January 2020 Newsletter
Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Update
On January 9, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced the details of Phase 3 and Phase 4 strike action that will begin should an agreement with the Province and OPSBA not be reached.
Phase 3 - Effective Monday, January 13, 2020, all ETFO members will:
- NOT plan or participate in any assemblies, except to provide supervision to students
- NOT participate in extracurricular activities except for those that are scheduled within the regular school day
- NOT participate in field trips
- NOT arrive at work any earlier than 30 minutes before the start of the instructional day for students (or for hourly paid ETFO members, not arrive any more than 30 minutes before the start of the scheduled work day); and
- NOT remain at the worksite later than 15 minutes after the end of the instructional day for students (or for hourly paid ETFO members, not remain later than 15 minutes after the end of the scheduled work day).
The sanctions included as part of Phase 1 and Phase 2 Work-to-Rule Strike Protocols will continue.
Phase 4 - Effective Monday, January 20, 2020, all ETFO members will:
- NOT participate in any District School Board or Ministry professional learning
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has announced that, should should there not be progress in negotiations, its members will conduct a one day strike (full withdrawal of services) at a number of school boards, including the TDSB, on Monday, January 20, 2020 and return to work on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
Should the walkout take place, the TDSB would have no other option but to close all elementary schools to students as there would not be sufficient supervision to ensure their safety.
Additional information, including the specific impact to programs and services, will be shared with parents/guardians in the coming days.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) Update
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) has announced that, should progress not be made in negotiations, its members (teachers and education workers) will conduct another one day walkout (full withdrawal of services) at a number of school boards, including the Toronto District School Board, on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. They will return to work on Wednesday, January 22, 2020.
Should the walkout take place, the TDSB would, once again, have no other option but to close all secondary schools to students, including Adult Day Schools and Night Schools offering secondary credits, as there would not be sufficient supervision to ensure their safety.
Secondary Program Review and Optional Attendance Policy: Virtual Public Consultations – January 30, 2020
As you are aware, the TDSB is undertaking a review of secondary schools to ensure all students have equitable access to programs and opportunities. As part of this review, the Board is also reviewing the Optional Attendance Policy (P013), which allows students to apply to schools other than their designated school by home address. We have held four public meetings on both Optional Attendance Policy (P013) and Secondary Program Review in November 2019 and you can review this presentation here. Two virtual public consultation meetings are scheduled for Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Join the 1:00 p.m. session here. Join the 7:00 p.m. session here.
TDSB Expands Itinerant Music Instructors (IMIs) to More Schools
Starting this school year, the TDSB has expanded its IMI enrichment program to include 17 new schools. As a result of this expansion, more than 1,200 new students will have access to the program through 1,600 new IMI hours.
The expansion of the program is the result of a review of the distribution of IMI hours which found that some schools had a disproportionately high allocation of hours, while others had none.
More information, including a list of schools, is available online.
French Programs Update
French Immersion Application/Placement Update
Due to the large volume of applications for SK Immersion, it will take a number of weeks for all the families to hear. We encourage families to check their email frequently, including their junk mail. It is important to remember that not all families in a given area will receive their offers of placement at the same time, but all will receive one. Please be reminded while admission to the Early French Immersion (SK entry) program is guaranteed at the entry points to all on-time applicants, admission to a specific school is not guaranteed if the school reaches capacity and given the number of applicants in our Ward, there will be redirections.
Please also note that the final entry for French Immersion at SK and the first entry for French Immersion at JK will be September 2022.
Applications for Junior Extended French which begins in Grade 4 must be completed online between January 6, 2020 and January 31, 2020. Please note that this will be the last entry class for this program as it will be transitioning out - Grade 4 Immersion Program will continue.
There will be NO gap in access to Grade 4 entry to intensive program. Students in Grade 3 in 2019 will apply to Junior Extended French for September 2020, and students in Grade 3 in 2020, will apply to Middle French Immersion for September 2021.
The Grade 7 Extended French program offers students who have successfully completed three years of Core French the option to enter into a more intensive program in Grade 7. These students spend approximately 40% of their day in French classes at the Extended French school. The attendance area for an Extended French school is created by "associated" English feeder schools. To locate the Grade 7 entry Extended French school in your area, you must first confirm the English school for your home address, then visit our Extended French Location Finder. Applications should be submitted directly to the Extended French school by January 31, 2020 Please note that this will be the last entry class for this program as it will be transitioning out but the Grade 4 Immersion Program will continue.
For more information, click here
Early French Immersion Parent/Guardian Information Sessions
This year, there will be two virtual (online webchat) information sessions for parents/guardians interested in the Early French Immersion (SK entry) application process. For more information on dates/times for each virtual online webchat session, please visit www.tdsb.on.ca/French website or click on Information Sessions.
Junior Extended French Parent/Guardian Information Sessions
This year, there will be two virtual (online webchat) information sessions for parents/guardians interested in the Junior Extended French (Gr. 4 entry) application process. For more information on dates/times for each virtual online webchat session, please visit www.tdsb.on.ca/French website or click on Information Sessions.
TDSB Appoints First Indigenous Student Trustee
Clarity M. Smoke, a Grade 9 Anishnaabe student from Monarch Park Collegiate Institute, has taken her seat as the first ever Toronto District School Board Indigenous Student Trustee.
