No change in instructional days for Prince Edward Island schoolchildren in 2014-15

Ryan Ross
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School calendar for next year includes more PD days without affecting days in class

Imelda Arsenault, senior director of learning and early childhood education with the Department of Education, explains the new school calendar for the 2014-2015 school year during its launch at Spring Park School Tuesday.

Any Island students who were hoping for less time in school next year are out of luck as the province plans to keep the number of teaching days the same as in 2013-2014.

That comes despite teachers getting more professional development days thanks to the addition of two days to the school year.

Education Minister Alan McIsaac presented the new school calendar for 2014-2015 Tuesday and said it took a lot of work to add professional development days while ensuring the number of teaching days wasn't reduced.

"That was key and we succeeded this year," he said.

Classes start Sept. 3 and run until June 26, 2015, although teachers will be working slightly longer than that with a few days on either end to start and finish the year.

In total, there will be 197 days on the school calendar, of which 181 will be teaching days.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE 2014-15 SCHOOL CALENDAR

The calendar was developed with input from the Education Department, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the P.E.I. Teachers' Federation (PEITF), the province's two school boards and the two provincial home and school federations.

The extra days in the calendar give teachers the opportunity for more professional development time including five PEITF days and five other professional learning days.

That's up from seven professional development days in 2013-2014.

There will be three days with no classes for parent teacher interviews, including two in the second semester that will also be used for professional development.

Next year's calendar will also reduce the number of school weeks that have fewer than four days.

McIsaac said work will soon be underway on the calendar for the next three years.

"That's important because we have to use every day to the most advantage that we can," he said.

As part of the professional development, there will be an increased focus on job-embedded professional learning, which connects what is happening in the classroom and what the teachers' professional development.

Elizabeth Costa, the Education Department's director of instructional development, said job-embedded professional learning deals with ways to apply what is learned directly into the classroom.

"It's a cycle of improvement that allows for continuous improvement in student learning and teachers teaching," she said.

Although teachers have undergone job-embedded professional learning in past years, Costa said substitute teachers usually filled in for them while it was underway, which will change next year.

"We know in that type of professional learning it can't be a one-day thing," she said.

For Pam Montgomery, the P.E.I. Home and School Federation's president, she said her organization had a lot of input in the calendar and expressing parents' input on maintaining the amount of instructional time.

"I think we've been very successful in doing that," she said.

PEITF president Gilles Arsenault said when it comes to professional learning, the important thing for teachers is to have meaningful development.

"I think teachers will welcome some of these changes," he said.

As for how many professional development and classroom days there are in the calendar, Arsenault said he thought things were heading in the right direction in embracing the new job-embedded learning model.

"If the supports are in place and we have what we need I think that we can make it work," he said.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • Former Teacher
    March 05, 2014 - 07:54

    As a former teacher I am completely amazed at how ignorant this Province is on the education system. People spend more time bashing teachers because days spent on PD, weekends and summers off, and even storm days. It is refreshing for once to finally see people post that teachers DO NOT get paid for breaks or summers. It is also nice to see that people understand what the reason behind having PD days are. It is a chance for teachers to look at the progress of YOUR children so that they can meet the needs of YOUR children even better.

  • JRSPLACE
    March 05, 2014 - 07:53

    Go down to the local bars in downtown Charlottetown or the malls in Charlottetown on those "Professional Development Days" and you will see exactly how much professional development is going on!

    • Kirk
      March 05, 2014 - 15:46

      To jrsplace. If you mean will you see teachers out in restaurants's or shopping at a mall on a PD day then it's possible you're right. They are entitled to a lunch hour… Something they never get in a regular teaching day – usually it's 20 minutes to eat if they don't have duty. So yes, you might just see them eating in a restaurant like other working people get to do each and every day, or maybe even getting a few errands done during their lunch time. I believe that attendance is taken on these PD days and if the teacher misses one they lose a days pay.

    • That Guy From PEI
      March 06, 2014 - 11:40

      Oh my!!!! You mean you saw teachers out during PD days?!?! That's crazy because I saw a few mechanics, politicians and a hockey player!!!!! And the hockey player was at the sports store in the mall even!!!

