colourful line
Dear friends,
With roughly one month left to go in the school year, the question on many people's minds is: will we stay in remote learning for these last weeks, or will those of us not officially in Virtual School pivot back to our bricks and mortar buildings now that case counts are going down and many people have had their first doses of vaccines. At this point in time, all we know as a school board is what we read in the media and so far, it seems, there has been no decision. The Provincial Government appears to be consulting with various health experts and some of the education unions, but not all. Interestingly, the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA) was not asked for input. Having heard from many parents on this issue, I completely understand there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and very much hope clarity comes soon regarding the shape of our final weeks of the 2020-2021 school year.
Next School Year
This is a dynamic time of year for us at TDSB, where we remain focussed on the current school year but at the same time are planning for the next one. Although we originally intended to ask parents to select their learning option (virtual or in person) for next year by June 1st, the TDSB decided to postpone the date when parents/caregivers must choose to mid-August, so as to allow everyone to make these decisions when the Covid-19 and vaccine rollout was hopefully much clearer. Although leaving us less time to plan, I do believe this was a solid decision. With case counts coming down, vaccines now widely available to those 12+, and a commitment by our Provincial Government to ensure all eligible school age children receive two doses of vaccines prior to the end of August 2020, we hope to be able to provide a much more normal school experience come fall, especially if everyone does their part in following the rules and getting vaccinated if eligible. If you need help finding a first dose of vaccine, please reach out to me at  
High School Schedules
As we look to next year, one of the most frequent concerns I have heard from secondary students and their families center around the structure of their schedule and worries about the quadmester model. 
So far, the Ministry of Education has mandated that high school students have no more than 2 cohorts at a time, leaving us with two choices: octomesters (where students would take one course at a time), or quadmesters (where students take two courses at a time). Currently, we are planning for quadmesters as we must align with Ministry instructions. However, should Ministry direction change, either before the start of the school year or mid-way thru (prior to quad 3), we could pivot to a semester model. 
I do want to clarify that quadmesters do not mean we follow the same daily routine as we did this past year. Last year, due to high Covid case counts, the Ministry directed all GTA school boards to have a mix of in person and vrtual, with cohorts split into A and B of maxium 15 sudents, with each attending at different times in an "adapted model". So far, we have been allowed to plan for a full return, and there has not been a direction to split cohorts. Although the Ministry has said they will provide further guidance in August around Covid-safety measures, the TDSB is planning for a FULL-TIME return to school for secondary students. With vaccines widely available to all high-school students and staff, we are hopeful that our high school students who opt for in-person learning in August will be back at school all day in September, seeing their classmates and their teachers every day in what we hope will be a much more normal school experience.  
June 9: Coffee Morning with Special Guest, MPP Kathleen Wynne
As many of you may know, every six weeks, I host informal coffee mornings, where parents/caregivers and community members share information, best practices and talk about what's happening in Ward 11 schools, the TDSB, and education in Ontario in a casual and relaxing atmosphere. I am lucky to be joined at these coffee morning by our two amazing Ward 11 school superintendents, Andrew Howard and Ron Felsen, who provide a wealth of knowdledge and perspective to the discussion and questions. My last coffee morning of the school year is coming up on June 9th and I am excited to announce that we will have a very special guest... Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne! MPP Wynne will join us for the first hour of the meeting beginning at 9:30am, so mark your calendars and register here
June 17: Last Ward Forum of the School Year ~ Planning for Sept 2021, 7pm-8:30pm
In addition to the coffee morning, I have also added an end-of-the-year Ward Forum scheduled for June 17th. The focus of this Ward Forum will be on planning for September, and will give those an opportunity who cannot attend the upcoming coffee morning a chance to get a sense of the latest planning for September 2021. For more information and registration, click for the Forum flyer
Chicken Soup
Finally, as mentioned in my last newsletter, one of the passion projects I've been involved in recently is a joint initiative between the Jewish Heritage Committee and the Asian Heritage Committee called "Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup". I spoke about this project and the deeper meaning behind it at our board meeting a few days ago (curious what I had to say or to see a trailer for the accompanying video featuring my family and a couple of fellow trustees? View it here, with my speech and trailer coming starting at minute 22).
If you have a great chicken soup recipe from your culture that you'd like to share, please consider submitting it for inclusion in our TDSB cookbook to be published this fall as a fundraiser for the Toronto Foundation for Student Success, the charitable organization that provides breakfast programs to in TDSB schools. The call for recipes closes May 31, so don't delay! To learn more or submit a recipe, please click here.

While I realize the above was already a lot of information, the newsletter below provides even more important information, including event announcements, vaccine information, the 2021-2022 school calendar, (take note of a slightly unusual start date for classes on Thursday, September 9), and more. If you missed content from previous newsletters, the most current items are linked as well. 

So, please find a comfy spot and read on! 
Toronto Vaccination Updates - and May 29 Town Hall
In recent days, we have had further news provided by the City of Toronto (and Toronto Public Health) about vaccinations.
