Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives.
Thank you for doing your part during these unprecedented times. As difficult as it is, please remember that we can feel perfectly fine... but we may be putting others at risk.
I will continue to respond to e-mails and use twitter (@shelleylaskin) to share as much information as I can.
Please stay home. Please wash your hands. Please read with your child or have your child/youth read. We are all in this together.
"The power to change the story is entirely in our hands. So thank you, thank you to the residents of our city, thank you to business owners, thank you all for doing this, but we can still do better, we must do better, and we need your help to get there." Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health
Other Important Links:
The Latest from TDSB
You judge a school system not by looking at how it treats its privileged and gifted students but by looking at how it treats its vulnerable students. A system that affirms & values and educates its most vulnerable students is a system that works for all students - David E. Kirkland (Executive Director of The NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and The Transformation of Schools, and associate professor of English and Urban Education at NYU's Steinhardt School.)
By now you should have received Director John Malloy's latest letter from March 25. In case you haven't, please click here
. In it he noted "the Ministry of Education has asked school boards to use the next two weeks to develop plans to establish the delivery of curriculum for an extended closure. Working with the Ministry, we are developing a plan that would connect teachers to their students and/or their parents/guardians on a system-wide basis and would restore teacher-led learning to the greatest extent possible. In developing this plan, we are considering a number of different factors:
- Exploring ways to provide students with access to devices and the internet.
- Accommodations needed by different types of learners, students with special needs, and English-language learners.
- Programming for Adult and Continuing Education students.
- Our support for student mental health and well-being including providing online resources and outreach to students and families.
As you can imagine, developing a plan for 247,000 students while schools are closed and on an extremely tight timeline, is challenging to say the least. At the same time, our goal is to create teaching and learning conditions that will, as best as possible given the circumstances, lead to the successful completion of the school year for all students and to support students in advancing to the next school year and to graduate. We will share this important plan with parents/guardians as soon as possible."
When the week started the TDSB was missing over 22,000 e-mail addresses from students' families. Last week Principals and Teachers reached out to parents and we are gradually closing the gap in our email connectivity to parents/guardians. We are now above 95% complete. Later this afternoon the Board directly reached out to parents/caregivers - an email message was sent to over 265,000 parents/guardians with a questionnaire relating to device and internet availability for students.for families who do not have email, the system is reaching out through a call messenger later tonight, and through regular mail.
The Contingency Planning Team continues to focus on supporting the continuity of remote learning and access. They will continue to collaborate with our federations, unions and employee groups, which is also continuing at the provincial level. Access for all is still an issue - support for students on IEPs or with special needs is still an issue. Online learning, as we have said many, many times is not for all... nothing replaces the teacher and classroom relationship - equally important, we can't have parents feeling pressure to replicate school at home when many are working at home themselves. This is all overwhelming...
During this coming week, staff will continue to work towards commencing remote learning on a system-wide basis as of April 6. As they do, as teachers know their students best while they work to re-engage, they will be mindful of resources, instructional strategies and accommodations for their students and realistic expectations for families. The health and well-being of students, staff and families must always come first. Please continue to check the tdsb website regularly for updates.
Update - TDSB Playgrounds and Park Amenities Closed
As noted last week, we continue to follow the direction of Toronto Public Health.
On Wednesday, March 25, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health announced the closure of a number of city amenities including all city-owned playgrounds, sports fields, and basketball and tennis courts to limit public congregation and reduce the spread of COVID-19. All Toronto schools have been called on to do the same.
For that reason, effective immediately, the TDSB will be closing all playgrounds and other amenities, including sports fields and basketball and tennis courts, on school board property until further notice. The Board will be posting signs and taping off all playgrounds and asks the public to please avoid use until further notice. Where fencing or gates exist around structures, they will be locked.
We recognize that playgrounds are important to our school communities, however we must all follow the advice of medical experts from Toronto Public Health and limit public congregation. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we work together to maintain the health and safety of our communities. #StayHomeSaveLives #WashYourHands
Supporting Healthcare Workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
As you know, the TDSB is doing everything we can to support Ontario's efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and is working closely with the Ministry of Government & Consumer Services to collect any materials (masks, gloves, etc.) that would help the province's efforts. To date, we have been able to assemble five skids of materials which is at the Distribution Centre awaiting shipping instructions to be donated to hospitals and healthcare workers in need.
