colourful line
Dear friends, 
Yesterday, the TDSB observed the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. Schools all took different approaches, with classes taking part in discussions, learning and projects, and many of these will form part of a larger plan of learning to be carried out throughout the school year.
I had the privelege of attending one of these events at Northern Secondary School on Wednesday. Students from Northern worked together with elementary students from Kensington Public School through an initiative to create orange clay heart pins (#projectorangeheArt), and where funds raised by donations will go towards a shelter for indigenous women. This event also featured a drumming circle from Toronto Council Fire, through a new partnership formed between this group and Northern Secondary School.
Experiences like this serve to deepen student learning and are crucial to our commitment to fulfilling the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. If you have children in our schools, ask them how their classes marked yesterday, and what kind of things they learned. It may make for a great dinner conversation!  And to learn more about Orange Shirt Day and #projectorangeheART, see the sections below in the body of this newsletter for more details. 
Board News:
At our September Board Meeting (September 22), Trustees were updated on the implementation of the Mandatory Vaccine Procedure, passed in August by the Board of Trustees to ensure our buildings are as safe and healthy as possible for students and staff alike.  An update on progress is shared below.
Trustees were also pleased to approve plans for the opening of the Boyne Natural Science School as an Indigenous land-based learning site. As stated in a news release:
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Urban Indigenous Education Centre (UIEC), with guidance from the Elders Council, will open the Boyne Natural Science School as an Indigenous Land-Based Learning site.Trustees unanimously supported the initiative during this evening’s Regular Board Meeting.
This site is located on 308.5 acres of the Niagara Escarpment, adjacent to the Bruce Trail and the Boyne River Provincial Park. Its reopening supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action and supports Indigenous Education on The Land for all students, staff and Indigenous communities.
The Indigenous Land-Based Learning site, which will have one to two classes on location at a time will feature programming that focuses on holistic Indigenous health and well-being (physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual) in support of Indigenous student success. It will also include professional learning, community engagement, partnerships, curriculum resource development and innovation, research and development, and reconciliation through Indigenous perspectives.
To support the expansion of Land-Based Learning through Indigenous ways of knowing and being, UIEC staff will create resources to support all curriculum areas based on Indigenous Pedagogies; including, but not limited to Indigenous cultures and traditions, Indigenous language revitalization, archery, canoe/kayak building, hiking, maple syrup programming, mapping and orienteering, medicine harvesting and walks, mountain biking and snow shoeing.
In the future, the TDSB anticipates the site can be restored to support larger groups for day and overnight programming when the pandemic allows.
To learn more about this exciting initiative, click here.
Board Meetings:
This week has been a busy one for trustees as well, with two standing committee meetings running back to back on Wednesday, September 29. Of particular importance, staff briefed trustees at the Special Finance, Budget, and Enrolment Committee (FBEC) meeting on 2021-2022 enrolment and provided a staffing update. As background, it is important to know that throughout the month of September, the planning department collects weekly counts of children attending school (as opposed to projected numbers, upon which staffing was assigned in spring and summer). Unfortunately, we are learning that our actual numbers are lower than expected, especially among junior kindergarten students, leaving us with a larger deficit than expected. Not wanting to lay anyone off, we are realigning and reorganizing some classes in the coming weeks with a focus on lowering our largest class sizes, and have called on our chair to write to the province to ask that we be funded to our projected enrolment so that we can balance our budget. At this time more than ever, it is important that we keep classes as small as possible, support students coming out of the pandemic, and ensure the stability of our system. 
Read more in the Slide presentation on the Report on 2021-22 Enrolment, Class Size and Staffing Update.
At the Governance and Policy Committee Meeting (GPC), trustees were also updated on a variety of matters, including an update on the development of a new communications policy, as well as the status of the Specialized Schools and Programs Policy review. Many of you may recall that the Specialized Schools and Programs Policy was paused during the pandemic. We have now been alerted to staff's plan to resume this policy review beginning in late November with a renewed 45-day consultation period. As this consultation gets set to begin, more information will be communicated so that everyone can have opportunities to provide feedback. To read the staff update provided to GPC, please click here
