June 3, 2019
|TO:||NLESD Teachers and Administrators|
|FROM:||Stefanie Tuff, Assistant Executive Director|
|Re:||Provincial Collective Agreement 2016-20 Article 28: Length of the School Year|
Clarifying the Facts
It has come to the attention of the NLTA that during recent principals’ meetings the NLESD announced its decision to discontinue the District’s long standing practice of approving additional professional development days during the school year, over and above the minimum number of days provided for in Article 28 of the Provincial Collective Agreement.
It has been reported to us that during these meetings, principals had the impression that this operational decision of the NLESD is somehow required due to the newly negotiated language of Article 28, which provides teachers with an additional guaranteed PD day and a guaranteed day for report card preparation. This impression is incorrect. The NLTA did not accept, at any time during the past round of negotiations, that there was any connection between PD days guaranteed in the Collective Agreement and PD days that the NLESD provides at its own discretion. In fact, the NLTA made it perfectly clear in bargaining that there was no connection and that it hoped the NLESD would maintain its support for teacher professional development by continuing to provide a least two additional discretionary PD days. There has been no change in the Collective Agreement that would have any impact on the discretion the NLESD (and predecessor boards) has always had to make the operational decision to approve additional PD days for schools over and above those guaranteed in the Agreement, which is a matter of District policy and not a collective agreement issue.
What has changed is that teachers can now be confident, regardless of any loss of instructional time for various reasons (weather closures, etc.), school district policies, or other local factors, that they are guaranteed an annual minimum of at least four, rather than three, PD days, and one day for report card preparation, which is an entirely new provision in the Collective Agreement. One of the PD days must be reserved for professional development needs identified by teachers at the school level, which is not limited to needs identified in personal growth or school development plans.
We understand that the NLESD has the discretion to determine how school days will be utilized outside the contractual minimums negotiated in the current Collective Agreement. Considering the financial sacrifices teachers have made for these protections in their Collective Agreement, and in light of the changes being implemented under the Premier’s Education Action Plan, we hope that the NLESD will reconsider its District professional learning plan and continue the practice of approving two additional PD days over and above that which is required by the Provincial Collective Agreement.
Assistant Executive Director