Trustee Michelle Aarts Header
February 1st, 2020 Update
Upcoming Ward 15 & 16 Joint meeting - a question & answer evening with Director John Malloy 
  • Join Trustees Story and Aarts on February 20th at 6:30pm at Earl Haig P.S. (Coxwell just south of Danforth)
  • Childcare and light refreshments provided

Hana's Suitcase 'One Book Event', International Holocaust Remembrance, and Liberation 75

To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the TDSB hosted a "One-Book Event" in partnership with Indigo and Second Story Press. All Grade 6 students (more than 17,000) throughout the TDSB received a copy of Hana’s Suitcase and will study this book in class. 
Hana's Suitcase is an excellent resource for introducing children to the Holocaust and is Canada’s most awarded children’s book, has been translated into more than 40 languages, produced as a stage play, and is the subject of a prize-winning radio documentary and feature-length documentary film.
This spring Toronto will host the largest international event to mark the 75th anniversary of liberation from the Holocaust. Liberation 75 will take place from May 31st - June 2nd at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and will explore the past, present, and future of Holocaust education. Registration is now open for Liberation 75.
African Heritage Month 2020
February 2020 - African Heritage Month and Chinese Heritage Month
The TDSB is one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. Nearly one-quarter of our students were born outside of Canada and collectively we speak more than 120 languages. Understanding all cultures is essential to the success of our young students today as they transform to our future leaders of tomorrow. In February we take the time to recognize African Heritage and Chinese Heritage:
African Heritage Month  - The chosen theme for 2019-2020 is "UBUNTU: I am because we are” which is derived from the Nguni Bantu term in Southern Africa. February is also recognized as Black History Month across Canada. The 2020 theme is "Canadians of African Descent: Going forward, guided by the past." 
Chinese Heritage Month- the theme of TDSB’s Chinese Heritage Month is Year of the Rat: Intelligent, Wise, Charming, Social, & Ambitious. Chinese New Year celebrations began Jan 25th and continue for 15 days.

News from our Ward 16 Schools

Dear Everybody - Campaign to End Disability Stigma

I recently had the pleasure of attending a Dear Everybody assembly for staff and students at Bowmore Rd. P.S. It was a dynamic and engaging seminar from the staff and advocates at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabillitation and is available to all school communities. 
The Dear Everybody website has great information and resources for families, staff, and allies such as "Ways you can be an ally for kids and youth with disabilities" 
For more information or to bring Dear Everybody to your school please contact:
Polina Kosareva, Outreach Coordinator -

Lego Robotics

The robotics team at DA Morrison recently invited me to view their City Shaper Challenge design project and competition skills. This year's Lego First Competition is focused on urban design; teams must
  • Identify a problem with a building or public space in your community.
  • Design a solution.
  • Share your solution with others and then refine it.
The team is excited to share their urban design project with other schools - they are testing eco-friendly, hydrophobic paints to create uplifting sidewalk "rain designs" to help boost student mood on rainy days. The team placed 2nd for the Robot Design Award at the TDSB FIRST LEGO LEAGUE QUALIFIER at Runnymede Collegiate. Congradulations! Of course we also have to include a big shout out to the team's teacher volunteers - Ms. Allen and Ms. Singh - for their hard work and enthusiasm supporting their students.
Pediatric Clinic at George Webster Elementary School
The Paul Steinhauer Pediatric Clinic is now open at George Webster Elementary School (50 Chapman Avenue).  The clinic is open to any children aged 0-12 currently in TDSB schools and their siblings, on Thursday afternoons, by appointment. The clinic is staffed by a nurse practicioner and a pediatrician. If you have concerns about your child’s physical, emotional or social health, you can access the services at the clinic. Here are some services that the clinic can offer: 
  • Support for health-related issues
  • Support for concerns about healthy development
  • Support with connecting to a family physician and/or other healthcare practitioner
  • Support for mental-health and wellness concerns
    For Appointments:
    1)  Call the clinic at 416-693-8677
    2)  Tell the receptionist that you are calling to book with George Webster Clinic 

Sustainability and Eco-Schools

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.
To learn more about road safety, please visit

National Sweater Day!

