Non-certified teachers are being hired as replacements for North Okanagan-Shuswap classrooms - InfoNews

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Non-certified teachers are being hired as replacements for North Okanagan-Shuswap classrooms

School District 83 board office.
February 07, 2018 - 1:00 PM

NORTH OKANAGAN – Non-certified teachers will be working in an on-call capacity for the North Okanagan-Shuswap school district.

The decision comes amid a teacher shortage in School District 83, which means people with a Bachelor's degree, a criminal record check and have experience working with children are able to apply for the position.

That's according to a public job posting by the school district. Alice Hucul, spokesperson for School District 83, says these replacements are strictly on-call.

“Replacements would only be called if there was not a qualified teacher available to come in,” says Hucul.

She adds that parents won't be notified if there is no certified teacher to come in, and have a replacement teach in their place. A non-certified replacement would only be called in if a permanent teacher had called in sick and all members of the "teachers teaching on call list" in the area were unavailable to come in.

President of the North-Okanagan Shuswap Teacher Association, Brenda O'Dell, says the association began noticing teacher shortage problems in December. Last week, the school district was short 18 teachers teaching on call in a single day, according to O’Dell. That means the on-call teachers they did try to reach either said no, or there weren't enough on the list to reach out to.

“Putting these uncertified instructors into our schools and classrooms is a last resort. Our preference is to always have certified teachers in place. That’s what parents want, that’s what the district wants, that’s what the teachers association wants,” O’Dell says.

The school district and the teacher’s association have been in close contact during this problem and have been working together to try and mitigate it, O'Dell says, adding that there are a few factors at play which are contributing to the teacher shortage.

“The number one thing probably is our Supreme Court decision around our restored language on class size composition, so teachers who were populating the (teachers teaching on call) list are now in positions in classrooms,” says O’Dell. “They have been hired by other districts and hired by this district, and so slowly, over time, our... list has diminished.”

She adds that the North Okanagan-Shuswap district has seen an increase in enrollment, which means there are more teachers working in classrooms.

O’Dell says the teacher shortage is a problem province-wide and it isn’t unique to the region.

According to the Ministry of Education, there are two criteria replacement teachers have to meet, besides the qualifications set forth by the district.

Replacements must be employed for 20 or fewer consecutive days, and they must be teaching a class where no certified teacher is available.

The second criteria is that these replacements much teach general interest courses that will not directly lead to graduation, according to the Ministry.

To see the job posting for on call replacement instructors, check out the School District No. 83 - North Okanagan-Shuswap facebook page.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kelly Mckay or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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