International Women's Day March 8, 2020
In Canada, the hashtag #BecauseOfYou celebrates the women and girls conducting grassroots efforts in communities across Canada that have advanced gender equality and the women’s movement.
The theme for International Women's Day is #EachforEqual - An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Health provided an update on COVID-19 entitled Ontario implementing enhanced measures to safeguard public from COVID-19
. Ontario is implementing an “enhanced response structure” that will bring together partners to review and implement provincial and regional plans regarding the outbreak. This response structure will include a number of tables with specific mandates.
School boards continue to work with their local public health units and are sharing information with their board communities with facts and recommendations for reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza. Many boards have also cancelled planned student trips to international destinations currently affected by the virus. The government has a dedicated webpage with more information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus- 2019-ncov
School Trips to Europe Cancelled
Staff have continued to monitor the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Europe and have come to the disappointing conclusion that we are not able to operate trips to Europe safely at this time. As a result, all European trips will be cancelled until further notice. I know this will be upsetting news for students and their families (as well as staff), but because of the uncertainty of the situation in Europe, and the rising number of cases, it was clear that staff had to make a decision now. A letter has gone out to affected students and parents with information on refunds. If you have any questions, please speak with your principal.
School boards and unions share a commitment to public education and work together towards positive labour relations. The collective bargaining framework for the education sector features a two-tier bargaining process, involving both central and local bargaining. Learn more about the process.
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) - Update: March 5, 2020 – While ETFO continues its work-to-rule strike action, it will escalate its political action starting this Monday, March 9 given that the Ford government has initiated no dates for central talks. ETFO will be taking other actions as well to communicate directly with the public. An additional component of ETFO’s Phase 7 strike action beginning March 23 will be announced this Monday.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) - Update March 6, 2020 —The OSSTF will pause all full withdrawal of service job actions beginning next week. The pause in rotating strikes will continue through to March 27. In addition, beginning Monday, March 9, OSSTF members will expand their limited withdrawal of administrative services in schools and worksites. That limited withdrawal of services has been in place since November 26. According to OSSTF, the expanded sanctions will have a minimal impact on the learning environment, while continuing to draw attention to the government’s cuts to education and the lack of progress in bargaining.
TDSB Meetings This Week
Board Meeting - Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - Public Session 7:00 p.m.
Boardroom, 5050 Yonge Street
16. Committee Reports
- 1. PR696, Kindergarten Registration: Revised Procedure
- 2. PR597, French Immersion/Extended French: Revised Procedure
- 3. PR582(a), Employee Expenditure Guidelines: Revised Procedure
- 4. PR582(b), Trustee Expense: Revised Procedure
- 5. Board Self-Assessment
- 1. Community Use of Schools Community Advisory Committee: Terms of Reference
- 2. Environmental Sustainability Community Advisory Committee: Funding to Support a National School Food Program
- 3. Environmental Sustainability Community Advisory Committee: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- 4. Inner City Community Advisory Committee: Equity of Access to Programs Considerations
- 5. Inner City Community Advisory Committee: Terms of Reference
- 6. Options for Reducing the Distribution of Single-use Plastic Items
- 7. Caring and Safe Schools Annual Report 2018-19
- 1. Contract Awards, Facilities
- 2. 2020-21 Operating Budget Communications: Overview of Communication Supports
- 3. Three-Year Enrolment Projection
- 4. Financial Facts: Revenue and Expenditure Trends
- 5. Updated Proposed 2020-2021 Budget Schedule and Process
- 1. Appointments to the Positions of Citizen Director and Chair of the Toronto Lands Corporation
- 2. School Year Calendar, 2020-21
- 3. Climate Action in the TDSB
- 4. International LGBTQ Leaders Conference 2020: Expense Approval
- 5. Information on Immunization
- 6. Black Youth Mental Health Day, March 2
17. Written Notices of Motion for Consideration
18. Written Notice of Motion
Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee (Special Meeting) - Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 4:30 p.m., Boardroom, 5050 Yonge Street
4. Budget Matters
- 4.1 School-Based Staff Allocation, 2020-21 - To follow
- 4.2 Three-Year Financial Projections - To follow
Please note these reports will be public on the Website Monday
Within the Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee Report coming to Board Wednesday are the following recommendations -:
(a) Whereas, the Focus on Youth program provides approximately 400 summer jobs and programming for approximately 12,000 youth in high priority neighbourhoods across Toronto; Therefore, be it resolved:
That the Chair communicate with the following persons to highlight that to-date, no information on funding for the 2020 Focus on Youth summer program has been received and to request that this funding be confirmed for summer 2020:
- the Minister of Education
- Toronto-area Members of Provincial Parliament
- the Mayor of Toronto and Toronto City Councillors
- Focus on Youth Partners; and
(b) That, based on information and data presented in the Board’s Financial Facts: Revenue and Expenditure Trends, the Chair communicate with the Minister of Education the Board’s concerns regarding education funding issues including, but not limited to, the Board’s historical funding gaps, the impact of changes to class sizes, reduction or elimination of Priorities and Partnerships Fund (formerly EPO) grants, the timing of Ministry funding announcements and the impact of delays.
