February 2020 Update
Labour Update: ETFO Strike Action on February 6 and 7
ETFO has announced strikes on the following dates that will impact all TDSB elementary schools (JK-8):
- Thursday, February 6, 2020 – province-wide strike
- Friday, February 7, 2020 – rotating strike impacting the TDSB
Should the strikes take place, the TDSB would, once again, have no other option but to close all elementary schools to students on Thursday, February 6 and Friday, February 7 as there would not be sufficient supervision to ensure their safety. Parents/guardians should start making alternate arrangements for their children on these dates.
For more information, please read the letter from the Chair of the Board and Director of Education. For all on-going labour updates, for both ETFO and OSSTF, please visit www.tdsb.on.ca/labour.
Elementary Report Cards, IEPs, Communication of Learning & Parent Teacher Interviews
Current job action has resulted in the following changes:
Individual Education Plans
Teachers will continue to update Individual Education Plans (IEPs) with goals and expectations. For students who are on alternative expectations, teachers will provide a comment to administrators for each of the expectations. For students with IEPs who have accommodations and/or modifications, a mark will be reported to administration, with an indication that they have an IEP for that subject. IEPs will be updated, but will not be provided to families at this time. Parents/guardians can contact their child’s teachers directly to learn about their progress.
Elementary Report Cards
Teachers will continue to evaluate and assess students but will not enter marks and/or learning skills electronically. Due to the significant time and resources required to input accurate marks and learning skills for the TDSB’s approximately 174,000 elementary students, the TDSB is not able to produce Term 1 report cards. This difficult decision was made after careful consideration and a thorough review of all options.
We know that report cards are an important measurement of student progress. However, it is important to reiterate that teachers will continue to assess and evaluate students and respond to parent/guardian inquiries about student progress. See below for more information about parent-teacher interviews.
While teachers will be providing school administrators with a class list of marks and learning skills, at this time, we will not be able to provide marks to parents/guardians. Beyond the significant operational and logistical challenges associated with this, marks alone, without comments or context, do not provide a complete picture of a student’s progress. As always, parents/guardians can contact their child’s teachers to learn about their progress.
Kindergarten Communication of Learning
Kindergarten teachers will write one brief comment per section for the Kindergarten Communication of Learning, and will not input it electronically. As a result, the TDSB is not able to produce Kindergarten Communication of Learning for students at this time. Should parents/guardians have questions about their child’s progress, they can contact their Kindergarten teachers and/or designated early childhood educators directly.
Elementary parent-teacher interviews scheduled to take place during the PA day on Friday, February 14 will continue as normal. Teachers continue to evaluate and assess students and are committed to keeping parents/guardians informed. Parents/guardians are encouraged to contact their child’s teachers directly to make arrangements to receive a progress update on their child.
In addition to the PA day, parents/guardians can also contact their child’s teachers to set up an interview/phone call as long as it falls within the reduced workday as per ETFO’s sanctions (30 minutes before the start of the instructional day and 15 minutes after the end of the instructional day). As always, if teachers have concerns about a student’s progress/achievement, they will proactively contact parents/guardians to discuss
I want to reiterate that learning continues in classrooms across the TDSB and all staff continue to support the achievement and well-being of all students.
OSSTF Labour Update
As a reminder, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) is currently in negotiations with the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) to achieve a new collective agreement. OSSTF members have been engaged in legal job action since November 2019.
As always, learning continues in classrooms across the TDSB, and teachers remain committed to supporting students and keeping parents/guardians informed of their child’s progress. Current job action has resulted in the following changes:
Report Cards & Individual Education Plans
As per the current sanctions, secondary teachers will be inputting student marks and learning skills electronically, but will not be writing comments. As a result, semester one report cards (for semestered schools) and mid-term report cards (for full-year schools) will be produced for secondary students with marks and learning skills only. Students in semestered schools will receive their report cards following the end of the semester. Students in full-year schools will receive their mid-term report cards according to the calendar shared by your school at the beginning of the year.
For students with special education needs who have alternative reports, they will be produced for secondary students with comments and will also be distributed following the completion of the semester. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) will also be updated and provided as per normal practice.
For students applying to College or University, marks will be submitted to the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) and to the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) on time to avoid any impact on application deadlines.
EQAO & Grade 9 Math Marks
In regards to EQAO Grade 9 Math Assessment, as per direction from the Ministry of Education, the test will be rescheduled for June 2020. We will provide you with an update once the Ministry provides us with additional information.
When determining a Grade 9 student’s overall mark in math, their performance on the EQAO Grade 9 Math Assessment has typically been included as part of the 30% of their final report card grade. However, as a result of the postponement of the EQAO Math Assessment, this will no longer be the case.
To ensure fairness and consistency for all students, all Grade 9 Math courses in a school will follow the same evaluation practices in determining the final 30%. This will apply to students in both semestered schools (semester one and two) and full-year schools.
