As you are likely aware, yesterday the TDSB sent out a letter requesting that all staff and students entering our buildings and schools wear well-fitting masks. With Covid-19 cases so prevalent in Toronto, we are trying to do everything in our power to ensure our school communities stay healthy. Not only do we worry about kids and staff getting sick and having to miss school, but we also worry about our ability to replace staff who are sick and/or need to stay home to care for their own children who become sick. With the high number of cases in the city, it is becoming increasingly difficult to staff our classes and buildings. We know that repeated classroom closures and school closures have deep impacts on student mental health, well-being and achievement, and we want to do everything we can to avoid these scenarios. While the Province has not been willing to re-enact mask mandates, Dr. Moore, Dr. DeVilla, and Dr. Tam, along with Public Health Ontario, have all recently reiterated a strong recommendation of mask wearing as an important layer of risk mitigation, and as an effective way to stop the spread of Covid-19. With this in mind, we ask for everyone's cooperation on this issue so that we can get through this 6th wave with as little disruption as possible.
While the lifting of the masking restrictions has caused some concern around Covid-19 spread, the lifting of the majority of other restrictions has allowed for some wonderful developments at our schools. With the loosening of restrictions around cohorting and seating arrangements, teachers now have more flexibility in their pedagogical approaches, and students have more access to group work and collaborative experiences. We are also now seeing the return of extracurriculars, grad planning, pizza lunches, and even spring fairs in the works. These, along with many other events and programs, are all part of the fabric and richness of our school communities, and add to the vibrancy and excitement of life at school. These are all very welcome changes!
With the warmer weather upon us, and the prospect of a four-day weekend on the horizon, I want to wish everyone a wonderful mini-break. As this weekend encompasses many holidays, to all those in our Muslim community continuing to observe Ramadan this month, I wish you Ramadan Mubarek; to those in our Sikh community celebrating Vaisakhi, I wish you a very happy New Year; to those in our Tamil community celebrating, Iniya Puthandu Naal Vaazhthukkal -- Happy New Year; to those celebrating Easter this weekend, I wish you a blessed and happy Easter; and to those observing Passover, beginning Friday evening, Chag Pesach Sameach. And to all of our families and community members, may you all find time for joy, relaxation and a bit of fun over the long weekend!
Please find below many informative updates on a variety of topics that include, among other things: e-learning credit graduation requirements (and how to file an exemption for your child), mental health supports (including drop-in hours for tonight from 7-9pm), and summer school registration information.
Finally, a big thank you and congratulations to Araz Hasserjian, who has supported me and Ward 11 in Trustee Services for many years and has recently moved to Business Services at the TDSB to help support Executive Officer Marisa Chu. And, please join me in welcoming Yalda Anwari, who comes to Trustee Services from the office at Ryerson Public School. She is already settling in wonderfully and has quickly become an essential part of the amazing team that helps support the trustees and all our constituents who call our offices!
Have a great long weekend and don't forget to mark your calendars and register for my next coffee morning on May 4th (flyer above)!
Rachel Chernos Lin, TDSB Trustee, Ward 11, Don Valley West
Ministry of Education’s New Online Learning Graduation Requirement
The Ontario Ministry of Education has introduced a new graduation requirement for secondary students to complete two e-Learning credits as part of the 30 credits required for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). It applies only to students who entered Grade 9 on or after September 1, 2020 which means that they are now in Grade 9 or Grade 10. Students may withdraw/opt out of this new graduation requirement and graduate with an OSSD.
Ministry Announcement on Childcare
On March 28, the province announced it signed a $13.2 billion agreement that will lower fees for families and deliver an average of $10 a day childcare by September 2025. While specific implementation details regarding this Canada Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system are yet to be received, Board staff recently shared the following:
- This plan applies to licensed child care programs serving children ages 0-5 (infant, toddler, preschool and FDK before and after-school programs).
- There will be a phased in plan, with Phase 1 focusing on affordability, including funding guidelines, and quality. By Sept 2025 the goal is to have an average of $10/day care in place.
- The fee subsidy system currently in place in Toronto will continue to be available to eligible families, however specific details haven’t been confirmed (e.g., will the eligibility criteria remain the same? Will the same amount of subsidy dollars be allocated in the system, etc.)
While TDSB is awaiting information about the CWELCC plan, Early Years staff has started important conversations with key stakeholders around how this may impact our directly operated Extended Day Programs, our third party before- and after-school program operators, and childcare partners operating programs in our schools.
