School is back on in Abbotsford after a protracted teachers’ strike.
Students missed almost three weeks of the new year, but Kevin Godden, superintendent of Abbotsford schools, said at this point, the lost instructional time will not be made up.
Godden explained the curriculum outcomes haven’t changed, so the teachers and students will have to focus on achieving the necessary outcomes in less time. He said teachers may hold tutorials to help students catch up.
He said that while all instructional time is important, in a students’ 12-year education, a few weeks may not have a huge impact. He said the impact is greater on students in secondary schools and those who are struggling and need extra assistance.
“I have faith that teachers will recognize which kids those are.”
Next week, the school board will consider some minor adjustments. While it will not add more minutes to the schedule, there may be changes around non-instructional days.
He said the already-scheduled school breaks will largely remain the same. However the end of the first semester will be moved from the last week of January into the first week of February. Each semester will lose about eight days.
Godden said it’ll take “sheer hard work” for teachers to catch up on preparations for the school year.
“But if you had driven by one of our schools this weekend, you would have seen those parking lots full of people. I know our teachers were working Friday, Saturday and Sunday to get things ready for kids.”
B.C. Teachers’ Federation members voted 86 per cent in favour of a six-year agreement.
“I’m happy with this deal,” said BCTF president Jim Iker.
It gives the province’s 40,000 teachers a raise of 7.25 per cent over six years, improvements to benefits and a fund to hire hundreds of new teachers each year.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender congratulated teachers on the settlement.
“We can now focus on the path forward,” Fassbender said. “This long-term agreement is an historic opportunity to work together for students – to enhance their education experience and to support their achievements.”