February Trustee Update

February is African Heritage Month, Chinese Heritage Month, and Kindergarten Registration Month.

February is African Heritage Month

February is African Heritage Month at the Toronto District School Board and an opportunity to recognize the experiences, contributions and achievements of African Canadians. This year's theme is From Africa to the World.

Throughout the month of February, the TDSB will highlight the many contributions that the African community has made by offering several educational opportunities to our students, staff and the TDSB community. Opportunities include student visits to the ROM to experience exciting exhibits on the theme of Identity and Belonging to attending the Know Your Worth Conference. This conference is a joint collaboration with the TDSB and the Black Law Students' Association and will take place at York University on February 28, 2018.


Chinese Heritage Month

The Toronto District School Board is proud to recognize Chinese Heritage Month during the month of February. The theme selected by the Chinese Heritage Month Planning Committee for the year is Year of the Dog.

During this month, we celebrate the energetic culture and traditions of the Chinese community with students, staff and community members of the TDSB and the City of Toronto. The Chinese community is integral to the growth and success of the City of Toronto and Canada. Members of the Chinese community represent approximately 10 % of the total GTA population and form its second largest visible minority group. Canadians remember and appreciate the Chinese workers who helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway that united our country.

Chinese-Canadians will recognize Chinese New Year on Friday, February 16 with celebrations throughout the month of February.The Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. This occasion is celebrated over many days which include a range of activities from fireworks displays, drumming, distinctive foods and arts and crafts.


February is Kindergarten Registration Month

Registration for all TDSB Kindergarten programs began in February. To attend Junior Kindergarten in September, children must turn four-years-old by December 31. To register for Senior Kindergarten, children must be five-years-old by December 31. You may choose to register in person at the school or begin the process online.

For more information about the Kindergarten program and registration requirements, please visit www.tdsb.on.ca/kindergarten.


Ward Forum on Physical Education

Our next Ward Forum on February 13, 2018 from 5:30pm-7:00pm is being hosted by a community partner, MLSE Launchpad (located at 259 Jarvis St).

The theme for this Ward Forum is Physical Education. We will learn about the programming offered by MLSE Launchpad as well as have a discussion on the TDSB's Physical Education curriculum.

MLSE LaunchPad is a place where youth facing barriers use sport to recognize and reach their potential. They launchpad operates on 4 pillars: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Ready For School and Ready For Work and run programming built around Sport For Development; the intentional use of sport and physical activity to build healthy communities and help people reach their full potential.

This is a family-friendly event. I encourage you to bring your kids out. Let them experience this amazing space.


Consultation: A New Vision for Student Transportation

The Ministry of Education has undertaken a consultation on the future of student transportation to find out how transportation services can be improved to better serve students, families and communities.

To help guide the consultation, the Ministry has developed a discussion paper, A New Vision for Student Transportation, which focuses on four key areas: responsiveness, equity and accessibility, safety and well-being, and accountability.

As part of the consultation, the Ministry is looking for feedback from all stakeholders, including students and parents. The TDSB will be sharing extensive feedback with the Ministry as part of this consultation, but it is imperative that parent and student voices are also heard so that the unique needs of our students are considered in any changes that go forward.

To participate in the consultation, please review the discussion paper and send your responses to ST.newvision@ontario.ca by March 28, 2018. For questions that will help guide your submission, please see pages 13-16 of the discussion paper. For more information on the consultation, please visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-new-vision-student-transportation.


Education Development Charges (EDC's)

The TDSB is advocating for the Ontario Government to amend the Education Development Charges regulation (Ontario Reg. 20/98) under the Education Act to allow the TDSB to collect EDCs to help support urgent school infrastructure needs and reduce overcrowding in high-growth areas of the City.

Based on the total number of units under construction, proposed or planned across the city, the TDSB could generate revenue of approximately $350 million over the next 15 years to help fund growth-related infrastructure needs, which would benefit thousands of students and many communities across Toronto.

While other school boards in Ontario are allowed to collect EDCs, the TDSB does not qualify because it has excess space when assessed on a district-wide basis, regardless of significant pressures and challenges faced in many neighbourhood schools. This puts the TDSB at a disadvantage. 

You can help by sending a letter to your local MPP and the Minister of Education to advocate for the Ontario Government to amend the Education Development Charges regulation (Ontario Reg. 20/98) to allow the TDSB to collect EDCs.

To learn more, please visit: http://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Accountability/Renewal-Needs-Backlog-and-Facility-Condition-Index/Education-Development-Charges.

SIGN OUR PETITION: http://www.petitionsto.ca/supportourschools


Helping All Students Succeed

In December, the Enhancing Equity Task Force shared a report that provided a number of recommendations for how to support student achievement and well-being through improving equity within our system.

Staff have reviewed that report and provided a response and proposed directions to move our system forward to enhance our support for each and every student in the TDSB.

Ensuring that each and every student is successful means providing every student with the right tools, resources, supports, access and opportunities they need to thrive. Making this happen requires a whole-system perspective which includes examining our policies, procedures and practices; building staff capacity; reviewing our resources and how they're distributed; and setting high expectations and increasing access. Real change happens in the classroom but it must be supported by changes at the system level to be transformational.

This report is the next step in our equity commitment. It was discussed by Trustees at the Planning and Priorities Committee on January 31 and will also be discussed at the Board meeting on February 7. Its proposed direction, if approved by the Board in February, will inform our work moving forward. Finally, if approved, these broad directions will lead to more detailed implementation. Where implementation requires a change to an existing Board policy, staff will bring a report to Board on the proposed policy change that will also offer opportunities for public input and consultation.

We will continue to work with and listen to our communities. Thank you to all students, staff, families and community members who have shared their voices, experiences, insights and time. This work is important and we appreciate your commitment to and involvement in the process.

Read more at www.tdsb.on.ca/expectmore

Read my statement on the Enhancing Equity Task Force Report: http://www.chrismoise.ca/equitytaskforcestatement


February 19 is Family Day

There will be no classes on Monday, February 19, 2018, to reflect the province-wide statutory holiday called Family Day. The holiday occurs on the third Monday in February of each year for the purpose of emphasizing and celebrating the importance of families taking time to be together.

Because teachers are involved in professional learning on Friday, February 16 for the Board-wide Professional Activity Day, students will not be attending school on Friday, February 16 and Monday, February 19 (Family Day).

Visit http://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Calendar to view the school year calendar.