CurriculumTop of page

In its formal and informal communications with Alberta Education during 2016, the Association dealt with the following issues: the curriculum redesign initiative, including the role and implementation of the competencies, and the literacy and numeracy progressions; the Truth and Reconciliation initiative; and the Grade 3 Student Learning Assessment program. During the year, Provincial Executive Council approved the names of 27 applicants for inclusion in the Association’s curriculum and student evaluation name bank. This bank is used as a source of appointments to Alberta Education curriculum and student evaluation committees as the need arises.

Inclusive Education RepresentationTop of page

The Alberta Education Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Education System met four times during 2016 and is composed of more than 30 representatives from a variety of education stakeholders. The purpose of the committee is to foster communication between education stakeholders and the ministry, to enable information regarding inclusive education to be shared more broadly, to advocate and provide leadership for an inclusive education system and to provide advice to Alberta Education. The committee reviewed and provided advice on an inclusive education policy framework, and Association representatives continued to refer to such Association documents as Inclusion in Alberta: Getting It Right and The State of Inclusion in Alberta Schools in response to the framework. In addition, the committee provided feedback on the inclusive practice competencies in the draft quality standards. Association representatives also continued to advocate for increased funding and supports to make inclusion work in Alberta classrooms.

The Association was represented by A M Gillis (executive staff officer), A K Brown (Early Childhood Education Council), P L Schwandt (Council for Inclusive Education) and R L Richards (Council for School Leadership).

Curriculum CommitteeTop of page

The Curriculum Committee met three times in 2016. Its activities included the following: (1) helping to formulate Association responses on curriculum and student evaluation matters; (2) reviewing Association curriculum policies; (3) raising concerns with representatives from Alberta Education; (4) receiving reports from Association representatives on Alberta Education curriculum advisory, program advisory, student evaluation and other committees; (5) reporting and recommending to Provincial Executive Council on curriculum and student evaluation issues; and (6) studying and reporting on resolutions referred from the Annual Representative Assembly. The committee provided input to Alberta Education on the following departmental initiatives: (1) curriculum redesign initiative, including the Guiding Framework for the Design and Development of Future Kindergarten to Grade 12 Provincial Curriculum, (2) Student Learning Assessments, (3) literacy and numeracy progressions, (4) the role and implementation of the student competencies and (5) Moving Forward with High School Redesign.

Members of the committee are E M Willette-Larsen (chair), J C Couture, K den Heyer, M Ferreirnha (College of Alberta School Superintendents), A Garneau, J A Gummesen, C J Gust, K A Hoehn, P R Lamoureux (Alberta Education), M D Lockwood, P M McCann, K D Pritchard, H J Quinn, L V Wiltse and M P Yurick (secretary). C L O’Brien is administrative secretary.

Curriculum RedesignTop of page

In 2016, the Association partnered with the government on its plan to completely revise the K–12 programs of study. A Memorandum of Understanding, which, in part, established an Association and ministry of education management group, was signed. Curriculum-specific working groups were established, comprised mainly of Association members nominated through their jurisdictions or named by the Association through their specialist councils. In 2016, the working groups engaged in the development stage of the design process, writing draft subject area introductions and developing the conceptual framework for the draft learning outcomes.

Teacher Education and CertificationTop of page

The Association undertook the following activities with respect to teacher education and certification in 2016: (1) participated in the Excellence in Teaching Awards by naming a teacher to the selection committee and providing representation on the advisory committee, (2) served on the selection committee for the Northern Tier Bursary Program, (3) collaborated with Alberta Education in making a presentation to education students in the final phase of their program, (4) expanded the program of delivery to preservice teacher education programs by hosting students at Barnett House and (5) ensured that students in their final practicum at the time of teachers’ convention, and who are members of their student local or student members of the Association, were provided with nocost opportunities to attend.

In 2016, the Association offered services to universities of Alberta, Calgary, Lethbridge and Campus SaintJean as well as to Ambrose University, Concordia University of Edmonton, The King’s University, MacEwan University and Mount Royal University.

Teacher Education and Certification CommitteeTop of page

The Teacher Education and Certification Committee (TECC) advises Provincial Executive Council on all teacher education matters of concern to the Association.

At its three meetings in 2016, TECC carried out the following activities: (1) provided advice and direction to Council with respect to Association policy on teacher education and certification; (2) reviewed statistics on teacher certification and the placement of student teachers; and (3) received updates on the Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation initiative and from the Association’s Diversity, Equity and Human Rights Committee.

The committee was advised of developments concerning field experiences programs by representatives from the four area field experiences committees (Calgary, Edmonton, Campus SaintJean and Lethbridge) that serve on TECC. During the year, TECC reviewed and updated the terms of reference for the four area field experiences committees and received information on such field experiences matters as communication processes, and the role and responsibilities of university facilitators.

Each area field experiences committee met three times in 2016. In addition, various preservice institution advisory committees met a combined total of nine times.

In addition to input from the area field experiences committees, TECC received regular reports from Association representatives serving on various department and teacher preparation institution committees at Ambrose University, Campus SaintJean, Concordia University of Edmonton, The King’s University, Mount Royal University and the universities of Alberta, Calgary and Lethbridge. TECC also received input from student locals, Alberta Education and Advanced Education.

