March 1998

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1998 College Budget
College Requirements for Special Education, Part 3
Bylaw Change Gives Council Members Added Flexibility
College Primer for Education Directors
Members Help Shape New Directions for Professional Learning
Committee Updates
Code of Ethics for Council Members
College Building Links to Keep Decertified Teachers Out of Ontario
College Will Mail 1998 Certificates in March
New Manager of Membership Records

Council Approves 1998 College Budget

The College budget approved by Council at its December meeting calls for an operating budget of $15.7 million compared to $11.7 million last year. Increased expenses reflect the fact that the College will be operating for all of 1998 after partial operations in 1997.

Revenues for 1998 are estimated at $15.7 million, up from $14.7 million in 1997. The increase in revenues stems mainly from additional membership fees as well as other revenues such as advertising in Professionally Speaking or charges for administrative services.

Council approved the Finance Committee recommendation to hold the membership fee at $90 again for 1998.

With last year’s experience to draw on, the College can plan with more confidence the upcoming revenues and expenditures. "The whole financial process is falling into place nicely," said Finance Committee Chair Paul Charron. "We have last year’s experience to guide us and we’ve become more comfortable with the process, the needs and the expectations of the members and the committees."

Ontario College of Teachers 1998 Budget Overview

Operating Budget 1998 1997
Item (000s)
1. Annual Membership Fees 14,660 13,900
2. Other Fees 695 800
3. Interest and Other Revenue 425 25
  15,780 14,725
4. Employee Compensation 7,680 5,807
5. Council and Committees 331 264
6. General Services to Members 1,534 1,475
7. Professional Affairs 271 203
8. Investigations and Hearings 1,265 418
9. Operating Support 3,690 2,708
10. Financing 50 100
11. Asset Amortization and Depreciation 909 800
  15,730 11,775
Excess of Revenue over Expenses 50 2,950
Opening Members’ Equity (Deficit) 1,597 (1,353)
Closing Members’ Equity (Deficit) 1,647 1,597


Capital Budget 1998 1997
Item (000s)
12. Leasehold Improvements 190 2,600
13. Furniture and Equipment 98 1,350
14. Equipment under Capital Lease 315 n/a
15. Membership Registration Costs
(deferred charges)
16. Election Costs (deferred charges) 50 75
  653 4,095

College Requirements for
Special Education, Part 3

Teachers with a part 2, Special Education Additional Qualification will now be able to enter part 3 of the program with one year of successful teaching experience in a class with integrated special education students.

They will, however, have to demonstrate that they have adapted the major program and instruction to meet the needs of their special education students. This new policy reflects the fact that many special education students are now integrated into mainstream classes throughout the province.

The College adopted the policy to ensure that teachers satisfy the requirements of Section 36 of Regulation 184/97. The regulation requires "evidence of at least two years of successful teaching experience, including at least one year of experience in Ontario in the subject referred to in clause (b), certified by the appropriate supervisory officer."

Bylaw Change Gives
Council Members Added Flexibility

Council members have amended the College bylaws to help them respond quickly to matters arising between Council meetings. The change to Bylaw 2, Section 3.06, allows Council to consider motions introduced by a member of Council at the preceding Council meeting, or in time for the notice of motion to be included in the notice of meeting. Previously, motions could only be debated if they had been introduced at the preceding meeting.

College Primer for Education Directors

Directors of education from new school boards across the province met January 28 for a briefing on College initiatives and the role of the boards in the areas of teacher certification, discipline and professional learning.

"We rely on you in many ways," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy, who welcomed the directors to the College. The directors’ gathering – arranged through the co-operation of the Council of Directors of Education – was the first of what the College hopes will be a regular schedule of meetings. "You are the principal employer for teachers in the province. You are partners in the professional development of teachers and the assessment of teachers’ capacity to teach."

College Registrar Margaret Wilson told the directors that in 1998 the College intends to closely follow the regulations where qualifications are concerned. She urged them to encourage teachers in their boards to acquire the qualifications for any new assignment.

"A teacher who has been an acting vice-principal for five years should have the necessary qualifications to do the job," Wilson said. "The College won’t tell you who you should or should not promote, but a Temporary Letter of Approval that’s approaching five years is unacceptable."

With the directors of each of Ontario’s district school boards in one room, Wilson took the opportunity to detail the strict guidelines the College uses when investigating complaints made against College members. While disciplinary hearings are open to the public, directors were assured that both process and due diligence prevail when the College investigates complaints against its members.

The Registrar reminded the group of their responsibility as CEOs of their boards to inform the College when they become aware of an employee – or former employee – who has been convicted of a criminal offence involving sexual misconduct and minors.

