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May 2019 Newsletter

Ministry Announces School Board Funding, TDSB Faces Projected $54.4-Million Deficit

On Friday, April 26, the Ministry of Education released the funding for school boards, including the Toronto District School Board, known as the Grants for Student Needs (GSN).

Following a preliminary analysis of the grants, the TDSB's funding will decrease by $21.2 million, and possibly more, for the 2019-20 school year. Overall, the Board is still projecting a shortfall of $54.4 million for the upcoming year.

For more information, please visit the TDSB Budget webpage.
Challenging School Board Budget Lies Ahead

This year’s budget decisions are going to be far more challenging than any in the last several years. For one thing, we have a structural deficit that affects us every year. Its cause, primarily, is that we have funding programs and services that respond to the unique and at times extraordinary demands of urban education.

Some of the services we provide are outside of the Ministry funding envelope and most school boards don’t offer these programs and services.

In the past, we have made up the shortfall by finding savings and efficiencies during the course of the year in other areas of the budget – cuts that have not affected classrooms and students. But now we are running out of options. Our hope is to keep our programs and services, but we may have to deliver them differently.

Challenging decisions will need to be made by our Board of Trustees to balance the budget while ensuring student learning and achievement and providing equitable allocation of resources so that all students, including those with special needs, receive the support they need to be successful.

Recent and unexpected changes by the Ministry of Education have also affected our budget and have contributed to our projected revenue shortfall. You can read about these on our 2019-20 budget webpage.

In short, we are projecting at this time an approximate $54 million revenue shortfall. Half that amount is due to Ministry grant reductions to our budget.

While the Ministry changes have reduced our revenue, other changes will also affect our service levels. Among those changes, the secondary school class size average going from 22 to 28 students over the next four years. The magnitude of this change in class size means the TDSB will have 800 fewer high school teachers by the 2022-23 school year. This reduction in high school teachers is unprecedented and will have significant and far-reaching challenges to overcome including the potential for fewer course offerings, managing higher class sizes, and finding the time for individualized student attention. 
Working with our teachers and principals we are going to do our very best to manage these challenges. TDSB has great schools and very talented and committed teachers and support staff in our schools and working centrally to support our schools. All of us are dedicated to ensuring the education and well-being of each and every student.

TDSB Budget Consultations

The Board of Trustees is committed to a consultative and open budget process. More than fifteen thousand people used the TDSB’s online budget survey to tell the Board what they believe the priorities should be for the 2019-20 budget. Although the on-line budget consultation period is over, there are still opportunities for parents/caregivers and community members to provide input on the draft 2019-20 draft budget. 

You are welcomed and encouraged to make a presentation in person to the Board’s Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee. Meetings have been scheduled for May 15 and 27. Both meetings begin at 4:30 p.m. in the TDSB Boardroom. Additional meetings may be scheduled. Please check our website regularly for budget and committee meeting updates. You can email your comments to us.

More information, including how you can participate, is now available online.
Join me Wednesday, June 5th at John English for a Ward Forum

Letter: Chair Urges Province to Consult on Public Health, Pause Cuts

On Friday, May 3, 2019, the Chair of the Board, Robin Pilkey issued a letter to the Minister of Health and Long Term Care, the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and the Minister of Education, as well as Toronto Members of Provincial Parliament, urging them to hold off on implementing the cuts to Toronto Public Health until further consultation and a full discussion about the known possible and impacts can take place.
For additional background information, please refer to the news release.
Update on Education Development Charges Under Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019  
On May 2, 2019, the Ontario government introduced Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019.  The Bill proposes significant amendments to the Education Development Charges (EDC) section of the Education Act. The proposed changes, if passed, would provide school boards that are already eligible to collect EDCs increased flexibility on how to use the funds and an opportunity to make agreements with local developers to forgo EDCs in exchange for obtaining a lease, real property or other types of benefits for pupil accommodation. The proposed changes will not, however, benefit school boards like the TDSB that do not qualify for EDCs. The requirements would still need to shift from a district-wide shortage of space to allowing collection of the EDC charges in high-growth areas at the very least.  
Our mission as a school board however requires us to be prepared for increased future enrollment. For this reason, we have a number of schools that will be under capacity for many years to come. We do not want to sell off or close these schools in order to qualify for EDCs because they serve the local communities and will be important assets in the future as demographics change. We continue to appeal with the government to amend the rules on collection of EDCs to better align with the context of our priorities and needs. 
TDSB Parents and Staff Identify Early Years, Student Success as Top Priorities

Investing in early years programming and student success should be the Toronto District School Board’s top priorities, according to parents, staff, students and community members who participated in the TDSB's recent survey on how to prioritize spending.

Seventy-five per cent of respondents ranked those two categories of investments of highest importance, followed closely by differentiated approaches to serving students, and allocating staff to support all students which were ranked as highest importance by 74 per cent of respondents.