Association members serving on TECC are J M Geiger (chair), C N Conroy, H Doppmeier, A Ebrahim, A D Grosky, E KingHunter, J Lafrenière, D A Sander, G R Schreiber, C N Yacey and M A Gravel (secretary). B L Bossert is administrative secretary. External representatives are R M Bright (University of Lethbridge), K Crawford (Ambrose University), M Demers (University of Lethbridge Student Local), L Den Boer (The King’s University), W E Dunn (University of Alberta), D T Gereluk (University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education), D Haley (Campus SaintJean), P C MacLeod (Alberta Education), T D Stogre (Mount Royal University), M M Stratton (Concordia University of Edmonton), K Wightmore (Campus SaintJean Student Local) and D Wishart (Advanced Education).

Diversity, Equity and Human Rights CommitteeTop of page

The Diversity, Equity and Human Rights (DEHR) Committee advises Provincial Executive Council on issues related to diversity, equity and human rights in education.

At its four meetings in 2016, the committee developed strategies to encourage Association members to become aware of diversity, equity and human rights issues. The committee undertook the following activities:

  • published two issues of its electronic newsletter, Just in Time;
  • selected the recipients of the Association’s Diversity, Equity and Human Rights grant program, which supports projects designed to establish inclusive learning communities;
  • identified resources of potential use to teachers;
  • reviewed the Association’s diversity, equity and human rights policies;
  • supported the development of Diversity, Equity and Human Rights committees in local associations through workshops based on the resource Establishing Diversity, Equity and Human Rights Committees in Local Associations;
  • developed the PRISM Toolkit for Safe and Caring Discussions About Sexual and Gender Minorities (Secondary Edition);
  • hosted the fourth annual Diversity, Equity and Human Rights Development Conference;
  • administered the Diversity, Equity and Human Rights Award program to acknowledge successes of local DEHR committees and selected the annual award recipient;
  • studied, advised and made new recommendations on policies related to DEHR issues;
  • supported the work of the Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet);
  • continued to work with the Canadian UNESCO National Coordinating Committee, which met twice to strategically map the future of UNESCO Associated Schools in Canada;
  • supported the joint development of a teaching resource for Arab students;
  • provided support to the Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities;
  • continued with the implementation of recommendations from the Association’s Leading the Way and Walking the Talk—First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Action Plan; and
  • provided ongoing feedback on the implementation of the recommendations from The Every Teacher Project on LGBTQ–Inclusive Education in Canada’s K–12 Schools Final Report coordinated by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba.

Subcommittees dealt with the following topics: (1) sexual orientation and gender identity, (2) social justice issues (the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network), (3) intercultural perspectives and (4) gender equity.

Members of the committee are D M SellarsMyshchyshyn (chair), A A Bird, A W Boylan, R Butt (University of Lethbridge), S P Kaplan, S T Kofluk, P C MacLeod (Alberta Education), R T Mazzotta, H D McCaig, J C Nedd, N L Shupe, K D Wells (University of Alberta) and F T Ruban (secretary). B L Bossert is administrative secretary.

Program for AdministratorsTop of page

The purpose of this program is to develop materials for, and provide professional development to, schoolbased administrators on a variety of topics. The Association continued to implement the Principal Quality Practice Guideline as the standard for professional growth, supervision and evaluation for school administrators.

Association staff presented workshops and made presentations on administrator leadership development in the following locals and jurisdictions: Calgary Public Teachers Local No 38, Calgary Separate School Local No 55, Battle River Regional Division No 31, Black Gold Regional Division No 18, Edmonton Catholic School District No 7, Edmonton School District No 7, Elk Island Catholic Separate Regional Division No41, Elk Island Public Schools Regional Division No 14, Evergreen Catholic Separate Regional Division No 2, Fort McMurray Roman Catholic Separate School District No 32, Fort McMurray Public School District No 2833, Grande Prairie Public School District No 2357, Grande Yellowhead Public School Division No 77, Kainai Board of Education, Lethbridge School District No 51, Living Waters Catholic Regional Division No 42, Livingstone Range School Division No 68, Northern Lights Local No 15, Northland School Division No 61, Park Plains East Local No 31, Parkland School Division No 70, Peace Wapiti School Division No 76, Prairie Land Regional Division No 25, Red Deer Catholic Regional Division No 39, Red Deer Public School District No 104, Rocky View School Division No 41, St Albert Public School District No 5565, St Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Separate Regional Division No 38, St Paul Education Regional Division No 1, Sturgeon School Division No 24, Treaty Six Education Council, Westwind School Division No 74 and Wild Rose School Division No 66. Staff also presented sessions on school leadership at various teachers’ conventions.

In November, the Association organized the eleventh annual conference for beginning administrators, Leadership Essentials for Administrators (LEA). The LEA Conference was held at the Fantasyland Hotel and Conference Centre in Edmonton on 2016 11 21–22. Two hundred and twenty one administrators new to their role or new to the province participated in the event. Minister of Education DEggen and Association vicepresident R J Twerdoclib opened the conference with welcoming addresses. Keynote speakers for the conference were CarolCampbell, with a presentation entitled “Leading with Evidence for Educational Improvement,” and Simon Breakspear, with a presentation entitled “High-Impact Implementation: How to Turn Good Ideas into Better Student Outcomes.” All delegates attended a plenary session that featured information about the Association, specifically with respect to Association programs and services for administrators. During the conference, participants attended sessions (28 options were offered), many of which were offered by Association staff and Association administrator instructors. Feedback from the participants indicated a high degree of satisfaction with the event.

