Opening Statement



Wednesday, 27 June 2012

School's Out! OECTA PDT! + TSU 3rd VP News!

School's out for summer!!! Well come Friday it is! After a busy, busy final two weeks, the summery sense of  relaxation and relief that my most favourite season brings, after another very challenging educational year, is most palatable. I can taste it indeed! Ha.


My blog will continue through the summer, on reduced hours, but I will still be here on a regular basis. I will keep you updated on any PDT developments. I will share my travelogues from Mexico and Cuba with you again, like in last summer's blogs, plus there could be a few other trips in the works. Stay tuned. For my non-Toronto readers I will continue my city blog postings. I was born here. I've lived here all my life. Let me share Toronto life with you from a local perspective. And for my local readers? Well perhaps you will get a chuckle from it too.


All this and more my friends! There should be a lot more photos, fun, and cool, summer stuff, so do drop in!


And in other news..........


No news on the OECTA PDT front. Talks continue. That is not necessarily reassuring in and of itself, but remember, the government's deadline for a settlement has long since passed without incident. We measure success in small steps but know that no large leaps forward have been made. There isn't any breakthrough. OECTA continues it's quiet diplomacy strategy of exhaustively discussing every reasonable solution, while standing firm in it's opposition to the terms being offered. There isn't, hasn't been, or won't be any secret PDT deal. Rumours continue to fly. I won't grace these, by reporting them here right now, they can be pretty absurd. Plus one has to wonder about the negative effect they can have upon group solidarity among the teacher affiliates. Our  opponents would get quite a chuckle watching any infighting possibly tear us apart from within. Beware.


The most of important of deadlines remains, August 31st, when our current contracts expire! What then? Do you return to work without a contract? Will you be locked out? Will the teacher affiliates vote in favour of work to rule, a strike or some other type of job action? We don't know. Our teachers are encouraged to complete their telephone tree forms, check the OECTA and TSU websites, and again, there's my blog site. We might have to be pretty creative with our communication strategy should everything hit the fan between now and August 31st. We did it during the Harris years. We can do it again, if need be. Hang on tight for the roller coaster ride ahead  next September.


Here are my new union portfolios, if you will, as TSU 3rd VP executive liaison.These commence with our new executive term starting July 1st for the 2012-13 school year:


Special Education: Yes, we are a full fledged committee now, nothing ad hoc about us anymore! I continue to also advocate for a new TCDSB-TSU Joint Special Education committee. It seems to be getting a very favourable and encouraging response, as an idea long overdue. Our field continues to grow and a continued joint communication, discussion, planning and problem solving committee can only help us all work together in the best interests of our specially challenged students. I am really excited about the prospect, and will continue to advocate and try to facilitate the process to make it happen asap!


Religious Affairs: The challenges this year have been many. As your TSU executive liaison I will continue to  work with the TCDSB NCC [Nurturing Catholic Community] committee. Superintendent Geoff Grant has extended a warm welcome to all of the faith partners in our community, including the unions, to bring us together. This can only be a good thing. Also I will continue to work with our members to express and advocate our shared beliefs as Catholic educators on our local TSU committee. You can go back through my blog archives. There's been quite a few postings going back as far as a year ago last March, which I would encourage you to revisit for more info. I look forward to working with everyone again. It can be a big uphill struggle. God bless you all.


Joint Safe Schools: Yup, I'm back on the committee after a one year sabbatical. School safety as per both the Safe Schools and Bill 168 Health and Safety Acts continue to be be a number one priority for me. Much, much more news and views on this to come, but for now, suffice to note, I am also on the.....


Joint Health and Safety Committee: This committee covers a very wide variety of issues, but I would like to point one out of great importance to my fellow [Sped] Special Education AU-DDME [Autism Developmentally Delayed Multiple Exceptionality] teachers. I am very concerned about proper health and safety procedures being in place in our classrooms accompanied with the comprehensive inservicing needed, for the care of our students! We need these in place, and we need them in all our classrooms across the board now! It would seem to be pretty clear cut but it is a huge challenge to which I am specially committed to on your behalf and of course for the very challenged students in our care.


Joint Medical Physical Procedures: Yup. Ditto. I will be developing this at a lot greater length here on my blog site as we get back into the new school year. These committees might sound kind of dull, but they are anything but!


No. I won't be executive liaison to the Beginning Teachers Committee. After a four year term. I am very pleased to announce that our new executive secretary Melissa Ammendola will be facilitating this for you next year. I know it is an area of direct interest and experience for Melissa. I most heartily offer my assistance, support and knowledge if and whenever required. I will miss you all [Boo Hoo Hoo!;-) but know Melissa will take TSU upwards and onwards with the tremendous enthusiasm and expertise our new and beginning teachers bring to the future of our union!


No. I won't be executive liaison for PAC [Political Advisory Committee]. I salute 2nd VP Gillian as she facilitates the good fight for us in the challenging field of government relations. This will be especially important next year, and perhaps for many more years to come. She can do it!


As an aside I would also like FB, LM and DS to know I have made a point of advocating for you. I consider our past political differences to be just that; past. You were fellow warriors in our great struggle during the Harris years. I am sure you will continue to make your contribution on any and all TSU committees to which you are appointed, as we all hopefully pull together in solidarity for the good of our unit during the possibly even bigger battle ahead!


So that's what I will be doing at TSU next year, along with whatever else comes along my way. Everybody's committee appointments are being sent out through the main office asap. Remember, when you receive them, you need to reply to confirm acceptance, so if you change your mind the next person in line gets a chance. There were many, many applications this year, which is great news, but of course that also means some very tough choices had to be made. If you are disappointed in anyway, please understand and know we managed to find something for everyone who applied, even if it wasn't always their first or second choice.


Please note that I will be personally contacting my committee members early in the new school year so we can plan our activities, create a budget and get working right away. I look forward to the pleasure of helping facilitate all your great work in the school year ahead. Please feel free to contact me anytime at my gmail address posted on the top of this page.


But first? We all earned a good rest and the summer holidays are all but here! Yippie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Busy! Busy! Busy! But on June 29th -School's Out for Summer!!!

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