As we move towards the long Easter weekend and into the final sprint towards April Break, our schools are in full swing and yet, at the same time, counting down the days. Kids and staff alike are in good need of a rest and some well-deserved time off to enjoy the warmer days and spring sunshine. As you may have seen in the news and heard from your schools, we are preparing for a possible pivot to online should Toronto Public Health or the Province instruct us to do so.
Indeed, for the past several weeks, we here at the TDSB have watched covid case counts rise, both in our city and in cases reported by staff and students. As you can imagine, we are very concerned about the lack of prioritization of in-person education workers for vaccination eligibility. In particular, we believe it is essential to get first doses in arms right away for all of our staff, starting first and foremost with our staff working in congregated sites and ISP classes. These front-line educators work with children who tend to be medically complex, often unable to wear masks reliably, and cannot always follow physical distancing procedures (you may remember a motion passed unanimously by trustees back in early February on this subject).
While it is true that currently, all education workers are prioritized towards the end of Phase 2, they are scheduled to be vaccinated closer to the end of the school year. We believe that the most practical approach would be to make vaccines available to in-person education workers over the April Break, when schools are not in session. This would alleviate absenteeism due to vaccine appointments (a significant concern, from a staffing perspective), reduce risks to our staff and students, and ensure much of our staff is well on their way to two shots before the next school year. With VOC's now constituting the majority of covid cases, getting education workers vaccinated is extremely important in helping to keep our communities safe and schools running as smoothly as possible. Please see the letter dated March 19, 2021 from the TDSB's Director of Education to Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, the Toronto Central LHIN, and local health partners about the urgency of prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations for education workers in our Board and advocates for April Break as an ideal time to do so. You can read a copy of this letter here.
In addition, the Ontario Public School Boards' Accociation (OPSBA) has also sent a letter to the Minister of Education in support of TDSB's letter, asking for education workers to be vaccinated as soon as possible in Phase 2, especially in areas and communities with high COVID-19 case numbers. To read OPSBA's letter, please click here.
Please know the TDSB has yet to receive a response from the Province with respect to this request. I remain hopeful that no news is still, potentially, good news. So... we continue to advocate!
EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT CHARGES (EDC's)
Turning to a different kind of advocacy work, you may recall my communications over the last two years about the TDSB's inability to collect Education Development Charges (EDC's). These are levies on new properties that help to fund school infrastructure in areas of growth. However, due to the way the legislation is written, the TDSB's large size (post-amalgamation of the five Toronto Boards) has meant that it has never been able to qualify for these funds. With our aging school infrastructure and significant intensification and growth in areas of our city, including much of ward 11, this inability to qualify is extremely detrimental to the TDSB. As a result, the Board has been engaged in a legal dispute on this matter. Last week, the TDSB made arguments to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice before a panel of three judges about changes to the Education Act to allow the TDSB to collect Education Development Charges, which could generate about $500 million in additional revenue over the next 15 years to make investments in schools. Lawyers for the Government of Ontario and Building Industry and Land Development Corporation also participated in the hearing and argued against the changes proposed by the TDSB. As expected, following the three hour hearing, the Court reserved judgment and will render its decision at a later date. As soon as we receive a verdict, I will be sure to update through my newsletter.
OPSBA Statement on the Government’s Proposed Plan for Remote Learning
Recently, we learned that the government is considering making online and remote learning permament in all boards. OBSPA has come out strongly against this idea: “The government’s draft plan for making online and remote learning options permanent, as referenced in [a recent] Globe and Mail [article ] is not in the best interest of students. We are deeply concerned about any proposal that prioritizes cost-cutting or revenue generation over student success and wellbeing.
There are significant negative implications for students and for public education in the government’s proposal, including impacts on:
- Reduced student funding levels over the long term
- Students attending small, rural and remote schools
- Diminished local influence on education
OPSBA’s Board of Directors will be meeting next week to discuss a full response to the proposal.” -- Cathy Abraham, President 3/25/2021
You may recall that in late December and early January, the TDSB surveyed students, parents and staff. That data showed that 84% of students said they learn better in-person compared to virtual learning. It also showed students struggling with mental health. I firmly believe that policy decisions should be based on evidence and data, and with this in mind, find the government's suggestions highly problematic.
