Trustee Jennifer Story – Oct 24th

Find the link to her post here.  Some highlights (… indicated truncated section, see link for full details):

Ward Forum: School Councils 101

Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Place: Danforth CTI, 800 Greenwood Avenue (Greenwood Library)
Special Guest: Michelle Munro, Parent Engagement Office, TDSB

2017/2018 Ward Forums
Here is the schedule for this year’s ward forums in ward 15 Toronto Danforth. Note: All meetings will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 this year. This is half an hour earlier than previously. 
Many school councils choose a representative to send to Ward forums to report back. This is a great approach to take, but I also want to remind everyone that anyone is welcome to attend any or all of these events.
I hope to see you there!
Tuesday, October 24, Danforth CTI  Topic: School Council 101

Traffic Safety in School Zones: My Response to Toronto’s Vision Zero Plan

Parent Reaching Out Grants (PRO)

Government of Ontario Parent Reaching Out (PRO) Grants are designed to support parents in identifying barriers and finding solutions to parent engagement in their own communities.
Congratulations to the following Ward 15 schools approved for 2017-2018 Parent Reaching Out Grants!

Toronto DSB

Frankland  Community School

Building on Equity


(For the other winner=s – see the blog post)

Save the Date:

Parent Engagement Conference

PIAC’s 11th Annual Parent conference is coming to Earl Haig S.S. on Saturday, November 25th.
Registration is opening soon for the PIAC Parent Conference! See what’s in store for the 11th annual conference for parents. 

High School Information Nights
To help you make an informed decision when choosing a high school, TDSB schools host information nights for parents and Grade 8 students each year between October and January. Learn everything you need to know about our incredible variety of schools, programs and courses. The dates and times for all High School Information Nights are available online at

French Programs Application Deadline

The timelines for applying for these programs for September 2018 are:
– Applications for Early French Immersion (for a Junior Kindergarten aged child), must be completed online between October 30, 2017 and November 30, 2017.
– Applications for Junior Extended French must be completed online betweenJanuary 8, 2018 and February 8, 2018.

Secondary Success Indicators Fact Sheets

Funding Changes and Ice Cream Money for Schools

I scream, you scream, schools funded by ice cream?

Should private funding be used to save a school from closing?

An Ontario ice cream maker is offering $2 million to save the only school in the small town of Markdale from closing. The proposed deal from Chapman’s Ice Cream—which has been approved by the Bluewater District School Board—would keep the school open for the next two years.

According to the proposal, Chapman’s Ice Cream and Parataxis Design & Development Corp. have offered to pay $2 million each to rebuild Beavercrest Community School. For the next two years, while a deal is being worked out, the Municipality of Grey Highlands has agreed to pay $50,000 annually to cover the extra costs of keeping the school open, while Chapman’s has agreed to cover any expenses beyond that.

In order to go ahead, the deal would have to be approved by the province, because it does not fit within current provincial regulations. The possible deal raises many questions…

Read more.

One day—one voice. Stand up for Music!

Music Monday is on May 1.

Every year, on the first Monday of May, schools across the country participate in a simultaneous nationwide performance of an original song written by a Canadian artist. Organized by the Coalition for Music Education, the event is dedicated to raising awareness for music education.

This year’s Music Monday anthem, Sing It Together, celebrates the unifying power of music. The song is co-written by award-winning songwriters Marc Jordan and Ian Thomas, and is available in various languages and arrangements.

Learn more.

Increased funding for school boards announced

But no new rural strategy yet

On April 12, the province released the details of education funding for 2017/18. After lengthy negotiations with trustees’ associations, teachers’ federations and education workers’ unions, the province announced increases in salaries, funding for class size reductions, and a new Local Priorities Fund that may be used for staff such as special education teachers or educational assistants.

The province also announced that the government will launch a consultation on “new approaches to supporting education in rural and remote communities” in the spring.

Learn More

People for Education relies on you!

Preserving the independent voice for public education

People for Education started twenty years ago, and continues to combine a unique blend of evidence, engagement, and policy analysis to ensure that our publicly funded education system is the best it can possibly be. It takes vigilance, research, and a strong communications strategy to ensure that our system continues to evolve.

