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February 2019 Newsletter

Information Re: Weather-Related Cancellations/Closures

We have received a number of questions from members of our school communities about how the TDSB makes the decision to cancel buses and/or close all schools and we wanted to provide some important information that will explain the process.

A number of factors are taken into consideration when deciding on the cancellation of school buses, programs and/or closure of schools. The decision to cancel buses is not typically made due to unsafe road conditions, but because we want to avoid having students wait for unusually long periods of time in inclement weather for a bus or remain on that bus for hours due to weather-related traffic delays. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that, unlike other schools boards across the Greater Toronto Area, a vast majority of TDSB students — more than 90 percent — do not use school buses.  That means, if school buses are cancelled, it is still possible for students to get to school by walking, public transit or other means — although it may be slower than normal. We do understand, however, that for our congregated sites or where we bus all students to the school, the majority of students are affected. On Wednesday, February 6, school buses were cancelled, however approximately 170,000 students attended school despite the inclement weather.

Further, since different areas within the Greater Toronto Area have different weather patterns and geography, the decision made for one school board will differ from another. For example, recently the public and Catholic school boards in Toronto, York and Durham remained open, while other boards, including Peel, were closed.

As we hope you can appreciate, the decision concerning whether to keep schools open or closed has a major impact on the lives of many families in Toronto. Those families depend on us to provide educational opportunities for their children each and every day. 

Should all schools be closed, it causes significant hardship for many families. For a number of them, there are no other options readily available for their children. The decision to keep schools open allows families who are able, to keep their children at home, but also provides another option for families, who are not able to do the same. As always, we emphasize that parents/guardians make the final decision about whether to send their children to school. The TDSB supports whatever decisions parents/guardians make on days of severe weather. With regards to staff, we also understand that some may have difficulty in making into work or may experience delays. In those cases, we understand and encourage staff to speak with their Principal/Manager as there are Miscellaneous Days that may be able to be applied depending on circumstances.

Central Etobicoke Hosts the Draft an Athlete Campaign

Six students from Central Etobicoke High School (CEHS) will be competing in the Track and Field category at the first Invitational Youth Games (IYG) to be held in Toronto next May.

The Games will be held over four days and welcome 2,500 athletes ages 13-21, with and without disabilities, from Canada and around the world. These games will coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Special Olympics.

In order to help raise funds for IYG, which is expected to cost $2 million, CEHS hosted the launch of the Draft an Athlete campaign early in February. Approximately 150 student-athletes from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) are expected to participate in the Games.

Trustee Dan MacLean welcomed students and guests which included representatives from the TDSB, Toronto Police Services, Special Olympics Ontario and Women of Influence; all pulling together to support young athletes and make IYG a success.

“I think this is great opportunity for all of us”, said Joshau Nwachukwu from Grade 12. “Our coaches have been great and everyone at the school has been very supportive.”

“We are looking forward to IYG and we’ll keep working hard to represent CEHS at the Games. It is also exciting that we’ll be competing and getting to know so many young athletes and coaches from around the world”, added Louis Osawaru from Grade 10.

The Invitational Youth Games are hosted by the Toronto Police Services with the support of the Ontario Government and City of Toronto, and include different categories such as athletics, basketball, hockey and soccer.

The six students from CEHS competing are:
  • Jada Clarke - Grade 11
  • Julian Fabbri - Grade 12
  • J’yquan Lawrence-Sappleton - Grade 12
  • Joshua Nwachukwu - Grade 12
  • Louis Osawaru - Grade 10
  • Maitri Patel - Grade 12

To learn more about IYG and Special Olympics, please visit: http://youthgames2019.ca/.

February is African Heritage Month at the TDSB

February is African Heritage Month at the Toronto District School Board and we’re proud to recognize the experiences, contributions and achievements of African Canadians. This year’s theme is Out of many we are one: Across differences our commonalities uplift our African heritage, culture and people.

Throughout the month of February, we will highlight the many contributions that the African Canadian community has made by offering several educational opportunities to our students, staff and the TDSB community. These opportunities include students attending the Know Your Worth: Black Youth Empowerment Conference which is a joint collaboration with the TDSB and the Black Law Students’ Association at York University; visiting the Royal Ontario Museum; learning about coding at Apple Stores and visiting the Ibada Market Place exhibit. Further, a parent session is being organized by the Parent and Community Engagement Office on How to Speak to Your Children About Racism. Learn more at www.tdsb.on.ca.