As we have seen in the news, incidents of anti-Asian racism are on the rise, especially since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is confirmed in the TDSB's own data, detailed in our recent Human Rights Report, which showed a rise incidents of racism and hate against many different groups, including Asians. Together with the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, the TDSB has compiled a new resource specifically to combat anti-Asian racism in our system and schools. To learn more about this important new resource, please click here.
Residents in many of our Ward 11 neighbourhoods have shared concerns about gatherings taking place on TDSB properties in the evenings that are noisy and/or large and/or not complying with physical distancing expectations. Both TDSB Security and Toronto Police Services are being called regularly to address these concerns, but both are stretched thin, especially in these Covid-times.
In this newsletter, there is a lot of information, so please find a comfy spot and read on!
Being cognizant of this, we ask for everybody's assistance to ensure children gather in outdoor locations where there is adult supervision and/or that they gather in smaller groups, following all health protocols. We recognize how important social connections are to young people, particularly in the context of the isolation created by the pandemic. At the same time, it is important we ensure that everybody is able to feel safe at all times, and that our students are considerate of their neighbours. I thank everyone in advance for their cooperation in keeping our communities safe and welcoming.
New Ward Community Coffee Meetings: April 28 & June 9
The Ward 11 Community Coffee Meetings have gone virtual! Grab your favourite mug, and join us from the comfort of your own home for a casual conversation about the TDSB and our Ward 11 schools.
Covid & Covid testing update
TDSB Staff continues to stay on top of the number of active confirmed COVID-19 cases among students and staff in TDSB schools. As of noon on Thursday, April 1 (see the Covid Advisories page), our current active case count is 580 student cases and 107 staff cases with approximately 275 TDSB schools (47%) having one more active cases of COVID-19.
Currently, Toronto Public Health has closed several TDSB schools, including Thorncliffe Park PS in Ward 11. We are grateful to the tremendous work of our staff and families for their commitment to health and safety and helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 in schools. We also continue to work collaboratively with Toronto Public Health, and many of our Principals participate in their weekly webinars which provides an opportunity to ask specific questions to the Medical Officer of Health.
To respond to the increase in cases, the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network, working with Toronto Public Health and the testing hospitals, has modified the testing strategy:
- Symptomatic testing: Toronto Public Health continues to identify many cohorts and whole schools to be tested to support investigations. The testing of the dismissed cohorts and the whole schools is being done by the testing hospitals.
Asymptomatic testing: This week, there were two asymptomatic testing hubs, supported by LifeLabs: one west of downtown and one in Scarborough. These hubs are open to all students and staff of schools of the four school boards in Toronto. The testing is voluntary. The students and staff must not have symptoms in order to participate in these testing opportunities.
Please note: The Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and the testing hospitals are identifying schools where they are less likely to be active in conducting testing related to specific investigations. The schools for asymptomatic testing are chosen from this list by the school boards working with the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and the testing hospitals. It is important to note that this plan could continue to change based on this week and next week’s testing, as well as feedback from LifeLabs, schools and TPH.
Current asymptomatic testing sites have been posted to a TDSB website page, and this page will continue to be updated as new sites are selected.
Student Transportation Update – COVID-19 Impact on Availability of Drivers
The Student Transportation department has been observing a growing number of Covid-19 cases on buses, which corresponds to the increasing cases in TDSB schools. If the trajectory of cases continue, this could have a serious impact on transportation service due to driver shortages. The Student Transportation department has recently received feedback from some schools, with concerns of delays due to driver self-isolation requirements. Some driver absences could have an impact on multiple schools and/or multiple runs.
On March 23, 2021, the Student Transportation department released a system message to all Principals, informing them of current concerns around the increase of COVID-19 cases and its impact on driver shortages and route delays. Principals are asked to inform the Student Transportation department when there are COVID-19 cases at their schools and to identify the students on busses who tested positive. They are also asked to provide all necessary information using the Toronto Public Health (TPH) template. These steps need to be followed to ensure safety protocols are enacted quickly. In the event a driver tests positive, the driver’s privacy must be maintained throughout the process. Their identity should not be disclosed publicly and should only be provided for authorized purposes.
