2019-20 Ward 8 Highlight Edition Part 1
Below please find highlights from the schools in our ward (A-H) provided by the Principals. Part 2 includes schools (J-Y). I know you will enjoy reading them and join me in thanking all staff in our schools and parent/caregiver volunteers who support student well-being and achievement especially this year when school building were closed from March Break and emergency remote learning began.
Although we are not sure what September 2020 will look like, I am confident our schools will be prepared to safely welcome staff and students.
Allenby Junior Public School
Tracey O'Toole, Principal; Michelle LaMarche, Vice-Principal: Lisa Parker, School Council Chair
This year has been an incredible journey of learning at Allenby Jr Public School, both in school and remotely. As part of our commitment to 21st century learning we held our second EdCamp at Allenby in the fall. Staff developed and led specialty workshops for their colleagues focused on the meaningful inclusion of digital tools in the classroom. Workshops included, but were not limited to, My Blueprint, Making original GIFs, Google Keep, Starboard, Micro:bits. Mystery Hangouts and Using Doc Appender for Assessment. It is our school’s commitment to 21st century learning, ensuring we have the technology for students to access and the professional development for staff to apply this technology effectively to engage and expand student learning, that set us up for success when schools closed and digital learning was required.
Staff continued collaborating with each other, with other teachers across the TDSB, and with educators around the world to continue to provide rich, engaging learning opportunities.
Through our school’s affiliation with Global Scholars (@GlobalCitiesOrg), our grade 5 and 6 students broadened their grasp of issues affecting nature worldwide through active collaboration with schools around the globe. As students complete their learning online and communicate with their peers around the world digitally, this work continued during at-home learning with students completing culminating projects.
Remote learning began with a school-wide spirit week to boost morale and a collage of pictures of staff sending positive messages to our students. It continued with an Allenby’s Where’s Waldo, Allenby Rocks! initiative, a kindergarten virtual library (to access videos of books being read aloud by the FDK team), a family workout, a virtual library with books supporting families in their discussions on racism, anti-oppression and equity, and a virtual calming corner (to access resources and videos by staff supporting self-regulation, mental health and well-being), Window Walks, and A Kids Corner and Parent-Educator tips in the weekly newsletter to families. Our year ended with a school-wide Spirit Week with activities included connected to each day’s theme and a video message from staff to Allenby students and families reminding them, once again, that we miss them and that we are in this together.
We have an active Twitter presence and invite all to share our story and our passion @AllenbyPS_TDSB. Wishing a great summer to all!
Armour Heights Public School
Belinda Longe, Principal; Laura Berry and Elise Tzurkov, School Council Co-Chairs
This school year at Armour Heights was unpredictable to say the least! However with the support of staff and parents we managed to navigate through some unchartered territory. As a staff we began the school year discussing the concepts of conscious and unconscious bias, and exploring barriers to student achievement that exist in our school and school system. We continued to have meaningful conversations throughout the year about ways in which we could support students to be successful and address feelings of anxiety and other stresses that students were facing in their lives. We also began to look at ways in which the classroom environment and resources supported the learning needs of children. We will continue to explore these concepts next school year.
For the past four years, Armour Heights has participated in the Global Cardboard Challenge, as part of our school wide focus on STEAM and the incorporation of Maker Spaces into our programs. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 used recycled cardboard to build anything they could think of. The creations were spectacular and the level of collaboration amongst students from all grades was inspiring. This project was inspired by the short film Caine’s Arcade, cainesarcade.com.
All of our students were engaged in two unique physical activities that enriched our dance and physical education program. In January they participated in the Jungle Sport Gym activity and used the low and high ropes to test their strength and agility. In February, our students had the opportunity to participate in the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Dance classes and learned some unique choreography and cultural history about African Caribbean people. Both of these experiences were provided through the generous donations of our Family and School Association (FSA).
Baycrest Public School
Lois Stewart, Principal; Nicole Peters and Lorie Brodie, School Council Co-Chairs
Website and Art Gallery: When the lockdown began, it became clear that we would need a way to communicate more efficiently with students and parents on a variety of topics, from student assignments to recommended DPA options to learn-at-home resources and public service announcements. Baycrest staff quickly responded to the challenge, creating our new ‘Baycrest Learn-at-Home’ website. The home page features a Google Group ‘Message Board’ where the latest updates of relevance to our community, including the COVID-19 situation and other important topics, can be found. Many of our teachers were already using Google Classrooms with their students, so we were able to link those into the new site as well, resulting in a central portal for families to access all things Baycrest. The latest addition is a Virtual Art Gallery, featuring works from students in all grades (K-7) as well as parents! The Gallery continues to expand as new ideas emerge: a ‘Photo Challenge’ section is being planned. While the website was created out of a pressing need to pivot our efforts during the lockdown, it seems clear now that it will be a useful tool for community-wide communication in the years ahead, even after the hopefully-not-too-distant return to our physical school building.
