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What a gorgeous day – hope you’ve all been able to enjoy part of it… even if only from your window!
We’re still talking about what Prom could look like this year, but for a first taste, grads (well, anyone really) can join in the party online tomorrow evening. This was featured on CBC this morning and it sounds like it could be fun. You can find more details here https://blog.studentlifenetwork.com/2020/05/14/promison2020-faq-answers/. It seems like there will also be a number of drop-ins from entertainers and others, including the Prime Minister and Mayor Tory. I took a look at the site and while it does look like it could be fun, and is raising money for Kids Help Phone, there is definitely a commercial/advertising aspect to it that you may want to be conscious of. (This is also the group that put together the Virtual Campus Tours that I think many of you have checked out…). https://wp.me/a8wC7f-27c is a poster of their Prom Committee.
On another grad note, ‘The Ministry of Education has indicated diplomas and certificates will not be distributed during school closure due to COVID19. Students’ graduation dates will not be impacted. Diplomas and certificates will be distributed once schools re-open. Additional information will be shared with families as it becomes available from the Ministry of Education.’ I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything more on this. In terms of report cards for the end of the year, we are also still waiting on the details of how these will look and be delivered.
For students and families who access phonological services from the Board, there is a new set of resources that you can find here
Our school Psychologist, Dr. Dong wanted me to share with you ‘the first issue of Hearts & Minds – a brand new newsletter from Psychological Services to the parents & caregivers in our community… It’s full of information, tips, and ideas meant to make parenting a little bit easier, for you and your children.’ You can find it here https://wp.me/a8wC7f-27a.
Finally, in case I don’t write tomorrow, I wanted to wish all our families celebrating Eid, Eid Mubarak!
Best wishes all for a great evening and weekend,
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I hope you all had a great long weekend!
By now, I imagine you have all heard that the Minister and Premier have announced that schools will not open for the remainder of this school year. As the Director in his note to staff writes, “This decision was based on the best medical advice to keep students, staff and our school communities safe.” The whole staff of both schools will all be continuing to work from home and doing our best to support student learning remotely until the end of June. More information will continue to come out over the coming weeks (like, what summer school will look like (exactly), what September will bring, as well as whether or not students and staff will be able to get into the school to get personal belongings/clear lockers, etc.) and as soon as I have information to share, I will include it in an update. I think we were all expecting this to be the news today, but I understand that it will still be challenging for some. Please let me know if you have any questions or if we can direct you to any resources that could be helpful. If you would like to read the government’s news release on this, you’ll find it here: Health and Safety Top Priority as Schools Remain Closed.
Some Greenwood students might want to talk about this further at the weekly Girls’ Group, which meets every Wednesday at lunch, starting tomorrow. Our Registered Nurse from Access Alliance, Madeeha, will be online and answering questions about staying mentally and physically health during COVID. The link to the meet will be posted on the ‘Wolf Den’.
If you’re looking for other positive ways to express yourself, create some art and submit it to our Virtual Art Gallery! Ms. Prole has now posted the details of the show I referred to in an earlier update and you’ll find them here http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/05/19/online-art-show-call-for-submissions/ and the form for submissions here: https://forms.gle/68gwu2hfMvNw978i9. I would like to reiterate that this is for all students at both schools, whether you are in arts classes or not! Have fun with it!
Danforth Student Services wanted me to pass along to all ‘graduating students interested in going into the Workplace or an Apprenticeship: Guidance is in the process of planning transitional supports/workshops for graduating students and we would love to hear directly from you in terms of what supports you currently need. Please take a few minutes to complete the google form posted in the grade 12 apprenticeship and workplace google classrooms.’
Thanks all and my best wishes for a peaceful evening,
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I hope you’ve all had a good week.
There are only 3 items today (but yes, a little lengthy still!)….
Calling all artists! Danforth and Greenwood will be hosting a virtual art gallery, and we need pictures of your artwork! This could be any original work of art that students have created at home (or at school prior to the break). Students enrolled in a grade 11/12 visual arts course can submit up to five pieces for inclusion. All other students can submit up to three pieces, with the guarantee of at least 1 school appropriate piece being included. The form to submit pieces will be posted next week, so get out your pencils, markers, computer software or playdough even and start creating and gathering your art! (Thanks Ms. Prole).
Mr. Kwan at Danforth is working on a project with his Civics class and was thinking that some families may also want to participate. He writes: “The Honourable Mona Fortier, the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, will answer as many student questions as possible during a Facebook Live hosted by CIVIX on the morning of Wednesday, May 27. Questions can be on any topic, from the pandemic to Canada’s finances, and even fun questions on the Minister’s day-to-day life. The Minister will answer questions in both official languages. Questions for the Minister from elementary and secondary-level students can be emailed to email@example.com by 6:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 21. Questions can either be emailed by their teacher (Howard.Kwan@tdsb.on.ca), or directly from students. We ask that, included with the questions, are students’ first name, grade, school and city/town.” Mr. Kwan has let me know that if you are more comfortable sending your questions through him that he would be happy to forward them (whether you or your child are in his class or not). Some of you may know that CIVIX is the group that helps to organize the Student Vote events around provincial and federal elections.
And from the Guidance/Student Services Departments:
This summer, there are three opportunities for TDSB Summer School. Registration for Remote Credit Recovery and Hybrid Remote Summer Credit Program opens Monday, May 25th at 10am. Registration for TDSB e-Learning is currently open.
Once you have registered on e-reg, please get your Parent Permission form signed and return to your alpha Guidance Counsellor:
A – He: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi – Mn: email@example.com
Mo – Z: firstname.lastname@example.org
All Students: email@example.com
Remote Credit Recovery
Available only to TDSB students
Registration Opens: May 25, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Registration Closes: June 26, 2020 at 12:00 noon
The Continuing Education Department is offering a Remote Credit Recovery Summer School Program for TDSB secondary students only from July 6 to July 31. This program allows students to “recover” the credit in a course in which they were unsuccessful within the last two school years. It is a NEW summer program and will be delivered only online. The Remote Summer Credit Recovery Program focuses not on time, but on the overall expectations the student must attain before earning the credit. Students are able to recover more than one course through this program. Interested students need to connect with their guidance and/or student success teacher to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria so that the home school can get the necessary credit recovery paperwork completed. Students in Grades 9 to 12 register for the credit recovery program through e-Reg by selecting RCR1O1.
Hybrid Remote Summer Credit Program
Available only to TDSB students
Registration Opens: May 25, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Registration Closes: June 26, 2020 at 12:00 noon
The Continuing Education Department is offering a Hybrid Remote Summer Credit Program for TDSB secondary school students only from July 6 to July 31. This program replaces the in-class summer school program which has operated in previous years. This program is called “hybrid” because it may include both online and in-class learning environments in accordance with the ongoing guidance of the Ministry of Education.
