All the positions are filled.
At the end of January the Kootenay Lake School Board put out 22 postings for new teaching positions all over the district, following a $503,000 interim cash infusion, and now they’ve finished hiring.
“When all the dust settled we had 22 postings and we had another 11 additions to current staff,” human resources director Deanna Holitzki told the Star.
“Every single school in the district got something, and we’ve been able to add staffing where it was desired by each school.”
The new hires were made possible by a Supreme Court ruling that saw the B.C. Teachers Federation win a decisive victory in a multi-year court battle over classroom size and composition.
These funds are part of a $50-million interim agreement between the federation and the provincial government.
L.V. Rogers and the REACH alternative program received the equivalent of 1.4 new teachers, the biggest boost in the district, while Mount Sentinel received 0.56. Trafalgar Middle School received 0.8, and most of the elementary schools received between 0.2 and 0.4.
At Nelson’s only high school, four different teachers got their hours bumped up so they can provide academic and learning support in the areas of English, Science, Mathematics and Social Studies.
“As a student you can now seek out these teachers. So for instance, if you need help understanding Physics 11 or preparing for a test, you’ll have additional support,” said Holitzki.
She said the funds are available for “grey area students.”
“This is for students who aren’t yet identified as needing additional support, but they may not be progressing as well as they wish to.”
In South Slocan the high school decided to add a technology integration support worker who can assist students with their technology-related projects.
“They have quite a focus on technology there, so they’ve made it a priority to support the students in that way,” said Holitzki.
Their entire 0.56 designation was put towards that single teacher.
Nelson’s middle school hired two part-time teachers for additional learning support, adding in some additional funds to bring each of them both up to a 0.7 allocation.
These teachers will function in the same way as the ones at L.V. Rogers, offering additional academic support for students who are struggling.
Holitzki said this tutoring can occur during class-time or during extracurricular hours, depending on the circumstance.
The differences are less drastic at the elementary schools, but the funds went towards boosting hours.
“Some schools in the the district made smaller classes for students, or some have team-teaching. At Salmo Elementary they split one class into two with the funds,” she said.
Wildflower, Blewett, South Nelson and Hume received 0.4 while Redfish, W.E Graham and Rosemont all received 0.2.
Once the teachers have settled into their new roles, the board plans to check in to see how everything went.
“In the spring we’ll be asking the principals and the teachers what their thoughts on this were, and we’ll gather that anecdotal data and go from there,” she said.
Holitzki praised the allocation process as “collegial” and said they’re happy with the end result, which also required $43,000 from the district.
But it remains to be seen whether this new funding level will become the new status quo.
“These particular positions may not stay in place, and it might end up looking different.
“We’ll find out from the provincial bargaining process.”