The Government of Alberta and the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) concluded bargaining the provincial level of the Collective Agreement for teachers from 2016- 2018 on two votes, the last of which occurred on May 24, 2017.
The negotiation process for this collective agreement with teachers is new in the history of Alberta, as explained by David Eggen, Minister of Education:
“This new model will allow school boards, the government, and the ATA to negotiate at a provincial table on issues that are relevant to all school boards. It also retains school boards’ autonomy to address local conditions that a!ect their local teachers. This system puts all the a!ected parties, including government, at the bargaining table in a transparent way.” (Government introduces improved teacher bargaining model, November 26, 2015)
With this is a new bargaining process, the Province decided to divide up the items that would be bargained, at the provincial level and the local level, including items such as:
Provincial Level Bargaining Items
- Salary increases and grid
- Health spending accounts
- Group benefits and employer contribution percentage,
- Sick, maternal, parental, adoption, and personal business leaves
- Limits on instructional and assigned time
- Assigned or unassigned professional duties,
- Maximum Instructional and non- instructional days
Local Level Bargaining Items
- Schedule and dates of salary payment
- RRSP contributions
- Group benefit design
- Professional improvement, sabbatical, and graduate study leaves
- Local directed professional development funds
- We are happy that teachers in Alberta are well paid and compensated for theirwork with our students, and we hope that this high salary level will help us recruit and retain great individuals to teach in Westwind schools. In a study on teacher compensation, Alberta teachers were found to be the highest paid in all of the western provinces by a significant margin, including Ontario. In a study done by the BC Teachers Federation in 2014, Alberta teachers had the highest salaries in Canada except Nunavut and the Northwest and Yukon Territories.
- At the provincial bargaining table teacher workload was a major topic.
- For many years, 200 days has been the maximum number of days of work for a teacher by legislation. While this remains true, depending on the length of the school day, the number of days will be less than 200 for Westwind teachers.
- As mandated by the Provincial agreement, 1200 hours per year is the maximum a teacher may be assigned. This is true for all Alberta Teachers and reflects the norm of the large Urban boards in Calgary and Edmonton for the last 20 plus years.
- Included in the 1200 hours is a maximum of 907 hours a teacher may be assigned to provide direct instruction to students.
- The remaining 293 hours is to be assigned by local school boards and can include but is not limited to the following:
- Staff development.
- Staff meetings
- Collaborative time with colleagues
- Preparation time
- Supervision of students
- Teachers Convention
- Non Instructional Days (PLC and School based PD)
- In Westwind, teachers have been assigned 80 hours per year, outside the student timetable to work together under the direction of their Principal to achieve staff development goals that are determined by the staff and administration at the school level.
- There remains at each school between 90 and 113 hours of assigned time that is left to the discretion of the leadership at each school. Principals will be able to share the details of this with their school councils in the fall.
- In the 2017 – 18 school year there will be a number of “non instructional” (Students do not attend) days when teachers will engage in PLC’s (professional learning communities), as well as Division based and School based professional development activities.
- These days are extremely valuable to teachers as they are able to focus sharply on the skills of teaching and learning for the benefit of all students.
- Teachers provide exceptional leadership in these events as they work collaboratively with their colleagues in pursuit of excellence through a cycle of continuous improvement.
It is recognized by the Westwind Board and Administration that the assignable time,(1200 hours) defined in the provincial agreement forms only part of the work that excellent teachers do. Lesson planning and preparation, marking, gathering materials, are essential duties that teachers perform outside the school day. In addition, many valuable contributions by dedicated teachers come as voluntary offerings to students because of the passion teachers have to support their students outside the classroom. These voluntary contributions include coaching in its many forms as well as contributing to the whole school experience and environment of the school.