First Ever Virtual Graduation: Our Kindergarten teachers and ECEs together form an incredible team of educators (as do the rest of our amazing staff!). This was nowhere more evident than during Baycrest Public School’s first ever Virtual Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony held on June 17th through Google Meet. The level of excitement and engagement demonstrated by both students and families, even during this unsettling period and through the at-times challenging virtual environment, is a wonderful testament to the joy these educators experience in working with children, and to the profound connections they have forged with the families as a whole. The event featured nearly all of the components of a typical graduation, including processional music, the land acknowledgment and national anthem, student speeches, an awards ceremony, an address from Superintendent Mr. Curtis Ennis, and even a little dancing. The hugs and handshakes were absent, of course, but the warmth and best wishes were strongly felt nonetheless. Way to go, Kindergarten Team!
Student Message: All of our staff have worked incredibly hard over recent weeks and months, spending countless hours online with students and with parents also, providing focused small group instruction and offering suggestions and opportunities for families to come together as partners in students’ education. We have all become much more efficient practitioners of ‘virtual learning’, with the use of Google Meet and Google Classroom and other platforms rapidly becoming almost second nature.
Despite all the learning that has taken place, and the lessons we will carry forward and apply even post-lockdown, we of course long to see each other -staff, parents, and students included- in person once again. The technology, though it can sometimes be frustrating, is also wonderful in what it allows us to do, especially in these difficult circumstances. It nonetheless will never replace the all-important connections that humans enjoy (and need), and that are established when we are able to physically meet with each other. Working from home does have its benefits, but we still can’t wait to see our students face-to-face once again! We know many of our students and families feel the same way about us. One Kindergarten student and her mom took it upon themselves to send this message, which somehow makes all our efforts worthwhile…Stay Safe, Everyone!
Brown Junior Public School
Andrea Goldfarb, Principal; Dafna Jalon, Vice-Principal; Vanessa Biller and Kelly Kirkpatrick, School Council Co-Chairs
Holiday Hampers - A tradition at Brown: Each year, we connect with social workers in the TDSB who provide profiles of families in our system who are struggling. They share details of the families' situation, a little bit about each member of the family, and what their wishes and needs are for the holiday season. At Brown, our parent council representatives work to match one family to each of our homeroom classes. Over a period of 2 weeks, the students and their parents work collaboratively to create a "holiday hamper" that is then delivered by the social workers to the families, in time for the holidays. Here is an email we received from one of our TDSB social workers whose family was profiled for our hamper program this year.
'Hi, The Family at Central Etobicoke High School was delighted to receive all of the wonderful gift certificates and gifts, thanks to the generous donations from your students and staff. We are truly blessed to have schools such as yours who think of others during the holiday season. Thanks to your school community, they were able to buy food and many items for the children. With our Heartfelt gratitude!"
Welcome Mural in Front Hallway: This year, Red River Métis visual artist from TDSB’s Newcomer Welcoming Program, Karen Cull partnered with Brown Junior Public School to collaborate, learn and create a beautiful mural in Brown’s front entrance. The mural combined the themes of Community, Character Building, and Indigenous Ways of Knowing. Students that were part of the Newcomer program learned about the collaborative art-making process and about Canada’s historical relations with the Indigenous peoples; their traditional ways of life, and how we can coexist through our similarities. With this learning, our students took part in designing and painting the magnificent mural that is the first image that welcomes you into our school.
Shout Outs: We continue to focus on mental-health, well-being, supporting one another and student voice. This year what started out as a small idea on our morning announcements grew into something much larger - SHOUT OUTS occurred each morning and have continued through our remote at home learning. Staff, families and students were celebrated for acts of kindness, creativity or truly anything that resulted in having an impact on others. We received submissions from every stakeholder and even dedicated a bulletin board in our front hallway to recognize these moments.
Cedarvale Community School
Sooky Crljen, Principal; Melissa Grossman and Samara Bleiwas, School Council Co-Chairs
STEM & TDSB Global Competencies: To support STEM programming as part of our school’s academic improvement plan, we focused on ways to engage students to develop their creativity and STEM competencies. Some of the highlights of this year's STEM initiatives were the lunch hour Coding Club that was led by a coding-proficient Grade 8 student and teacher which created a nice opportunity for students to learn about programming and sharing their own games using Scratch. For the third year in a row, all Gr. 3-8 students participated in Hour of Code to spark an interest in coding as a class extension activity throughout the year. Teachers acted as great growth-mindset role models by learning alongside their students to build their coding skills. Our new Dash and Dot robots also provided a fun way to incorporate math, mapping and science skills, problem-solving, collaboration and creativity in completing challenges. Students also have regular opportunities to use the mobile maker-space STEM cart materials to build creative models to foster STEM learning. With these experiential opportunities, there has been knowledge-building for students and staff and positive student engagement with STEM learning.
