Your Ward 11 Trustee Newsletter
Your Ward 11 Trustee Newsletter
Ward 11 newletter header

Dear Parents,

It's hard to believe that winter break is almost here! December has been a very busy month in our Ward 11 schools. In between committee and board meetings, I have had the pleasure of attending a variety of school concerts and events, and was truly impressed by the performances. Such events are the culmination of many hours of hard work by students and staff, and couldn't happen without broad support from community members, and especially parents, who help make these wonderful events a reality. 
I have a lot of news and updates to report on, so feel free to get comfortable and maybe even grab a coffee or tea as you read on...
First, I want to draw your attention to some upcoming events:
COFFEE MORNING: Tuesday, January 14th, 9:15-11:15

Please join me for my first coffee and casual conversation morning event of 2020! There coffee mornings are informal roundtable discussions open to community members, parents and caregivers. We are often joined by superintendents and occasionally a principal or two! These meetings are a great chance to network and share information about what's happening in the Board and in our Ward 11 schools. Coffee mornings run from 9:15-11:15 a.m. upstairs at the Longo's on Laird. Coffee, snacks and great conversation -- I hope many of you will be able to attend!
Ward 11 Community Coffee - Jan 14, 2020

JOINT WARD FORUM: Guest Speaker, TDSB Director,

Dr. John Malloy, Feb. 6, 6:30-8:30pm @ North Toronto Collegiate

Please join me for my next ward forum coming up on February 6th from 6:30-8:30pm at North Toronto Collegiate. Trustee Shelley Laskin and I will be hosting a joint ward forum with special guest, TDSB Director of Education, Dr. John Malloy. Mr. Malloy will speak on a variety of current topics including the Secondary Review, French programming, and the Multi-Year Strategic Plan and there will be plenty of time for questions and answers with the Director and Trustees. Please see the flyer below, or click on this link, for more information on parking, child care and more. We hope you will be able to join us!
Joint Ward 8 & 11 Flyer - Feb 6, 2020
And now, some updates from the Board Room:


As many of you may know, both the Elementary and Secondary School federations (ETFO and OSSTF) have been in labour negotiations over the last couple of months with the Province and the Ontario Public School Board Association. 
Currently, ETFO has entered Phase 2 of a withdrawal of services (that include, among other things, not attending staff meetings, not distributing board or administration communications, and not scheduling new field trips between now and June 30th). OSSTF has similarly withdrawn a variety of services, and is also conducting rotating one-day strikes across the province.
We are hopeful that over the holidays the parties will take some time to consider their options and come to an agreement. The TDSB will continue to update parents via email as well as through regular updates to our website. To check for news on this issue from the TDSB as well as read all past communications to parents on this issue, please click here.


At the November board meeting, trustees passed a motion to leave bussing as status quo for the 2020-2021 school year. Although last year’s budget, passed in June 2019, planned for reductions to bussing levels, because the French Review recommendations have not yet been implemented and changes to various related issues are still in progress, staff advised that they were not ready to make decisions regarding bussing reductions at this time. Parents should also be aware that in its June 2019 budget, the Board did adopt, as a Year 2 measure, a new system for bell times practised in many of our neighbouring boards to make bussing more efficient and economical. Accordingly, for the 2020-2021 year, bell times will be varied to enable buses to do 2 routes instead of just one, with some schools beginning and ending a little earlier or a little later than at present.  As soon as more specific information is available on these plans, parents will be updated. 


The Parent Involvement Advisory Committee is a ministry-mandated committee for all Ontario school boards. The TDSB's PIAC has reps for each of our 22 wards and helps provide input to our Board as well as acts as a terrific resource for school councils and parents.
Hot off the presses, check out PIAC's latest newsletter through this link.
Ward 11 currently has one representative, but we need to fill one vacancy for the alternate spot. On January 14th, at my upcoming coffee morning, we will hold an election for this position. If you are interested in learning more about this position, or would like to put your name forward for election, please email me at I would be happy to connect you with our current (and continuing) representative, Wilmar Kortleever, who would be pleased to answer any questions about what is involved in this position.

LTPAS -- Long Term Planning and Accommodation Strategy

At the December board meeting, trustees passed the LTPAS -- our ten-year accommodation and planning blueprint. This substantial document is updated each year, and is filled with important information regarding planning for each ward in our school board. In the next few weeks, I should have a smaller Ward 11 document to share that will be in a more easily digestible format, but for now, I encourage anyone interested in planning issues to take a look at the larger document. The LTPAS can be accessed by clicking here.

