News from Jennifer Story – School Trustee

 

Ward 15 newsletter header
Spring has finally arrived! And with it comes one of the busiest times of year in our schools.
The TDSB just celebrated Day of Pink, a global campaign to celebrate inclusion, and end transphobia and bullying. Earth Day activities are being planned. Students, neighbours and families are getting their bikes back on the road, and more students are walking to school. Please do what you can to encourage active transportation to and from school, and if you are a driver, keep your eyes out at crosswalks and intersections.
Many of you are also busily organizing school fun fairs and graduations. I look forward to chatting with some of you at an upcoming event of one kind or another this spring.
In the meantime, there is much to update you on. I hope you enjoy this newsletter.
All my best,
Please join me at the next Ward 15 Council Meeting as we discuss some of the TDSB’s “greening” initiatives. We will be joined by special guest, Richard Christie, Senior Manager of Urban Sustainability at the TDSB, who will be speaking about the Board’s Eco Schools program as well as Active, Safe & Sustainable Transportation options.
Childminding and Translation is available upon request.

PARC Update

As you may know, ten secondary schools in our area have recently undergone a review by a Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (PARC).
The Ministry of Education requires a very specific process for reviewing how to best utilize our school spaces. These reviews are held for a grouping of schools in a specific geographical area. The process involves parents, students, community representatives, and TDSB staff. The rather large committee that came together to do this work has made their recommendations to the Board. These recommendations can be found in the committee’s final report, here.
I want to commend all members of the committee, for their time, hard work, dedication and thoughtfulness. There was a lot of information to analyze, and some tough decisions to make. Everyone rose admirably to the challenge.
Next, TDSB central staff will respond to the committee’s recommendations. Their response will be the subject of a public meeting to be held May 3, 7:00 – 8:30pm, at Danforth CTI, 800 Greenwood Avenue.
Following this meeting, the Committee’s recommendations and the staff’s response will be first considered by Trustees at a meeting of the Board’s Priorities and Planning Committee, at 5 pm on Wednesday June 15, at the board office at 5050 Yonge street. If you are interested in deputing at or submitting written comments to the committee, please contact Linda Mendonca at linda.mendonca@tdsb.on.ca by 4 pm Monday June 13.
The final decision on the recommendations will be will be made by the Board of Trustees at its meeting scheduled for June 22, 2016.

Envision: TDSB Grade 7 & 8 Conference For LGBTQI Students And Their Allies – May 5, 2016

The Toronto District School Board and the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity are proud to present the Envision Conference for LGBTQIA2S Middle School Students and Allies, Grades 7-8.
Date: Thursday, May 5, 2016
Location: Central Technical School, 725 Bathurst Ave
This forum will give students the opportunity to:
  • Connect with other LGBTQIA2S students and allies from across the TDSB
  • Explore their identities
  • Learn how to create healthier relationship behaviours in their lives based on respect and consent
  • Learn how to create a more inclusive school that values diversity and difference and be a change agent in their community
  • Learn how to be an ally
  • Learn how to focus on their self-care
If your school has a gay-straight alliance, queer-straight alliance, equity club or a group of engaged students interested in social justice, this conference is for you.   We welcome you to join the conversation in how to create safer schools, free from sexism, racism, ableism, classism, homophobia and transphobia and other forms of oppression. Sessions also include teacher training on engaging students in conversations about Healthy Relationships, Teaching Social Action and How to Create more Positive School Environments.
To register, you can register here.

“Mental Health and Well-Being Belongs To Us” Newsletter – March 2016 Edition 

As part of the our Mental Health Strategy, the TDSB releases a monthly newsletter entitled “Mental Health and Well-Being Belongs To Us”. Student mental health and well-being belongs to everyone and by focusing our actions on decreasing stigma and increasing understanding and awareness, we are confident that students, parents, and TDSB staff will be better able to identify concerns and know what to do when they, or someone they know, needs help.
This month’s publication features “Put it All Together: Perseverance, Grit, Self-Regulation and Executive Functioning & You Have a Recipe for Well-Being”.
To read the latest edition, or any of the past editions please visit the Mental Health Strategy website.

Special Education Reorganization to Improve Service Delivery

The Special Education department has heard from staff and communities about ways to improve services to students with special learning needs.
The following organizational changes and processes will enhance service delivery to schools, improve communication with parents/guardians and caregivers, and bring resources closer to schools through the Learning Centres:

  • Increasing the number of school-based consultants;
  • Changing our Behaviour Resource Support Team (teacher/Child and Youth Worker) to ensure easier access to principals;
  • Increasing support of Special Education staffing in our EdVance Programs;
  • Enhancing consultant capacity to support the use of Assistive Technology to support direct service to students;
  • Implementing plans to ensure greater success of students who will return to a regular classroom setting; and
  • There will be Superintendent of Education support at each learning centre to assist the coordination of the Special Education portfolio.
Staff will continue to work with schools and communities in order to improve services to our students with special learning needs.

Celebrate Jewish Heritage Month at the TDSB Tikkun Olam Social Justice Fair – May 25, 2016

May is Jewish Heritage Month in TDSB.  In 2016, the celebrations will highlight Tikkun Olam, a classical Jewish concept that has become, “synonymous with the notion of social action, good character development, and the pursuit of social justice which is integral to the Jewish paradigm and concept of our responsibility in the world.”  On Wednesday, May 25th (a Board meeting night), Trustees and senior staff will have a chance to see how this concept is being turned into action, and sample some Jewish-themed snacks, at the TDSB Tikkun Olam Social Justice Fair, in the 5050 cafeteria from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Students from schools around TDSB will be on hand with displays and presentations, eager to share information about the many ways they are working to improve the world around them.