Your Ward 11 Trustee Newsletter
Your Ward 11 Trustee Newsletter
Ward 11 newletter header

Dear Parents,

I hope this note finds you well. It seems strange to be in the final week of school and wrapping up the school year remotely. I miss not being at schools celebrating with families and graduates, and I am sure everyone is experiencing all sorts of emotions about our current situation and the winding up of the school year.
By now, you are likely aware that this past Friday, the Ministry of Education provided direction to school boards regarding the 2020-2021 school year, and also finally released information regarding our funding for next year.
At this time, there remain many unknowns in terms of what school will look like come September. However, my aim today is to provide you with a brief overview of how we are preparing for fall, give you an outline of our budget process over the next month and a half, and make you aware of some webinars that may be of interest to parents and community members, including a virtual ward forum I will be holding this coming Thursday, June 25 from 7:30-9pm (see flyer below to register). Read on for all this information (and maybe a little bit more!).


On Friday afternoon, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced the Government of Ontario’s guidelines for the return to school in September. As was noted in the letter sent to all TDSB families on Friday, school boards across Ontario are being asked to prepare for three possible scenarios that will depend on the public health situation at the time:
1) Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols: Students going to school every day, in classes that reflect standard class size regulations.
2) Modified school day routine: Based on public health advice, an adapted delivery model has been designed to allow for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible. This model would require alternate day or alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time.

3) At home learning: Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their child back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education. Remote education should be delivered online to the greatest extent possible, including the establishment of minimum expectations for students to have direct contact with their teacher at the same time on a regular basis, also known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.

The three options we have been asked to prepare were not a complete surprise. For many weeks now, the TDSB has been exploring and planning for all of these possibilities, and is now working towards finalizing plans in accordance on the government’s directive. In a further clarification, the Minister announced over the weekend, and then again on Monday on a call with all Ontario school board chairs, that all boards will be expected to start in September with option number 2, the "adapted" model. In this model, classes are to be cohorted into groups of 15, maintaining the same teachers as much as possible, with students spending part of their time in school and part of their time learning online at home so that physical distancing measures can be more effectively maintained. The Minister indicated that in October, Boards may be able to take a region-by-region approach, in accordance with guidance from their local public health authorities.
To further assist and inform our plans, the TDSB is asking parents/guardians, staff and students to share their thoughts about planning for September by completing online surveys. This important feedback will help guide the TDSB’s work as staff determine plans for September. To access the Parent/Guardian Survey, please click here.
School boards have been asked to submit their plans to the Ministry of Education by August 4, 2020 and the TDSB is committed to sharing these plans with school communities once they are approved. We want to ensure that all students and families are well prepared and will know what to expect when returning to school in September. 
To guide trustees and the public through the planning process, staff have developed the following timeline graphic:

With respect to the operational planning for re-opening, we are preparing for three options: in school, fully remote, and a hybrid approach, combining the two.  At the operational level, staff at TDSB have established a Steering Committee called the "Return to School & Work Committee".
The importance and complexity of re-opening requires a collaborative, holistic, integrated approach, and the effective use of cross-functional teams has never been more important. Several sub-committees have been formed to ensure that staff are focussing on all of the key considerations and strategies possible in various areas to ensure that we can adapt to any required scenario in a manner that keeps student achievement, well-being and equity front and center.  
The new committee structure will incorporate all major functions of the TDSB on both the learning & instructional side, as well as the operational side. Between the steering committee and the sub-committees, several different areas of expertise will be represented, including technical experts, operational staff, educators, administrators, and senior management. The guiding principle for the work of all committees is ensuring the health, safety and well-being of all students and staff. The sub-committees cover the following items:  
- Administrative Buildings;
- Budget/Finance/Purchasing

- Child Care and Before and After School Programs;
- French Immersion;
- Learning and Instruction;
- Mental Health, Well-being & Equity; 
- Operations/Health and Safety – Schools;
- Professional Learning and Development;
- Secondary Experiential Learning;
- Special Education;
- Student Nutrition/Food Services;
- Summer Programming; and
- Technology.

Members of TDSB staff are also on Ministry of Education Committees that are working to explore the three strategies for re-opening, looking at health and safety protocols, alternate schedules for students, the ability to switch between remote and in-person learning, and transportation. The work of the TDSB Return to School & Work Committee will contribute to the work of the Ministry of Education Committees and vice-versa. Although TDSB final plans will be guided by direction from the Ministry of Education and Toronto Public Health, the work of the Return to School & Work Committee will ensure that the TDSB is well prepared for any and all eventualities.

