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Dear friends,
Happy International Women's Day! Yesterday I had the pleasure of celebrating this annual event by (virtually) attending Kathleen Wynne's annual Don Valley West International Women's Day event. As always, this was a chance to listen to, learn from, and be inspired by incredible women from all over our city and from Don Valley West in particular. Just looking through my twitter feed, I am also inspired by the many classes in our Ward 11 schools that are running programming in honour of this special day,
These are of course just the tip of the iceberg of the many exciting events and learning opportunities happening throughout our system. As we move into March, central staff continue to work on programming and supports for our students for this year, and are also turning their attention to planning for the 2021-2022 school year. 
To this end, this past Tuesday trustees got their first look at staffing plans for next year at a special meeting of the Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee. 
Understandably, planning for next year will be particularly challenging given the state of the pandemic. As our province's vaccination campaign embarks on Phase 2, there is a sense of encouragement looking towards the future and hope for a more regular school year. At the same time, we know the pandemic will still be present to some degree come September.
In late winter/early spring, school boards are required to plan for the following school year based on provincial direction and provincial funding. At this time, all public school boards, including TDSB, have been advised by the Ministry of Education to plan for a normal year, in terms of staffing and funding. 
Instructions to plan for a normal year obviously presents staff with significant challenges. We know our students will need additional supports for next year, and we do not know what the state of the pandemic will look like come September. As a result, while we await more direction about next year, staff are planning behind the scenes for multiple scenarios, including some degree of remote learning that may continue to be needed. As details emerge for next year, I will endeavour to keep everybody informed.
Wednesday, March 10: Community Coffee
One of the best ways to stay informed is to join one of my virtual coffee mornings and one just happens to be coming up Wednesday morning!  To register, please fill out the registration form
Meeting links and dial-in numbers will be shared with registrants the day before the meeting
In this newsletter, you will find new information regarding asymptomatic testing in schools, a new online portal for outdoor learning, a possible Ward 11 boundary change that could affect students who currently come to St. Andrew's from Armour Heights, and more.
Asymptomatic Testing
The TDSB continues to work with the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and testing partners to offer asymptomatic testing to our school communities. Testing options include take-home tests, mobile testing sites and on-site testing in schools. For the on-site testing in schools, there are two models:
  • a hub model where one school hosts schools within the same neighbourhood
  • an individual school testing model 
If testing is happening in or for your school, your school principal will communicate this information to you. 
Up until now, the testing at schools following a positive case has been conducted outside of school hours. To provide greater access and timeliness, this testing of dismissed classes/cohorts may now be conducted during the school day.  
It’s important to note that not only will strict Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures be followed, but the location of these testing opportunities will be in a separate area of the building where a dedicated access door can be used. As with other testing locations, an enhanced cleaning of the area will be conducted prior to resumed student and staff access.  

For more information, including weekly updates on schools that have been identified for asymptomatic testing, the school selection process and parent consent, please visit the TDSB webpage for Asymptomatic Testing.
New Outdoor Learning Portal Launched
We are excited to launch a new online, outdoor learning portal for staff and families in the TDSB. This portal, driven by a motion at the Program and School Services Committee, brings together information, ideas and resources to help support and encourage learning in the outdoors.
While many educators regularly integrated the outdoors into their daily learning, the pandemic has encouraged all staff to look beyond the walls of their classroom and find innovative and creative ways to learn outside. 

This portal provides valuable and current information for educators, including research, resources and best practices, to help them get started or explore new ideas. Staff are also encouraged to share their outdoor learning in action with #TDSBoutdoors tag on social media to inspire other educators interested in trying new learning opportunities outside.

The Family Resources area of the site provides tips for preparing for the weather, resources for why and how to get started, as well as a comprehensive list of activities for families to enjoy together in the city. 
The website will continue to be updated with new information and resources and will continue to serve as a hub of ideas and innovation that educators use not only in the coming months, but for years ahead.
TDSB Summer School Registration 2021
Planning for Summer School 2021 has begun. Detailed information is anticipated to be available after the March Break: here.

TDSB e-Summer School Program registration information regarding our 2020/21 e-Summer Program will be updated in April, 2021. Please check for updates: here.

