Extracurricular activities back
THE EXCITEMENT BUILDS.
Bracebridge Principal Dave Golden of BMLSS is getting excited about the recommendation to OSSTF/FEESO members to suspend their political action related to extra-curricular and voluntary activities. Golden checks the sports equipment in the gym on Monday, Feb. 25 which will soon be back in play with teachers and students extra-curricular programs.
Photo by Bev McMullen
February 27, 2013
MUSKOKA - High school teachers received the go-ahead on Friday to resume extracurricular activities.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF ) sent a memo to teachers on Friday, Feb 22, recommending they suspend their political action related to extra-curricular and volunteer activities.
Peter Carroll, representative for the Trillium Lakelands OSSTF, said a second, more detailed memo was sent Monday morning asking teachers to reassess their voluntary activities at school. He said the move was as a sign of good will.
“Since the new premier has been sworn in there have been a number of meetings between the OSSTF and the government,” Carroll said. “There has been some progress in addressing some of the important issues for us.”
High school teachers withdrew from doing any extracurricular activities on Dec. 10 in protest of Bill 115. Extracurricular activities have since been a contentious issue in both secondary and elementary schools in Ontario.
The decision by the union for teachers to review their stance on extracurricular activities was the result of a vote by the Provincial Council of the OSSTF, a legislative body that determines interim policy and approves political action between the federation’s annual meetings.
The OSSTF’s new position does not mean that all extracurricular activities will return to schools.
Carroll stressed that the activities are volunteer and it’s up to the teachers how much they will take on. By Monday afternoon he hadn’t been able to talk to teachers to find out how many would be taking up extracurricular activities.
“Our members traditionally in the past have put in huge amount of hours and efforts into volunteer services for the students, so even if some resume voluntary services, it may not be at the same level,” he said.
Karen Round, trustee for the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, also didn’t know where teachers stood on the issue yet, noting that parents and students will be elated.
“We really don’t know what it looks like right now in TLDSB. We are hopeful. Hopeful, hopeful, hopeful, hopeful that extracurricular will be restored in our school,” she said.
Premier Kathleen Wynne released a statement on Friday expressing her happiness at the result of the vote.
“Today’s news is a great indication of the hard work all parties are putting into the repair of this valued relationship,” the release said. “It shows our willingness to work together, to listen to one another’s concerns, and to find common ground on which we can rebuild a foundation of trust and create an effective process going forward.”
However, she was clear that the issue needs to be addressed within Ontario’s existing fiscal framework.
“But I am confident that our government’s commitment to fairness, consistency and respect in our conversations with OSSTF and all our partners will continue to result in real work being done for the people of Ontario,” she said.
Carroll wanted to make sure the teachers’ hard work over the past year doesn’t get overlooked.
“Despite all of the difficulties, our members have continued to perform the work of teaching the students, making sure they’re safe and providing them with every opportunity to be successful in getting their credits. That’s been true through this entire difficult school year,” he said.
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