Right to Read Report
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recently released its report, “Right to Read: Public inquiry into human rights issues affecting students with reading disabilities.” The report has detailed findings and recommendations for many stakeholders including the Ministry of Education, school boards, and faculties of education.
A TDSB multi-disciplinary team is currently reviewing the report as well as the Ministry of Education’s response, and awaiting further guidance from the Ministry.
The OHRC report made recommendations in the following areas:
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Early Screening
- Reading Interventions
- Professional Assessments
- Systemic Issues
The resources on TDSB websites for educators and administrators reflect key recommendations in the OHRC Right to Read Report and also ensure that students maintain a joy of reading.
The multi-disciplinary team is currently formulating a plan for how the TDSB moves forward to ensure that all students, regardless of social identity, have the foundational literacy skills to be fluent, confident and literate citizens.
Join the Conversations: Nurturing Children's Gender and Identity & Parent Reboot Session with Dr. Shefali (recorded)
TDSB parents/caregivers are invited to join us for two new engaging and informative conversations on topics we heard you want to learn more about. Hear from leading experts and participate in question and answer sessions online.
Our next session: Nurturing Children's Gender and Identity, with Vivek Shraya
Previous session: Reboot session with Dr. Shefali Tsabary
TDSB is pleased to be offering parents/caregivers FREE access to this great three hour recorde Reboot session with Dr. Shefali Tsabary who will help answer parents/caregivers questions and concerns on 5 stressors for parents/caregivers
- screen addition,
- children disrespect,
- tantrum and
The sessions provides golden nuggets to address these 5 stressors. Visit www.tdsb.on.ca/conversation to sign up for free access to the recording.
These conversations are jointly hosted by the TDSB's Parent and Community Engagement Office and the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee and generously supported by the Ministry of Education's Parents Reaching Out Grants. Learn more at www.tdsb.on.ca/conversation.
Consultation: Parent and Caregiver Engagement Policy (P023)
Consultation is underway for the TDSB’s revised Parent and Caregiver Engagement Policy (P023), and we want to hear from you. More information is at www.tdsbengage.ca/tdsb-engage, including invitations to a ThoughtExchange feedback options, and a Public Consultation session on April 25 6:30-8:30pm.
Consultation ends May 25.
- Positive Racial Identity Series
- Human Library podcast
- A Day in Aviation
- Black Girls' Book Club
- Black Students in Business Collective
- Black Student Summer Leadership Program
- ADVANCE Music discovery program
- and more...
In February, I organized a Ward Forum with special guest dr. Janine McCready about Vaccination of Children. Please check out the meeting notes.
Learn more about vaccination for children:
How to book an vaccine appointment:
Book an appointment online at the dark blue “Book Appointment” button on toronto.ca/covid-19 or by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007). Vaccines are also available at pop-up clinics, pharmacies and some family doctors.
Watch for emails from your school for information about school pop-up clinics in your neighbourhood.
Michael Garron Hospital and East Toronto Health Partners oversee the Thorncliffe Hub Vaccination Centre and a variety of pop-ups clinics in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park as well as East Toronto.
For more information, click wwww.tehp/VaccinePopUps. Upcoming local clinics the coming weeks:
- April 14 - May 1: Thorncliffe Park Community Hub (45 Overlea Blvd). Times vary.
- April 19: Thorncliffe Park Public School (80 Thorncliffe Park Dr). 4-8pm as supply lasts.- April 22: Grenoble Public School (9 Grenoble Dr). 4-8 pm as supply lasts.- April 29: St. John XXIII Catholic School (175 Grenoble Dr). 4-8pm as supply lasts.
Mental Health & Well-Being Supports
TDSB Professional Support Services offers virtual drop-in hours for parents and caregivers to discuss strategies to help support the mental health and well-being of your child.
There are sessions open to all (Thursdays 7-8pm through June 9) and a special drop-in for parents/caregivers of students with special/complex needs (Wednesdays 7-8pm through June 8).
2021-2022 School Year Calendar
The last day of class is June 30 (for elementary students) or June 29 (for secondary students).
There are no classes for students on the dates listed below.
As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions, comments or concerns!~Rachel
Rachel Chernos Lin, Ward 11 TDSB Trustee, Don Valley Wes
If you notice anything at a school that concerns you, please call the TDSB Security Call Centre (416) 395-4620 and the Toronto Police - non-emergencies can be reported by calling 416-808-2222.