The Association produces Leadership Update, a newsletter intended to provide administrators with information on some of the issues that they face and to introduce them to services available from the Association. The newsletter, which was published six times in 2016, is mailed to all school principals and posted on the Association’s website.

The Association supports the work of the Council for School Leadership in the development and implementation of the annual uLead Conference. In recent years this conference has become an international event attracting over 1,100 delegates each year from multiple countries, from a range of teacher and leadership organizations, and from ministries of education around the world. At the same time, the conference continues to focus on the needs of Alberta’s school leaders to provide a high-quality professional learning experience. A global summit on the datafication and commercialization of public education was held in conjunction with the 2016 uLead Conference.

Mentorship ProgramTop of page

The Association continues to provide a number of locals and jurisdictions with advice on establishing mentorship programs for beginning teachers. The Association’s primary role in this regard is to ensure that both mentors and protégés receive adequate preparation and support. Mentorship programs vary considerably among schools and school jurisdictions reflecting such factors as fiscal restraints, the number of personnel to coordinate teacher induction programs, the availability of substitute coverage, the availability of time for mentors and protégés to meet during the school day, the number of experienced teachers able to serve as mentors, and the availability of districtrun mentoring programs (which may not necessarily reflect the Association mentoring program model). Association mentoring program materials are best used with the benefit of Association staff to facilitate program delivery.

Association staff tailor the support for mentorship programs to local circumstances. In some cases, staff encourage locals and districts to implement mentoring partnerships while, in others, they work within existing mentorship programs. The Association monitors these programs on an ongoing basis.

The Association has provided mentoring assistance over the past year in the following locals: Calgary Public Teachers Local No 38 and Calgary Separate School Local No 55.

In addition, the Association continues to maintain formal mentoring partnerships with the following districts and locals: Peace Wapiti School Division No 76 and Northern Spirit Local No 6; Grande Prairie Roman Catholic Separate School District No 28 and Grande Prairie and District Catholic Teachers Local No 42; Buffalo Trail Public Schools Regional Division No 28 and Park Plains East Local No 31; and Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord No 2 and Unité local francophone 24. Each formal partnership is monitored by a steering committee consisting of local representatives, district representatives and Association staff. The steering committees develop frames of reference and guiding principles; coordinate activities for mentors, protégés, school and district staff; and monitor and evaluate the program.

Collaborative mentoring programs provide quality professional development and a support system that attracts new teachers to the profession and helps to ensure that they remain in it.

To support beginning teachers working in francophone schools and in French immersion programs, the Association also publishes its mentoring resources in French, and bilingual staff work with individual locals and districts to offer the mentorship program.

University LiaisonTop of page

One aspect of the Association’s liaison with universities is representation on a variety of committees and boards, each of which meets from one to ten times a year. A representative of the Association serves on each faculty of education council: M A Gravel at Campus SaintJean, Concordia University of Edmonton, The King’s University and the University of Alberta; D R Grassick at the University of Lethbridge; and CGMalnerCharest at the University of Calgary, Ambrose University, Mount Royal University and St Mary’s University. In turn, universities name representatives to several standing committees of the Association.

Another aspect of the Association’s liaison with universities is assisting instructors responsible for presenting information about the Association to university classes. Such assistance includes meeting with instructors at each university, making presentations to education classes and producing such publications as Teaching in Alberta—A Teacher Education Learning Resource. Among topics covered in university presentations are professionalism; ethics; public education; certification and the Teaching Quality Standard; teacher contracts; collective bargaining; teacher liability; teachers and the law; relationships with parents; diversity in the classroom; the organization of the Association; teacher governance; student assessment; professional growth, supervision and evaluation; and social media, technology and professionalism.

Program for Beginning TeachersTop of page

The Association organized two conferences for beginning teachers in the fall of 2016. The conferences, held in Edmonton and Calgary, together attracted 857 teachers. The conferences aim to (1) orient beginning teachers to the teaching profession and to the role of the Association, (2) ease their transition into the profession, (3) provide them with the skills and information they need to succeed in their first years, (4) acquaint them with the services the Association provides to teachers and (5) help them develop a network of supportive colleagues. Beginning teachers received a Handbook for Teachers New to the Profession. To accommodate teachers who were unable to attend the conference, the Association uploaded this document to its website.

Conference sessions focused on such topics as Association programs and services; brain research; character and citizenship education; classroom management; collaborative learning and creativity; curriculum specialties; differentiated instruction; diversity, equity and human rights; environmental and global education; First Nations, Métis and Inuit education; inclusive schools; student resiliency; the integration of students with special needs; conflict resolution; the rights and responsibilities of teachers; student assessment and evaluation; teacher evaluation and professional growth plans; teacher wellness; and relationships with parents. Several sessions were offered in French. Delegates were invited to complete a survey designed to help the Association track the experiences of new teachers over time.

The Association also continued a series of webinars to support Alberta teachers. Beginning teachers had access to these professional development offerings.

Professional Development ConsortiaTop of page

The province maintains seven professional development consortia, each with its own board of directors, executive director and bylaws. The major focus of the consortia in 2016 was continuing to support Alberta Education initiatives, including the following: First Nations, Métis and Inuit education; literacy and numeracy; inclusive education; career and technology foundations; learning commons policy development; and the competencies in the Ministerial Order on Student Learning.