This program allows TDSB students to enrol in one full-credit course that is offered in July. The program includes courses in all subject areas from Grades 9 to 12, with a focus on compulsory courses. The list of courses available to students and registration information will be posted on the Continuing Education Summer School web page.
Students in Grades 9 to 12 register for their requested course through e-Reg.
Registration for TDSB students, 14-20 years old:
July courses: April 8 to June 15 at 4:30 PM
August courses: April 8 to July 8 at at 4:30 PM
Registration for non-TDSB students: 14-20 years old:
July courses: May 25 to June 15 at 4:30 PM
August courses: May 25 to July 8 at 4:30 PM
The e-Learning Department is offering the e-Summer program for TDSB and Non- TDSB secondary school students in both July and August. The program includes courses in all subject areas in Grade 11 and 12 as well as Grade 10 Civics and Career Studies.
Students may enrol in two full-credit courses, one in July and one in August. Students who are completing graduation diplomas should select a July course where possible. Registration is restricted to TDSB students until May 24. Secondary school students who do not attend a TDSB secondary school may begin registration on May 25.
The list of courses available to students and registration information is on the e-Learning web page
Students register through e-Reg.
Lots of info today – I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend!
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Thanks for the reflective feedback on my request for info on these updates. All things considered, I have decided to move to regular, though not daily, updates. Thanks also to the people who came out to the ‘drop-in’ today. It was great to see you all and to hear your thoughts on how things are going. If there is interest, we’ll do another one in 3 or 4 weeks.
For today, Danforth Guidance wanted me to share the following with graduating students, “Attention Graduating Student Interested in going into the Workplace or an Apprenticeship: Guidance is in the process of planning transitional supports/workshops for graduating students and we would love to hear directly from you in terms of what supports you currently need. Please take a few minutes to complete the google form posted in the grade 12 apprenticeship and workplace google classrooms.”
Also, I’ll be having a Danforth staff meeting tomorrow and will be discussing a variety of issues, including the period 3 and 4 flip that we tried out this year. Students, Parents/Guardians, if you have an opinion on how this went (pro or con), please let me know.
Thanks and good evening,
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Well, hitting update 35 seems like some kind of milestone. As we are all getting a little more used to our new reality of remote learning, I am wondering if you would like fewer of these emails (i.e. are people hitting an info overload point with them?). Any feedback is welcome… continue on a daily basis or move to a couple of times a week (unless there is urgent info)? Please let me know what you would like.
Only a couple of items today…
Part 2 of good things going on at our schools – this time from Mr. D. Jackson, who writes, “Danforth’s motto is Faciendo Discimus, or ‘We Learn By Doing’ and our Grade 12 Engineering class made that motto come to life these past couple of weeks on a cross-curricular project that’s aim was to showcase the artistic side of engineering, or the engineering side of art. Students used whatever they had at hand, some good lighting and some nice staging to accomplish this task and build some praise-worthy art and equally praise-worthy constructions.” You can see some pictures here, http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/05/12/engineering-is-art-project/.
Building on a theme, the Robotics Team would like to start recruiting for next year. They have created a Google Form for students to apply to the team. Please take a look here https://forms.gle/WN9aU7vEojyTCyXt8, if you’re interested.
Finally, I wanted to remind you that we’ll have an open meeting for parents/guardians of Danforth tomorrow from 11:30 – 12:30 or so. If you’d like to register for the meeting, please write to Bryan.Wires@tdsb.on.ca and he will send you the link. We’ll be having one for Greenwood in the coming weeks and if you’re interested in attending that, please write to Dritan.Bylykbashi@tdsb.on.ca.
Thanks and good evening!
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I hope the weekend was positive for all of you and that those of you celebrating Mothers’ Day had a great one!
Even in these challenging, online times, there are a lot of really interesting things going on in classrooms. Mr. Weight sent me a note about the Engineering Design Challenge that they’ve been working on. He writes, “Students in the engineering design classes have been participating in weekly challenges that involve active learning. Since working on hands-on projects in groups is not possible at the moment we have had to get creative. These challenges provide the students an opportunity to apply their knowledge and to have fun (and to help them occupy their time while practising physical distancing, of course!). Included are the winners from the tower building contest where the students built towers from paper that could support objects found around their homes.” http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/05/08/tower-challenge/. Thanks for sending this along, Mr. Weight! I’ll post some other work teachers and students are doing in class in future updates.
Greenwood students, please remember that the “Envision” Google Meet will take place tomorrow at 11:30 am at https://meet.google.com/lookup/bgmmpf5tv7. Everyone is welcome!
I think we’re all looking forward to next year and what will hopefully be a ‘normal’ one! Mr. Jackson is already sending a note to students inviting them to express their interest in working on the Danforth School Yearbook Committee for 2020-2021. You can sign up here https://forms.gle/4v2aVxZL6ynfrsVeA and the team will get back to you by the end of the school year with more information.
We’re still not certain what summer school is going to look like for all our students, but I have recently learned that in Special Education there will be a number of programs offered. Students with developmental disabilities in grade 1 to age 21 can sign up for half-day programs which ‘will be held through remote learning. They will support students to develop their independence through programming in the areas of functional literacy and numeracy skills, activities of daily living, communication and social skills through a creative curriculum that can include technology, physical fitness, art, music and drama.’ The program will run from Monday July 6, to Friday, July 31, 2020. Please sign up here by May 22/20: https://bit.ly/TDSB_SpecED_Summer2020
Our families at both schools might also benefit from knowing that the TDSB will offer remote half-day programming for students in Grades 1 – 8 who receive support from the Physical Disability Special Education Program and from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program and who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). If you’d like to sign up for these programs, please do so here:https://bit.ly/TDSB_SpecED_Summer2020.
Finally, late breaking news from Mr. Kwan… There will be a showing of what looks like a really interesting film tomorrow (May 12th at 7 pm). Secrets of the Surface: The Mathematical Vision of Maryam Mirzakhani “examines the life and mathematical work of Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian immigrant to the United States who became a superstar in her field.” The site notes that the “goal of the May 12 initiative is to inspire women everywhere to celebrate their achievements in mathematics, and to encourage an open, welcoming and inclusive work environment for everyone.” You can learn more about the film here http://www.zalafilms.com/secrets/. If this looks interesting to you, you can Register for the online event here. Thanks for the tip, Mr. Kwan… I think a lot of students, families and staff will be interested!
Great evening to all!
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For today’s update, I really only have one item… the index of all the past communications. Please click here https://wp.me/a8wC7f-26m to find the short version of my posts. Each title is active and will take you to the full update, but I have taken out the ‘narrative’ and just left the links and, in some, a ‘topics’ section’. I hope this makes it much easier to find resources that you might find useful.