Eco-school: For nine years, Cedarvale has achieved platinum certification through the Eco-schools audit through a whole school community approach and commitment to fostering environmental sustainability. Students in grade 1 through 8 actively participate on the school’s eco-team to educate, monitor and to take action at home and school to protect the planet. The Waste Audit was completed by the student Eco-team to collect data about what and how much waste we were producing at school and made recommendations that were shared with the entire school at the student-led assembly and that incorporated environmental literacy about environmental impact and establishing school-wide goal-setting to reduce and divert waste throughout the year. We are proud of the leadership of the Cedarvale Eco-team, which includes K-8 students, staff and parents, who help us to Think Green and take Action!
Inner City Angels West African Drumming & Story-telling: In partnership with Inner City Angels, intermediate students engaged in six sessions to learn about the rich traditions of West African (Cameroon) drumming (toum and kak) facilitated by Njacko Backo, artist, musician and story-teller from Inner-City Angels, an artist collective that provides rich narrative-inspired learning for students to develop their global cultural competence. In addition to Mr. Backo leading our students in proper West African drumming forms of beat and rhythm, he infused story-telling and dance to provide a deeper understanding and cultural context for the musical pieces they learned. Mr. Jack kept the intermediate students enthralled by rich his story-telling that enhanced the drumming. The learning sessions culminated with the intermediate students showcasing their drumming and dancing performances at the winter concert, conducted by Mr. Jacko. The school community audience responded with a standing ovation for their spirited performances.
Cottingham Junior Public School
Gina Christakis, Principal; Corey Dias and Kim Carter, School Council Co-Chairs
Our year at Cottingham P.S began with many great events and activities including our Annual Aussie X Family night, WE Day, Young Women on the Move, FIRST LEGO League Challenge and so much more. For a small school, we have many events to keep our students and families engaged and involved throughout the year. Part of our Mental Health and Well-Being Initiatives include offering our students opportunities to develop their creativity and social skills and making connections to others. From physical activity breaks, to outdoor classroom and other creative exercise breaks and opportunities, we strive to keep our students sharp, healthy and active.
When our world came to an abrupt stop in March, I just wanted to reflect upon some of the happier moments that brought our students together and had them simply, smiling, laughing and engaged.
Our Cottingham students have really enjoyed our outdoor classroom. As part of our Mental Health and Well-Being Initiatives, we ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to enjoy this special space to work, meditate, collaborate and celebrate throughout the year.
Our students, staff and parents filled our lawn with big and bright coloured signs reading statements about protecting our environment and saving our planet. Students are encouraged to have their voices heard to empower them to stand up for something that is endangering us all. We are so proud of our Cottingham Climate Changers!
Mr. Anthony Stanberry of FREEZE KID’S COMIC BOOKS visited our school to share his passion for art with our Cottingham students. Our students learned step by step instructions and helpful tips to draw fun and exciting comic characters.
Kwasi Dunyo was back at Cottingham with many more Ghanaian drums and instruments this year. Our students played, in tune and in unison, for two-part music with simple accompaniments from a variety of African cultures, styles, and historical periods. They performed Ghanaian calls and response rhythms with syncopation on the Kpanlogo drums and traditional songs with simple harmony parts.
Our Cottingham students had the opportunity to learn about curling this year. The Rocks and Rings program introduced the Olympic sport of Curling to our students by bringing curling equipment right in to our gym. Our Kindergartens enjoyed themselves as they learned how to maneuver the Floor Curl equipment.
We are looking forward to more happy Cottingham moments when we are all back together again in the near future!
Davisville Junior Public School
Shona Farrelly, Principal; Wanda Bozzo and Brandon Culakovski, Vice-Principals; Lynne LeBlanc, School Council Chair
Author Visit: This year, DPS students welcomed award-winning Canadian author Deborah Kerbel. Ms Kerbel has written several books for primary, middle grade, and young adult readers. DPS students had the pleasure of attending one of three assemblies hosted by Ms. Kerbel. Skillfully maintaining the audience’s attention, Ms Kerbel spoke in detail about the writing process. She discussed where she gets ideas for her stories, the writing and editing process, as well as how she works with both illustrators and publishers. Our students listened to Ms Kerbel read from some of her recent books. Our students came away from the assemblies with a desire to read other books written by Ms. Kerbel, as well as the knowledge that we all have experiences and an imagination that we can use to write our own unique stories.
