BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 4

PRESIDENT'S PERSPECTIVE

Advocating For Students and Counsellors
After Changes in the Collective
Agreement and Class-Size Limits
BY DAVE MACKENZIE

Welcome to 2018! It's been an exciting
and interesting time for public education
in B.C. While the Supreme Court decision
that directed school districts to restate the
stripped Collective Agreement language
generated great hope and optimism that
things would be better in our classrooms
and schools, the implementation has
been inconsistent around the province.
In many school districts the class-size
limits were immediately changed resulting in portables being installed, additional course sections being added, and
a huge influx of "new" teachers into the
schools. I am happy that we have been
able to add more classrooms, in some
cases smaller classrooms; however, that
is where optimism begins to fade. Some
of our colleagues have reported to me
that in their school districts, which had
explicit restored Collective Agreement
language regarding class composition,
the movement to add back the stripped
resources has been slow, challenging, and
downright frustrating. There are debates
and disagreements how to interpret the
restored language, at the expense of students' needs. It is important for the adults
"in the room" to remember, regardless of
which side of the table they sit on, that
both sides are responsible for ensuring
that addressing student needs is their first
priority. While I can appreciate that the
educational landscape has changed over
the last 14 years, the needs of students
have NOT!
When it comes to school counselling
and the restored Collective Agreement
language, I have seen both good and
bad from school districts. Before I share
with you what I have heard, I feel it is
necessary to clarify what was in the
restored Collective Agreement language.
The ratios for school counsellors were
set at a provincial minimum of 1:683.
Additionally, this ratio was district-wide
4

When it comes to school counselling and the
restored Collective Agreement language, I have seen
both good and bad from school districts.
and was NEVER intended to be applied
to site-specific context.
Some school districts have language
that guaranteed smaller ratios than the
minimum, and some had different ratios
for elementary and secondary schools. In
some school districts, management has
decided to view the restored language
as MINIMUM ratios and maintained their
current school counselling ratios because
the staff levels had been set through consultation and an attempt to address present student needs. Unfortunately, other
school districts have chosen to cut school
counselling time to "meet" the restored
language. What does not make sense
to me is that if before the court ruling
there was a particular school counselling

staffing level-presumably based on student need-but somehow the Supreme
Court ruling changed the amount of student need, and therefore reduced the
need for school counselling time. THIS
IS WRONG! As colleagues who work with
some of the most disenfranchised students and families, yet with the greatest
need, WE must being willing to stand up
and advocate for more appropriate ratios
for school counsellors in B.C.
Please know that as executives, we are
working behind the scenes with locals and
larger BCTF and other professional organizations to advocate for a 1:250 ratio for ALL
school counsellors. If you are interested in
some ideas about how to advocate, check
out my article.
BC Counsellor | Winter 2018 | www.bcschoolcounsellor.com


http://www.bcschoolcounsellor.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Counsellor - Winter 2018

President’s Perspective
The Fine Print
Book Review
How the Use of Neuroscience and the Satir Model in the Sand Tray Facilitates Healing in Low-Verbal or Non-Verbal Children
BC School Counseling: Preserving One-on-One Support for Students
SuperConference Recap
Ask an Expert: Dianne Noort Talks about Play Therapy
Counsellor’s Corner
Index to Advertisers
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - intro
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - cover1
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - cover2
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 3
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - President’s Perspective
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 5
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - The Fine Print
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - Book Review
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - How the Use of Neuroscience and the Satir Model in the Sand Tray Facilitates Healing in Low-Verbal or Non-Verbal Children
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 9
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 10
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 11
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 12
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - BC School Counseling: Preserving One-on-One Support for Students
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 14
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - SuperConference Recap
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - Ask an Expert: Dianne Noort Talks about Play Therapy
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 17
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - Index to Advertisers
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - cover3
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - cover4
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