As we enter the last stretch of January, it is with a mix of emotions. There have been many holidays to celebrate with joy and community for our Don Valley West and TDSB families -- such as Orthodox Christmas and most recently, yesterday's Lunar New Year -- and yet over the last couple of days, many of us have felt stress and sadness. For many families, last night's Lunar New Year celebrations were tainted by the shocking shootings at a Lunar New Year celebration in California. And for all Canadians, and for Indigenous peoples in particular, last week's discovery of a large number of plausible unmarked graves of Indigenous children near Kenora, Ontario was a further reminder of the injustices and impacts of colonialism and the residential school system. As I wrote to trustees on Friday afternoon in my weekly message,
"My heartfelt and deepest condolences go out to the Wauzhushk Onigum Nation, and the victims and survivors of the residential school system and their families. As a Board, our collective response must be centered in reaffirming our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action through meaningful and intentional work.
With that in mind, I encourage you to review our Multi-Year Strategic Plan to learn more about the TDSB’s important commitment to work with Toronto’s Indigenous communities to address the knowledge gap about the histories, cultures and contemporary realities of Indigenous peoples in Canada including the impact of ongoing colonization and systems of public schooling within those communities."
And finally, I know many families are concerned about recent incidents of violence in communities and schools across our city, including in Ward 11. This is something the TDSB is taking very seriously. We have begun by putting a number of extra measures in place such as increased School Based Safety Monitors, safety audits, and are working to establish an Expert Reference Group and local safety tables with community partners in high priority areas to help advise and support us. As Chair of the Board, I have been meeting regularly with the City of Toronto's staff lead from Safe TO, the Mayor and officers from Toronto Police Services, to establish how we can best work together, and I have also met with the Minister of Education to communicate our experiences and advocate for Provincial support. Our schools need to be safe spaces. All children and staff need to FEEL safe at school, as well as BE safe at school. As parents, we always worry about our children every time they leave the house and are out of our care, but we shouldn't be worrying about our children's safety when they are at school. And while all of us at the TDSB do our very best to ensure that this is the case each and every day, the rise in violence in our communities and city is not a problem the TDSB can solve on its own. We need ALL levels of government to come together to work with TDSB and community partners to ensure our city and communities are supported and safe.
On a brighter note, this week marks the beginning of the first set of exams for our high school students in several years. I know many students are nervous, but this is also good experience for preparing students for higher education and real-world scenarios they may experience after they graduate from the TDSB. I was pleased to see all of our high schools offering exam preparation workshops in order to help set students up for success. Wishing all of our students the best of luck as they finish up their cumulative assignments and write exams!
Coffee Morning: Wednesday, Jan.25
A quick reminder of my upcoming Coffee Morning this Wednesday. As we alternate between in-person and virtual meetings, this one will be via Zoom, 9:30 - 11 a.m. Please click for the Flyer and Registration.
Finally, see below for a number of important reminders, events, and information that may be of interest to Ward 11 and TDSB families.
Rachel Chernos Lin
Chair and TDSB Trustee, Ward 11, Don Valley West
Elementary and Secondary Out-of-Area Admissions: Info & Applications
Students who reside within the City of Toronto have the right to attend a school which is designated to serve their residential address. Students also have the opportunity to access schools outside of the school that is designated to serve their home address by applying for Out-of-Area Admissions. Acceptance at these schools is subject to space availability and program suitability. Check the TDSB website for more information about Out-of-Area Admissions.
Out-of-Area Admissions - Applications
The applications for Out-of-Area Admissions launched earlier this month. There are already over 600 elementary submissions and nearly 1,700 secondary submissions. Applicants may include up to two (2) school choices on their applications.
It is important to note that an application received on the closing date has equal standing with the first application submitted.
The Secondary application closes on Friday, January 27 at 4 p.m.
The Elementary application remains open until Friday, February 10 at 4 p.m.
Late applications will not be accepted
Middle French Immersion Application Process (deadline February 3)
The entry point to the Middle French Immersion program for September 2023 is Grade 4. The online application process for Middle French Immersion takes place between January 9 and February 3, 2023. An offer of placement in the program (not a specific school) is guaranteed to all on-time applicants.
Families with an older sibling currently enrolled in a French program and who will be in attendance next year are still required to complete an online application for the new student. Please select the “sibling option” within the online application
Elementary Alternative Schools - Apply until February 16
On October 26, 2022, the Board approved revisions to the Alternative Schools Policy.
As part of the TDSB’s commitment to ensure equitable access, admissions, and opportunities for all students and to support implementation of the Board decision regarding elementary alternative schools (May 26, 2021) and the revised Alternative Schools Policy (P062), the TDSB has developed a new centralized application process and online application form for elementary alternative schools. The accompanying procedure to the policy will be shared with the Board in the spring 2023
The centralized application process and online application form is in place for students and families to request admission for September 2023. Information related to elementary alternative schools is available on the TDSB website. The form is available until Thursday, February 16, 4 p.m.
TDSB Parents needed for Participation on Vice-Principal Interview Teams
Each year, the TDSB interviews teacher candidates for vice-principal positions.
This is an important way for parents to have a direct voice in who will be administrators in our schools.
For interested parents/caregivers, there is a mandatory training session (virtual) on Tuesday, February 7, 6-8pm.
The 2023 interview sessions will be held on 2 of the following 3 days: February 21, 23, or 27. Parents will be scheduled for only 1 day each of interviewing.