Thorncliffe Park Vaccine Clinic
Last week, the City of Toronto, in partnership with East Toronto Health Partners and Michael Garron Hospital, opened a new mass immunization clinic at the East York Town Centre in Thorncliffe Park (45 Overlea Boulevard).
It will have the capacity to administer up to 10,000 doses a day to Thorncliffe Park and the surrounding communities.
To book an appointment:
PLEASE NOTE: on March 30, MGH (Michael Garron Hospital) / East Toronto Health Partners announced that vaccination appointments are being made available for age 50+ residents in the priority neighbourhoods of Thorncliffe (postal code M4H), Flemingdon Park (M3C), Oakridge (M1L) and Victoria Village (M4A). Proof of residence required.
Englemount-Lawrence Vaccination Clinic
(Baycrest Arena - 160 Neptune Drive)
Please note that the Englemount-Lawrence Vaccination Clinic at Baycrest Arena, which also opened past week, also serves Ward 11 (City Ward 15 - Don Valley West). Operated by the North Toronto Ontario Health Team and Baycrest Health Sciences, this clinic is the result of collaboration between senior officials at several community and health partners, including Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Baycrest Health Sciences, and SPRINT Senior Care.
City Councillor Robinson has advised that there are many available appointments at this facility. She encourages anyone who is eligible according to the Provincial Prioritization Framework to register.
To book an appointment:
Residents who need transportation to and from the clinic can contact iRide at 1-844-474-3301 or Toronto Ride at 416-481-5250 for assistance.
Report on Preliminary Findings on Impacts to Learning Due to the Pandemic
Last night (March 31, 2021) this significant report was presented at the Board’s Program and School Services Committee. It includes preliminary findings of impacts to learning due to the pandemic. The findings represent a preliminary discussion of the impacts on learning using two important data sets:
- Grade 1 reading data; and
- Secondary school report card data.
This preliminary analysis comes ahead of a more complete evaluation that will consider a variety of indicators from Kindergarten through Grade 12 as well as integrate perceptions from students, parents, and staff planned for June 2021. Together, these will help inform direction, resources, and strategy for the 2021-2022 school year.
Grade 1 Reading Data - Report card data (reading marks) from January 2021 shows a three percentage point increase in the proportion of students meeting level 3 and above in Grade 1 reading when compared to the previous three reporting periods available for January (2017 to 2019). However, reading assessment data shows a nearly ten percentage point decrease in the proportion of students meeting grade level reading expectations in virtual schools in January 2021 (45%) when compared to pre-pandemic percentages (54%) in January 2019. The discrepancy between reading marks and reading assessments in 2021 needs more in-depth analysis, which is currently underway with an early summer completion date. Overall, data indicates that the pandemic has disrupted literacy learning for many early elementary students. It is important to remember that students’ marks are based on the totality of their achievement and learning progress as measured and evaluated by many factors by teachers through the course of the school year. Given the importance that literacy capacity has on future academic success throughout elementary and secondary schooling, literacy skills in early elementary will be a core focus of the TDSB in September.
Secondary School Report Card Data - Data indicates that TDSB secondary school report card marks have gone up since the pandemic began. We have seen a four percentage point average rise in marks, which has been sustained throughout Quadmester 1 and 2. The failure rate has also gone down slightly (2 to 3 percentage points). At this point, more evaluation and analysis is needed to understand the rise in average marks, as high percentages of students in January indicated that COVID-19 and the resulting disruptions to their experiences in schools over the past year has had a negative impact to their learning and feelings of well-being. However, there may be several contributing factors, including:
- The TDSB set specific assessment policies that may have affected how teachers approach summative assessments and grading in general.
- Seventy-five percent of in-person learning occurs virtually in the TDSB at the secondary level. Assessment and learning in the virtual environment are different than in person.
- The quadmester system, and the ability of students to marrow their focus to only two subjects at a time.