  • Darren
    March 04, 2014 - 22:33

    So hopefully, the misconception regarding a teacher's yearly salary has been cleared up. However I also believe that some people feel a teacher should already be trained for the job that they are doing. Some wonder why they need PD days at all – shouldn't they already know how to teach? The reason teachers need PD days throughout a school year is actually quite simple. Each year a teacher acquires a whole new classroom of learners. Learners with various and sometimes newly diagnosed developmental challenges. More and more students today are presenting with anxiety issues that teachers need to learn how to deal with, these are not things that they would have learned during their university years. Also, teaching methods advance along with changing technology. If your local fire department were to acquire new firefighting equipment would you expect them to learn how it works on their weekends? I know I wouldn't. Teachers have done nothing to deserve the bashing that they constantly get on this island. My child loves his teacher and it is plainly obvious to my whole family how much work she puts in to her classroom each and every day… Yes including nights and weekends.

  • Liz, the non teacher
    March 04, 2014 - 22:11

    To all of you teacher bashers out there who don't think it's fair for teachers to have summers off (without pay) and all of the other goodies your complaining they get, I have just one thing to say to you. The last time I checked, we lived in a country that you weren't forced into a particular vocation. If you think teachers are so lucky, become one! If you don't think the teacher life is for you, then may I suggest you quiet your mouth down and enjoy the profession YOU chose to do. Maybe you should job shadow a teacher for a few days, then you'll learn to appreciate all they do. And no, I am not a teacher.

    • Garth Staples
      March 05, 2014 - 07:16

      PD Days should be held during July and August. The were called summer school. Teachers are supposed to be more qualified then ever before yet the PD Days? Nonsense Former Teacher

    • That Guy From PEI
      March 06, 2014 - 11:46

      @Garth Staples The education field is constantly evolving, hence PD days. Try to teach, you wouldn't survive with an outlook like that. I'm glad that teachers don't do PD days during the summer because they need a mental health break from all those children. But it seems that jealousy is rearing it's ugly head again... And as I said before, in the digital age, ignorance is a choice. So be informed please - thank you!

  • Peter Llewellyn
    March 04, 2014 - 21:09

    Teachers pay , is a major misunderstanding. They can't draw EI in the summer and summer and holidays count toward their pensionable time. IE if they only worked 10 months they would have to work 24 years to get a 20 year pension. Their Pay Scale and benifits can be found at http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/lir_ednegteach.pdf

  • Holly
    March 04, 2014 - 20:15

    Teachers do not get paid summers off. Their salary is based on 10 months and it is divided over 12 months so they still get a paycheck over the summer. I am not a teacher (but a parent) so I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that is how it works.

  • Vision1
    March 04, 2014 - 20:00

    peier, do the math and you will see that 197 days are working days (5 days a week) then you have approx. 102 days are weekend days. The remainder of the 365 are in summer and EI is the pay for employees of the school. BTW, I'm not an employee of the schools but.... Would you go in to work on a weekend with no pay? I know I wouldn't... Not the teachers fault, ADMINISTRATION IS TO BLAME! I just cannot figure out why someone who obviously isn't qualified for a job has these jobs. Aren't these professionals supposed to be educated to be teachers before they're hired into the schools? I know that I wouldn't have a job very long if I didn't know how to do it and I'm damn sure nobody would pay for Professional Development of most other jobs other than these Government type positions out there.

    • teacher
      March 04, 2014 - 21:21

      Thanks to all for your support. To clarify, teachers do not get EI over the summer, only support staff and EA's.

  • Bert
    March 04, 2014 - 19:55

    How about policing how teachers use so called "instructional time". I am often dismayed to hear about students watching videos, movies or having a class party. Even more ridiculous are the field trips to go see a movie in theatres, trips to parks, camp days etc. These wastes of time occur frequently during the Christmas and June "slides" when little work is done during the last 2 weeks of class. Yet these days are counted as "instructional days". Someone police this please, principals don't appear to be.

    • That Guy From PEI
      March 04, 2014 - 20:41

      @Bert School is not supposed to be one bit fun at all. Let's teach them that before they can get into the workforce and be another artist, dreamer, or musician that society constantly squashes!!! Oh, and how about the children that don't get to go on outings, get to go to the movies, because their parents can't afford it. Do you still think they should be policed? And I can't even make this up, I chaperoned a school trip a few weeks ago where 5 kids in Grade 4-6 had not been to a movie theatre in their life.

    • Tam
      March 04, 2014 - 23:20

      @Bert every single school trip those children go on is a learning experience. Not to mention for some children the only time they can do outings at all. If you have a problem with the field trip your child's school go on then I strongly recommend you go to your home and school council instead of bashing them on here, and blaming the principals. I say thank you to all the teachers out there, who bother to take the time (and energy) to take our children out on field trips. As this must be a very hard day for them.. Thank you teachers for all you do!

