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TDSB Chair's Newsletter

Volume 7 - December 2016

NEWS - Happy Holidays!

TDSB Chair and Vice Chair Elected
Robin Pilkey was acclaimed Chair of the Toronto District School Board during the annual Organizational Board meeting on December 1, 2016. Trustee Chris Moise was elected to the position of Vice Chair. Learn more. Check out Trustee appointments to Standing Committees. See the schedule and agendas for Board Meetings and Standing Committees.
TDSB Teachers Selected for Prestigious Google Innovator Program

Two TDSB teachers have been selected to take part in the Google for Education Certified Innovator Program. Larissa Aradj  from Lord Lansdowne Public School and Zélia Capitão-Tavares from McMurrich Junior Public School will join 36 other innovative teachers from around the world to take part in this one-year professional development opportunity. Follow Capitão-Tavares’ Google Innovator Project on Social Entrepreneurship on Twitter @McMBusinessDay. Learn more about Aradj’s Google Innovator Project and follow her on Twitter @MrsGeekChic and @ZeliaMCT.
Landmark Development Planned for TDSB’s Bloor-Dufferin Lands

A landmark redevelopment plan – created by the TDSB, the Toronto Lands Corporation, the Ontario Ministry of Education and the City of Toronto – will bring unique community and educational benefits to the sale of surplus school space. The plan includes:
  • the sale of 7.3 acres of surplus school lands at the corner of Bloor and Dufferin;
  • a proposed 30,000 square foot community hub that will include licensed childcare spaces;
  • a replacement high school to be constructed on the retained portion of TDSB lands; and,
  • a mixed-use development.
TDSB Trustees Concerned About Proposed City Cuts to Childcare
As part of the City of Toronto Budget 2017, Child Services is recommending phasing out the Childcare Occupancy Grant, which supports school-based childcare centres. The budget also includes a proposed cut of 75 new fee subsidies, which were approved in the 2016 budget and were supposed to be implemented in 2017. 
The elimination of these funds will make childcare more expensive for many families in our city and make licensed care less accessible. Trustees are working within their communities to to urge city councillors to reject these harmful cuts. Learn more.
City to Fund Improvements at Four Elementary Schools
The TDSB received $150,000 from the City of Toronto for school improvements at four elementary schools. These funds will go towards a sensory garden project at Beverley Junior Public School, improvements to the school grounds at Morse Street Junior Public School and Runnymede Junior Public School, and improvements to the playground at Ogden Junior Public School. Read the Board decision (page 10).
Monarch Park CI's Penny Oleksiak Named Canada's Athlete of the Year

Monarch Park Collegiate Institute student, Penny Oleksiak is the winner of the annual Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's athlete of the year.
As one of the youngest athletes to ever win the trophy, Oleksiak joins the list of other Canadian sporting legends including Wayne Gretzky, Terry Fox, Donovan Bailey, and Steve Nash.
At 16, Oleksiak was the youngest member of Canada’s 2016 Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro, setting a new Olympic record in the 100m freestyle and a national record in the 100m butterfly. Learn more.
TDSB Headquarters to Reduce Use of Disposable Water Bottles 

In an effort to reduce waste and decrease the environmental footprint, staff at TDSB's main office at 5050 Yonge Street will be encouraged to ditch disposable water bottles. This campaign supports the TDSB's commitment to environmental sustainability. Read the Board decision (page 14).
Board Requests Photo Radar Revenue for Capital Repairs
The Government of Ontario recently announced that it intends to introduce legislation to improve safety in school zones by enabling municipal governments to use photo radar and other tools to target unsafe drivers.
In a letter to the Premier and the Minister of Education, the Board is requesting that the revenues generated by photo radar enforcement go to school boards to repair and maintain playing fields, playgrounds, and tracks. Read the Board decision (page 16).
Citizen Directors Appointed to Toronto Lands Corporation

The Board has reappointed three Citizen Directors to the Toronto Lands Corporation, the real-estate arm of the TDSB which manages land transactions including sale of sites, leasing of school properties and the integration of community hubs. Steven Zakem, Michael Fenn and Sheerin Sheikh will serve three-year terms from December 1, 2016 to November 30, 2019. Read the Board decision (page 18).


