Trustee Updates – February 2017

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POOLS AND CHILDCARE: FUNDING FOR SCHOOL SPACE

It has been an eventful month in relation to use of school space and our relationship with the City of Toronto. The City has just approved its 2017 budget, with mixed impact on our schools.Twenty years ago when the Province, under then Premier Mike Harris, changed the ways schools are funded, they stopped paying operating costs for childcare centres, pools and other functions that government deemed to not be “instructional space”.

This a) forced a rethink between the City and the Board on shared use of pools, and b) almost caused a dramatic increase in childcare costs. In the case of pools, the City has continued with many pools to lease them, with a lease value that covers the operating costs of these pools, and offer city-run programs there. In the case of childcare, the City stepped in some twenty years ago and offered an “occupancy grant” to school boards to cover those unfunded costs.

This year the City of Toronto, based on direction from the Mayor to cut the budget by 2.6%  opted to reconsider these commitments.

Last month, following a motion I moved at the Board, trustees joined parents and childcare advocates to fight the proposed cuts to childcare occupancy grants. I’m go glad to be able to report that we won! City Council agreed to maintain the childcare grant — at least for one more year.

With pools, we were not so fortunate. The City unexpectedly terminated its support for three pools last year, and by way of this budget terminated it support for three more, including SH Armstrong right here in our part of the city.

At a time when all levels of government are interested in supporting community hubs (which SH Armstrong/Duke of Connaught truly is), and addressing declining rates of activity for kids and youth, this decision is unsettling. It’s also hard to understand why the City would choose to cancel swim programs when so many parents talk of how hard it is to get into them in the first place.

I will continue to work with our hard-working parents and community advocates and with our area Councillors, Paula Fletcher, Mary Margaret McMahon, Mary Fragedakis and Janet Davis, to defend and protect our east-end pools, and pools throughout the city that are shared between the TDSB and the City. As the agreement that affects some 30 more pools is up for renewal this summer, you will no doubt hear more about this issue in the coming months.

It’s also important that we call on the Provincial government to step in and reconsider its funding of these spaces. They are both places of important learning for our kids, and should be valued and funded accordingly. I will be working with my Trustee colleagues to raise these concerns with the provincial government as well.

SCHOOL’S OUT! SUMMER OPTIONS FOR TEENS?

Riverdale CI is hosting an information session about Summer Options for Teens this:
Wednesday, February 22 at 6:30pm in the Library.

KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!

Kindergarten is the first step in a lifelong journey that will see your child learn, grow, and succeed at the Toronto District School Board. At the TDSB, we know early learners learn best through doing; so our four and five-year-olds are introduced to math and science through play as part of Kindergarten – Grade 12 STEM programming. To inspire a love for learning, Kindergarten classrooms are bustling with inquiry and exploration through science activities, math games, art projects and more. Visit your local school during February to register.

To attend Junior Kindergarten in September, children must turn four years old by December 31. To register for Senior Kindergarten, children must be five-years-old by December 31.

All of our schools now offer Full-Day Kindergarten where students will attend Kindergarten for the entire school day. This includes a morning and afternoon schedule and a lunch break. Visit the Kindergarten website to learn more about this program and learn how to prepare your child for school.

FREE CYCLING EDUCATION PROGRAMS AND BIKE RACKS FOR YOUR SCHOOL. APPLY TODAY!

Cycling Education Programs
Schools can now apply to have a skills-based cycling education program presented at their school in the spring of 2017, free of charge!All schools are eligible to apply.
However, schools that did not receive a Cycling Education Program during the 2015/16 school year will be given priority in the selection process. All other schools will be selected through a lottery.

For more details and to access the application form, visit the EcoSchools Cycling Supports webpage and select the Cycling Education Programs tab.

Deadline to apply for a Cycling Education Program: February, 28th

Bike Rack Program — Apply for free bike racks!
Increase sustainable transportation at your school with new bike racks! All schools are eligible to apply, but will have to demonstrate need and evidence of prior efforts to promote active sustainable transportation.  For more details and to access the application form, visit the EcoSchools Cycling Supports webpage.

