The following update is from Pamela Gough’s office
[You can access the following text online at the following link: Ward 3 Trustee Pamela Gough Update: Nov. 4, 2014.
[At the latter link you can access the additional links, that are included in online text, but which I have not included in the text below.]
Ward 3 Trustee Pamela Gough Update: Nov. 4, 2014
Last week’s municipal elections resulted in new and renewed leadership in the TDSB.
I am thankful to all the public school supporters in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, who entrusted me so confidently with another term of office. I assure you that I will continue to work energetically on behalf of the students in our public school system. Many challenges lie ahead – among them increased system transparency and accountability, better school facilities maintenance and renewal, better test results for math, updated and integrated learning technology in classrooms, and more supports for special education despite the Ministry of Education’s recent reduction of millions of dollars for the TDSB’s special education programs. I look forward to grappling with all of these challenges and more in the years ahead. I will continue to advocate for strong schools and communities and to communicate with you in multiple ways so you can play an active part in shaping your public education system.
In this issue:
- Power Breakfast for school councils and principals November 12
- Confucius Institute partnership cancelled
- Early French Immersion registration deadline coming up
- TDSB Parent Involvement Conference November 15
- Haven on the Queensway dental/medical clinic November 22
- TDSB connecting with City to discuss school fields
- People for Education conference November 8
- Ministry of Education consultation re: sex-ed curriculum
- Report cards going home soon
Power Breakfast for school councils and principals November 12
I’m hosting something new next week – a Power Breakfast for School Councils and Principals! All school council chairs (or their representatives if the chairs are unable to come) and Principals are invited to join me at Karen Kain School of the Arts next Wednesday morning. We’ll spend an hour introducing ourselves and networking. Each school will have a few minutes to highlight its programs/projects over coffee, tea, and breakfast goodies. The goal is to leave with new inspiration and connections to take back to each school for the upcoming academic year.
Where: Library, Karen Kain School of the Arts, 60 Berl Ave (Queensway/Royal York area)
When: 8:30-9:30 am Wednesday November 12
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-393-1972
Confucius Institute partnership cancelled
Trustees have cancelled the TDSB’s fledgling agreement with the Confucius Institute (CI) after learning that the government of China exerts direct influence over the CI, censors the topics that teachers are allowed to discuss with students, and (according to a former CSIS Asia bureau chief) conducts espionage. The proposed CI partnership created major community divisions, with hundreds turning out to demonstrate each time the matter was discussed by the trustees. Ultimately, TDSB programs must bring people together, not pull them apart. Classes had not yet begun and the cancellation will not affect any ongoing programs. For more information, see this media article.
Early French Immersion registration deadline coming up
Timelines have been changed this year so Early French Immersion registration is happening earlier than in the past. Applications for Early French Immersion (students starting Senior Kindergarten next fall) opened November 3 and the deadline is December 5. If you register by the deadline, you are guaranteed a spot. On November 18, two information nights will be held locally, one in the south end at John English JMS at 95 Mimico Ave (7 pm start) and one in the north end at Islington JMS at 44 Cordova Ave (6:30 pm start). All welcome. Find out more here.
TDSB Parent Involvement Conference November 15
The TDSB’s parent engagement council is hosting a free, full day parenting conference on Saturday November 15 at Earl Haig Collegiate. Stroll through the education marketplace, attend workshops on topics such as Helping your child succeed in French, Social media: Navigating the 24/7 world and Help! I have a teenager! Enjoy free child-minding and lunch. Free bussing will be provided from Lakeshore Collegiate and Burnhamthorpe Collegiate – be at the parking lot at 8 am sharp. Registration is necessary for bussing and child care. Find out more here or call Irene Rinaldo at 416-397-3529.
Haven on the Queensway dental/medical clinic November 22
Does your family struggle to afford dental care or other forms of health care not covered by provincial programs or insurance? As a community service, Haven on the Queensway is offering free dental care, and other forms of health care such as medical and chiropractic services, on Saturday November 22. Registration is necessary and all ages are welcome. Find out more here.
TDSB connecting with City to discuss school fields
Several schools in Ward 3 are looking at upgrading their school fields which conjoin City parkland. Others are planning to improve their stand-alone school fields and play spaces. Over the years, the City has provided millions of dollars in Section 37 funds to upgrade TDSB school fields under shared-use agreements. The City of Toronto is meeting with the TDSB and the Toronto Sports Council to discuss expanding the City’s shared-use agreements and investigate accepting donations from corporate and community partners interested in investing in upgrading public fields and playing spaces. Find out more here.
People for Education conference November 8
People for Education (P4E) is a highly regarded Toronto-based non-profit group that carries out research and advocacy in support of public education in Ontario. This Saturday, P4E is having its annual parent conference – always a worthwhile event. It will be held at the U of T’s Rotman School of Management building, on St. George St. The Minister of Education will make an appearance and the keynote speaker is Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. The plenary session will address broadening the measures used to define school success to include creativity, health, and socio-emotional skills. Subsidies are available for those with financial barriers to attending. Find out more here.
Ministry of Education consultation re: sex-ed curriculum
On October 30, the Ministry of Education announced that it will be holding parental consultations on the Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum. The growth and development section of this curriculum, commonly called sex-ed, has not been updated since 1998 – before the widespread use of the internet, social media and smartphones. This fall, one parent from every elementary school across the province will have the opportunity to provide feedback to the government through a survey. The goal is for the Ministry to bring an updated version of the curriculum out before the 2015-2016 school year. The government press release is available here. In my opinion, this curriculum update is much needed by students, and I look forward to hearing more details of the consultation.
Report cards going home soon
It’s report card time! At the elementary level, reports will be going home on or before November 11 or 12. Parent interviews will take place the evening of Thursday, November 13 or the morning of the PD Day, Friday November 14th. At the secondary level, LCI’s parent interviews took place on October 30th and report cards will go home on November 11. Etobicoke School of the Arts’ parent interviews are November 20 and report cards go home November 27. For more information, please contact your school office.
Questions about education? Contact Trustee Pamela Gough:
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