The Delta School District and the Delta Teachers’ Association have formed a joint committee to determine where, and in what capacity, to hire roughly two dozen new teachers.
The committee was formed in response to a recent announcement by Education Minister Mike Bernier that over 1,000 new teachers would be hired for B.C.’s education system.
The announcement came as a result of November’s landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling in favour of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation after a lengthy court battle over classroom conditions.
“It basically has compelled the provincial government to put money into staffing in schools,” said Paul Steer, Delta Teachers’ Association president. “It’s been a long time since we could describe a situation where we would say there were enough teachers in the system to meet the needs of students.”
Somewhere in the range of 20 to 30 new teachers will be hired for Delta, likely between 25 to 27, said Jen Hill, Delta School District’s communications and marketing manager.
According to Hill, the joint committee will work together to identify employment priorities and areas of need this week.
“Once that consultation is complete, the district can best decide what jobs will be posted and what positions will be filled,” she said via e-mail.
Hill said the District anticipates hiring both classroom teachers and “non-enrolling” positions like ESL and learning assistance teachers, counsellors and teacher-librarians, and that administrators will be letting the district know what the needs are in each individual school.
“Both the district and the Delta Teachers’ Association are hopeful that we can have additional teachers hired and working in the coming weeks,” she said.
Steer said classroom staffing continues to be a priority.
“We’re telling senior staff in the district that they need to put as much money as possible into classroom staffing to make a difference, so there are more teachers who are in turn able to work with more students.”
He said priority areas include a need for teacher librarians and teachers in special education and English language learning.
“My personal priority based on my own teaching experience is services to really support special needs students, students in alternate programs, students struggling with challenges in their own lives, mental illness or anxiety or other difficulties,” he said. “There’s a lot of need and it’s not always easy to see.”
He said it’s not easy to pinpoint where in Delta teacher resourcing is most needed.
“A student facing a challenge can happen in absolutely any school in Delta.”