Thankful for health, home, family, friends, food...
Hope you are enjoying a wonderful long weekend.
Thinking of Others
One of our schools C W Jefferys CI staff is spearheading a unique hurricane relief donation drive for the island of Dominica. Hurricane Maria, carrying all the force and fury of a category 5 hurricane, landed on Dominica’s shores on Monday, September 18th, 2017, leaving widespread devastation on the island and horrifying images forever etched in the memories of Dominican residents. Several Toronto and GTA agencies are working with schools to help with relief. Please see the list of most needed items below. Arrangements have been made to transport the donations to the island between now and December 8, 2017. You can either drop off the donations at C W Jefferys CI, 340 Sentinel Road, Toronto M3J 1T9. Mon – Fri between 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Tel: 416 395-3170 or 416 395-3170 Ext 20011 or call to arrange pick-up.
The drive is for a number of high demand items. If you would like to engage your school community in this hurricane disaster relief donation drive, it would be much appreciated.
Items most needed:
• Tarps 16 x 24 – Most urgently needed
• Toothpaste and toothbrushes
• Flashlights and batteries
• Diapers: baby’s and adult
• Sanitary pads
• New or gently used bath towels and wash cloths
• New or gently used baby clothes/baby bottles
• Non-perishable food items
• New underwear
• Laundry detergent
• New or gently used sheets, blankets, pillows and pillow cases
• School supplies
Summary and Recommendations of the Enhancing Equity Task Force Draft Report - We need to hear from you
The Toronto District School Board is a leader in equity, but it recognizes that more can be – and must – be done to support students, especially the most marginalized. The Board’s commitment to finding solutions in partnership with the community is evident through the creation of the Enhancing Equity Task Force – a collaborative effort between the TDSB and its communities. The Task Force’s mandate was to bring people together, learn from each other and explore what’s working, what isn’t and how to improve it.
Over the past year, the Task Force led a community engagement process to explore what equity strategies have worked and identify where challenges remain. Conversations were sharpened by asking: if we largely know what the problems are and what needs to be done, what is keeping us from making progress?
The draft recommendations that follow offer guidance to the TDSB on how to enhance delivery of an equitable education by providing direction for resource allocation and developing mechanisms to track progress. And, perhaps most importantly, seek to answer the question: now what?
How were people involved?
- Task Force Planning Group included Trustees, community members, community organizations, academics, unions, staff and students
- Four Task Force Working Groups
- Eight Task Force Joint Ward Forums reaching 1,300 community members
- Outreach to students and parents
- Enhancing Equity Task Force Summit for TDSB staff and community leaders
- Staff support (Research, Leadership Team)
What did the Task Force Hear?
Input fell into eight key categories:
- Barriers to equity including inequities between schools, students, and neighbourhoods, socio-economic issues and structural issues like programs and policies. (report pages 13, 14)
- Bias and discrimination including racism, Islamophobia, biased curriculum and materials, biased teachers and staff. (report pages 14-16)
- Need for more inclusivity including cultural representation and appreciation, needs of newcomers and refugee families, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, learning styles. (report pages 16, 17)
- Need for more student voice including opportunities to engage students meaningfully and ensuring students have access to caring adults in schools. (report page 17)
- Need for more authentic parent and community relationships. (report page 18)
- Special Education including improving parent engagement in decision-making, exploring better support models and addressing accessibility issues. (report page 19)
- Need for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force. (report pages 19, 20)
- Need for more professional learning for everyone. (report page 20)
- Need for accountability and transparency on equity issues. (report pages 20, 21)
What Patterns and Themes Emerged?
- The problems of social and economic inequity are greater than the Toronto District School Board. (report page 22)
- Divisions between and within schools. Wherever there were divisions between schools, traditionally marginalized students ended up being under-represented and not having equitable access to these opportunities as other students. (report pages 22, 23)
- Developing a mindset of true partnership and mutual respect with students, parents, caregivers and communities. (report pages 23-24)
- The need for monitoring, transparency, tracking and reporting. There is no central system for recording or tracking incidents based on discrimination, racism or hate in schools and, when incidents do occur, how they are dealt with varies widely. (report pages 24-25)
From all of this, one clear vision emerged: equitable access to specialized programs in strong neighbourhood schools including:
- Equitable learning opportunities, free of barriers, for all students to reach their full potential;
- Programming and staffing that is reflective, relevant and responsive to the cultures, identities and needs of the students and the community served;
- A school culture that is safe, welcoming, caring and actively stands against bias and discrimination including racism and hate; and
- Active engagement with parents/caregivers and the community as authentic partners in promoting students’ learning and well-being.
