Trustee Rachel Chernos Lin

The following are some highlights from Trustee Chernos Lin’s Sept 23rd update that pertain to our school. For all the information in this update click here

Laird in Focus/Rio Can Proposal (815-845 Eglinton Avenue East)

On Tuesday, Sept.17th, a Community Meeting regarding the Laird in Focus Study and RioCan Proposal (815-845 Eglinton Ave. E.) held in Leaside and was attended by well over 100 community members. Unfortunately, I was already booked in another meeting at the TDSB; however, a representative from the Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC) attended on behalf of the TDSB. This meeting served as a public open house for the proposed Laird in Focus draft Site and Area Specific Policy (SASP) and for the RioCan proposal at 815-845 Eglinton Avenue East. There was no presentation or official Q and A, but there was an opportunity for community members to casually view draft plans and ask questions of those present. 
Community members shared concerns regarding the growth and development, specifically as it relates to where residents of these proposed units will go to school. Currently, nothing concrete has been decided. The TDSB anticipates an increase of approximately 200 students in the Secondary Plan area, but at this point does not believe an entirely new school is needed. Instead, TDSB is monitoring the situation. Once more concrete plans are established, the TDSB will begin a review of options that may include an addition to a local school to alleviate these pressures. 

The Laird in Focus draft Site and Area Specific Policy (SASP) is now available for review and comment on the City of Toronto website, and the draft can be accessed here. TLC staff are currently reviewing the draft SASP and will continue to work with the City to ensure the TDSB’s interests are protected. City staff are expected to bring forward a Staff Report with final SASP and urban design guidelines to Community Council sometime this fall.

STUDENT STRIKES FOR CLIMATE ACTION

Swedish student Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement has captivated the world, and inspired next Friday’s planned demonstration at Queen’s Park. At the TDSB, we honour the importance of student voice but also want to ensure student safety. Please read the exerpt below from TDSB Director John Malloy:
 
“Currently, there is a student climate change rally planned for Friday, September 27 at Queen’s Park. To be clear, this is not a TDSB-sanctioned event, however we understand that students at a number of our schools may take part. At the TDSB, we honour student voice and are committed to ensuring students can express themselves individually and collectively in ways that are constructive, respectful and responsible.

As a Board, we know that climate change is an important issue that needs to be addressed and that students play an important role in building an environmentally sustainable future. The TDSB EcoSchools Program provides opportunities within the classroom, the school, and the community for students to engage in education actions that prepare them with the knowledge, skills, perspectives, and practices they need to be environmentally responsible citizens. This approach is guided by the TDSB’s Global Competencies, which encourage students to engage in local and global concepts and initiatives while demonstrating responsibility and ethical citizenship.

With regard to the September 27 rally, safety is our top priority for students who may be planning to participate. We’ve asked our schools to work closely with student organizers so that their plans include consideration of student safety and logistical issues.

As always, students under the age of 18 require parental permission to leave class. Any students who are not in attendance at school will be marked absent. As is the case with all absences where parental permission has been granted, the absence will be deemed “explained.”

To ensure students receive no academic penalty for taking part in the rally, we have also asked our schools to avoid scheduling tests and other assessments on that day.

In the days ahead, we will be providing additional curriculum resources to support our teachers as they provide learning opportunities for students on climate change. 

We encourage parents/guardians to discuss this climate change rally with their child(ren). Student voice and action is important for our students and parent/guardian involvement in this process is key.”

CHANGES TO FRENCH PROGRAMMING/TIMELINES:

At the first French as a Second Language (FSLAC) meeting of the school year, Staff presented a Q and A regarding the implementation of the French Review Recommendations (passed last spring at our June board meeting). In this new update, there are important timelines regarding entry to JK French Immersion and Grade 4 Immersion, along with dates for phasing out all other French specialty programs. To learn about these implementation details and other related significant changes, please click here

CAPITAL PRIORITIES PROGRAM SUBMISSION: Hodgson MS

Last week at Committee of the Whole, our Board passed staff’s submissions to the Provincial Capital Priorities Program. Beginning September 30th, each school board is allowed to submit its ten most pressing capital pojects for Provincial funding. As many of you are likely aware, back in 2016, the TDSB received funding for an addition to Hodgson Middle School. However, after it’s approval, additional information that came out of the Midtown In Focus Study (where the TDSB had a seat at the table) indicated that the current scope of the funded project was not  large enough to accommodate the revised numbers for the midtown area. As a result, the TDSB resubmitted its business case to the Province but has not received an answer. After several inquiries, we have been informed we must re-submit this case as part of this current round of applications if we wish to be considered for a larger project. The TDSB considers this capital project a top priority, and is now proceeding with the newly-required resubmission. While this does not guarantee additional funding, we are hopeful the government will recognize the massive growth of midtown Toronto and provide the necessary funding. We expect to hear back in the new year, and I will endeavour to keep the community aware of any updates regarding this project. 

BUSSING UPDATE

The Toronto Student Transportation Group (TSTG) has received an update from Stock Transportation letting us know that although many issues over the past two weeks have been resolved, it is still in the process of fixing some remaining issues. If you continue to have issues, please be sure to contact the Toronto Student Transportation Group at 416-394-4BUS (416-394-4287) or e-mail transportation@torontoschoolbus.org. Parents are also encouraged to check the delay portal for the latest information through this link:  https://busplannerweb.torontoschoolbus.org/Cancellations.aspx. 
If you are experiencing problems connecting with Student Transportation, please try TSTG’s temporary new phone line for the month of September to contact the call centre. You shouldn’t get a busy signal using the new number at 647-790-3829.  
If you need to change your route, please be sure to also speak to your school as certain issues require direct communication with schools. 

SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR 2019-2020

For 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.
First day of classes for all students is September 3, 2019
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