- Final exams traditionally worth 30% of a course mark have been reduced to very few or none during the pandemic. In TDSB secondary schools, culminating activities designed to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding of course content now include a broader range of possibilities.
I am pleased to announce that the delivery of HEPA units is now complete: all elementary and secondary schools in the TDSB have now received their HEPA units! Staff are currently processing requests for schools that have asked for additional units.
Program Area Review: Eglinton P.S., John Fisher PS, and Bannockburn
In recent weeks and months, TDSB staff explored a 'Phase 2' of the Yonge-Eglinton review.
Beginning today, the second phase of the Yonge-Eglinton Program Area Review (PAR) will begin to consider how to balance enrollment within local elementary schools in the Yonge-Eglinton area. It will include consideration of the Bannockburn building (a TDSB building currently leased to a private school) to resolve ongoing accommodation pressures. The Program Area Review Team (PART) will consist of staff, trustees, school principals, and parent representatives, with a first meeting scheduled for April 1.
A public information webpage will be activated early next week to share background information pertaining to the review, along with a feedback survey that will remain open for approximately 10 days to gather questions and feedback from the community. These questions and comments will then be reviewed by the Program Area Review Team, (PART). This will be followed by a public meeting on the Zoom platform on Tuesday, May 4th from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm. There will be an opportunity for community members to ask additional questions at the public meeting and to fill out a second feedback survey afterwards.
Information about the preceding Area Reviews for this area is available on the TDSB website (select 'Program Area Review', followed by '2018 Bedford-Eglinton Jr-Glenview-Hodgson-John Fisher' and/or '2015 Yonge/Eglinton'). Please note that those previous reviews involved a large number of schools. The current review that begins today focuses on Eglinton PS, John Fisher PS, and Bannockburn.
Program Area Review Report: Armour Heights PS, St Andrew's MS & Ledbury Park
The final PART report is now available of a Program Area Review for Armour Heights PS, St Andrew's MS, and Ledbury Park EMS.
Please note the following important information and next steps for the review:
- The Program Area Review Team (PART) has developed its recommendations, which are included in the final PART report.
- TDSB staff will review the PART’s recommendations and will write a staff report with its own recommendations, which may or may not be the same as those developed by the PART. (The PART report is attached to the staff report).
- TDSB staff will present a report with their recommendations to the Board’s Planning and Priorities Committee on Tuesday, April 6 at 4:30 p.m. The meeting will be held virtually and can be accessed through www.tdsb.on.ca
- If you would like to share your thoughts in person with Trustees at the committee meeting or in writing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 p.m., Tuesday, April 6, 2021. For more information, please go to tdsb.on.ca/boardroom and click on Delegations.
- The staff report will be included in the Planning and Priorities agenda and posted online by Thursday, April 1, 2021 on the TDSB website.
- The Planning and Priorities recommendations regarding the Program Area Review will be presented to the Board of Trustees at a meeting on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, where the Board will make a final decisions about the schools in the review.
Return to French Programs in September 2021
As part of a commitment made in October 2020, families of students in French Immersion (FI) or Extended French (ExtF) who were registered to attend or were attending FI or ExtF in September 2020 and opted to leave their French program in the first part of the 2020/2021 school year due to the pandemic, have been offered the right to return to the program for the coming school year. Through a central survey conducted during the week of February 22, 2021, staff captured whether families intended to return or not return to their original French program school of placement for September 2021.
This is an exceptional step being taken in response to an extraordinary set of circumstances this year, and does not reflect an ongoing change in procedure.
This process was undertaken centrally, and each school will be provided with a list of students who intend to return so that students may be re-registered for September 2021.
If you think your child falls into this category and you did not receive this survey, please contact the principal at the school where your child was placed for their french program.
No Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) this year
Last Friday, the TDSB sent a letter providing an update regarding the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) administered by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). The OSSLT was not administered last school year and the literacy test requirement was waived for students graduating in 2021.
This year, the EQAO is field testing a new online OSSLT. Participation in this field test is not mandatory and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has decided not to participate.
This means that eligible students will write the OSSLT during the 2021-22 school year.
