Changes proposed to school calendar

NANAIMO – Senior staff propose several changes to school calendar.

School officials are considering changing next year’s school calendar to have school start one hour later on Wednesdays and give students two extra days off to allow for employee in-service.

Deputy superintendent John Blain presented these proposals to trustees at Wednesday’s business committee meeting and the committee is recommending the district consult with the public on the changes, which could result in education assistants losing one hour of work per week.

The province recently introduced new legislation that eliminates the standard school calendar, reduces the minimum amount of instruction time slightly and makes districts responsible for their own calendars.

Any changes to the school calendar require a 30-day public consultation and the calendar must be finished and submitted to the Education Ministry by the end of March.

The first proposal is to host two in-service days for all staff – on the first day of school, when students typically only attend class for about an hour, and the last day of semester one.

The second proposal is to start class one hour later on Wednesdays so that staff can meet and discuss teaching strategies, ways of dealing with individual students and any concerns they have at the school level.

Blain said it is hard for administrators and staff at a school to get together and senior staff believe allotting the time for these discussions and collaborative work will boost student achievement levels.

The third part of the school calendar proposal is having education assistants start an hour later on Wednesdays, saving the district about $400,000 annually, said Blain.

“Ultimately, best practice would be everybody’s there,” he said. “But I know we have to deal with almost a $5-million deficit coming up for next year.”

Jamie Brennan, school board chairman, said he wants to collect feedback from staff on how useful the first in-service day – scheduled for Friday (Feb. 1) – is before determining if it is something trustees should support again next year.

Brennan is also concerned about the loss of income for support workers that the third part of the proposal would entail.

“We’re going to approve going out and talking to people about it,” he said.

Kelly Dunaway, general vice-president of CUPE Local 606, said having education assistants start work one hour later on Wednesdays translates into a loss of about 30 hours per year for one of the lowest-paid groups of employees in the district and it will cause considerable financial hardship for some members.

Excluding education assistants from the Wednesday meetings sends the message that they are not a valued part of the education team, he added.

Just Posted

Dump truck driver hurt after highway crash in Ladysmith

One man airlifted to hospital after collision between dump truck and pickup truck Friday

Ladysmith reservoirs full despite winter drought

Both reservoirs at or above capacity

Rickter Scale: Goodbye in the blink of an eye

Funny the impact a text can have — in more ways than one

Ladysmith council dropping paper agenda packages

Town expects to save 50,000 sheets of paper a year by using tablets

EDITORIAL: Housing is one of our basic needs

We all need food, clothing and shelter first

Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash sentenced to eight years

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Fierce feline spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

Kater to launch ridesharing service in Vancouver by end of month

The Surrey-based company got its permits from the Vancouver Taxi Association

Second case of measles reported in the B.C. Interior

Case is connected to an earlier measles case in 100 Mile House

Most Read