Attend an Alternate PD ActivityTop of page

Q: Can I attend a conference other than the ATA convention if it runs during the same time as my teachers’ convention?

A: Yes, if your convention attendance committee gives you permission to be absent from your assigned convention.

Q: What criteria must be met for an event to be considered an alternate PD activity?

A: The event must be an organized, extraordinary PD opportunity not available at any other time. More detailed information about alternate professional development activities is available.

Q: How do I obtain permission to attend an alternate PD activity?

A: Individual teachers must apply in writing to the chair of the convention attendance committee explaining the specifics of their request. A form is generally available on the convention website. The application must be received at least six weeks prior to the convention. You must check with your convention association as to the specific deadline for the request.

Q: What if I disagree with the convention attendance committee’s decision about my request to attend an alternate PD activity?

A: You can appeal the decision. Check with the person who communicated the decision to you to find out the specifics of the appeal process. In most cases, appeals are handled by the convention board at its next meeting.

Q: Where can I find out more about the process to be followed if I must be absent from my convention?

A: Consult the Protocol for Convention Attendance for more detailed information.

Q: If my application to attend an alternate PD opportunity is approved by the convention attendance committee, are my convention fees for the year refundable or transferable?

A: No.

Attend a Convention Other Than the One AssignedTop of page

Q: I live a long way from the convention to which I am assigned and very near to another convention. Can I attend the nearer convention?

A: If distance is the only consideration, no, you must attend your regular convention. Many teachers travel several hours to attend their convention. However, if there are urgent, compelling or compassionate circumstances that prevent you from attending your regular convention, you may, at the discretion of your convention association, be allowed to attend a convention that is closer to you.

Q: What do I have to do to attend a convention other than the one to which I am assigned?

A: First, you must seek permission from your convention association to be excused from the convention to which you are assigned. Next, you must get permission from the convention that you want to attend so that you are eligible to register. Finally, you must pay the out-of-district registration fee for the convention that you have asked to attend. These fees range from $75 to $300.

Q: Where do I get convention identification/credentials for the convention I wish to attend if I’ve registered as an out-of-district delegate?

A: Check the convention website. In some cases your convention identification/credentials might be mailed to you. In others, you may have to check in at an information booth on the first day of the convention.

Q: If my application to attend a convention other than the one I’m assigned is approved by the convention attendance committee, are my convention fees for the year refundable or transferable?

A: No.

Q: What happens if I disagree with the decision of the attendance committee?

A: You can appeal the decision. Check with the person who communicated the decision to you to find out the specifics of the appeal process. In most cases, appeals are handled by the convention board at its next meeting.

Personal DaysTop of page

Q: Can I use personal days during teachers’ convention?

A: This is not a desirable use of these days, because teachers have both professional and legal responsibilities to attend their teachers’ convention. However, you may be able to make use of your bargained-for personal leave days. You will need to consult your collective agreement to see how this issue is addressed. Contact Teacher Welfare at 1-800-232-7208, 780-447-9400 or TW@ata.ab.ca for assistance.

Supervise a Field TripTop of page

Q: My school has arranged a field trip for students and I am assigned to take them to Mexico. Does supervising this field trip qualify as an alternate PD activity?

A: No, field trips, although worthy enterprises, are not considered alternate PD activities. The Convention Attendance Protocol stipulates that teachers are to avoid scheduling activities that conflict with their convention dates. Furthermore, schools and school jurisdictions are not to direct teachers to carry out activities that prevent them from attending their assigned conventions.

Attend a Sports EventTop of page

Q: The school team that I coach has an Alberta School Athletic Association (ASAA) tournament starting on the Friday of convention. Can I miss the convention to go with my team?

A: Yes. As soon as you learn that your team has qualified for the ASAA finals, you must apply to your convention association’s attendance committee. The convention attendance committee will determine a reasonable amount of time for you to safely travel to and coach at this event, and will provide written permission for you to be released from your convention attendance obligations during those times. You must attend as much of your assigned teachers’ convention as possible.

Q: Where can I find the permission form?

A: An Absence Request Form can be downloaded from this website. Completed forms should be faxed to the ATA, the ASAA and your convention association.

Q: I coach a community team and want to go to a tournament or participate in the Winter Games instead of attending my convention. Does coaching a community team qualify as an alternate PD activity?

