Bulkley Valley students being looked after as job action continues

According to Board Chair for School District 54, students are still being well supervised outdoors as teachers across the province continue Phase One of their job action.

  • Oct. 7, 2011 1:00 p.m.

According to board chair for School District 54, students are still being well supervised outdoors as teachers across the province continue Phase One of their job action.

Chair Les Kearns said that employees of the district are helping fill in the gap as teachers are currently unable to provide supervision at the start and end of school days.

“At this point, the impact in our school district is minimal and I think that’s due to the hard work of our school administrators and board office personnel and our excluded staff (non-unionized),” said Kearns. “They’re the ones that are handling the supervision in schools which teachers aren’t able to do.”

There are some logistical issues, including allowing for staff’s travel time to Houston, but the district is making it work.

“It’s a chunk of time, that’s for sure,” he said.

So far the only thing that has been directly impacted in this school district is the cancellation of parent-teacher interviews on Oct. 12 and 13. Superintendent of Schools Chris van der Mark sent a letter home to parents on Sept. 29 advising parents of the cancellation of early dismissal on those days which were to accommodate the interviews.

Parents can still find out how their children are doing.

Bulkley Valley Teachers’ Union President Karin Bachman said that one of the messages they want to get out to the public is that lines of communication are still open to teachers from students’ parents.

“We’re making it very clear that teachers are calling parents of students that they’re concerned about and that if parents are concerned, they should call the school,” she said.

As well at the elementary school level extra-curricular activities are still taking place, which includes sports tournaments and field trips.

The focus for the current phase of job action is to not have student education heavily impacted.

“In this phase one the whole idea is to have school go as routine as possible but put some pressure on. Really the only pressure from the teachers’ point of view is the administrators doing supervision. We are appreciating the fact that in this district they’re being very cooperative to do that.”

Local administration and teachers still enjoy a good relationship.

Kearns pointed out that the current work dispute is not any reflection to how things are in the Bulkley Valley.

“This is a dispute between the [B.C. Teachers’ Federation] and the government. Our teachers and ourselves, we’re kind of caught in the middle. I think everybody is trying to do the best they can under the circumstances and hope for a quick and fair settlement.”