We remain hopeful that an agreement with OSSTF can be achieved soon. Learning continues in classrooms across the TDSB, and all staff remain committed to the achievement and well-being of all students.
Information on Coronavirus
The health and safety of all students, staff and school communities is our top priority. In partnership with public health officials, the Toronto District School Board is closely monitoring the current situation with regards to the novel coronavirus.
We understand that many of our families have questions and concerns. Public health officials continue to advise that the risk to the public remains low. As a result, the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health and Toronto Public Health are not advising schools to take any additional precautions, including the wearing of medical masks or denying entry to students, at this time.
The TDSB will continue to keep school communities updated and will promptly advise should any additional precautions become necessary.
If you have concerns about your or your child’s health, please contact a medical practitioner or Toronto Public Health.
For more information, including questions and answers, and updates from Toronto Public Health, please visit the TDSB webpage Information on Coronavirus.
Secondary Program Review and Optional Attendance Policy
There has been much misinformation on what the TDSB's Secondary School Program Review is. The Secondary Program Review does not propose the removal of optional attendance, technical programs, gifted programs or specialty programs. Nor does it eliminate specialized programs. We have drafted a new policy for Specialized Schools and Programs which encourages the development of specialized programs at the local school level and supports the board’s commitment to regional specialized programs in different areas including the Arts, Athletics, Skilled Trades and STEM. As for technical programs, we strongly support the Ministry’s commitment to promoting Skilled Trades as a viable pathway for our students, and this can only be done with strong technical programs in our secondary schools.
The consultation process on the Secondary Program Review has been extensive, and is still continuing. We held four public consultation meetings and have had a survey posted online since the beginning of October. We held two public online information sessions last week. We are also conducting consultation with specific groups. These have/will include:
- Representatives from each of the TDSB’s Community Advisory Committees;
- Principals and Vice Principals - Toronto School Administrators’ Association (TSAA);
- CUPE staff and Schedule Two staff (non-unionized employees);
- Senior Team;
- Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC);
- Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC);
- Students from the Urban Indigenous Education Centre (UIEC);
- Student Senate;
A new survey is being drafted for students and will be distributed widely in the coming weeks. Nobody is being excluded from the consultation process and we encourage all students, parents, teachers, and administrators to participate.
At the end of February, another consultation process on a new policy for Specialized Schools and Programs will begin. Information about the process and how to participate will be on the Policy Consultation site as well as on the Secondary Program Review page of the TDSB site.
Looking forward, not all schools will be able to operate at a capacity of 1100-1200. To be more accurate, we are looking for secondary schools to operate at 90% capacity. Some schools in the city were only built for 1100 pupil spaces and it would be impossible for these schools to operate at 1200. Similarly, we have large schools that can accommodate 1800 or 2000 students. We are not looking to reduce these schools to 1100-1200.The Secondary Program Review is not about dismantling programs or schools. On the contrary, the intent is to replicate the robust, successful programs, environments and secondary schools in the TDSB so that all students in the TDSB have access to an excellent education and opportunities. Operating schools at 400 or 500 students creates challenges for course offerings and limits student options.
The final report will make recommendations without naming specific schools. The report will identify areas of the city where consolidation of schools is recommended. Keeping 111 high schools open with over 20,000 empty pupil spaces has led to limited course availability for students in many schools. Consolidation will also allow for reinvestment into capital improvements and into support for student programming. It will strengthen programming and school environments throughout the system.
You can also email your comments or questions about the review and/or the draft Optional Attendance Policy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please visit the TDSB webpage for Secondary Program Review.
Winter Walk Day
Bundle up, walk and roll to school, and enjoy the winter season! On February 5th, join schools across the country in celebrating Winter Walk Day. Visit the Ontario Active School Travel website for resources including posters and event ideas.
Share your Winter Walk Day event by tweeting @EcoSchoolsTDSB using the hashtag #WinterWalkDay.
Kindergarten Registration is Now Open!
Registration for all TDSB Kindergarten programs begins in February. We look forward to welcoming you and your child at our school in September!
In the Kindergarten program, your child will develop their skills and abilities through inquiry and intentional play-based learning that includes math, science and literacy. Teachers and early childhood educators plan learning experiences where children are actively engaged in learning and thinking creatively.
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. Learn more about Kindergarten at the TDSB.
E – Learning Survey
The Toronto District School Board issued a survey (branded as The Pulse) via email on January 30, to a random sample of parents/guardians and students, and all secondary school teachers, to better understand their views and level of support for the Government of Ontario’s plan for mandatory e-learning for all secondary students.
The short survey provides an overview of the current situation and asks two main questions:
- Will e-learning/online learning courses benefit students?; and
- Do you support the government’s plan for all secondary students to complete two mandatory e-learning/online learning courses?
The survey will close on Tuesday, February 11.
