Week of February 24, 2020
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
The health and safety of all students, staff and school communities is our top priority. In partnership with Toronto Public Health) (TPH), we are closely monitoring the current situation.
According to TPH, the risk is low, but the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Prevention measures include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill
- Stay home when you are ill
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands
- If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
School boards and unions share a commitment to public education and work together towards positive labour relations. The collective bargaining framework for the education sector features a two-tier bargaining process, involving both central and local bargaining. Learn more about the process.
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) - Update February 19, 2020 - ETFO announced Phase 6 of their strike protocol will start Wednesday, February 26. Full details as to how students will be impacted will be sent to members Monday. Please note a union must give 5 days' notice before it can start a strike. A strike does not necessarily mean the withdrawal of all services by union employees. If the union escalates its strike to fully withdraw services, it must give a further five days' notice.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) - Update February 21, 2020 -OSSTF announced that on Friday, February 28, education workers and teachers represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) in certain school boards will take part in another one-day, full withdrawal of services in selected locations across Ontario. Please note TDSB is not included in this one-day withdrawal on Friday.
Elementary School Events and Activities
Based on input from principals, superintendents, trustees and parents, the TDSB’s Labour Contingency Committee has developed plans with regards to elementary school activities and events amid the ongoing elementary teacher job action. While the TDSB cannot anticipate every event or activity, after considerable discussion, the committee developed the following guiding principles and directions that decisions are to be based on:
The TDSB acknowledges the value of activities happening outside of the classroom, however given that students have lost instructional time over past weeks, student learning activities in the classroom will be prioritized until job actions have ended.
During ongoing job actions, all staff will maintain a primary focus on student safety and learning in our schools. Principals/Vice Principals and other staff who are not under sanctions cannot be asked to facilitate all activities during the day that might have happened previously. When appropriate support from volunteers is present, principals may decide to continue these activities. When such support is not available, principals may not be able to support these activities continuing.
Where an activity takes place during instructional time and teachers will be present to supervise and the activity is related to delivery of curriculum, the activity can continue. The operation of these events cannot be in contravention of the sanctions of any employee group.
Where the activity or program is outside of instructional time and others are able to support (e.g. pizza lunches, nutrition programs, milk programs, etc.), the activity or program can continue, however cannot place additional demands on those staff who are not part of labour sanctions.
Before school and evening activities and events organized as School Council sponsored activities and events are to be postponed or cancelled. Please note that we are not advising School Councils to formally book school permits if they wish to hold an event. However, under Policy 011: Community Use of Board Facilities, members of the public, including school councils, may apply to use school space through our permitting department. Such permits do not require the attendance of a school administrator.
The planning of fun fairs/spring fairs can continue. Please keep in mind that due to uncertainty about ongoing job actions, any financial commitment should be made with great caution and consideration given to cancellation/refund policies. The planning of these activities should not require the involvement of the principal or other staff.
Ward Forums and School Council meetings may continue and can involve outside speakers and presentations. If these meetings occur on a strike day, they should be postponed or relocated to a school that is not affected by sanctions.
Majority of students, parents and teachers don’t support mandatory e-learning: TDSB survey
At the Board Meeting on October 30, 2019, Trustees passed a motion that directed the TDSB to conduct a random sample of students, parents and staff to determine their thoughts about the implementation of mandatory e-learning. The survey was issued on January 30 and closed on February 11, 2020.
Below is the text from the letter of February 18, 2020 Robin Pilkey, Chair of the TDSB sent to the Minister Lecce regarding the survey.
On behalf of the Toronto District School Board, I am writing you to share the results of our recent survey about your government’s plan to introduce mandatory e-learning courses for all secondary school students.
The short survey, which was issued to a random sample of students and parents/guardians, and all secondary school teachers, posed two main questions:
- Do you support the Ministry’s decision to require all students to take two elearning/online learning credits in secondary school in order to graduate?
- In your opinion, would mandatory e-learning/online learning benefit students?
With approximately 5,000 responses, the results show that most students, parents/guardians and secondary school teachers do not support your government’s plan to make e-learning a mandatory requirement for graduation, nor do they believe that it will benefit students. For a more detailed analysis, please read the summary of results online at www.tdsb.on.ca/thepulse.
I hope that you will take this information under advisement. It’s important that you listen to the voices and concerns of students, parents/guardians and teachers, especially when you’re planning to implement a new way to deliver curriculum and credits outside the regular classroom setting.
