District approves plan for teacher leaders

Nine new “master” teachers will be hired in Nanaimo to provide extra support for classroom teachers next fall.

Nine new “master” teachers will be hired in Nanaimo to provide extra support for classroom teachers next fall.

The school district received a $1.5 million Learning Improvement Fund grant from the province to help deal with complex needs in classrooms. Trustees approved a plan to spend that money last week.

About $191,000 will be put toward more education assistant hours in classrooms, more than $400,000 will be kept in reserve to deal with issues as they come up next school year and $862,000 will hire nine instructional coordinators, who will be part of school-based, inter-disciplinary teams that will move from classroom to classroom, school to school, as needed.

Assistant superintendent Chris Southwick said there will be 10 teams, as one teacher is already working as an instructional coordinator in the district.

“These people will be master teachers,” she said. “They would be seen by their peers as people they would go to for advice and ideas. The bottom line is to be able to support teachers in classrooms. They would be working with the teacher and helping them. If they need to be there for two weeks, they’ll be there for two weeks.”

Southwick said the teams, which will be under the supervisor of the district’s four assistant superintendents, will include other specialists such as psychologists and speech language pathologists.

The district is still working out  the details of how and when the teams will be deployed, but this resource will be available to teachers who have tried various strategies, but are finding that students continue to struggle.

District officials felt this was the best use of the money because the teams have the flexibility to go where they are most needed and it provides a more systemic model of support, said Southwick.

“If you just put one person in one school for the whole year … the needs might change,” she said.

Jamie Brennan, school board chairman, said the strategy will impact a greater number of students than if the district simply added the funds to its operating budget and reduced some class sizes slightly.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

Justin Green, first vice-president of the Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association, said the union had hoped the district would use the money to relieve some of the pressure on class size averages.

“This year we had the second highest secondary class sizes in the province,” he said. “I’m not sure that the 10 coordinators are going to make the functioning of these classrooms better. We’re spending a lot of money, but what are the roles and functions? What are they really going to be tasked with?”

Ron Farino, president of CUPE Local 606, said the extra money for education assistants should add roughly 30 minutes per week per EA, which will hopefully allow them to do a bit more preparation work, consultation with teachers and spend some extra time with students.

Just Posted

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

An event on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday to remember the 215 children whose remains were confirmed buried in unmarked graves outside a Kamloops residential school. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canada’s racist systems cannot ever be forgiven

Teen letter writer from Nunavut calls for truth and reconciliation

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

City of Nanaimo council has approved amendments for an animal control bylaw requested by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The bylaw includes language related to quail. (Wikipedia Commons photo)
Province asks for tweaks to Nanaimo’s animal responsibility bylaw

Ministry concerned bylaw wording could create municipal and provincial jurisdictional overlaps

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo hospital district seeks help from other districts for $1-billion project

Funding for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital patient tower discussed by committee

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Most Read