What’s a DI teacher?
DI (District Itinerant) teachers are like all other teachers with continuing, full-time employment in School District 52. Their role is to plan and implement student learning programs, support students through instruction, assess and evaluate student progress, report student progress through both formal and informal means, and contribute to the overall health of the school community.
Why was the DI teacher position established?
SD52 established the District Itinerant (DI) teacher position to solve three problems:
- Recruit and retain certified teachers to SD52.
- End teacher shortages – so all leaves are covered when a teacher is absent.
- Provide student support – such as helping students with special needs for when a class is over capacity.
Before the DI teacher position was established, SD52 struggled to recruit and retain new teachers. The DI teacher position provided SD52 with a competitive edge when attracting teacher talent to our community. Prior to the DI teacher position, shortages were a common problem. Teacher leaves (due to sick leave or other reasons) were often uncovered.
That often meant pulling special education teachers, teacher librarians, or teacher counselors from other programs to ensure that a classroom had a teacher. This undermined student learning services. All too often, uncertified teachers were required or special education supports were cancelled. Student learning was frequently impacted by these teacher shortages. The layoff of 8% of teachers in SD52 will make it harder to retain teachers, will result in shortages, and will undermine student learning.
What do DI teachers do in our schools and classrooms?
Like all teachers, DI teachers support student learning. DI teachers do this by:
- Providing learning supports for classes that are over-capacity (i.e. for classes that exceed the limits for total students or of class-composition – based on the ratio of students with special needs in a given class).
- Covering for both short-term and long-term leaves of other teachers.
- Providing at-home learning supports for students who need them (during COVID-19).
DI teachers are generally placed in a “home school” where the bulk of their work is done. This builds community and establishes relationships. It provides more continuity for students and improves communication between teachers and other educators. To provide flexibility, DI teachers can be assigned to any school, ensuring greater coverage based on need.
A major role for DI teachers is covering for “remedy”. Remedy provides extra learning supports when a class is overcapacity. This can be in the form of helping students through one on one and small group instruction, co-teaching in a class that’s over capacity, and providing additional time to prepare lessons and support students. Remedy must be provided according to the Collective Agreement. The DI teacher position ensures that remedy is provided. It also increases continuity by making it more likely for the same teacher to support students across the school year.
What benefits do DI teachers provide for SD52?
- Increase retention of teachers, lowering recruitment costs and increasing stability for schools and classrooms.
- Provide flexibility for difficult-to-fill positions – throughout the school year and at all worksites and schools.
- Provide continuity for students when DI teachers are providing in-class supports for students or when DI teachers are providing on call coverage.
- Ensure that new teachers can stay in Prince Rupert and build roots in the community.