The Association is represented on the board of directors of each of the seven consortia by three people: a classroom teacher, a principal from the region and a member of Association staff. The Association’s representatives on the respective consortia are S E Coveyduck, F F Garrett and J B Johnson (Calgary Regional Consortium); J L Dennis, J B Gascoyne and N J Luyckfassel (Central Alberta Regional Consortium); M J Bruins, L Kirchner and M A Gravel (Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium); M H Ference, A D Grosky and G R Schreiber (Learning Network); A G Lowen, R J Sylvester and M P Yurick (Northwest Regional Learning Consortium); ARThompson, D A Constable and G R Thomas (Southern Alberta Professional Development Consortium); and D Bonsaint, M J Lessard and M A Gravel (Consortium provincial francophone pour le perfectionnement professionnel).

Educational Leadership AcademyTop of page

The Educational Leadership Academy is a professional development activity offered to school leaders and those aspiring to leadership positions. The mission of the academy is to improve the effectiveness of schools by enhancing the quality of leadership and promoting the professional growth of educational leaders. The academy is sponsored by the Association and supported by the Council for School Leadership and the University of Alberta.

The 2016 Educational Leadership Academy was held at Barnett House on 2016 07 08–12. Academy delegates had an opportunity to participate in a week of professional learning focused on agile leadership. The academy program, “Leadership for Learning—Developing the Capability to Lead Improvement, Innovation,” was designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to maximize their impact on student learning. The keynote speaker for the program was Simon Breakspear, an internationally recognized thinker on the future of learning and educational innovation. Other speakers were Cale Birk and Nelson Gonzalez.

Sixty-two educational leaders participated in the academy. Participants had an intense week focused on ensuring that deeper learning will become a reality in their schools by enhancing their ability to effectively lead improvement, innovation and iterative change that will result in measurable growth in student learning. The core learning outcomes for the academy were understanding deeper learning, leading improvement and innovation, and leading quality change.

J B Johnson directed the academy. J L Archambault was administrative secretary.

Fellowships and Other AwardsTop of page

The scholarship subcommittee of the Teacher Education and Certification Committee considered applications for two $15,000 fellowships that the Association offers annually to doctoral students in education. In 2016, the Association awarded doctoral fellowships to J L Dennis and J P Sharek. The NadeneMThomas Graduate Research Bursary (a $5,000 award offered to a graduate student in education at a recognized Canadian university who undertakes research on issues affecting the health and/or working conditions of teachers) was awarded to G J MacDonald.

The scholarship subcommittee also administers the $2,500 John Mazurek Memorial–Morgex Insurance Scholarship, which is offered to a teacher taking an approved professional development course or part of an organized program of study in the field of business education and/or the use of computer technology in education from a recognized Canadian public institution. This year’s recipient was J Robinson.

Members of the scholarship subcommittee are J C Schilling (chair), D T Gereluk (University of Calgary), E KingHunter, D McLaughlin, P C MacLeod (Alberta Education), L O Richer, M M Stratton (Concordia University of Edmonton), A Tyslau, and G R Schreiber (secretary). B L Bossert was administrative secretary.

Each year, the Association awards gold medals to the students who attain the highest general proficiency in the final two years (including the practicum component) of the bachelor of education program at each of the faculties of education. The M E Lazerte Gold Medal was awarded to C Kaufman (University of Alberta), the MarieLouise Brugeyroux Gold Medal to E J MacKinnon (Campus SaintJean), the Clarence Sansom Gold Medal to J D Buhler (University of Calgary), and the William Aberhart Gold Medal to J Silva (University of Lethbridge).

The Association also offers annually a $5,000 award to a faculty member or sessional lecturer at an Alberta university or university college that the Association recognizes who has completed exemplary research on classroom teaching and learning. The 2016 Educational Research Award was granted to D Conrad and D Donald from the University of Alberta for their project entitled The Education of Indigenous Students: A Youth Exchange through Arts and Technology—Stories of Culture, Identity, Community and Place. Moving away from conventional discourses of achievement, diversity and inclusion as defined by outside dominant cultures, this project—a partnership between the University of Alberta research team and three schools from the Northwest Territories and Alberta—saw students producing artifacts that reflected the stories of their places, identities and communities. Members of the selection panel were J Parsons (chair), R W Hetherington, P A McRae, M Yates and J C Couture (secretary). J D Kardosh was administrative secretary.

Teacher QualificationsTop of page

The Teacher Qualifications Service, the agency responsible for assessing teacher qualifications for salary purposes, has been operating since March 1967 under an agreement between Alberta Education, the Alberta School Boards Association and the Association. Comparative statistics on evaluations processed are shown in Table 6.

 

Table 6. Statements of Qualifications Issued

 

2014

2015

2016

Based on inprovince documents

1,759

1,695

1,664

Based on outofprovince documents

1,979

2,360

2,004

Duplicate

195

250

260

TOTALS

3,933

4,305

3,928

Fees received

$266,746

$351,391

$267,420

 

In three meetings during the year, the Teacher Qualifications Committee, to which a teacher can appeal if dissatisfied with an assessment, considered three requests for reassessment and provided advice to the service on four cases. The committee members are G R Schreiber (chair), B J Baum, J Brandon (University of Calgary), D Coles, B Dunn (University of Alberta), N C Grigg (University of Lethbridge) and C Somers (Alberta Education). S M Knechtel is secretary.

The Teacher Salary Qualifications Board establishes the principles under which the Teacher Qualifications Service evaluates teacher preparation for salary purposes and hears appeals of the decisions of the committee. The principles adopted by the board are printed in the Members’ Handbook, posted on the Association’s website and published in pamphlet form. The board is made up of appointees from the Association, the Alberta School Boards Association, Alberta Education and each of the three faculties of education.

