requests. Employees can access this online form through the employee portal rather than having to send an email. HR will send out more details soon and the new process will be implemented for all permanent staff and Long-Term Occasional Teachers by March 18th.
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Please note there will not be a blog posting next Wednesday, March 13 due to the office being closed for March Break.
Wishing everyone a good week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tomorrow is the deadline; Don't Make the Children Pay; More Paid PD

Tomorrow is the Last Day
Just a reminder that currently there is only one route from the OT Roster to the LTO List - you must apply to be interviewed.  This means that even if you are currently in a long-term assignment, if you are not already on the LTO List, you will need to apply.  Under Regulation 274, the criteria is that you must have been a TVDSB Occasional Teacher for 10 months and taught 20 days and the deadline to apply to be interviewed is February 28, 2019! There are no exceptions.
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Don't Make the Children Pay
The new provincial government has made it clear that their focus is balancing the budget and rather than looking at increasing revenue, they are making ruthless cuts to all services as evidenced by their recent cuts to funding for services to assist autistic children.
The education sector will not escape such cuts unless we make our voices heard. 
We need to protect smaller class sizes, the kindergarten programme, the physical condition of our schools and the special needs of some of our students.
Make you voice heard by visiting this link and taking action:
https://www.buildingbetterschools.ca/take_action

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Coming Up - Another After School Paid PD Opportunity
Registration for our next after school paid PD event is now open on the Employee Portal for those daily Occasional Teachers or LTOs in a .5 FTE or less assignment.
As last night's event proved, more than 100 spots filled quickly so we encourage members to take this opportunity to participate in meaningful learning that will enhance your practice.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Paid PD Day, Columbia Sportswear Invitation; Truth about Reg. 274

More than $700 is yours - don't leave it behind!
Do you realize that your six half days of Paid PD (including the half-day reserved for mandatory online training) totals over $700 of salary? Are you aware that you will also receive 3 days of seniority credit, pension credit, three days of the ten needed to remain on the elementary list and 24 hours of credit for purposes of Employment Insurance? Do you know that your Thames Valley OT Local has negotiated the most paid PD of any Board in the Province?
Registration is open for the next paid session on February 26.  Please register via the Employee Portal directly.
  • Click on "Conference/Session Registrations"
  • Scroll down to Elementary Occasional Teacher PD (2018-2019)
  • Click on "Register"
  • Review the session descriptions by clicking on the session title, and indicate which sessions you would like by clicking into the small circle on the left.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Submit/Continue"
  • We recommend that you print your timetable for your records.
At the time a paid professional activity is offered, Occasional Teachers on an LTO or permanent contract with an FTE of 0.5 or higher are not eligible for paid PD. Members in assignments of less than .5 FTE are eligible for half of the paid PD opportunities.  Please remember to submit a Reflection Form at the end of the session in order to drive the payment process (forms will be available at each session).
Please do not hesitate to contact the OT Office or TVDSB Staff Development if you have any questions.
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It's that time - You will find your Columbia Sportswear Employee Store Invitation on the ETFOTVOT website under member services.

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Learn The Truth About Regulation 274 - 

Before 2012 when this hiring legislation came into effect, Boards of Education were notorious for hiring according to nepotism and favouritism.  This Local had already identified a large number of Occasional Teachers in our membership who were very successful in long-term assignments but had difficulty even gaining interviews for permanent positions. They did a great job in their LTOs at one school so they usually got first chance there for full year long-term assignments, thus they were only known in one school -  unless that school had a vacancy for a permanent position, they would not be called to interview. They were exceptional Occasional Teachers who were unknown to the rest of the system.
Though Regulation 274 is far from perfect (we do not agree with screening for a LTO List) it has made hiring practices more accountable and the path to permanent positions, more predictable. 
As we approach this next round of bargaining, be informed.  We encourage all members to check out the independent report commissioned by the Ministry of Education in 2013 available at this link: www.etfo.ca/defendingworkingconditions/bargainingandagreements/pages/reg274.aspx



Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Let's Be Clear...; and Opportunity for an Evening Paid PD on February 26

