Keeping you engaged and informed
Keeping you engaged and informed
Ward 11 Weekly Update header
Week of March 4, 2019

One More Week!

I am sure I am not the only one counting the days until March Break... please look for my next weekly update on Sunday, March 17th.
There are a number of sites that list March Break activities - am listing a few below... have a safe and wonderful break!

International Women's Day - March 8

In recognition of International Women’s Day 2019, the TDSB is bringing together learners who identify as girls at an event to expand existing learning opportunities, chart new pathways and take an inward look. This year’s IWD theme, #BalanceforBetter will be discussed in a keynote by Olympic Medalist Shelley-Ann Brown who will share her story of channeling her inner power. A number of other events will be held locally. 
In Ward 8, for example on Friday afternoon, the elected women representatives for Toronto-St. Paul’s are hosting a Summit for Young Women Leaders. The Summit will bring together young women from Toronto high schools and high-achieving, trailblazing women from different professional fields. Organized by MP Carolyn Bennett, I will be proud to co-host with MPP Jill Andrew.
And at John Polanyi CI, is the third annual Metamorphosis Girls STEM Conference #MORPH2019. The Metamorphosis Girls STEM Conference was created to support girls in middles school at a critical time when they are likely to become disengaged with STEM. "According to a recent Canadian study, men outnumber women in the Canadian STEM workforce by a ratio of 3:1. While gender disparity in STEM is a complex issue, we know that early and positive engagement in STEM and access to champions in STEM fields can greatly impact girls' decisions to pursue and persevere in STEM after high school. The mission of the Metamorphosis Girls STEM Conference is to foster partnerships with people and organizations who are dedicated to creating welcoming spaces for girls in STEM, while engaging girls in the making of their own STEM stories."  I am looking forward to attending the morning.

Joint Ward Forum this Thursday, March 7

At our Joint Ward Forum (with Trustee Rachel Chernos Lin, Ward 11), you will be presented with an overview of our budget process and each of our proposed Budget Drivers by Associate Director Craig Snider. Hard copies of the 2019-20 Budget Public Discussion Guide and Community Survey will be available for you to provide us with your valued input (and will also be available online after March 4).
Please note that the Ministry of Education does not traditionally provide the board with the amount of funding it will receive for its annual budget until late March or early April. As we can't develop the budget until we know the funding, the Ward Forum will discuss the principles behind the budget. As you know the TDSB has a rich diversity of programs and services and the drivers help the Board guide investments to align with our Multi-Year Strategic Plan and set priorities in the event of provincial funding reductions which are anticipated. Our Multi-Year Strategic Plan has already made it clear that the status quo is not possible, in terms of funding everything that we currently do. Any funding reductions from the Ministry will make our budget decisions more challenging. Your input will help the Board develop this direction and these “drivers”, once approved, will provide this direction. 
Information collected from the Ward Forums and the survey will be used in the final Strategic Driver document that will go to the Board for approval in April. As noted, these drivers will then be used by staff to create a draft Operating Budget when the funding is known, which will be presented to the Board in May. Once we have developed our “draft” Operating Budget, you will have another opportunity to provide additional comments by making a presentation to our Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee - Delegations Process – or you can submit your comments online to our General Inquiries email address at After feedback has been received from the public, a final draft of the Operating Budget will be developed by staff and go to the Board for approval in June.
On the TDSB public website, you will find a webpage – 2019-20-Budget Webpage – dedicated
to providing you with additional information including a number of financial documents including:
  • Description of our Budget Process including a schedule of Finance, Budget and
    Enrolment Committee meetings (these meetings are videotaped to ensure
    members of the public can review the committee’s budget discussions)
  • 2019-20 Dates for Trustee Ward Forum Presentations of Budget Drivers (see
    chart of Ward Forums below – all Forums occur in March 2019)
  • List of TDSB Priority Schools – schools where we provide additional funding
    and/or staffing to mitigate the impacts of poverty
  • School-Based Staff Allocation
  • Financial Facts
  • Reports presented to the Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee
  • TDSB Fixed vs Flexible Costs – our budget is made up of fixed costs and flexible
    costs. The fixed costs have restrictions placed on their use based on Ministry
    Regulations, contractual obligations with all staffing groups, or board policy and
    motions. The flexible costs are those that the Board has some discretion on how
    these costs are used. It is the flexible costs that will be impacted as the Board
    works through the budget process.
About 94% of the TDSB’s funding comes from the Ministry of Education. The other 6% represents such things as visa students, bank interest, cafeteria sales, leasing revenue and permits.
Please note that the TDSB has a $3.9 billion backlog of school repairs. While taking those repairs is a key priority for the TDSB, the repairs are part of our Capital Budget, not the Operating Budget. That is why the backlog does not appear in the Operating Budget Drivers.