Share your voice! Let us know what you think about the draft recommendations. What resonates with you? What's missing? Please respond by the end of October.
Body Confidence Awareness Week October 9-13
The TDSB is recognizing its first annual Body Confidence Awareness Week in the second week of October. Speaking openly with students about body image and confidence is important to help build self-esteem. The Board’s student census reports offer some concerning statistics that discrimination on the basis of body image was the highest form of harassment reported in Grades 7 and 8; 27% of high school students reported being treated negatively based on other peoples’ perceptions of their bodies; and that only 58% of high school students liked how they looked.
All students have the right to learn and thrive socially, emotionally and academically in a safe and caring school environment that is conducive to optimal performance and student success without fear of discrimination based on their appearance. This week will serve to remind and highlight the importance of positive body image, healthy relationships and safe and caring school environments.
"Walking with our Sisters" coming to Toronto
Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS) is a commemorative art exhibit and ceremony honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit people and their families. It is being hosted at the TDSB Aboriginal Education Centre from October 15 to 29, 2017 at 16 Phin Avenue (Danforth & Donlands).
Walking With Our Sisters is by all accounts a massive commemorative art installation comprised of 1,763+ pairs of moccasin vamps (tops) plus 108 pairs of children’s vamps created and donated by hundreds of caring and concerned individuals to draw attention to this injustice. The large collaborative art piece will be made available to the public through selected galleries and locations. The work exists as a floor installation made up of beaded vamps arranged in a winding path formation on fabric and includes cedar boughs. Viewers remove their shoes to walk on a path of cloth alongside the vamps.
Each pair of vamps (or “uppers” as they are also called) represents one missing or murdered Indigenous woman. The unfinished moccasins represent the unfinished lives of the women whose lives were cut short. The children’s vamps are dedicated to children who never returned home from residential schools. Together the installation represents all these women; paying respect to their lives and existence on this earth. They are not forgotten. They are sisters, mothers, aunties, daughters, cousins, grandmothers, wives and partners. They have been cared for, they have been loved, they are missing and they are not forgotten.
Nominate a Teacher - Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence
These awards honour outstanding and innovative elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines for their remarkable educational achievements and for their commitment to preparing their students for a digital and innovation‑based economy. The recipients' monetary awards are funded by the RBC Foundation.
New this year, awards will also recognize inspirational Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teachers at the elementary or secondary school level who keep students engaged in STEM learning and who help develop the culture of innovation that Canada needs today, and in the future.
For more information, please click here
. Nomination packages must be submitted to the Prime Minister's Awards program office by email or regular mail January 12, 2018
. Late entries will not be considered.
Nominate your Outstanding Neighbour
An Invitation by the Honourable Carolyn Bennett.
In honour of Canada 150, we are celebrating the amazing neighbours and ‘unsung heros’ of Toronto-St. Paul’s. Neighbourliness, as Jane Jacobs called it, is essential to building strong and supportive communities. We want to know who is making a difference in your communities!
Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 15th, and tell us about someone who has made outstanding contributions to our community. We will celebrate with the winners at a reception, where I look forward to meeting all the outstanding neighbours of Toronto-St. Paul’s!
For more context, here is the link to her Town Crier column where she also discusses the importance of ‘neighbourliness’ and mentions the initiative.
Hold the Date - November 25
11th Annual Parent Involvement Makes A Difference Conference
Mark your calendars! The 11th Annual Parent Involvement Makes a Difference Conference is on Saturday, November 25, 2017 at Earl Haig Secondary School. This year’s theme is Nurturing Family Engagement and parents are invited to this free conference to learn more about how to be an active part of their child’s education. Workshops cover a wide range of topics related to parenting, student learning and school councils.