My best wishes for a good weekend… I’m sorry to have to say in May, ‘stay warm’!
Our Trustee, Jennifer Story, has posted an update covering a range of topics including:
- The Director’s Latest Covid-19 Updates
- Education Week
- Mental Health Week
- Community Supports and Resources
- PA Days and Exam Days
- 2020-2021 School Year Calendar
- Update on Labour Negotations
- Asian Heritage Month and Jewish Heritage Month
You can read the update at the link below:
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My comment about apprenticeships in my last update sparked a few questions about university and college for next year. This is the link for virtual campus tours that I posted in an earlier update and thought you might want to see again: https://blog.studentlifenetwork.com/2020/03/25/virtual-tours-campus-student-guide/. I also noticed that many schools have posted on what the Fall session may look like. Lots can still change (hopefully for the better!), but I did want to remind our graduating students to take a look at the website of the institution that they are planning to attend for more information about summer programs and September start-up.
The request for this info also made me realize that I need to post an index of these updates with reference to what has been posted in which update. I’ve gone searching a few times too… and it takes a while. I’ll get it out in the coming days.
I asked in an earlier update about School Council meetings and the responses were all in agreement, “postpone until the Fall”, (which I am totally good with). That said, I also thought it might be a good idea to just have an ‘open house’ for an hour or so and anyone who wants to drop in with a question, or just to see some other faces, can. I will be online, along with VPs Gani and Wires on Wednesday, May 13 from 11:30 to 12:30. If you would like to register for this meeting and propose subjects for discussion, please write to Bryan.Wires@tdsb.on.ca and he will send you the access code. I will also be meeting with Greenwood parents and guardians in the coming weeks. If you would like to attend that meeting, please contact VP Bylykbashi at Dritan.Bylykbashi@tdsb.on.ca and he will register you for it.
Finally, I received a note with a new batch of hot docs for schools and I thought you might be interested in a few of them. You can watch here: https://www.hotdocs.ca/p/hd-home-schools#films (the times at the top of the page show length of films… click on the time for a list of movies).
And here are a few of the featured films:
- JOE’S VIOLIN (24 min) – a previous, popular DFS In-School film selection
- ABSTRACT: The Art of Design (Netflix Series – 8 episodes, Season One – 42-48 min ea)
- ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH (96 min) – 3rd film in the trilogy (Manufactured Landscape, Watermark)
Good evening all,
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Hope your day is going well…
It is so important to maintain positive and healthy relationships in these difficult times; and, at Greenwood, the Envision Club will help with that. The club is “where we talk about how to connect and maintain healthy relationships and create healthy ways to cope during this time. Our group is a safe space for Greenwood students to be themselves regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, race, culture, religion, etc. Ms. Hurst, Mr. Wood, and Ms. Silvana lead the group and we meet virtually every Tuesday @ lunch. We welcome new members; please join the google classroom n25qwq6 .”
An opportunity for students at both schools is an upcoming youth forum on May 11th. The Group organizing the event is called Slye Network; I asked for a blurb on the group (supported by the City of Toronto and Government of Ontario) and their Coordinator, Sam, sent me this: “SLYE is a youth-led, grassroots project with the mission of increased community engagement and equitable access to services for all Toronto youth! To do this, we hold Leadership Trainings, where we facilitate a conversation with youth around essential skills for leadership, and help them put those skills into practice! We also host ‘Roadshow’ youth resource fairs in high schools, community spaces and on online platforms across Toronto.” For the event on May 11th, here is the poster http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Youth-Forum_-Navigating-COVID-19.pdf and here is the link so that those interested can register https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/youth-forum-navigating-covid-19-tickets-103750191616. For more information, please visit their website (slyenetwork.com) or email their Coordinator, Sam Khalil, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We haven’t worked with this group in the past, so if you choose to attend, please write to me and let me know how it was.(Thanks Mr. Hesp and Catlin for bringing this forward).
Finally, I imagine that all this together time is sparking a lot of conversations. One of those conversations may be about the future and what you, our students, are thinking you might want to do after high school… more school, university, an apprenticeship, college or the workplace? Lots to think about. Mr. Carlesi, our ACL of Technological Education, wrote up some thoughts on the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program at Danforth and also provided a link for those who want to learn more about apprenticeships. If this might be an area of interest for you, please take a look at his comments and links here http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/05/06/shsm-and-apprenticeship-update/.
Thanks for taking the time to read these updates!
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Have you come across the term ‘e-fatigue’ yet? Some people were talking about it at a meeting I was attending this morning and I thought, ‘yes, I imagine everyone is feeling this, to a degree’. I really didn’t want to go to the increasingly tired cliché of, ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’, but it does seem apt in this situation. We’re going to be in this online environment for a while yet and it is so important for all of us to balance the school work/work we are doing with our physical and mental health. Please remember to take breaks, take a walk, and breathe!
Hopefully a helpful way for some to take a break tomorrow (Wednesday May 6) will be the OSAP/Financial Planning Virtual Lunch and Learn presentation with Kassi; the presentation will start at 11:30. “This meeting will be recorded so that graduates who might not be available during the presentation time will be able to view it at a later date. At the end of the presentation, Kassi will be available to answer some of your questions through the chat function in Google Meet. The Google Meet code is in all four of the Grade 12 Pathways Google Classrooms”. Thanks Ms. Reavell-Roy!
Many of our families will know Surrey Place and I wanted to share a few more resources that they have just put out. For those who don’t know them, their website states, “We help children and adults living with developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorder and visual impairments reach their full potential. We offer a variety of groups and workshops for clients, families and caregivers, as well as extensive education and consultation services to community agencies”. Interested families can go to the website and, under Wellness Events, sign up for a variety of sessions. You can find more info here: https://www.surreyplace.ca/programs-services/wellness-services/. They will also be running a Respite During Covid-19 workshop; the link for registration to that is here:https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/finding-moments-of-respite-live-online-webinar-tickets-103936695454
For our Greenwood students and families, Access Alliance supports Newcomers to Canada by providing multicultural health and community services. They have a weekly schedule to support students and families – you can find their calendar here: http://greenwoodsecondary.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Access-Alliance-Supports-1.pdf. If you need support that you don’t find here, please let us know and we’ll try to assist you!
And now, I’m going to take my own advice and go for a walk! Have a good evening all,
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I hope you had a great weekend with that wonderful sun on Sunday…
To further brighten your day, a few Danforth teachers (Ms. Mundy, Ms. Martin and Ms. Mochina) have put together a video to say hello and hang in there to our students. You’ll see lots of familiar faces and some great messages to encourage you and, hopefully, just to make you smile! Please take a look at the video at This link. And thanks again to all the staff who participated, but especially to the artists who put it together!
