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

Dear Parents,

With job actions currently affecting both our elementary and secondary schools, this is a challenging time for students, families and all of us here at the Toronto District School Board. I want to assure you that senior staff are doing their utmost to make contingency plans to try to keep things as normal as possible for students. The cancellation of events and programming is always a last resort, and our schools are doing everything they can to work within the parameters of the services that are allowed. And while it is not exactly "business as usual", staff are finding creative solutions to work around sanctions, and our schools remain vibrant and busy learning environments. At Rolph Road School, for example, the yearly field trip to Forest Valley had to be cancelled. In light of this, staff worked with Forest Valley and have created a Winter Activity Day at Rolph for all students, where kids will partake in indigenous activities, learn about the process of making maple syrup (and get to taste some too!), and much, much more.  
Sometimes, however, the impact of the withdrawal of services does make certain items more challenging to provide. This week, those of you with elementary school age children should have received an email explaining that February report cards will not be produced this year as the Elementary Teachers' Federation will not be inputting the data to make this task possible. This is undoubtedly a disappointment to many parents. 
I want to remind parents that there is an elementary P.A. Day coming up on February 14th that is specifically set aside for Parent/Teacher interviews and this interview process is not part of the withdrawal of services. As a result, parents are able to request interviews so that they can get a better sense of their children's progress and marks. Should your child's teacher get booked up on February 14th, teachers are currently allowed to be at school for 1/2 hour before school and 15 minutes after school, so those are other times meetings may be able to be scheduled. I encourage parents who would like to connect with their childrens' teachers to reach out directly to their teachers to set up these meetings. 
As always, labour negotiations are ever-changing, and we will continue to keep parents updated through school principals and also through our system-wide message system, "TDSB Connects". To learn more about the labour negotiations, click here or please visit our website at
I do have a variety of additional updates, so read on for more information regarding:
  • Upcoming Ward Forums and Events
  • WARD 11 Updates
  • TDSB Updates



Mark your calendars! The following coffee mornings have been set:
  • March 10, 2020, 9:15-11:15, Leaside Longo's
  • April 14, 2020, 9:15-11:15, Leaside Longo's
  • June 16, 2020, 9:15-11:15, Leaside Longo's
My 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 our Ward 11 schools. Coffee mornings run from 9:15-11:15 am upstairs at the Longo's on Laird in the kitchen. Coffee, snacks and great conversation, I hope many of you will be able to attend!
All Ward 11/ Don Valley West school councils, parents/guardians, students, staff, and community members are invited to join me at my ward forums to learn more about what is happening in our schools, communities, and throughout the TDSB. Childminding and interpreters are available by request. 

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. Dr. Malloy will speak on a variety of current topics including the Secondary Review, French programming, and the Multi-Year Strategic Plan. 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

JOINT WARD FORUM: Parent and Community Engagement Policy Consultation, Thursday, March 12, 2020,  6:30pm-8:30pm, location TBD.

Mark your calendars! This is a joint event for Don Valley West/Ward 11 and Don Valley East/Ward 14.  Please join me and Trustee Doyle for a consultation on the Parent & Community Engagement Policy with Central Coordinator Michelle Munroe. Stay tuned for more details!
A huge shout out to grade 12 York Mills Collegiate student, Sadiya C., who has had an article published in the Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences.  Through her Sunnybrook-TDSB Co-op placement, and based on her interest in research, Sadiya was placed in the Department of Radiation Therapy at the Odette Cancer Center where she had the opportunity to become a valuable member of a team of professionals researching the topic of smoking cessation best practices.  This is a remarkable achievement for a high school student! Congratulations to Sadiya, and thank you to her Co-op teacher, Ms. Melconian, for her support. 
All Ward 11 high schools offer Co-op programs, and students are encouraged to speak with their Guidance Counsellor about exploring these interesting and practical opportunities!
Update: letter sent from TDSB to Construction Hub Coordination Pilot Project at Yonge and Eglinton 
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 motion 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. On December 17, 2019, this letter was sent out and a copy of it can be accessed here. We have yet to receive a response but I remain 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.


First Day of School 2020?

We have begun to receive a number of inquiries regarding when school will start in September. At this time, a decision has yet to be made. 
Regulation 304 requires that there be a minimum of 194 school days between 1 September and 30 June, including a maximum of ten examination days for secondary schools and a maximum of seven Professional Activity (PA) days. It also establishes the dates for the Christmas Break (December 21, 2020 through January 1, 2021) and the Mid-Winter Break (March 15-19, 2021). 
Each year, the Ministry of Education provides direction to school boards in determining their calendar for the following school year. It is a challenge with Labour Day not until September 7, 2020. The 2020-2021 calendar provides for 196 possible school days between September 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
Last year the School Year Calendar Committee presented their report to the Program and School Services Committee in February. I will update as soon as the information on next year's calendar is available.

