Catholic board looks to lighten professional development load

Use of teachers’ time during professional development was front and centre this week at the Medicine Hat Catholic School Division meeting.

The past few years have brought considerable stress to teachers and a new curriculum is adding to their workload. A proposal was put forward for trustees to request administration to free up time during PD days in the division so teachers would be able to work in their classrooms on individual goals. The hope is this will give teachers time to recharge.

Trustee David Leahy said, “This fits in with our wellness goal. To summarize, I think our staff, well everybody, has been deeply impacted by COVID. I think we need to back off our expectations a little on those days.”

Deputy superintendent Chuck Hellman explained the process of determining the schedule for PD days. He told trustees he hears the point being made and will keep it in mind when putting together the calendar for the 2023-24 school year.

“I’m not landing the helicopter and saying the board should mandate this,” stated Leahy. “What I’m doing is expressing that desire as part of one goal in our strategic plan to say to our teachers, ‘We know you need to recharge.’ We have an excellent division. I’ve used the sports analogy before and I’ll use it again here, sometimes as a coach, you back off a little bit on your players.”

Chair Kathy Glasgo said, “I think teachers have been through the trenches. We are making the recommendation they need a breather.”

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News