Keeping you engaged and informed
Keeping you engaged and informed
Ward 11 Weekly Update header
Week of January 6, 2020 -
Happy New Year! Welcome Back!

January is Tamil Heritage Month

Celebrating its 5th year since its designation as a heritage month, this year’s program, titled Vision 2020: Yengal Kathigal/Our Stories Vision 2020: எங்கள் கதைகள் - Our Stories celebrates students, the community and its stories. Students of Woburn Junior Public School helped launch the event on December 16 with special guest, Nimi Atma, a Tamil Canadian author, raised in Scarborough and a former TDSB student. He shared his journey and his inspiration for writing A Curse to Complete You. His presentation inspired staff, students and our communities to examine the stories that have shaped our individual and collective identities, to feel enriched by this experience and to spark dialogue about identity, ideas, and intercultural innovation.
Toronto has the largest Tamil population outside of the South Asian subcontinent with thousands of TDSB students and staff members' heritage identified as Tamil. All have stories of their journey of how they or their families arrived in Canada, and how they continue to embrace this country as their home. The poster reflecting the theme is being shared with all schools to be used as an educational tool to examine stories within and across cultures of students in the TDSB and how they shape our individual and collective identities.

Committee Meeting This Week

Governance and Policy Committee - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Committee Room A, 5050 Yonge Street
All committee and board meetings are open to the public - should you wish to speak to an item on the agenda at Committee, click
Agenda Items
  • 4. Recognition of Significant Observances, Phase 2: New Policy, Status Update - As part of the Policy development process, the following themes are proposed for consideration:
    Ensure that the new Policy adhere to the principles of equity as per the Equity Policy (P037). Consider whether to continue the recognition and proclamation of Heritage Months and/or Days of Significance. If continued, consider the ways in which new Heritage Month and Days of Significance designations can be introduced, renewed and/or sunset.
    Consider alternative ways to celebrate and recognize the Heritage Months and the Days of Significance. Consider ways to communicate Heritage Month and Days of Significance designations within the TDSB system. Consider whether recognitions and celebrations should be system-wide and directed centrally or allow for local discretion at the school level.
    Consider ways to resource and fund Heritage Month and Days. 
  • 5. PR729, Student Use of Service Animals in Schools: New Procedure - The newly developed Student Use of Service Animals in Schools Procedure (PR729) supports the implementation of the Student Use of Service Animals in Schools Policy (P096). The Procedure is based on and incorporates key provisions of the Use of Guide Dogs and Service Animals Administrative Procedure Template (Appendix B), provided to the TDSB and other school boards by the Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE).
  • 6. P023, Parent and Community Involvement Policy Review: Status Update - P023 is a critical policy that will not only define the way all families and other key stakeholders of the Board engages with the Board but it will also begin the work of clarifying the goal of engagement for Trustees and the tools and medium used by the Board of Trustees and Trustees to engages with families, constituents and the public. 
  • 7. P048, Occupational Health and Safety: Annual Review - It is recommended that the Occupational Health and Safety Policy (P048), as presented in this report, be approved.
  • 8. P072, Workplace Violence Prevention Policy: Annual Review - It is recommended that the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy (P072), as presented in this report, be approved.
  • 9. PR728, Newly Developed Procedure, Reporting and Responding to Racism and Hate Incidents Involving or Impacting Students in Schools, and Revisions to Procedure PR515, Workplace Harassment Prevention and Human Rights -  The newly developed Procedure (PR728) (Appendix A) sets out expectations to track all incidents and actions related to acts of racism and hate; actions to include communication and follow-up to the specific incidents with the students and parents/caregivers within the school; and the Director presenting an annual report documenting incidents and actions with regard to dealing with racism and hate in schools and how students learned from such. PR728 also requires use of a new online Racism, Bias and Hate reporting form and tool (RBH Portal) that enables principals to report three types of occurrences – hate crimes, hate/bias incidents and racism incidents – in a consistent and detailed manner. The RBH portal also allows Superintendents and the Human Rights Office to review these reports, and for Superintendents, where necessary in consultation with an Organizational Response Team, to propose action plans and communication plans, and articulate lessons learned, all with an eye toward preventing reoccurrences of these incidents. 
  • 10. Development of a Specialized Schools and Programs Policy; Phase 2, New Policy - As alternative schools are addressed in the Alternative Schools Policy (P062) and admission to specialized schools and programs is outlined in the Admission to Specialized Schools and Programs Procedure (PR612), staff also recommends that further clarity will be provided to the TDSB community through the development of a Specialized Schools and Programs Policy. The new Policy will be created to mirror the Alternative Schools Policy, in which clear definitions and policy directions for Specialized Programs will be established. Objective - To affirm the Board’s commitment to providing focused specialized programming in both local schools and in regional specialized schools or programs, and to improving access for all students to these programs. To ensure that the design, criteria and admissions practices of specialized programs do not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any individual or group based on race, colour, creed, culture, ethnicity, linguistic origin, disability, socio-economic status, age, ancestry, nationality, place of origin, sex, gender Identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, citizenship, immigration status, family status, and marital status or body type/size or another factor as defined and covered under the TDSB Equity Policy (P037) and the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • 11.1 Board Self-Assessment (Trustees Pilkey and Doyle)That a Board consultant be retained to develop a self-assessment tool for trustees that can be applied annually.