LIVE WEBCAST: TDSB ONE BOOK EVENT -- Monday, January 27, 10:00am
January 27, 2020 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In honour of that day, we are launching a meaningful and exciting project for our grade 6 students, who will all be receiving a copy of the award-winning novel, Hana's Suitcase, courtesy of of Indigo and Second Story Press. Hana’s Suitcase is a true story of a young Czech girl who died in the Holocaust, told in alternating chapters with an account of how the curator of a Japanese Holocaust centre learned about her life after Hana's suitcase was sent to her. 
This January 27th event will feature a webcast with Indigo CEO Heather Reisman and Lara Hana Brady, niece of Hana Brady, and will be live broadcasted to all Grade 6 classes across the system. Many dignitaries including Mayor Tory, Councillor Pasternak and Ms. Takako Ito, the Consul General of Japan, will be in attendance. For more information and details on how to tune in, click here.
Hana's Suitacse Webcast Notification

Parents as Partners Conference: Saturday, March 28, 2020!

Please join us for a free conference organized by TDSB parents for TDSB parents, guardians and caregivers. Participate in workshops, network, and learn new strategies to help your child's success. To learn more about the Parents as Partners conference, click here.
Parents and Partners Conference Website
At the TDSB, policies regularly come up for review and we welcome the public's thoughts on a variety of topics during this process. This past fall, staff has been undertaking a Secondary School Review and we are seeking feedback on this topic. As part of the Secondary School Review, several policies are being reviewed. Currently, staff are reviewing P013, "Attendance at Schools Outside of Designated Attendance Area" (formerly Optional Attendance).
Although the in-person public consultations for the Secondary Review and P013 have already taken place, you can still provide become informed and engaged in the process and provide feedback through a couple of different ways:
Please note, P013 covers optional attendance at regular schools and schools with French programs; specialized schools and programs will be covered in a different policy to be developed over the coming months (stay tuned for that one soon!). 
Children who will be four years old by December 31, 2020, can start Junior Kindergarten in September 2020. Registration for the 2020-2021 school year will open on Monday, February 3, 2020. Learn more about the program and how to register at
Registration is now open for students currently in grade 3 who wish to enter the Extended French program in September 2020. Learn more about the extended french program and how to register here.  
Please note, the application deadline is coming up on January 31, 2020, so don't delay!
The Toronto District School Board currently includes Parent Representatives on Vice-Principal Interview Panels and is seeking interested parent volunteers to be part of the interview team. In order to participate in the Spring 2020 Vice-Principal interview process, parents are required to:
1. Fill out an expression of interest survey 2020 by Jan. 24, 2020 here. Please note this deadline is today!
2. Attend a training session scheduled for February 11, 2020, between 6 to 7:30 pm, at the Board’s main office at 5050 Yonge Street.
3. Be available all day to participate on two of the planned interview dates: Tuesday, February 25, 2020, Wednesday, February 26, 2020, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Please note that parents will only be asked to sit on one of the two days that they are available, but choice of day assigned will be determined by staff. 
For those interested in learning about optional attendance for the 2020-2021 school year, please find information through this link. Elementary school applications are due by February 14, 2020, and Secondary School forms are due by January 31, 2020. Please note that it is the parent/guardian responsibility to deliver the forms directly to the school the application is intended for; scanned or faxed copies will not be accepted.
Throughout February and March, the TDSB will be providing a series of school council workshops to assist councils on topics such as by-laws and effectiveness. For more information, including dates and locations for the workshops, click here.
The Arts team has begun planning for this year’s Music by the Lake program scheduled for May 30 - June 5, 2020. We are excited to be offering the camp at a new location this year, and will release location details in the coming weeks. 
Music by the Lake is an overnight camp with a focus on music for Grades 6-8 students offering programming in band, strings, choir, steel pan, drumming, ukulele, jazz, and guitar. Students also participate in outdoor recreation and leadership development activities offered at the camp’s excellent facilities. Students from grades 10-12 will have an opportunity to apply for student counsellor positions at the camp to develop their leadership and musical skills. New this year, campers will have an opportunity to select an arts elective and try out a new musical or artistic discipline in addition to their main ensemble choice. 
The location is to be announced by the end of January with student camper applications and bursary information in February and secondary school student leader applications available in March. 
Please note that while planning is underway for the 2020 Music by the Lake Camp, we are monitoring the current labour sanctions carefully and the possible impact on Music by the Lake. We will continue to update the Spotlight on the Arts webpage with any new information.  
Grade 6-8 instrumental students in TDSB band and strings programs are encouraged to apply for the All-City Community Ensemble program. The program supports collaboration with peers across the TDSB in a large ensemble - Band, String Ensemble, or R&B Ensemble, culminating in a performance at the 134th Annual Spring Festival Concert at the world-renowned Roy Thomson Hall, May 20, 2019. Parents/Guardians complete the application here. Please note that applications are due today, January 24th!
It's been a fairly mild winter so far, but from time to time, it’s possible that severe winter weather could lead to the cancellation of student transportation, classes or programs or, on rare occasions, the closure of schools and administrative sites. 
Should a cancellation or closure be necessary, information will be posted on the TDSB web site, TDSB social media, and provided to local media by 6 a.m. For more information, please see the TDSB website for up to date alerts should there be severe inclement weather at 

Worth Repeating...

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.

Wishing everyone a very happy Chinese new year!
Yours truly,

Rachel Chernos Lin
Ward 11 Trustee, Toronto District School Board

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