2003 College Council Elections | Regional Positions | Questions and Answers About Voting | Candidate Biography Information | New Scholarship Honours Outgoing Registrar | Education Minister Announces Accreditation Regulation During College Visit | New Council Member | Doug Wilson Named Registrar and Chief Executive Officer | College Member Jennifer Lynn Ferguson Wins Trip to London | TTY Coming to College | Dispute Resolution Program Reports | Investigation Committee Deals With All Complaints | Discipline Panel Decisions

Additional PD Days Not On Radar Screen, Minister Says

Council member and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board principal Margaret Dempsey underlined to Education Minister Elizabeth Witmer that teachers believe in professional development but simply don't have enough time for it. "Additional PD days work - they work for the benefit of the staff to help students learn -please increase the number of PD days. Is it on the radar screen at all?" asked Dempsey.
"I am a pretty honest person and I have to say to you honestly, no it's not," said Witmer, adding that the decision is not hers alone but that of all her colleagues.

Education Minister Announces Accreditation Regulation During College Visit

Education Minister Elizabeth Witmer announced the approval of the Accreditation Regulation and reiterated her commitment to the tougher curriculum, student testing and professional learning and support for teachers when she addressed Council at its December 12-13 meeting.

"A quality education today is more important than ever before," said Witmer. "Think of the number of students today that we serve that have high needs, think about the cultural diversity of today - and responding to the needs of those children and the growing expectations that parents have. Certainly, the environment in which teachers work today is much different from what it was even 10 years ago.
"Our students are receiving excellent teaching from our teachers and we want to continue to support them because the research demonstrates that if teachers are well qualified, well trained and have the skills to teach, students achieve better success as well."

Accreditation Regulation
Council greeted with applause the announcement by Witmer that the accreditation regulation was finally approved.

The new regulation will help ensure that teachers receive the same high quality teacher education across the province. As well, teachers already in the classroom will benefit from Additional Qualification courses that will be accredited to reflect the profession's standards of practice and the realities of today's classrooms.

Professional Learning
Witmer insisted on the importance of the Professional Learning Program and emphasized her willingness to work with education stakeholders to improve it, but made clear that changes must be made within the existing legislative framework.

"The new professional learning requirements are important and they do ensure that our teachers have a minimum level of upgrading in key topics such as student assessment and the use of technology for example," said Witmer.

"When I initially made my request (for improvements to the PLP), I was looking for some suggestions that could be achieved within the legislative framework. Unfortunately, most of the responses that were given to me were outside of the legislative framework.

"I know that the whole issue of recertification is one of the contentious issues; another one that I heard about is the number of prescribed courses and people wanting much more flexibility.

"I hope that we can continue to work together on the PLP. I would like to resolve this issue in a way that addresses the concerns that are out there. Hopefully we can move forward with providing teachers in the province with professional learning opportunities in much the same way as the other professional colleges have their programs and courses to assure quality."

Qualifying Test
The minister commended the College for its advice to use the 2002 Ontario Teachers' Qualifying Test for new teachers for validation purposes only to ensure that it is pertinent and accurate.

"You advised us to make the spring 2002 test a field test and of course when you made that recommendation, I was just new to the job, but I'll tell you it sure sounded to me like the right thing to do and we did it."

In addition to the qualifying test, Witmer outlined plans for an induction program that would look at ways to support new teachers so that they are better prepared to deal with problems and a recognition of teaching excellence to make sure the public knows about the hard work, the dedication and the commitment of teachers.

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