February 6th the World Wildlife Foundation Canada invites you to bundle up in your favorite sweater, turn down the heat, and conserve energy. National Sweater Day has been held on the first Thursday in February since 2010 to raise awareness for climate change and habitat loss and to 
Join the Great Backyard Bird Count!
A great outdoor winter family activity is the Great Backyard Bird Count - from February 14th - 17th you can help Cornell University and Birds Canada with their annual Citizen Science project by counting birds for at least 15 min on one or more of the days during the event. Visit to register and for more instructions. 

Ward 16 School Zone Traffic Safety

Area schools and their neighbours would like drivers to know that traffic safety includes good behaviour and compliace with the highway traffic act by all of us. I've been asked to remind drivers and families of the following:
  • Come to a full stop at stop signs
  • It is illegal to park on the wrong side of the street (e.g. facing the wrong direction)
  • It is illegal to pull up on the sidewalk
  • It is illegal to park in bike lanes
  • Please fully pull over and park before letting children exit the car. Ensure children exit onto the sidewalk
  • Please leave enough time to walk to school. If you must drive please consider parking a block away and avoid sections with buses, as gridlock is a frequent issue in front of our schools.
  • School staff can request a traffic blitz by our local TPS 55 Division officers. Community members can report ongoing traffic issues and safety concerns at 
Automated Speed Cameras have been rolled out in our Ward. They are currently located on Barrington Ave (near Secord P.S.) and on Main St at Swanwick (near Kimberly P.S.). The cameras are mobile and will be in place for 3 - 6 months before moving to a new location. Residents can request new locations for the cameras at

Toronto Public Health Updates

Seasonal Illness and Coronovirus

It is still Influenza season and this year we have the added concern of Coronavirus. Toronto Public Health has assured the TDSB that the risk of infection for Coronavirus is low, however good hygeine practices (frequent handwashing, avoid touching your face, keep vaccinations updated, stay home if you are ill) are still the best prevent respiratory illness, influenzas, and stomach viruses.  More information can be found at 
Vaccination Clinics
Toronto Public Health is working closely with school principals, through local nurse liaison, to ensure they are aware of ongoing communications with families related to immunization.  School administrators are sharing resources and promoting online reporting to parents. Families without a health card, may make an appointment at a free vaccination clinic. Language interpreter services are available at 416-392-1250. Accessing the TPH services can be done through online Booking and Searches  Families can contact the immunization line at 416-392-1250 or at

In an effort to support students and families without up-to-date immunization records or an immunization exemption, Toronto Public Health will be hosting free, one-day vaccination clinics in three TDSB pilot secondary schools. These pilot projects aim to reduce the potential number of students deemed non-compliant and open to suspension if records are not updated by specified dates. Toronto Public Health now allows students 14 years of age and older to give informed consent to receive vaccinations.   Parents are encouraged to discuss vaccinations with their child(ren) in advance and help answer any questions their child(ren) may have. The goal of these clinics is to improve the health of students at schools and reduce potential suspensions:  
  • AY Jackson Secondary School, February 6  
  • Central Technical School, February 4 
  • Westview Secondary School, February 3

Labour Updates

Families can find up to the minute updates on labour negotiations and labour action at 
Elementary Schools
  • TDSB elementary schools will be closed on Thursday February 6th (Province wide strike) and Friday February 7th (Rotating, regional strikes).
  • Elementary teachers will not be completing the Provincial Report Card templates, however parents can request grades by contacting their school or teacher and student progress will still be discussed during parent interviews on February 14th.
  • The IEP process for student support will continue as per usual
Secondary Schools
  • Teachers will enter grades but not comments into the report card templates
  • Grade EQAO math testing has been postponed until June.
TDSB Consultations

Secondary Program Review

Consultation on the Secondary Program Review has been extended until further notice. The goal of the Secondary Review is to gather feedback on local secondary schools and programs so that a long-term Secondary Schools and Programs plan can be developed. Please share your voice on local and system-wide topics. What works in your school? What needs improvement? What locally offered or competitive programs would you like developed? All ideas are welcome. 
More information, recordings of the web consultations, and links for feedback can be found at