Let's Clear Up Some Misinformation:
1) FALSE: Occasional Teachers must remain at school 15 minutes after class dismissal
    TRUE: Regulation 298/90, Section 20 (d) states that a teacher must, "unless otherwise assigned by the Principal, be present in the classroom or teaching area ... at least 15 minutes before the commencement of classes in the school in the morning, and, where applicable, five minutes before the commencement of classes in the afternoon." Teachers must remain at school to oversee the safe dismissal of students since Section 20 (g) reminds us we must, "ensure all reasonable safety procedures are carried out in courses and activities for which the Teacher is responsible".
2) FALSE: All Occasional Teachers are paid when schools are closed due to weather.
    TRUE: LTOs in posted assignments are paid for the day. Those in unposted assignments which are evolving into long-term will only be paid if they have passed the 10 day threshold (the count to 10 is not interrupted and resumes when schools reopen.) Daily OTs unfortunately do not qualify for payment per Article 16.05 (b) "In the event of inclement weather, Occasional Teachers will receive information on the status of school closures or delays in openings by the normal Board communication process. Notice of closure due to inclement weather will be deemed to meet the minimum notice requirement ...
3) FALSE: If I am in a long-term assignment, I will automatically be placed on the LTO List.
    TRUE: Currently the only route for someone from the Roster to get onto the LTO List is by succeeding in the interviews, regardless of whether you have completed a long-term assignment and been evaluated.  Applications for interviewing for the LTO List will be accepted until the end of February.
4) FALSE: If I am in a long-term assignment, I should ask for an evaluation.
    TRUE: There is no advantage to having an evaluation since an assignment without an evaluation is deemed to be successful. A Principal always has the right to evaluate a LTO but these must begin before May 31st, unless the LTO requests one later.
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Details are being finalized but we are pleased to announce our upcoming PD event on February 26th from 4:30 - 7:30 pm at the Lamplighter Inn in London will be PAID Registration and further details will be available in the Employee Portal.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

WEDNESDAY BLOG + ONE : School Closures and Pay, OTF Subsidies for Math AQs/ABQs,Retirement Planning Workshop and Unauthorized Facebook Group- what you should know

School Closure on Feb. 6
With schools closed yesterday, LTOs will be paid as if they taught but unfortunately daily OTs will not be paid since they were given appropriate notice as stipulated in the Collective Agreement.
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Limited number of OTF subsidies available for Math AQs/ABQs
If you successfully completed an AQ/ABQ or undergraduate prerequisite Math course by December 31, 2018, you may be eligible for a subsidy.

The Ministry of Education, through the Ontario Teachers' Federation (OTF), is once again offering a subsidy to OTF or Affiliate members who have successfully completed an Additional Qualification (AQ) or Additional Basic Qualification (ABQ) course in Mathematics or undergraduate Math courses that are a prerequisite for an AQ or ABQ.

Approximately 400 subsidies are being made available through this program for a limited time only. The subsidies will be provided on a first come, first served basis. This means that OTF cannot guarantee a subsidy to every member who applies, even within the required timelines.

Subsidy program details
The renewed subsidy program applies only to courses in Mathematics - AQs. ABQs or prerequisite (undergraduate) Math courses.

Your must have successfully completed the AQ/ABQ or undergraduate prerequisite Math course by December 31, 2018

Your completed application must be received by OTF no later than 5:00 pm on March 31, 2019.
The subsidy amount is up to a maximum of $450, regardless of the course location or provider, and is paid directly to you on proof of successful completion of the course.

You must be an active member of OTF or its Affiliates.

You are not eligible to apply for a subsidy if you completed the AQ/ABQ or undergraduate prerequisite Math course before April 1st, 2014 (the beginning of this program).

You are not eligible to apply for a subsidy if you registered for and completed your course between May 1, 2015 and January 31, 2016.

Eligible courses - 
Mathematics, Primary and Junior - Part 1
Mathematics, Primary and Junior - Part 2
Mathematics, Primary and Junior - Specialist
Mathematics, Grades 7 and 8
Mathematics, Intermediate/Senior (ABQ)
Mathematics, Honours Specialist

For more information visit - https://subsidies.otffeo.on.ca/
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Retirement Planning Workshop
District 8, Retired Teachers of Ontario, is hosting a Retirement Planning Workshop on Saturday, April 6 at the Best Western Lamplighter on Wellington Rd. S. in London.  Members and their spouses/partners are invited to attend this workshop at no charge.  This workshop will include presentations about the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and the RTO Health Benefits plan.