But doing this important work costs money.

Today, our budget is just under $1 million per year. With that funding, we provide independent, evidence-based reports on everything from streaming in high school, to music education; we speak to policy-makers and work with experts to ensure that Ontarians have the facts and evidence they need; and we hold consultations and host conferences.

By funding the research and evidence that form the backbone of all we do, you’re helping to ensure that our publicly funded schools create new generations with the must-have skills to innovate, adapt, imagine and continue to learn.

Please make a donation.
Come to Telling Tales.

Education in the news

Ontario needs stronger fundraising policy to ensure equity between schools.

What happens when a school board pools fundraising donations so they can be shared between schools?

Student engagement: Three ways to be less boring.

Chicago high school students may be required to have a post-secondary plan in order to earn a diploma.

A new report finds that almost half of TDSB students expelled over last 5 years are black.

According to Samara’s latest report card, the health of Canada’s democracy has improved.

Follow People for Education to keep up on the latest news:


Upcoming Conferences and Events

April 19: WellAhead Webinar Series: Leadership for Well-being in Schools

April 19–20: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Conference

April 22: Dream Big: The School Council Event

April 26: Frontier College 2017 National Forum: Literacy and Poverty

April 28: Canadian Centre For Gender and Sexual Diversity’s third annual Ontario Educators’ Conference

April 28 – 30: Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations Conference

May 1: Music Monday 2017

May 6: Let’s Get Together’s Parent Expo 2017

Please support our work

You can support People for Education by making a donation today.

People for Education is a registered charity, Charitable No. 85719 0532 RR0001.

People for Education

People for Education 641 Bloor St. W. Toronto, ON M6G 1L1 Canada

People for Education: Can we / should we measure well-being?

Can we / should we measure students’ well-being?

People for Education warns against “initiative overload”

In a recent response to the Ministry of Education’s Well-Being Strategy, People for Education expressed support for the province’s plan to expand the goals of education beyond narrow achievement targets.

But we also raised multiple concerns—about the province’s lack of overall policy coherence; the difficulty schools are having implementing multiple policies and priorities and the problems that can arise from using simplistic measures for complex areas such as student well-being

Learn more.

Can we change students’ futures by changing how we define success?

Would you like to try?

People for Education—working with experts from across Canada—has defined a menu of concrete, teachable competencies and skills in health, social-emotional learning, creativity, and citizenship. We know that success in these areas is important for the long-term well-being of students and society.

We are inviting educators to experiment with the competencies in your classroom.

Find out how you can participate.

Telling Tales Out of School

Join us on June 1 for an amazing show.

Telling Tales Out of School is a night where we honour the promise of public education through song, stories, and dance. The evening features performances by students from our publicly funded schools, intertwined with those of celebrated Canadian artists. It is both a celebration of public education and a fundraiser for People for Education.

This year’s performers include award-winning author Heather O’Neill and the amazing Devin Cuddy Band.

The event will take place in the Streetcar Crowsnest Theatre, a brand new cultural hub in Toronto’s east end.

Order tickets.

Education in the news

Red-shirting kindergarten: when should late-born children start school?

New maps of pre-colonial Turtle Island will show traditional Indigenous territories, trade routes, and more.

To become truly innovative, Canadians need to become better at thinking creatively.

Parents: It’s time to stop undermining our kids’ teachers.

Down on homework: Why all those worksheets and book reports are just childhood-eating busywork

Follow People for Education to keep up on the latest news:


Upcoming Conferences and Events

March 31: Ontario Association for Developmental Education’s 60th Annual Conference.

April 4–5: Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition Conference.

April 8: Casa Pueblito’s Voices for Change Conference.

April 19–20: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Conference.

April 22: Dream Big: The School Council Event.

April 26: Frontier College 2017 National Forum: Literacy and Poverty.

April 28: Canadian Centre For Gender and Sexual Diversity’s third annual Ontario Educators’ Conference.

May 5: Let’s Get Together’s Parent Expo 2017.