In this first round, we are donating:
- 3,600 bottles of hand sanitizer
- 70,000 pairs of gloves
- 4,000 N95 Respirator Masks
We are also still in the process of getting school inventories of PPE and other supplies from Principals. We should have early counts next week and then will look at a strategy for collection and providing additional resources. We will do our part.
Helping Feed Students
One in four children in Toronto lives in poverty. We believe that if we improve the health and well-being of our students, they will do better in school, and if students do better in school then they will have a better future. Unfortunately, with schools closed, children may not be getting the nutrition they need.
The Toronto Foundation for Student Success to date has secured over $400,000 in funds, which means for Phase One of the program, we are able to provide grocery store food cards to about 6,000 TDSB families.
Using evidence-based data of the Learning Opportunities Index as well as noting secondary schools and others that were in communities facing great challenges, we assembled a list of schools to start with for Phase One. As more funds are secured, more schools will be added to the list.
April is Hispanic Heritage Month, Latin American History Month and Sikh Heritage Month
During the month of April the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is proud to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month. As stated in the Hispanic Heritage Month Act, (May 5, 2015): “Ontario is home to more than 400,000 first-, second- and third-generation Canadians of Hispanic origin. As early as 1914, Canadians who originated from 23 Hispanic countries began immigrating to the province and today the Hispanic community is one of the fastest growing in Ontario. Hispanic-Canadians represent a dynamic community that has made significant contributions to the growth and prosperity of the Province of Ontario.
During the month of April the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is proud to recognize Latin-America History Month. As outlined in the TDSB Days of Significance Resource Guide: “Latin-America immigrants began arriving in large numbers in Toronto in the late 1970's. Latin America is generally defined as the countries south of the United States where people speak Romance languages (such as Spanish, Portuguese, and French). Today, some of the people from these countries might identify as Latino, Latina, Latinx, or Hispanic.”
Sikh Heritage Month is proudly recognized at the Toronto District School Board during the month of April. On March 22, 2016, the Board of Trustees voted to designate April of each year as Sikh Heritage Month, making TDSB the first school board in Canada to do so, and matching recognition by the Province of Ontario who proclaimed the Sikh Heritage Month Act in December 2013. The Sikh Heritage Month Act, 2013 states, “Sikh Canadians have lived in Ontario since the middle of the twentieth century. They represent a growing and dynamic population. Sikh Canadians have made significant contributions to the growth and prosperity of Ontario. April is an important month for the Sikh community. In this month, Sikh Canadians celebrate Vaisakhi, which marks the creation of the Khalsa and the Sikh articles of faith. Sikh Canadians widely celebrate Vaisakhi, also known as Khalsa Day, across Ontario. Because of Covid-19, this year's parade has been cancelled.
Bill 5 Legal Challenge Update
On March 26, 2020 the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear the appeal of the Bill 5 (Better Local Government Act) provincial legislation which altered the City of Toronto wards from 47 to 25 in the middle of the 2018 municipal election and similarly impacted the TDSB trustee wards. The appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was brought by the City of Toronto with the support of TDSB.
TDSB Legal Services has commenced preparation of the necessary court materials and given that the issues are of significant and national interest, it is likely that numerous organizations across the country will seek to be heard as intervenors at the Supreme Court of Canada. It is expected that the appeal will be scheduled for early 2021.
- On August 29, 2018, Trustees voted to formally proceed with supporting the City of Toronto in a legal challenge of Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act.
in voting to intervene, the TDSB focused primarily on two arguments. Firstly, in the event that Bill 5 is struck out in whole or in part, the related provisions in the Education Act
regulation ought to be struck out as well because they were made only to align the TDSB’s boundaries with the 25 ward boundaries mandated by the provisions of Bill 5. Secondly, that changes made to the Education Act
Regulations requiring re-alignment of trustee wards with 25 City ward boundaries does not apply to the current 2018 election, which is already underway, but only to the “next regular election…or any byelection proceeding that next regular election” as expressly stated in section 58.1(4) of the Education Act
. The TDSB also confirmed that, should the result be that there are 47 City wards, we can revert to our previous alignment.
