News update – TDSB Trustee Pamela Gough’s Office – May 23, 2013

Sent on behalf of Trustee Pamela Gough:

Ward 3 Trustee Pamela Gough’s Update May 23, 2013

With summer on our doorstep, the trees, grass, and shrubs have turned a TDSB-logo green, and we are quickly wrapping up the school year. As this newsletter shows, the trustees are wrestling with a very difficult budget, which the community had a chance to discuss last week at my budget forum. Good things and remarkable achievements continue to happen daily in the TDSB. Congratulations to ESA’s show choir SPLASH, which has won the National Show Choir Championships for two years in a row!

If your school is hosting an event or has news that you would like publicized in this newsletter, email me at or send me a tweet at @pamelagough. Feel free to give me feedback on anything concerning education that matters to you- I am always ready to listen and help.

In this issue:
· Award of Excellence won by Principal John Currie of James S. Bell
· Budget targets Itinerant music instructors
· Thank you to school council members
· Emerald Ash Borer and TDSB’s large trees
· ESA art show and sale kicks off May 23
· LCI filmmakers and LakeShorts International Film Festival
· Sunnylea Fun Fair May 25
· James S. Bell Bellapalooza Fun Fair May 25
· David Hornell Fun Fair June 1
· John English Party in the Park June 18
· Workshops on student mental health & school council planning
· Suitcase Theatre: free performances available
· Rotary Child of Etobicoke Child Hunger Relief concert June 27

1. Award of Excellence won by Principal John Currie of James S. Bell SAWA
On May 9, Principal John Currie was one of only two principals in the more than 550 schools of the TDSB to win an Award of Excellence in recognition of his commitment to innovation and his significant, positive impact on students, staff and the TDSB community. Congratulations to Mr. Currie and the entire staff and many parent volunteers of James S. Bell Sports and Wellness Academy who make it a uniquely special – and active- place to learn in and grow. You can watch the Award of Excellence ceremony here. Mr. Currie’s recognition starts at 54:45.

2. Budget cuts to target itinerant music instructors (IMIs)
In a move to save $2M during a very difficult budget year, the Director has recommended that changes be made to the itinerant music programs. TDSB itinerant music instructors work in one of two programs:

1. Strings, Band and Steel Pan and
2. Staff development programs (Recorder/Orff/Vocal music or ROV) taught by part-time instructors.

The Band, Strings, and Steel Pan programs in Ward 3 are performance-based instrumental music programs offered by specialized instrumental music instructors who go from school to school teaching students in grades 6, 7 and 8. This model of instrumental instruction is a cherished and long-standing hallmark of the arts-focused former Etobicoke Board of Education and has been kept intact after amalgamation up to now.

The staff development program (ROV) is a centrally coordinated program that is available to schools upon application. Over the course of two years, a specialized itinerant (i.e. not a regular staff teacher) music instructor works with a maximum of three classroom teachers and their students for half a day per week, with the goal of preparing classroom teachers to teach Recorder, Orff, or Kodaly (vocal) techniques independently after the end of two years.

The Director is recommending system-wide reductions of 24% of current hours for IMI’s for Band, 29% for Strings, 19% for Steel Pan, and the complete discontinuation of the ROV programs. This recommendation, particularly as it applies to Band and Strings, will disproportionately affect Ward 3 middle school students since they have traditionally had more instrumental music hours offered by itinerant teachers than most other areas of the city, which offer other models of music instruction- some of which have specialized music teachers on permanent school staff. More information is available on my website here.

These recommendations are at the discussion stage currently. Decisions will be made at the June 16 TDSB Board meeting. If you have concerns, please feel free to contact me, the other trustees, your MPP, and the Minister of Education. I value these important music programs and am not inclined to see them reduced or discontinued. The Ministry of Education is the ultimate holder of the purse strings for the school boards, so the province needs to hear your concerns too.

3. Thank you to school councils
We are approaching the busiest time of year for schools- the end-of-year assessments, EQAO tests, culminating activities and exams are upon us. For many school councils, planning is going on for fun fairs, graduations, fundraisers, teacher recognition teas, and a myriad of other activities. Some school council chairs will be involved in advising superintendents on school principal selections if their principals are retiring or transferring.

