NTA Mission Statement
‘The Nunavut Teachers’ Association is dedicated to advocating for teacher well-being, professional growth, and culturally relevant public education.’
Happy New Year
Welcome back after a well deserved holiday break. I hope all of you had an opportunity to rest and take part in holiday festivities. I also hope all of you are recharged and again delivering wonderful programs to your students. Over the past couple of years, I’ve had the honour of visiting thirty-nine of Nunavut’s forty-three schools and have seen so many excellent examples of caring and strong programs firsthand. I would like to thank all of you for your continued dedication and your many warm welcomes.
There are quite a few things happening at the NTA office as the staff works to support the membership. Your Central Executive also continues to meet monthly by conference call to discuss items of importance to all members.
The big PD event for the NTA this year is the Kitikmeot Regional Conference to be held in Cambridge Bay in February. The conference committee is finalizing the programme and site plans. Most members in the other regions are busy planning and working on their own PD activities. Let’s hope that the weather cooperates for those who are traveling.
Learning Coaches provide much-needed support for classroom teachers. We are pleased that these new teaching positions are finally being filled in the schools. These positions were originally filled from each school’s Student – Educator ratio and added drastically to class sizes. The NTA lobbied the Department for the extra positions and we were pleased to see that the monies were allocated for the 2015-2106 school year.
I have had the opportunity to visit a number of schools over the past couple of months and I must say that I was totally pleased to see the new NTA promotional posters in each of the schools. The posters have been shared with the Council of Atlantic Provinces Teacher Organizations and the Canadian Association of Principals. They have been well received.
The 2014-2015 NTA Public Relations Committee recommended that we promote the NTA by posting banners in the Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit airports. We have the banners and plan to proceed with that project after we finalize the paperwork with the airport authorities.
The Nunavut Professional Improvement Committee (NPIC) met in Iqaluit in November. The NTA and the GN have two members each on the NPIC. They work together to support teacher professional development. In addition to looking at new initiatives for the membership, they reviewed policies with regards to teacher PD, Educational Leaves, and Project Overseas.
The ‘Certificate in Educational Leadership in Nunavut’ (CELN) training for school administrators is ongoing. This new program, which offers an opportunity for credits towards a Master’s program, is a great improvement over the old ELP (Educational Leadership Program).
We have not received a lot of feedback from schools on the document for parental and community engagement, ‘It Starts at Home’. However, we do appreciate the effort from the Department of Education to engage the family and community in children’s education.
We have no issues to report regarding the GN introducing new curriculum without adequate in-servicing. Over the past couple of years, this has been an issue but the Department has agreed to provide in-servicing when introducing new programs. We will continue to monitor this through our Curriculum Support Committee.
We are in the third year of a four-year Collective Agreement. Even though our current agreement is a fair deal for the NTA, we feel that we have to start preparing for the next round of talks. Very few, if any, of the recent settlements in other jurisdictions in Canada are comparable to the contract that we ratified and signed in June 2013. With this in mind, Central Executive has discussed the formation of and the training for a new negotiating team.
In preparation for negotiations, Central Executive has given permission for the Executive Director and Member Services Administrator to work with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) to develop a teacher economic welfare survey to be used in collecting data for the next round of negotiations. The plan is to release the survey to the membership in the spring.
I am very pleased to say that most of our committees are active with regular meetings and ongoing action items. The NTA totally appreciates the work of these volunteer committees. We would like to thank all volunteers for their contributions.
Representatives from the five regions as well as the NTA Central Executive will be in Iqaluit on April 9-10 for the Annual Meeting of Central Council (AMCC). This is an opportunity for NTA members to have a direct say in the workings of the NTA. I would suggest that members monitor their email for more information on resolutions for the annual meetings. If a member feels strongly about an issue, s/he should speak to his/her regional reps.
During AMCC we showcase the ‘Thank You For Making a Difference Campaign’. Teachers are always thankful for the positive comments. All entries from the students are placed in a draw for various items, including flights. I would encourage all schools to promote this very worthwhile campaign.
The NTA continues its work with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, the Council of Atlantic Provinces Teachers’ Organization and the Northern Teachers’ Council. Involvement with these organizations gives the NTA access to expertise and resources that we would otherwise not have and not be able to afford.
I would like to remind members that deadlines are approaching for specific PD funding for various programs. Some of the deadlines are as follows:
- Extraordinary PD Funding Deadline – January 16th
- Educational Leave – midnight Eastern on February 5th
- Deadline for Action Research Applications – March 1st
- Secondary applications for unused PD funds – April 1st
- Inuit Language Funding applications – May 13th
- Summer and Inter session Credit Courses – May 30th
- Conference Symposium or Institute funding – May 30th
Money provided through the PD Fund is for your benefit. Please consider applying for programs that will help you with your professional goals. More information on these and other programs is available on our website at www.ntanu.ca under the Professional Development tab.
I would like to encourage teachers to nominate a colleague for the NTA Teaching Excellence Award. Becky Tootoo from Baker Lake was our 2014-2015 winner. The deadline for applications is February 15, 2016. The form has been sent out by our Member Services Administrator to the School Reps and to all membership and is also available on our website. The 2015-2016 winner will be honoured at the 2016 AMCC banquet.
Thank you for your support of the NTA.
President, Nunavut Teachers’ Association