What is 2-1-1?
211 is the source Canadians trust when seeking information and services to deal with life’s challenges. 211’s award-winning telephone helpline (2-1-1) and website provide a gateway to community, social, non-clinical health and related government services.
211 helps to navigate the complex network of human services quickly and easily, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 150 languages. 211 connects people to the right information and services, strengthens Canada’s health and human services, and helps Canadians to become more engaged with their communities. When you don’t know where to turn, turn to 211. For more information, click https://211ontario.ca/.
Multi-Year Capital Renewal Budget Plan 2020-2023
Work at the system level continues. The ability of the TDSB to address urgent and high priority needs is entirely dependent on the Ministry of Education (EDU) funding. The current renewal demand is reflected in the renewal backlog amount of approximately $3.37B. The most significant EDU funding source for renewal work of major components and building systems is the School Condition Improvement (SCI) fund. The funding amounts are allocated each year and announced for the next fiscal year in late spring in the EDU memo. EDU provides specific direction as to how funding is to be used: SCI is a capital renewal program that allows school boards to revitalize and renew aged building components that have exceeded or will exceed their useful life cycle. Items eligible for SCI funding have been identified through the EDU’s School Facility Condition Assessment Program. school boards are required to direct 70 percent of their SCI funds to address major building components (e.g. foundations, roofs, windows) and systems (e.g. plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning). The remaining 30 percent of SCI funding can continue to address the above-listed building components or, alternatively, building interiors and surrounding site components (e.g. utilities, parking, and pavements). The majority of projects will start in May 2020, and be completed from October 2020 to August 2022.
2020 - 21 SCI project lists
- Allenby Junior Public School Slope Stabilization - Site Work
- Cedarvale Community School Integrated PA/ IHP System Replacement - Electrical
- Cedarvale Community School Ventilation Upgrade/Emergency cooling - Mechanical
- Davisville/Spectrum at 529 Vaughan Rd Roof areas A3, B, B1, B2, C, C1, C2, C3, D5, E, E4, E5, F2 - Roofing
- Deer Park Junior and Senior Public School upgrade planters design - Site Work
- Flemington Public School replace asphalt parking lot - Site Work
- Forest Hill Collegiate Institute New Building Signage - Interior Components
- Hillcrest Community School & City Community Centre Roof areas C, FH, Fha, GH - Roofing
- J R Wilcox Community School Ventilation Upgrade/Emergency cooling - Mechanical
- J R Wilcox Community School Parking Lot Changes and Handicap Access - Site Work
- John Polanyi Collegiate Institute B2020-Exterior Windows - Windows
- John Polanyi Collegiate Institute Structural Frame - Concrete Deck Renewal - Structural
- John Ross Robertson Junior Public School Replace Exterior Paint - Building Envelope
- John Ross Robertson Junior Public School FDK play area improvements - Site Work
- Joyce Public School B2020-Exterior Windows - Windows
- Joyce Public School repave parking lot - Site Work
- Lawrence Heights Middle School Ventilation Upgrade/Emergency cooling - Mechanical
- Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute Window and doors replacement - Windows
- North Preparatory Junior Public School Foundation Waterproofing - Structural
- North Preparatory Junior Public School B2020-Exterior Windows - Windows
- North Preparatory Junior Public School Ventilation Upgrade/Emergency cooling - Mechanical
- North Preparatory Junior Public School accessibility ramp & replace existing staircase design - Site Work
- Oriole Park Junior Public School Replace all Exterior Wooden Doors - Windows
- Oriole Park Junior Public School Replace Interior Fire Doors - Interior Components
- Winona Drive Senior Public School adjust east side asphalt grading - Site Work
- Winona Drive Senior Public School Replace Concrete Main Entrance - Site Work
- Yorkdale Adult Learning Centre Ventilation Upgrade/Emergency cooling - Mechanical
- Yorkdale Secondary School Replace air handler DJ-40 - Mechanical
- Yorkdale Secondary School B2020-Exterior Windows - Windows
- Yorkdale Secondary School Roof areas C, D, D2 - Roofing