Labour Update - TDSB Not Impacted by OSSTF Walkout on January 8

On January 3, 2020, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) announced that a fourth one-day walkout is scheduled to take place at some Ontario school boards on Wednesday, January 8 if an agreement is not reached. It is important to note that this walkout does not impact the TDSB. All TDSB schools will be open to students on January 8.
On this day, OSSTF members in school boards not impacted (including the TDSB) will hold information pickets in front of schools before or after school, or during lunch periods. The limited withdrawal of services, which began on November 26, will continue province-wide.
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Phase 2 Job Action continues. A full list of ETFO’s Phase 2 work-to-rule sanctions is available online.
All updates on labour negotiations will be posted on the TDSB website as they are available -

French Programs Update

French Immersion Application/Placement Update
As you may already know, the deadline for SK French Immersion online applications has passed (December 6, 2019). This year, we had 4,018 on-time, online applicants; the most we have ever received. In comparison to last year, we have had an increase of 490 applicants; an increase of 14% overall across TDSB. In Ward 8 we have 5 programs that received a 20% increase in applications for September 2020 entry!
Placements began shortly after the close of the application process. Due to the large volume of applications, it will take a number of weeks for all the families to hear. We encourage families to check their email frequently, including their junk mail. It is important to remember that not all families in a given area will receive their offers of placement at the same time, but all will receive one. Please be reminded while admission to the Early French Immersion (SK entry) program is guaranteed at the entry points to all on- time applicants, admission to a specific school is not guaranteed if the school reaches capacity and given the number of applicants in our Ward, there will be redirections. Please also note that the final entry for French Immersion at SK and the first entry for French Immersion at JK will be September 2022.
Applications for Junior Extended French which begins in Grade 4 must be completed online between January 6, 2020 and January 31, 2020. Please note that this will be the last entry class for this program as it will be transitioning out - Grade 4 Immersion Program will continue. There will be NO gap in access to Grade 4 entry to intensive program. Students in Grade 3 in 2019 will apply to Junior Extended French for September 2020, and students in Grade 3 in 2020, will apply to Middle French Immersion for September 2021.
The grade 7 Extended French program offers students who have successfully completed three years of Core French the option to enter into a more intensive program in grade 7. These students spend approximately 40% of their day in French classes at the Extended French school. The attendance area for an Extended French school is created by "associated" English feeder schools. To locate the Grade 7 entry Extended French school in your area, you must first confirm the English school for your home address, then visit our Extended French Location Finder. Applications should be submitted directly to the Extended French school by January 31, 2020 Please note that this will be the last entry class for this program as it will be transitioning out but  the Grade 4 Immersion Program will continue.