Letters written: PRO Grants, E-Learning, and Vaping 

In recent weeks, trustees have directed the chair of our board to write letters on a variety of important and concerning issues. Below is a brief outline of these communications as well as links to the letters, all posted on the TDSB website.
1) PRO GRANTS (Parents-Reaching Out Grants): The PRO Grants were Ministry of Education grants formerly given to Parent Councils through an application process. Traditionally, these grants opened in the spring, for use in the following school year. This year, the Ministry of Education announced changes to this program in November, delivering a massive cut in the level of funding, and restructuring the allocation model, moving from a project submission application process by individual parent councils, to a direct allocation given to school boards to be spent on parent engagement.
The TDSB, in consultation with trustees and the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC), decided to allocate this money to develop parent engagement events this school year across the board, and towards the TDSB's Parents as Partners conference, scheduled for March 2020. The Although we are moving forward with plans to spend the grant money, trustees did direct the chair of our board to write a letter to the Minister of Education registering our deep concerns about the changes to both the PRO Grant process and the funding levels. The December 13th letter can be accessed through this link.

2) E-Learning: As many of you will have heard in the news, the Minister of Education is requiring all high school students entering high school next year to take two e-learning credits during the course of their high school career in order to graduate. On December 4, our Board wrote to the Minister of Education raising our objections regarding the mandatory aspect of this decision. To begin with, we know not all students are suited to this approach to learning. In addition, we indicated that we would be polling our students and communities in the new year and bringing that feedback back to the Ministry of Education. The letter can accessed here.
3) Vaping: Like many parents, trustees are extremely concerned about the rise of vaping and e-cigarette use among young people. The TDSB has partnered with Toronto Public Health to create for educators to provide more information on this very serious health issue. We also wrote to Health Canada to express our deep concerns and suggest a variety of measures we feel ought to be considered in order to protect our youth from these products. To read the content of this letter, please click here.

Secondary Review/Optional Attendance Policy Review

This year, the TDSB has begun a massive review of our secondary schools across the board. Each month, staff are providing trustees with updates and will eventually present the Board with recommendations in June 2020. The aim of the review is to ensure our high schools are aligned with our multi-year strategic plan, our equity framework, and the TDSB's mission, values and goals. We want all of our high schools to be strong, viable schools that meet the needs of all of our students. 
As part of that review, this year we will be reviewing a variety of policies that determine attendance in our schools. Staff are suggesting that we have three policies to determine attendance at schools other than the home school -- one for regular schools, one for specialized programs, and one for alternative schools. Currently, we are in the midst of reviewing the Optional Attendance Policy and are seeking feedback on this policy. In 2020, we will be reviewing policies related to Specialized Schools and Alternative Schools and we will be seeking community input on those as well when the time comes. 
I encourage parents to read about this review and the related policy consultation, and if interested, please fill out the survey so that your voice is heard. To learn more about the Secondary School Review, please read the Q and A's posted here. To learn more about the Optional Attendance Review, click here.

Traffic and Safety: Construction Hub Coordination Pilot Project and Photo Radar

On November 25, Trustee Laskin and I attended a large community meeting hosted by midtown City Councillors (Colle, Matlow and Robinson) at North Toronto Collegiate Institute. At this meeting, it was announced that the City would be launching a Construction Hub Coordination Pilot project at Yonge and Eglinton to help improve pedestrian safety and reduce the impact of construction on the midtown neighbourhood. This is an exciting project, and is modelled on projects undertaken in Seattle with great success, so I am hopeful that it will provide a positive approach to help deal with the issues we are facing in midtown Toronto. 
At the community meeting where this initiative was announced, I spoke with the leaders of this project and requested that TDSB schools in midtown be included as stakeholders so that we would be kept in the loop and thereby be able to add more value to the project. With four TDSB schools in the Yonge/Eglinton area severely impacted by local construction (John Fisher, North Toronto, Eglinton and Northern Secondary School), it is imperative for our school principals, trustees and TDSB planning staff to be involved. The pilot project launched on December 1st, but we have yet to hear from the city. So, on December 11th, Trustee Laskin and I brought forward an emergency requesting that our Chair and Director write to the City, formally requesting that our local Principals, Trustees, TDSB planning staff and the Toronto Lands Corporation all be included in the pilot project. As soon as this letter has gone out, I will communicate the contents of this correspondence. I am hopeful this will result in better communication and coordination between the city planners and our local schools as we know everyone wants to work towards a safer and more secure space for all of our residents and certainly our children.
On that note, the City of Toronto is also moving ahead, as part of Vision Zero, on trying to improve safety in school zones across our city. This past week, the City announced that it will be installing photo radar in two school zones per city ward to start with in the next couple of weeks. This roll out was also a big surprise to the TDSB, and it is indeed a very pleasant one! The two initial locations that were announced for Don Valley West are Bessborough Drive in front of Bessborough School, and Ranleigh Rd. in front of Bedford Park School. Trustees and Staff are currently looking into our most pressing hot spots where we'd like to see future locations. It is my understanding that these stations will be mobile and will be moved every 3-6 months so it would be good practice for the TDSB and City to work together in planning the future locations. To learn more about this program, please read the press release here.
Before I sign off, I would like to wish everyone happy holidays! May you all find time for rest, relaxation and loads of fun over the break. 

Warm regards,

Rachel Chernos Lin
Ward 11 Trustee, Toronto District School Board

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