We believe in supporting our members in making positive environmental choices! Any active member of ETFO-WRTL may apply for the Electric Vehicle Incentive. Eligible vehicles are those classified as a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or battery electric vehicle (BEV) as per the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Applications that are received by the deadline will be considered and up to six members may share equally in the $3000 incentive. The draw will be by lot from the completed applications according to the criteria listed above.
Each year, the incentive programme will run from June 1st of one year to May 31st (or the nearest school day to that date) of the next year. To qualify for the 2017-2018 incentive, you must be an ETFO WATERLOO CONTRACT TEACHER that purchased or leased the vehicle no earlier than June 1st, 2017 and no later than May 31st, 2018.
What: You are invited to participate in a GSA Button Making Challenge that is being put on by the ETFO-WR Equity and Social Justice Committee.
How: Have your students design their own buttons using the template provided (see link below). Have each student send their favourite design to Mary-Louise Skornyak or Lisa Lynch at Suddaby Public School through the courier. “Winning” buttons will be made and sent back to your student!
Hint: Every button wins while supplies last!
When: Deadline Friday, March 30th
The Alexander Fleming Award was named after Alex Fleming, a former principal in Kitchener. Alex Fleming had a reputation as a “fine” gentleman and was well-respected in the education community. Fleming retired in the 1970s, after nurturing and mentoring many new teachers over the span of his career.
This award is for *teachers in their first five years ONLY*.
- must be nominated and supported by an ETFO-WRTL member
- demonstrate the following qualities
- Up to 5 years of contract teaching experience
- Provided an exemplary program for students
- Is respected and admired by students, parents, and co-workers
- Shows initiative in continuing his/her professional growth
Deadline to submit nomination packages to ETFO Office is Thursday, April 12 at 4:30 pm.
ETFO Waterloo has been actively engaged in on-going lobbying efforts with our trustees and local MPPs regarding violence in the workplace. As a result, WRDSB Trustees requested a report on Violence in Schools and to share data related to incidents of aggression. ETFO Waterloo President Greg Weiler and Vice President Jeff Pelich presented as a delegation at this meeting. You can read Jeff's presentation here.
Following the delegation and report, Trustees passed two motions.
1) To send a letter to Ontario Public School Board Association and the Ministry of Education demanding action on violence in the workplace. Our OPSBA rep will bring forward this request directly to their organization to join our call for further resources and a review of the funding formula.
2) That the WRDSB share in writing on a quarterly basis the data related to the number of incidents of aggression. This will ensure that the increasing number and severity of violent incidents of aggression will remain on the radar locally.
Over the last week, ETFO Waterloo has been featured prominently in the local and provincial media due to these efforts and the release of the results of the Provincial Member Survey on Workplace Violence.
Waterloo Region Record - Alarm grows as more violent and unruly students lash out at teachers
CTV Kitchener - Violence in the classroom on the rise locally and provincially
CTV Kitchener - WRDSB teachers faced violence 1300 times last year
Kitchener Post - Violence on the rise, teachers' union says
Waterloo Region Record - Editorial: End the Violence in our Schools
December is often the month we think of celebrations and traditions, with Christmas holidays upon us. Though many people celebrate some aspect of Christmas (the birth of Jesus Christ, Santa Claus, gift giving, etc.), it is important to keep in mind that many of our students do not celebrate Christmas and may have other traditions that should be validated. For example, on December 1st those of Islamic Faith recognized ‘Mawlid al-Nabi’ which marked the birthday of the prophet Muhammad. Shortly after Advent began (Dec. 3rd), which is the start of the Church year and preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ, Mahayana Buddhists celebrated Bodhi Day (Dec. 8th). This is also known as ‘Awakening Day’ and is the anniversary of Buddha’s enlightenment. Neopagans celebrate Yule (Dec. 21st) and then there is ‘Death of the Prophet Zarathustra,’ recognized by those of the Zoroastrian faith. Other more well-known celebrations are coming up, such as Hanukkah - the Jewish Festival of Lights (Dec. 13th-20th), Christmas Day - the birth of Jesus Christ (Dec. 25th), Kwanzaa - African Canadian heritage and harvest festival (Dec. 26th - Jan 1st).