I am pleased to announce upcoming dates for my Virtual Ward 11 Coffee Mornings (via Zoom), with the first set for Wednesday, Oct. 13th, 9:30 - 11:00am. These are informal gatherings, where we will be joined by our Ward 11 superintendents, Roni Felsen and Andrew Howard. All attendees must pre-register. It's a space for all of us in Ward 11 to share updates, discuss education and connect! We hope you will join us.
The schedule of Coffee Morning dates (so far) is as follows: October 13, November 24 and January 12. To learn more about these events and to register for the first (virtual) meeting, click: here.
This morning we received word that staff have now developped a plan to support the safe and gradual re-entry of wind instruments in elementary and secondary schools which has been approved by Toronto Public Health (TPH). As with all other activities, our first priority is ensuring that appropriate health and safety measures are in place. Together with TPH, we will continue to monitor the situation and make any adjustments as necessary to ensure that the reintroduction of these activities does not lead to further spread of COVID-19.
At this time, wind instruments are permitted for playing within a cohort indoors with distancing requirements. Wind instruments are permitted outdoors in mixed cohorts with physical distancing, and outdoor playing is recommended wherever possible. Specific considerations and guidelines have been established for both elementary and secondary schools, which school staff will be reviewing in the coming days to establish a plan for schools at the local school level.
We thank everyone for their continued patience and understanding as we work to get things up and running. We look forward to providing students with the opportunity to begin playing wind instruments again!
Parent Engagement - FSLAC & PIAC, School Councils
In the past two weeks, our French as a Second Language Advisory Committee (FSLAC) and Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) Advisory have been hard at work! 
Among the topics on the Agenda at FSLAC (September 21) was the important change coming to our early French Immersion progamming, which will, as of next fall, start in JK/Junior Kindergarten instead of Senior Kindergarten, as it has in the past. During this 'bridge year' of 2022/2023, students will be allowed to start French Immersion both in JK and SK. To reach parents of future JK students, many of whom do not yet have children in school, a special communications strategy is being developed. Please watch for communications beginning in October, and spread the word!
Also announced at FSLAC is the opening of a *NEW* early French Immersion program at Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy in Thorncliffe Park in Ward 11This is exciting and welcome news, as students from this neighbourhood have been bussed long distances in order to attend pre-existing French Immersion programs. In 2022/2023, this program will open to JK and SK students, will thereafter feature an incoming JK year, and will grow at one grade per year, moving into Thorncliffe Park PS in grade 1 in 2023/2024. More information on this new program will be circulated in the coming month. 
At PIAC (September 28), staff gave important updates about School Council Operations, Policy Reviews (parent engagement, school improvement process), vaccinations and more: read all in the PIAC Update from the PCEO/Parent & Community Engagement Office. PIAC Trustee Trixie Doyle also provided important information about vaccinations, Board Meetings, and more (read here).
Some Important dates and events to mark in your calendar: 
October 6: Post-Secondary Information Session for Grade 12 families (7 - 8:15pm)
This session is aimed at helping parents/guardians and students better understand the post-secondary admissions process during COVID-19. This event is meant to support the post-secondary initiatives that schools are coordinating for their students locally.
October 16 & 17: Parents as Partners Virtual Conference 2021 (10am - 3pm)
With keynote speakers (Dr. James Makokis, Cherry Rose Tan), workshops, networking. Registration opening soon at
November 27 & 28: PIAC Annual Conference - Ready, Set, Engage (web page)
Detailed information to follow in the coming weeks.
Below you will find more information on the topics mentioned above as well as additional items that may be of interest to parents and caregivers, including how to get middle school vaccinations, COVID-19 testing and vaccine information, and much much more. 
COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Status
The Ministry of Education requires all school board employees in Ontario to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status. Below, you will find TDSB staff disclosure data as of September 24, 2021. TDSB continues to contact staff directly to complete the attestation form.
Of note, to protect the health and safety of employees, students, families and community members, the TDSB has developed a COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccine Procedure for Staff, Trustees, and other individuals who have direct contact with staff or students at a TDSB workplace. Learn more in the September 14 News Release.
Total number of individuals to which the policy will apply: 40,239. As of Sept. 24, 90% of employees had completed an attestation.
  • Total number and percentage of individuals who have attested to being fully vaccinated: 32,059 or 88.45% and 1,190 or 3.28% are partially vaccinated.
  • Total number and percentage of individuals with approved medical exemptions for not being fully vaccinated: 0 or 0%.