The decision not to participate in the field test was made in the best interests of students and families. During what has been a challenging and stressful year for many, we do not want to add another item to students’ plates, and are keeping mental health and well-being at the forefront of every decision we make.
The TDSB has also made a commitment to maximizing instructional time this year, and the substantial time required to plan, prepare and write the OSSLT would take away from classroom instruction and learning for students and staff. It is for this same reason that the TDSB has moved away from administering final exams in each quadmester this year.
At this time, we feel strongly that this is the best decision for students. Looking forward to next year, the EQAO has plans underway to provide multiple sittings of the OSSLT to ensure that all students can fulfill their graduation requirement. Further details on plans for next year will be shared with you once the EQAO office has provided this information to school boards.
Community Involvement Hours Update and Resources
Superintendent of Indigenous Education
At a Special Meeting last week, Tanya Senk was appointed TDSB’s first System Superintendent of Indigenous Education. We are proud to welcome Tanya into this role and will continue to work in Nation-to-Nation relationships to support Indigenous Education and communities. We have many commitments to Indigenous Education in the TDSB -- and to Indigenous students, staff, Elders and communities -- through our Multi-Year Strategic Plan, under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. This is an historic moment in TDSB. The appointment of Tanya Senk marks the first time ever that the TDSB will have a Superintendent that self-identifies as Indigenous.
Also on Wednesday, Christina Saunders was promoted to the Principal of Kapapâmahchakwêw -Wandering Spirit School.
Congratulations to both Tanya and Christina!
Virtual Secondary School has a Gender and Sexuality Alliance
The Virtual Secondary School has a Gender and Sexuality Alliance!
Launched in November 2020, the VSS Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) is a space for two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and questioning (2SLGBTQ+) students, staff, and their allies in the TDSB to find community and resources. The VSS GSA is home to a number of different groups based on either interest or identity. They meet weekly by Zoom and have a wide range of activities, including: activism/events, arts, book club, disability, faith/religion, fem, gaming, questioning/new members, sports/wellness, students of colour, and trans/non-binary/genderqueer.
The VSS GSA also hosts events and guest speakers. Past events have included Winter Warm-Up, Black Queer and Trans History with LeRoi Newbold and Twysted Miyake Mugler, a Planned Parenthood Sex Ed Q&A, and Awareness from 2 Souls: Indigenous 2-Spirit Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality with Mike Izzo
The VSS GSA is open to all students and staff in the TDSB.
Details about the VSS GSA, including meeting times and links, are now available online.
The Human Library Podcast: New Episode
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.
Episode 3: TANITIÃ MUNROE - Centering Black LGBTQ+ Students in the Classroom (audio, transcript)
Episode 1: NATASHA HENRY - African Canadian Experiences and the Curriculum (audio, transcript)
Episode 2: GEN LING CHANG - Understanding and Addressing Anti-Asian Racism (audio, transcript)
Some of the future topics soon to be added include: Supporting Positive Racial Identity in Early Years; Understanding Judaism and Jewish Cultures.
The schedule for the upcoming weeks is as follows:
- April 6 - 4:30pm - Planning & Priorities Committee
- April 7 - 4:30pm - Finance Committee
- April 20 - 4pm - Planning & Priorities Committee (special meeting)
- April 21 - 4:30pm - Regular Board Meeting
- April 27 - 4:30pm - Governance & Policy 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.
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:
- Human Rights Policy (P031)
Deadline: April 30, 2021 - Draft Revised Policy
Objective: To protect, promote and advance the human rights of all TDSB members to learn, function and work in an equitable, accessible, respectful and inclusive environment free of discrimination and harassment on the basis of the prohibited grounds of discrimination specified in this Policy and protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code. To enhance the capacity of the TDSB to meet its positive human rights obligations, including to proactively identify, address, and prevent all forms of discrimination, including individual and systemic discrimination.
- Workplace Harassment Prevention for Non-Human-Rights-Code Harassment (P034)
Deadline: April 5, 2021 Draft Revised Policy
Objective: This Policy is designed to promote a healthy, respectful and supportive work environment. It highlights conduct that may amount to non-Code workplace harassment (i.e., harassment that is not covered by the Board’s Human Rights Policy or the Human Rights Code) and outlines the system’s shared responsibility for fostering a harassment-free workplace. The goal is to prevent non-Code workplace harassment from taking place and, where necessary, to investigate and respond to instances, potential instances, and complaints of such behaviour in a fair, timely and effective manner.