A: No. Coaching a community team is not a professional development activity and does not meet the criteria for an alternate PD activity. However, your collective agreement may provide personal leave, which you may be able to access for this time.

Q: What happens if I disagree with the decision of the attendance committee?

A: You can appeal the decision. Check with the person who communicated the decision to you to find out the specifics of the appeal process. In most cases, appeals are handled by the convention board at its next meeting.

Attend to an Illness or Family EmergencyTop of page

Q: If I am sick, going for surgery, have a medical appointment with a specialist, have a family emergency, have had a death in the family or can’t travel because of bad roads, do I have to go to my convention?

A: No. Medical, bereavement, personal and other leave entitlements fall under the collective agreement and should be handled in the usual employer/employee relationship.

Q: What if I am not sure of my rights covered in the collective agreement?

A: If you have any questions about your leave and the provisions of your collective agreement, contact Teacher Welfare at 1-800-232-7208, 780-447-9400 or TW@ata.ab.ca.

Q: What arrangements should I make to be absent?

A: You should contact whomever you would normally notify if this situation occurred on any other teaching day.

Q: Will I be subject to discipline if I go for a medical appointment, stay home sick or attend a funeral instead of going to my teachers’ convention?

A: No. Your collective agreement covers your absence from convention in the same way that it covers these sorts of absences for regular work days.

Take Care of Other Professional ObligationsTop of page

Q: Nothing in the convention program interests me. Can I stay at home or work at school instead?

A: No. Your employer provides you with salary, benefits and pensionable service for the two days of the annual ATA teachers’ convention. As a result, you have a legal obligation to attend your convention. Furthermore, under the Teaching Profession Act and the Code of Professional Conduct, you have a professional obligation to attend your assigned convention. If you fail to attend, you may be subject to discipline by the profession and/or by your employer.

Q: I am really behind at school. Can I work at school and catch up instead of attending my convention?

A: No. If you fail to attend, you may be subject to discipline by the profession and/or by your employer.

Part-Time TeachersTop of page

Q: What portion of my teachers’ convention am I required to attend?

A: You are required to attend the same portion of your convention as the portion of a full-time position that you work for your school board. For example, if your contract stipulates that you are employed at 0.5 FTE (full-time equivalent), then you must attend half the convention (one day). Similarly, if you are employed at 0.75 FTE, then you are expected to attend 1.5 days of the convention.

Q: Does it matter what parts of the convention I attend?

A: No. You can attend whatever parts of the convention you wish as long as you make up the proportion required. For example, if your contract requires you to attend for one day, you could attend on Thursday rather than Friday (or vice versa) or you could attend Thursday and Friday mornings. In some cases, your contract may specify that convention attendance on both days is included in your FTE. Check your contract.

Q: If I work part-time, can I attend the full convention if I wish?

A: Yes, you are welcome to attend both days.

Q: Do I have to attend convention if I don’t teach on Thursday or Friday?

A: Check your contract to ensure that you meet your employment obligations. From an employment point of view, if you don’t usually work on those days, you do not need to attend convention. However, from a professional point of view, you are encouraged to attend at least as much of the convention as corresponds to the portion of a full-time position that you teach.

Substitute TeachersTop of page

Q: I am a substitute teacher. Can I attend a teachers’ convention?

A: Yes.

Q: Will I get paid for the time I spend at the convention?

A: No, not as a teacher on a daily contract. However, your ATA local may subsidize your convention attendance. Check with your local office.

Q: How much does it cost to attend a convention?

A: As of 2016, there are no longer any registration costs for substitute teachers who want to attend teachers’ convention.

Q: I’m a substitute teacher. Where do I get my convention identification/credentials?

A: Check the convention website. You may be able to get your convention identification/credentials sent to a school where you work frequently or mailed to your home address. In other cases, you may have to go to your ATA local office or check in at an information booth on the first day of convention.

Q: Where do I get a convention program booklet?

A: You may be able to get a convention booklet from the school at which you do most of your substitute teaching. In other cases, you may have to go to your ATA local office.

Q: How do I find out more?

A: Check out the website of the particular convention that you plan to attend. A directory of convention association websites is available.