I want to thank all school advisory council members for their many hours of volunteer work over the course of the academic year, and their support of our public schools. Your work is important and highly valued. At my ward forum last week, there was a small gift of a plant for each SAC chair and co-chair, which will be delivered to your school if you were not able to be there personally to pick it up.

4. Emerald Ash Borer and TDSB’s large trees
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a wood-boring beetle native to Eurasia, first discovered in Canada in 2003, and in Toronto, in 2007. The beetle attacks and kills ash trees. Adult beetles lay eggs in bark crevices. The larvae tunnel into the tree underneath the bark, interrupting the flow of the water and nutrients in the tree. The trees die, usually within two years. The Emerald Ash Borer is firmly established in many areas of the City of Toronto, including our school grounds, and the infestation is spreading fast.

The TDSB is unique among school boards in having a detailed inventory of the majority of its trees. Two-thirds of our school grounds have been inventoried by U of T Forestry students over the last seven summers. Tree maps for each Ward 3 school are available here. The Board has a total of approximately 36,000 trees on its grounds. About 6500, or 18%, are ash trees.

In August 2012 the Board injected 129 ash trees with a natural bio-pesticide called TreeAzin. This bio-pesticide is injected into the stem of ash trees that are in good health every two years for at least 10 years. This summer, the Board is working towards injecting another 1500 ash trees.

In spite of an aggressive injection program, about 4800 ash trees are expected to die on TDSB school grounds. For this reason, the Board will be doubling its large tree program from 210 to 420 trees a year. For the autumn of 2013, schools will be considered for large trees if they have received an on-site design consultation. For the autumn 2014 planting season, staff will be launching a new application process that will be in place by October of this year. Book your consultation now if you would like large trees planted on your school property at no cost to your school.

5. ESA art show and sale kicks off May 23rd
The Visual Arts department at Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA) is experienced unprecedented recognition this year. Student work has earned more than 250 international awards, and student art is being exhibited on three continents. More than $2M in scholarship offers have been made to the grade 12 visual arts students this year.

Starting May 23rd, you are invited to view at least a thousand art works, displayed throughout the school. Most will be available for sale to support ESA’s art department. To view a video of the event, click here.

ESA artwork has been exhibited at the Samuel L. Zacks Gallery at York University, the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY, the CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto, Saatchi Gallery in London, UK, Carnegie Hall in New York City for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and in competitions in Australia, Canada, and the USA. Students have contributed to the 2013 edition of Flash Forward, the Magenta Foundation’s International Photography Competition.

ESA invites the public and the broader Toronto arts community to come see the work, talk with students, and explore the school. See for information or contact Matthew Varey at Etobicoke School of the Arts at 416 394 6910 x20100, or

Etobicoke School of the Arts Visual Art Exhibition and Sale, 675 Royal York Rd
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 23, 3:30-8:00
Exhibition: May 23-30

6. LCI filmmakers at LakeShorts International Film Festival
Lakeshore Collegiate Institute is a proud community partner of Lakeshore Arts. In 2013, this vibrant association celebrates its 20th anniversary of delivering unique and innovative programming to South Etobicoke including LakeShorts. Over 160 international and local submissions provided two unique nights of entertainment recently. This year’s new addition to the Festival is the LakeShorts Future Filmmakers Intensive. This program was established in 2012 to mentor future filmmakers. Many students applied for an opportunity to work with established screenwriters, set designers, and directors. Only six students were selected and three were Lakeshore CI future filmmakers: Megan Diercks, Billy McCormick and Jesse Sanderson. Their short “FLAKED” was screened at the LakeShorts international film festival.

Congratulations to all the Lakeshore Community and special Kudos for our LCI students!

7. Sunnylea Family Fun Day May 25
When: May 25th, from 11 am to 2:30 pm
Where: Sunnylea Jr. School, 35 Glenroy Ave (Royal York and Bloor)

Sunnylea’s family fun day features bouncy castles, a bake sale, silent auction, BBQ and much more! This annual event is much anticipated and always enjoyable.