The board met twice in 2016. Association representatives on the board are H M Ramsankar (chair), P A Froese and G R Thomas. J L Archambault is administrative secretary.

Membership Eligibility Board and CommitteeTop of page

Association general bylaws 104 to 114 regulate operations of the Membership Eligibility Board and the Membership Eligibility Committee. No meetings were held in 2016.

Members of the board are H M Ramsankar (chair), I P Baxter, S E Coveyduck, M F Doll, N C Grigg (University of Lethbridge), D Lund (University of Calgary), L McGarvey (University of Alberta) and G R Schreiber (secretary).

Members of the committee are G R Schreiber (chair) and R R J Magee. S M Knetchel is administrative secretary.

Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation Professional Learning ProjectTop of page

In June 2016, the Association was a signatory with the Government of Alberta, the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), and other key stakeholders to a Joint Commitment to Action. The Joint Commitment to Action aims to advance reconciliation through education to connect all students, teachers and education stakeholders to First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) knowledge, cultures, experiences, perspectives and contributions. In addition, the draft revisions to the Teaching Quality Standard include a stand-alone competency related to FNMI education.

To ensure that programming and services are available to support teachers in fulfilling the expectations associated with the Joint Commitment to Action and the new draft standards, the Association secured a three-year grant from Alberta Education and will lead the development of comprehensive and targeted resources to build understandings of teachers and school leaders regarding the FNMI competency.

The Association will collaborate with key stakeholders, including elders, knowledge keepers, Métis, and Treaty 6, 7 and 8 representatives in the development and implementation of professional learning for certificate holders. The Association will work with the NCTR to build capacity in the field through partnerships and networking with school authorities (provincial and federal). Additionally, the Association will be working closely with specialist councils, convention associations, regional consortia and school jurisdictions to facilitate professional learning opportunities for teachers related to this project. The grant also involves the Association developing print and digital professional learning resources (in both English and French) to support the delivery of professional learning experiences.

Field ServiceTop of page

Demand for professional development workshops and presentations provided by staff remained high in 2016. A total of 198 workshops were offered to 13,942 participants. The tally of professional development presentations and workshops provided by staff is given in Table 7. Other workshops are delivered by Association instructors, whose work is described in section 81, and Association administrator instructors, whose work is described in section 82.

 

Table 7. PD Field Service Delivered by Staff

 

2014

2015

2016

Workshops and presentations

193

176

198

Participants

8,058

11,895

13,942

 

In 2016, the Association continued to explore strategies for delivering professional development online. The Association took the lead in developing workshops for beginning teachers that were redesigned and delivered through webinars. Also, the Association continues to lead a project on developing an online webbased service for professional growth planning.

The Association continued to use its PD collaborative website, which is primarily intended to support professional development leaders involved in locals, specialist councils and teachers’ convention associations. The website also aims to deliver materials and information to members of the Association’s two instructor corps. The Association continued the pilot of the online “Communities” platform designed to assist with supporting communities of practice and related events.

The Association held two Professional Development Area Conferences in 2016. Delegates to the conferences include local PD chairs and local presidents, convention association presidents and program chairs, specialist council presidents, PD facilitators, regional consortia executive directors and members of Provincial Executive Council.

The Spring Professional Development Area Conference (PDAC) was held on 2016 04 29(eve)–30 at the Coast Edmonton Hotel Plaza. The event had 127 attendees. The event opened with greetings from Vice-President R J Twerdoclib. Staff then provided information on Association workshops, teacher mentorship programs, the uLead Conference, iTunes U, Summer Conference, Association supports for Bill 10 and for clause C5 of the legislated framework, and the results of the 2014 Professional Development Survey. During the conference, participants attended two breakout sessions on such topics as inclusive education. The event also featured five “open table” sessions hosted by field members who highlighted the work of their local with respect to leadership in professional development.

The Fall PDAC was held on 2015 11 04(eve)–05 at the University of Alberta Lister Conference Centre. There were 142 delegates in attendance. The theme of the conference was “The Standards Unplugged.” The conference focused on increasing participants’ understanding of the revised and new professional standards, specifically regarding the competencies related to inclusive education; assessment; and First Nations, Métis and Inuit education. Association supports and services available to teachers to enable them to meet the standards were also highlighted. Saturday included breakout sessions and a provincial update session.

InductionTop of page

Fortynine locals held induction ceremonies in 2016. A total of 1,810 new members were welcomed into the profession, an increase from the 1,689 members inducted in 2015. Of the new Association members, 119 received their induction materials in French. Each new member received an induction package containing an induction certificate, a membership card and pertinent materials for beginning teachers.

IssuesTop of page

Since its inception in 1974, the Issues Bank has been used to investigate 67 topics not otherwise addressed by Association programs or activities. In processing issues, Provincial Executive Council follows a fourstep procedure. In step one, Council (as a result of discussion or upon recommendation by staff) identifies an issue and moves to place it in the Issues Bank. A staff member is then assigned to explore and define the concern. Based on these findings, Council decides, in step two, either to remove the issue or to move it to active status. If the issue is moved to active status, staff develop a proposed program or activity and submit it to Council for consideration. After considering the proposal, Council moves, in step three, to reject, modify or approve the proposal. If a proposal is approved, Council also approves a timeline and allocates the necessary funds. In step four, following completion of the approved proposal, staff submits a final report to Council, at which point work on the issue is concluded.