Q: Although I am not a certificated teacher, I “substitute” in a school because they can’t get certificated substitute teachers. Can I attend teachers’ convention?

A: No, only certificated teachers who have been substitutes this school year and are active members of the ATA are eligible to attend a teachers’ convention.

Teachers on Leave of AbsenceTop of page

Q: I am currently on a leave of absence. Can I attend my teachers’ convention?

A: Yes. During a leave, you are still an active member of your ATA local. As a result, you are entitled to attend your teachers’ convention. Be sure that you have paid your ATA dues for a teacher on leave ($8 per month for each month of leave). Note that your convention association may ask you for identification and may charge you a nominal fee for your identification/credentials.

Q: I am on medical leave. Can I attend my teachers’ convention?

A: It depends on your situation. Contact Teacher Welfare of the ATA at 1-800-232-7208, 780-447-9400 or TW@ata.ab.ca for assistance.

Q: I’m on leave but Teacher Welfare staff at the ATA say I can attend convention. Where do I get my convention identification/credentials?

A: Check the convention website. You may be able to get your convention identification/credentials mailed to your home address. In other cases, you may have to go to your ATA local office or check in at an information booth on the first day of the convention.

Superintendents/Chief Deputy SuperintendentsTop of page

Q: I am a superintendent (or chief deputy superintendent). Am I eligible to attend a teachers’ convention?

A: You are eligible to attend if you have purchased an associate membership in the ATA (currently $186.30) and have paid the out-of-district registration fee set by the convention.

Q: How do I register to attend a convention?

A: Contact the president of your convention association and explain that you are an associate member and have paid the out-of-district registration fee.

Q: Where do I get my convention identification/credentials?

A: Check the convention website. You may be able to get your convention identification/credentials sent to your office or mailed to your home address. In other cases, you may have to go to your nearest ATA local office or check in at an information booth on the first day of the convention.

Central Office StaffTop of page

Q: I am a member of central office staff who has opted for nonmembership or associate membership in the ATA rather than the highest level of membership available to me (usually active membership). Am I eligible to attend a teachers’ convention?

A: No. Attending a convention is a privilege for active ATA members and for those who have elected the highest level of membership available to them.

Q: Can I do anything so that I can attend?

A: If you have elected nonmembership, the only way to become eligible to attend a convention is to appeal to the Minister of Education to change your membership election so that you are once again an active member of the ATA. If you’ve chosen to be an associate member but are eligible for active membership, you may be able to return to active membership by contacting the ATA.

Teachers Seconded from Their DistrictsTop of page

Q: I’ve been seconded from my district. Do I need to attend my assigned convention?

A: While seconded, you maintain your employment with your school district while being “loaned” to another entity for a period of time set out in an agreement between yourself, your district and the external entity. You are still an active member of the Association and carry with you all the obligations and entitlements you would possess if you were not seconded. This means you must attend teachers’ convention. If the FTE of your secondment is less than full time, all the same rules about part-time teacher attendance apply to you (see above).

Q: If my secondment has me living and working out of city that is different than where my district and assigned teachers’ convention take place, can I attend a convention that is closer?

A: As an active member, your convention fees are included in your ATA dues, which are paid through your local to your assigned teachers’ convention association. These fees are not transferable. If you attend your assigned convention, you can do so at no extra cost.

If you would like to attend a convention that is closer to where you are geographically situated, you must seek permission from your assigned teachers’ convention association to be excused from your normal convention. Next, you must register as an out-of-district delegate at the convention that you wish to attend and pay the required out-of-district registration fee. These fees range from $75 to $300.

Q: Where do I get my convention identification/credentials?

A: Check the convention website. You may be able to get your convention identification/credentials sent to your office or mailed to your home address. In other cases, you may have to go to your nearest ATA local office or check in at an information booth on the first day of convention.

Education Students/Preservice TeachersTop of page

Q: I am an education student or a preservice teacher. Am I eligible to attend a teachers’ convention?

A: To attend a teachers’ convention, you must be in the final year of your university education program and be a member of the ATA student local (Education Students’ Association, Education Undergraduate Society, etc.) at your university or faculty of education.

Q: Where do I get my convention identification/credentials?