DPS Inaugural Students’ Council: This year saw the first ever Davisville Junior Public School Students’ Council Executive. The Student Council election was held, whereby two student representatives from each grade 3-6 class were nominated (ballot process) by the students in their respective classes. Furthermore, students were offered the opportunity to apply for leadership positions such as: Kindergarten Student Leader, Office Student Leader, Ramp Student Leader, Media/Technology Student Leader, Morning Announcement Student Leader, and Equipment Student Leader. Furthermore, DPS Students’ Council and Staff worked on school improvement ideas and communicated them to the student community.
Annual Diwali Celebration: DPS was proud to host our 5th annual Diwali celebration. Parent volunteers, along with students shared information on the history of Diwali. It was an amazing day filled with dancing, presentations, treats, and friendship.
Deer Park Public School
Carmelo Nanfara, Principal; Nadine Clarke, Vice-Principal; Elizabeth MacLachlan & Irene Lim, School Council Co-Chairs
Deer Park Public School has been a WE ACTION school now for well over a decade. This year, despite the interruptions and school closures, Deer Park’s 2019-2020 group of Student Leaders were able to accomplish so much. The Me to We group started off the year with their 1st campaign WE SCARE HUNGER and rallied the school community to donate over 400 items to our local Food Bank at Churches-on-the-Hill.
Their work continued with their involvement in the school’s Remembrance Day Assembly. Me to We students represented each of their own classes with wreaths decorated by the students and placed in honour during the ceremony, bringing the entire school together for this special occasion.
Me to We Student Leaders also led a school-wide initiative bringing awareness to children’s rights through their organization of the WE ARE SILENT campaign.
Student Leaders used their art skills and voice to share this important message with their fellow students. They created a bulletin board as a reminder for students that kindness is always such an important part of being at Deer Park P. S. and the world around us.
This year, faced with the unusual circumstances of being stuck at home for the last stretch of the year, Deer Park rallied together to mount a fully virtual talent show in lieu of a Spring concert/musical. Students and staff worked on creating unique performances from home and then made videos of their talents. There was singing, instrument playing, dancing, tricks with pets, and even a Beastie Boys inspired music video! All the videos were compiled into one great big “Deer Park’s Got Talent” broadcast and this special event was livestreamed to our whole school community at the end of May. Even though we couldn’t enjoy piling into the gym together and seeing each other in person, this was certainly the next best thing!
Deer Park’s Eco Club was once again able to mobilize a Team of Eco Warriors who did their part by ensuring all staff and students participated in our weekly recycling program and lead an educational campaign to help raise awareness of how our actions have an impact on our environment. We conducted a series of waste audits to learn about how we at Deer Park can reduce our ecological footprint and made a plan to continue our partnership with the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority for a future Tree Planting Event for the 2020/2021 school year.
Eglinton Junior Public School
Ian Wilson, Principal; Elizabeth Aiello, Vice-Principal; Virginia Heger and Sophie Luxton, School Council Co-Chairs
City Champions: Labour negotiations and school closures made the number of extra-curricular activities very small at schools across the TDSB. Our Eglinton Eagles Flag Football team had a great season in the fall and went on to win the City Championship. Eagles Fly High!
Inclusion and Equity at Eglinton: Our staff continued our professional learning to develop inclusive and equitable practices and strategies that support all our students and their families. At our staff meetings between September and December, we explored the question: What does an equitable, inclusive and anti-oppressive classroom look like? As a school community we are learning, discussing and reflecting on how implicit bias affects our students, our classrooms and our teaching.
Construction Projects Update: We have two construction highlights to share. For over two years the north facade of Eglinton has been covered and protected by a scaffolding constructed by MetrolInx. The scaffolding protected the school during the above ground subway work that was happening just a few metres away. The scaffolding is scheduled to be taken down on June 22 and 23 because the subway construction has almost entirely moved underground. This will be a big step back to normal life for our school! Also, our turf field project is being finished. The track around the field has been added along with other pained playing areas. We look forward to seeing our students enjoying the updated playground next school year.
Fairbank Public School
Cassandra Alviani-Alvarez, Principal; Camille Mantadee, School Council Chair
Holocaust Learning: This past year, Fairbank PS partnered with the Azrieli Foundation and participated in the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program. Students in grades five to eight read Claire Baum’s book, The Hidden Package. Students participated in discussions with their teachers about Claire’s journey during the Holocaust and the bravery of her parents. Students learned all about Claire’s childhood and the personal sacrifices she made. Today, Claire lives in Toronto and we look forward to having Claire visit our school next year. Thank you to Trustee Laskin and the TDSB for giving us the opportunity for our children to participate and learn about the Holocaust through Liberation 75 activities. Our grades 7 and 8 students participated in Freedom Day and engaged in the Kensington Market tour. More than 120 students read Claire’s Memoirs!