Elementary grades
The focus of the 2021 Elementary Literacy and Numeracy Summer School Program is to address student learning gaps and to continue student engagement through the month of July. 
Programs, embedded in Literacy and Numeracy, are developed by the local summer school principal to reflect the local school focus. Programs are offered to students in K to Grade 8, from July 5 – 30, 2021. Registration is online. A list of schools and registration information will be added in the coming weeks: here.
Long Term Planning Reviews: Ward 11 Reviews
1)  Public PART Meeting: possible grade range expansion at Armour Heights PS, catchment area change
A public meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, March 18, 6:30 - 8:00pm, to discuss two changes in an area close to Ward 11, affecting St. Andrews Middle School: 
  • a potential grade range expansion at Armour Heights PS. Armour Heights PS is currently a JK-6 school and sends Grade 7 students to St. Andrew's MS. This grade range expansion would look at expanding Armour Heights PS from JK-grade 6 to JK-grade 8.
  • a possible boundary change involving the redirection of a portion of the shared boundary between Armour Heights PS and Ledbury Park EMS located south of McGillivray Ave, west of Clyde Ave, north of Dunblaine Ave, and east of Avenue Rd.
For more information, read the community letter & invitation.
2) Phase 2 of the Yonge-Eglinton Review 
Currently, TDSB staff are in discussions regarding "Phase 2 of the Yonge-Eglinton review".  Staff have begun with a study focussing on options to balance enrolment within local elementary schools in Wards 8 and 11, including consideration of the Bannockburn building to resolve ongoing accommodation pressures. Depending on the outcome of this Local Feasibility Team study, a PART could begin as early as April 2021 with public meeting(s) in May. Stay tuned for more news as staff continue their work.
Mental Health & Well-Being
The Toronto District School Board is committed to providing mental health and well-being support for students, their families and staff. In addition to supporting students and staff in school, the TDSB has a wealth of resources online as well as twice-weekly drop-in hours from the TDSB Professional Support Service (see link above). 
For more information, including helpful resources and coping strategies, including links to log-on for drop-in sessions, please visit the TDSB webpage for Mental Health and Well-Being or click on the icon above.
  • In addition, students can connect with a Child and Youth Counsellor, every Friday from 12-1pm, for an opportunity to talk about their mental health, relationships etc
  • Sign in with your TDSB email on Friday’s from 12pm - 1pm
  • No registration required Meeting ID: 925 8258 8047
  • Password: ICYC
Mental healh matters
Black Mental Health Day
On Monday, March 1, the Toronto District School Board recognized Black Mental Health Day. Held on the first Monday of March, Black Mental Health Day acknowledges the deeply rooted impact anti-Black racism has on the emotional well-being of Black communities.
Everyday, we need to recognize the important role that schools play in discussing how racial trauma impacts the mental health and well-being of our Black students and families. It is through this that we can acknowledge and support meaningful and accessible connections to resources.
For resources that can help with discussion opportunities in the classroom, our schools and our communities, check out this resource document.

For more information, please visit the web story on Black Mental Health Day.
Stronger than Hate - follow up
The following message was sent on behalf of Interim Associate Directors Curtis Ennis and Andrew Gold, Co-Chairs the African Heritage Committee, Michelle Davis and Jamea Zuberi, and Chair of the Jewish Heritage Committee, Shari Schwartz-Maltz to all Superintendents, Principals and Vice-Principals regarding the Stronger Than Hate webcast on Thursday, February 25:
Creating high-profile, bold initiatives to address and interrupt hate carries inherent challenges and we saw some of those during the presentation yesterday. Within the first few minutes more than 10,000 people logged into the zoom link and it reached capacity – it was then supposed to automatically redirect to Facebook Live, with supposed unlimited capacity, which worked for some and not for others. Our partners at the Foundation have never seen this happen before, nor these kind of numbers before. What this speaks to is a deep desire for this type of content – bringing together voices to tell stories of the past, discuss critically-important issues of today, celebrate student voice, and listen and learn from each other. Deepest apologies to our fellow educators who were not able to join the presentation live – Link to the webinar recording is here:

We also wanted to address the fact that someone used the chat function to express hurtful and hateful messages. It is disappointing and, frankly, abhorrent that someone chose to use this platform to spread hate, when the entire message was to combat hate. We have screen captures and will work with our partners and their IT department to investigate fully. We see this as a strengthening of our resolve to continue the difficult work of fighting racism in all its ugly forms. It’s never easy to fight for what’s right.
TDSB Reconvenes Search for Permanent Director of Education
The largest and most diverse school board in Canada, the Toronto District School Board, has officially reconvened the search process for its next Director of Education. Interested candidates are asked to apply by Friday, March 19, 2021.

The search process, which began in the Fall of 2020, was temporarily paused because of challenges associated with the pandemic, including the inability to conduct face–to-face interviews and provide other engagement opportunities between the candidates and the hiring committee. The Board is confident that the new timeline will provide more ideal conditions to improve the process and outcome.
For more information, please read the news release
To learn more about the TDSB and its search for the next Director of Education in this video.
Board Advocacy with the Ministry: Budget, Capital Projects & Covid-19, Reimbursments; Vaccinations for Staff
Last Month, the TDSB submitted feedback as part of Ontario’s Budget Consultations, highlighting the following key budget areas: Special Education and Mental Health Support; Technology; Pandemic Impacts; Capital Needs; and Education Development Charges. Read more: here.
In recent weeks, based on advocacy by trustees, Chair Alexander Brown has written several more letters. These include:
Bill 5 Legal Challenge and EDC Hearing 
On March 16, 2021 the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the appeal of the Bill 5 (Better Local Government Act) provincial legislation which altered the City of Toronto wards from 47 to 25 in the middle of the 2018 municipal election and similarly impacted the TDSB trustee wards.  The appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was brought by the City of Toronto with the support of TDSB. TDSB Legal Services will be making submissions on behalf of TDSB at the hearing, which is expected to be conducted virtually, and TDSB will be one of seventeen parties making submissions before the Supreme Court of Canada in what is shaping up to be one of the largest hearings in recent history. The hearing will be livestreamed on the Supreme Court of Canada website commencing at either 9:00 am or 9:30 am (to be determined), and can be accessed on March 16, 2021. 