Where a member of the College has been disciplined, said Wilson, the College will routinely inform directors of education and independent schools across the province, but she reminded them of their responsibility to check references and ensure that teachers are in good standing with the College before they’re hired.

Joe Atkinson, Co-ordinator of the Professional Affairs Department, outlined the initiatives the College has under way to develop standards of practice for the profession, a framework for professional learning, and to accredit pre-service and in-service providers and programs of teacher education.

Atkinson stressed that the College needs to work with the profession to identify both strengths and weaknesses of current programs. He promised that the College will provide boards, subject associations, federation affiliates and other providers, as well as faculties of education, every opportunity to be accredited as providers of ongoing professional learning.

"This is a collegial, collaborative effort, and an exciting one," Atkinson said. "We’re looking to expand the base of professional learning."

Members Help Shape New Directions for Professional Learning

By Fran Squire and Rick Chambers

Teachers know that change is pervasive, that there are new strategies to try, new information about teaching and learning to absorb, new curricula to adopt, new things to learn. The challenge is not identifying the needs. The challenge is finding the opportunities to access the information or knowledge or skills.

In many cases, professional development days have been structured occasions for school boards or site-based decision-makers to direct teachers’ learning. Conventional wisdom used to say that those PD days were effective opportunities to expose teachers to new ideas or concepts. Current thinking suggests that isolated days with externally-directed programs are not terribly useful in effecting or even initiating changes in practice.

The Ontario College of Teachers is facilitating the move into the 21st century with concepts of professional learning which are not necessarily linked to past professional development experiences. The College’s consultation with professional development program providers last fall was an initial step in taking stock of the state of professional development in Ontario and exploring future directions for teachers’ professional learning.

The Professional Affairs Department is currently engaged with professional learning on several fronts. The September meetings with professional development providers were used to establish both the state of affairs and to delve into issues which will help direct the College’s conversations with its members in the coming months.

The wide range and variety of programs listed by the participants now forms the starting point for the in-service accreditation subcommittee. As this subcommittee – made up of elected and appointed members of the College Council and members of the College at large – begins to establish criteria for professional development providers, it will have a wealth of ideas to work with.

The College heard that we should consider a group’s research base for its presentations, its demonstrated ability to use adult learning models, any evidence of measurable learning results, and the track record of both the presenters and the organization. The participants also want an accreditation process to require providers to rigorously evaluate their programs and to ensure that content is relevant and meets students’ needs.

The subcommittee will also be looking at recommendations that individuals or organizations that deliver professional development programs have a mission statement or conceptual framework that demonstrates what the organization believes, values, and stands for. The organization’s mandate, membership and governance structure—in other words, evidence of its credibility and accountability – should be essential parts of the accreditation process.

But professional development is not limited to organizations. The College consultation also produced many suggestions about individual ongoing professional learning. This information has been particularly helpful to the subcommittees in Standards of Practice and Education as they begin to create a framework for career-long professional learning and consider what kinds of activities will fit within the framework. It was generally agreed that not all professional learning could be packaged in organized courses or workshops.

What kinds of activities should the College consider professional learning? Most responses reflected the importance of classroom-based, self-directed initiatives like action research, professional reading, teacher exchanges, coaching and mentoring, collaborative program planning and getting involved with new ideas.

The frequent mentions of action research throughout our consultation confirmed the College’s current interest in this teacher-initiated professional learning.

In addition to the classroom-related themes, the concept of personal well-being and enhancing the teacher as a whole person emerged as an alternative to traditional ideas about professional development.

This topic provoked spirited discussion as the participants debated the relationship of professional and personal growth, particularly in terms of its recognition and value. For example, can community service be considered professional learning? Can an Outward Bound experience contribute to a teachers professional growth? Questions like these will need to be part of the continuing exploration of a professional learning framework.

Participants believed that their organizations could support self–directed, purposeful learning activities by arranging peer support, connecting mentors and establishing collaborative opportunities for learning. These connections were often positioned in terms of technology, setting up databases or e-mail networks and creating web sites.

As the College establishes a professional learning framework that considers professional learning as embedded in everyday practice, many critical questions arise. Participants agreed that the recognition of academic and additional qualifications courses has been fairly straightforward in the past. They also acknowledged that as we begin to talk about personally-driven ongoing professional learning we are moving into significant uncharted territory.

For example, the consultation sessions tackled the complex issues of the difference between professional and personal learning, the record-keeping of teachers’ professional learning, evaluation of such activities, the quality versus quantity of learning experiences, and the value and use of professional growth plans and portfolios.