The purpose of Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) Advocacy Day meetings are to re-introduce OPSBA and its priorities to the government and the opposition parties. It is also an opportunity to increase and elevate the overall awareness of the association and its advocacy efforts.
Following the provincial meetings, OPSBA Directors representing the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) reached out to their local government MPPs to set up a virtual meeting. TDSB Directors developed a document to highlight various issues that are impacting our Board and ways that government could help alleviate them: OPSBA Advocacy Day 2021: Toronto District School Board. It highlighted, among other things:
- TDSB at a Glance
- Education Development Charges
- Renewal Needs Backlog
- Capital Needs
- Pandemic Impacts
- Mental Health and Well-Being
- Academic Pathways
- Community Use of Schools
Parent Engagement: Another chance to watch Screenagers Next Chapter next week and more resources!
More than 200 people joined TDSB's Parent & Community Engagement Office (PCEO) and the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) in the latest session of the Conversation Series - a Screening of Screenagers Next Chapter, followed by a Conversation with it's Director, Delaney Ruston.
For a limited time, TDSB parents/guardians/caregivers can watch the movie until April 18. The link is posted on the Conversation Series website.
The subsequent Conversation (presentation and Q&A) with Director Dr. Ruston is already online on the PCEO Youtube Channel: here (watch from 1:27:45).
Also of interest:
Coming up next week:
Conversation Series, April 8: Navigating Life’s Highs and Lows for Teenage Girl
April 8, 6:30pm: Navigating Life’s Highs and Lows for Teenage Girls, with bestselling author Lisa Damour, PhD.
Dr. Damour will deliver an insightful and informative conversation about guiding teenage girls through the seven transitions into adulthood. Information on the Conversation Series website. I have had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Damour speak in person several years ago, and she was excellent. If you have a daughter, I strongly enourage you to find time to watch this event!
The Conversation web page also has recordings of past events, including (but not limited to):
- Feb. 4: Families Amidst Racial Traumas, with Charmaine Lane M.Sc., RP
- Jan. 30: How Children Understand Race and How Adults Can Help, with Erin Winkler , Associate Professor, African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
On that YouTube Channel you can, for example, also find recordings of (almost) all workshops & keynote speakers of the two TDSB Parent Conferences from fall, 2020. All workshop subjects are accessible here:
Parent Engagement: PIAC and CSWs
For more about Parent Engagement in the TDSB, check out:
- Parent Involvement Advisory Committee, PIAC: PIAC website, tdsb web page
- First upcoming PIAC meeting: April 20, 7-9:30pm.
- Community Support Workers: CSWs assist TDSB’s Model Schools for Inner Cities. Their brand new website, tdsbHUB.ca, has resources and Parent Academy activities. As these events are all currently online, they are now available to everybody and provide a wealth of resources. Be sure to check out the new site!
EECOM 2021 : Exploring the Nature of Cities April 21-24
Urban Environmental Education in Action - Streaming virtually April 21-24, 2021 - Register now https://ecoschools.ca/eecom/
The Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM) is Canada’s only national and bilingual network for environmental learning that works strategically and collaboratively to advance environmental learning. Since 1995, EECOM National Conferences have been among the largest annual gatherings of environmental learning stakeholders in Canada, and provide outstanding professional development and networking opportunities
With most of the world’s population living in urban areas, helping citizens understand their impact on their environments is key to making cities more sustainable and livable. EECOM 2021’s theme Urban Environmental Education In Action is well-timed to address growing concerns about the climate crisis.
EECOM 2021 is being chaired by EcoSchools Canada, the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE), and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Sustainability Office. It will be based out of the University of Toronto.