How can we include so many traditions in meaningful ways? One way is to by having resources that acknowledge the diversity of our student population. Books, posters, and decorations that are not just ‘Christmas’ centred, can open up conversations with students about different traditions. Having school-wide announcements highlighting some of the days of significance is another way that brings awareness to the diversity represented in our schools and communities. Students and staff sharing personal experiences are also very meaningful and a connecting point as we learn from each other. If the students are doing Christmas activities in class, for example, writing letters to Santa or making Christmas crafts, we should be accommodating for the students not celebrating Christmas by altering the activity accordingly.
As we think about our own traditions and celebrations this holiday season, let us be mindful of the many other days of significance to ensure that we are being equitable and inclusive in our teaching practice.
Reference: Days of Significance Calendar created in collaboration with Interfaith Grand River.
The ETFO Waterloo Region Professional Learning committee is seeking applications from local members who are interested in developing their educational leadership and presentation skills through the creation of a two hour after school workshop for elementary educators.
Individual or two-person applications will be accepted. Workshops will be selected based on their alignment with the criteria listed below and all applicants will receive feedback from the Professional Learning Committee.
Preference will be given to topics that address the following local professional learning priorities:
Physical Education and DPA;
At-Risk and/or Vulnerable students;
reflect sound knowledge of the Ontario Curriculum;
are based on current research;
integrate equity principles;
demonstrate the principles of adult learning;
incorporate effective instruction and assessment practices;
connect a component of the workshop to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit issues;
align with ETFO Waterloo Priorities.
Successful applicants will receive the following support:
Receive one 0.5 day to prepare before their presentation;
Workshop advertising and registration run by the local office;
Any handouts will be copied by the local;
The workshop will take place at the ETFO Waterloo Office;
A light dinner will be provided for participants/presenter;
Participant feedback will be provided to the presenter.
Complete the application at the link below and return to the
ETFO Waterloo Office by 4:30 pm on Friday, December 15.
Join the ETFO Waterloo Social Committee as they host a special afternoon of skating and holiday fun! Hot Chocolate and Timbits will be served!
Sunday, December 3, 2017
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Sportsworld Arena, Kitchener ON
ETFO Contract Members can register on www.etfowr.ca
ETFO OT or LTO Members must contact Marsha Cober at email@example.com to RSVP
October 5 has been designated as World Teachers’ Day.
This year, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) has chosen “Addressing Violence, Building Respect” as the theme for the year. ETFO Waterloo and it’s 2600 members stand in solidarity with this group.
“Over the last several years, we have noticed a marked increase in violence in our classrooms,” said President Greg Weiler. “We are supporting members who each and every day are hit, kicked, punched, and spat upon. This is unacceptable. Waterloo Region District School Board staff and students have the right to a safe and inclusive workplace. We must do better.”
In a CTF national survey, 90.6% of over 5,000 teachers who responded indicated safe and caring schools as a major priority for the Federation’s advocacy efforts. As well, 95% of more than 8,000 teacher respondents experienced stress because it is harder to find time to meet the individual educational needs of students. The current Ontario funding formula is inadequate and must be reviewed to better support all students. To learn more about these concerns, please visit www.buildingbetterschools.ca.
The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario Waterloo Region represents over 2600 contract teachers in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, and surrounding areas.
In 2016, President Greg Weiler sent a letter to the Waterloo Region Record pushing back on Columnist Luisa D’Amato’s narrow view of student achievement. It’s a couple of years old but still very relevant to the discussion at hand as results of the Grade 3,6,9 and OSSLT were released this week. It’s time to scrap this test and let those who know children best, their educators, report on achievement.
Letter to the editor: Standardized school tests have little value
OPINION Mar 15, 2016 by Greg Weiler Waterloo Region Record
I must respond to Luisa D'Amato's March 11 column, "Plan to raise student achievement is weak."
The view of student achievement as simply a score on a standardized test, as espoused by D'Amato, is symbolic of all that is wrong in classrooms across the province — it places no value on anything but the narrowest of indicators from the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) tests.
Standardized tests like those by EQAO measure very limited things, and measure them poorly, because there is no similarly easy way to measure the myriad other (and more important) outcomes of schooling. One thing Education Quality and Accountability Office tests are exceptionally good at measuring is socioeconomic status.
