Section II: Overview of Special Interest Councils
Special Interest Councils are professional learning communities within the NLTA, dedicated to lifelong learning and the ongoing professional growth of members. For members who wish to contribute to their Association through the professional learning arm of the NLTA, Special Interest Councils:
- provide opportunities for involvement and leadership at provincial and regional levels.
- offer a professional learning program which focuses on teaching and learning, instructional leadership, communications and curriculum learning and implementation.
- advocate on matters unique to the members of that council and issues having direct relevance to education.
B. General Administration
a) The overall operations of the Special Interest Councils shall be under the jurisdiction of the Professional Issues Committee. The Professional Issues Committee is a standing committee within the NLTA. Generally, the Administrative Officer of the NLTA who is assigned to the Professional Issues Committee will also work with Special Interest Councils.
The terms of reference of the Professional Issues Committee are as follows:
- To make recommendations to the NLTA Provincial Executive Council regarding the formation or disbandment of Special Interest Councils.
- To advise the NLTA Provincial Executive Council in regard to funding the operation of Special Interest Councils.
- To control, under the direction of the NLTA Provincial Executive Council, the disbursement of all funds allocated for the operation of Special Interest Councils.
- To assign resources as required in response to requests from Special Interest Councils.
- To assist the officers of Special Interest Councils in organizing, managing and directing the business and affairs of their respective councils.
- To make recommendations to the NLTA Provincial Executive Council with respect to the by-laws of Special Interest Councils.
- To encourage Special Interest Councils to make representation to educational authorities that reflects NLTA policy and is vetted through the NLTA Provincial Executive Council or the President.
- To consider resolutions submitted to the Biennial General Meeting or the NLTA Provincial Executive Council relative to Special Interest Councils and make recommendations thereon.
- To ensure a smooth transition between Special Interest Council provincial executives by providing for appropriate training and consultation.
b) All by-laws of Special Interest Councils shall be submitted to the Professional Issues Committee for recommendation to the NLTA Provincial Executive Council.
Special Interest Councils may promote and make recommendations for immediate action or policy change in one or more of the following ways:
- Through the NLTA Provincial Executive Council to the Department of Education, school districts, the Newfoundland and Labrador School Boards Association, the Federation of School Councils and any other organization.
- To any regular meeting of the NLTA Provincial Executive Council.
- To Joint Council or the Biennial General Meeting.
- To the Professional Issues Committee or the Curriculum Committee.
For further information on making submissions as referenced above, see Appendix A.
D. Membership in Councils
a) Membership in a council shall be open to all NLTA active members (NLESD & CSFP), subject to the membership requirements of the council(s) the member wishes to join and provided any applicable membership dues are paid to those councils.
b) Associate membership in a council may be open to any other person who is not an active NLTA member whose professional interest is in a council’s area of concentration.
c) Notwithstanding (a) and (b) above, any person who has written out of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association shall not be eligible for either active or associate membership within any Special Interest Council.
E. The Council Executive
a) Membership on the provincial executive of any council is subject to:
- active membership within the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association; and
- active involvement in the area of special interest represented by the council at the time of election.
b) The core executive shall comprise the positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Communications Officer.(See Appendix B)
c) Additional subject-based members of provincial executives may be from any region of the province.
d) The term of office for a provincial executive shall be two years.
e) Any provincial executive may stand for re-election for additional terms.
f) At the end of the first year of a council executive’s term of office, voting for a successor executive-elect should take place.
g) Whenever possible, the provincial Special Interest Council executives should rotate geographically to various regions around the province.
h) To recognize member involvement, upon request an engraved past President’s pin will be supplied to councils by the NLTA office for presentation upon completion of the term of office.
a) Special Interest Councils will facilitate professional learning opportunities such as:
- focus groups
- information sessions
b) As the need arises, Special Interest Councils, in accordance with II.B.a) vii, will respond to curriculum documents, make representation to government or other agencies on educational issues and designate representatives to curriculum learning/implementation committees.
c) Special Interest Councils will:
- regularly communicate with their membership, minimally twice per year, with support of the NLTA when required.
- maintain up-to-date websites, with support from the NLTA.
- affiliate with national and international counterpart organizations wherever possible.
- support affiliates in their programming.
- when requested by the Provincial Executive Council of the NLTA, prepare position papers, advocacy strategies and action plans on issues of professional concern.
- provide advice to the NLTA in the formulation of policy and the conduct of Association affairs. In this regard, councils may make submissions to the NLTA Provincial Executive Council or any advisory committee of the NLTA.
- design and deliver professional learning programs in close collaboration with school districts and the Department of Education.
- coordinate dates for professional learning opportunities through the NLTA Programs and Services staff to ensure enhanced collaboration with other Councils and to avoid possible conflicts.
- maintain ongoing communications and liaison with the Programs and Services staff of the NLTA.
- Hold workshops and conferences in various parts of the province, where feasible, in an effort to have provincial applicability and meet the needs of teachers in various geographic areas.
a) The viability of Special Interest Councils depends on open communication and collaboration with, not only members, but other partners in the education system. To ensure viability, visibility and relevance, councils should:
- liaise with educational partners during the planning and implementation of programs to encourage a collaborative effort meeting mutual needs.
- advertise programs regularly through the NLTA Bulletin, websites and other forms of communication or discussion groups.
- provide exact and pertinent information to their membership at least two months in advance when advertising conferences and annual or biennial general meetings.
- in accordance with privacy of information legislation, maintain accurate contact information of all active and associate members and provide a subscription option for others who wish to subscribe to council communications.
- expedite communications among councils by ensuring that presidents of other Special Interest Councils are automatically on the mailing list.
- maintain accurate minutes of all meetings of the provincial Special Interest Council executive.
- develop and maintain a website. A basic one-page information source will be maintained on the NLTA website for each Special Interest Council.
b) Special interest councils may be charged for the cost associated with design, print and mailing of any resource or promotional materials.
c) External Communications
The NLTA President is the official spokesperson for the NLTA. If they are not available, the Vice-President will take their place. With approval, the Executive Director or Communications Officer may make statements to the news media.
Prior approval is asked of teachers before referring them as resource persons for the media.
d) Publication Guidelines
All publications of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association, whether published by the Association as a whole or by a sub-group of the Association, are subject to the following guidelines:
- All publications will be guided by a respect for truth, a concern for human dignity, and a commitment to the Code of Ethics of the teaching profession.
- Material which is demeaning, condescending, or that discriminates on the basis of age, race, religion or sexual orientation is unacceptable.
- Material printed in NLTA publications, posted on the NLTA website or in e-mail correspondence must be accurate and in good taste so as not to leave the Association and author open to libel. This principle applies equally to articles, photographs, illustrations, advertising, e-mail, social media and web pages.
- Opinion articles shall be clearly identified as such and shall carry the name of the author.
- Inclusion of any material of a political nature should be done with consideration of NLTA’s policy that this Association, as a body, will remain independent from specific political party affiliations while maintaining the right of members to participate in the democratic process.
- Copyright must be honoured. When reproducing any material, permission must be obtained from the person or organization holding copyright.