Closure of Vaughan Road Academy
A Pupil Accommodation Review was completed to address low enrolment and program viability at Vaughan Road Academy. Following the review process, the Board decided to close Vaughan Road Academy, effective June 30, 2017. Read the Board decision (page 2).
Closing Vaughan Road Academy was a difficult decision for everyone involved. Staff is committed to making sure affected students are supported through the transition process and once they move to other area schools.  
Find out more about current Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (PARCs) processes and the TDSB's long term strategy.
TDSB to Review Toronto Lands Corporation

A third party review of the Toronto Lands Corporation, the real estate arm of the TDSB, will be undertaken to determine if the current and future needs of the Board are being met. Read the Board decision (page 3).
Improving Communications About Access to Special Education Programs
The Board has asked staff for a report on ways to improve how students with special education needs and their families access programs, services and supports. This report, and any actions required, will be addressed through the Integrated Equity Framework. Read the Board decision (page 2)
Improving Processes for Addressing Parent and Student Concerns in Special Education Accommodations
The Board has asked staff for a report to ensure students with special education needs and their families have a fair and effective process for raising concerns about TDSB accommodations. This report, and any actions required, will be addressed through the Integrated Equity Framework. Read the Board decision (page 3).
Enhancing Digital Accessibility
Digital accessibility is important for students, families and community members within the TDSB. Through the Integrated Equity Framework, staff will address actions related to digital accessibility including educational equipment and technology, websites, staff training and an implementation plan. Read the Board decision (page 6).
Ensuring Accessibility in TDSB Schools and Buildings
In order to ensure TDSB schools and other educational facilities meet accessibility requirements, the Board has directed staff to present a report that outlines a plan for getting this done by 2025. These actions will be addressed through the Integrated Equity Framework. Read the Board decision (page 5).
Continuing Education Community Program
Over the next three years, the Board has decided to adjust the full fee hourly rate for Continuing Education General Interest and Seniors’ Daytime programs. The annual increase, which will be to a maximum of five percent per year, will move these programs towards cost neutrality. Read the Board decision (page 3).
Instructional Practices During Heat Waves
To address issues of extremely hot days in schools, staff are developing instructional and environmental practices to be used by school staff. This will include guidelines for how to use school buildings and grounds to mitigate discomfort. Read the Board decision (page 8).
Supporting the Well-being Needs of East Asian Student
To continue to support the achievement and well-being of East Asian students, the Board has directed staff to develop strategies and programs to help close the achievement, opportunity and participation gap. Read the Board decision (page 8).
Program Area Review for the York Mills Collegiate Institute Cluster Of Schools
As a result of a Program Area Review, the Board made a number of decisions about schools in the York Mills Collegiate Institute cluster. One of the changes is that York Mills will begin accepting Grade 9 students in September 2018. York Mills currently serves students in grades 10 to 12. Read the Board decision (page 12) for full details on all schools.
New Pupil Accommodation Reviews 
Pupil Accommodation Reviews will be established for a number of TDSB schools. To see the full list, read the Board decisions (pages 13-14). The purpose of these reviews is to identify strategies to reduce surplus space in schools and build viable programs.
Find out more about current Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (PARCs) processes and the TDSB's long term strategy.
Board Marks Aboriginal Education Month and United Way Campaign 
Highlights of recent celebrations in the boardroom include Aboriginal Education Month and the Board's United Way campaign.
In November, TDSB marked Aboriginal Education Month. A summary of the learning that happened in schools and other locations across the city was showcased at the Board meeting.
Students and staff also led highly successful fundraising campaigns for the United Way. Congratulations to the students at Northern Secondary School who won the United Way Student CN Tower Stair Climb Award – as they have each year since its inception.

TDSB Trustees

TDSB Director
of Education