Schools and administrative buildings now have received Rapid Antigen Test Kits, which are to be used by staff who are not completely vaccinated (i.e. 14 days past final vaccination) or who have not yet disclosed their COVID-19 vaccination status as required by the Ministry of Education and in compliance with the TDSB’s Mandatory Vaccination Procedure as we work to get this policy fully implemented.
Finally, we will continue our advocacy to the government that COVID-19 vaccinations be added to the list of compulsory vaccinations for all eligible students. 
COVID-19 Advisories
The COVID-19 Advisories web page provides a list of the active confirmed cases and resolved cases of COVID-19 among students and/or staff in TDSB schools.
Please note that all schools where there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 will receive a letter from Toronto Public Health (TPH) to inform them about the possible exposure. 
In the TDSB, as of September 30, 2021 at noon, there were 160 student cases and 21 cases among staff and 33 cases resolved. 
As of September 24, 1,372 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in publicly funded schools in the past 14 days. Of those cases, 1,203 were students, 158 were staff, and 11 were not identified. One of the 4,844 schools in the province was closed as of last week. 
Updates from Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) / East Toronto Health Network (ETHN)
MGH COVID Testing and Outreach sites:  Covid-testing is easier than ever! If you or a family member is experiencing covid symptoms, there are multiple ways to get a covid test. Aside from booking a covid test, MGH is operating COVID-19 Outreach Centres in priority neighbourhoods in East Toronto. These Centres offer drop-inno appointment COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and other supports to help make these resources as low-barrier as possible. They’re staffed by local family physicians and nurses who patients can trust to share reliable, evidence-based information about COVID-19 and vaccines. Take-home COVID-19 PCR testing kits may also be picked up and dropped off at these sites for processing.
Please note that children who visit the COVID-19 Outreach Centres can receive the PCR oral-nasal test.
Seven COVID-19 Outreach Centres are now open in East Toronto, including in Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park, Taylor-Massey (Crescent Town), Warden Woods, Main & Danforth, Pape & Cosburn, and South Riverdale.  Please see the web page for days/hours of operation. 
All sites accept WALK-IN for testing and accept drop off of the take-home COVID-19 testing kits.  No appointments are required.  The MGH pediatric area of the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at the hospital also accepts walk-ins and drop off of the COVID-19 testing kits. 
Vaccines in 5-11 year olds: We heard exciting news from Pfizer last week that they intend to submit their application for vaccine approval for the 5-11 year olds in the next few weeks.  Depending on Health Canada approvals and vaccine availability we hope to be able to offer vaccines to the 5-11 year old age group starting in November. We will be working with TPH, school boards and other partners to have an accessible strategy for vaccines in this age group in East Toronto.
Vaccine FAQ handout and multilingual resources
a. With the support of community partners, we have developed and translated a vaccine FAQ handout. Considering the recent eligibility changes, we’ve created an updated English FAQ Handout.
b. The FAQ handout may be distributed alongside the clinic flyers to help increase vaccine confidence. The FAQ is also available at
c. In addition, there are multilingual resources on the COVID-19 vaccine from Women’s College Hospital and the City of Toronto. There are some youth specific handouts and videos available on the City of Toronto website. 
Pop-up vaccine clinics:  Please see the Toronto East Health Network/Michael Garron hospital website for vaccine clinics this coming week. They offer first and second doses by walk-in to everyone born in 2009 or earlier (i.e. turning age 12 or older this year). Please share with your communities.
Among the nearby locations that have regular clinics, are: 
  • Thorncliffe Park Community Hub (45 Overlea Blvd)
  • Eglinton Square Shopping Centre (Eglinton & Vic Park - enter next to Hudson's Bay)
This week there are also a number of school based vaccine clinics. Any families, students and staff are welcome to attend at any school for vaccinations.The school-based clinics this week include:
  • Friday, October 1, 4-8 pm: Oakridge Jr PS
  • Saturday, October 2, 4-8 pm: Presteign Heights Elementary School
  • Sunday, October 3, 4-8 pm: George Webster Elementary School
  • Tuesday, October 5, 4-8 pm: Rosedale Heights School of the Arts
    Tuesday, October 5, 4-8 pm: Clairlea Public School
  • Wednesday, October 6, 4-8pm: Diefenbaker Elementary School
Vaccines provide the best protection against COVID-19 and variants. The sooner you get both of your shots, the better for all.
Toronto's data is updated twice per week on Tuesdays and Fridays by 9:30am, except on statutory holidays. As of September 27:
  • 85.6% of 12+ with at least one shot (which is 76.0% of all Torontonians);
  • 80.4% off 12+ fully vaccinated (71.4% of all Torontonians)
Among youth 12-17 years old: 
  • 86% with at least one shot. 
  • 78% fully vaccinated
More more details are available on the City's Vaccine Data web page. With the Delta variant circulating widely, epidemiologists are indicating we need to see a higher percentage of vaccinations in order to avoid huge spikes in cases in the fourth wave, so let's go Toronto, this is "our shot"! 

