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Hamilton public elementary school students won’t see a report card: school board

File photo of an Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario sign.
File photo of an Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario sign. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Tens of thousands of Hamilton elementary school students won’t be getting a first-term report card, according to the city’s district school board.

Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) chair Alex Johnstone says recent job action from the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has made it an impossible task for administrators to issue the teachers’ assessments.

READ MORE: Ontario teachers’ strikes — A timeline of key events and actions taken so far

“This is due to insufficient resources and time for school administrators to electronically input data and to produce accurate report cards for our approximate 36,000 elementary students,” Johnstone said in a letter to parents.

The move comes as no real surprise as the union that represents 78,000 elementary teachers in Ontario had said that as part of its work-to-rule job sanctions, teachers would not be writing comments for report cards and that grades would be sent to administrators for inclusion on report cards.

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President of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ local Jeff Sorensen, who represents around 2,300 elementary students, says the HWDSB’s reasoning for not sending home report cards is “unclear.”

“The HWDSB is claiming that it is unable to send home the data provided to them by their elementary school teachers. The cause of this inability is unclear,” said Sorenson.

“In full transparency, the board should make it known to parents as to why the HWDSB is unable, or unwilling, to send them home.”

Sorenson goes on to say that teachers are, in fact, working on and submitting report cards to administrators according to “normal practice and timelines.”

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READ MORE: Ontario elementary teachers continue rotating strikes at 4 school boards

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which has been without a contract since December, began a work-to-rule campaign in early December.

Earlier this week, the job action grew to include a series of rotating strikes.

ETFO’s latest job action saw staff on the picket line in Niagara and Halton region on Thursday.

President Sam Hammond says classroom size, resources for students with special needs, and protection of full-day kindergarten are key issues fuelling job action.

Some elementary school boards not issuing report cards amid labour action
Some elementary school boards not issuing report cards amid labour action