News update – TDSB Trustee Pamela Gough’s Office – Mar. 2, 2013

Sent on behalf of Trustee Pamela Gough:

Ward 3 Trustee Pamela Gough’s Update March 2, 2013

This is coming out early because I wanted you to get it ahead of March Break. I began the week with a visit to the school council meeting at Second Street JMS. To make things easier for parents, the school council meets at 9 am, and the TDSB’s Model Schools for the Inner City program provides a hot breakfast for parents and children (yes, there were toddlers at the SAC meeting- wonderful!). This school is doing a kid’s clothing drive as a fundraiser, and would willingly accept gently used or new children’s clothes of all sizes. If your school has some good kid’s clothes to donate, please contact SAC Chair Tressa Thornton-Crowe at 416-201-8449 or drop them off at the office.

On Tuesday I was a guest at The Learning Partnership’s Gala Dinner on Tuesday to honour ESA’s principal, Rob MacKinnon, who has been chosen as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals. Congratulations ESA!

James S. Bell Sports and Wellness Academy hosted a large intramural volleyball tournament this week, with lots of spirited student sport being shown in clips on the media. Thanks to the principals and staff of the many schools that took part and especially to principal John Currie of James S. Bell for organizing.

Karen Kain School of the Arts is competing in the “Live Green” Award run by the City of Toronto. They need votes today and tomorrow to move to the next round. Have a look at their video on all the ways the school supports the environment and vote for KKSA at!

Sports and clubs are coming back at the secondary level and there is a new and exciting buzz in hallways at lunch and after school at LCI and ESA. This is a very welcome development and I’d urge parents to express their support to the teachers who are giving their time on a volunteer basis to enrich the lives of students. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts. We are still waiting for extracurriculars to return at the elementary level. It will happen.

Find out the latest in education news- follow me on Twitter at @pamelagough!

In this issue:

  • Staffing allocation and TDSB budget process for 2013-2014
  • James S. Bell Sports and Wellness Academy Open House March 7
  • PROmoting family literacy with PRO grants: Ward forum March 19
  • March Break camps around the town
  • Bloorlea Red Cross babysitting course April 6
  • Workshop: Learning Exceptionalities 101- Ward forum April 18
  • Crowdsource fundraising with My Class Needs Foundation
  • Nominations now open for TDSB Awards of Excellence

1. Staffing allocation and budget process for 2013-2014

The TDSB is in the midst of budget discussions prior to setting the budget for the next academic year. It will be difficult as there is a $55M shortfall to make up in order to balance the operating budget. Part of the shortfall is due to the fact that we are approaching a major Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) roll-out in September. I personally welcome FDK as an important initiative, however boards across the province are finding that they must find internal funds for implementation as not all costs are being covered by the province.

At the moment the TDSB is looking at staffing levels and weighing the need to keep valuable staff positions against the fact that funding pressures will require reductions. New FDK early childhood educators and lunchroom assistants are being hired. To reach a balanced budget, the director is recommending that staff be reduced at the secondary level by 248 teachers and that reductions be made in elementary guidance counselors, special education teachers, vice principals, safety monitors, office assistants and itinerant music teachers. For the complete staffing report, click here. Decisions have not been made by the board yet and I welcome your comments.

2. James S. Bell Sports and Wellness Academy Open House March 7

James S. Bell Sports and Wellness Academy has been running an amazing array of sports and wellness activities this year. On Thursday, March 7, the students will be spin bicycling the distance to the moon! This school is being noticed for its dynamic leadership and innovative student engagement initiatives, including a multi-age house structure for students reminiscent of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. Registration is now being accepted for September from the local area and across the city.

Come to the Open House this Thursday, March 7 to see a sample of the school’s program offerings.

Where: 90 Thirty-first Street, Etobicoke (near Lake Shore and Brown’s Line)
When: Thursday, March 7, 6:30-8:00 pm.

3. PROmoting family Literacy with PRO grants: March 19 at Park Lawn JMS

Our next ward forum will be focused on best practices in family literacy/school library initiatives and how to secure funding to support them. Engage Literacy, a group dedicated to supporting school libraries and literacy, will give a presentation on ways to increase literacy initiatives in your school. This will be followed by 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, and which can be used for family literacy events.

School Councils who have successfully applied for PRO grants in the past, please bring your grant applications to share ideas with other schools who may be new to the process. Childcare and snacks will be provided. If you need childcare, please rsvp to

Where: Park Lawn JMS, 71 Ballacaine Drive (Berry Road/Park Lawn), Library
When: Tuesday, March 19, 7 pm to 8:45 pm
Please see the flyer attached to this newsletter and distribute widely.

4. March Break camps around the town

March Break is coming up- March 9 to 17. There are many wonderful experiential learning opportunities available to your children over the March Break. Make the most of it if you can, and take your kids on outings to Kortright Centre for Conservation for the syrup festival, the ROM, the AGO, the Science Centre, the Humber Arboretum and the Zoo. The ROM is bringing its collections out into the open over March Break, definitely a must-see but go for a 10 am arrival. If you are a working parent, ROM camp programs are packed with creative ways to keep children involved in “stealth learning.” Did you know that the University of Toronto also offers camp programs for March Break? If you have a budding scientist, engineer, or computer software developer, I recommend the DEEP program for science and engineering. You can find out more here.

5. Bloorlea Red Cross babysitting course April

NEW! I will be hosting a full-day Red Cross babysitting course on Saturday, April 6th at Bloorlea Middle School. The course is aimed at students 10-15 years old and will give them the basics of babysitting and how to start their own babysitting business. Students will receive a certificate upon completion. More details here. To register, contact the Red Cross at 416-480-0195 or email

6. Workshop: Learning Exceptionalities 101- Ward Forum April 18

I’m planning another workshop in my parent academy series. Is your child learning disabled, gifted- or both? Save the date of Thursday, April 18th for an evening on how to support students who learn in different ways. You will learn how students with learning exceptionalities are identified, including the LD-gifted combination, and how they can be supported in their learning both at home and at school. Details to follow.

7. Crowdsource fundraising with My Class Needs Foundation

Does your school have innovative teachers who want to try exciting new class projects but lack funds to run them? The My Class Needs Foundation, an affiliate of the non-profit organization Curriculum Services Canada, has developed a way to access crowdsource fundraising to support class projects by supplying the resources needed from interested outside donors. Find out more here.

8. Nominations now open for TDSB Awards of Excellence

Do you know an outstanding educator, school administrator, or school support worker? Nominate them for a TDSB Award of Excellence! Ward 3 has many dedicated and outstanding people working in its schools. Deadline is Friday March 22 and details are available here. Check out my trustee website here for a comprehensive list of the many other awards available:

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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