When you ask parents what they want their children to get out of school, "higher EQAO scores" is not an answer you will hear.
As parents, we want our children to be happy at school, to learn, to grow and reach their potential in order to become active, engaged citizens that contribute to a better society. We want our children to learn social skills, critical thinking skills, to be active physically, to discover what they are passionate about, and to gain exposure to experiences and ideas they might otherwise not be exposed to.
There is no group out there opposed to achievement in literacy or math, despite what D'Amato seems to believe. There are people who see education as being about more than Education Quality and Accountability Office tests, and people that have seen how this narrow focus is destructive to almost everything else which we should value in schools. There is and can be both high achievement and accountability in education without standardized testing.
When all we care about is this narrow measurement, all efforts and resources go into improving a score and our schools and our kids suffer. It is not enough to say we also value music, art, history, geography, physical education, science, and French. That value isn't being demonstrated or supported by the resources, time, or the funding that is put into them, and it isn't put into them because the outcomes aren't measured on an EQAO test. This is not a Waterloo Region District School Board issue, but a provincial issue.
As long as we buy in to Education Quality and Accountability Office tests as the measurement that matters, we have prejudged many of our students as failures, and we have dismissed the amazing things they achieve. You don't have to be a trained educator to know and understand that children progress at different rates, learn in different ways, and excel in different areas. EQAO tests and the fetishization of test scores promote the worst kind of standardization — that which works against students and promotes a distorted view of them and their learning.
This distorted and oversimplified picture is easily used by anyone, like D'Amato, to "prove" there is a crisis in education without ever having to actually step into a school. It promotes an artificial, competitive view of education. The data from the Education Quality and Accountability Office tests have done nothing to actually improve learning or positively affect any student, ever.
Ignoring the real issues in schools and focusing narrowly on EQAO scores is what is "ripping off" students. School boards and trustees are and should be focused on ensuring better outcomes for all students by advocating for improvements that will have both immediate and lasting impacts. Waterloo Region District School Board Trustee Mike Ramsay's embarrassment should be about how much need there exists in areas that are not and cannot be measured by EQAO tests and that require visits to actual classrooms to observe.
Smaller classes, meaningful assessments, more specialist teachers and, most importantly, more resources for students with special needs are all areas that need attention. These are things that impact on student achievement and well-being in all areas, day in and day out.
We are always seemingly just a few years behind whatever educational trend the United States adopts. The recent and ongoing backlash against standardized testing there which has seen thousands of students and parents opt out of the testing will hopefully arrive here soon as well.
I encourage parents to have their child opt out of EQAO testing. A message needs to be sent about what we truly value in education.
The money and time spent on standardized testing can be much better used to provide real supports to students.
The staff at Sheppard Public School in Kitchener feel passionate about promoting Reconciliation through raising awareness and taking action with students. Toward that end, staff initiated making an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement part of the daily announcements beginning in September 2016. The acknowledgement was developed in consultation with Nicole Robinson, Equity and Inclusion Officer with an Indigenous focus at the WRDSB.
This Indigenous Land Acknowledgement is read as part of the daily announcements at Sheppard Public School in Kitchener, Ontario.
Beyond the Announcement
Staff at Sheppard P.S. recognize that getting the Land Acknowledgement onto the announcements was only a starting point. They believe that students and community members need an understanding of its importance. To facilitate this, staff discuss the meaning of the Land Acknowledgement with their students and have promoted it using social media. They are hopeful that other schools will follow suit. Daily Indigenous Land Acknowledgements have been adopted by some school boards, such as the TDSB.
ETFO Models at Federation Events
The Elementary Teachers of Ontario models the practice of Land Acknowledgement by ensuring our First Nations, Métis and Inuit Statement is read at the commencement of all ETFO-sponsored events.
Special thanks to ETFO-WR member Anna Lucas for sharing the good work being done at Sheppard Public School. Stay tuned for more news about their journey toward Reconciliation in future posts and newsletters.
Are you taking action on Equity and Social Justice?
The ETFO-WR Equity and Social Justice Committee encourages you to share what ETFO members on staff are doing to promote human rights and equity. Send an image and description of your initiative to Ryan Wettlaufer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and receive a small token of our appreciation in return.