by Gloria Welton
The Public Schools Branch held career fairs in Stratford and in Summerside to promote a variety of employment opportunities in the school system.
“This is the first career fair we have held in my 14-year career with the Public Schools Branch, and we may look at having this as an annual event,” says Paula Annear, Human Resource Manager of the Public Schools Branch.
“We are experiencing more and more shortages in a number of our employee groups over the past few years. We have hired a significant number of new permanent employees in some of these employee groups due to increased investments from Government, coupled with a consistent number of retirements each year that has also decreased our substitute pools.”
The focus of the career fair was to attract interested candidates to be on the substitute list for ongoing casual work as Teachers, Educational Assistants, Youth Service Workers, Cleaners/Custodians, Administrative Assistants, and Bus Drivers.
“We also promoted specialty education jobs such as staff qualified to work with students who are deaf and/or hearing impaired and blind and/or visually impaired.”
Number of staff
Six staff members work in the Human Resources department of the Public Schools Branch supporting approximately 3,500 employees, including substitutes, who work with approximately 20,000 students in the Public Schools system.
“We are always looking at succession planning and promoting careers within the Public Schools Branch. Those interested in positions within the school system may contact the Human Resources department to discuss opportunities and the process of applying.”
The process of getting on the substitute list
To start the process to apply for a position as a substitute Teacher, Educational Assistant, Youth Service Worker, Cleaner/Custodian, or Administrative Assistant, go online and complete the application form.
Those interested in substitute School Bus Driver positions may contact the Human Resource Department at 902-368-6770 or 1-800-280-7965.
As almost all positions within the branch entail contact with students, Paula says interaction needs to be very professional and caring. The Branch is looking for applicants in some of these roles who have experience working with children, whether it be in a volunteer or work capacity.
Those seeking Teaching and Educational Assistant substitute or permanent positions must apply to the Registrar of Education and Lifelong Learning Certifications and Standards, and hold certification issued by the Registrar to be considered for employment with the Public Schools Branch.
Paula says they are making every effort to get the word out about the variety of positions available. “These are great opportunities. Many of the positions follow the school year of 10 month employment with time off for holidays such as March break, Easter, and Christmas, when children are not in school.
“With permanent positions, there are great benefits such as pension plan, life insurance, medical insurance, dental insurance, employer-paid First Aid training, sick leave, medical appointment leave, illness of immediate family, and bereavement leave,” she says.
“Working as a substitute would be an ideal job for someone who is self-employed or a stay-at-home parent who could work these jobs into their schedule. The Cleaner/Custodian positions can be either days or evenings, so there is flexibility with hours of work.”
For more details about employment opportunities at the Public Schools Branch and how to apply, contact Human Resources at 902-368-6818 or 1-800-280-7965.
To view jobs posted, visit www.gov.pe.ca/jobspei
School Bus Drivers
“We have a shortage of school bus drivers across PEI,” says Catherine MacKinnon, Coordinator of Transportation Services. “There is opportunity for those who enjoy driving and working with children. Many drivers have been with us for 30 and 40 years, and we are experiencing a lot of retirements.”
School Bus Drivers are responsible for safely operating the school bus on a regular daily schedule. The Public Schools Branch transports 16,319 students to its 56 schools. ‘There are 258 permanent bus drivers.
To apply, contact the Human Resource department and submit a resumé to get an interview.
“Successful applicants must take a three-week bus driver training course with JVI.
If eligible, they can apply for funding through SkillsPEI.”
Three-week training blocks are held across the Island in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Alberton.
School bus drivers are paid for five hours per day. Duties include driving, cleaning the bus, and paper work.
Substitute drivers earn $17.80 per hour. Permanent drivers start at $20.77 per hour, and range to $22.56. Permanent driver positions are unionized. These wages are as of October, 2017 and are currently awaiting arbitration with expected increases.
“This is an ideal job to combine with other types of work or stay-at-home parents. There are many more female bus drivers than ever before.
“Being on the substitute list is the first point of employment for drivers after they complete the required training.
“They can choose the general location of their route, and we try to keep them in their own geographical area. We have a software program that provides all the routes and stops for the drivers.”