Deadline to apply for bike racks: June 30th, 2017

FEBRUARY IS AFRICAN HERITAGE MONTH

February is African Heritage Month at the Toronto District School Board.  African Heritage Month is an opportunity for the experiences, contributions and achievements of African Canadians to be affirmed. Throughout February, a number of activities are taking place system-wide.

An opening celebration was held on Wednesday, February 1 with the Honorable Mitzie Hunter, Ontario Minister of Education, as keynote speaker. This year’s theme is “Celebrating 150 years of African Heritage.” The month will focus on the contributions peoples of African descent have made to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and the Rites of Passage Process.

FEBRUARY IS CHINESE HERITAGE MONTH

The Toronto District School Board is proud to recognize February as Chinese Heritage Month for the first time. During this month, we celebrate the energetic culture and traditions of the Chinese community with students, staff and community members.
The Chinese community is integral to the growth and success of the City of Toronto and Canada.  Members of the Chinese community represent approximately 10 percent of the total GTA population and forms its second largest visible minority group. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary this year, Canadians remember and appreciate the Chinese workers who helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway that united our country.

NEXT WARD FORUM: SCHOOL COUNCILS 101
Monday, February 27, 2017
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Cosburn Middle School (520 Cosburn Ave)

UPCOMING WARD FORUM DATES

Feb 27 – School Councils 101 @ Cosburn Middle School

Mar 27 – Indigenous Education @ Riverdale CI
April 27 – facilities @ Chester Elementary School
May 30 – Fundraising @ Roden/Equinox

WARD FORUM: French Language Learning in the TDSB

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Mary Cruden from Canadian Parents for French–Ontario will be on hand for an AMA (Ask Me Anything)-style discussion. Bring your questions about any issues including pathways, special education needs, and program growth.

Please join us! All are welcome to attend. Light refreshments and child-minding will be available.

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Ward Council Meeting – October 27

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Next Ward Forum:

Tearing Down the Walls

I hope you can join me next week for a Ward Forum on equity in our schools. It’s such an important topic for us all!

Topic: “Tearing Down the Walls: How We Help Students Overcome  Barriers to Success and Well-being”

We’ll be looking specifically how the TDSB approaches equity issues, how we support kids and families living in poverty in particular, and how you can be involved in improving our work in these areas. 

Date: Thursday, October 27, 2016

Time:7-9 pm

Location: Queen Alexandra Middle School (181 Broadview Ave)

Elections: We will also be electing leadership positions for our Ward Council: Chair, French as a Second Language rep and Parent Involvement Advisory Committee rep, and minute taker.

If you are interested in running for any of these positions, please be sure to attend this meeting, and email me if you have any question in advance. 

Light refreshments and child-minding will be available.

10th Annual Parent Involvement Makes a Difference Conference: Registration Now Open

All TDSB parents and guardians are invited to our free conference. It is an opportunity to make connections and participate in informative and empowering workshops, which include learning about French and specialized programs, how to help with homework and supporting literacy at home. Child-minding, Interpretation and Busing will be available through registration only.

Learn more – and register – at www.tdsb.on.ca/parentconference

Date: Saturday, November 19, 2016

Time: 8:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Location: Earl Haig Secondary School

Address: 100 Princess Avenue

French Programs Application Deadline

For families interested in the Toronto District School Board’s French Immersion or Extended French programs, we offer an online process for applying to:

  • Early French Immersion (EFI) which begins in Senior Kindergarten;
  • Junior Extended French (JEF) which begins in Grade 4

We guarantee an offer of placement in the program (not a specific school) to all on-time applicants. Transportation is provided as per the Board’s Transportation policy.

The timelines for applying for these programs for September 2017 are:

  • Applications for Early French Immersion (for a Junior Kindergarten aged child), must be completed online between November 1, 2016 and December 1, 2016.
  • Applications for Junior Extended French must be completed online between January 9, 2017 and February 2, 2017.