I want to make it clear that the Board is not against e-learning. However, our survey found that there are significant concerns among students, parents and teachers related to your government’s plan for mandatory e-learning, including that they do not believe it will benefit students. It is possible that our school communities may believe this because your government has not provided enough information about its e-learning plans or it has been poorly communicated.
It is also concerning that our students are now choosing their courses for the upcoming school year, with little to no knowledge of what your government’s e-learning courses will look like, and yet it will be mandatory for them to not only take two e-learning courses, but to also succeed in them in order to graduate. We fear this could hinder our students’ achievement and well-being levels, and effect their graduation and post-secondary education opportunities.
I also want to bring to your attention the other issues outlined in my letter to you on November, 15, 2019 [see below]. We continue to be concerned about:
- the mandatory nature of your plan, the timing and the lack details for parents/guardians, students and staff;
- potential risk to students who need individual and in-person time with teachers;
- the challenges for students who are not accustomed to learning in this environment; and
- issues of fairness for students who may not have access to high speed internet service that online learning requires or live in parts of Ontario that don’t have access to reliable internet services.
In light of the above concerns and what we have heard from our school communities through our recent survey, we ask that your government re-consider its plan for mandatory secondary school elearning courses and its plans to make such courses a requirement for graduation.
As always, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this topic further. Thank you.
Committees This Week
Finance & Budget Committee Agenda Wednesday, February 26, 2020 4:30 p.m.
Committee Room A, 5050 Yonge Street
5. Contract Awards
6. Budget Matters
- 6.1 Annual Report: 2020-21 Operating Budget Communications: Overview of Communication Supports - The draft chart in the report is being presented to begin preliminary discussions about communications support for this year’s budget process with the Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee. After the discussion, this chart will be updated to reflect Trustee feedback. Also included is an overview of key dates in this year’s budget process and the corresponding communications support being proposed.
- 6.2 Annual Report: Three-Year Enrolment Projection - Enrolment projections are updated annually to support budget planning, capital planning, and Ministry reporting. The tables in the report outline the actual and projected Average Daily Enrolment (ADE) of Pupils of the Board for 2018-19 to 2022-23, and the net change in enrolment over the next three years. Obviously this is important to us as enrolment drives GSNs.
- 6.3 Financial Facts: Revenue and Expenditure Trends - The draft Financial Facts: Revenue and Expenditure Trends, February 2020 represents the Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) financial information from 2015-16 to 2019-20. It focuses on the TDSB’s key expenditure areas and identifies major operating costs. The data presented is taken from the TDSB’s audited financial statements for all years up to 2017-18 and budget projections for 2019-20. Please note that this document identifies the significant provincial funding gaps between the TDSB costs and provincial benchmarks.
7. Other Business
We now have a new webpage for the 2020-21 Budget from our website. This webpage will provide key information on this year’s budget process, including our budget priorities and concerns; upcoming Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee (FBEC) meeting dates; ways for students, parents/caregivers and the community to participate in budget consultations; background on last year’s budget; and more.
The Budget Process (from the website)
As the largest and most diverse school board in the country, the TDSB has a unique set of needs when it comes to what is required to best support our students and communities. To ensure that we continue to support all students, we developed the Multi-Year Strategic Plan
to set direction and identify system goals. The focus of the Multi-Year Strategic Plan is to ensure that every student has equitable access to programs and resources, and increased opportunities that lead to success.
The Ministry of Education announces revisions to education funding and the amounts that school boards will receive in the spring of each year. Funding for education is determined through a set of provincial benchmark costs for the major components of education operations, as well as the number of students. By law, school boards are required to balance their budgets by June 30. TDSB Trustees and staff work together to create a balanced budget that best supports the achievement and well-being of all students within the funding provided by the province.