TDSB Committees This Week

Special Board Meeting - Monday, March 4, 2019 12:00 p.m. Executive Meeting Room, 5th Floor, 5050 Yonge Street 
3. Committee Reports
3.1 Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee (Special Meeting) Report No. 26, February 5, 2019
1. Proposed Strategic Drivers for the 2019-20 Budget
3.2 Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee (Special Meeting) Report No. 27 (Part B), February 20, 2019
4. Proposed Strategic Drivers for the 2019-20 Budget: Follow-up
3.3 Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee (Special Meeting) Report No. 28 (Part A), February 25, 2019
2. Finalization of the Draft Strategic Drivers for the 2019-20 Budget
3. Ward Forum Budget Slide Deck and Public Consultation Guide, 2019-2020

Update re Autism and Staffing

Late Thursday, the Director received a Memo from the Deputy Minister of Education which stated... I am writing to you today to recommend that school boards exercise prudence in making hiring decisions in light of the upcoming Ontario Budget and the recent consultation on class size and hiring practices. The government will be carefully reviewing the feedback received in the coming weeks and will continue to engage boards and labour partners on any plans and next steps. School boards are advised to defer the annual processes of filling vacancies for retirements and other leaves related to teachers and other staff until the Minister of Education provides an update to the sector on or before March 15th...
Our Chair was on CBC radio Friday morning and quoted in the Globe voicing concerns.
In addition, Cathy Abraham, President of the Ontario School Boards Association has also written to the Ministry regarding the autism program to "ask province how they’ll manage without more support."... budgets are already stretched. “It’s going to present a challenge come April 1. We don’t know how many kids are coming,” Ms. Abraham said. “We want to serve all students the best we can, but without any details, we can’t even plan for it. We need to know how many students are coming to us, what their needs are going to be and how that’s going to be funded.”
From her letter of February 26, 2019 to Minister Lisa Thompson Minister of Education and Minister Lisa MacLeod Minister of Children, Community and Social Services - express our concerns about the planned changes to the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) and the potential impact of those changes on the supports that school boards will be able to provide for autistic students... There is concern regarding the impact of this transitional change for these children from a clinical service model to an integrated school setting, which does not provide this type of specialized service. For students, this type of change can be unsettling. Having sufficient numbers of qualified school staff to ensure safety and support for students is essential. Special education continues to be an area in which boards request more supports and resources given the complexities of student needs. Year after year, most school boards exceed their Ministry allocated special education budget in an effort to try to provide the best possible learning experiences for students, regardless of exceptionality. We continue to advocate for sufficient funding to meet the needs of all of our students.
Needless to say we are all very troubled that children on the autism spectrum will not get the supports they deserve and anxious to understand what this means for our schools...

Still Waiting... Focus on Youth Summer Program

We are also still waiting to hear from the Ministry of Education regarding the 2019 funding for the Focus on Youth summer program. Last year, the TDSB received $3,080,000 in funding from this program that allowed the TDSB to hire and train 585 youth to work alongside community partners from all across the city to help serve some of our most vulnerable and underserved young people. Placements were made in collaboration with 51 community agencies and TDSB programs in 110 locations and 11,123 participants attended camps and programs where FOYT students were placed. The program has been in place since 2007 and provides opportunities to help children living in Toronto’s most marginalized communities, and has sought to respond to the high rates of youth violence and poverty, and lack of opportunities for youth. Typically, by this time of the year, the TDSB would already have started the recruitment process for this program.
In Ward 8, last summer 15 students were hired for 4 programs that served 187 students at programs partnering with Big League Book Club at Humewood, North York Community House at Joyce and St. Alban's Boys' and Girls' Club of Mount Dennis and the PACT Urban Peace Program at John Polanyi.
Through letters to the Minister and to all Toronto MPPs, we have strongly advocated for this program to continue.

Court Dismisses Charter Challenge to Sex-Ed Curriculum Change

On February 28, 2019, the Ontario Divisional Court dismissed the challenges brought by ETFO and other parties who alleged the recent changes to the sex-ed curriculum violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ freedom of expression, right to life, liberty, and security, and equality rights. The Court determined that teachers had the freedom to teach the additional topics covered in the 2015 curriculum (e.g., consent, cyber bullying, sexual identity, etc.) as long as the 2010 curriculum learning objectives were met. The Court added that the legislative and Ministry policy context, and the curriculum itself, already required teachers to teach the curriculum in an inclusive, diverse, and non-discriminatory manner. A copy of the decision is available online.
As reported in the papers, ETFO president Sam Hammond said in a statement that the court’s decision was a “victory” for educators because the government made clear in the hearing that teachers could use their professional judgment in teaching the curriculum. “The government’s explicit concession on this point in court makes this case a victory for ETFO and others. I have no doubt that such a concession would never have occurred without litigation,” he said. 
A guideline was prepared earlier this fall the TDSB to help alleviate confusion among parents over controversial changes to the sex-ed curriculum and make it clear that teachers can still address “critically important topics". At this point we all wait for the release of the new curriculum that is to be ready for September 2019.