2020-21 Budget

As noted in my December 16 update, at the December 12 Board, staff shared a report Update on 2020-21 Education Funding Engagement Guide Consultation. At the time, we had not heard any information on the actual GSN consultation – but on December 18, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips launched the first of a series of budget consultations that will run across Ontario throughout the months of January and February. The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs will hold Pre-Budget Consultation public hearings in Toronto on January 17, 2020 and in Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay, Kitchener-Waterloo, Belleville, and Niagara during the week of January 20, 2020. As she did last year, Chair Robin Pilkey has indicated a desire to speak to the committee and will share our response. It is still not clear if there will be a separate GSN 2020-21 consultation or guide.
As noted in the preliminary report, the TDSB will continue to focus is on the following areas of interest excerpted from the report.
Transportation - In the absence of provincial funding benchmarks for transportation, school boards have no guidance to support a change in service expectations and the inequity among coterminous boards is left unaddressed because boards will continue to use transportation as a means to compete for students. In addition, the TDSB is advocating that transportation for students with special needs be identified and funded separately. The Ministry’s review of transportation services and funding that started three years ago, has not reported out on its findings yet. 
Renewal Funding Backlog - It is imperative that the province commit to providing predictable and sustainable funding for school repairs so that the TDSB can continue to implement our long-term plan for renewal, lower our current $3.9 billion repair backlog and modernize our schools. Current industry standards are that 2 to 4% of the replacement value of buildings should be budgeted for renewal expenditures. Costs in high density urban boards for maintenance and construction work are significantly higher than either suburban or rural boards and this should be taken into consideration in establishing construction benchmarks.
Education Development Charges - In our view, the same way that developers pay for services such as roads, transit, water, sewer infrastructure and community centres, they should also contribute to education. In other words, growth should pay for growth. Section 10 of Ontario Reg. 20/98 does not serve the purpose of either the Education Act or the original purpose of EDC funding, which was meant for new developments to fund new school sites. Without the restrictions found in Section 10 of Ontario Reg. 20/98, the TDSB would qualify for EDCs and generate revenue of approximately $400 million over the next 15 years, which would help us meet growth-related infrastructure needs. 
Class Sizes - We urge the Ministry to: Commit to listening to the results of the Ministry consultation on secondary school class size and pay close attention to the analysis you are now getting regarding the impacts on programs, course offerings and student supports; Put on hold the decision to increase average class sizes in high schools and put on hold the reductions to high school teachers until such time that there is system wide and school-board-by-school board data on the impact on high school programs and course options and the concern school boards have with regard to the potential negative impact on graduation rates; and, Compensate boards, including the TDSB, whose collective agreements require a smaller average class size in Grades 4-8 than the average class size level being funded by the Ministry of Education
E-Learning - The TDSB has serious concerns with the government’s plan to introduce mandatory e-learning courses for all secondary students. The TDSB is not against e-learning, recognizing that it plays an important role in our system. We are, however, concerned about the mandatory nature of this plan, the timing and the general lack of information available for parents/guardians, students and staff.
Challenging Streaming - The TDSB is committed to setting high expectations and increasing access to programming for all students. These principles must begin in the early years and include changes to special education programming and student discipline, transitions to secondary school and Grades 9 and 10 programming. It is important that the Ministry commit to providing additional funding in these areas so that we and other boards can continue to increase student achievement and help students to be successful in their chosen academic program. 
Supply Staffing - The current funding levels do not adequately support school boards actual costs in all areas of staffing. Corrective agreements allow for 130 days of absence with staff only being reduced to 90% of earnings after 11 days of absence. There has been an increase in usage of sick time since the new policy was established. School boards need further funding support to address this shortfall.
Staff will present the final submission to the next FBEC committee for information.

2019 / 2020 Parent Reaching Out Grant (PRO Grant) Allocation

The Ministry changed the PRO GRANT program from an application-based funding model to an allocation-based grant provided to each school board. School boards received a predetermined funding amount for parent engagement projects. 
TDSB was allocated $133,405.35 for projects that demonstrate a commitment to respecting the role of parents in students’ educational experiences which is about 1/3rd of what schools received last year. All funds must be spent and reported to the Ministry by June 15, 2020. The Board, at its meeting on November 27, 2019, approved the allocation as follows: 
  • Learning Network / Centre & Ward Engagement ($103,405.35) 
    Learning Centre Executive Superintendents will consult with Superintendents of Education, Trustees and the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee Representatives to identify initiatives that fall within the following areas: Supporting and enhancing school council capacity; Enhancing the efficacy of families around mental health and wellbeing, equity or achievement and/or Engagement of diverse families and school councils in the School Improvement Process (e.g. workshops/training for families)

  • 2020 Parents as Partners (PAP) Conference ($30,000)
    PAP is scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 2020 and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at The Toronto Congress Centre. The day will offer families/guardians the opportunity to participate in day long learning, sharing and networking with families, staff and community partners. The day will feature a keynote address, informative workshops and a vendors’ marketplace of local associations and agencies which provide many different kinds of support for children and families. Please hold the date now!

