March 2019 Newsletter
TDSB Seeking Community and Staff Input for 2019-20 Budget
The first of seven community meetings where parents/caregivers, students, staff and community members can provide the Toronto District School Board with input on its 2019-20 annual Operating Budget is scheduled for Tuesday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Church Street Junior Public School, 83 Alexander St, Toronto.
I will be hosting a community budget consultation on Thursday March 21 along with three of my fellow Trustees at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute located at 86 Montgomery Road from 7 – 9 p.m. More details will be sent out shortly.
To view a full list of Trustee Ward Forum dates and locations 2019-20 Dates for Trustee Ward Forum Presentation of Budget Drivers.
At each Trustee Ward Forum, you will be presented with an overview of our budget process and we will describe each of our Budget Drivers. A 2019-20 Budget Public Discussion Guide and Community Survey will be available for you to provide us with your valued input. Hard copies of the 2019-20 Budget Public Discussion Guide and Community Survey will be available at each Ward Forum. They will also be available online by March 4.
We look forward to hearing your views on public education.
Interested in Before and After School Programing?
Students can enroll in the Extended Day Program at the school where they are registered as a pupil. Registration for the EDP is completed through a secure online registration system (e-Reg)
. Families will enter required information about their child, as well as contact information for parents/guardians. A one-time non-refundable registration fee of $50 will be required at the time of registration ($75 for 2 children or $100 for 3 or more children). This fee may be waived for families receiving child care fee subsidies.
for the 2019-20 school year is now open.
For more information, please visit the tdsb webpage
March is Greek Heritage Month at the TDSB. This year’s theme is “Wisdom, Hope, Love” – “Sofia, Elpida, Agape.”
Parents, students, educators, and community members are invited to come to celebrate with us! Join us on Saturday, March 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Greek Community of Toronto, 30 Thorncliffe Park Drive for the Opening Celebration.
And on Saturday, March 30 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for the Closing Event at East York CI, 650 Cosburn Avenue.
Both of these events will feature music, dance, art, food, cultural displays and special presentations from TDSB elementary and secondary student and community members.
TDSB Earth Hour 2019
On Friday, March 29, schools across the TDSB are recognizing Earth Hour from 2 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Schools are asked to reduce their electricity usage for one hour.
During Earth Hour, our school will be using as little electricity as possible in the office, halls, classrooms, library, gym, cafeteria. Where possible, schools will also be reducing their electricity usage over the weekend.
More information is available on the EcoSchools website
FoodShare is a non-profit organization that works with communities and schools to deliver healthy food and food education so that everyone can have access to quality fresh food that is affordable. The innovative programs impacts what kids eat in school.
FoodShare’s 10th Annual Fundraising Gala, Recipe for Change, was held recently and featured dozens of restaurants, chocolatiers, local wineries and more. This year, FoodShare showcased talented female chefs of colour. The best chefs from around the greater Toronto area served up delicacies with fresh organic ingredients.
Alongside the GTA master chefs were West Hill’s Chef and Culinary teacher Mario Paz and students Taija and Allison. The West Hill culinary students created two types of Tostadas using organic herbs and vegetables freshly picked from the school’s indoor garden towers.
It wasn’t long before Chef/Teacher Mario Paz and student chefs Taija and Allison realized they had a hit as people lined up to taste their delicious Tostadas and then returned for more. They heard comments like ‘wow, these are amazing’, ‘this food is so tasty’, ‘can I have another’, ‘I brought my friend over because I love your Tostadas.
As the only secondary school invited to participate in this great event, Taija and Allison were proud to take part in such a worthy cause and feel good to know that the funds raised at Recipe for Change will go to support over 250,000 Torontonians.
FoodShare’s Executive Director Paul Taylor was so thrilled about the excitement generated at West Hill’s table, that he came over to meet the young chefs and pose for a photo.
Four TDSB schools are preparing to go “into orbit” at FIRST Robotics Canada’s Ontario Innovation Celebration (OIC)
. Glen Ames PS
, Clinton Street PS
, and Armour Heights PS
all qualified for the OIC by virtue of their strong performances at the FIRST LEGO League Provincial Championships held in Oshawa in January, while Bessborough PS
earned a spot from a previous qualifier tournament..
” is the theme for this year’s FIRST competitions, in which teams are tasked with identifying and solving a problem related to space exploration. Four of the eighteen squads participating at the OIC will have an opportunity to apply to represent Ontario at the Global Innovation Award
in San Jose, California this summer, and a chance to win $20,000 to support development of their project.
The team from Glen Ames PS, dubbed the Guardians of the Galaxsee, have already qualified for another international competition after taking the Second Place Champions Award in Oshawa. The team will participate at the US Open Championship in Carlsbad, California in May. It will be third consecutive year, and the fifth time overall, that the Beach-area school will be representing Canada on the world stage. “I was blown away when I realized that,” said proud Glen Ames teacher and coach Luke Martin.
The Guardians’ project this year focuses on creating an autonomous robot to capture key moments from home and then send these memories to space for an astronaut to enjoy in Virtual Reality. “This would help with the mental wellness of astronauts,” explained Martin, adding that the idea is already being explored for other fields such as the military. Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk called the project innovative. He said that the “Home Away From Home solution including 360 videos recorded by family members will certainly help the deep space astronauts feel more connected with loved ones.”
Sixteen TDSB robotics teams competed at the Ontario East Provincial Championship in Oshawa. In addition to the Second Place Champions Award for Glen Ames, the Clinton Street PS Cyber Cougars and the Runnymede PS Cyberbolts won the Research Award and Teamwork Award, respectively.
