BCTELA heads into 2008 with a renewed energy and vigour. Our membership numbers are the highest they have been for many years, thanks to all of you who attended our fall conference “Writing Ourselves: Reading the World.”

One of the things this has allowed us to do is to go forward with plans to completely overhaul our web site. As they say in the world of snowboarding, we’re planning to “go big” in terms of building a platform that will support a searchable lesson sharing database, ongoing discussion groups, links to current research, and much more. Keep posted for launch dates!

Inside this bulletin you will see that as an executive, we have been busy on a number of fronts. We have responded to the draft English Language Arts 8-12 draft curriculum document. This is just the beginning of the advocacy needed to provide adequate support for teachers.

We are teaming with the Comox District Teachers’ Association and School District #71 to hold a mini-conference “Exploring the New English/Language Arts IRP’s” in Courtenay on Monday, February 11, 2008.

Plans are also in the works to send BCTELA exec members to Whitehorse, Yukon to help teachers there get a handle on this new curriculum.

This outreach work is motivated by one of our primary goals—articulated at an executive retreat we held last spring—to “create networks of ELA teachers throughout the province” and to “be one of the first places teachers go for ideas or anything that matters at the moment.”

We are not particularly interested in providing the one-off types of professional development, which we all know do little to promote change or growth. What we are interested in doing is building community, mentoring colleagues in the field, and creating mechanisms to showcase and support innovate teaching. In the case of the Courtenay conference, we are supporting a newly formed Local Specialist Association (LSA)—the Comox Valley English Teachers Association.

Essentially, all we ask is the host organization covers our travel, TOC costs, and BCTELA memberships for those who attend. First priority will go to LSA’s or those groups of teachers interesting in forming one.

This issue of the President’s Bulletin is chock-a-block with opportunities for teachers and students alike. Check out the article on the new Wordscapes Youth Arts Journal, which explains how you can receive a promotional copy of this exciting new youth-centred writing anthology. The Canadian Bar Association is sponsoring the Barry Sullivan Public Speaking contest and the Law Week 2008 Essay contest. BCTELA’s own student writing contest deadline is May 1, 2008, and this spring you will be receiving the 2005-2007 Student Writing Journal anthology.



Dave Ellison
For the BCTELA executive

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