Please support our work

You can support People for Education by making a donation today.

People for Education is a registered charity, Charitable No. 85719 0532 RR0001.

People for Education

People for Education 641 Bloor St. W. Toronto, ON M6G 1L1 Canada

To grade or not to grade – that is the question

To grade or not to grade: that is the question.

What happens when a teacher focuses on feedback instead of marks?

In the latest People for Education podcast, find out what happens in a Toronto classroom when a teacher experiments with evaluating her grade 7/8 students through feedback instead of marks. You may be surprised by what the students had to say…

Listen to the podcast.

Grants for parents announced

Province funds projects and programs to support parent involvement

The province spends approximately $6 million annually to support parent involvement. School boards receive about $3 million to fund Parent Involvement Committees and school councils, and a further $3.1 million in funding is provided through Parents Reaching Out Grants.

Applications for Parents Reaching Out Grants are now open. Grants are available for individual school councils, or for parent organizations, school boards, non-profit organizations, and post-secondary institutions working with parents.These grants support programs or initiatives that help parents participate in their children’s education—either at home or at school.

Apply for a Parents Reaching Out Grant
Read more about funding for parent engagement

Education unions agree on tentative contract extensions

If ratified, contracts will now expire in August 2019

Contracts for teachers and support staff were to expire in August, but they have now been extended for two years. The province has reached tentative agreements with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA), the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the Education Workers Alliance of Ontario (EWAO) and CUPE Ontario.

The province has also introduced new legislation to amend some of its policy around provincial bargaining.

Help, we’ve got homework

Projects and practice and quizzes, oh my!

As we enter the heart of the school year, homework issues may be taking centre stage in homes across the province. Before engaging in a homework battle with your child, it may help to a) remember that it’s their homework – not yours, and b) arm yourself with a few facts. Our homework tip sheet addresses some of parents’ most common concerns, and provides tips to support your child.

There is also free homework help available in the community and online. The Independent Learning Centre has a free online math tutoring service, led by certified teachers, for students in grades 7–10. Many schools, libraries, and community centres have homework clubs, and high schools often have peer tutors available to help.

So, before booking expensive tutoring sessions, find out about the free services available in your community.

Education in the news

This British school has projects, not subjects, on its timetable.

Three new studies show a drop in results when students use vouchers to attend private schools.

Education needs to be much more than getting the answers right on a standardized test.

The case for school choirs: singing in groups improves mental health.

This article in the Guardian asks: Is homework worth the hassle?

Canadian school board cancels field trips to US following travel ban.

Follow People for Education to keep up on the latest news:


Upcoming Conferences and Events

March 4: Master of Education Information Day at OISE.

March 6: Education Forum: How High School Choices Affect Your Future.

March 31: Nominations close for OTIP Teaching Awards.

April 4–5: Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition Conference.

April 19–20: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Conference.

April 28: Canadian Centre For Gender and Sexual Diversity’s third annual Ontario Educators’ Conference.

Please support our work

You can support People for Education by making a donation today.

People for Education is a registered charity, Charitable No. 85719 0532 RR0001.

People for Education

People for Education 641 Bloor St. W. Toronto, ON M6G 1L1 Canada

Trustee Updates – February 2017

Ward 15 newsletter header

It has been an eventful month in relation to use of school space and our relationship with the City of Toronto. The City has just approved its 2017 budget, with mixed impact on our schools.Twenty years ago when the Province, under then Premier Mike Harris, changed the ways schools are funded, they stopped paying operating costs for childcare centres, pools and other functions that government deemed to not be “instructional space”.

This a) forced a rethink between the City and the Board on shared use of pools, and b) almost caused a dramatic increase in childcare costs. In the case of pools, the City has continued with many pools to lease them, with a lease value that covers the operating costs of these pools, and offer city-run programs there. In the case of childcare, the City stepped in some twenty years ago and offered an “occupancy grant” to school boards to cover those unfunded costs.

This year the City of Toronto, based on direction from the Mayor to cut the budget by 2.6%  opted to reconsider these commitments.