The EDC (Educational Development Charges) hearing is also now set to take place on March 25, 2021 at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court), commencing at 10:00 am. In the hearing, TDSB seeks to have the court declare certain provisions of the Education Act regulations invalid and permit TDSB to charge Educational Development Charges. More information about the EDC case can be found on the TDSB website. The Court hearing will be conducted via Zoom and a link will be provided by the court shortly prior to the hearing date for anyone who wishes to observe the hearing. 
TDSB Meeting Schedule
All TDSB Trustee Committee meetings are publicly broadcast and public delegations are welcomed. On the TDSB/Boardroom Website you can find the live webcast schedule, as well as the calendar with all Agendas, Minutes and documents (posted each Friday before the upcoming meetings).
The schedule for the upcoming weeks is as follows:
To see links to agendas of all Standing Committee and Board meetings, including those listed above, please click here
All Committee meetings allow any member of the public to submit a delegation either in writing or in person (currently virtually). More information about the process is on the Delegation Process web page
Policy Consultations
The TDSB reviews policies on a 4-year cycle (or as needed based on changes to legislation or linked policies). Staff are currently seeking public feedback on the following policies:
New Consultations: 
  • Human Rights Policy (P031)
    Deadline: April 5, 2021 - Draft Revised Policy
    Objective: To protect, promote and advance the human rights of all TDSB members to learn, function and work in an equitable, accessible, respectful and inclusive environment free of discrimination and harassment on the basis of the prohibited grounds of discrimination specified in this Policy and protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code. To enhance the capacity of the TDSB to meet its positive human rights obligations, including to proactively identify, address, and prevent all forms of discrimination, including individual and systemic discrimination.

  • Workplace Harassment Prevention for Non-Human-Rights-Code Harassment  (P034)
    Deadline: April 5, 2021 Draft Revised Policy
    Objective: This Policy is designed to promote a healthy, respectful and supportive work environment. It highlights conduct that may amount to non-Code workplace harassment (i.e., harassment that is not covered by the Board’s Human Rights Policy or the Human Rights Code) and outlines the system’s shared responsibility for fostering a harassment-free workplace. The goal is to prevent non-Code workplace harassment from taking place and, where necessary, to investigate and respond to instances, potential instances, and complaints of such behaviour in a fair, timely and effective manner.
Ongoing Consultations: 
More information and survey links on the TDSB Policy Consultations web page.
Greek Heritage Month
March is Greek Heritage Month at the Toronto District School Board. It is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Greek Canadians to Canada, and an occasion to mark and enjoy the history of Greek culture.
The theme for this year is:
1821-2021: Freedom and Unity – Ελευθερíα και Ενóτητ
Learning From Our Roots…Shaping Our Future

Learn more and find resources on the google site about TDSB Greek Heritage Month.
TDSB Earth Hour: Fri. March 26, 2-3pm
Earth Hour is a world-wide celebration where millions of people around the world turn off their lights for one hour to tackle the dual challenges facing the planet – climate change and loss of nature.

Join TDSB schools and offices on March 26, from 2 – 3 p.m., as we celebrate Earth Hour by turning off unnecessary lights and unplugging electronic devices. Additionally, families and community members can participate on March 27 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. 

For more information, please visit the TDSB webpage for Earth Hour 2021.
Making Good Trouble: March 21
March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination, the Urban Alliance On Race Relations, Labour Community Services and the Toronto and York Region Labour Council will be hosting a discussion on how we can dismantle racism in our society.

Join us on March 21 from 3pm - 5pm. To register, click

* Slogan of John Lewis, legendary Civil Rights Leader
Prime Minister's Awards Deadline Extended
Canada’s educators are showing resilience and commitment to students in the face of COVID-19. 

Do you know an exceptional teacher or early childhood educator? Consider nominating them for a 2021 Prime Minister's Award! This program honours innovative and outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers and early childhood educators who are helping prepare Canadian youth for the challenges of tomorrow. The nomination deadline has been extended for the 2021 competition until April 27, 2021.

Looking for inspiration? Check out previous teaching and early childhood education award recipients. 2021 nomination packages are available at The nomination deadline is April 27, 2021 at 11:59 a.m. (Pacific Time).
School Year Calendar 2020-2021
Note: Virtual Schools follow the same calendar as in-person schools unless otherwise noted.
The official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from September to June 30. The last day of class for elementary students is June 29, the last day of class for secondary students is June 28. 
March Break postponed to April
The Ministry of Education announced last week that March break has been postponed until the week of April 12th due to the pandemic. Read the Provincial news release.
Secondary Quadmester Calendar
  • Quad 3: Feb 8 - April 20 + exams April 21 & 22
  • Quad 4: April 23 - June 23 + exams June 24, 25 & 28
As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I hope to see many of you at my upcoming coffee morning on March 10th!
And until the next time, stay healthy, stay safe!
Warmest wishes,

Rachel Chernos Lin
TDSB Trustee, Ward 11, Don Valley West,
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