Register online: rto-ero.org/rpw
Questions ?  rpw@rto-ero.org or 1-800-361-9888

When:  10:30 am to 2:00 pm, Sat. April 6, 2019
             Registration starts at 10:00 am
             Hot & Cold buffet Lunch at 12:00 pm

Where: Best Western Lamplighter Inn
            591 Wellington Rd. South
            London, ON     N6C 4R3
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Ignorance of the Facts is not an Excuse
Register on our Local website www.etfotvot.com and we will send you reminders of Board deadlines and updates of PD events. Keep reading our website, Blog and e-mails for further information.
Beware that Facebook Group(s) are unauthorized and much of the information is hearsay and unreliable.
For accurate information, we always recommend you contact your ETFO-TVOT office since they have the legal obligation to provide accurate information.
NEVER HESITATE TO CONTACT THE LOCAL - no question is too insignificant.

The Local  still cautions members to use personal email addresses when corresponding with the Union and not use the Board's email system, which is not intended for private correspondence. The Local does not use the Board's email system for union business but urges members to check it regularly since this is how the Board communicates with its employees.



Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Raise in Pay; LTO Interviews; "Smoke Free Ontario" Legislation; Volunteer Science and STEM Teachers

Raise on February 1, 2019
Effective February first, the daily rate for Occasional Teachers will be $237.78 which will show on your pay stub as $228.63 with 4% Vacation Pay added on the second line.  LTOs will also see this raise of 1% added to their grid rate.  LTO salary grids can be found as the last pages of the Collective Agreement, available on our Local website www.etfotvot.com or in the TVDSB Employee Portal.

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Interviews for the LTO List
Elementary Occasional Teachers who have been on the TVDSB roster for 10 months and have taught at least 20 days, are eligible to apply to be interviewed for the LTO List, per Regulation 274.  The Board will start accepted applications on February first and will close the last day of that month.
Please know that even if you are in a long-term position now, you will still need to interview to be included on the LTO List since TVDSB currently recognizes the interview process as the sole route to inclusion on the LTO List.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Local at 519-641-3936 for further information.
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Smoke Free Ontario Act and Schools
Last fall, the Government of Ontario passed the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which prohibits smoking tobacco or cannabis as well as all vaping in public areas, including schools.

The new law specifically states that a person can not smoke or vape in or around a school. This includes all indoor spaces and all outdoor areas such as playgrounds and sports fields, It also prohibits smoking and vaping in public areas within 20 metres of the property line of a school or School Board facility. For reference, 20 metres equals 65 feet, or the approximate length of 1.5 school buses.

A person caught smoking or vaping in a prohibited area may be charged with an offence and subject to a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offence, if convicted.

For more information on the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, visit:  https://bit.ly/2FGV4y5 .
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Volunteers needed: Teachers of Science and STEM in Grades 7/8
or Intermediate Qualified in Physics, Chemistry, General Science

Western University First Year Engineers are looking for your mentorship!
Dr. John Dickinson, Assistant Professor of  Western Engineering, is the coordinator of a foundational first year engineering course that has students work in teams of five to respond to a design challenge. This year, the teams have been asked to design and build an INTERACTIVE TEACHING DEVICE as well as an accompanying lesson plan that demonstrates/explains and enables students to experience/interact with a scientific/engineering principle.

To support these students, John needs the help of science and STEM oriented teachers to meet once or twice with teams and offer feedback from a teacher's perspective. Additionally, he is looking for judges (as in a Science Fair) for the morning of April 4th, 2019 at the Western campus.

If you are interested in more information, or would like to volunteer for this CV worthy opportunity, please contact John Dickinson directly at jdickin5@uwo.ca .
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Rally for Education
Just a reminder that all Teachers / Occasional Teachers are invited to join OSSTF District 11 for an information rally from 4 - 5 PM on Thursday, February 7th at the office of Teresa Armstrong MPP,  155 Clarke Road in London or at the office of Jeff Yurek MPP, 750 Talbot Street in St. Thomas. We need to let everyone know that cuts to education are detrimental to our students, staff and the communities in which we all live.