Offers of placement within your chosen program will be made to all on-time applicants in the weeks following the close of the application window. Please note: families with an older sibling currently in a French program are still required to complete an online application for the new student. Further information on French as a Second Language programs and the application process is available online at www.tdsb.on.ca/french.

Getting Ready for Grade Nine

If you’re in Grade 8, the TDSB’s Choices for 9 booklet will give you all the information you need for going to High School. You can also explore our High Schools by visiting them on Open House and Information Nights.

TDSB high school students have access to some of the most innovative and unique schools, programs and courses in the country. Take advantage of your time in high school to customize your learning and focus on your interests and passions. You’ll find what you’re looking for at the TDSB and graduate ready to be successful in your post-secondary pursuits and future career.

Message from Jennifer Story – Ward Council News

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The air is getting cooler and the leaves continue to fall. I hope you and your family are settling well into school routines and activites.
This past Thanksgiving weekend, I reflected on how grateful I am for the many dedicated parents who put in an immeasurable amounts of volunteer time to support our schools. I’m equally grateful for the talented and hardworking staff (teachers, administrators, custodians, educational assistants, and thee list goes on), so many of whom go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the best learning environment for our students.
If you have news from your school community that you’d like to share with the broader community in Toronto-Danforth, please let me know. I’d be happy to share your updates to this list.
All my best to you and yours,

Acknowledgement of Traditional Lands and Territories in All TDSB Schools

All TDSB schools now begin their day with an acknowledgement of the Traditional and Ancestral Lands of Aboriginal peoples. It is customary at the TDSB to begin events, gatherings and meetings with an acknowledgment. This practise has now expanded into schools. Learn more.

Join a Conversation About Equity in the TDSB

The TDSB is a leader in supporting equity through innovative programs, inclusive curriculum, professional learning and equity strategies to close achievement, participation and opportunity gaps. Our vision is to create equitable learning environments and to raise expectations for everyone. To do that, we have developed a draft Integrated Equity Framework Action Plan and we want to hear from you.
Please learn more online, take a look at the framework (or the summary version) and share your feedback online or join us at an in-person conversation.

Safer Streets Near Schools

In the City of Toronto, residents are able to request traffic calming (e.g., narrowing roads, speed humps etc.), changes to speed limits, and improvements to intersection and major crossings within their community. However, in order to have the feasibility of these requests investigated by the city, communities must take a variety of steps.
The Guide to Safer Streets Near Schools is a research-based resource designed to assist residents in requesting street improvements within the City of Toronto. The guide accessibly explains City of Toronto policies that relate to street improvements and provides suggestions on which ones may be most relevant to a given community. The guide also includes a toolkit, comprised of:

  • A worksheet to help identify issues and develop potential solution
  • Sample templates (letters, and a traffic calming petition
  • Ideas and resources for teacher
  • A list of organizations working for safer street
To learn more visit www.saferstreetsnearschools.ca
October is Islamic Heritage Month
October is Islamic History Month at the TDSB and across Canada. In schools and administration buildings, students and staff will take this opportunity to learn about the history, heritage and diversity of our Muslim fellow Canadians. Islamic Heritage Month is an occasion to improve our knowledge about the many contributions of Muslim Canadians to the building of Canada’s democratic society through their work in the areas of political and social justice. Learn more.
October is Somali Heritage Month
October is Somali Heritage Month at the TDSB. This month, students and staff will be learning about the history and diversity of the Somali heritage. As well as celebrating, facilitating and encouraging education excellence with Canadian students of Somali descent, Canadians of Somali descent have made and continue to make significant contributions to the city of Toronto, province of Ontario and Canadian society at large. The month of October will provide an opportunity for Somali-heritage communities to share their vibrant culture and traditions with the TDSB communities and the city of Toronto. Learn more

John Malloy Appointed Permanent TDSB Director of Education

On September 8, TDSB Chair Robin Pilkey announced that Interim Director of Education Dr. John Malloy was appointed permanent Director of the TDSB, Canada’s largest school board.
Since joining the TDSB in January 2016, Dr. Malloy has introduced a Board-wide Learning Centre Strategy that moves resources closer to classrooms and improves school responsiveness to student, parent/guardian and community needs. Learn more.
In addition, Dr. Malloy was among the first Ontario Directors of Education to post his employment agreement with the TDSB on the Board’s website.

