Beaverdell Elementary, Christina Lake Elementary to get more support
Beaverdell Elementary School’s one teacher, Jennifer Eaton, will be getting some extra help.
Earlier this month, Eaton along with Parent Advisory Council president Michelle Kreitz told the School District 51 Board of Education that it was unacceptable to have Eaton working alone now the teaching assistant has been removed from the school due to budget cutbacks.
Last week the board asked staff to create a safety plan for the school, which has now been implemented, to meet the WorkSafe BC criteria, said district superintendent Micheal Strukoff in an email.
The school has also been allocated some Education Assistant time. The job is currently going through the district hiring process.
“The board is confident with all of these measures in place, that Beaverdell Elementary will continue to be a safe and caring place for students and staff,” said Strukoff.
“It was very frustrating that they would leave a teacher alone in Beaverdell,” said Norm Sabourin, Boundary District Teacher’s Association president. “Yes, what the district is doing is legal but I think they are taking too much time. But will we have this same battle every year?”
Christina Lake gets additional teaching hours with existing staff
At Christina Lake Elementary School were two of the four split level classes have 30 or more students, some funding from the Learning Incentive Fund (LIF) will be used to add 10 per cent more hours for learning assistance time and an additional four hours a day for an education assistant.
“Bill 22 indicates that when a class with grade 4 through 12 has more than 30 students the superintendent, in consultation, determines if the learning conditions are acceptable,” said Strukoff in an email statement. “If they are, the superintendent determines if there are other supports required and the enrolling teacher is given the choice of selecting from options to help with the increased load. For CLES I have determined the learning environment is fine.”
As part of Bill 22 the affected teacher have been given a choice to increase the teaching preparation time, increase pay, get more educational assistant time or have professional development funds. Strukoff said the teacher has not yet made a selection.
This situation is unrolling just as Sabourin feared when Bill 22 was passed earlier this year in response to teacher job action.
“We call that cash for kids and that doesn’t support kids,” said Sabourin. “This is indicative of education in BC and Christina Lake is now feeling what it going on in the province.”
He feels the kids will suffer, even with the extra help assigned to the class. He said a classroom full of 30 grade 6/7 students is “insane”.
“They fill up the room, the hormones are flying. The more hormones you put in the room, the harder it gets.”