In 2016, “Inquiry-Based Professional Learning” was placed in the Issues Bank. Staff envisioned an alternate model of professional development whereby teachers could self-organize to address their individual professional development goals using an inquiry approach. As part of a preliminary investigation, a literature review was completed and an Association model of inquiry-based professional development was established. A participant guide and workshop were also developed in conjunction with the materials, which were piloted at Summer Conference 2016 in the Professional Development Course.

PublicationsTop of page

The following publications were updated and reprinted:

  • 2016/17 Professional Development Programs and Services Guide
  •  Education Is Our Buffalo
  •  Establishing Diversity, Equity and Human Rights Committees in Local Associations
  •  GayStraight Student Alliances in Alberta Schools
  •  GSAs and QSAs in Alberta Schools: A Guide for Teachers; Handbook for Association Administrator Instructors
  •  Handbook for Conference Directors of Specialist Councils
  •  Handbook for Convention Associations
  •  Handbook for Editors of Specialist Council Publications
  •  Handbook for Teachers New to the Profession
  •  Handbook for Treasurers of Specialist Councils
  •  Here Comes Everyone: Teaching in the Intercultural Classroom
  •  Manual for ATA Specialist Councils
  •  Plan to Apply for an Alberta Teachers’ Association Fellowship or Scholarship
  •  PRISM Toolkit for Safe and Caring Discussions About Sexual and Gender Minorities (Elementary Edition)
  • Professional Development Facilitators’ Handbook; Teaching in Alberta—A Teacher Education Learning Resource
  •  Teaching Somali Immigrant Children: Resources for Student Success
  •  Working with Karen Immigrant Students
  •  Working with South Sudanese Immigrant Students

The following new publications were produced in 2016: PRISM Toolkit for Safe and Caring Discussions About Sexual and Gender Minorities (Secondary Edition) and Promoting Success with Arab Immigrant Students.

In addition, the Professional Development Bulletin was published and updated regularly.

Specialist CouncilsTop of page

The Association currently has 21 specialist councils. Membership data for specialist councils are presented in Table 8. In 2016, grants to specialist councils totalled $755,422.

 

Table 8. Regular and Student Memberships in Specialist Councils

Council (Inaugural Year)

Inaugural Membership

1981

1991

2001

2010

2011

2015

2016

Alberta School Learning Commons Council (1975)1, 7

544

429

488

185

74

62

107

161

Career and Technology Education Council (1997)2, 8

785

1,241

1,308

530

408

299

547

597

Council for Inclusive Education (1970)3

201

675

834

1,172

977

841

1,663

1,931

Council for School Leadership (1961)4

344

776

1,306

961

730

998

1,665

2,094

Council of School Counsellors (1961) 9

97

453

603

260

228

215

401

475

Early Childhood Education Council (1966)

264

918

2,042

1,041

759

1,029

2,065

2,334

Educational Technology Council (1982)5

380

646

387

171

128

359

506

English as a Second Language Council (1992)

280

138

321

355

468

562

English Language Arts Council (1961)

128

878

1,275

778

438

509

952

1,145

Fine Arts Council (1963)

47

489

740

359

273

318

636

769

First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Council (2008)

200

84

120

104

198

Global, Environmental and Outdoor Education Council (1976)

464

530

321

285

102

188

233

294

Health and Physical Education Council (1962)

87

891

1,033

679

449

538

1,204

1,386

Le Conseil français (1970)

143

220

568

144

253

234

476

537

Mathematics Council (1961)

80

454

765

592

552

519

883

1,055

Middle Years Council (2005)

439

280

107

374

431

Outreach Education Council (2002)

106

161

135

199

257

Religious and Moral Education Council (1974)

151

188

201

87

94

107

156

218

Science Council (1961)

42

628

1,041

906

392

516

1,151

1,382

Second Languages and Intercultural Council (1998)6

185

488

715

190

277

341

535

658

Social Studies Council (1961)

61

607

913

538

304

280

732

844

TOTALS

 

9,865

14,799

9,232

7,327

7,839

14,910

17,834

1 Known as the Learning Resources Council before June 2006 (includes the former AudioVisual and School Library Councils)

2 Includes the former Business Education, Home Economics and Industrial Education Councils

3 Known as the Special Education Council before November 2014 (includes the former Gifted and Talented Education Council)

4 Known as the Council on School Administration before December 2012

5 Known as the Computer Council before June 2005

6 Known as the Intercultural and Second Languages Council before November 2007 (includes the former Multicultural Education and Modern Language Councils)

7Known as the Alberta School Library Council before April 2016

8Known as the Career and Technology Studies Council before January 2016

9Known as the Guidance Council before February 2016

 

The Alberta School Library Council underwent a name change to the Alberta School Learning Commons Council. The name change was made to reflect the changing role of teacher-librarians and the current focus of the council and its members. The Career and Technology Studies Council also underwent a name change to the Career and Technology Education Council. The name change was made to reflect the inclusion of Career and Technology Foundations (Grades 5–9) with Career and Technology Studies (Grades 10–12) and to better express the council’s mandate to serve Career and Technology teachers at all grade levels. The Guidance Council underwent a name change to the Council of School Counsellors. The name change was made to better align the council with current language and practice.

During 2016, specialist councils endorsed individual members to serve on a number of curriculum working groups hosted by Alberta Education. Councils advocated for the inclusion of several policies in the Association’s policy bank. Many specialist councils maintained formal liaisons with representatives of postsecondary institutions and Alberta Education. As a group, specialist council leaders collaborated with postsecondary institutions to provide two no-cost professional development events, which included a membership drive designed to engage preservice teachers in specialist councils.