Last month, following a motion I moved at the Board, trustees joined parents and childcare advocates to fight the proposed cuts to childcare occupancy grants. I’m go glad to be able to report that we won! City Council agreed to maintain the childcare grant — at least for one more year.

With pools, we were not so fortunate. The City unexpectedly terminated its support for three pools last year, and by way of this budget terminated it support for three more, including SH Armstrong right here in our part of the city.

At a time when all levels of government are interested in supporting community hubs (which SH Armstrong/Duke of Connaught truly is), and addressing declining rates of activity for kids and youth, this decision is unsettling. It’s also hard to understand why the City would choose to cancel swim programs when so many parents talk of how hard it is to get into them in the first place.

I will continue to work with our hard-working parents and community advocates and with our area Councillors, Paula Fletcher, Mary Margaret McMahon, Mary Fragedakis and Janet Davis, to defend and protect our east-end pools, and pools throughout the city that are shared between the TDSB and the City. As the agreement that affects some 30 more pools is up for renewal this summer, you will no doubt hear more about this issue in the coming months.

It’s also important that we call on the Provincial government to step in and reconsider its funding of these spaces. They are both places of important learning for our kids, and should be valued and funded accordingly. I will be working with my Trustee colleagues to raise these concerns with the provincial government as well.


Riverdale CI is hosting an information session about Summer Options for Teens this:
Wednesday, February 22 at 6:30pm in the Library.


Kindergarten is the first step in a lifelong journey that will see your child learn, grow, and succeed at the Toronto District School Board. At the TDSB, we know early learners learn best through doing; so our four and five-year-olds are introduced to math and science through play as part of Kindergarten – Grade 12 STEM programming. To inspire a love for learning, Kindergarten classrooms are bustling with inquiry and exploration through science activities, math games, art projects and more. Visit your local school during February to register.

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.

All of our schools now offer Full-Day Kindergarten where students will attend Kindergarten for the entire school day. This includes a morning and afternoon schedule and a lunch break. Visit the Kindergarten website to learn more about this program and learn how to prepare your child for school.


Cycling Education Programs
Schools can now apply to have a skills-based cycling education program presented at their school in the spring of 2017, free of charge!All schools are eligible to apply.
However, schools that did not receive a Cycling Education Program during the 2015/16 school year will be given priority in the selection process. All other schools will be selected through a lottery.

For more details and to access the application form, visit the EcoSchools Cycling Supports webpage and select the Cycling Education Programs tab.

Deadline to apply for a Cycling Education Program: February, 28th

Bike Rack Program — Apply for free bike racks!
Increase sustainable transportation at your school with new bike racks! All schools are eligible to apply, but will have to demonstrate need and evidence of prior efforts to promote active sustainable transportation.  For more details and to access the application form, visit the EcoSchools Cycling Supports webpage.

Deadline to apply for bike racks: June 30th, 2017


February is African Heritage Month at the Toronto District School Board.  African Heritage Month is an opportunity for the experiences, contributions and achievements of African Canadians to be affirmed. Throughout February, a number of activities are taking place system-wide.

An opening celebration was held on Wednesday, February 1 with the Honorable Mitzie Hunter, Ontario Minister of Education, as keynote speaker. This year’s theme is “Celebrating 150 years of African Heritage.” The month will focus on the contributions peoples of African descent have made to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and the Rites of Passage Process.


The Toronto District School Board is proud to recognize February as Chinese Heritage Month for the first time. During this month, we celebrate the energetic culture and traditions of the Chinese community with students, staff and community members.
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 percent of the total GTA population and forms its second largest visible minority group. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary this year, Canadians remember and appreciate the Chinese workers who helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway that united our country.

Monday, February 27, 2017
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Cosburn Middle School (520 Cosburn Ave)


Feb 27 – School Councils 101 @ Cosburn Middle School

Mar 27 – Indigenous Education @ Riverdale CI
April 27 – facilities @ Chester Elementary School
May 30 – Fundraising @ Roden/Equinox

People for Education: Provincial Consultations, Podcasts and more

Province starts consultations

Education funding and student well-being on the table

A range of education stakeholders, including parents, school boards, and educators, will be asked for input on the province’s planned well-being framework. The final framework will be designed to support student “well-being outcomes.” The province released a well-being fact sheet in the spring, but there is currently no specific definition of well-being, or proposal for how well-being outcomes could or should be measured.

