School Cleanup Day, E-Learning, Mental Health, Active Transportation and Primary Inclusion

1) School Cleanup Day
The City is organizing a School Cleanup Day on April 2nd. For 20 minutes, schools throughout Toronto will be getting to know their community and helping their neighborhood becoming a cleaner space. Participating schools receive a free kit of education materials, gloves, and garbage and recycling bags. Thanks to all the Ward 7 schools that are taking part. For information to register, please visit the City of Toronto’s website.

2) E-Learning Registration
Registration is now open for those wanting to take credits online this summer. Please register here.  Non-TDSB students can start registering on April 7th so I would not wait if you would like to confirm a spot.

3) TDSB Mental Health Newsletter
The March edition of the newsletter discusses the various TDSB initiatives that help build resilience in an increasingly fast and stressful society.  This includes mindfulness exercises and teaching children how to build their internal and external resources to deal with challenges.

5) Active Transportation Tips
Spring is here and the days are getting warmer. Take the opportunity to walk or ride your bicycle to school! Kristen Evers from Ecoschools wrote a great article on tips of promoting safe, active transportation in your school.

6) Primary Inclusion Phase One
Beginning this fall, greater inclusion of students with special needs will occur in congregated classes. This process will depend on the decision of parents as well as be done with the understanding that some students have more complex needs that requires more intensive support. For more details, you can read the Phase One update.

Following the above two points, Richard Evers, TDSB’s senior manager for sustainability, will be speaking at our April meeting at Parkdale CI. And in June, executive superintendent for special education, Uton Robinson, will be our Ward 7 Council guest speaker at Lucy McCormick. If you need any information to help prepare for the discussions, or if you have any questions for the speakers, please send them to me and I will ensure they are addressed in the presentation.

TDSB Environmental Scan, Years of Action, Annual Report

The TDSB released a trio of reports that together paint a picture of the strategic direction of the TDSB. The Years of Action Report provides the steps that executive office in the TDSB are meeting the objectives of: Student Achievement and Well-Being; Parent and Community Engagement; Fiscal Responsibility; Staff Inspiration and Support; and Education for Sustainable Development.

Next, the Directors Annual Report provides a brief snapshot of the TDSB in areas such as student enrollment, EQAO results, and the key accomplishments they have achieved.

Finally, for a more in depth statistical look at trends in the TDSB, please check out the  environmental scan for 2013-2014. In it, you’ll find information ranging from student demographics and achievement, to projections and funding for school maintenance and repair.

PRO Grant Application, ECO-School Certification, School Health Survey, Capital Planning Consultation

A couple important updates to take note of as we go into the March Break.

1) Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Grants Applications: May 19th deadline
Applications for the Ontario Government’s PRO grants are open now until May 19th. PRO grants are aimed at projects that help break down the barriers with that prevent parent engagement in our schools. School Councils can apply for funding for projects of up to $1000 and can apply as an individual school or as a community of schools. More information can be found here.

2) ECO-School Certification: Wednesday April 15th
The deadline to apply to be certified as a eco-school is just over a month away. Please try to start your application early as all fields must be answered. Audits are planned to occur in May and June to be certified. For more information on applying, as well as TDSB’s Earth Hour and Bike to School Week, please read the Eco-School’s March Newsletter.

 3) Healthy Schools Survey Results
Toronto Public Health conducted a survey of 6000 Toronto students from grade’s 7 to 12. While there is much good to be said about the health of our city’s children, there are some concerns in areas such as bullying and second-hand smoke. A infographic of the key findings can be seen here: Healthy Futures Infographic

For more details about the survey results, please visit the Toronto Public Health website.

4) School Capital Planning Consultation
The  TDSB is working on ensuring that there is meaningful consultation on what is going to be done with our schools. Can there be creative ways to bring the city, schools, and the Ontario government together to address our capital pressures? Therefore, a website for parents and other stakeholders was created to provide the information you need to join in the conversation.


Fraser Institute School Report Card

The Fraser Institute recently published their yearly Report Card which ranks elementary and secondary schools in Ontario using EQAO results. Two things should be considered when looking at the school rankings.

First, the EQAO results alone should not be used to rank the quality of a school. They do not capture the qualities of each school that give rise to a high or low quantitative score. As such, the EQAO results are only one source which the TDSB considers in its planning process. Other data sources include demographic trends, the student and parent census and informal assessments. Where do the EQAO results take into account a school’s extracurricular activities such as robotics or music programs?

Second, EQAO results do not reflect the quality of your child’s education. EQAO results are excluded from your child’s Ontario School Record and do not count towards their grades. Aside from passing the Grade 10 Literacy Test required to graduate, EQAO results are not considered in post-secondary education admissions.  If you want to understand the quality of your child’s education, speak to their teacher who can discuss the EQAO results in the context of your child’s classroom grades and behavior.

EQAO results can be a useful tool to shape TDSB priorities. Indeed, the EQAO was designed to ensure accountability of the public education system. Last fall, for example, the TDSB introduced the Kindergarten to Grade 12 Mathematics Strategy to combat a trend of declining mathematic scores.

Nonetheless, the EQAO is but a quantitative snapshot of our students and our schools. Just as utilization rates do not reveal what a school means for its community and report cards do not fully encapsulate how a child’s success is in the classroom, EQAO results are a limited tool to understand school achievement.

If you want more information about a school, call the Principal to arrange a tour, sign up for their newsletters to see what’s going on at the school, checkout the school’s website, talk to other parents, talk to community members, and talk to your kids about their school.

EQAO results are one very small piece of a very large pie that is your child’s educational experience.

Health and Physical Education Curriculum Released

The revised Health and Physical Education curriculum has been released today. Attached below is zip file containing both the Elementary and Secondary curriculum, as well as resources for parents such as fact sheets on consent and online safety.

Print documents of these files will be provided to schools in the near future, with mandatory implementation of this curriculum beginning this September.

For more information, please visit the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum page at

Revised Health and Physical Education Curriculum and Parent Resources