Some of you may know that Danforth has one of the largest populations of First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) students in the Board (outside of Indigenous Education Centres). I just received a note from the Urban Indigenous Education Centre (UIEC) inviting FNMI parents to MAAWAJI’IDWAG (‘We come together’), “a virtual meet up and support group for Indigenous parents! We will discuss support strategies for helping kids during COVID-19, self-care and self-compassion, as well as share community resources that can be helpful to you and your family!” Meetings will be every Tuesday, starting tomorrow, May 5th, at 3:30 pm. Leading the meeting will be UIEC Social Workers Tsitra McKay and Emily Blackmoon. Please register for this meeting with Emily at email@example.com. She will send you the link to join them.
I’m sorry to follow the announcement of that meeting with the reminder that tomorrow, May 5th, is also the National Day Of Awareness For Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women And Girls. This is a dark and grim part not only of Canada’s history, but also of our present; I believe it is important that we reflect on this day and what it means. For those who would like to learn more about this issue, you can read the Government’s “Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls” here https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/ and watch a Global News film clip on the issue, herehttps://globalnews.ca/news/6248079/violence-against-women-mmiwg/. This is a very heavy and challenging subject to read about and reflect on. If you would like support on this, or need to talk to someone about it, please don’t hesitate to contact a Guidance Counsellor, CYC, Social Worker, Kids Help Phone (https://kidshelpphone.ca/), or me.
We have now been informed that all end of year school events must be either postponed or cancelled. Sadly, this means that Commencement (the walking across the stage graduation ceremony) will have to be postponed until the Fall. I will let you all know once that date has been decided. The Prom (the dinner and dance part of the celebration) is still being discussed with staff and students of the Prom Committee. It is not clear if this will be postponed or cancelled; so, if you have a strong opinion about this, please reach out to your Prom Committee members or to Ms. Michael (Rasha.Michael@tdsb.on.ca ), the staff sponsor. I imagine that for many of our Grade 12 students there is a real sense of loss over the way the end of high school is playing out and I’m sorry about that. We still don’t know if we will be able to come back together at the school in June, but please do think about virtual ways that we could mark the end of this major milestone and achievement of your life.
Thanks again to all of you for sticking with the work and for taking care of yourselves, each other and your families – we will get to the other side of this!
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I hope you’ve all had a good week!
One of the things that I think most of us have noticed is the not-surprising focus on food during this period of self-isolation. On the radio this morning, there was a story about how all the talk and focus on food can be a real challenge for individuals with eating disorders. Thinking about that, I remembered working with Sheena’s Place (also mentioned on the show) and how great they were at supporting students. Their Mission Statement is “We support individuals, families and friends affected by eating disorders to overcome barriers and provide effective, community-based services at all stages of recovery”. They provide counselling and also list many other resources here: https://sheenasplace.org/.
Catlin, Jessica and Andrew, (Danforth CYC and CYWs, respectively) will be “hosting and facilitating daily virtual online check-ins and discussions on the coping strategies and school/community resources that can best support students and families during COVID-19. We want to know how you are doing, what is working for you, what isn’t, and what supports you need from us as a school community!”. Please see this link http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/05/01/mental-health-week-cys-support/ for details. The sessions will be at 2 pm every day next week and DCTI students, staff, and parents are welcome.
A webinar will be running next week to support families with students on the Autism spectrum and you can find more information and register here:https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-news/local-mpp-launching-covid-19-coping-webinar-for-families-of-kids-with-autism-2289734. Government supports for families with students with special needs can be found here: (Special Services at Home) http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/specialneeds/specialservices.aspx; and here: (Passport) https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/developmental/serviceSupport/passport.aspx
A lot of people seem to be learning new skills over this period of ‘work and learn’ from home. If you’ve found a resource or site that you think others might also benefit from, please send them my way and I’ll include some of them in upcoming updates, if suitable (of course!).
Thanks again for your emails and communication on all that is going on at Danforth and Greenwood – I appreciate hearing how you’re doing and how we can support you (students and parents/guardians) better.
Great weekend to all of you,
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At Danforth and Greenwood I often think about how fortunate we are to be at schools that truly reflect the rich diversity of Canada. That diversity takes many forms, and this coming month we celebrate two groups. May marks both Jewish Heritage Month (you can learn more, here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Media/News/ArtMID/2750/ArticleID/1454/Jewish-Heritage-Month-in-the-TDSB); and Asian Heritage Month (more information can be found here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Media/News/ArtMID/2750/ArticleID/1453/Asian-Heritage-Month-at-the-TDSB). Mr. Kwan at Danforth sent me a link for a film that all will have free access to only until tomorrow… hope some of you who are interested will get to see it, here: https://explorasian.org/2020/04/22/virtual-national-canadian-film-day-is-here/?fbclid=IwAR3M8oxk0zGZi7xW5GAADCvUzBw4l3mpZAq9wEkbHSois0gTlckOWfLo5wU. If I’m missing something that I should be mentioning in order to celebrate some aspect of our community, please send a note my way.
As our stay at home lengthens, I am getting more notes on how some students and family members are struggling with issues of mental health. Next week is Children’s Mental Health Week and I wanted to share a calendar of events planned by the TDSB (https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Portals/0/docs/Virtual%20CMHW.pdf), as well as some resources. That calendar is for all age and grade groups, but I thought it might be useful as I know some of our families have younger children in them. There are a couple of repeats in this link on mental health for our families with students with special needs, but I think it is still worth including, Children’s Mental Health Week activities for Special Needs Students. The title of this link, Top 10 Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children, sounds like it has a pretty narrow focus, but not so. I think it has some really good advice for anyone who is acting as a caregiver for young people (whatever the child’s learning profile). I think that sometimes when we look at these ‘self-helpish’ things we might say, ‘yes, yes, I know that’. But, in the current environment, I know my ‘lens’ has changed a little and would like to recommend (especially if you’re struggling a bit) that you give it a chance and read it carefully. You may find something new to apply that will be helpful.
That’s it for today… hope it was a good one for you,
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I keep thinking that I am going to come to a day and not have anything to share in these updates… and then the day begins and as I am working away, items start coming in and I think, ‘someone might like this’, or ‘this might be useful to someone’… and the update of the day starts to take form.
So, today, I wanted to start with an article from the Globe and Mail (April 11) that a fellow Principal sent to me. It is by Elizabeth Renzetti and I thought some of you might appreciate the perspective and reminder about the lens we use to look at others and at ourselves. You’ll find it here: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-nothing-will-be-perfect-again-and-thats-just-fine/, if you haven’t already read it.
