Keeping you engaged and informed
Keeping you engaged and informed
Ward 11 Weekly Update header
Week of March 6, 2016 
International Women's Day - March 8, 2016
On Friday, March 4th, the elected women representatives from Toronto-St. Paul’s hosted our annual celebration for 2016 International Women’s Day that brought together young women leaders from TDSB, TCDSB and the independent high schools in the riding. As NTCI hosted, I was proud to welcom Hon. Carolyn Bennett M.D., MP for Toronto-St Paul's and Mnister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to greet the grils and set up the day. The keynote by Sally Armstrong, journalist, author, and human-rights activist kept the students spellbound. Sally reports from zones of conflict from a point of view of what happens to women and girls and was the first journalist to expose the plight of women in Afghanistan. We then welcomed others  to join in for Qs and As and discussion-
  • Sonia Thomas, Inspector at the 53 Division of the Toronto Police Service, making her second in command at the station and the highest ranking female black officer in the Service. 
  • Chi Nguyen, Managing Director of Parker P Consulting, White Ribbon's new social enterprise consulting firm. Her professional interests focus on community development, women in public life, civic education and political literacy.
  • Barbara Hall, Lawyer, Former Mayor, Human Rights Commissioner. She has used her public service roles and platform to promote the rights of many different marginalized peoples.
As the conversations proved, by connecting these girls with ambitious, professional leaders, the students were empowered and inspired to further the work of gender parity. The young leaders from Northern, North Toronto and Forest Hill Collegiage made me very proud. #YouAreEmpowerment.

Summary of Discussions at Joint Ward Forum held February 29, 2016
Last Monday, Trustee Gerri Gershon and I welcomed the parents, staff and community members of our Wards along with parents, staff and community of Ward 14 represented by the late Trustee Sheila Ward. Trustee Gershon paid tribute to Sheila to open the meeting. It was a great turnout to hear from our newly appointed Director John Malloy followed by a Budget Presentation by Comptroller Craig Snider. For those unable to attend, to get a sense of Dr Malloy's leadership style and focus, please click on the meeting summary. And click here for the budget presentation.
HOLD THE DATES for Future Ward Forums
  • April 14, 2016 - Planning, Capital, Facilities and EcoSchools
  • June 6, 2016 - TBD
If you have any suggestions for topics you would like explored at Ward Forums, please send me an e-mail.Thanks!

Senior Team Restructuring on the Governance Review Committee Agenda of March 7
Two critical reports for the future of the TDSB are coming to Governance Committee this week. The first is the Next Steps and Work Plan for Review of TDSB Governance Advisory Panel Report Recomendations. The Report which proposes a work plan for completing the recommendations (which will come to the Board for approval) over the next 6-8 months include Education Centres, Trustee Professional Development, Board Performance Assessment, Roles and responsibilities of Trustees and all members of the senior team, Senior Staff Hiring, Job Descriptions and posting process, and Performance Evaluation, Student Trustee Participation and the use of Community Outreach Workers.
The second is Guiding Principles for the Creation of Education Centres in TDSB and the Reorganization of Senior Team. According to Director Malloy, a senior team organized under these principles "will allow the team to support learning and leadership at every level of the organization, enhance service to the Board of trustees, engagement by students, staff, parents and communities." The first guiding principle is to "Improve student achievement and well-being and ensure equitable access and outcomes." I encourage you to read both reports. I am looking forward to the Committee discussions and I would be interested in your comments.