The participants also explored the relationship of standards of practice to professional learning activities, their place on a professional learning framework and the implications this would have for self-directed, reflective practice.

The September sessions were the first step in a series of outreach opportunities to ensure teachers’ participation in the changes in professional development and learning. Readers who would like to join this discussion about professional learning can visit the Professional Affairs Department’s web site, e-mail the Professional Affairs Department at or write us at the College.

Fran Squire and Rick Chambers are program officers in the College’s Professional Affairs Department.

Committee Updates

The College’s committees do the groundwork that helps Council direct the College’s activities and policies. Because of the complexity and variety of their tasks, the committees often divide themselves into subcommittees dealing with specific topics.

Finance Committee
The Finance Committee will be packing three years into one over the next few months as it reviews and recommends approval of the audited financial statements for the 1997 fiscal year budget, manages and monitors the recently approved 1998 budget and plans for 1999.

"This is going to be an important year for the committee because it’s the first year that the College has full operations," said Finance Committee Chair Paul Charron. "It’s quite a challenge to evaluate your past performance, make sure you’re managing well today and plan for the future all at once."

Some of the issues the committee will deal with in the coming months include establishing travel policy guidelines for Council members, and ensuring the financial stability and independence of the College.

Accreditation Committee
The Accreditation Committee will move into uncharted territory in the next few months when it starts accrediting university pre-service programs at three pilot sites – Laurentian University, Queen’s University and the University of Nipissing. The three sites were selected for a variety of reasons, including language of instruction, size of the university and location.

"We are excited and also cautious because we know that we are mapping a new course here – the pre-service accrediting process is unprecedented in Ontario," said Accreditation Committee Chair Cecilia Reynolds, who also chairs the graduate department at the faculty of education at Brock University in St. Catharines. "We have worked with faculties, Council, other colleges as well as organizations in the U.S. to develop a unique ‘made in Ontario’ accrediting process that reflects Ontario’s reality and needs."

The first step of the process begins in March with training sessions for the accreditation panels. The real test for the committee will be the actual four-day on-site accreditation process to begin in April or May at the selected sites.

Accrediting pre-service programs will assure parents, students and faculties of education that teachers receive the training they need to offer the best education possible to Ontario students.

Standards of Practice and Education Committee
The committee is in the midst of extensive field-based research on standards of practice, including the review of national and international literature, focus group testing, individual interviews and broad consultations with education stakeholders and the general public.

"We want to consult as broadly as possible so that the standards we adopt are the most comprehensive possible and reflect exactly what it is to be a teacher in Ontario and what is effective learning," said committee Chair Clarice West-Hobbs. "We have already identified common themes through our research and will use them as a starting point for consultation purposes."

The common themes that will form the basis of discussion are:

• commitment to student learning
• required professional knowledge
• facilitating effective learning
• assessing and reporting for improvement
• professional learning
• creating a learning community
• leadership.

The College’s standards of practice will give teachers, the public and people considering a career in education a clear understanding of what is expected of Ontario teachers.

The committee is also establishing the principles that will support the teaching profession’s learning framework and developing a survey on the contents and types of activities the framework should recognize. Another task for the committee will be the development of a code of ethics for the profession.

Investigation Committee
The members of the Investigation Committee have been busy educating themselves on decision-making, legal issues and establishing the procedures the College will follow when investigating complaints. The committee has now begun the task of hearing complaints as required by the Act, and an appropriate protocol for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is also being explored.

"Finding the solution closest to the problem is what we strive for," said Harry Mulvale, Chair of the Investigation Committee. "Alternative dispute resolution is an effective way to achieve that goal and we intend to make it a priority."

In the next few months, the committee will attempt to put the finishing touches to a draft ADR protocol developed in consultation with other colleges, mediators and Ontario Teachers’ Federation affiliates, among others. The committee intends to consult interested groups again as the protocol gets nearer to completion.

Fitness to Practise Committee
The Fitness to Practise Committee will deal with cases that require solid training and thorough understanding of complex issues to help teachers rehabilitate and ensure that complaints are resolved. The committee is now establishing formal hearing procedures, including a protocol to write decisions backed by clear arguments and reasons.

"Our challenge will be to render decisions that encompass the complexities of each case and come up with solutions acceptable for all parties," said Fitness to Practise Committee Chair Marilyn Laframboise. "We are confident we have the training, understanding and experience necessary for that."

Discipline Committee
The Discipline Committee has spent the last few months making sure it is well prepared to conduct hearings.