- Honest, trustworthy and dependable
- Patient and respectful
- Culturally aware and sensitive
Skills and abilities
- Ability to operate school bus in a safe and responsible manner
- Public interaction skills, effective verbal and listening communication skills
- Team building
- Decision making skills
- Ability and confidence to lead
- Ability to remain calm under pressure
- Proof of Grade 12 education or equivalent
- Hold a valid driver’s license for at least five years
- Submit proof of medical fitness
- Submit drivers’ abstract and criminal record check
- Meet with the Provincial Transportation Coordinator for the Public Schools Branch
- Successfully complete a Bus Driver Training Program and receive a Class 2A driver’s license
- Successfully complete CPR/First Aid training
- Complete Student Management Program provided by the PSB
“We have a need for substitutes every single day,” says Lynda MacLean, Human Resources.
“There are fewer substitutes on our list this year than there were last year. Due to a significant number of new hires over the past few years, new teacher positions were added.
“The biggest misconception is that substitute teachers need an undergraduate degree,” says Lynda.
“The requirement to be eligible to apply and hold certification from the Registrar of Education and Lifelong Learning Certifications and Standards to substitute teach is two years of post-secondary education.
“This certification is required before applicants who are successful in the interview process can be employed. Experience working with school-age children is a desirable asset.
“During the job interview, we determine which subjects and grade levels would suit each substitute. The benefit of substituting is that you work when and where you want to work.
“There is also no prep work for day-to-day substituting. Come into the class, follow the lesson plan, and that is the day.”
Teaching specialties in particular demand include music, French Immersion, Resouce and Behavioral Resource, and Phys Ed.
- Certified Substitute Teachers: $197.34 per day.
- Non-Certified Substitute Teachers: $128.13 per day.
For more details, contact Lynda MacLean at 902-569-0595, email [email protected].pe.ca
Support staff: Educational Assistants, Student Attendants, Workplace Assistants, and Youth Service Workers
Educational Assistants (EAs) work under the supervision of a teacher to assist students who have a variety of special educational needs.
“This position has a lot of employment opportunity,” says Lori Ann Dow, Human Resources Assistant. “There is a need across the Island. Right now, a number of positions are not filled with Regular Authorized Educational Assistants.”
A Human Services diploma or recognized equivalency is required to be a Regular Authorized Educational Assistant. Training in Autism Spectrum Disorder is an additional asset.
This role also may require the ability to do lifts and transfers and the ability to work with physically aggressive students. Other duties may include feeding, dressing, toileting, and daily hygiene.
“Most EAs have a six-hour daily schedule in one school. Many Holland College graduates come right out of the Human Services program and are hired in permanent positions.”
Student Attendants (SAs) work with educators to support students with severe physical challenges and complex needs, providing personal medical care and monitoring their physical care.
SAs work with children with feeding tubes, and help with dressing and hygiene needs. Lori Ann says there are just a few of these jobs in a few schools. “Someone with a RCW background would certainly be suitable.”
Workplace Assistants (WAs) work with educators including resources teachers and co-op teachers to support students placed in employment and community opportunities.
“There are one or two WAs in most high schools across the Island. A background in career development would be a fit for this career.”
Youth Service Workers offer support to educators in dealing with students with a variety of behaviors that might include physical and verbal aggression. Youth Service Workers also work in the community to support students with social and life skills.
Completion of a Child & Youth Care Worker program or a similar program from a recognized post-secondary institution is a requirement to be a Youth Service Worker with the Public Schools Branch. “We are currently recruiting to create a list of casual Youth Workers to fill in at our schools.”
Wages in this area of work range from $18.72 to $29.99 per hour, depending on the category of employment and experience of the individual.
For more details, contact Lori Ann Dow at 902-368-6817.
School Administrative Assistants
School Administrative Assistants: “Demand to fill these positions is starting to increase because of retirements, so we would like to get more people on the casual list,” says Alva Coade, Human Resources Generalist.
“Substitutes must hold a recognized relevant program diploma. We have a testing process to ensure the people on the substitute list have a general knowledge of software such as Excel and Word. We also take a look at the administrative courses and programs they have taken, and see if that matches our requirements.”
Alva says they are looking for people who want to become permanent staff and those who want casual work. “Administrative Assistants have the summers off. Working hours depend on the individual schools. Most positions start at 8 am, and full-time hours range from 6 1/2 hours to seven hours per day.”