A Guidance Counsellor shared with me what looks like a great resource if you are looking for a tutor. Bachelor of Education Candidates at Western University are offering free virtual tutoring for students during this remote learning phase. To register, students or parents need to complete the following form- click here (More information can be found on the following link along with possible lesson ideas for educators! https://theteachercandidate.com/learning-supports/). I can’t vouch for the individual tutors, of course, but all are teacher candidates and have had police checks, of course.
She also shared a location for families who need the support to get a free box of fresh fruits and veggies from Food Share: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScdK3nwGCLPTEFtuFrZRW-m2ENwjAN3qxKfTjMn9yLuGW1KSw/viewform; and also a flyer for Vulnerable Communities Scarborough Outreach Initiative, which you can find here:
Autism Canada has teamed up with Samsung and will provide 1,000 tablets “that will have a direct and crucial impact for the autism community across Canada”. I am told that this is a first come, first served program, so if you would like to apply, please go to http://support.autismspeaks.ca/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=10590&em_id=5573.2#.XqnvhqhKjIU for more information as soon as possible. Eligibility requirements are pretty straight-forward: Canadian residents; individuals with a diagnosis of ASD; do not currently have a touch device; willing to share the benefits of the tablet with ASC and Samsung online community. To be explicit, applicants don’t need to be in the ASD program, just have a diagnosis of ASD.
Finally, it looks like Hot Docs has a great lineup this year. You can find their DOCS for schools at home here: https://www.hotdocs.ca/p/hd-home-schools#films Some of the films they are streaming include:
- 14 and Muslim (44 min) – Subjects: Culture, Girls, Identity, Religion, Social Studies
- Fed Up (92 min) – Subjects: Health, Food, Nutrition, Poverty
- Nellie Bly Makes the News (23 min) – Subjects: Subjects: Feminism, Journalism, Social Issues, Women
- Period. End of Sentence (25 min) – Subjects: Activism, Culture, Gender, Health, World Issues
- Zion (11 min) – Subjects: Identity, Resilience, Sport, Youth
OK, I can’t watch all of them, but this one is very sweet (and a little heart-tugging…)
Hair Love (Director Matthew A. Cherry)WATCH FULL FILM Subjects: Family, Identity, Social Studies
Movie description and a few more links: Discover the warmth and love between an African American father and his young daughter—and her hair. This charming story received the 2019 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
- Visual History of Iconic Black Hairstyles
- Brief History of Black Hair, Politics and Discrimination
- ABC 7 Chicago story about the filmmaker
- Type “Hair Love Reaction” into YouTube search to see different reactions to the film
And, since the Hot Docs Festival has gone fully online, you can see their full lineup here at the Hot Docs home page https://www.hotdocs.ca/. Sadly, these are all being streamed as the Festival itself has gone fully online.
Good watching and good evening,
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At our meetings with our Superintendent, Principals and Vice Principals are encouraged to participate in spirit initiatives to help build community and… spirit. One of the things she asked us to think about for today’s meeting was to ‘please be prepared to share a one word response to: this unprecedented time in our lives has caused me to (be)…” I’m not always a wild fan about these things (to be honest), but did think about this one and tried to boil it down to one word. I also tried to really listen when others gave their words and think about what they meant by them (obvious in some cases, less so in others). I thought it was really interesting to hear what people came up with and thought you might also want to try it at home with your families. I’d be happy to hear some, if you’re willing to share!
Danforth Co-Op Teacher, Deborah Tucker-McNally, reminds us all that today is the ‘Workers’ Mourning Day’. As she notes (from a series of sources), “ It commemorates workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and occupational exposures.” “The purpose of Day of Mourning is twofold – to remember and honour those lives lost or injured because of their work and to renew the commitment to prevent further deaths, injuries and diseases by improving health and safety in the workplace. April 28th is observed in many different ways around the world.” We have posted more information on the website (http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/04/24/national-day-of-mourning-april-28/) and you can learn more about this important day here: https://www.ccohs.ca/events/mourning/. It seems to me that this year we should be especially thoughtful (and thankful) about workers who are on the front lines in so many occupations, whether it be Nurses, Truck Drivers, Personal Support Workers, or Grocery Store Clerks.
The Danforth Guidance Department has confirmed the date and time for the OSAP and Financial Planning Lunch and Learn session on Google Meet as Wednesday, May 6 from 11:30am until 12:30pm. Kassi, our Transitions Specialist from George Brown College will be presenting information and answering questions about options for funding post-secondary education. If you have any questions you would like to have answered during the OSAP and Financial Planning session, please send them to Ms. Reavell-Roy prior to the Lunch and Learn at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Google Meet code will be sent to the Grade 12s through each of the Google Pathway Classrooms on Monday, May 4th. (Thanks Ms. Reavell-Roy!)
All Greenwood students should now have received an invitation for an event tomorrow at 2 pm to join in a talk about our friend and Greenwood student, Alula. If you have not received this, please go to the Wolf Den for more information.
Parents and Guardians who would like to discuss the idea of an online School Council meeting, please write to me directly. If there is enough interest, we can meet online to plan for one.
Thanks everyone and hope you had a good day!
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I hope you all had a good weekend.
By now, I’m sure that you’ve heard that schools will be kept closed until, at least, the end of May. With this new announcement, it was also confirmed that all culminating activities and exams will be cancelled and that teachers will continue to work with students on the curriculum of their individual courses. Students will continue to be given every opportunity to earn their credits, improve their marks and prepare for next year. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to your teachers, support staff, VPs and me if you have any questions.
I know that the news of the ongoing school closure will be very challenging for some. I want to remind you to please reach out if we can help you out, not only with school work, but also with good mental health resources or if you need some help finding a city resource that you need. We really do want to help you to navigate this challenging time as best we can.
For Greenwood students and families, I wanted you to be aware that this Thursday will be the last day of work at the school for both of our office staff, Ms. King and Ms. Taggart. They are both retiring after wonderful careers in the Board and after an amazing run at Greenwood. They have kept our school running, organized and supported in so many ways… it is hard to imagine Greenwood without them. They will come back, (when we can all come back), so that we can properly honour them and so that they can say goodbye; if you would like to send them a note to say ‘Congratulations!’ on their retirement, you can reach them (only until the end of day Thursday) at Stephanie.Taggart@tdsb.on.ca and Margaret.King@tdsb.on.ca. We’re sorry that they are going, but excited for them as they launch into this next stage of their lives!
Finally, the Danforth Student Council also wanted to send out a note to all students and families:
We hope everyone and their families are staying safe and positive!
We want to reach out and make sure our peers have the support they need during these uncertain times.
The transition to online education has been tough for everyone, but we are very impressed by our classmates and teachers during this process.