Upcoming events: 

February 13: How to speak to your children about racism
February 28: Know Your Worth: Black Student Empowerment Conference
February: Royal Ontario Museum Elementary Day "Of Africa" Tours
February-April: STEM Coding at Apple Stores
March 27: Ibada Marketplace at Lawrence Heights MS

February is Chinese Heritage Month at the TDSB

The Toronto District School Board is proud to recognize Chinese Heritage Month during the month of February and the theme this year is “Year of the Pig: Happy, Easy Going, Honest, Trusting, Sincere, Optimistic & Sociable.”

During this month, we celebrate the energetic culture and traditions of the Chinese community with students, staff and community members of the Toronto District School Board and the City of Toronto.

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 form its second largest visible minority group. Canadians remember and appreciate the Chinese workers who helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway that united our country.

Chinese-Canadians recognize Lunar New Year on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Lunar New Year is also known as the Spring Festival and begins with the first moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar 15 days later!

They Built their First Real Six-String

An innovative new interdisciplinary course has been a smash hit at Yorkdale SS. Two teachers--one music, one wood-working-- joined together to develop and offer a “Guitar-Making” course to a class of students enrolled in the school’s EdVance program last quadmester. Students had an opportunity to handcraft their own guitars from a kit, adding their own creative flair to the design and aesthetic. Once the guitars were made, students learned how to play them. At the conclusion, they get to keep the guitars that they built themselves. 

Principal Eric Dallin provided teachers Jon Goold and Greg Morrell the resources and support to make the project happen. “Attendance in the program was near-perfect,” said Principal Eric Dallin. “The students have been so engaged in every aspect!” The first offering was so successful that the team plans to run the program again to support student achievement and engagement.

The EdVance program is geared to 18 to 20 year-olds and offers a specialized, intensive, and highly personal quadmestered setting for students who are new to Canada, and those looking for a fresh start or looking to upgrade for post-secondary goals.

Let’s Talk: Mental Health and Well-Being

Dunlace PS has a Kindness Club. Newtonbrook SS has a Mental Health Committee. At Lambton-Kingsway JMS, staff connect about improving student engagement. At George B. Little PS, the youth wellness committee created a wellness mural to raise awareness about emotions and the right to express them.

These are just some of the ways schools are focusing on student mental health and well-being.

Good mental health and well-being are central to student success. It includes our emotions, our thoughts and feelings, our ability to solve problems and overcome difficulties, our social connections, and our understanding of the world around us. Students feel a greater sense of well-being when they are engaged and feel that they belong, feel safe and feel included.

Students need our collective support to be healthy individuals and, the relationship that students have with each other and adults is an important part of that. Every student needs peers and a caring adult they can connect with, feel accepted by and talk to when dealing with life’s challenges. And, research tells us that as students age, their emotional well-being declines.

Students’ voices need to be at the centre of the discussion about how to improve their well-being. When students and parents become involved in this process they are more likely to develop of a sense of agency, build positive relationships and connection with staff as they become active participants in their own schooling experiences.

TDSB staff are committed to providing welcoming, safe and inclusive learning environments where every student feels they belong. We are working hard to strengthen the adult-student connection and make meaningful decisions that support student achievement and well-being.

Read more about students’ well-being through our 2017 Student and Parent Census.

Learn more about mental health and well-being initiatives in the TDSB.

Three TDSB Educators Recognized as Canada’s Outstanding Principals for 2019

Three Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Principals have been recognized by The Learning Partnership as being among Canada’s Outstanding Principals of 2019.

The winning TDSB Principals are:

Now celebrating its 15th year, The Learning Partnership’s Outstanding Principals program recognizes the unique and vital contribution of Principals in publicly funded schools. Nominated by parents, colleagues and community members, and chosen by a national selection committee, 30 Principals from across Canada are being celebrated for demonstrating innovation, having an entrepreneurial spirit and for employing creativity in finding solutions and opportunities.

The 2019 winners will join the ranks of the National Academy of Canada’s Outstanding Principals, which now boasts over 400 members. Throughout the year, these outstanding principals will continue to act as champions of the program and will actively collaborate in developing and communicating about issues important to publicly funded education.

The Learning Partnership is a national charity dedicated to building stakeholder partnerships to support, promote and advance publicly funded education in Canada. The Principals will be awarded for their accomplishments at the annual Canada’s Outstanding Principals gala on February 26, 2019.

Portrait of Canadian Olympic Champion Penny Oleksiak Unveiled

During the 2016 Olympic Games, Penny Oleksiak became the first Canadian to win four medals in the same Summer Games and the country's youngest Olympic champion. She won gold in the 100m freestyle, silver in the 100m butterfly, two bronze medals in the women's freestyle relays, and Canadian hearts everywhere. At the time, Oleksiak was also enrolled as a student at Monarch Park Collegiate. Now, a signed portrait of the swimming superstar graces the area just outside the pool at her former high school. 