The total sample size for this research is just under 19,000:
- Students (Grade 7 – 12) – 4308
- Parents/Guardians (Grade 7 – 12) – 8402
- Secondary School Teachers (Grade 9 – 12) – 6201
We look forward to sharing the results with you and our TDSB community in the coming weeks.
Heritage and History Months
I am proud to say that this celebration is federally recognized because of a 1995 motion in the house of commons by the Hon. Jean Augustine – MP for Etobicoke Lakeshore 1993 – 2006.
This is an occasion to recognize and celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Peoples of African Descent to Canada and the world. The chosen theme for 2019-2020 is "UBUNTU: I am because we are” which is derived from the Nguni Bantu term in Southern Africa. UBUNTU is a South African term used by the Zulu community that represents an ethic of African traditional life. The philosophy of UBUNTU realizes that everything is interconnected; “everything that I do has an effect on you and your well-being and everything that you do has an effect on me and my well-being.”
A poster (attached) to reflect the theme, "UBUNTU: I am because we are” was created by students from Downsview Secondary School under the leadership of their teacher, Matthew Chapman. It will be shared with all schools across the Toronto District School Board. It was designed with the following five principles presented in this painting:
- Umoja (unity) the tattoo.
- Kujichagulia (self-determination) the word was used to create the textile for one of the shirts.
- Nia (purpose) the logo on the shoe.
- Kuumba (creativity) the logo on the shirt.
- Imani (faith) the details on the hijab
~ Chinese proverb
The Toronto District School Board is proud to recognize Chinese Heritage Month (CHM) during the month of February and the theme of TDSB’s Chinese Heritage Month is Year of the Rat: Intelligent, Wise, Charming, Social, & Ambitious.
Chinese-Canadians celebrated Lunar New year on Saturday, January 25. 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.
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.
PA Day and Family Day – February 2020
There will be no classes on Monday, February 17 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.
Students will also not be attending school on February 14 as this is a board-wide PA day. This means all TDSB students will not be at school on Friday, February 14 or Monday, February 17.
The Parents as Partners Conference 2020 – Saturday, March 28
The Parents as Partners Conference 2020 is on Saturday, March 28 and all parents are welcome!
This free conference – planned by parents, for parents – includes a variety of workshops and resources that will help any parent support their child in their achievement and well-being at school and at home.
This year’s keynote speaker is Kim Katrin, an internationally acclaimed award winning educator, writer, artist & consultant. With a focus on student life, Kim explores how intersections of race, sexual orientation, and gender impact mental wellness. Emphasizing these connections allows for an inclusive discussion and a holistic focus on mental wellness and community engagement.
Technology micro-sessions are also being offered to help parents develop their computer literacy as well as bring them up to speed on many applications used by TDSB students.
Transportation, food and translators are all provided, as well as free day camp for children ages 4-12 to support participants attending the conference. Registration opens mid-February at https://www.parentsaspartners.ca/.
Join us February 27 at Norseman Junior Middle School
All are welcome to join us at Norseman JMS on February 27, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. We will hear from staff members to discuss consultation around the Parent Engagement Policy P023 currently up for review. Please contact Trustee Shared Services to request interpretation services. Childcare will be available.
Sign-up for TDSB Update and stay informed about recent Board decisions and district-wide news.
Board Meeting – Wednesday, February 5
The Toronto District School Board is committed to developing opportunities for our wider school community to connect and engage in conversations about education issues. The Board will be webcasting the public session of the regular monthly Board meeting at 7 p.m. so that parents, community members and staff can follow trustee deliberations online.
School Year Calendar 2019-2020
The 2019-2020 school year at the TDSB begins on 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.
The official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from September 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, inclusive.
- The last day of class for elementary students is June 25, 2020
- The last day of class for secondary (full year) students is June 23, 2020
- The last day of class for secondary (semestered) students is June 23, 2020
PA Days & Statutory Holidays
- Board-wide PA Day February 14, 2020
- Family Day February 17, 2020
- March Break March 16 to 20, 2020
- Good Friday April 10, 2020
- Easter Monday April 13, 2020
- Victoria Day May 18, 2020
- Elementary School PA Day June 5, 2020
- Secondary School PA Day (Full Year Schools only) June 24, 2020
- Secondary School PA Day June 25, 2020
- Board-wide PA Day June 26, 2020
Also please note -
- Passover begins sunset of Wednesday, April 8, 2020 and ends nightfall of Thursday, April 16, 2020
- Ramadan 2020 will begin in the evening of Thursday, April 23, 2020 and ends in the evening of Saturday, May 23, 2020 (dates may vary)
- Eid al-Fitr 2020 will begin in the evening of Saturday, May 23, 2020
Gr. 9 Math: 2nd Semester: June 2-15, 2020
OSSLT: March 31, 2020
Primary/Junior EQAO: May 19-June 1, 2020
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