News update from Ward 3, TDSB Trustee Pamela Gough’s office – Feb. 11, 2013

Sent on behalf of Trustee Pamela Gough:

Ward 3 Trustee Pamela Gough’s Update February 11, 2013

 Stay in the loop with what’s happening in education by following Pamela on Twitter at @pamelagough!

In this issue:

·     New Minister of Education, Liz Sandals

·     Parent-teacher interviews: a parent primer

·     From the Board Room: programs, proms and permit fees

·     February 11: Sir Adam Beck school council forum

·     Upcoming Ward Forum: March 19 at Park Lawn JMS

·     PIAC School Council Appreciation Dinner, February 21

·     Outstanding Principal of the Year: Rob MacKinnon, ESA

·     Focus on Youth applications available

·     Minister’s Student Advisory Council nominations

·     February: Kindergarten registration now underway

·     TIFF Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase accepting submissions

1.    New Minister of Education, Liz Sandals

Premier Kathleen Wynne will be sworn in today along with her cabinet. The new Education Minister will be Liz Sandals, a former public school trustee who served as president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association for many years. In my opinion, this is very good news for public education and signals that a breakthrough with labour relations is a high priority for this premier. Both the premier and the Minister of Education are former public school trustees and have a deep understanding of, and support for, public education. I have deep respect for them.

2.    Parent-teacher interviews: a parent primer 

Elementary parent-teacher interviews are coming up. To make the most of this valuable opportunity to talk to your child’s teacher, I recommend reading People for Education’s Tips for Parent-Teacher Interviews, which you can download here.  This sheet recommends that you prepare for the interview by reading the report card in advance, and deciding what questions you have. Write them down and bring them with you. Before the interview, talk to your child about how school is going. Be on time for the interview. Ask the teacher what your child does well, and what skills need to be developed. It is perfectly legitimate to ask how your child is doing compared to others in the class. Another good question is what can be done at home to support progress at school. Remember that a positive and supportive connection between home and school is very beneficial for your child.

3.    News from the Board Room: programs, proms and permit fees

On Feb. 6, the yearly TDSB organizational board meeting was held concurrently with a regular meeting. I was honoured to be elected by the trustees to be Chair of the Programs and School Services Committee, the central committee for programs. I am also a member on many other committees, including the Toronto Foundation for Student Success, and am the TDSB’s representative on the City of Toronto Board of Health

I put forward a motion to Feb. 6th Board to ensure that school spring proms go ahead, despite the Bill 115 labour turmoil. The backstory: we heard at our last ward forum that the student trustees were under the impression that proms were cancelled. A system survey has since found that thanks to the early and ongoing efforts of principals and vice-principals, plans are well underway at most high schools. The Director of Education has guaranteed that support will be provided to all high schools to ensure the graduating classes will have their traditional end-of-year events. This will go a little way at least in mitigating the very negative effect of the Bill 115 situation on the graduating class of students.

The Feb. 6th board meeting also approved a motion to waive permit fees for parents who volunteer to run after-school activities such as school plays, for the duration of the Bill 115 protest.

4.    February 11: Sir Adam Beck School Council forum

Tina Chan-Kim, Co-Chair of Sir Adam Beck JS, has generously invited parents from throughout the ward to join her SAC meeting today, Monday, February 11. Their special guest will be Helen Victoros, Executive Liaison for the Elementary Teachers of Toronto. Ms. Victoros will give an overview of the position of elementary teachers in the current labour situation. Questions are welcome.

Where: Sir Adam Beck JS, 544 Horner Ave (Brown’s Line & Horner) Staff Room

When: Monday Feb. 11, 6:30 pm.

5.    Upcoming Ward Forum: March 19 at Park Lawn JMS

Our next Ward Forum will be on fundraising to support parent engagement and literacy initiatives. We will have a workshop on how to successfully apply for up to $1000 in provincial Parent Reaching Out (PRO) grants, which all school councils are eligible for. Engage Literacy will also do a presentation on ways to use PRO grants to increase literacy initiatives in your school. I strongly encourage you to come! Childcare and snacks will be provided. If you need childcare, please rsvp to Debbie Wagdin at

Where: Park Lawn JMS, 71 Ballacaine Drive (Berry Road/Park Lawn), Library

When: Tuesday, March 19, 7 pm to 8:45 pm

6.    PIAC School Council Appreciation  Dinner, February 21

The TDSB’s Parent Involvement Advisory Committee is hosting its annual School Council Appreciation and Information Evening on Thursday, February 21, 6-9 pm. Each school council is welcome to send two representatives to this event. It’s a delicious (free) banquet and there is always an abundance of valuable information to support parents who would like to be involved in their children’s education. More information is available here. School Council Chairs and Co-Chairs, please let Debbie Wagdin know who will be attending the PIAC Dinner so she can coordinate the ward response. Debbie’s email is

I have attached the PIAC Annual Report so you can see the many activities of this dedicated group of parents.

7.    Outstanding Principal of the Year: Rob MacKinnon, ESA

Wonderful news! The Learning Partnership as announced its national list of 30 Outstanding Principals for 2013 and seven TDSB principals (the most ever) have been awarded this prestigious title, including our own Rob MacKinnon of Etobicoke School of the Arts. Canada’s Outstanding Principals will be feted at a gala dinner and are given Executive Leadership Training at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto. Congratulations, Rob! Find out more about the nomination process for this award here.

This is award nomination season! My website has a feature on how to nominate a teacher or principal for an award, as well as the many awards available. Find out more here.

8.    Focus on Youth student employment applications available

The TDSB hires high school students aged 16+ to be camp counsellors for its Focus on Youth Toronto (FOYT) program. The objective of this program is to enhance high quality summer program opportunities for children and youth in Toronto’s urban inner city areas by offering free use of school space for organized community-based programs, and by providing employment opportunities and leadership activities for the youth of these communities. In our area, LAMP has been a strong supporter of the FOYT program. Applications are open from Feb. 8 to March 8. You can learn more here.

9.    Student voice: Minister’s Student Advisory Council nominations

Do you have a son or daughter in Grades 7-12 with opinions about Ontario’s public school system? The Ministry of Education is now accepting applications for students to serve on the Minister’s Advisory Council. This group of 60 students from across the province shares ideas and advice with the Minister of Education on how to ensure the Ontario public school system is one of the best in the world. Applications close March 1. Find out more here.

10.         February: Kindergarten registration

It’s always exciting to get ready for the next cohort of young learners to experience the adventure of Kindergarten! JK Registration for children turning 4 this year is starting February 1st and going for the month. While parents can register their children at any time, each school plans a day or two for parents and their children to come in for a special preview of the kindergarten experience after registering. Check your school message board and website for the specific Kindergarten Registration Days.

New Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) programs will start up in September, 2013 at Etienne Brule, John English, Norseman, Park Lawn, Seventh Street, Sunnylea, and Wedgewood. In September 2014, Sir Adam Beck and Lambton-Kingsway will start up FDK. All schools in Ward 3 will offer FDK at that point.

11.         TIFF Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase accepting submissions

The 16th annual TIFF Kids International Film Festival takes place from April 9 to 21, 2013. TIFF Kids is now accepting submissions for the Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase, which presents short films created for young people by young people. Jump Cuts is open to young filmmakers in Grades 4 to 8. Deadline: Friday, March 1, 2013. For more information, click here.

Subscribe by contacting For more information, check out my TDSB website at Email me at  For the absolute latest information, follow me on Twitter at @pamelagough! Please forward this email to friends.

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