"Our work involves a great deal of legal and procedural issues," said George Merrett, Chair of the Discipline Committee. "We have gone through mock hearings, a review of procedures in other colleges and thorough training. We are now ready to move ahead."

The Discipline Committee will hold its first hearings in March. The hearings are public and the results will be published in the Blue Pages of Professionally Speaking.

Code of Ethics for Council Members

Elected and appointed members of the College Council made a commitment to professionalism and fairness when they adopted their own code of ethics at their December 11-12 meeting.

Members of the Council shall, in the performance of their duties:

  1. Comply with the provisions of the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996, the regulations made under the Act and the bylaws of the College.
  2. Familiarize themselves with the Act, the regulations, the bylaws and any other records and documents that may be necessary for the performance of the duties of their office.
  3. Take part in the committee work of the College and serve actively during their term of office on any committees to which they have been appointed.
  4. Ensure that confidential matters coming to their attention as members of the Council are not disclosed by them except as required for the performance of their duties or as directed by the Council or the Chair.
  5. Recognize the distinction between their corporate and individual authority as Council members and conduct themselves accordingly with College staff, members of the College and the public.
  6. Exercise care, diligence, skill and prudence in carrying out the business of the College.
  7. Conscientiously perform duties on behalf of the officers of the College, as requested.
  8. Seek to enhance the public perception of the College and the profession of teaching.

College Building Links to Keep Decertified Teachers Out of Ontario

The Ontario College of Teachers is taking steps to ensure teachers who are under suspension or have had their certificates revoked by other jurisdictions do not become certified in Ontario.

The College has assembled a list of over 900 individuals from across Canada and three U.S. states whose certificates to teach have been withdrawn because of professional misconduct.

"Ontario is one of the preferred destinations for immigration," says Patrick O’Neill, co-ordinator of the College’s Investigations and Hearings Department. "Some of those who come to Ontario are teachers, and when they apply to the College for certification we want to be confident to the best of our ability that they have not committed professional misconduct in another jurisdiction."

All other provinces and territories, as well as the three states, provide the College with the names of individuals who are under suspension or have had their certificates revoked outright. The College is contacting the 47 other states and all countries that have diplomatic relations with Canada asking for the authorities responsible for teacher certification to provide the College with regular updates on suspensions and licence revocations.

In turn, Ontario will be providing other jurisdictions with the names of individuals whose certificates to teach have been withdrawn.

O’Neill concedes that the checks are not perfect, but points out that school boards and independent schools are responsible for ensuring that name changes or gaps in resumes are accounted for when hiring teachers from other jurisdictions.

College Will Mail
Certificates in March

About 160,000 College members will begin receiving their Certificates of Qualification for 1998 over the next several weeks. The certificates – teachers’ annual licence to teach in Ontario’s publicly-funded schools – will be mailed after the College verifies the payment of 1998 membership fee.

Teachers who received their Certificate of Registration and a Certificate of Qualification last year will only receive a new Certificate of Qualification this year. The Certificate of Registration is only issued once, when a member is initially registered.

College Registrar Margaret Wilson said that members will receive a form and instructions on how to correct errors in their qualifications along with their new certificates.

"Even though we’ve corrected 40,000 teachers’ records over the last few months, we know there are thousands more whose records are still incorrect. We’re going to keep asking for corrections until they’re all right."

When teachers received their certificates last summer, many discovered errors in the qualifications records the College inherited from the Ministry of Education and Training. The dates of degrees and Additional Qualifications were the biggest problem, so in late fall the College printed certificates without dates. This year, all certificates will be printed with dates, so it’s expected that many more errors will come to light.

"Teachers tell us that having accurate records of their qualifications is worth the time and trouble it’s going to take to clean this up," said Wilson. "We’ve made a major commitment to setting teachers’ records straight, even if it means going back 20 or 25 years in the files to do it."

New Manager of Membership Records

Anna Di Rezze is the College’s new Manager of Membership Records. She joined the College staff in January from York University, where she had been Associate Registrar, Technology and Systems.

Di Rezze heads up the unit that maintains and updates the register of teachers’ qualifications and is responsible for producing Certificates of Registration and Qualification. She said her first priority is to correct errors in teacher records.

"By the time we issue the 1998 Certificates of Qualification in March, the College will have corrected more than 40,000 of the teacher records we inherited from the Ministry of Education and Training.

"We believe there are thousands more still to correct that we haven’t been informed about. We hope that teachers will check their 1998 certificates carefully and let us know about errors so we can get it right.

"The largest number of certificate errors are 20 years old. We can’t make our records error-free overnight, but we’re going to clean this up as quickly as humanly possible."