The watercolour portrait was painted by Canadian artist Jeffrey Sprang, and depicts Oleksiak in her Team Canada jacket sporting her four medals from Rio 2016. It was officially unveiled at a special event at the east-end high school. “This portrait of Penny Oleksiak is a wonderful reminder of her extraordinary achievement,” said Monarch Park Collegiate Principal Virginia Pang. “Penny’s impact as an Olympic champion is profound and far reaching, and her influence as a role model continues to be felt by our students and by Canadians all across the country.”

Sprang’s art has supported education in Canada and around the world. In June 1990, he met Nelson Mandela at Central Technical School which led to a limited-edition print in support of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund Canada. His work has also supported the literacy development charity, One World Schoolhouse Foundation.

One hundred limited-edition, numbered prints of Sprang's latest portrait are signed by both the artist and the young, inspiring swimmer. Available for sale for $200 each, all proceeds will support swim programs at selected TDSB schools. To purchase a print, please call TDSB Museum and Archives at 416-397-3680.

Parents as Partners Conference 2019

This all-inclusive conference is organized by TDSB parents for TDSB parents, guardians and caregivers. Participate in workshops, network with parents and community agencies and learn new strategies to support your child’s success.

Registration opens mid-February. Register early as there is limited space in each workshop.

When: Saturday, March 30
Where: Beanfield Centre (formerly named Allstream Centre) 105 Princes' Blvd, Toronto

For more information, visit https://www.parentsaspartners.ca/

2019-20 Budget

Each year, TDSB Trustees and staff work together to pass a balanced budget that best supports the achievement and well-being of all students. The TDSB’s annual operating budget is approximately $3.4 billion and we are committed to using these resources responsibly and effectively.

Key discussions regarding the annual budget are scheduled for our Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee (FBEC). Below you will find links to the proposed Committee Schedule, Timelines and Milestones. FBEC’s budget meetings are open to the public and take place in the Toronto District School Board Boardroom. Please note that these budget discussions will be videotaped and posted to our public website for those who may not be able to attend meetings in person but wish to review those meetings. We will be posting a link to those recorded meetings following the first meeting on Wednesday, January 23rd.
Learn more about the TDSB’s 2019-20 Operating Budget:

Adult High Schools – 2019 Adult Census

From February 25-28, 2019, students from the TDSB’s five adult high schools will be able to make their voice heard through the 2019 Adult Student Census. The Census results will help inform adult education programming and planning across the TDSB and support the province in developing evidence-based policies for adult students. The TDSB’s adult high schools support students in achieving their academic goals, applying to post-secondary education, and entering chosen career fields. www.adultschoolstoronto.ca

Adult ESL

Gaining proficiency in English is a critical skill for newcomers to our city, especially for many parents of children in our schools to connect with the community. Every year, over 18,000 adults benefit from the TDSB’s English as a Second Language classes in 75 locations across the city. We offer free ESL classes to adults who are residents of Canada. We also offer classes for visitors on a fee per hour basis. Registration is ongoing. Visit www.ESLToronto.ca for more information.


Registration for the Spring 2019 term starts February 13, 2019 with classes starting March 30, 2019. Learn4Life offers general interest courses to anyone over 18 who want to learn a new skill, meet new people in their community, or take up an interesting hobby. Interested in learning how to weld? How about learning Spanish for your upcoming trip? Our courses include Art, Fitness, Languages, Business, Handiwork, Food and Sports. Visit www.learn4life.ca for more information.

Kindergarten Registration Begins in February!

Registration for all TDSB Kindergarten programs begins in February. We look forward to welcoming you and your child at our school in September! 

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. You may choose to register in person at the school or begin the process online. 

For more information about the Kindergarten program and registration requirements, please visit www.tdsb.on.ca/kindergarten.

February 18 is a Statutory Holiday

There will be no classes on Monday, February 18th to reflect the province-wide statutory holiday called Family Day. The holiday occurs on the third Monday in February of each year for the purpose of emphasizing and celebrating the importance of families taking time to be together. 

Because teachers are involved in professional learning on Friday, February 15 for the Board-wide Professional Activity Day, students will not be attending school on Friday, February 15 and Monday, February 18 which is the statutory holiday - Family Day.

Visit the TDSB public web site at www.tdsb.on.ca to view the school year calendar.

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