School Administrative Assistant substitutes earn $18.10 per hour. Permanent positions start at $22.62 and range to $26.94 per hour. These wages are as of October, 2017 and are currently awaiting arbitration with expected increases.
Skills and abilities
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Strong interpersonal and decision making skills
- Ability to remain calm under pressure
- Ability to multi-task
For more details, contact Alva Coade at 902-620-3452 or email hr–psb–[email protected].pe.ca
Cleaner/Custodians provide a clean and safe learning and work environment for students, teachers, and staff. They work year-round.
“We have casuals in our schools every day, and we are getting low on people, especially for the Cleaner/Custodian group,” says Alva Coade, Human Resource Generalist. “There are times when we find it difficult to get enough people into vacant positions across the Island.
“Some rural schools are definitely struggling to find people. We hold training sessions four to five times a year. We need people who would like to be permanent to fill retirements and those who want to continue to work casual.”
The pay rate for substitutes is $14.20. Permanent positions start at $17.76. These wages are — as of October 2017 –and are currently awaiting arbitration with expected increases.
- Flexible and adaptable
- Team player
- Honest, trustworthy and dependable
- Ability to maintain confidentiality
- Culturally aware and sensitive
Teachers for students who are deaf and/or hard of hearing
Teachers for students who are blind and/or visually impaired
Kent Pond has worked in this field for 33 years. He works for the preschool population of children across the Island. “I visit homes and work with parents to help them work with their children to develop speech, language, and audition skills.
“Four staff work in our department. Three staff are responsible for the Charlottetown area and one works in the Summerside area and covers the western part of the Island.
“I work with newborn to kindergarten children. The other three staff work with students from kindergarten to grade 12.”
Kent says there is a shortage of teachers with this specialty across Canada. “On PEI, we are short this year because of a maternity leave that hasn’t been filled.”
The University of British Colombia and Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax offer programs to qualify for this career. Students can earn a Masters in Deaf Education after obtaining a Bachelors of Education.
Itinerant teachers for students who are blind and/or visually impaired: Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA) is an interprovincial co-operative agency established in 1975 by joint agreement among the Ministers of Education of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
Joanne Hodgins is among the four full-time staff on PEI.
“We also have one person who works part-time as a Mobility Instructor and has a shared position with CNIB. “She does a lot of work on pedestrian safety. We work directly with the students in their setting across the Island.
“One staff member is on maternity leave and that position has not been filled yet. Across Canada, there is certainly a shortage of teachers with this specialty. We serve about 45 students on the Island from birth to 21 years of age. In order to do our job, we also meet with educators, families, and pre-schools.”
This career requires a Bachelor of Education and a Masters program in this specialty.
Joanne is from Ontario and had a background working with students who have a disability, in particular, those on the Autism spectrum.
When she came to PEI she worked at a variety of locations with people with disabilities. She earned a Masters in Deaf and Hearing Impaired and then a Masters in Blind and Visually Impaired.
“This is a fantastic career and I love my job. To get exposure in this field, arrangements could be made to visit our location, follow a staff member for the day, and/or volunteer.”
For more about a career in this field, visit www.apsea.ca
Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs)
Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs): There are 9.3 full-time equivalent positions for SLPs in the Public Schools Branch who work with about 800 students.
“We work with students who have a speech delay or disorder or language delay or disorder – any kind of communication issue,” says Emily Chan, Speech Language Pathologist. “We provide assessments, diagnosis, and treatment. We also provide professional development for teachers who support communication development in the classroom.”
Emily says there is demand across the country for SLPs. “It is a busy career and it is very rewarding to help give people a voice who might not have one. There are lots of areas to work in with this career, including schools, private practice, hospitals, and preschool children.
“I went into the Psychology undergraduate program at Dalhousie and became interested in linguistics, which was a great combination for this career path. I also wanted to work with children.
“I took the Master’s program at McGill University, which is a very competitive program to get into.
“This is my tenth year in this occupation. I worked for two years in Montreal and on PEI for eight years.
“We don’t typically have a lot of open permanent positions through the school system on PEI, but we sometimes have temporary contracts to cover leaves. But there are opportunities with private practice.”
Emily advises people who want to explore this career to connect with a SLP and observe for a day. “Volunteering could also give some indication if they would like to pursue this career.”
For more information about a career in Speech Language Pathology, visit www.peispeechhearing.ca/home