Fun Virtual Club- Fairbank Bird Spotters Club: Our Bird Club has always been very popular with our students. With Covid19, Ms. Arturi decided to go virtual. Today, there are 119 students who are engaging with Flap Canada, our partner in learning all about birds, and Ms. Arturi and other staff. Students have been sketching birds and bird facts are emerging daily. Students have been learning about the various types of birds and their features. Did you know that over 25 million birds fatally collide with windows in Canada every year? Well our students are learning how to take actions that keep birds safe from daytime and nighttime collisions into structures such as high rises. Bird conservation begins with keeping birds safe. If you want to learn more, visit: www.flap.org
for more information.
Engineers In The Classroom Program: Our junior students once again this year, had the pleasure to work with Engineer Ray Shen. The students learned about roadway features and the different uses of rocks and minerals. Students had opportunities to engage in STEM engineering related activities using a variety of materials. In addition, students learned to code and used LEGO 3.0 to create structures. We can’t wait for Ray to join us again next year!
Indigenous Learning- Year 2 of our Partnership with TDSB’s Urban Indigenous Centre: Using our school’s Indigenous story telling carpet, our students in Kindergarten, were introduced to the Seven Grandfather Teachings. The teachings are: love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth. Ms. Simopoulos and her OISE student teacher, facilitated engaging speaking circles where students were invited to share their understanding of each virtue as it was taught. Students listened to Indigenous stories through read alouds, and symbolic animal puppets that represented each virtue (E.g., Love like an Eagle). From there, we referenced the Seven Teachings on a daily basis by, “noticing and naming” student behaviours. The children began to see the connection between Indigenous beliefs, character education and community building. In Kindergarten, exploring Indigenous ways of knowing through the Seven Teachings contributed to a safer and more inclusive classroom community.
Flemington Public School
Cherylann Samuel-Graham, Principal; Stephen Scott, Vice-Principal; Cara Teitler and Mekida Gordon, School Council Co-Chairs
While there were several highlights experienced by the students, staff and community members, here are four!
1. CN Tower Climb – students, parents and staff climb CN Tower for the United Way Fundraiser
2. Ron Morrish came in to share the 'Secrets of Discipline’ with parents and students. (We had parents from neighbouring schools attend)
3. Extracurricular events continued for our students this year, thanks to our partnership with SWAN. Students engaged and developed their skills in hockey, basketball and tennis
4. During COVID one of our school-wide project was a “Thank You Front-line Workers”
Forest Hill Collegiate Institute
Reiko Fuentes, Principal; Joseph Ghassibe and Joanne D’Addio, Vice-Principals; Tracy Kowal, School Council Chair
The FHCI Black Student Alliance has been recognized for its leadership and advocacy as one of the recipients of the inaugural BLACK STUDENT ALLIANCE (BSA) AWARD on behalf of the African Heritage Month Planning Committee at the TDSB. The Black Student Alliance works to make a difference in the lives of our students. As a collective, they ensured that Black students saw themselves represented in our school initiatives. The group actively addressed anti-Black racism, identified the systemic barriers that have impacted them, spoken truth to power, led initiatives and ran our Black History Month Assembly. The assembly was a celebration of the experiences and cultures of the Black students at Forest Hill CI and was an opportunity for all students to learn about Black Canadians, their resilience and positive contributions to Canadian society. They have participated in the Black Brilliance Conference and are attending the Know Your Worth Conference. They always bring their learning back to school to share with others and to be the inspiration and motivation to continue to speak up.
Over the course of the year, the school ran a series of workshops for students on Filipino descent. Jennilee Austria’s program, Filipino Talks engaged students in conversations with each other about some of the unique challenges they have faced and supported students in setting goals and pursuing their interests after high school. Jennilee will continue the program next year, sharing insights with the Forest Hill CI staff about the Filipino community and culture.
The Forest Hill CI Student Council continues to break ground in new ways! This year, they created a wider variety of positions to better represent the students at FHCI. The student leaders actively sought out new ways to engage the students at FHCI; they created new initiatives and ideas including leading the Holiday assembly, planning a school wide lip sync battle, organizing the very successful and popular Hallowe’en Haunted House and holding virtual live Q&As with students during the past 3 months of remote learning. They have taken the initiative to organize Instagram games and events that have brought together our students during this challenging time, in an effort to maintain the spirit and energy of the school. Their fun videos, slide show compilations and live gatherings have helped our students to stay connected!