This position will provide Indigenous students, families and communities with additional representation at the highest level of the TDSB; help improve the Board’s decision-making process; and increase understanding about Indigenous ways of knowing and being, as well as the issues that matter most to Indigenous students and their families.
Director’s Annual Report 2019
The Director’s Annual Report for the Toronto District School Board was released on December 11, 2019. The report is a ministerial requirement that highlights some of the important work that is happening across the system and accomplishments from the past year.
The report is now available online.
Letter: Toronto’s Construction Hub Coordination Pilot
The Chair of the Board Robin Pilkey wrote to the General Manager of Transportation Services at the City of Toronto to request that local principals and trustees, and Toronto Lands Corporation and Board staff be invited to participate in the Toronto’s Construction Hub Coordination Pilot as stakeholders.
Parents Reaching Out Grants: Letter to Minister of Education
The Chair of the Board Robin Pilkey wrote to the Minister of Education to express the Board’s concerns with the new funding model for the Parents Reaching Out Grants and the reduction in funding for the 2019-20 school year.
Student, Staff and School Achievements
The Toronto District School Board is always proud to acknowledge the achievements of our students, staff and school communities. Below are a few highlights from December:
Winter Weather and Student Transportation
From time to time, it may be necessary to cancel student transportation, classes and/or programs due to severe weather. On rare occasions, severe weather makes it necessary to close schools, administrative offices or sites.
With approximately 246,000 students in 582 schools, any decision to cancel buses, classes and/or programs or to close sites can have a significant impact on thousands of families across Toronto. This decision is not taken lightly. When schools remain open on days with inclement weather, parents/guardians make the final decision on whether to send their children to school and they can keep children home from school if they so choose.
Should a cancellation or closure be necessary, information will be posted on the TDSB website, TDSB social media, and provided to local media by 6 a.m. For more information, please see the TDSB's Procedure for Severe Weather: http://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Detail/docId/242.
Traffic Safety Tips: Help Make this a Safe Winter Season
As winter approaches, we know that severe weather will be part of our daily lives for the next several months. While traffic safety is an important matter all year long, this is a particularly good time to review what we can do to keep students safe.
The need to be aware and alert at all times, on any road, and even in the most routine circumstances is key to traffic safety. This applies to students and drivers alike. Road conditions can be challenging in the winter months. So to those of us who drive, please take extra care on the roads and in parking lots, especially in areas where children might be present.
School staff periodically review street and traffic safety with students. Parents can help reinforce these safety messages with children at home. Below are some tips that might be helpful to review.
- Stop, look, and listen for traffic.
- Only cross at corners and crosswalks.
- Make eye contact with drivers.
- Walk on the right side of the crosswalk.
- Wear appropriate footwear to reduce the chances of slipping.
- Never run into the street.
- Obey crossing signals.
- Cross only if clear.
- Walk on sidewalks.
- Where there are no sidewalks, walk as far away from traffic as possible, facing traffic.
The safety of our students is always a top priority. Let's work together to make the winter season safe so we can enjoy all it has to offer.
Stay Healthy During Flu Season
Flu season is here again. In Canada, flu season tends to run between October and April. The Ontario government is encouraging Ontarians to avoid getting sick this flu season by getting their annual flu shot.
Toronto Public Health is recommending that whenever students and staff experience flu-like symptoms, they are sent home and do not return to school until they are no longer infectious to others. Therefore, ill students and staff should be symptom-free (especially from vomiting and diarrhea) for at least 48 hours before returning to school.
The primary concern is for the health and safety of all students and staff. Please note that no special measures are required when there is a case of influenza in a school or daycare. However, everyone should do their part to stop the spread of the flu. As parents, you can also assist by:
- Reminding children to wash their hands often especially after using the washroom and before and after eating;
- Reminding children to cover their sneeze and cough;
- Watching for symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and/or high fever;
- Informing the school if your child is ill; and
- Keeping your child at home when he/she is ill.
For more information, please visit the Toronto Public Health website www.toronto.ca/health, contact your family doctor, or Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000.
Reminder: Call School if Your Child Will be Late or Absent
One measure of keeping our students safe is to ensure we can account for any absences or reasons for being late to school. We would like to remind you that if your child is going to be absent or late for any reason, we ask that you contact the school immediately and report the reason for the absence. If we are not informed about the absence, we will make attempts to contact you through our automated call-out system to determine the reason for the absence. To find out how this automated system works please visit
Please let the office know by calling the school if your contact information, including phone number, changes at any time throughout the school year.
Thank you for your continued cooperation to keep your children safe and accounted for.
High School Information Nights
To help you make an informed decision when choosing a high school, TDSB schools host information nights for parents and grade 8 students each year between October and January. Learn everything you need to know about our incredible variety of schools, programs and courses.
TDSB Celebrates Tamil Heritage Month in January
During the month of January, the Toronto District School Board is excited to be starting off the New Year by celebrating Tamil Heritage Month. This year, the chosen theme selected by the volunteer planning committee is, Vision 2020: Yengal Kathaigal - Our Stories / Vision 2020: எங்கள் கதைகள் - Our Stories.
Toronto has the largest Tamil population outside of the South Asian subcontinent with thousands of TDSB students and staff members heritage identified as Tamil. All have stories of their journey of how they or their families arrived in Canada, and how they continue to embrace this country as their home. The attached poster reflecting the theme is being shared with all schools. Our intent is that it will be used as an educational tool to examine stories within and across cultures of students in the TDSB and how they shape our individual and collective identities.
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