What we Know... and Don't re Education Funding
The Minister announced on March 3, 2020 that for the 2020/21 school year, they will be informing school boards that they will have a secondary class size average of 23 students. The Minister has also announced that parents will be able to opt-out of mandatory e-learning.
Later on March 3, 2020 the Board received Memorandum 2020:B04: Budget Planning Information for 2020-21.
... I am confirming that school boards should plan for a funded maximum secondary average class size of 23 for the 2020-21 school year. School boards are encouraged to work closely with the ministry as staffing planning processes begin due to continued interplay with the teacher job protection fund and local class size restrictions, where applicable. As you are aware, the teacher job protection fund was introduced in 2019-20 and it will continue into 2020-21. With this fund, incremental changes to actual class sizes can be achieved through attrition and voluntary leaves without the need for any classroom teacher layoffs. School boards are also reminded to observe their legal obligations regardless of changes to the funding formula, including those relating to prior collective agreements.
PSBA did issue a statement in response to the government’s proposal. Our mandate remains “to negotiate fair, equitable and fully funded collective agreements to ensure positive learning conditions that promote student achievement, success, learning and well-being for all students.”
OPSBA did issue a statement
in response to the government’s proposal. Our mandate remains “to negotiate fair, equitable and fully funded collective agreements to ensure positive learning conditions that promote student achievement, success, learning and well-being for all students.”
But school boards have no details regarding Support for Students / Local Priorities Funding or any confirmed details on the opt-out feature of Mandatory e-Learning. Forcing parents to physically meet with a Guidance Counsellor to opt their child out of mandatory e-Learning simply makes no sense and is not a workable solution. Guidance Counsellors don't have enough time to meet with students who need their support let alone meet with over 80% of parents who said they did not support mandatory e-Learning!
However, we did learn that the government announced that the provincial budget will be released on Wednesday, March 25. OPSBA will be requesting a presence in the budget lock up and will prepare an overview for member boards that can also be discussed at the regional meetings held on March 28. I am planning to attend the regional meeting and will share what I learn through my weekly update. And please note we are still looking for confirmation of the timing for the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) which specifically fund education. Only until we receive the GSNs will we understand our budget.
At this point staff plan to bring an analysis of GSN announcement with release of detailed budget working papers and options to balance 2020-2021 budget to our FBEC meeting of April 20.
We Want to Hear From You
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is committed to open and inclusive policy decision-making and values community input and participation through consultation. Consultation is a two-way communication process between the Board and external participants, including students and their parents/guardians, school councils, advisory committees, community members, different levels of government, service agencies, professional organizations and union partners. The objective of consultation is to gather public input regarding options, alternative courses of action, as well as to identify unintended effects for various participants and to find solutions.
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
We would like to know your thoughts about our policy decisions by inviting you to our policy consultations. 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.
Records and Information Management Policy- Deadline: By April 14, 2020 Draft New Policy
Objective: The Records and Information Management Policy supports the Toronto District School Board’s commitment to the effective, efficient and secure management of recorded information, regardless of format or media. The Policy is consistent with subsection 171. (1), par. 38 of the Education Act which states the Board may institute a program of records and information management.
To affirm the Board’s commitment to providing focused specialized programming in both local schools and in district-wide specialized schools or programs, and to improving access for all students to these programs. Learn more: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/High-School/Secondary-Program-Review
Parent and Community Involvement Policy (P023)
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 www.tdsbengage.ca.
Parents as Partners Conference Postponed
For many years, the TDSB has hosted the Parents as Partners Conference for families in collaboration with Community Advisory Committees, Parent Involvement Advisory Committee, Special Education Advisory Committee, staff and community agencies. After consulting with our partners, a decision has been made to postpone this conference until fall 2020. The current labour context has made it difficult to ensure that the conference will maintain the breadth of options and offer participants a similar experience to previous years and concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19) may negatively impact attendance. The planning team is committed to hosting another comprehensive and rewarding conference in fall 2020.