Forest Hill Junior and Senior Public School
Corey Birnbaum, Principal; David Sonenberg and Denyse Stewart, Vice-Principals; Robyn Berman, Joseph Wilson, Brenda Winters, and Naz Yeganeh, School Council Chairs
Forest Hill’s Got Talent- Virtual Edition: In this challenging time of isolation, we were able to bring our Forest Hill PS community together with the presentation of our inaugural Forest Hill Virtual Talent Showcase! Although our Annual Forest Hill’s Got Talent Showcase couldn’t take place on stage in our Auditorium as it has in the past, we showed our resilience and creativity and our students provided us with over an hour of exceptional, wide-ranging talent. Thanks to the great response from our students and families, we had over 40 student acts featuring wonderful submissions from Kindergarten through to our middle school.
Holocaust Education: As part of our ongoing commitment to inspire and empower our students to raise their voices and take action against hate and intolerance, our Grade 6 students, along with nearly 18,000 other students across the TDSB received a copy of the book Hana’s Suitcase as part of the “One Book Event” for Liberation75. We were also set to welcome the Tour for Humanity Bus to Forest Hill Jr. and Sr. PS in early April. Prior to the school closure, a grade 8 student took the initiative to plan a presentation for Yom Hashoah. Even though schools closed prior to this day of Holocaust Remembrance, we managed to create a virtual presentation for our community that included the voices of Holocaust Survivors, families and students impacted by the Holocaust. We must continue to learn about the events of the past in order to create a more inclusive and accepting future.
African Heritage Month and Itah Sadu: One of our school’s goals is “to understand, identify, address and eliminate biases and barriers related to student voice and positions of power and privilege.” We know that is an essential aspect of greater student success. The TDSB has stated as part of its multiyear strategic plan that “when students feel welcomed and embraced, when they see themselves reflected in the decision-making of teachers and leadership, they are more engaged, happier, and ready to learn.” This is one of the reasons that Itah Sadu presented at our school for African Heritage Month. Itah Sadu shared her magic of storytelling, love of Toronto and children to beam a spotlight on a bit of Toronto’s history, specifically Black history. Itah Sadu is a distinguished storyteller, children's author, co-owner of Toronto bookstore A Different Booklist, and a founding member of the Underground Freedom Ride, which celebrates Emancipation Day. The exposure of Toronto’s Black history is one of the many ways that we acknowledged our students’ multiple social identities. Our students loved Itah Sadu’s presentation; they connected with her energy and knowledge. We are continuously working at greater student success and an important part of that is taking care of the mental health and well-being of our students and staff.
Glen Park Public School
Adam Thompson, Principal; John Travaglini, Vice-Principal; Kelly D’Amico and Bianca Levy, School Council Co-Chairs
Glen Park’s 2019-20 school year had many great community events prior to the school closure. Luckily we were able to engage with staff, students, parents and community in many ways early in the year.
We started off before the school classes even began. As part of our Making Trees Count initiative and eco-schools work, we held summer tree watering days in both July and August. It was great to have the chance to get together with our students, families and staff for a couple of fun evening tree watering events. We continue to link our care for the environment with overall wellness, and this event helped us make that connection with our community.
What has now become our annual X-Movement Dance Night was another tremendous success! We had even more parents and students show up than we had last year. After several engaging and active sessions with all students in our school throughout the week, the students got chance to show their families their moves. This helped enhance our focus on health and wellness as we got active to different types of music. The event was enjoyed by all once again!
This year we also launched our first ever Craft Night. All of our students and their families got the chance to come together and engage in a series of crafts and games. The students were able to create a wide variety of beautiful works of art, which they brought home and displayed with great pride. This event was a tremendous example of the hard work and talents of both our students and volunteers at Glen Park.
Glenview Senior Public School
Kwame Lennon, Principal; Michael Smith and Deanna Cape, Vice Principals; Sylvia Samuel and Pamela Wilansky, School Council Chairs
The month of June is entered into with great enthusiasm and excitement. At Glenview Sr. Public School, it has been a year filled with great accomplishments and our staff and students have enjoyed their experiences in this dynamic school. We want to commend the efforts of our invaluable team of teachers and support staff and the wonderful students that we serve on a daily basis. Within our vibrant school, students were provided the opportunity to participate in school-wide events, clubs, sports teams, and musical ensembles.