  • On May 19, Toronto Public Health published a letter to all Parents/Guardians about Vaccination: usage approvals for children 12 years and older, eligibility, resources, booking appointments, and more. 
  • On Saturday, May 29, 1pm, the third in a series of Town Halls will be held where questions will be addressed about vaccination for 12-17 olds. See the flyer for more information, and join the event to participate. 
  • On May 26, the City of Toronto officially launched the VaxTO campaign - intended to connect residents with vaccination appointments and information, with the goal of reaching herd immunity vaccination levels in our city. 
Outdoor Amenities reopened -- Good news!
Recently, the Government of Ontario announced the reopening of outdoor recreational amenities effective Saturday, May 22. As a result, TDSB amenities such as sports fields, basketball, and tennis courts have reopened for individual/non-organized use. Please note: physical distancing rrestrictions remain in place and team sports are not allowed. Staff will be reinstalling basketball nets where they have been removed and removing caution tape that was put up following the initial provincial order. We will also be revising signage accordingly. At this time, permits for these outdoor amenities are not available.
Winter Survey Results published
In late January 2021, students in Grades 6 to 12 were invited to complete an online survey about their mental health and well-being, support and relationships, and learning experiences during the current school year. Parents also completed a similar survey. Results highlight important findings around secondary students’ mental health and well-being, neighbourhood food insecurity, students’ preference for in-person learning, educators’ dedication, and much more.
Final results from the student and parent survey have been aggregated by ward and are available on the TDSB’s Research and Development website – School During a Pandemic.
Return of Borrowed Student Devices
In preparation for the start of the 2021-22 school year, families that borrowed devices (e.g. iPad, Chromebook, Internet Hub) from the TDSB or their local school are asked to return them. If you have already returned the device to a TDSB School, please disregard this message.
Devices and all power cables, cases and chargers that were delivered with the device can be returned to any TDSB school between Monday, June 14 and Friday, July 2 (for elementary schools) and Friday, July 9 (for secondary schools) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. 
All devices that are not returned by July 2 will be administratively locked, preventing student login. These devices will need to be returned when school resumes in September.
Students enrolled in a TDSB summer program may continue using the device for the duration of the summer program and should return the device in September.
If you have any questions, please contact
NOTE: Rogers Connected for Success offers low cost, high-speed internet and many TDSB families may qualify for the program. Please click the following link for more information on pricing and eligibility requirements.
TDSB Launches Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement
On Tuesday, June 1, from 5-7 p.m., the Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement is celebrating its virtual launch.
Attendees will be treated a performance by Randell Adjei, Ontario’s first Poet Laureate, and will also feature what will surely be an engaging panel discussion about the Centre’s mandate with distinguished speakers, Dr. George Dei, Dr. Carl E. James, Dr. Nicole West-Burns and Dr. Njoki Wane, and moderated by Itah Sadu.
For more information read the TDSB news article, and register for the event.
The Future of Public Education
(PCEO/PIAC Conversation series: June 3)
The next offering from the TDSB's Parent & Community Engagement Office (PCEO) and PIAC's "Conversation Series" is coming up on June 3rd!
Everyone's talking about the future of education, including the role of technology, choices parents/caregivers can expect from the public system, and the challenges and benefits of virtual learning. Tune in to hear from a panel of experts who will provide some insights on virtual engagement and the future of education. 
Panelists include:
Join the webinar or by phone at 1-647-558-0588, Webinar ID: 935 2333 5918"
More information can be found at
Links to previous Conversation Series events are available for re-watching via on the  PCEO Youtube Channel.
Previous Conversations include: 
  • Let's Talk Vaccines
  • Screenagers - Next Chapter
  • Navigating Life’s Highs and Lows for Teenage Girls (with Lisa Damour, PhD)
  • Families Amidst Racial Traumas (with Charmaine Lane M.Sc., RP)
  • Screenagers Next Chapter -- Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience Screening
  • How Children Understand Race and How Adults Can Help (with Professor Erin Winkler)
The Human Library Podcast: Inquiry-Based Learning in Secondary (NEW!)
The TDSB Human Library: Conversations around Equitable, Anti-Racist, and Anti-Oppressive Practice is a podcast series on topics related to Equity, Anti-Racism, and Anti-Oppression in education. Each 15 minute podcast invites listeners to critically reflect on their pedagogy, reimagine engagement, and partner with the community to improve student well-being and achievement.
Newly available:
Episode 5: JENNIFER WATT - Inquiry-Based Learning in Secondary (audiotranscript)
Still available:
Episode 1: NATASHA HENRY - African Canadian Experiences and the Curriculum (audiotranscript)
Episode 2: GEN LING CHANG - Understanding and Addressing Anti-Asian Racism (audiotranscript)
Episode 3: TANITIÃ MUNROE - Centering Black LGBTQ+ Students in the Classroom (audiotranscript)
Episode 4: RANDELL ADJEI - Partnering with Community Through the Arts (audiotranscript)
For more information see the webpage for the podcast.