The full story is available online.
10th Annual Spring Bird Festival

On Saturday May 25 the 10th Annual Spring Bird Festival will be held at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, hosted by Parks Forestry & Recreation together with our partners Friends of Sam Smith Park, CCFEW, and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.  This year the festival will run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and will include live birds, reptiles and amphibians, face painting and children's crafts, bird feeder building, guided bird walks, and children's activities. It is also one of the main events included in the 2-week "Toronto Bird Celebration". Birds and Beans will be attending with coffee.

Director’s School Visits

Director of Education John Malloy is continuing to visit schools across the Toronto District School Board. Last year, he began recording and posting short video updates from each visit to showcase the innovative ways we are teaching and learning throughout the Board. Watch the latest videos of the Director’s school visits.
Romeo baby-o, baby-o: Forest Hill CI steps into provincial theatre spotlight

Forest Hill CI has qualified for a provincial theatre showcase in Brantford, May 8 to 11. The school’s production of The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet, by Peter Bloedel, is one of just twelve that will be performed at the Ontario National Theatre School (NTS) Festival, and the only one from the Toronto District School Board. “I’m so proud of our students and staff and their incredible creativity and dedication,” said Principal Reiko Fuentes. 
The full story is available online
School Year Calendar

The TDSB 2019-2020 school year commences Tuesday, September 3, 2019 following the Labour Day long weekend. For more information about important dates and holidays for the upcoming school year, please refer to the 2019-20 School Year Calendar.
Elementary Summer School

Elementary summer programs increase engagement and build self-confidence in our students. This summer, from July 3 – 26, we are opening schools across the city to help build reading, writing and math skills in our students. Visit www.tdsb.on.ca/summer for a complete list of participating schools. @TDSB_ConEd
Continuing Education
Adult High School
Find a career path and meet your educational goals every year. Register now for the new semester beginning April 23. Tuition is free! Earn credits in nine weeks and gain Canadian work experience. Discover programs in business & technology, social science, mathematics and specialty programs such as accounting, office administration, childcare assistant, and more.
Visit www.adultschoolstoronto.ca for more information. 

Improve Your English With Us 
Adults are welcome to join the many English as a Second Language classes offered at various locations across Toronto. In addition to classes throughout the year, summer school will be offered from July 8-31. We offer a wide range of levels, from beginner to advanced, to help you build your language skills and to help you reach your life goals. The Adult ESL program is free for eligible learners.                                                                 
For more information, visit www.ESLtoronto.ca  or call 416-338-4300.

Community Programs
Registration for Learn4Life summer classes begins Wednesday, May 15. Take up a new hobby, learn a different language, and meet people in your community. Learn some new dance moves, or keep up your fitness goals with yoga classes, tennis and golf. Gain knowledge on how to invest in the stock market or prepare your taxes. 
For more information, please visit www.learn4life.ca.

Summer International Languages Elementary and African Heritage Programs
Register your child in TDSB’s half and full day international languages summer programs. Open to all students from SK to Grade 8, our language learning programs involve cultural activities like games, songs, dance, storytelling, traditional crafts and writing. Classes begin July 2 – 26. 
Visit www.ILEprograms.ca for a complete list of participating schools and language classes. 
TDSB Recognizes Children’s Mental Health Week
This week, TDSB recognizes Children’s Mental Health Week. Encouraging, noticing and highlighting caring and kind interactions in our schools is the focus this week at the TDSB. The sense of caring for others and being cared for is one of the most powerful protective factors for mental health and well-being. Providing a caring, inclusive school climate improves academic achievement and resiliency.
Learn more online about Children`s Mental Health Week, as well as supports and resources the TDSB offers. 
Bike to School Week at the TDSB – May 27 - 31

Let’s get rolling! Join students and teachers across the province in celebrating Bike to School Week. Schools participate in Bike to School Week by encouraging their students to walk and/or roll to school, and by holding events both inside and outside the classroom to promote the benefits of active transportation. For more information and resources, please visit our Bike to School Week webpage
Pedestrian Safety - Safety Tips for Parents 
Children under nine should be accompanied by adults or older children when crossing the street. At this age, their judgment and perceptual skills are still immature, yet they often eagerly try to cross streets on their own in order to demonstrate some independence. 
  • Teach your children the rules of the road - start when they're young. Think of it as gradually training your children about safety until all the connections are in place. By the time your child reaches age nine and can act independently, the road safety rules will be second nature.
  • Teach children how to cross the street safely. Teach them to stop (before stepping onto the road), look left, right and left again, and listen for traffic before stepping out into the street. Teach children to wait until the street is clear and to keep looking until they have crossed the street. They should also look the driver in the eye before crossing.
  • Teach children to recognize pedestrian crossing signals but not rely on them. Before crossing, children should also be sure the traffic has stopped. Remind them to continue across if the light changes to "Don't Walk" while they are in the crosswalk.
  • Teach children to be extra alert when crossing at a corner with no traffic lights.
  • Teach your children to stop at driveways, alleys and areas without curbs and to never run out onto the street.
  • Teach children about the dangers of crossing the street between parked cars or when not at a corner. Children should cross only at corners and pedestrian crosswalks, not diagonally or between parked cars.
  • Teach children to respect the role of the crossing guard and to understand his/her signals.
  • Teach children that wherever possible they should walk on the sidewalk. In areas without sidewalks, teach children to walk as far away from the road as possible, facing approaching traffic (when there is no choice but to walk on the road).
  • Teach children that playing games at railway crossings or around trains can be deadly. Teach children that the only way to cross railway tracks is to use designated railway crossings.
Follow the same rules that you want your child to follow. You may want to cut across the street in the middle of the block, but you want your child to learn to cross at the intersection. Be a good role model.