2020-2021 BUDGET
Of course, much of our re-opening plans are closely linked to our financial position and the funding provided by the Provincial Government. Last Friday, the Ministry of Education also released our funding information for the 2020-2021 school year. Typically, the TDSB would receive information from the Province about funding by early April (these are known as the Grants for Student Needs, or GSN's, for short). As I write this, staff has provided us we with a high-level assessment of this funding. I would encourage everyone to read this report, linked here. This report makes clear that the funding provides little additional money or means of support to assist in the management of the Covid-19 situation. So far,for example, no funds have been allotted for PPE or for extra caretaking that will be necessary under the circumstances. The significant increases in funding that were given were targeted to investments in Mental Health and Technology ($10 million and $15 million, respectively). However, it should be noted that these increases were for the Province as a whole, not simply for the TDSB. Our share is not yet known at this time. 
Our budget will be developed over the next couple of weeks, with July 8th set aside for virtual town halls for community consultation and July 9th for public delegations. For more information on these town halls and delegations and how to participate, please click here
Finally, to learn more about the budget process in general this year, please click here.
Covid-19 has changed the rhythm and structure of our lives in so many ways, and I do understand planning for next year will be challenging and stressful for families. While we don't have all the answers at this point, I have scheduled a Virtual Ward Forum to give parents and caregivers a chance to share their experiences this Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 7:30pm. 

If you are interested in participating, please register:

The meeting will be hosted on the WebEx video conference platform. Registrants will be sent a meeting invite with a link and call-in details for the session. If you are not familiar with WebEx you can refer to this YouTube video:
June 25 Virtual Ward 11 Forum Flyer


Join us tonight for the second in our conversation series, jointly hosted by the TDSB's Parent and Community Engagement Office and PIAC, the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee. As the Trustee appointed to PIAC, I will be introducing our moderators at all these events and hope you can find time to attend what will surely be informative and helpful webinars. 
TONIGHT: "Mental Health Well-Being and Routines in Adolescents & Teens", Wednesday, June 24, 6:30-8:00 pm.

* Dr. Amy Cheung, Psychiatrist, Sunnybrook; Dr. Cheung's research focus includes adolescent depression and community-based service delivery models for youth with mental illness.
* Charmaine Lane, Registered Psychotherapist, B.A., M.Sc., RP; Ms. Lane specializes in Racialized Trauma and its contribution to other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and mental illness routed in internalized oppression and trauma.
* Scott Ste Marie, Keynote Speaker, YouTuber & Podcast Host; Scott’s mission is to help people take control of their mental health. His presentations demystify mental health and reveal the connection between social media use and feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. 

* Moderator: Saleem Haniff, Mental Health Lead, TDSB

To learn more about this event and to join the video webinar or to call in, please click here

Friday evening's webinar topic is "Talking Race with your Children". To learn more, including information about our talented and experienced panelists, please click here.


If you are reading this newsletter through a link provided by your school administrator, I encourage you to sign-up to receive my communications directly. TDSB and schools will continue to update parents over the summer, as will I, but our timing may be slightly different and there may be a lag time between when I send out a newsletter and when it may be forwarded by school principals. If you want more timely delivery, please click here to sign up and have it delivered directly to your inbox. 


As you know, our school fields, tennis courts and basketball courts are now open and City of Toronto and Provincial regulations still apply regarding numbers of people, etc. Playgrounds remain closed. We appreciate everyone's cooperation in keeping these amenities welcoming and safe for everyone.  


This summer, the TDSB is offering a variety of summer programs for students in English and French Immersion programs at both the elementary and secondary levels. To learn more, please click here.  


Recently, staff presented an interim report for the Secondary School Review. This report provides detailed overviews of all of our secondary schools, ward by ward. To learn more, please click here


Staff also recently presented an interim report on the French Review Recommendations. As part of this report, staff indicated that feedback would be sought over the summer and fall by parents and community members, so keep your eyes open for survey over the next couple of months! To learn more about the French Review Recommendations, click here. To read the Interim Report, click here


And. for the latest news on all things French, including many French summer activities, check out the latest issue of the French as a Second Language Community Advisory Committee (FSLAC) Newsletter here.


To read the latest issue of the "PIAC Post", the newsletter published by the TDSB's Parent Involvement Advisory Committee, please click here
Have you heard of 211? Calling or texting 211 in Toronto connects people to community and social services quickly and easily so they can get the help they need. Operators can connect individuals to over 4,000 social and community services, such as government services, financial assistance, employment assistance, childcare, food, clothing and shelter. In addition, calling 211 offers 24/7 confidential services in 150 languages. You can also connect with 211 online through this website:


This is a stressful time for both students and parents. TDSB has put together a list of links to vetted, data-driven resources to help families cope during this uncertain time. These can be found on the home page of our website or by clicking here. You can always reach out to your children's teachers or principals if you are concerned about your children, and they can help connect you with our school social workers or community agencies. 

Finally, thank you to all of you who have reached out to me to offer support, provide feedback, and ask questions. Although I too am a parent in this system, your experiences and insights provide me with important feedback and context for my job in supporting you and your families. And to those of you who continue to work on the front lines -- working in hospitals, long term care facilities, and in emergency response -- a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you are doing for our community, our city and our country. 

Yours truly,


Rachel Chernos Lin
Ward 11 Trustee, Toronto District School Board

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