Music by the Lake Update
In January, we announced that Music by the Lake (MBTL) would be moving to a new location and planning has been underway for the past several months. Unfortunately, we have reached a critical point in the planning process for 2020 and must make the decision that Music by the Lake will not take place this school year due to the uncertainty of ongoing labour sanctions. With the current labour sanctions in place, we are unable to complete the significant planning required to run a successful camp which requires the recruitment of a large number of teaching staff. Even if labour sanctions were lifted in the near future, we are now at a point where there is not enough time to plan and run a successful program in May-June. This was a difficult decision to make and we know that this is disappointing news for families and students.
Camp Timberlane has been selected as the new location for Music by the Lake. We look forward to having Music by the Lake at its new location in upcoming years. If you are interested in music summer camp opportunities, you are encouraged to explore the variety of TDSB Summer Music Camps available to students this summer, including Toronto Summer Music Camp, Summer Sounds and Downtown Summer Strings. Visit the TDSB Summer Music Camp website for more information https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Innovation/Summer-Programs/TDSB-Music-Camps/Toronto-Summer-Music-Camps.
Bell Time Changes
I have seen the responses to many parent concerns from email@example.com - I will quote from staff response -
These changes align with the recommendation from the Auditor General of Ontario – “In order to increase the efficiency of school transportation services and in turn decrease costs, transportation consortia should stagger school start and end times where possible to reduce the number of buses needed, by allowing them to be used on more than one run.”
Decision – June 2019
This decision was made in June 2019 as part of last year’s budget process. TDSB Trustees approved an operating budget plan for the 2019-20 school year that required $67.8 million in staff reductions and changes to programs/services to address provincial government funding reductions and the TDSB’s annual structural deficit.
TDSB Changes not Unique
Other school boards in Ontario, including Durham, Hamilton and Ottawa, are changing/have changed bell times because of the driver shortage and budget pressures. At those other school boards, parents and guardians were able to adjust to the changes.
We understand that these changes may impact the routines of some families. However, if we did not reduce transportation costs by staggering school start and end times; we would have to reduce other services and supports to students that would have more direct and negative impact on classroom teaching.
There are a number of options available that parents at other boards have chosen:
By law, employers must consider changes to meet their employee's child care needs as part of their duty to accommodate; As a parent/guardian, you are encouraged to speak with your employer to find ways to accommodate your child care needs such as flexible scheduling or alternative work arrangements; If you are a unionized employee, you can also seek assistance from your union representative; More information is available on the Ontario Human Rights Commission - http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en
and Canadian Human Rights Commission - https://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng websites
Additional options: School council and community options; Daycare or Extended Day Program; Family and friends
In closing, we do understand that these changes will present challenges and that is why we have notified all affected parents and guardians six months in advance of when the changes will begin.
In addition, I will also share information my colleague Michelle Aarts has provided for context -
While the idea of standardizing bell times was proposed during the budget process last June, the implementation has proceeded very quickly, with Board approval to move forward only a couple of weeks ago. Principals got a head's up of proposed time changes last Monday, were asked for comments/feedback, and I only got the final list of changes last Wednesday afternoon (when parent letters went home). Four schools in this Ward will have time changes. Changes have been designed to accommodate a network of schools across both the TDSB and TCDSB (see background below) and designed to limit impact on high needs communities as well as provide route stability into the future. The number of students bussed to a school changes year to year – some schools have significant numbers and others only a few.
In 2011 the Province mandated that the TDSB and TCDSB (Catholic) share transportation services, decommission in house bussing, and contract out bussing services - in an attempt to reduce costs. When the Consortium was officially formed in September 2011, the name was changed from Toronto Transportation Group (TTG) to Toronto Student Transportation Group (TSTG). The School Boards’ transportation departments it has never worked well, costs have increased anyway, and contractors struggle to retain the drivers needed to meet our volume demands. A number of strategies have been adopted over the last 2 years - new electronic scheduling software, remote monitoring of busses en route, penalizing contractors for not fulfilling agreements, getting the Province to contribute to driver retention incentives, and getting the TCDSB to adopt the same policies. Unfortunately issues still persist and driver shortages are impacting most Boards in SW Ontario. The students most impacted by delayed or inconsistent service, resulting in lost instruction time, have been those with special needs. The recent Provincial cuts have further impacted Boards and made the need to find further transportation efficiencies more urgent. Bussing times are being changed in both TDSB and TCDSB to better manage the service issues, get kids to school on time, and reduce the number of busses. Changes to bus routes and bell times are also being implemented at other boards to better accommodate students. For more information click here https://www.torontoschoolbus.org/
The short timelines needed to implement bell time changes and the need to coordinate bussing across multiple schools in each network, as well as between public and Catholic schools, has limited the ability to consult on this change. Staff have made this early announcement to give parents and school staff 6 months’ notice for planning. Our Early Years staff will be meeting with childcare partners and Extended Day Programs to support changes or expansion as needed. Staff will work with the principal and community to look at other options to collaboratively get children to school. Staff also want to promote shifting sports, programs, clubs, and house leagues to before or after school but unfortunately that conversation will have to wait until teachers are no longer under work to rule.