School-Based Staff Allocation for 2016-17
TDSB's funding is based on enrolment so every year, the Board needs to align resources with enrolment. All changes to school-based staffing for the 2016-17 school year are a result of a decline in student enrolment or school closure. TDSB enrolment has been declining because of some or a combination of factors since 2006, although it is projected to stabilize by 2020. These factors include declining birth rate, changes in immigration rates and settlement locations, residential migration to and from the City of Toronto, elimination of Grade 13, and in some cases, the introduction of new government programs such as revisions to the Health and Physical Education curriculum. Of course, as those in Ward 11 know, enrolment has not declined everywhere. In our Ward it is actually increasing. Click here for the staff presentation on School-based staffing.
Decisions about school-based staff allocation (i.e. number of staff needed to support our students in schools) take into account legislative requirements, including the Ministry of Education’s primary class size and class size system average directives, collective agreement provisions and available resources. It is the hope that no one looses a job and reductions are through attrition. It does mean, however, depending on the number of retirements, few teachers will be hired.
FDK classes are funded at a system average of 26 students; as we know in our Ward, the TDSB’s highest FDK class size is 32. There are 29 classes "over 30" —23 classes at 31 and 6 classes at 32 of a total of 1,395. Grade 1 to Grade 3 classes are capped at 20 students for 90% of classes and at 23 students for 10% of classes; Grades 4 – 8 are required to have a system average class size of 23.24 students. A system wide average class size of 21.7 is projected to be achieved in secondary schools. 
There are no cuts proposed to school staffing in Special Education in our elementary and high schools. We will vote on School-based staffing on March 9 to ensure we meet obligations in our Collective Agreements. To read the full report that describes the staffing allocation in all categories, please click here.
Staffing represents approximately 83% of the Board’s $3.1 billion annual operating budget and school-based employees – including classroom teachers, educational assistants, principals, vice principals, school office clerical, caretaking, school-based safety monitors, early childhood educators and lunchroom supervisors – represent a significant percentage of that total cost.  
Operating Budget 2016-17
The operating budget covers the day-to-day operations of the entire system, including all staffing and program costs, facility operations such as heat, lighting and caretaking, and information technology costs. The TDSB’s projected deficit for the 2016-17 school year is between $11-14 million - less than 0.5% of the total operating budget. In the past, Trustees were presented with “Options to Balance” that reflected significant reductions to programs and services. But over the past few years, we have made a number of difficult decisions to reduce our operating costs and address the Board’s structural deficit. For 2016-17, we are  facing a relatively small deficit and we are confident staff can find these savings centrally to avoid reductions that would impact the classroom. When it comes to making budget decisions, we do everything we can to ensure that the decisions have as little impact on the classroom as possible. However, declining enrolment and ongoing funding reductions are making this more and more difficult.To read more about the TDSB Funding Gaps, click on Financial Facts.
Will it be possible to fund new initiatives in 2016-17?
As part of the 2016-2017 budget process, staff have been asked to submit business cases for new initiatves that are not currently part of the operating budget. Included in this list totaling $1.8M is the cost of operating 3 TDSB pools that the City has said it no longer will fund as of September 2016. This came as a complete surprise to Trustees and obviously, to these communities. These include the pools at Brown, Laurier CI and Bendale BTI. Staff advise that in order to continue the operations of these pools which are used as part of the school's phys ed program, $530K will need to be added to the Facility Services budget. They are suggesting the Board wait until the GSNs are announced to see if there is money in the budget to cover the cost. I am planning to discuss this fully at the Budget Committee on Tuesday and see what commitments can be made. To read about each of this initiatives including more details on the pools, click here. We vote on the Operating Budget on March 30.

The capital budget covers major renovation, repairs and improvements to buildings. Capital funding cannot be used to support operations or programs. Staff will present this year’s capital budget at the June meeting.

Our live Online Budget Forum took place on March 3, 2016 between 8-9pm. If you missed it, the transcript of the full chat is available here for the next few weeks.

System-wide Screening of all students in Grade 3 for Giftedness beginning this Spring
The TDSB is introducing a district wide universal screening process, at the grade 3 level, to identify students with a gifted exceptionality to ensure equitable opportunity for each child to be considered for the gifted program, rather than relying on referrals from parents and teachers. According to the report presented at our last Finance and Accountability Committee, "Our current process is outdated, inequitable and does not effectively identify all the students in the board who could benefit from gifted programming. Very few experts presently define giftedness solely as high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) (Borlands 2009)." 
Trustees approved a contract to provide the screening test Canadian Cognitive Avilities Test (CCAT4) recommended by TDSB Chiefs of Psychology and our Special Education Executive Staff. It has multiple-criterion and attempts to capture students who possess a broach range of characteristics which may be associated with giftedness, such as creativity and academic excellence. If a student meets the CCAT criterion, they will be referred for Stage Two in the process, an Intellectual Screening with a member of theTDSB's Psychological Services department. Parental approval will be required at each stage. 

New EcoSchools Newsletter: Apply for bike racks, cycling education
The latest TDSB Ecoschools newsletter has important information for schools on a path to becoming more environmentally conscious and sustainable. Read about how your school can apply for bike racks and cycle rodeos, celebrate TDSB Earth Hour on March 11, and register for April 11's Clean Toronto's Schoolyard Clean-up day!      

TDSB’s New Online Permit System for Community Use of Schools
We are excited to announce that a new software package will be used to manage permit bookings for community use of schools beginning in 2016-17. The software that we have been using for over 15 years is being retired. The Permit Department gathered feedback from our clients to improve the booking system. Currently, the Permit Department is working with our vendor towards fully launching the system to accept permit applications starting in May 2016, for all permits starting in September 2016.  Learn more.  

March Break  Activities

Every March break, students and families from across the TDSB have the opportunity to participate in March Break Camps that are being offered in our schools by community partners. Click here for a list of programs. 