In the fall, one of our highlights was our Terry Fox Run on October 4th. As our first school-wide fundraiser of the year, we were able to collectively raise $1160.00 for cancer research. During September to November, our Me to We, Green Gryphons Eco Club, Dungeon and Dragons engaged a number of students in local and global initiatives which developed their character and facilitated opportunities for community service where they could make a difference. Glenview is widely known for its success in athletics and it is difficult to highlight one team during the fall. Our sports teams included cross-country, soccer, and football, in which our teams experienced great success at the conference and city levels. Glenview’s music programs including vocal and instrumental music are an integral part of our school culture. Students arrive at school as early as 7:45 am on a daily basis in order to participate in our various ensembles, including choir, band, and strings.
One of the highlights of the winter was our annual Winter Concert at Lawrence Park C.I. which was a spectacular family event with almost 500 attendees. In addition, Glenview participated in a holiday gift drive with other schools across Learning Centre 1 (TDSB), in order to support families in need. Through the generosity of the Glenview community, we were able to donate approximately $13 000 in gift cards to families in need across Learning Centre 1 (TDSB). During the winter, we also partnered with the Azrieli Foundation and all students and teachers at Glenview received a copy of the Hidden Package, a memoir written by Holocaust survivor Claire Baum. This memoir was a part of our school-wide literacy focus on identity and it culminated in a school-wide assembly in March with Claire Baum who shared her lived experience as a survivor of the Holocaust. Our students and staff were deeply moved by her personal experiences, transparency, and knowledge.
Throughout the school year, many of our staff we have focused on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in their classrooms which is another highlight of the year. Teaching through the framework of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is inclusive practice at its best. Premised upon equity -addressing the diverse learning needs of all students - UDL is an inclusive pedagogical process that puts multiplex learning needs first, laying these as the foundation for curriculum delivery and design of classroom space. Glenview teachers included many components of this equitable approach in their daily instruction: differentiating lessons, attention and sensitivity to diverse learning needs, and ensuring classrooms are safe, welcoming environments are just of few of the strategies deployed to make learning inclusive for all. Adding furniture like flexible seating (soft surfaced benches and cubes are notable Universal Design pieces) and optional workspaces (e.g. standing stations that house computers tuned to assistive technology) are common ways to increase space functionality. Grade 7 and 8 students highly appreciated the possibility of choice, comfort, and the sense of independence garnered when trusted to move their work away from assigned seats if the potential for productive thought or dialogue is increased by doing so. The images show an example of an emerging Grade 7 classroom design here at Glenview where design is layered with differentiated instruction and assessment and a range of learning tools including assistive technology are available options for students.
During the 2019-2020 school year, our student and staff demonstrated their commitment and resilience in the midst of job action and a global health pandemic. Glenview continues to remain as a dynamic school and these are a few of the highlights of our school year.
Hillcrest Community School
Anthony Levy, Principal; Dimitra Giftakis and Katy Bell, School Council Chairs
Student voice was really important this year. We created a Student Council that met weekly to go over different initiatives and fundraising events to make Hillcrest a better place. The Student Council also organized spirit days to boost community spirit. They also worked with the Grade 6s to plan a Play Day for the rest of the school. Mental health initiatives were also a focus this year. Students were given more leadership opportunities such as doing school announcements, running school assemblies and being recess buddies outside. Students in Grades 4-6 were part of Future Aces team. They were trained to be ambassadors and stronger leaders in the building. We also created a Me to We Club that continues to grow each year. The club’s mandate is to make a difference within the neighbourhood. This year, they ran a food drive and visited a nearby retirement home to read stories to the seniors there.
We purchased Dash and Dots for the STEM lab and it was amazing to see the growth throughout the year. The students learned how to independently work the xylophones, and accessories, as well as the apps Xylos, Path and Go. They know how to use the launchers, and the controller on Wonder also students know how to use Blockly, working through a number of curriculum-related challenges. In order to incorporate Challenges covered the following areas of the curriculum:
Math - Dash was used in transformational geometry, fractions, decimals, perimeter, area, probability
Science - beam, suspension, arch bridges were created using cardboard and Makedo, in order to withstand the weight of Dash and allow Dash to enter and exit the bridge independently
Social Studies - Dash acted as a tour guide (with recorded facts) of an artifact in the Ancient Civilizations unit
Language - Dot was programmed to supply words that students had to rhyme with in order to create poetry, as well as adjectives to be used in their poetry
Drama - using Lego connectors, Dash and Dot were used to recreate Fairy Tales, as well as original heroes and villains, complete with costumes, sets, dialogue, props
iPads: We have increased the number of Ipads this year. Teachers used Epic, the e-book app to motivate reading, as well as the Osmo app for reasoning and geometry.