The province has also released a K–12 education funding consultation guide with questions about some aspects of funding, including:

  • the new math strategy
  • special education
  • Specialist High Skills Major programs
  • Indigenous education
  • community hubs

People for Education will provide updates as the consultations continue.

For your listening pleasure…

New podcasts from People for Education

With the help of CBC producer Julia Pagel, we have added two great new podcasts to our collection:

  • Learn more about why public education matters, why People for Education exists and where we’re heading in this interview with Annie Kidder.
  • Listen to principal Mirella Rossi and some of her students talk about how their school is measuring what matters.


Follow People for Education on Soundcloud.

Last chance to register for Making Connections

There is only space for 10 more delegates!

With just over a week to go, People for Education’s annual conference is nearly sold out. If you haven’t registered yet, you better hurry! Connect with and learn from a wide range of education stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, principals, and researchers from around the world.

Learn more and register.

Education in the news

Will Ontario drop its mandatory civics course for high school students?

A report from UNESCO looks at the impact of recruiting increasing numbers of unqualified teachers.

Ontario is marking its first Treaties Recognition Week from November 6 to 12.

According to this article, the best way for kids to learn money management is through their parents.

Are students learning more than the 3Rs? The Brookings Institution is examining the breadth of learning opportunities in 21st century education systems.

Should you keep a late-birthday child back from starting school?

Follow us for more!

Upcoming Conferences and Events

November 12: People for Education’s Annual Making Connections Conference.

November 19: Toronto PIAC’s Annual Parents Make a Difference Conference.

November 21 & 22: Children’s Mental Health Ontario 2016 Conference.

People for Education


John Mighton to be honoured

Founder of Jump Math is this year’s Ryerson Award winner

We are pleased to announce that Dr. John Mighton O.C., founder of JUMP Math and author of the Myth of Ability: Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child, is this year’s winner of the Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education. The award will be celebrated on Wednesday, November 23 at TD Bank, with host Piya Chattopadhyay.

John joins a list of distinguished honourees, from our first nominee, Harold Brathwaite, to last year’s winner, Justice Murray Sinclair.

Read more.

Choosing courses in Grade 9

Are we limiting students’ future options?

recent article about the elimination of Grade 13 has once again raised the issue of course choices for students in grades 9 and 10.

It was over 13 years ago that Ontario’s Ministry of Education eliminated the OAC (Ontario Academic Credit) year in high school, more commonly known as grade 13. At the same time, course options were changed, requiring students to choose between applied or academic courses before they even get to high school.

In a report released last year, People for Education recommended that the decision between applied and academic courses be delayed until at least after grade 9.

Read more.

The conference is around the corner.

In just over three weeks, we’ll be Making Connections.

Our annual conference is on its way to selling out, and several workshops are nearly full. Here are just some of the topics to be explored:

  • If students ran the world, what would the Civics & Careers courses look like? Find out from the students themselves!
  • It’s one thing to learn to read, but how do we get young people to love reading?
  • Healthy students learn better. What can we do to create healthy places for them to learn?

Register now to ensure you get into the sessions you want.Learn more and register.

Education in the news

It’s Ontario Public Library Week. Drop by your local library to celebrate the important role they play in our lives.

Nominations are now open for the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence.

Is the focus on test preparation limiting the time available for true learning?

International PISA scores come out in December, but do countries react politically instead of educationally to the results?

A heart-warming story about a barbershop that cuts prices for kids who read aloud while getting their hair cut.

This article in Today’s Parent provides a “hand-holding guide to IEPs”.

Stay updated on the latest education news: like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter: @peoplefored.


Upcoming Conferences and Events

October 20 & 21: Ophea’s 2016 Annual Conference.

October 22: TCDSB’s Empowering Mothers in Education.

October 23: Volunteer Toronto’s Youth Volunteer Expo.