Parents, caregivers, students and members of the community are welcome to share their concerns with the TDSB staff at the upcoming in-person information sessions or two online webchats:
Three In-Person Information Sessions will be held:
- March 9 (Earl Haig Secondary (near North York Centre station) at 7 pm),
- March 12 (David and Mary Thompson Collegiate at 7 pm),
- March 23 (Danforth CTI at 7 pm) and
- March 25 (Richview CI at 7 pm) (rescheduled due to March 5th OSSTF strike)
Two Virtual Information Sessions (Online Webchats) to ensure those parents and caregivers who can’t attend an information session are able to access the information they require:
- 1st session – Thursday, March 26 from 10am to 11am
- 2nd session – Thursday, March 26 from 7pm to 8 pm
Child minding and interpretation services will be available upon request for the in-person meetings. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request these services.
For the latest answers to questions and concerns, please click here
I realize that no explanation will satisfy - but I will continue to forward the parent and community concerns I receive to senior staff and to the belltimes e-mail account in the hopes that there could be further modifications. I have already asked if we could change the window from 8:15 to 9am from 9:15 but staff responded that is not possible. The simulation they undertook with the software vendor took approximately 6-7 weeks from time of request to completion. Due to the complexity of the undertaking and cost of simulations they only looked at the one option of not changing any school's start time by more than 30 minutes and within the one hour window.
Raise the Flag
Autism Ontario’s Raise the Flag campaign, through the simple act of raising a flag, unites families, schools, communities, government and professionals in recognizing World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, and brings to light to struggles and triumphs of people on the autism spectrum. Our campaign also features educational toolkits for educators from primary through to post-secondary school. Please register by Tuesday, March 9th if you require a flag. https://raisetheflagforautism.com/raise-the-flag/
Future Ward Forums
Please hold the following Ward Forum dates to engage with other parents/caregivers -
- April 28, 2020
- June 2, 2020
Proposed School Year Calendar 2020-2021
The 2020-2021 school year at the TDSB is recommended to begin on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 following the Labour Day long weekend. This is to be confirmed by both Board and the Ministry.
The un-official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from September 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, inclusive.
- The last day of class for elementary students is June 29, 2021
- The last day of class for secondary (full year) students is June 27, 2020
- The last day of class for secondary (semestered) students is June 28, 2020
PA Days & Statutory Holidays
School Year Calendar 2019-2020
The 2019-2020 school year at the TDSB begins on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 following the Labour Day long weekend. For more information about important dates and holidays for the upcoming school year, please refer to the 2019-20 School Year Calendar
The official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from September 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, inclusive.
- The last day of class for elementary students is June 25, 2020
- The last day of class for secondary (full year) students is June 23, 2020
- The last day of class for secondary (semestered) students is June 23, 2020
PA Days & Statutory Holidays
- March Break March 16 to 20, 2020
- Good Friday April 10, 2020
- Easter Monday April 13, 2020
- Victoria Day May 18, 2020
- Elementary School PA Day June 5, 2020
- Secondary School PA Day (Full Year Schools only) June 24, 2020
- Secondary School PA Day June 25, 2020
- Board-wide PA Day June 26, 2020
Also please note -
- Passover begins sunset of Wednesday, April 8, 2020 and ends nightfall of Thursday, April 16, 2020
- Ramadan 2020 will begin in the evening of Thursday, April 23, 2020 and ends in the evening of Saturday, May 23, 2020 (dates may vary)
- Eid al-Fitr 2020 will begin in the evening of Saturday, May 23, 2020
Gr. 9 Math: 2nd Semester: June 2-15, 2020
OSSLT: March 31, 2020
Primary/Junior EQAO: May 19-June 1, 2020