Health - Health were covered through learning Toontastic, Draw & Tell and Seedling Comics; students had to show their learning through the apps (i.e. make a short animation about safety rules)
Several classrooms took up the STEM challenge. From designed cars with cardboard wheels and axles, to see which one went the farthest or to designing boats to explore how many cubes each boat would hold in water and also taking part in the Rube Goldberg machines challenges. We have also created a Lego wall that is part of the STEM lab that was a favourite of many different students and staff at Hillcrest.
Humewood Community School
Julie Whitfield, Principal; Rachelle Najman, Vice Principal; Lori Litman and Jordana Joseph, School Council Chairs
Cross Country / Team Unbreakable: In the fall of 2019, Humewood CS had students from grades 2-8 who participated in Cross Country. With several staff as coaches, students met three times a week to train. Coaches led dynamic warm-ups, runs, and cool-downs with students. Coaches, as well as parents, also positioned themselves on and off school property in the neighbourhood to cheer on runners as they practiced running to build their endurance. In order for our students to make the Cross Country team they had to demonstrate commitment by showing up to at least six out of ten practices. Humewood sent over 100 runners to compete in the first Cross Country race of the year at Ashbridge's Bay on Thursday, October 3rd. The day was wet and cold, but our runners stayed in good spirits and made the best of an autumnal beach day. There were 15 students who advanced to the South Conference Finals and then a final group of 4 students who went onto the City Finals at Centennial. Cross Country at Humewood was a success.
To continue the momentum of health and wellness for our students, staff, and school community, Humewood enrolled to participate in Team Unbreakable for the very first time. We had a small and mighty team of students across grades 4-8 participate in this weekly initiative. The Team Unbreakable Run Program is aimed at teaching students the importance of physical activity on mental health and well-being. The coaches include a teacher from each school as well as a facilitator from the organization. The Team Unbreakable Program is an 8-10 week running initiative with a focus on Mental Health, and more specifically, how running has a positive impact on our moods and brains. Each student received a training log that allowed them to articulate a goal and work towards it, reflect on their mood before and after each run, and record their progress. The program is supported through their mental health toolkit, which is a combination of Team Unbreakable videos and educational documents that explore themes, such as motivation, mindfulness, goal setting, gratitude, self-love and self-care, and physical health for mental health. The training culminates in a fully supported 5km Goal Event facilitated by Team Unbreakable. Humewood’s group of Team Unbreakable athletes and many of their parents completed their 5km "Bold and Cold" run at Coronation Park on Saturday, November 23rd. They braved sub-zero temperatures on a beautiful sunny morning to celebrate mental health through physical health. Humewood came together with other schools to run and celebrate their accomplishment with medals, food, lots of Team Unbreakable “Swag”, and of course, cheering crowds!
Climate March: In September Humewood students were inspired by the words and actions of Greta Thunberg. They joined millions of students around the world to participate in the Youth Climate Strike. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 participated in classroom activities beforehand using inquiry and problem solving to understand Global Climate issues and to develop action plans to stop climate change in its tracks. Our Junior and Intermediate students took to the streets, making signs and marching through the neighbourhood with lots of support from our community. Primary students marched around the school with signs and created inspirational chalk messages on the walkways.
Humewood continues to be a community leader in environmental issues - we are a proud Eco-school, achieving Gold status for the past few years. We have a strong focus on outdoor education and we are a platinum Outdoor Play and Learning School. Our commitment to the world around us is evident through our Boomerang Lunch program and integrated environmental curriculum. Our students are proactive in their approach to environmental issues and concerns and they are empowered to take on these challenges. Our world is in good hands with our Humewood Huskies commitment to the environment.
Family Flag Project during School Closure: To boost spirit within our school community during the school closure, our staff organized several events to bring everyone together, virtually and in a safe way. This included Humewood’s very successful Family Flag project. Family has been the centre throughout this Covid-19 crisis. It is with our family, in quarantine, that we have shared a lot of time together, experienced several emotions, built many memories, continued and perhaps started new traditions, have taught and learned new skills and have discovered a lot about ourselves and members within our family unit. To celebrate all things family, Humewood launched a project with the goal to have a collection of family flags displayed on the fences that surround our school. Families decorated their flags with colours, symbols, words, mottos, and images that were meaningful and representative of themselves. They were creative in the ways they made their flags, using various materials and then they attached them to our school fence. You could tell the group effort of every family member contributing to this unique and special project. On Thursday, May 7th, staff came to school to photograph all the flags and we then created a digital movie to upload and share with our school community. The feedback from families and staff were so positive and this truly was a project that strengthened family and united everyone together in the best way possible during such uncertain and difficult times. We were happy to brighten up our school community and warm the hearts and spirits of all students, families, and staff of Humewood.