There is at least one session involving students on Friday April 23rd, 1:00 – 2:00 pm – Youth Forum: Climate Leaders of Tomorrow. Grades 7-12 classes from across Canada have participated in Learning for a Sustainable Future's virtual Climate Action Youth Forums throughout the 2020-2021 school year. Each class participated in interactive virtual kickoff, speaker and workshop events that engaged them in climate issues, equipped them with skills and knowledge, and empowered them to take action. Please join as four classes share their exciting climate action projects.
Save the Date-PIAC Spring Event: May 1 & May 2
TDSB’s Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) invites all parents and caregivers to take part in their Spring Event “Breaking Barriers by Changing Biases”
Please join virtually on May 1st and 2nd, 2021 via Zoom.
Sikh Heritage Month: Virtual Launch April 6
Sikh Heritage Month is proudly recognized at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the month of April. On March 22, 2016, the Board of Trustees voted to designate April of each year as Sikh Heritage Month, making the TDSB the first school board in Canada to do so, and matching recognition by the province of Ontario who proclaimed the Sikh Heritage Month Act in December 2013.
This year our theme is Growing our Future: The Legacy of Sikh Farmers.
Sikh Canadians have lived in Ontario since the turn of the 20th century. They have made significant contributions to the growth and prosperity of Ontario and their traditions and culture continue to be a vibrant part of every aspect of our current life today. This includes many Sikh families who participate in farming throughout Canada.
An invitation is being extended to all TDSB staff, students, and the TDSB community by the TDSB Sikh Heritage Month planning committee in attending the Virtual TDSB Sikh Heritage Month Celebration. Details are noted below and in the flyer:
TDSB Sikh Heritage Month Virtual Celebration
Date: Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Time: 1 – 2 p.m.
We hope you can join us!
Latin-America History Month: Virtual Launch April 7
In April 2016, the TDSB Board of Trustees voted that April be designated as Latin-America History Month. The motion was a result of advocacy on behalf of TDSB students, educators, parents/caregivers as well as community organizations within LAEN-The Latinx, Afro-Latin-America Abya Yala Education Network. Together, hundreds of community members called for the TDSB to take up the work of addressing social inequities harming TDSB school families with ancestry from the Lands that are known in Western mainstream culture as Latin-America.
The Planning Committee is extending an invitation to all staff, students and the TDSB community to attend the Latin-America History Month Virtual Launch Celebration, entitled, (DeColonizing) Latin-America History Month & Beyond: Learning together about our collective pasts, alongside our relatives of today, the Eagle, the Quetzal and the Condor.
Details are noted below.
We hope you can join us!
During the month of April the TDSB recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month. In March 2010, our TDSB Board of Trustees voted that April be designated as Hispanic Heritage Month at the Toronto District School Board.
As stated in the Hispanic Heritage Month Act, (May 5, 2015): "Ontario is home to more than 400,000 first-, second- and third-generation Canadian of Hispanic origin. As early as 1914, Canadians who originated from 23 Hispanic countries began immigrating to the province and today the Hispanic community is one of the fastest growing in Ontario. Hispanic-Canadians represent a dynamic community that has made significant contributions to the growth and prosperity of the Province of Ontario.
By proclaiming Hispanic Heritage Month in Ontario, the province recognizes the rich contributions of Hispanic-Canadians to our social economic, political and multicultural fabric. Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to remember, celebrate and educate future generations about the outstanding achievements and contributions of Hispanic people in the province."
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. The last day of class for elementary students is June 29, the last day of class for secondary students is June 28.
March Break postponed to April
The Ministry of Education announced last week that March break has been postponed until the week of April 12th due to the pandemic. Read the Provincial news release.
Secondary Quadmester Calendar
- Quad 3: Feb 8 - April 20 + exams April 21 & 22
- Quad 4: April 23 - June 23 + exams June 24, 25 & 28
As I sign off, I want to wish all those who celebrated over the past week a belated and happy Nowruz, Holi and Passover. For those observing Easter this coming weekend, may you have a lovely holiday. It is my sincere hope that next year we will be able to gather safely together with all of our extended loved ones and friends!
As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
And until the next time, stay healthy, stay safe!
Rachel Chernos Lin
TDSB Trustee, Ward 11, Don Valley West, Rachel.ChernosLin@tdsb.on.ca