With some advance planning, you can get a Toronto Public Library Culture Pass to get your family in free to many museums and the Ontario Science Centre. Other possibilities:

French as a Second Language Advisory Committee (FSLAC) Newsletter
In this issue please find the following:
1.      Toronto Public Library - Free March Break Fun in French
2.      #mon20mars
3.      Visiting Ottawa during March Break?
4.      Parents as Partners Conference
5.      Enrolment Update
6.      TFO Education via IDÉLLO
7.      TDSB Summer French
8.      Looking for Summer Activities in French?
9.      Awesome Parent Story
10.   You are Invited!
Click here for the articles.

New Invitations -
New TDSB Parent Portal - Thursday, March 10 from 6-9pm at 5050 Yonge in the Boardroom
The TDSB is developing a Parent Portal that will allow parents/guardians to track their children’s academic progress, view attendance and school calendars and further enhance communication with their child’s teachers. We are exploring as a board, how a new information sharing tool can be leveraged to further engage parents/guardians to become more active in their children’s education. The portal will be made available from any internet enabled desktop including mobile devices. Parents are invited to a demonstration of a parent portal on March 10. Please confirm your attendance by clicking here.   

Focus on Youth Job Applications Open March 7 
The objective of Focus on Youth Toronto (FOYT) is to support high quality program opportunities for children and youth in Toronto’s less affluent areas. Programs promote learning through play, healthy lifestyle and positive self-image.  FOYT provides employment and leadership opportunities for youth aged 16 years and up who are in a TDSB secondary school. Summer employment pays $11.25/hr. Applications will be available here on March 7.

Minister's Youth Advisory Council Applications Close March 11 
The Ontario Ministry of Education is now accepting applications from students in Grades 7 to 12 who go to publicly funded schools and who want to be part of the Minister's Student Advisory Council. Applications are accepted until March 11 at this site. If you are a student, this is an excellent opportunity to have your voice and opinions on education heard by the decision-makers. You are the one with experience of the system and now you have a chance to make a difference - apply! 

Casting Call! Shoot Date: Sunday March 13
MILO CASTING is seeking families for a National Charity Campaign. Families selected will earn $750 - $1,000 for a half-day shoot! They are seeking families of 2 adults and 1 or 2 children under the age of 16 that are of Aboriginal / First Nation / Métis background. If interested, e-mail the following to:
  1. Your full name and names of each family member submitting
  2. Contact information (phone and email)
  3. Family photograph. Professional shots not needed, candids are fine.
  4. Please write “Project Charity” in the subject line followed by your last name

Evergreen Learning Grounds Grants for Schoolyard Greening due March 28
The Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program helps schools create outdoor classrooms to provide students with a healthy place to play, learn and develop a respect for nature. Up to $3,500 is available for the purchase of native plant species, heritage seeds, tools, materials and professional services such as a landscape design professional. Applications are accepted for this school year on Monday, March 28, 2016.

Worth Repeating...
Applications for Parents Reaching Out Grants 2016-17 Now Open - Grant applications for the 2016-17 school year are now open and will be accepted until May 29, 2016. In the 2015-16 school year, the province funded more than 2,200 projects that helped identify barriers to parent engagement and found local solutions to help more parents be engaged in their children's learning. For more information, click on     
Presentation by Jennifer Kolari, March 30, 7-8pm at Oakwood CI, 991 St Clair  Av - Oakwood Collegiate invites all parents to attend a Parent Presentation by Jennifer Kolari. This presentation will show parents the importance of communication in the parent-child relationship. Her Website is: Light refreshments will be provided. Chilcare available if requested at
2015-2016 is Hodgson’s 100th Anniversary year! Hold May 13-14, 2016 - Hodgson's 100th anniversary celebration is scheduled for Friday, May 13, 2016 and Saturday, May 14, 2016. There will be more information coming about this event, but we wanted to make sure that you marked the dates on your calendar. #Hodgson100th (100th Anniversary Committee Chair). 
TDSB Museum, Fine Art, Archival and Artifact Collection open March 17 and 17- The Museum (located at Eastern Commerce CI, 16 Phin Avenue) will open its doors to the public on Tuesday, March 15 (10 am – 7 pm) and Thursday, March 17 (10 am – 5 pm) for the first time since relocating in 2014.
2016 Excellence Awards: Nominations Now Open
We want to recognize the great work of outstanding staff across the system. Those who go above and beyond to support our Years of Action plan and our five strategic directions. We invite you – staff, students, parents, community members – to nominate a TDSB staff member or team whose work has made a difference in your life or those around you. Click here for the Nomination Form. Want to know more? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.    
TDSB Parent Conference 2016: Parents as Partners - April 16, 2016 The Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC), Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee and Model Schools for Inner Cities’ Parent Academies are partnering to bring one INCLUSIVE conference on Saturday, April 16, 2016. Please click
Have a Great March Break! Next Update March 20th
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