November 4 & 5: Indspire’s National Gathering for Indigenous Education.

November 12: People for Education’s Annual Making Connections Conference.

November 19: Toronto PIAC’s Annual Parents Make a Difference Conference.

November 21 & 22: Children’s Mental Health Ontario 2016 Conference.

People for Education

Welcome to the new Minister of Education

In a cabinet shuffle on June 13, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne appointed Mitzie Hunter as the new Minister of Education. Ms Hunter was born in Jamaica and came to Canada in 1975, where she grew up in Scarborough and graduated with a BA and an MBA from the University of Toronto. She was previously the Associate Minister responsible for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan in the Ministry of Finance.

Learn more about Minister Hunter.

Where have all the music teachers gone?

Arts education plays a vital role in student engagement, achievement, and well-being. It also helps students develop a range of skills and competencies—not just in creativity, but also in citizenship, social-emotional learning, and health.

People for Education research shows that in 2016:

  • Province-wide, 43% of elementary schools have a music teacher, either full- or part-time, compared to 45% last year and 58% in 1998.
  • There is a wide gap between urban and rural schools: Only 32% of elementary schools in rural/small-towns have music teachers, compared to 52% of schools in urban/suburban areas.

Read more.

Career-planning and beyond:
The expanding role of school guidance counsellors

In recent years, the role of the school guidance counsellor has expanded beyond the traditional role of providing education and career advice. Both in policy and practice, guidance counsellors are expected to provide support for students in a wide range of areas, including academic achievement, transition planning, career and life planning, and mental and social-emotional health.

In secondary schools, the average ratio is 381 students per guidance counsellor.

Read more.


People for Education

Rural & Northern Schools at a Disadvantage

People for Education’s 2016 Annual Report on Ontario’s Publicly Funded Schools found significant disparities between urban and rural schools.

The report shows students living in small towns, rural and Northern communities are less likely to have music or health and physical education teachers, have less access to psychologists, and are more likely to attend schools that put caps on waiting lists for special education.

The report recommends a review of Ontario’s funding formula in order to address these inequities.

Read more.

2016 Report Card on Child & Youth Mental Health

The second annual report card on child and youth mental health from Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) shows that over the past ten years, there has been a 54% increase in emergency room visits and a 60% increase in hospitalizations of children and youth seeking treatment for mental health issues. But the system is struggling to keep up with the increased demand for services, resulting in over 6,500 children and youth waiting over a year for treatment.

Read more.

Ontario commits to changes in education for reconciliation

The Ontario government has released a new report, The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The report includes $250 million in funding over the next three years.

In education, the government promises to provide curriculum-based resources for teachers, and to develop a plan to ensure that all students from K to 12 learn about residential schools, the effect of colonialism and the importance of treaties.

Read the report.

People for Education

Change needed in Indigenous education

A new report from People for Education shows that Ontario’s provincially-funded schools have a substantial distance to go in order to meet the government’s goals for Indigenous education.

The report—Moving toward reconciliation in Ontario’s publicly funded schoolsshows that 80% of Indigenous students attend provincially-funded schools in Ontario school boards, and that only 31% of elementary and 53% of secondary schools provide professional development for staff on Indigenous education.

To read a summary of the report, click here.

Count me in!

Data from the the 2016 census is used by governments, communities, and researchers, and the information collected has an impact on education programs, funding, and policy.

Statistics Canada has also developed a Teachers’ Kit, with learning activities for both elementary and secondary grade levels. The activities can be integrated into several subjects, including math, social studies, and science.

To access the 2016 Census Teachers’ Kit, click here.

What’s in the education news this week?

Ontario graduation rates are on the rise. Find the rates board by board.

Finland’s public education system is closing the country’s inequality gap.

Ontario’s new well-being strategy focuses on cognitive, emotional, social and physical wellness.

New neuroscience research uses MRIs to reveal how stories “light up the brain.”

Canada ranks 17 out of 29 on child/youth well-being: Unicef report.

Sweden rethinking market-based education reform: “too much blind faith that more private schools would guarantee greater education quality.”