The Student Council has had the opportunity to meet, via Google Hangout of course, and have started to discuss a variety of ways to keep Danforth students involved and engaged during this time.
We are also looking ahead in order to plan a successful launch back to school no matter when that might be.
We have also begun looking at ways to support our community during these trying times and will follow up soon about possible opportunities to get involved!
Please remember Student Council communicates often through our Instagram, @danforth.sc, and this is a great way for students to keep up to date and stay connected, if they are not following us already.
For now we hope all are staying healthy, connected and uplifted.
Thank you for reading,
Becca & Kangkan
Thanks and I hope you all have a wonderful evening,
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Just a short note for a Friday.
Grade 12 marks will be posted, confidentially, on Monday. There is no formal report card, per se, at this time. Parents who want to receive a copy of these marks can request a Credit Counselling Summary from the appropriate VP (Mr. Wires A – K, Mr. Gani L – Z) next week. By now, students in all grades and all classes should know the mark that they had going into the March Break.
As I mentioned previously, today was to be the deadline for students to drop classes before Full Disclosure (the date after which schools must report a mark even if a student withdraws from a class). That deadline has now been extended into June, so students now have much longer to make decisions without course marks being recorded on their permanent transcript. That said, for those students who are certain they want to drop a course, our guidance team has put together this form to receive requests for students in grade 11 and 12 courses only (grade 9 and 10 courses are not subject to full disclosure, and these students are not permitted to drop classes). These decisions should not be made lightly, and for those students under 18, parents and guardians must be also be included in the process, so be sure to have a family discussion before submitting this form.
Finally, my hope in sending these daily updates is to maintain an open line of communication with students and families, to try to address issues as they arise, to share learning opportunities outside of the curriculum as well as resources, to share with students information that might have been on the announcements in the morning, and to create as much a sense of ‘normal’ in this new learning environment as possible (knowing full well that last one is near impossible to achieve). I did want to let people know, though, that if you’re not finding them a benefit, you are able to ‘unsubscribe’ from these messages at the bottom of this page.
I hope you all had as good a week as possible and that you have a wonderful weekend,
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Today is thought to be William Shakespeare’s birthday (and is known to be the day on which he died, coincidentally), so it seems like a good time to let you know that “Stratford will be celebrating his work starting [today] by offering free streaming of some of his plays. On April 23rd, they will kick it off with one of his most famous plays – King Lear starring Colm Feore. Colm Feore, as many of you might remember, visited our school not too long ago (Colm Feore Danforth C.&T.I. The Star). Here is a CTV article with the information and schedule Stratford Free Plays Streaming Article and Schedule . Visit the official Stratford websitehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9EKnrosP9w and enjoy. “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.” Thanks Mr. Ravera for sharing this!
Another Arts opportunity from Ms. Filice, Social Worker, is that Unity, a group Ms. Filice has worked with in the past, is “very proud and excited to have launched a 10-week series of free online-workshops that teach Hip Hop art forms (Spoken Word, Emceeing, DJing, Street Dance, Breaking, and Beatboxing), all through the lens of mental wellness and resilience”. This opportunity is open to students of both schools, of course. You can learn more about the group and the workshops they are offering here: http://www.danforthcti.com/unity-hip-hop/.
This year, before ‘COVID happened’, we had a great Town Hall with local politicians; the event was organized by our Greenwood/Danforth Outreach Club, a new club that looks at ways for our two schools to work together to enhance the experience of all students at 800 Greenwood Avenue. These students, led by Kendall P., have created two videos to support students as they access what is new technology for some. The first video, on accessing AW and Google Classroom is here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_1ZHQF10Q0. And the second video, on how to ‘turn-in’ and ‘un-submit’ assignments is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9ZU8TMoguc. Thanks to the Outreach Club, Kendall and Ms. Cordova, who oversees the group!
Today marks the sad, two year anniversary of the van attacks on Yonge Street. I know that some of our families were affected by this horrible event and I would like to mark it and remember those whose lives were changed on that day. You can hear a thoughtful and hopeful message from our Mayor here: https://globalnews.ca/news/6856704/toronto-van-attack-second-anniversary/
On a very positive note, Danforth/Greenwood was able to contribute over 3,600 pairs of surgical gloves, dozens of sets of goggles/glasses and some N95 filters to the collection drive for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). They will be picked up tomorrow for distribution. Tomorrow, I will also be dropping off all of the breakfast food that we had in our fridges and cupboards at a local food bank (chocolate milk, granola bars, juice boxes and fruit cups).
I have received a few notes about students (and one teacher) getting overdue library book and fine notifications. I understand that it is a little difficult to return books at this time (!), so please don’t worry about these notices. As Danforth Librarian, Mr.Kohn notes, “Due dates for all checked-out resources have been extended to May 29 centrally by Library & Learning Resources, and I’m confident that the date will be further extended, should it be necessary. In any event, Danforth Library Learning Commons will never charge overdue fines for late returns that are beyond students’ control”. Thanks Mr. Kohn and Ms. Ferguson at Greenwood.
Finally, I would like to thank the Yearbook Club and their staff sponsor, Mr. Deryk Jackson for their herculean effort to submit the last pages of the Yearbook for publication. As I mention in my blurb, in regular years this is a difficult task, but to finish it up and get it in on time this year is nothing short of amazing! Thanks to the team; I know we will all look forward to seeing the finished product.
Great evening to all and for those who will be starting Ramadan this evening or tomorrow, I wish you all Ramadan Mubarak!
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Happy Earth Day! I hope you had a chance to step out into the sunny day (I am choosing to focus on the sun… not the cold… or the wind). I took a look around for something interesting and inspiring to share about Earth Day, but didn’t find anything that knocked my socks off; that said, there were a lot of amazing photos of animals safely enjoying city streets as we stay indoors, which I quite liked. Seeing those pictures reminded me to take a photo or two and drop them off in our schools’ photo album. You can see my forsythia (well, the neighbour’s forsythia) and a couple of other pictures here: http://www.danforthcti.com/school-spirit/. Please send your own so others can see how you celebrated Earth Day – or just some image that grabbed you. Of course, all photos will be vetted before they are shared. Here’s where you can drop off your photos: https://forms.gle/UQJVx8V1egjyhaWMA (Thanks for creating this, Mr. Wires!).
We’ve heard that some students in Grades 11 and 12 would like to drop a class so it does not show up on their transcripts. Normally, the ‘full disclosure’ date and last day to drop a class would be this coming Friday. Because of the situation this year, students who are eligible to do so will be able to drop classes until sometime in June and not have it show up on their permanent record. I’ll confirm that date in the coming weeks (as soon as we get it), but for now, please don’t be concerned about this. This only affects students at Danforth; those who have questions, please feel free to contact Ms. Maestri, the Head of Student Services (Tina.Maestri@tdsb.on.ca).