PRO Grants Update

The Ministry of Education changed the format of the 2019-2020 Parents Reaching Out Grants. This year a reduced amount of funding was given directly to School Boards to support parent engagement. The TDSB was given $133,000 and will use $30,000 to support the parent led Parents as Partners Conference. The remaining funds will be distributed to each Ward to support events or projects. To maximize impact Wards 15 and 16 will combine forces to support School Council initiatives. An email has been sent to school council chairs and school Principals with more details and asking for feedback by February 21st. We hope our school communities will share ideas and consider co-hosting a Ward-wide engagement event.

P023 - Parent and Community Involvement Policy

The Parent and Community Involvement Policy (P023) has been approved for review and update. Staff are conducting board-wide consultations through February and March with schools, families, and advisory committees to gather feedback before the revision work begins. Trustee Story and I will be booking a joint Ward Forum with Michelle Munroe. Please watch for announcements about the upcoming date. An overview of the Policy Review Workplan is available here.

Upcoming Events:

Celebrate Girls in Science with the Science Centre
Celebrate with the Science Centre on February 9th
Kindergarten Registration is now open! More information & Register online
February 4th to March 10th - Every Tuesday @5:30pm @ AccessPoint Danforth - "Where Women Work" workshops for newcomers in high school. Registration required - Contact Jobelle -
February 5th - Winter Walk Day
February 6th & 7th - Elementary Strike Action - TDSB Elementary schools (JK-8) Closed. For labour updates visit 
February 6th - National Sweater Day
February 6th - City of Toronto Rec Job Fair: Scarborough - 5pm to 8pm at Scarborough Civic Centre
February 8th - Community gardeners SEED Swap & Knowledge Swap at Access Alliance Danforth 3079 Danforth Avenue from 1pm - 4pm
February 9th - the Ontario Science Centre celebrates International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Join the OSC on February 9 for special hands-on activities, speakers and presentations to mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Challenge implicit biases, widen your perspective on what makes a great scientist and imagine your future in STEM.
February 11th - Free Screening: Road to Mercy, with Q&A on Assisted Dying at Fox Theatre at 6:30pm
February 14th - TDSB Board-wide PD Day
February 14 - 17th - Great Backyard Bird Count 
February 15th - Seedy Saturday at Allen Gardens at 10am
February 16th & 17th - Free Family Day Weekend Skates with Councillor Bradford and MP Erskin-Smith (Sunday February 16, 2020 from 11:45 to 1:00 @ East York Memorial Arena. February 17 from 1 pm to 4 pm @ Ted Reeve Arena)
February 17th - Family Day Holiday
February 20th - WARD 15 and 16 Forum - Q & A with Director John Malloy @ 6:30pm @ Earl Haig P.S.
February 21st - PRO Grant Survey Deadline (School Councils)
February 22nd - Fairmount Park IceMasters' Winterfest 2020 - a Free family event at Fairmount Park (Gerrard between Coxwell & Woodbine) - 12pm - 5pm - outdoors, dress appropriately
February 22nd - Beaches 13th Annual Kids Program Open House - Beaches Recreation Centre, 6 Williamson Rd from 11am - 2pm.  Explore Programs and services in the Greater Beaches Area including Music, Dance, Sports, Arts, Science, Camps, Tutors, Playgroups, Daycares, Preschool Programs, Specialty Skills and Interests, Kids Health, Safety and much more
March 3rd - Free Parent & Teen Workshop with Dr. Karyn Gordon. "Inspiring Your Teen's Dream Career While Reducing the Stress". Hosted by Malvern School Council, 8pm @ 55 Malvern Avenue. Everyone welcome, no registration required. 
March 25th - Ward 16 Special Education Forum, 6:30pm at Crescent Town Elementary
March 28th - The Parents as Partners Free Family Education Conference - Keynote Speaker Kim Katrin
TDSB Full Year Calendar -
Dr. Karyn Gordon at Malvern Collegiate
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