Registration opens soon! Bussing, child minding and translations are available through registration only. Design best-practices suggest a large font size for easy readability both on desktop and mobile devices.
Toronto Public Health: Letter for Parents/ Guardians Regarding Opioid Overdose Prevention
There has been an increase in opioid overdoses in Toronto and it’s an issue affecting many individuals in our communities including young people and their families.
Toronto Public Health has prepared a letter to share with parents and guardians with the information they need to help protect their children and families. We have been asked to help share this information (English version, French version).
Important Reminder - In Lieu of Ward Forum - Ward 11 Invited to Join Ward 12 - October 30th at Earl Haig SS from 7pm with Mitzie Hunter
Trustee Alexander Brown, Ward 12 and the parent council at McKee PS has invited Ward 11 to join with his schools at a meeting with Education Minister Mitzi Hunter. Although the topic is Overcrowding in Willowdale schools - it is, by extension, the same issue we are dealing with in many areas of our Ward that are experiencing intense residential development while schools are already full. For more information on the need for EDCs, please click here.
Instead of holding a Ward Forum in October, I am urging all interested parents and community members to attend the meeting on October 30th. It is our issue too! Details can be found below.
The Toronto District School Board is undertaking a Trustee Ward Boundary Review
...To learn more and provide input, please click here
. Public Meeting Dates:
- Monday, October 30, 7-9pm, 5050 Yonge Street, Committee Room A, Main Floor
- Monday, November 6, 7-9pm, 140 Borough Drive, Rooms 3 & 4
- Wednesday, November 8, 7-9pm, 1 Civic Centre Court, In-Service Room
Learning Partnership's Canada's Outstanding Principals™ 2017 - Nominations are now open! Click here. All nominations must be completed and submitted by midnight on October 31, 2017.
Legislative Page Program - This unique educational experience open to all Ontario students enrolled in grades 7 or 8, provides an opportunity to experience the provincial legislature in action, and to learn about the history and traditions of the Legislative Assembly. Application are open - September 15th to November 15th for the Spring Parliamentary Session (February to June of the following year). For more information, please click here.
Please note while admission to the Early French Immersion (SK entry)/Junior Extended French (Grade 4 entry) program is guaranteed at the entry points to all on time applicants, admission to a specific school is not guaranteed if the school reaches capacity and to ensure that we can support all 74 of our SK Immersion sites. Transportation is provided as per the Board's Transportation policy. For Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
Early French Immersion (SK entry)
For more info click here
Application process opens: Monday October 30, 2017
Deadline for applications: Thursday November 30, 2017
Junior Extended French (Grade 4 entry)
For more info click here
Application process opens: Monday January 8, 2018
Deadline for applications: Thursday February 8, 2018
Intermediate Extended French (Grade 7 Entry)
For more info click here
Deadline for applications: TBD February 2018
Offers of placement within your chosen program will be made to all on-time applicants in the weeks following the close of the application window. Please note: families with an older sibling currently in a French program are still required to complete an online application for the new student. For further information about French as a Second Language programs, the application process and dates for Information Evenings, please visit www.tdsb.on.ca/french.
October is Islamic Heritage Month 2017 (IHM) at the TDSB, and the academic theme of this year’s IHM is: “Reflect. Celebrate. Learn.” Click here for the IHM Resource Guide. It is also Somali Heritage Month (SHM) Heritage Month. This year, the theme that the Somali Heritage Month Planning Committee selected is “Educate Elevate Excel.” The TDSB affirms our commitment to celebrating both Islamic Heritage Month and Somali Heritage Month, and encourages students and staff to take this opportunity to learn about the history, heritage and diversity of the Somali community and the Islamic community. Please see the IHM Calendar of Events for event details for Islamic Heritage Month. Be sure to register early as space may be limited, some events fill up quickly. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @TDSB_IHM. We look forward to seeing you there! More information on Somali Heritage Month activities will be out shortly.
School Year Calendar 2017-18
The official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from September 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, inclusive. Before you set school events, please also ensure you check the Days of Significance Calendar which includes religious holidays.
For the complete School Year Calendar, click here
As always, I look forward to your comments, questions and
suggestions for topics to explore at ward forums and in future updates.