Reprinted with the permission of Safe Kids Canada. Visit www.safekidscanada.ca for more safety tips on keeping children safe.
Update - Request to Double the Penalty for Speeding in Community Safety Zones
Vision Zero is planning to implement a 'School Safety Zone' for every school in the city. Each safety zone will include the following measures:
  • New school zone safety signs with flashing beacons;
  • School zone pavement stencils;
  • “Watch your speed” driver feedback signs; and
  • Zebra markings at school crosswalks.
Councillor Grimes received a letter from Premier Ford on his motion to double the penalty for speeding in community safety zones. Below is the letter, I look forward to the response from Minister of Transportation Jess Yurek.
Take Steps to Transform TO – Join the walking challenge May 6 to 20

City of Toronto will host a city-wide walking challenge with a chance to win prizes and to encourage a healthier and greener Toronto. From May 6 – 20, residents and students will be encouraged to walk more often and keep track of their progress on the Carrot Rewards app, which they can download on their mobile phone for free. 

Walking is a clean, green, and healthy way to get around Toronto and a great way to support the City’s TransformTO Climate Action Strategy.

During this city-wide walking challenge, wards can compete to win prizes. The ward with the highest participation level, based on total ‘step goals’ met by participants, will win a street party, hosted by Live Green Toronto and earn double points on the Carrot Rewards app towards a rewards program of their choice. Daily updates to the challenge leaderboard will help you track participation.

PIAC POST - What you can do... 

From the PIAC website - 

Education is a partnership involving students, parents, teachers, principals, staff, trustees,  school boards, government, and the community. The Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) is committed to strengthening this partnership and is committed to assisting parents and school councils in ensuring student success in education.

In their latest PIAC POST, PIAC speaks to Supporting Parents as Partners in Education - APRIL 2019 | VOL 18 - 19 | ISSUE (SPECIAL EDITION: CHANGES TO PUBLIC EDUCATION) in response to the many questions PIAC has received from parents about the proposed Provincial Government education cuts. They have put together some information on what has happened to date and resources on how you can have your say. For the complete text, please click here for the Accessible Version.
Sunnylea JMS Spring Fair – Saturday June 1st 11:30 – 2:30

It is time to enjoy the weather again! Fun activities for the family at Sunnylea JMS on Saturday June 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

James S. Bell Jr. Middle Sports & Wellness Academy is hosting its 12th Annual Bellapalooza Fun Fair! 

Date:  Saturday, May 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., rain or shine. 
Location:  James S Bell Junior Middle Sports and Wellness Academy, 90 Thirty-First Street (Lake Shore Blvd. West/Thirty-First Street) 
This event has fun and games for the whole family. Come enjoy the BBQ, bake sale, cafe, carnival games, jousting court, bouncy castles, yard sale, silent auction, raffle, car wash, live music, and more!  

Support the Lemonade for Love Event  - Saturday June 22nd at Fairfield Park

Lemonade for Love is a home-spun lemonade stand with a super sweet twist. The lemonade stand is a child-driven, parent-supported event. The organizers are children and youth that live in Toronto’s Etobicoke community.

Our goal is to build a sense of community and to encourage kids to help other kids.  Money raised at our event is directed to organizations that support children, and their families, who are facing extraordinary circumstances.

This year’s Lemonade for Love is being held on Saturday, June 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at Fairfield Park in Etobicoke. 
Check out how kids can get involved in this here.
We are all about #kidshelpingkids.
22nd Mimico Party in the Park – Tuesday, June 12, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Party in the Park has become a true neighbourhood celebration. Community spirit soars on this Tuesday evening as residents of the neighbourhood meet for an evening of family fun.  Each year an estimated 2,500 neighbours meet in one of our community’s green spaces and attendance continues to grow.  Established 20 years ago, Mimico Party in the Park has grown to include participation from other neighbourhood churches, groups, and services with support from local businesses.

The event takes place at George R. Gauld Junior School, located at 200 Melrose Street which runs east off Royal York Road, just south of Evans Avenue. Lots of activities for the family and a great place to meet your neighbours!

If you would like to get involved, book a display table or donate, contact blwallac@live.ca.
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