President's Message


As we embark upon the 2020-2021 school season and ready our minds and spirits for another year of teaching and learning I’d like to bring a few things to your attention.

  1. 2020-21 continues the bargaining process once again for our current collective agreement with the employer. We have signed two agreements with two different provincial government cabinets over the past 7 years, and as we await for the fall budget to be released, teachers around the province will be on the edge of their seats. I urge you to attend the Bargaining Unit General Meetings (BUGM) for your board, to voice your concerns and cast your vote in any motions carried. This year may be another tight spending year for government, but we hope that the binding arbitration will hold and our efforts will not go wasted.

  1. The curriculum is paused upon its proposed roll out from the UCP government. For those early on in their teaching careers, resources are still available, and best practices from your colleagues, at your side. For those of us that have taught through the last big curriculum update, I wish with you that the government makes wise and swift decisions so our students are learning thought provoking current outcomes to help their skills soar, and to make our high school student complement, job ready and driven, to take educated risks for their personal development. Signals from the Provincial ATA and the UCP government point to the high probability that this round of government will see change, which speaks again to the importance of ensuring you are engaged and informed about the process.

  1. The ATA is urging all of us to complete a letter to our MLA for the classroom size and complexity campaign that will be rolling out to all school reps. I urge you to find 5 minutes to write about the size or complexity of your classroom, without mentioning the school, your employer, and students or staff members, but moreover the issues you as a teacher feel are present in any of the classes you teach in regards to complexity of students not feeling ready, language learners, individualized educational plans, mental health concerns, absenteeism, or dare I say it, acts of aggression in your classroom. As a province, both urban and rural populations are experiencing complexities that were not present 10 years ago. For those teachers early in their career, or first year teachers, the classrooms that you will lead this year may exhaust you mentally, so with the ATA spearheading this campaign, all you need to do to contribute is write a letter. The ATA is going to collect them and periodically mail out letters to the MLAs across the province. The more we stand together, the more our voice is heard. School reps will have the note paper mailed to each school within the first two mail outs to each school. They will collect your letters and forward them on to the ATA. I've written mine, and it is already in the hands of the provincial ATA executive. I will, no doubt, write another letter soon. You can still write letters to your MLA outside of the format provided by the ATA, and voice your concerns over any of the pressing issues teachers are faced with. Bill 22 comes to mind, and with the investment management agreement (IMA) conveniently proposed just before Christmas.

This will undoubtedly be another year of extreme challenges, but I do believe that on the horizon are opportunities that teachers in this province have long desired and deserved. Should we choose to actively engage in the political, social and economic issues that affect public education in this province in a manner that exemplifies our professional body of talented pedagogical pathfinders, then hand in hand, teachers of this local, and across the province, will secure a future that is bright and prosperous for all.

Yours in Education,

Brian Skinner

President - Park Plains East