For the teams advancing to the OIC, the season has already been a huge success, no matter what happens next. “Each year you start over with a new group of talented students who all have skills individually,” said Martin. “Watching them grow as a team is the most amazing aspect of the FIRST experience.”
That process has been a life-changing one for the students on the Clinton Street Cyber Cougars team, according to coaches Stephanie Guay, Ashley Weger, and Angel Wu. “Through our ups and downs, our successes and challenges, we have seen our kids grow so much in such a short time. The degree to which they reflect on their strengths, areas to improve and ways to share their experiences with others is nothing short of amazing.”
For coach Paul Offor from Armour Heights PS, robotics brings together “math, science, technology, art, language, history, geography, the future and the past.” It gives students on the Armourites robotics team an opportunity to turn into leaders, said Offor. “The passions run so deep, that former team members are present mentors and volunteers.”
Culture shift happens over time with small learning moves. Studies have shown that students’ sense of belonging, engagement and achievement improve when parents play an active role in their children's education. Schools get better when parents are actively involved. At John A. Leslie Public School, staff have been intentionally focused on creating more spaces to provide opportunities for parents to exercise their voice and contribute to school improvement.
As lead learner, Principal Sara Gogani’s professional learning goal is to identify barriers to student and parent engagement in order to determine specific actions needed to further develop an accepting school culture of inclusionary practice.
This shift in thinking about parents as true partners at John A. Leslie is happening in small moves. In 2017, in collaboration with the Community Support Worker and School Council, the school collected data from parents about their interests and how they would like to contribute to students’ well-being and success.
That is when Roy Dantas, a parent at John A. Leslie, approached the school with a great idea. He offered to partner up with a teacher and provide a group of students with an opportunity to develop hands-on problem solving skills. Brad Parolin, a grade 5/6 teacher, quickly recognized that Roy’s passion and expertise in the engineering and design process could have a significant impact on students so the two collaborated on creating an after school Robotics Club.
The club which runs once a week after school with predominantly female students has enabled students, staff and parents to see the value of hands-on learning in a relaxed environment where students feel comfortable to take risks and see the benefits of collaboration and perseverance.
“We love the Robotics Club. Roy got us these new kits and it’s good that Mr. Parolin has help so both of them get to experiment with us and help us when we get stuck” says grade 4 student Rafeeya Tasnim,
“In the past, I didn’t believe how much my involvement could impact my own thinking about our school and how one hour a week could impact a group of kids’ learning experience. These kids are growing to think like engineers. None of this could have happened without the welcoming environment of Mr. Parolin. We had to have a good connection and relationship for this to work. Kids see it and feel it, when there is an equal amount of excitement from the teacher” remarks Roy Dantas, John A. Leslie parent.
Effective and sustainable parent involvement requires intentional effort by various staff. Teacher Brad Parolin expresses “It’s great to have a parent share their expertise with students. The kids get excited to see their parents problem solving and helping.”
There’s also Naghma Ershad who recently immigrated to Canada and is passionate about instilling love for reading and supporting the Bengali community. Her involvement includes supporting the school’s goal of early years reading strategies with identified students, as well as providing translation for some of the families.
“I had a great schooling experience because my teachers taught me to say what is on my mind, to say the truth and to stand up for myself and others. I felt empowered especially, as a girl and that’s what I want to see in my daughter. I think all parents should get involved in the school even if it’s for 15 minutes. Parents need to realize that they share in the responsibility of their children’s schooling. Language should not be a barrier, especially at John A. Leslie where so many different languages are spoken” says John A. Leslie parent Naghma Ershad.
At John A. Leslie, staff recognize the importance of small moves to create new spaces for students and parents to make the school more accepting and inclusive of all voices.
High Water Levels Brings Increased Risks
The Toronto and Region Conservation monitors hazardous ice conditions as thaw begins and are reminding everyone to be very careful around all bodies of water. The first hint of warming weather and the promise of spring thaw can bring extreme danger to the shores and surfaces of streams, rivers, ponds and lakes, according to Toronto and Region Conservation.
As warmer temperatures arrive, stream banks become increasingly slippery and unstable. Lake and river ice weakens, becoming thinner or with higher flows breaking with little or no warning. During this time, the potential for flooding and ice jamming is high.
Higher, faster-flowing water and extreme cold temperatures combine to create increased dangers on or near rivers, streams and ponds for people wishing to enjoy the seasonal changes. Parents and caregivers are being asked to keep children away from stream banks, ponds and lakes.
Parents as Partners Conference 2019
This all-inclusive conference is organized by TDSB parents for TDSB parents, guardians and caregivers. Participate in workshops, network with parents and community agencies and learn new strategies to support your child’s success.
Registration opens mid-February. Register early as there is limited space in each workshop.
: Saturday, March 30
: Beanfield Centre (formerly named Allstream Centre) 105 Princes' Blvd, Toronto
For more information, visit https://www.parentsaspartners.ca/
Each year, TDSB Trustees and staff work together to pass a balanced budget that best supports the achievement and well-being of all students. The TDSB’s annual operating budget is approximately $3.4 billion and we are committed to using these resources responsibly and effectively.
Key discussions regarding the annual budget are scheduled for our Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee (FBEC). Below you will find links to the proposed Committee Schedule, Timelines and Milestones. FBEC’s budget meetings are open to the public and take place in the Toronto District School Board Boardroom. Please note that these budget discussions will be videotaped and posted to our public website for those who may not be able to attend meetings in person but wish to review those meetings. We will be posting a link to those recorded meetings following the first meeting on Wednesday, January 23rd.
Learn more about the TDSB’s 2019-20 Operating Budget:
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