Some of the other topics to be explored in the series include: Supporting Positive Racial Identity in the Early Years; and Understanding Judaism and Jewish Cultures.
Bicycle Safety
With warmer weather approaching, children may be participating in more outdoor activities like bike riding. To help keep children safe while playing outdoors this summer please follow social distancing and all other guidelines provided by Toronto Public Health.
When children are riding their bicycles, parents and caregivers can take steps to protect them.
Here's how:
  1. An adult should always supervise children 10 years of age or younger when they are using a bicycle or other wheeled sports equipment. Even older children may need on-going supervision when riding near the road.
  2. Make sure children wear the correct helmet properly when they ride. Ontario's bike helmet law requires all children and youth under age 18 to wear an approved bike helmet when riding a bicycle.
  3. Keep children away from traffic when they use wheeled sports equipment. Make sure they ride in a safe place.
  4. Teach children how to:
    * steer, brake and ride in a straight line
    * wear the right safety gear, and
    * do a safety check every time they ride a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, use in-line skates or wear shoes with wheels.
  5. Be within arm's reach when your children are learning to ride any wheeled equipment.
  6. Always walk a bicycle, scooter or skateboard across a street intersection, instead of riding across.
  7. Tell children that you are happy when you see them riding safely.
  8. Remind children of the safety rules when they forget.
  9. Be a good role model - wear a helmet and safety gear yourself. Children copy what adults do.
TDSB Meeting Schedule
All TDSB Trustee Committee meetings are publicly broadcast and public delegations are welcomed. On the TDSB/Boardroom Website you can find the live webcast schedule, as well as the calendar with all Agendas, Minutes and documents (posted each Friday before the upcoming meetings).
The schedule for the upcoming weeks is as follows:
  • June 1 - 7:00pm - Special Finance, Budget, and Enrolment Committee (Agenda)
  • June 2 - 4:30pm - Governance & Policy Committee
  • June 9 - 4:30pm - Program and School Services Committee
  • June 14 (4:30pm) & June 15 (4:00pm) - Special Planning & Priorities Committee
  • June 16 - 4:30pm - Finance, Budget, and Enrolment Committee
  • June 17 - 4:00pm - Special Governance & Policy Committee
  • June 21 - 4:00pm - Audit Committee
  • June 23 - 4:30pm - Planning & Piorities Committee
  • June 30 - 4:30pm - Regular Board Meeting
To see links to agendas of all Standing Committee and Board meetings, including those listed above, please click here
All Committee meetings allow any member of the public to submit a delegation either in writing or in person (currently virtually). More information about the process is on the Delegation Process web page
Policy Consultations
The TDSB reviews policies on a 4-year cycle (or as needed based on changes to legislation or linked policies). Staff are currently seeking public feedback on the following policies:
School Year Calendar 2020-2021
Note: Virtual Schools follow the same calendar as in-person schools unless otherwise noted.
The official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from September to June 30. This year, the last day of class for elementary students is June 29, the last day of class for secondary students is June 28. 
Draft 2021/2022 School Year Calendar (pending Ministry Approval)
In developing the TDSB’s 2021-22 calendar, a key goal of the School Year Calendar committee was to ensure as smooth as possible a back to school start. This September marks an unusual start to the school year, as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls on the two days right after Labour Day, when we typically start school. With many students and staff taking those two days off of school, there were significant concerns about the stability of a start to our school year with many staff and students absent, as we know it would be hard for students to have subsitute teachers on their first day. Keeping in mind that staff and students are returning after a challenging and disruptive school year due to the pandemic, the priority became ensuring that staff are given opportunity to do professional development together prior to the start of the school year and that all students and staff can start the 2021-22 school year together.
Thus, the official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from September 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, inclusive, with the following first and last days of classes:.
  • First day of classes for students is September 9, 2021 
  • The last day of class for elementary students is June 30, 2022
  • The last day of class for secondary students is June 29, 2022
Please note that the TDSB’s 2021-22 School Year Calendar was approved by Board on May 4, 2021. The calendar has now been submitted to the Ministry of Education for final approval. The calendar remains in draft form until formally approved by the Ministry.
In addition, there are no classes for students on the dates listed below:
Finally, in recent days I have received a lot of email regarding the most recent crisis in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. These events have been, and continue to be, traumatic for many of our students, families, and staff. The TDSB is committed to striving to ensure that we create safe, inclusive and welcoming spaces, and to working hard to identify and interrupt anti-Israeli racism, antisemitism, anti-Palestinian racism and Islamaphobia when we see it. We are all responsible for ensuring the TDSB is a welcoming and safe place to be for all students, staff, and our entire community. 
Warmest wishes to all on this wet, chily end of May weekend,

Rachel Chernos Lin
TDSB Trustee, Ward 11, Don Valley West,
Subscribe to our email list.