Inspite of some of the difficult budget decisions the Board has had to make, the Arts at the TDSB are flourishing, thriving, and resilient. The TDSB is highlighting this committment by launching a new webpage called, Spotlight on the Arts. You can find the webpage here
As noted on the site, Arts education is an essential part of school for students of all ages and we are highlighting some of the most dynamic programming and sought-after programs and schools. Whether dance, drama, media arts, visual arts or music, the TDSB provides students with an incredible variety of options and the opportunity to learn from creative and dedicated staff. That said, equity of access is a major commitment of the Board and we continually review programs and teaching strategies in elementary and secondary schools to ensure that a strong curriculum is being delivered in all areas and serving all students in the best way possible.
On the webpage Chair Robin Pilkey shares a critical message - while highlighting the Board's investments in the arts, she also makes it clear there were budget reductions to all programming in the TDSB and how we must work together to protect the overall quality of public education and the funding we need to provide our students with the programs, services and opportunities they need to succeed. You can find the Chair's full message here

Financial Assistance for the IB Program

As you know, as part of last year’s budget process when we were faced with unprecedented reductions, the decision was made to begin charging registration fees for the International Baccalaureate program in order to keep the program in the 5 Secondary Schools where is currently runs - Monarch Park CI, Parkdale CI, Sir Wilfrid Laurier CI, Victoria Park CI, and Weston CI. This fee structure, which is in line with what other GTA boards charge for the IB program, covers the cost of running the program (i.e. teacher training, annual dues, program coordination, and participation in IB examinations) and will not result in any extra revenue for the TDSB. Starting in the 2020-21 school year, there will be a registration fee of $1500 per year for Grade 11 and Grade 12. There is no fee for pre-IB (Grades 9 and 10). 
In order to ensure equity of access to the program, a financial assistance program has been developed for IB. The TDSB’s IB financial assistance program will be managed by the Business Services department to ensure privacy and confidentiality. The funds for the financial assistance program for IB will come from the TDSB’s Central Equity Fund. If one's family income level is less than $30K the fee of $1500 will be fully covered; if the family income is $30K to $50K, you can receive $1000 of financial assistance ($500 program fee); and if one's family income is between $50K to $75K one can receive $500 of financial assistance ($1000 program fee). In addition to the amounts listed above, families (whose income is $75,000 or less) with three or more children (dependents under the age of 16) are eligible to receive $500 of additional financial support.
The deadline to apply for financial assistance for IB is January 22, 2020. Parents/guardians will be notified on January 24, 2020 (a week before the TDSB’s optional attendance deadline) to allow time for other decisions to be made by students and parents/guardians, if required. Parents/guardians will be contacted directly in January regarding their financial assistance approval and will be provided instructions for remaining fee payment, if applicable. IB registration fee payment for the 2020-21 school year is due in full on June 30, 2020. Parents/guardians have the option of paying in full any time before this deadline, or paying in five monthly installments. 
Information about the financial assistance program for IB has also been posted to the TDSB website

Basketball Net Pilot Project Update

In June 2019, the Board initiated a pilot project to keep basketball nets up at all TDSB schools in order to provide increased access to recreational opportunities.  This was a departure from our current practices at a number of sites, where nets were removed at the end of each day. Our basketball pilot ended the beginning of December and staff have begun to review the pilot project, including a review all of the community feedback received. Next steps and recommendations will be part of a staff report tracking to the January Committee of the Whole meeting.  