Vaccine Hunters Canada now has vaccine finding information by region / PHU, including DAILY POP-UPs, WALK-INs and APPOINTMENT options - and the information is updated nightly - please click
East Toronto Clinics: See information above. 
TDSB: The TDSB COVID-19 Vaccines page also has information about daily pop-up clinics in TDSB schools and links to Vaccine Hunters and other resouces. Please visit the TDSB Covid-19 Vaccines page
Restarting School Immunization Program Clinics - non-COVID
Do you have a child in grade 7 & above? Toronto Public Health is restarting its publicly funded school vaccination program to protect students in grades 7 and up from hepatitis B, human papillomavirus and meningococcal disease. This program was put on hold during the pandemic and is now resuming but not directly in schools this year. 
Instead, students can receive these vaccinations by appointment only at city-run immunization sites. The process is easy and you can now book appointments here:
2021-2022 school year banner
2021/2022 School Year Information

For all information about the 2021/2022 school year, check the special web section of the TDSB website regularly, as information is frequently updated. 

The Questions & Answers section has additional information about: Elementary Schools; Secondary Schools; Selection Form; Virtual Learning; Extra Curriculars; Mental Health & Well-Being; Health & Safety; Covid-19 in Schools.
September 17 Q&A Update had information about: Vaccinations; Health & Safety; Masks; Ventilation; Extra Curricular; Elementary & Secondary Schools; Specialized Education/Specalized Programs; Virtual Learning; Elections; Permits; Student Transportation.
Student Device Program: for all students in grades 5 & 9!
The TDSB is launching a 1:1 Student Device Program for students in Grades 5 and 9. The program will offer students a district-owned and managed Chromebook for educational use. This device will be assigned directly to the student and will stay with them over a four-year period, 24/7. Students will be able to take them home each night, on weekends and over holidays and will be required to bring them to school each day to support their in-class learning. This Board-wide initiative supports learning through technology, digital citizenship and our commitment to equity of access to technology.

Prior to receiving a device families will need to opt-in to the program by completing a Device Agreement. The device agreement will be available through the digital start of the year forms or in hard copy. Families may choose to opt-out of the device program and use a personal device instead or choose not to use a device during school hours.
Virtual Mental Health Support

Professional Support Services is offering virtual drop-in hours for parents and caregivers to discuss strategies to help support the mental health and well-being of your child.

There are sessions open to all (Tuesday's 10-11am; Thursday's 7-8pm) and a special drop-in for parents/caregivers of students with special/complex needs (Wednesday's 7-8pm). 

Learn more about Virtual Mental Health Support and/or click on the images above for the session links. 

TDSB Student Planner

There is a lot of information in your child's student planner - please see this link for the TDSB Planner 2021-22 Common Pages

TDSB has launched a new online app to help high school students stay connected and organized. Once a student logs into the app with their TDSB school ID, their timetable is automatically populated and they will have access to school announcements, updates, local calendars and more. 
Subsequent phases will include features such as the student safety line, notifications and opportunities to share your voice, and also a version for elementary students and families. 
The TDSB Connects App supports our commitment to be more digitally-friendly, reduce paper and find new and engaging ways to connect with students to support their success. 
Permits Restarting
We continue to prioritize the health and safety of all users and thank you for your patience as we work through strategies for opening our schools for community use safely. Staff have planned a gradual, phased return to community use of our facilities for the 2021-22 school year. Final decisions on resuming permits for the fall will be guided by the directions from the province and Toronto Public Health (TPH), but our proposed resumption schedule is:
  • Before & Afterschool programs including City ARC - Thursday, Sep 9, 2021
  • All Swimming Pool Permits - Monday, September 13
  • Weekend Community Permits (Saturday & Sunday) - Saturday, Oct 16, 2021
  • Weekday Community Permits (Monday – Friday) - To be decided
New website for TLC/Toronto Lands Corporation - with school-specific info!
Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC) launched a new website over the summer. At torontolandscorp.comit has the most up-to-date information on the plans and accomplishments of the TDSB’s real estate and land use planning subsidiary.
Of particular interest to the community will be the 2021-22 TLC Annual Plan, the  basis of TLC’s work over the next year transforming student learning environments through the modernization of facilities, creating a culture of partnership & collaboration with stakeholders and  successfully aligning TLC’s & TDSB’s Missions and the Shareholder’s Directions.
The website’s Data Deck is an informative display of useful school building information on the size, age, acreage, capacity, current and projected enrollment, operating costs and repair backlog broken down by Ward of every operating school across the Board. 
See: Ward 11 Schools
Finally, watch the two new motion graphic videos, and visit the new website here:
Policy Consultations
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is committed to open and inclusive policy decision-making and values community input and participation through consultation. Policy development and reviews are carried out in accordance with the policy review schedule that is approved by the Board of Trustees and is revised on a regular basis. To view the latest Policy Review Schedule please click here.
Please click on the policy of your interest to see the current draft. You are welcome to provide your comments, including suggestions on the wording and provisions of the draft policies, questions or recommendations using the contact information below.