The Danforth Guidance Teachers will be hosting an OSAP and Financial Planning Session for our grade 12 students the first week of May (exact date to be confirmed). It will run from 11:30am – 12:30 pm as a live session in Google Meets; details will be posted, as usual, on AW, so please check. If you’d like to get a head start and prepare some questions, you might like to check out the OSAP website here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/osap-ontario-student-assistance-program.
Happy Earth Day, everyone!
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I’ve been talking with a number of people about the tragic, senseless events in Nova Scotia over the weekend and wanted to reach out to our community on it. I imagine that many of you have or will talk as families and I thought you might find this link that the TDSB has created for talking to young people about tragic events useful:https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Professional-Support-Services/Speaking-with-Students-About-Tragic-Events. I know you join me in sending our deep condolences to all those affected.
Grief, whether caused by tragic events or by illness, is hard for many of us to work through. Some of you may find it helpful to take a look at some of the resources here https://drjaychildrensgriefcentre.ca/programs/resources/, from Dr. Jay’s Children’s Grief Centre, and here http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Grieving-Resources-pdf.pdf , from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The CAMH site is very full, and covers many issues, but is easy to navigate. The Board also offers support, as I’ve mentioned, both through the school (Guidance, Social Worker, Child and Youth Counsellor) and through referrals to outside agencies, if necessary. Please reach out if we can help you with this.
Our Greenwood Teachers have put together a google classroom that is open to all Greenwood students. This Google Classroom, called “The Wolf Den”, is a place students can visit for information on staying healthy and happy while learning at home. It is also a place students can join google meet sessions to reconnect with friends and teachers and even compete with each other by playing fun kahoot quizzes. All Greenwood students have received an email invite to join The Wolf Den. If you haven’t received an invite or you are having difficulty connecting please email Mr. McKenzie (email@example.com)
The Getting to 50 program is now up and running at both schools, so some students will be hearing from our Student Success Teachers this week (at Danforth, Mr. Bartakovic, Ms. Mochina and Mr. El Wazani and at Greenwood, Mr. Cermak). As I mentioned, they will be working with your teachers to help you ‘get to 50’ and earn your credit.
I know that many (though, unfortunately, not all) of you have now received a device and/or a device with internet connection. For those of you who are still waiting on this Board initiative, we have been told that all requested items will be distributed by April 30th. I know that this is a frustrating wait for some people and we’re sorry for the delay. The Board is in the midst of sending out 52,000 items (I was told today) and this is taking more time than expected.
Jennifer Story, our Trustee for Ward 15, has also shared her website (which you can also find on our schools’ websites) with many excellent links. You can find a link to her newsletter and her contact info here: https://t.e2ma.net/webview/iqx1wn/d16f204a1dfeebede704c24dcea5330c.
A good piece of news that some may have missed in all that is going on is that a tentative agreement has been reached between the Government and the OSSTF (the Teachers’ Federation); it is awaiting review and ratification by the teachers. I don’t have any details, but I am sure we’re all hoping for a positive resolution and a great start up in September!
And two quick links that you may find interesting… First, Zooniverse was recommended by a parent and looks very interesting for anyone who loves to do research. Their website (https://www.zooniverse.org/projects ) says that, “The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers — more than a million people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Our goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. Zooniverse research results in new discoveries, datasets useful to the wider research community, and many publications”. The other site I thought some of you might be interested in, but may not know about is TV Ontario’s daily newsletter. It has a number of great links, videos and news of the day (including an item on Grief and one on the OSSTF settlement in today’s, coincidentally). You can find it herehttps://mailchi.mp/tvo/tvoorg-daily-virginia-opossums-diplomatic-relations-and-impossible-railways-408390?e=63ba57966b.
Thanks everyone and hope your day was good!
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I hope you all had a good weekend.
Today is a reflective day for many students and their families as it is Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Memorial Day. If you would like to learn more about this day, along with some teaching and learning tools and information about an online event happening this evening (Monday) at 7 (sorry, I know that is coming up very shortly), please go to the Board’s website, here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/News/Article-Details/ArtMID/474/ArticleID/1448/Yom-Hashoah-2020-Holocaust-Memorial-Day
At both Danforth and Greenwood, our Guidance offices have added some supports for our students. At Greenwood, Ms. Hurst is starting a Guidance Google Classroom (ic2caci) where she will ‘post important information about topics such as registration for summer school (right now, we only have e-learning summer school) as well as information about returning to Greenwood in September, or registering at CALC or another school…’ It will also be used to ‘arrange “Google Meet” appointments for students and their families – especially to discuss bigger picture questions such as: Where will I go to school next year? When can I graduate? How many credits do I have? etc.’ If you prefer, you can get in touch with Ms. Hurst by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interpretation can be arranged, as needed.
At Danforth, Ms. Maestri wanted to make sure that all graduating students are aware of the Google classrooms that they have set up in order to communicate on issues directly related to their ‘pathway’, College, Workplace, University or Apprenticeship. She is asking that all students sign up to their appropriate classroom, which you will find here:
Grade 12 Workplace Pathway: 43dx7jw
Grade 12 Apprenticeship Pathway: plv6fob
Grade 12 College Pathway: heqnzwv
Grade 12 University Pathway: zzf6am7
The Guidance team at Danforth is communicating to all other grades by continuing to post to AW and on the website, as well as through these updates.
For students and families wishing to apply for a one-time grant of up to $250 provided by the Ministry of Education for the purchase of learning materials, you can do so here (higher amounts will be given to students and their families who are being supported in Special Education programs, but all may apply): https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-families
Some teachers have mentioned that they are trying to reach out to families and being told by a telephone service that because the teacher is using a caller privacy feature that their calls will not be accepted and that they cannot leave a message. For families who want to have telephone communication with teachers, could you please turn this feature off on your phone until we are back ‘to normal’? I understand that for some of you this is not possible, of course.
Finally, I know that people are supporting others as they are able and, in turn, hopefully receiving the support they need. The City of Toronto has set up a few other ways to get and give support, for those who are interested. The Digital Main Street Program (https://digitalmainstreet.ca/toronto/) was created ‘to help local businesses (including non-profits) develop or expand their online services during this unprecedented time. Local businesses can complete the Digital Main Street onboarding process and receive free Digital Assessment’. Also, ‘The City of Toronto has now launched DonateTO (https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-how-you-can-help/covid-19-donateto/) for people wanting to give time, skills, space, labour, PPE, or money in support of the COVID-19 response’. And finally, I know we have parents who are artists and involved in the Arts Community and others who support the Arts, so I wanted to make sure that they know about the Toronto Arts Council’s COVID Response Fund (full disclosure, I sit on the Board of the TAC). This fund ‘will allocate up to $1,000 to self-employed, individual artists resident in Toronto whose creative work and income have been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic’. You can find out about applying to (there is now a waiting list) and giving to this fund here: https://torontoartsfoundation.org/toartistresponse.