Update on the Yonge-Eglinton Program Area Review Phase 2

As you know from my earlier updates, one of the studies in the Long-Term Program and Accommodation Strategy that is being conducted this year is the Yonge-Eglinton Program Area Review Phase 2 (for the other studies included in the approved 2018-2027 plan for Ward 8, click here.)
The recommendations from the first Yonge-Eglinton Review (Report December 9, 2015) were approved and communicated in a Letter to the Community in February of 2016 and have been implemented.

As a reminder, the Program Area Review (PART) process looks at the programs offered within a community or grouping of schools and identifies program gaps or space needs. A review may involve looking at a range of options to increase access to programs including the establishment of new schools, introduction of new specialized programs or possible changes to grade configurations. More information about Program Area Reviews can be found in this Program Area Review Fact Sheet. 

The purpose of this particular review is to develop further solutions to the continued enrolment pressures at the elementary schools in the vicinity of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, in particular Eglinton Jr PS, which has 604 students on a small, constrained site of 1.6 acres with a facility utilization rate of 110%. As noted in the approved plan for study, this review should determine the future program to be delivered within the Bannockburn building. 

The next steps for the Yonge-Eglinton Program Area Review Phase 2 is to conduct the PART meetings in April and May 2019. The PART will include both administration and parent representatives from each of the involved schools. The PART recommendations will go out to public meetings in May and at the conclusion of the consultation, a report will go to Board in June 2019 for decision-making on the proposed accommodation solution(s).

The map shows the schools in the vicinity of the Yonge-Eglinton area. The tables provide enrolments and utilization rates for both elementary and secondary schools. 

Policy Consultations

From the TDSB Website - We Want to Hear From You - The objective of consultation is to gather public input regarding options, alternative courses of action, as well as to identify unintended effects for various participants and to find solutions. We would like to know your thoughts about our policy decisions by inviting you to our policy consultations. Please click on the policy of your interest to see the current draft. You are welcome to provide your comments, including suggestions on the wording and provisions of the draft policies, questions or recommendations using the contact information below.
Safe Schools Policy (P051) - To ensure that all students feel that they belong, are heard, accepted, safe, supported and cared for through the creation of positive school climates that reflect themselves, value their voices and foster a culture of mutual respect and healthy relationships; and to enhance and maintain working and learning environments that embed principles of equity, anti-oppression, anti-racism, acceptance and inclusion in procedures, practices and programs that support the safety, dignity, health and well-being of all. Draft Policy  Share your feedback using the survey here: Survey Link Closes March 4, 2019 Contact:
Home Instruction Policy (P060) - To establish the Board's commitment to providing home instruction services for all eligible pupils in accordance with the requirements of Ontario Regulation 298, Operation of Schools – General under the Education Act.  Draft Policy Closes March 15, 2019 Contact   

Worth Repeating - School Council PD

The ⁦‪TDSB‬⁩ Parent and Community Engagement Office is hosting three webinars coming soon to help parents/guardians learn more about how school councils work, bylaws, and effectiveness. Click on the links below at the specific times to join in.
  • Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 7:00 p.m.: School Council Bylaws  To be an effective School Council, you need a firm foundation. This webinar will take participants through the writing School Council Bylaws.
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 7:00 p.m.: School Council Effectiveness This webinar examines how communication, committees and volunteers will connect with your community and will ease your workload.
For more information on School Councils, please visit the School Council Page on my website. 

Worth Repeating - Parents as Partners

Parents as Partners Conference 2019 – March 30, 2019 You’re invited to our annual Parents as Partners Conference! The Parents as Partners Conference 2019 is on Saturday, March 30 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 Karl Subban, a former TDSB principal and the father of five children, including three NHL hockey players. 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 is open. Please click here 
To see the workshops, please click here

School Year Calendar 2018-2019

The official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from          September 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019, inclusive.
  • The last day of class for elementary students is June 27, 2019
  • The last day of class for secondary (full-year) students is June 25, 2019
  • The last day of class for secondary (semestered) students is June 26, 2019 
2018 - 2019 Dates to Remember: Official Holidays and PA Days 
Remaining PA Days & Statutory Holidays
  • March Break March 11 to 15, 2019
  • Good Friday April 19, 2019
  • Easter Monday April 22, 2019
  • Victoria Day May 20, 2019
  • Elementary School PA Day June 7, 2019
  • Secondary School PA Day (Full Year Schools only)* June 26, 2019
  • Secondary School PA Day June 27, 2019
  • Board-wide PA Day June 28, 2019
Also please note Days of Significance - click for the complete list
You may also find this Days of Significance Resource Guide helpful
  • Passover 2019 will begin in the evening of Friday, April 19 and ends in the evening of Saturday, April 27 (first 2 and last 2 days are considered holy)
  • Ramadan 2019 will begin in the evening of Sunday, May 5 and ends in the evening of Tuesday, June 4 (Dates may vary)
  • Eid al-Fitr celebrated at the end of Ramadan will begin on Tuesday, June 4 
EQAO - The following dates have been established: 
  • Gr. 9 Math:  2nd Semester: June 5-18, 2019
  • OSSLT:  March 27, 2019
  • Primary/Junior EQAO: May 21-June 3, 2019
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