Job action alters school holiday concerts

Events moved to school-based assemblies during instructional hours

Parents wishing to see their youngsters perform in the annual school holiday concerts on the North Island will need to block off time a bit earlier in the day than they’re accustomed to.

Evening concerts, a tradition at several local schools, will not take place this year, due largely to the job action under way by members of the Vancouver Island North Teachers Association.

Instead, schools will host “Christmas assemblies” and other events during the day, in the school buildings.

“Usually it’s in the evening, in the big gym,” Gail Henderson, acting principal of Sea View Elementary School in Port Alice, said of her school’s annual Coffee House concert. “This year, it’s during the day, in the smaller room.”

Similar events will take place at Cheslakees Elementary in Port McNeill, next Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., and at Sunset Elementary in Port McNeill, Wednesday at 1 p.m.

In recent years, Sunset has held an evening concert featuring song and/or skit numbers from each classroom. This season, Sunset students will perform a musical play written by assistant principal Dan Baker, the school’s music teacher.

“We’re having a Christmas assembly,” said Rena Sweeney, principal at Sunset. “We’ll have it during the day; it will fall within the job action.”

Phase 1 of the teachers’ job action is designed to place pressure on negotiators for the B.C.  Public School Employers’ Association as the groups attempt to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.

Under the job action, teachers continue with classroom instruction of students, but have withheld administrative functions and many after-school functions they previously participated in.

For most of the school year the limited strike has had little impact on parents of students. But first-term report cards were released recently with letter grades omitted, and the change in holiday pageants could potentially affect families with daytime work schedules who might otherwise have attended.

“We haven’t had a whole lot of response from people on reporting (grades), because the lines of communication between teachers and parents remains open,” said Fred Robertson, VINTA president. “Teachers are certainly letting parents know if there are any issues with their children. To our point, those lines of communication are important.”

Robertson added teachers are still taking part in extracurricular activities, including daytime, class field trips. But he was not certain what impact the job action might have when traditional multi-day trips roll around in spring, such as those to Camp Homewood or, for Sunset’s Grade 7 students, to Victoria for a week.

“One of the things we’re not doing is collecting any money for those sorts of things,” Robertson admitted. “But administrators here, when it is pertinent to those trips, have been collecting money. I’m not aware of any plans to cancel the trips.”

As for the holiday concerts, administrators are downplaying the impact of the job action and say they have worked with the teachers to provide a fun event for the students.

“The teachers here have been preparing in their classrooms,” said Henderson. “They’re all involved; it’s really just a change of time and location.”

 

 

Just Posted

Port Harvey shipyard greenlit

Bylaw 895 has been adopted by RDMW

Port McNeill Volunteer Fire Department appoints deputy chief

Port McNeill Fire Chief Dean Tait has appointed 10+ year firefighter veteran… Continue reading

Port McNeill in Focus: Childcare Availability Crisis a Good News/Bad News Story

On average, childcare across the country is unavailable, unaffordable, and the quality varies.

Notice of change of operator for Mount Waddington transit services

The Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) and BC Transit have received… Continue reading

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

Most Read