Specialist councils also collaborated with other organizations:

The Career and Technology Education Council PD Directors developed professional development materials in collaboration with a learning consortia.

The English as a Second Language Council partnered with the Second Languages and Intercultural Council and the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers to provide professional development opportunities to its members.

The English Language Arts Council engaged in a partnership with the Werklund School of Education of the University of Calgary to offer a one-day conference.

The Fine Arts Council collaborated with the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

The First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Council partnered with Project of Heart to offer an Alberta-specific inservice.

The Health and Physical Education Council invited Alberta Health Services to appoint a nonvoting liaison representative to sit on the executive and launched a mentorship program in collaboration with Ever Active Schools.

The Social Studies Council collaborated with the Association on The Future of Social Studies—The Voices of Alberta Teachers and entered into a partnership with the University of Alberta on a project entitled Thinking Historically for Canada’s Future.

Specialist councils also facilitated professional development opportunities for teachers at all stages of their career. For instance,the Council of School Counsellors organized professional learning opportunities and promoted other opportunities offered by various community agencies, the English as a Second Language Council executive facilitated professional development to the Central Alberta Refugee Effort, and the Science Council hosted book study sessions. To further support professional development, the Second Languages and Intercultural Council provided funding to nine special interest groups and the English Language Arts Council provided grants to its members to offset the costs of professional development.

Specialist councils offered curriculum-specific sessions at the Association’s Beginning Teachers’ Conferences in Edmonton and Calgary. They also hosted conferences and regional events and gave presentations: the Alberta School Learning Commons Council presented on makerspaces through the Calgary Regional Consortium and on Learning Commons through Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium, and the Council for School Leadership hosted the uLead Conference, as well as full-day workshops for French immersion school leaders and on anxiety for school leaders.

Fourteen specialist councils sent representatives to the Specialist Council Seminar at Summer Conference. The program consisted of a joint presidents’ and conference directors’ session, breakout sessions for the two groups and several sessions held in conjunction with other courses and seminars.

Thirty-eight delegates attended a training session for specialist council editors, treasurers and secretaries held in conjunction with the specialist council presidents’ fall meeting. The meeting included an update on curriculum redesign and professional standards; an overview of the grant process and the funding formula for the 2016/17 grants; a breakout session on the executive roles; a plenary session entitled “Walking Together: A Journey Begins with Specialist Councils”; and a presentation on the tools available to councils to support subgroup workflow, including the “Communities” platform, Sched and Survey Monkey. The meeting concluded with time for council executives to connect with staff to discuss council-specific challenges and to build inter-council collaboration.

At yearend, the Association was hosting the websites of 20 specialist councils (12 in 2015).

In 2016, specialist councils published 16 journals (12 in 2015) and 25 newsletters (40 in 2015). The publications Manual for ATA Specialist Councils, Handbook for Conference Directors of Specialist Councils, Handbook for Treasurers of Specialist Councils and Editors’ Handbook were revised and distributed to council executives to support the work of councils.

ConventionsTop of page

Ten convention associations held teachers’ conventions in February and March of 2016. Conventions were held in the following areas: North Central, 2016 02 04–05; Calgary City, 2016 02 11–12; Northeast, 2016 02 11–12; Central Alberta, 2016 02 18–19; Palliser District, 2016 02 18–19; South Western Alberta, 2016 02 18–19; Southeastern Alberta, 2016 02 18–19; Greater Edmonton, 2016 02 25–26; Mighty Peace, 2016 03 03–04; and Central East Alberta, 2016 03 10–11. Common themes across the conventions included the potential and risks of technology use, cross-curricular teaching, critical thinking, comprehensive school health and reconciliation education.

Teachers in distributed learning, distance learning, virtual and online environments who live outside their assigned teachers’ convention area continue to have the option of applying to attend a teachers’ convention of their choice. Slightly more teachers exercised this option in 2016 than did in 2015.

Twenty-one convention association members, mainly presidents and program coordinators representing the 10 convention associations, attended the annual convention meeting held in April. The day focused on reviewing the 2016 teachers’ conventions and identifying possible ways to improve future conventions. Discussions at the meeting centred on preservice teacher costs, distance education/outofdistrict delegate registration and alternate professional development processes. Delegates also participated in a facilitated design-thinking workshop that focused on innovative approaches to convention planning. The workshop resulted in the creation of a list of member needs related to conventions and the development of prototypes that could be used to address these needs.

Eighteen representatives from the 10 convention associations attended the Convention Seminar at Summer Conference. Among the topics addressed were Association requirements for conventions (those being financial accountability, annual reporting, records management, adherence to privacy legislation, Association messaging), program planning for conventions in 2016, alternate professional development requests and donations. The keynote presentation, given by Charlene Bearhead from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, was followed by a discussion of the Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation initiative.

All of the presidents from the convention associations met in November for a half-day meeting to review important information from Summer Conference, discuss emergent issues and receive updates related to the upcoming conventions. A full-day seminar for presidents, program chairs and treasurers that is historically held in November was postponed until April 2017 to allow for greater collaboration and training time.