  • Sean
    March 04, 2014 - 19:36

    Teachers only get paid for days worked. Any pay they receive for days not worked is withheld from days they do work. Many teachers attend courses in the summer months for no pay

  • Garth Staples
    March 04, 2014 - 18:52

    How many will be utilized?

  • AD
    March 04, 2014 - 18:06

    Wow, 365-197=168 days remaining which = 24 weeks of non-teaching per year. I agree that teachers are in need of professional development; however, couldn't they accomplish this in the 24 weeks/yr they aren't in the classroom? Kids fare off even worse - they have only 25.8 weeks/year in the classroom based on teaching days - that's less than 6 months per year. That's assuming of course that there are no days canceled due to weather, etc.....

    • That Guy From PEI
      March 04, 2014 - 20:34

      @AD They don't because they're not obligated to due to their contract. Would you do PD on your unpaid holidays? I wouldn't. I will also talk to Mother Nature and ask her to have all the storm days next winter on the weekends. I have a special connection with her!

  • T
    March 04, 2014 - 17:29

    Since we live in a province where many people are uneducated because they refuse to get professional training unless forced to, wondering why teachers don't do PD on their own time is a bit rich, Especially when they are also expected to spend their own money for classroom supplies.

  • T
    March 04, 2014 - 17:24

    Ok. I will explain. Will you listen? They work 197 days. They only get paid for 197 days, but the 197 days pay is divided over 52 weeks, so they get the 197 days worth over the year in a constant stream rather than having a big gap in the summer. I know the math is hard for some people, and the concept is over some people's head, but getting your paycheck spread out over the summer, from pay earned during the winter, is NOT the same thing as getting free pay in the summer for not working.

  • peier
    March 04, 2014 - 16:55

    Help me understand why teachers only work 197 days a year, yet get paid for the full year, can't have their PD days on one of their many paid off days? As a professional who spend a lot of time in private industry both on the receiving and delivery of professional development, teachers who want to improve will do so.....you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink!!!!!!!

    • Jo
      March 04, 2014 - 17:31

      Peier, check your facts. Teachers only get paid for the time they work, and have some of their pay held back to carry them over the summer.

    • Randy MacDonald
      March 04, 2014 - 17:31

      Teachers don't get paid for the whole year. They also don't get paid enough. Keep your mouth shut or get into the cushy job for your self and see what really goes on.

    • Learnthefacts
      March 04, 2014 - 18:38

      FYI Peier, teachers don't get paid for the full year; their employment contract ends at the end of June each year. In addition, the teachers I know spend a great deal of time during evenings, weekends, and yes,even the summer, working on improving their teaching strategies to assist their students. Common misconception that teachers only work 197 days of the year; teach full time for a few years, then come back and see if you stand by your comments.

    • annoyed
      March 04, 2014 - 18:45

      Well since they don't get paid for Xmas, March break and the summer, I don't see how you think they get a full years salary. They take 20% of each cheque and it is deferred for the time off. Hope this helps..

    • John
      March 04, 2014 - 18:52

      Teachers do not get paid for 12 months of year. Salary is paid Sept -June.

    • Professional
      March 04, 2014 - 19:24

      Peier, let me help you understand that. Teachers work 197 days and are paid for 197 days. They do not get paid days off. What actually happens is that they earn money for those 197 days and a percentage of that money is taken off the pay check and held back. That way when one of those days off ie holidays come up, the money they receive is from that money that was originally held back. It's their money, they have already earned it, they just get it at a different time, in order to ensure a steady and constant income throughout the year. No paid days off, but oh wouldn't that be lovely?

    • That Guy From PEI
      March 04, 2014 - 20:24

      @Peier Well, I'll keep this super simple for you. Teachers DO NOT get paid for a full year. They get so much pay 'skimmed' every 2 weeks off of their regular paycheque, THEN this 'skimmed' amount is paid to them in a lump sum at the end of the school year. A teacher does not get paid in the summer. They don't go to PD days on their days off (not paid days off like you said) for the same reasons you would not - they don't get paid to. Their paid days off include the same holidays as other civil service employees, so I don't understand where you were going with that point? However, I do know a lot teachers that do PD during the summer on their own time and pay their own expenses. I'm tired of defending our hard working Island teachers, and here is why - In the digital era that we live in, ignorance is a choice - so be informed before you knock people. PS- I'm not a teacher, just a person who asks questions before judging another profession.