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

Dear Parents,

I hope this note finds you and your children well and managing to keep cool during this very hot start to summer. I am writing to update you with news about what's happening at the TDSB, especially with respect to plans for September. 


Many of you have written or called to share your concerns about the lack of certainty for September, the challenges and impacts of remote learning on your children, and your worries about how you will go back to work if your children are in a back-to-school model where students are in school part-time and learning from home part-time. Your letters and conversations have helped inform my perspective and advocacy work.  
As a result, I am bringing forward an emergency motion this evening that speaks to the challenges presented by the government's proposed "adapted" model. It asks that the province collaborate with all levels of government to work on creative and ambitious solutions which will work more effectively for families, thereby allowing working parents to participate in the reopening of the economy while children and staff are attending school as safely as possible. This motion will be seconded by my colleague, Trustee Story, and has been crafted after extensive consultation and collaboration with Trustee Story and our trustee colleagues. We are hopeful it will pass unanimously tonight and thus enable a bigger conversation to ensue. 
Read tonight's Emergency Motion here!
Just as a refresher from my last newsletter, it is important to remember that all Ontario school boards are required to take direction from the Province, and currently, the Minister of Education has asked all boards to prepare for three possible scenarios for September that will depend on the public health situation at the time:
  1. Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols: Students going to school every day, in classes that reflect standard class size regulations
  2. Modified school day routine: an adapted delivery model that allows for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible. This model would require alternate day or alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time.
  3. At home learning: Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their child back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education. Remote education should be delivered online to the greatest extent possible, including the establishment of minimum expectations for students to have direct contact with their teacher at the same time on a regular basis, also known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.
It seems at this point that all boards will be expected to start in September with option number 2, the "adapted" model. The Minister has indicated that in October, Boards may be able to take a region-by-region approach, in accordance with guidance from their local public health authorities.
School boards have been asked to submit their plans to the Ministry of Education by August 4, 2020 and the TDSB is committed to sharing these plans with school communities once they are approved. We want to ensure that all students and families are well prepared and will know what to expect when returning to school in September.
To guide trustees and the public through the planning process, staff have developed the following timeline graphic:
2020-2021 BUDGET
This has been a school year unlike any other, and it appears that we will continue to face many similar challenges when we return to school in the fall. Above all else, the TDSB is committed to ensuring the health and well-being of our students and staff when schools reopen, as well as doing everything we can to ensure that learning – both in the classroom and at home – continues for all students.  You’ll see these priorities reflected in the draft operating budget that staff presented to trustees on July 7. To read the full report, click here.
TDSB staff have prepared the draft operating budget for next year with the best information we have right now. Given the nature of the pandemic, there is no experiential data or history to draw on as we develop the budget. As a result, staff are not recommending any changes to the base operating budget for 2020-21.
Staff are not recommending any reductions or changes to current operations so that all efforts can be focussed on reopening the system safely, with staff and student well-being prioritized. That said, staff are recommending an additional $22.5M in COVID-19 related costs for the first 4 months of the new budget (September-December). 
Since the projected operating deficit is primarily due to additional COVID-19 costs, staff are recommending the use of reserves to offset the projected deficit.
We are requesting that the Ministry of Education provide additional COVID-19 funding to support school boards as they navigate opening schools back up safely next year. It is important to note again that no additional funding was provided in the GSN for COVID-19 increased costs. As you may notice from the motion I linked to above, the lack of investment in the reopening of schools is a significant concern and the motion calls on the Province for funding to address the challenges our Board is facing by the pandemic. 
I also want to update everyone on some further advocacy work that was passed by our Board. Since coming into power just over two years ago, the Provincial Government has lowered investment in marginalized and low-income communities through cuts to programs and transfer payments in two programs -- Focus on Youth and Community Use of Schools. Focus on Youth is a program that provides jobs for at-risk youth, thereby providing valuable work experience, skill development and mentorship to at-risk youth. Community Use of Schools provides funding for free permits to non-profit groups providing programming for kids, covering the cost of cleaning and opening our buildings to these groups. These two programs have, historically, had a significant impact in Thorncliffe Park and Ward 11, and the reductions have been a serious concern to many community organizations in our ward and throughout the city. As a result, Trustee Mammoliti (Ward 4, Humber River Black Creek) and I put forward a motion on June 17 that passed unanimously, after being improved by our colleague, Chris Moise (Ward 10, Toronto Centre), asking our chair to write a letter to the Minister of Education explaining the impact of these cuts and why this funding needs to be restored as soon as possible. To read the letter that was sent to the Provincial Government, please click here. We are still awaiting a response and remain hopeful some funding might be restored.



If you are reading this newsletter through a link on social media or once forwarded by a friend, I encourage you to sign-up to receive my communications directly. TDSB and schools will continue to update parents over the summer, as will I, but our timing may be slightly different and there may be a lag time between when I send out a newsletter and when it may be forwarded by school principals. If you want more timely delivery, please click here to sign up and have it delivered directly to your inbox. 


As you know, our school fields, tennis courts and basketball courts are now open and City of Toronto and Provincial regulations still apply regarding numbers of people, etc. Playgrounds remain closed. We appreciate everyone's cooperation in keeping these amenities welcoming and safe for everyone.  


Recently, staff presented an interim report for the Secondary School Review. This report provides detailed overviews of all of our secondary schools, ward by ward. To learn more, please click here


Staff also recently presented an interim report on the French Review Recommendations. As part of this report, staff indicated that feedback would be sought over the summer and fall by parents and community members, so keep your eyes open for survey over the next couple of months! To learn more about the French Review Recommendations, click here. To read the Interim Report, click here


For the latest news on all things French, including many French summer activities, check out the latest issue of the French as a Second Language Community Advisory Committee (FSLAC) Newsletter here.
Have you heard of 211? Calling or texting 211 in Toronto connects people to community and social services quickly and easily so they can get the help they need. Operators can connect individuals to over 4,000 social and community services, such as government services, financial assistance, employment assistance, childcare, food, clothing and shelter. In addition, calling 211 offers 24/7 confidential services in 150 languages. You can also connect with 211 online through this website:


This is a stressful time for both students and parents. TDSB has put together a list of links to vetted, data-driven resources to help families cope during this uncertain time. These can be found on the home page of our website ( or by clicking here. You can always reach out to your children's teachers or principals if you are concerned about your children, and they can help connect you with our school social workers or community agencies. 
Finally, thank you to all of you who have reached out to me to offer support, provide feedback, and ask questions. Although I too am a parent in this system, your experiences and insights provide me with important feedback and context for my job in supporting you and your families. And to those of you who continue to work on the front lines -- in hospitals, long term care facilities, and in emergency response -- a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you are doing for our community, our city and our country.
Yours truly,


Rachel Chernos Lin
Ward 11 Trustee, Toronto District School Board
Subscribe to our email list.