Throughout the year, a number of convention associations updated their constitutions. The Calgary City Teachers’ Convention Association’s constitution was updated to reduce the overall size of the convention board and specify when various executive officers are elected. The Southwestern Alberta Teachers’ Convention Association’s constitution was amended to reflect changes to executive officer positions and their duties. The Central East Alberta Teachers’ Convention Association’s constitution was updated to allow members from the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation working in Lloydminster to attend this convention and have formal representation on the convention board. The North East Teachers’ Convention Association’s constitution was amended to make representation on the convention board more reflective of local association teacher numbers and to specify the terms of office for convention board members and executive officers.

Professional Development FacilitatorsTop of page

To foster effective regional professional development for Alberta teachers, the Association maintains a corps of professional development facilitators. Among other activities, facilitators (1) help Professional Development staff deliver programs to schoolbased and local professional development committees, (2) provide service on a shortterm basis to locals and local professional development committees that require specific field service, (3) help individual schools and schoolbased professional development committees assess their needs and plan and evaluate programs, (4) participate in Association task forces and other bodies that are established from time to time and (5) report to Professional Development staff on a regular basis.

Facilitators participated in the 2016 Professional Development Course at Summer Conference, as well as training sessions held prior to Summer Conference and prior to the Fall Professional Development Area Conference. During these meetings, facilitators reviewed the PD facilitator handbook and procedures, collaborated on promotional material that highlights the services that the facilitators provide, and developed strategies to support PD leaders in their local context.

Facilitators supported such events as the Professional Development Area Conferences. In 2016, facilitators undertook 33 formal assignments that included workshops, presentations and meetings in the province, in addition to ongoing, more informal work.

Association InstructorsTop of page

The Association instructor corps, consisting of 50 teachers and administrators, delivers Association workshops at schools, locals, conventions and conferences. Six members of the corps offer workshops in French and six specialize in presenting First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) education workshops. Instructors attended a training session in the spring. Due to completion of several three-year terms, 26 new instructors were added to the corps in 2016.

Twenty-six instructors participated in the 2016 Association Instructors’ Seminar at Summer Conference. At the course, instructors reviewed the Association instructors’ handbook and procedures, learned facilitation skills and received training on delivering workshops.

During 2016, Association instructors received training to deliver the following workshops: “Project Based Learning—Alberta Students Engage, Explore, Create and Share”; “PRISM—Professionals Respecting Individual Sexual and Gender Minorities”; “The Blanket Exercise”; “Unseen Hurts: Promoting Positive Mental Health in Schools”; “Creativity: Fostering It in Your Students and Yourself” and “Supporting Positive Behaviour in Alberta Schools.” Additional training was provided on integrating concepts and strategies related to FNMI teaching and learning into all of the Association workshops.

Instructors presented 364 workshops at schools, local professional development days, teachers’ conventions and specialist council conferences in 2016. This represents an increase of 63 workshops from 2015. All workshops available were advertised on staff room posters, described on the Association’s website and featured on Association bookmarks, brochures and banners. Also, in collaboration with the Learning Network, Association instructors facilitated six webinars for teachers on a variety of topics.

Association Administrator InstructorsTop of page

The Association administrator instructor corps, consisting of 18 school administrators, delivers Association workshops at schools and to groups of administrators. In 2016, the administrator instructor corps delivered 28 workshops on a variety of topics at such events as the Association’s Leadership Essentials for Administrators Conference and at teachers’ conventions. The corps supported the implementation of Coaching to Support Inclusion: A Principal’s Guide and A Principal’s Guide to Teacher Induction, created new workshops to support the School Leadership Framework and continued to develop leadership resources for iTunes U.

Professional Development CourseTop of page

The Professional Development Course, which is offered at Summer Conference, is designed to help local professional development (PD) committee chairs plan, implement and evaluate local PD programs. Forty participants and eight professional development facilitators from 34 locals attended the course in 2016. Participants reviewed professional development leadership roles and responsibilities within the local. Participants also reviewed the Association’s policy and position paper on professional development; discussed the importance of advocating for professional development at the school jurisdiction and local levels; networked with various PD leaders; explored the use of recent Association research documents in planning, leading and evaluating professional development; examined succession planning models for PD committees; considered such emergent matters as First Nation, Métis and Inuit education, English-language learners and bi-level bargaining; and participated in sessions featuring the Association instructor corps. Participants were also offered a selection of skill-development and specialinterest sessions. PD chairs received additional training to fulfill their roles at the professional development area conferences.

Special ProjectsTop of page

The Online Professional Growth Planning Service pilot project for teachers and school leaders, funded by the Government of Alberta and developed by the Association, continued in 2016. In particular, an open source web-based self-reflection tool was developed.

In 2016, the Professional Development program area of the Association also continued the pilot of an online event registration and information platform designed to assist Association subgroups in the organization and administration of events. The platform is designed to be a single-service location for event communication, registration and electronic materials management. Also, the platform provides opportunities for attendees to engage with each other and event organizers through social media. The Beginning Teachers’ Conferences, as well as such Association subgroups as specialist councils and convention associations, were involved in the pilot.

Webinars, facilitated by Association instructors, were offered in collaboration with the Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortium. In 2016, the following webinars were offered: “Winning Strategies for Struggling Students,” “Supporting Positive Behaviours in Alberta Schools,” “Addressing Learning Disabilities in the Inclusive Classroom,” “Here Comes Everyone: Teaching in the Culturally Diverse Classroom” and “Unseen Hurts—Understanding Mental Health Issues in Our Schools.” The webinars were made available to all Alberta teachers and promoted through flyers, advertisements in the ATA News, the Association’s website and social media.