Raise a Reader; Read to Succeed, Anbu Autism Caregiving series
Learn strategies to make reading fun, while building fluency and confidence as a reader - for all families including French Immersion. January 24 at 6:30pm. Click here to register.
Also, check out information below
- for a seperate Read to Succeed online workshop series for Parents & Caregivers (next session: January 25, 6:3- - 8:00 pm).
- and an Anbu session for caregivers of students living with autism (next session: January 26, 6:00 - 7:30 pm)
[both also organized/facilitated by the TDSB's Community Support Workers (www.tdsbHUB.ca) ]
In My Mosque: Love and Belonging in Community Spaces webinar
The TDSB's Equity, Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Department is offering Kindergarten to Grade 6 TDSB students, families, as well as staff the opportunity to attend the virtual session In My Mosque: Love and Belonging in Community Spaces
Two sessions are available, one for staff and students; and one for families / guardians / caregivers, on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023. Both sessions commemorate the National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia. M.O. Yuksel and Hatem Aly, the author and illustrator of the book In My Mosque, will facilitate an interactive storytelling session focused on love and belonging in community spaces.
The community session will take place from 5 - 6 p.m. To register for the community event, please complete this Google Form.
Black Student Summer Leadership Program
Registration for the Black Student Summer Leadership Program is open! Toronto District School Board students from Gr. 10 – 12 who self-identify as Black and can commit to the requirements of the program are eligible to apply. The application closes January 31. In addition, students, families and staff are invited to join an Information Session on January 24 at 6 p.m.
Supported by the Graduation Coaches for Black Students, TDSB Black-identifying social workers, professional researchers and various TDSB staff, the Black Student Summer Leadership Program provides paid learning experiences and enrolled students are able to receive mentorship, career training, and placements in an employment area that reflects their passions. Students also participate in Youth Participatory Action Research where they conduct their own research and presentations within social justice education.
An additional bonus is that students can enroll in an optional co-operative education selection, where they are eligible to gain up to 2 credits towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
We look forward to another successful year of the Black Student Summer Leadership Program at the Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement (check out their December newsletter) .
January 27: International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Friday, January 27 is designated by the United Nations General Assembly as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD).
On this annual day of commemoration, ceremonies are held to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism.
At the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) the Jewish Heritage Committee is hosting several events TDSB staff and students: Check this webpage on the TDSB website for more information about:
For more information, contact Shari.Schwartzfirstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pinchas Gutter: In conversation with TDSB’s Shari Schwartz-Maltz
a webcast for grades 6 and up, Jan.27, 10:15 - 11 am (poster)
- Willesden Reads Concerts January 31 & February 1
Canadian Premiere of Willesden READS! (concert livestream Wed. Feb.1, 10 am)
- Willesden Reads: Hold on to Your Music with author Mona Golabe
Read-aloud video and performance by author Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen of the children’s version of The Children of Willesden Lane - Hold onto your Music (for educators of grades 2-5).
African Heritage (Black History) Month: Virtual Launch: February 1st
During the month of February, the TDSB proudly recognizes African Heritage (Black History) Month. It is an occasion to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of peoples of African descent to Canada and the world. The chosen theme for 2022-2023 is Black Joy.
The theme of Black Joy was selected this year by the African Heritage Month Volunteer Planning Committee. This academic school year, "Joy" is one of TDSB's two overarching priorities. The first priority being the importance of joy, engagement and belonging in our schools as a foundation for academic achievement and student success; and the second priority being the elimination of disproportionate outcomes for students. Black Joy emulates how Black People have been able to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally as a People and as a Community, despite the systemic barriers and oppression faced.
To kick off African Heritage month at the TDSB, all students, staff, and the TDSB community are invited to join in marking this significant month with entertainment, and noteworthy speakers. Announcements about several educational opportunities that are being planned throughout the month of February and beyond will also be shared at the African Heritage Month Virtual Launch on Wednesday, February 1.
CampTO: Information & Registration
At Toronto's seasonal CampTO's, children and youth can be active, learn new skills and make fun memories close to home.
Registration for Summer CampTO opens February 11, 2023 at 7am.
Registration for March Break CampTO is open
Choose from: CampTO, CampTO Explore, CampTO Plus, Counsellor in Training, or Adapted & Inclusive options for campers with disabilities or needing additional support.
2022-2023 School Year Calendar
Mark your calendars! Upcoming Professional Activity and Professional Development days are February 2 (high schools only) and then February 17 (both elementary and high schools).
There are no classes for students on the dates listed above (also check out the Days of Significance Calendar and the key school calendar dates listed below).
Stay Connected with your School
The TDSB is offering two new ways to stay connected with your school and the TDSB. Learn about opting in for text messages and using the School Messenger app, which provides a faster and easier way to report absences. Learn more.
Sign-up for TDSB Update and stay informed about recent Board decisions and district-wide news.
The next Regular Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. For a list of upcoming meetings, please click on the calendar on the main webpage of www.tdsb.on.ca.
Follow the TDSB
Join the conversations happening on TDSB's social media communities. You'll find the most up-to-date information about us on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions, comments or concerns!
If you notice anything at a school that concerns you, please call the TDSB 24-hour Call Centre (416) 395-4620, 311 Toronto, and/or Toronto Police Services Dispatch (non-emergencies via 416-808-2222).
If you or a family member is in crisis, please contact Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or get support right now by texting CONNECT to 686868.