Parent and Community Involvement Policy

  • Objective: To establish a framework for building and supporting parent and community involvement in the Toronto District School Board. 
  • We are currently reviewing P023 – Parent and Community Involvement Policy and are inviting feedback from our community as we develop the first draft of the policy.
  • Learn more, and share your voice, at

Specialized Schools and Programs Policy

TDSB Recognizes Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2021
Asd mentioned above, September 30th marked the first annual National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, which was passed by legislation this summer to become a federal statutory holiday. To learn more, visit
Established in 2013, Orange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis Webstad, who was excited to wear her new orange shirt to her first day of school in 1973. However, when she arrived at St. Joseph Mission Residential School, her shirt was taken and never returned. From that day forward, the colour orange, for Phyllis, reminded her of that moment, how her feelings didn’t matter, how she felt like she wasn’t worth anything and that no one cared for the children who were crying about it that day. 
To learn more about Phyllis’ story and Orange Shirt Day visit Follow @UIEC_tdsb and @tdsb on Twitter to see how students and staff from across the Toronto District School Board recognized Orange Shirt Day.
Now, on this day, we recognize the legacy of the residential schools system for First Nations, Métis and Inuit families and communities.Together, we coninue to learn the many truths of these institutions. 
We acknowledge the legacy of residential schools in Canada by wearing orange and we honour the survivors. We remember the thousands of children who were murdered and buried in unmarked graves. 
During Truth and Reconciliation Week, September 27 to October 1, we encourage schools to participate in events offered by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
For more information, visit the Urban Indigenous Education Centre (UIEC) website., and its Resource page
Project Orange HeART
Project Orange HeART (#ProjectOrangeART) is a new and exciting initiative shared with us by Indigenous Student Trustee Shafqat, Student Trustee Jyoti, and TDSB Teacher Dileo.
Though Project Orange HeART, TDSB students have are making clay orange hearts to support Orange Shirt Day on September 30th. This is meant to be a complimentary initiative to tie into Orange Shirt Day, as we know some staff, students, and community members are unable to wear an orange shirt whether that be due to a uniform mandate or formal dress code. This project will give people with limitations the ability to show their support of Orange Shirt Day by purchasing an Orange Heart Pin. Proceeds from these pins will be donated to Anduhyaun Inc., the oldest Aboriginal woman’s shelter in Toronto.
Founded in 1973 by five grandmothers, Anduhyaun Inc. is a not-profit registered charity. Initially begun as a hostel, Anduyyaun now provides emergency shelter and second stage transitional housing to women and their children fleeing violence. This shelter provides culturally-inclusive, safe spaces so that those who are in need of help are able to focus on healing and wellness.
TDSB to launch Sankofa Black Heritage Series Teachers’ Guide
The TDSB is launching a new Teachers Guide in collaboration with Rubicon Publishing.
The Sankofa Black Heritage Series Teachers’ Guide includes 15 rich learning experiences for students, based on the 15 books in the series. The learning experiences support the implementation of Black-centred texts and culturally relevant pedagogies in junior and intermediate literacy classrooms.
Each learning experience focuses on the powerful, diverse, and complex stories, histories, and cultures of Black people. The use of Black-authored and Black-centred texts is vital for Black and non-racialized students and teachers to deepen their understanding of the incredible and complex histories, stories, and cultural legacies of people of African descent.
The guide will be available soon on:
October is Islamic Heritage Month
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) proudly recognizes Islamic Heritage Month during the month of October since our Board of Trustees passed their motion on June 22, 2016. Our main theme for the month continues to be:  Reflect. Celebrate. Learn.
October is Somali Heritage Month
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) proudly recognizes Somali Heritage Month during the month of October. The TDSB has been marking Somali Heritage Month since June 2016, and we continue to expand on the selected theme Educate. Elevate. Excel. 
2021-2022 School Year Calendar
The last day of class is June 30 (for elementary students) or June 29 (for secondary students).
There are no classes for students on the dates listed below (first next day without school on Thanksgiving, Monday, October 11):

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions, comments or concerns. I hope to see many of you on my first coffee morning of the 2021-2022 school year on October 13th! 

Have a wonderful weekend,

Rachel Chernos Lin, Ward 11 TDSB Trustee, Don Valley West

If you notice anything at a school that concerns you, please call the TDSB Security Call Centre (416) 395-4620 and the Toronto Police - non-emergencies can be reported by calling ‪416-808-2222.

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