A: Convention identification/credentials for education students are handed out by the ATA student local at your university or faculty of education. Check with your student local or convention association. Mentor or cooperating teachers are asked not to provide convention identification/credentials directly to their student teachers.

Q: Which convention can I attend?

A: ATA staff in the Professional Development program area will determine which convention eligible education students are eligible to attend, based on their university/faculty of education calendar and the schedules for the 10 teachers’ conventions. Contact Professional Development at 1-800-232-7208, 780-447-9400 or PD@ata.ab.ca for assistance.

Federal/Charter/Private School TeachersTop of page

Q: I am employed by a federal, charter or private school. Am I eligible to attend a teachers’ convention?

A: You can attend if you are an associate member of the provincial ATA (current cost $186.30), apply as an out-of-district delegate to the convention you want to attend and have paid the corresponding out-of-district convention fee (which varies from $75 to $300, depending on the convention association).

Q: What if I don’t have an associate membership in the ATA?

A: You can apply for one by filling out and submitting an Associate Membership Application Form.

Q: Does it matter which convention I attend?

A: You can attend whichever convention you wish, provided that you apply before the deadline and that the convention has space.

Q: How much does it cost to attend a convention?

A: Costs vary depending on the convention association. Contact the convention association for specific fees.

Out-of-Province TeachersTop of page

Q: I live in a province or territory other than Alberta and I want to attend a teachers’ convention in Alberta. Am I eligible to attend?

A:  Yes, provided that you are a member in good standing of your provincial or territorial teachers’ organization, preferably an affiliate of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF). You’ll need to apply for out-of-district registration at the convention you wish to attend and provide proof of your provincial/territorial membership. You will need to pay the out-of-district registration fee (which varies from $75 to $300, depending on the convention association).

Q: Does it matter which convention I attend?

A: No. You can attend whichever convention you wish, provided that the convention has room. If you are turned down by one convention association on the grounds that there is no room, you are welcome to apply to a different convention.

Q: What do I have to do to attend?

A:  Consult the convention association directory to decide which convention you wish to attend. Apply as an out-of-district delegate by the deadline specified by the convention association and provide proof of your provincial/territorial teachers’ organization membership. You will then have to pay the required out-of-district attendance fee.

Teachers Who Are About to RetireTop of page

Q: I am planning to retire this year before my convention takes place. Am I still eligible to attend the convention?

A: Because different convention associations collect convention fees at different times during the year, it is possible that, before retiring, you paid your fees for the entire year. If that is the case, you are welcome to attend teachers’ convention in the year that you retire.

Q: What do I need to do to ensure that I am eligible to attend?

A: You should advise your convention association that you plan to attend the convention. You will then receive convention identification/credentials that will enable you to access the convention venues.

Q: Where do I get my convention identification/credentials?

A: Check the convention website. You may be able to get your convention identification/credentials sent to your office or mailed to your home address. In other cases, you may have to go to your nearest ATA local office or check-in at an information booth on the first day of the convention.

Teachers Who Have RetiredTop of page

Q: I am a retired teacher who would enjoy attending a convention to visit with some of my colleagues. Am I eligible to attend?

A: In general, teachers’ convention attendance is reserved for active members in addition to some associate and student members.  Retired teachers may attend if they have worked as a substitute teacher for at least one day during the school year (which would return them to active member status) or if they purchase associate membership and pay the required convention fee.  Some conventions may require volunteers to assist with daily operations or may offer social activities that occur outside of program hours.  Depending on the convention in question, retired teachers may be able to attend convention as volunteers or as guests at social events.

Non-TeachersTop of page

Q: Are teacher assistants/educational assistants/spouses of teachers/children of teachers eligible to attend teachers’ conventions?

A: No. Conventions are closed events designed for ATA members who hold the highest level of membership available to them and for a few invited guests. Central office and school administrators do not have the authority to direct teacher assistants or educational assistants to attend teachers’ conventions.

Proof of ATA MembershipTop of page

Q: I want to attend a convention but I don’t have my ATA membership card. How will I get into the sessions that I want to attend at the convention?

A: Check with your convention to find out what identification/credentials your convention is using to gain access to the convention venues. Some conventions use lanyards or wristbands as the way to show that you are entitled to attend program sessions. If you are a member of a student local, check with your student ATA local as to what you need and what will be available for you for convention.