The TDSB’s annual operating budget is approximately $3.4 billion and we are committed to using these resources as responsibly and effectively as possible. However, the funding provided by the government does not fully meet the needs of students in Toronto. Read about the TDSB’s key funding priorities and concerns:
Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience
Please mark your calendar: February 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the North Toronto Collegiate Institute
auditorium a screening of Screenagers - Next Chapter. From the director of Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age, screened at NTCI in 2017, filmmaker and physician Delaney Ruston finds herself at a loss on how to help her own teens as they struggle with their emotional wellbeing. Ruston sets out to understand these challenges in our current screen-filled society, and how we as parents and schools can empower teens to overcome mental health challenges and build emotional agility, savvy communication, and stress resilience. MOVIE TRAILER: https://www.screenagersmovie.com/nc-trailer
. Click on the following link to book your tickets online in advance and for more info http://screenagers.ntcischoolcouncil.ca/
Additional Ward Forum on P023 Consultation
My colleagues Trustee Alexandra Lulka and Trustee Alexander Brown, will host a consultation on the Parent and Community Involvement Policy (P023) Review. on March 5. Join in person in the Boardroom at 5050 Yonge St or join virtually! For those who would like to be part of the conversation just go to www.tdsb.on.ca/Laskin to stream the ward forum live (beginning at 7:00pm) and for instructions to send in your comments. We will be joined by Michelle Munroe, Central Co-ordinator, Parent and Community Engagement - Families are invited to join a conversation about how we can effectively support family and community engagement in the TDSB. Share your voice about our Parent and Community Engagement Policy.
Please hold the following Ward Forum dates to engage with other parents/caregivers -
- March 5, 2020
- April 28, 2020
- June 2, 2020
Secondary Program Review
The vision of the Secondary Program Review, which will address both under and over-utilized schools, includes fewer schools with strong programming and increased access to courses that support all pathways. In order to achieve that, the Board will consider potential consolidation and/or relocation of schools, re-purposing secondary school buildings to address other system needs, and different models of school organization (e.g. full-year programming). To learn more about the Secondary School Review, please read the Questions and Answers. Find additional resources here https://www.tdsb.on.ca/High-School/Secondary-Program-Review
2019 - 2020 School Council Learning Opportunities
Each of your offices has a binder of resources for School Councils that you are welcome to borrow - and hopefully by the end of the week a USB key with the same information to make it easier to search and print from. Learning opportunities have been organized for School Council 101, ByLaws and Effectiveness. Please find below the dates, times, locations and share broadly.
Date LC Location Time Room Topic
Feb 26 3 Woburn CI 6:00 – 9:00 105 School Council Effectiveness
Mar 5 4 Central Tech 6:00 – 9:00 102 School Council Effectiveness
And the presentations from PIAC's Ready. Set. Engage. Event from November 16 are now posted online.
Parents as Partners Conference - March 28
The Parents as Partners Conference 2020 is planned by parents, for parents and we are so pleased to be able to offer a selection of sessions that cover a broad range of topics to provide parents with useful information and resources to help your child improve their achievement and well-being at school and at home.
Keynote Speaker - Kim Katrin is an internationally acclaimed award winning educator, writer, artist and consultant. As an educator, Kim travels around the world talking to people about justice, equity, and human rights. She has shared hundreds of unique resources and presentations on intersectional issues such as race, ability, orientation and gender on mental wellness. Emphasizing these connections allows for an inclusive discussion and a holistic focus on mental wellness and community engagement.
Registration will open shortly.
School Year Calendar 2019-2020
The 2019-2020 school year at the TDSB begins on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 following the Labour Day long weekend. For more information about important dates and holidays for the upcoming school year, please refer to the 2019-20 School Year Calendar
The official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from September 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, inclusive.
- The last day of class for elementary students is June 25, 2020
- The last day of class for secondary (full year) students is June 23, 2020
- The last day of class for secondary (semestered) students is June 23, 2020
PA Days & Statutory Holidays
- March Break March 16 to 20, 2020
- Good Friday April 10, 2020
- Easter Monday April 13, 2020
- Victoria Day May 18, 2020
- Elementary School PA Day June 5, 2020
- Secondary School PA Day (Full Year Schools only) June 24, 2020
- Secondary School PA Day June 25, 2020
- Board-wide PA Day June 26, 2020
Also please note -
- Passover begins sunset of Wednesday, April 8, 2020 and ends nightfall of Thursday, April 16, 2020
- Ramadan 2020 will begin in the evening of Thursday, April 23, 2020 and ends in the evening of Saturday, May 23, 2020 (dates may vary)
- Eid al-Fitr 2020 will begin in the evening of Saturday, May 23, 2020
Gr. 9 Math: 2nd Semester: June 2-15, 2020
OSSLT: March 31, 2020
Primary/Junior EQAO: May 19-June 1, 2020