Future Ward Forum Dates

Oct 27 – Queen Alexandra
Nov 29 – William Burgess
Jan 26 – Morse
Feb 27 – Cosburn/Diefenbaker
Mar 27 – Riverdale
April 27 – Chester
May 30 – Roden/Equinox
All meetings are from 7:00 to 9:00 pm unless otherwise noted.
All are welcome! Childminding and interpretation available upon request toMaxeen.Paabo@tdsb.on.ca
Meeting Details, Agendas, Minutes, Presentations, and Handouts are posted as available. Please checkwww.tdsb.on.ca/Ward15 for the most up-to-date info.

Message from School Trustee Jennifer Story – Ask Me Anything!

 

 

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‘A.M.A.’ WITH DIRECTOR JOHN MALLOY AND NEW TORONTO-DANFORTH SUPERINTENDENTS

A.M.A. is short-form for Ask Me Anything.  In this case, it’s an opportunity for you to come out and meet the new Director for Education, John Malloy, and the new superintendents for the schools in Ward 15 Toronto-Danforth.

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Under Directory Malloy’s leadership the TDSB has undertaken a significant restructuring with the express goal of getting our school supports (superintendents, special education resources, learning coaches, tech support, etc.) closer to our schools and more in touch with our communities. One of the changes for us here in east Toronto is a slate of three new superintendents overseeing the 30+ schools in our ward: John Chasty, Lucy Gianotta and Mary Jane McNamara. These three people effectively oversee the work of our principals and so play a critical role in school success, student achievement, and well-being.  

Parents in Toronto Danforth are never short on questions and never shy to raise their voices with opinions, concerns, suggestions, and yes, sometimes even kudos. Here is a chance for you to come out, ask questions, be heard, and learn more about the new “Learning Centre” model and what it means for your child, your school, your family. 

I look forward to seeing you at this, our first Ward Forum of the 2016-2017 school year. 

DATE: September 19, 2016

TIME: 7pm

LOCATION: Wilkinson Public School, 53 Donlands (just north of Danforth)

Please help spread the word. I look forward to seeing you there. 

Yours in community,

Jennifer Story

 

TDSB – Chair of the Board & Director of Education Webcast

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Parents/Guardians of TDSB Students,

We are always looking to improve communication with parents across the city. Please join us onTuesday, May 3 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. as we host our first live webcast for parents/guardians.

We will begin the session with a welcome and update on recent developments at the TDSB. This will be followed by a chance for parents/guardians to ask questions. After the webcast, please participate in a short survey about the webcast format and share your thoughts about topics for future sessions.

Please join the conversation at the following link:
http://www2.tdsb.on.ca/stream/Director/LiveWebcast.html

Learn more about the Learning Centres at http://www.tdsb.on.ca/learningcentres.

We look forward to speaking with you on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

John Malloy
John Malloy
Director of Education
Robin Pilkey
Robin Pilkey
Chair

News from Jennifer Story – School Trustee

 

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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.

School Council Meeting Tonight – Tuesday April 5, 7pm

Hi Everyone,

The school council meeting will be held tonight at 7pm in the staff lounge.  Childcare will be provided.

The following is the proposed agenda:

  • Welcome – Henna
  • Principals Report – Terry
  • Ward Council Update – Katie
  • Fun Fair Update – Lisa/Samantha
  • Community Liaison Update – Dara
  • SJIE Update – Karima
  • Traffic Congestion at morning drop-off – Linh
  • Greening Committee Update – Jen
  • Misc

Hope to see you there.