Global School Play Day - Feb 5, 2020

Restoring unstructured play to a generation of kids! 
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” -Plato
Last year, on February 6, 2019, the Fifth-Annual Global School Play Day continued to spread around the world. Over 535,000 young people from 72 nations were registered by their administrators or teachers to participate. Schools from around the world stood together to say, “Unstructured play is a vital part of proper child development!”
Official Twitter Account - @GSPlayDay Hashtag: #GSPD2020
Global School Play Day Official Website -

Worth Repeating

2019 - 2020 School Council Learning Opportunities

Each of your offices has a binder of resources for School Councils that you are welcome to borrow - and hopefully by the end of the week a USB key with the same information to make it easier to search and print from. Learning opportunities have been organized for School Council 101, ByLaws and Effectiveness. Please find below the dates, times, locations and share broadly.
Date LC Location Time Room Topic
Jan 9 4 Central Tech 6:00 – 9:00 102 School Council 101
Jan 16 1 John Polanyi 6:00 – 9:00 117 School Council ByLaws
Jan 23 2 Drewry SS 6:00 – 9:00 102 School Council ByLaws
Jan 28 3 Woburn CI 6:00 – 9:00 105 School Council ByLaws
Feb 4 4 Central Tech 6:00 – 9:00 102 School Council ByLaws
Feb 13 1 John Polanyi 6:00 – 9:00 120 School Council Effectiveness
Feb 20 2 Drewry SS 6:00 – 9:00 102 School Council Effectiveness
Feb 26 3 Woburn CI 6:00 – 9:00 105 School Council Effectiveness
Mar 5 4 Central Tech 6:00 – 9:00 102 School Council Effectiveness
And the presentations from PIAC's Ready. Set. Engage. Event from November 16 are now posted online.

Policy Consultations

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. 
Current Policy Review Schedule

Attendance at Schools Outside of Designated Attendance Area (formerly Optional Attendance) (P013) As per the Secondary Programs Review and the TDSB Policy Review Schedule, the Optional Attendance Policy is currently being reviewed. We are asking all members of the TDSB community for feedback on the proposed draft.
Closes - February 03, 2020
Draft Policy -
Survey -
Objective: To provide policy direction about access to schools outside a student’s designated attendance area. The Optional Attendance policy allows students to apply to schools other than their designated school by home address. This is possible because there is excess capacity at some schools across the system. This has afforded students choice of school and program as well as enabled students to remain with cohorts if a family changes residence. However, optional attendance has prevented equity of access and has created an imbalance of enrolment in our secondary schools (under and over-utilized schools). It has also created an environment where schools are forced to compete with each other to attract more students in hopes of increasing their enrolment.

Please note - The new draft policy on Specialized Programs is on the Governance and Policy Committee Agenda at Wednesday's meeting (noted above).

2020-2021 Optional Attendance 

Information on Optional Attendance
Please note that not all programs/schools are open to Optional Attendance if you do not live in the school's catchment area. Acceptance at these schools is subject to space availability and program suitability. The procedures, conditions and timelines relating to optional attendance are described in the Optional Attendance Policy and the Optional Attendance Operational Procedure.
Each year in December, schools are classified as limited or closed to optional attendance based on the space they have available for the upcoming school year.
Elementary Schools (applying for September 2020 admission)
For the form, click here Applications must be received by Friday, February 14, 2020.
Secondary Schools (applying for September 2020 admission)
For the Form, click here  Applications must be received by Friday, January 31, 2020.
Note: It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to deliver this application (no faxed or scanned copies) to the school or schools of choice.
NOTE - the Optional Attendance Status for 2020 - 2021 has now been updated on the school websites. Find your school here -

Secondary Program Review

The vision of the Secondary Program Review, which will address both under and over-utilized schools, includes fewer schools with strong programming and increased access to courses that support all pathways. In order to achieve that, the Board will consider potential consolidation and/or relocation of schools, re-purposing secondary school buildings to address other system needs, and different models of school organization (e.g. full-year programming).
To learn more about the Secondary School Review, please read the Questions and Answers

High School Information Nights

To help you make an informed decision when choosing a school, TDSB schools host open houses and information nights for parents and students each year between October and January. Learn everything you need to know about our incredible variety of schools, programs and courses. Please click here for the schedule you have questions about a specific school or open house, please contact the school directly for more information.

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
  • School resumes January 6, 2020
  • Elementary PA Day  January 17, 2020
  • Secondary PA Day (Semestered Schools only) January 30, 2020 
  • Board-wide PA Day February 14, 2020
  • Family Day  February 17, 2020
  • 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: 1st Semester: January 13-24, 2020
Gr. 9 Math:  2nd Semester: June 2-15, 2020
OSSLT:  March 31, 2020
Primary/Junior EQAO:  May 19-June 1, 2020

Also please note Days of Significance - click for the complete list 2019-2020
You may also find this Days of Significance Resource Guide helpful
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