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Professional Development

Contact Pro-D Chair – Deb Vandesande at pdchair@vernonta.com



      One of the primary goals of the VTA is to promote the continuous, career-long, professional growth of our members. Professional development (PD) is considered to be a process of personal growth through programs, services and activities designed to enable members, individually or collectively, to enhance professional practice.
      Professional development at the local level is governed by the collective agreement and the jointly-created VTA/SD22 Professional Development Handbook. Throughout the province, there are a variety of methods by which local members are served. Central to all local union provisions is the recognition of professional autonomy of members to plan and pursue their professional growth. Members undertaking their responsibility for professional growth realize the value of their professional autonomy in making choices about their professional development. Members can strengthen their teaching practice and professionalism through teacher collaboration, mentorship, action research/inquiry, workshops, professional course work, professional reading, peer coaching and reflection.

In Our District:

There are 7 non-instructional days in a school year. These include:

  • 1 District planned, ministry mandated, implementation day (Sept)
  • 1 administrative day (June)
  • 5 professional development days, of which:
    2 are school-based days, organized by each school’s PD committee, based on a needs-assessment of the staff, and agreed to by the majority of the staff (Nov, Jan). The school’s PD committee is required to create a plan for these days “which involve the staff or groups of staff but not individual association members” (F.21.5.a). The school’s plan should provide the option of “engaging in individualized professional development”, and be communicated with the staff.
  • 1 is a district-wide day, planned by the joint District PD committee (May)
  • 1 is a Provincial PSA day, organized by provincial and/or local teacher groups
  • 1 is a Zone conference day, organized by local PD chairs (Feb.)

History of PD:

     Professional development days represent a hard-won recognition of our needs and responsibilities as teachers. For many years, the BCTF made representations to our employers and the Ministry of Education to recognize the importance of teachers having the time and resources necessary to engage in professional development.
      In 1972, PD days (non-instructional days) were added to the school calendar at the request of the teaching profession after years of advocacy from the BCTF. The inclusion increased the number of days of work for teachers with no loss of instructional days for students. PD days in the school calendar recognized that teachers needed time during the school year to hone their skills, improve practice, and stay current with changes related to teaching and learning.

Value and Purpose of Pro-D Days:

      Professionals in most fields routinely network with fellow practitioners, conduct and review research, and talk to experts and colleagues about trends, issues, and plans for ongoing professional development. As active learners, teachers use PD days to keep on top of changes that affect their work with students, such as new technology, new ideas about teaching and learning, and different community needs. PD days help keep teachers current.
      Topics for PD days come from the classroom experience of learning and teaching. Teachers decide individually and collectively the issues to address. They attend workshops and conferences, participate in mentoring programs, pursue self-directed professional development, and undertake other activities designed to enhance teaching and learning. They take their new skills back to the classrooms.
      In addition to PD days many teachers attend university, take evening classes and weekend workshops, read professional journals, and attend summer school. These experiences promote a culture of teaching and professional development that has teachers working together as members of a learning community, rather than in isolation.
      For all other Inquiries, please contact the Professional Development Chair, Debbie Vandesande at pdchair@vernonta.com, or at the VTA office 250-542-0456 (office hours Thursdays).

PD Handbook - Updated November 2023

Provincial Specialist Associations