8. James S. Bell SAWA’s Bellapalooza Fun Fair May 25
When: Saturday, May 25th, from 10 am to 2 pm.
Where: 90 Thirty-First Street (Lakeshore Blvd. West/Thirty-First Street)
James S. Bell Jr. Middle Sports & Wellness Academy is hosting its 6th annual Bellapalooza fun fair! This year it’s bigger, with MORE fun and games for the whole family. Come enjoy BBQ, bake sale, carnival games, dunk tank, bouncy castles, yard sale, vendors, silent auction, raffle, car wash, live music and more! Vendor tables are still available (phone 416-394-7680). This year we will kick off with the JSB Tiger 5K Race. Registration for the race begins at 8:30am.

9. David Hornell JS’s Fun Fair June 1
When: Saturday, June 1, from 10 am to 1 pm.
Where: David Hornell Jr. School, 32 Victoria St (north of Lake Shore Blvd. W. in Mimico)

David Hornell is planning an amazing fun fair, with bouncy castles, mini ATV’s, Sirius Theatre Company, raffles, face painting, and games. Not to be missed! See flyer attached.

10. John English JMS Party in the Park June 18th
When: Tuesday, June 18th, 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Where: John English JMS, 95 Mimico Ave. (Mimico and Royal York Rd.)

With my sponsorship, the Mimico community is once again hosting a fabulous Party in the Park event in the schoolyard at John English JMS. There will be live entertainment, games, face painting, bouncy castles, a Toronto Scottish Regiment parade and display, and a BBQ, This event kicks off summer in Mimico and is lots of fun for all the family.

11. Workshops on student mental health & school council planning
The TDSB Parent and Community Engagement Office is offering some excellent free spring workshops for parents. To register and get more information, click here.

Promoting Positive Mental Health – May 23, 6:30 pm, Lester B. Pearson Collegiate
Nurturing Emotional and Mental Wellness in your Child – May 29, Earl Haig Secondary School
School Council Planning 2013-2013 – June 6, 6:30 pm, Education Centre 5050 Yonge St

12. Suitcase Theatre: free performances available
Suitcase Theatre, founded by the creator of Mr. Dressup, is a locally based, professional, not-for-profit children’s theatre group aimed at young audiences from toddlerhood up to age ten. Their theatre performances and workshops inspire young minds through storytelling, music and the visual and dramatic arts. Children’s imaginations are sparked through lively music, engaging puppets, and movement. Suitcase Theatre believes the arts should be accessible to all, regardless of income or circumstance.

Suitcase Theatre has recently received a grant from The Tachane Foundation to take their plays into schools and daycares in areas where students might not otherwise have an opportunity to experience live musical theatre. For the next three years, nearly 100 shows will be performed AT NO CHARGE to students, children and families in Southern Ontario. Schools and daycares in economically challenged areas are encouraged to book now to ensure students will have the opportunity to enjoy high quality theatre at no cost.

Email bookings will begin June 1, 2013 for 2013/2014 performances. For more information and performance dates, please visit

13. Rotary Club of Etobicoke child hunger relief concert June 27
The Rotary Club of Etobicoke is hosting a new event this year: the Toronto Sounds of Summer (SOS) Child Hunger Relief Concert on the evening of June 27th, 7 to 10 pm. Featuring a 60s and 70s music revival theme, the concert will be held in Centennial Park on the eve of Ribfest. It’s on the last day of school so it should be a popular night out!

All proceeds will go to child hunger relief. The partners/supporters are the TDSB, Second Harvest, North York Harvest Food Bank, Toronto Foundation for Student Success, Angel Foundation for Learning, Salvation Army Etobicoke, PACT, LAMP CHC, Rexdale CHC, Stonegate CHC, and the St. James Food Bank.

As one of the organizers, I have tickets to sell for this event. Advance tickets are 10 for $100, 5 for $50, or $12 each, and all proceeds will go to alleviate child hunger in Toronto. If you would like to order some tickets for this very worthy cause, please let Debbie know at .

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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