There is more, but perhaps that is enough reading for one evening! I’ll ‘talk’ to you tomorrow.
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Week 2… check!
In my note to staff just now, I noted how “I have been so impressed by the innovation you are showing in working with your students and in your open and collegial collaboration with each other. Teams are working well together and people are reaching outside of their departments and across our 2 schools (and beyond) to discover new ways of delivering curriculum and supporting our students. In spite of all the challenges our students and we are facing during this crisis, I believe we will come out of this on the other side with a whole new raft of skills and personal relationships.” I know that our students also continue to impress staff in their levels of engagement and willingness to work in this new way.
All of that said, we also know that some students are feeling very anxious about the marks they had going into the March Break. I recently wrote about those going off to college or university, but today, I’d like to focus on those students who did not have a passing grade in a course as of March 13th. Students, some of you have already worked with your teachers to get to a passing grade (good for you!). Others are working away to get to that passing mark; and, some students might be feeling discouraged and thinking that they want to just give up. Don’t do that. We are putting into place a support program called, ‘Getting to 50’ (the goal is clear, right?). We have hired teachers to work alongside your classroom teachers to give more intensive support to some students who are achieving between 35% and 49% ( the range that we look at for credit recovery and credit rescue). Your teachers will be submitting names of students who fall within this mark range and who, they believe, will be able to take advantage of this support. If this is you, we’ll be reaching out sometime next week. If you don’t hear from your teacher, but want to put your name into this group, please let me know.
Most students who requested a device/internet support should now have them. If you still have not received your requested items, please let me know. For those of you who are having difficulty with some aspect of the technology, the Board’s IT folks have put together the most frequently asked questions from ‘staff, parents, students and the community’ here.
Finally, the place that teaches so many of our teachers, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), has sent out an invite for students, families and teachers to join them in live sessions on a variety of topics. They describe this web series as the ‘OISE Stay @ Home Club’, with ‘live episodes featuring many alumni and friends who will lead interactive lessons – for kids and adults alike!’ You can learn more about it and also sign up for recorded past shows by following the directions in this link http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/OISE-Stay-@-Home-Club.pdf.
Thanks everyone and great weekend to all and Happy Orthodox Easter to those celebrating it,
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I shelter in place
The sun streams in my window
The world will be fine
Well, how was that for a start?! Tomorrow, as I’m sure you all know, is World Haiku Day (or so Mr. Wilson in English at Danforth tells us!). If you’d like to try your hand at it, Mr. Wilson explains what a haiku is here: http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/04/16/happy-haiku-day/
I’m not sure if they’ll be working on haikus or not, but Ms. Michael at Danforth wanted all students with IEPs to know that the Virtual Resource Room will be open during regular school hours (closed for lunch from 11:25 -12:25) every day of the week, starting on Monday, April 20th. A teacher and, often, a support staff will be present every day and every period to work with students. You can join the class with your TDSB email address here: https://meet.google.com/pvv-xbkq-nvv?hs=122.
Over the last number of years, we have had Breakaway Addiction Services come to our school to talk about substance use. Most students will know this group, but I wanted to make sure that parents and guardians also know that they have counselling services to support students and families; they offer:
- Phone or video consultation to staff re substance use
- Phone or video counselling to students related to substance use
- Video e-learning classroom presentations related to substance use
- Phone or video consultations to parents related to substance use
If you’d like to learn more about them or talk to someone, they are open from 9-5 Monday to Friday; their website is https://www.breakawayaddictions.ca/. Renee Sandler has worked with our students and you can write to her with any questions at email@example.com. Their phone number is 416-537-9346.
Some of you may know about the Jack Project as they present in many schools in our neighbourhood. This group supports student mental health and their information can be found here: https://jack.org/Resources/COVID-19-Youth-Mental-Health-Resource-Hub
(Thanks for the link, Ms. Arnokouros!).
Mr.Kohn, the Danforth Librarian, has shared how students and their families can access audiobooks through the Toronto Public Library (TPL). Mr. Kohn writes, “I have some good news from Toronto Public Libraries and Overdrive (one of TPL’s eBook and audiobook databases). They have found a way to grant a temporary library card to students and staff who lack one. This temporary card gives customers access to Overdrive, but not to other TPL databases. However, TPL is hoping to make all of their digital collections available to those who sign up for a temporary card soon… (My thanks to Sue Anderson, the ACL of Library at Etobicoke C.I., for sharing this news).” You can learn how to access this resource here and on Danforth’s Virtual Library: http://www.danforthcti.com/toronto-public-library-access/
Finally, I wanted to share this message to students from the Director of Education: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F64u4loRHOY&feature=youtu.be
Thanks and hope you all had a good day!
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Hope you all had a good, if chilly, day.
By now, I’m sure that you’ve all heard that we will not be going back to school on May 4th. As things stand now, we do not have a date of return to school. Once that is established, I’ll write about what that might look like for all of us.
With this extension of the closure in mind, (and recognizing that it might be causing some increased stress for some), I would like to remind students of all the mental health resources that I’ve written about and posted in these updates. Please go to each school’s home page for a list of supports and remember that the Guidance Departments, Teachers, Support Staff, Child and Youth Counsellor, Social Workers, all other staff, and I are all available to support you as best we can. The TDSB has also posted a number of new resources to support good mental health, as well as a mindfulness exercise, here: Student Resources.
I have been told that some students are having some difficulty with logging in to AW or joining their Google Classrooms. Mrs. Ferguson, the Greenwood Librarian, has put together a very clear set of instructions, with pictures, to help students and their families get into their classes (of course, for Danforth students, simply put in Danforth wherever it now says Greenwood). Please take a look here, if this is giving you some difficulty, http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Step-by-step-instructions-How-to-open-AW-and-Google-Classroom.pdf
I know that some of you are thinking about your grades and I wanted to reiterate that the mark you had going into the March Break can only go up over the remainder of the year. Teachers know this and are working very hard to be flexible and accommodating and to ensure that all students have every opportunity to improve their marks and learn the essential parts of this year’s curriculum. If you were not doing well before the March Break, teachers will make every effort to help you get to a passing grade. I’ll also be putting some other supports in place in the coming week to help students earn their credits.
A short one today!
Covid-19 Communication 15
I hope you had a good weekend and that you were able to celebrate Easter or Passover, Vaisakhi or the Tamil New Year (I hope I didn’t miss anyone!) in your homes with your families or by using technology to connect with loved ones down the street or across the globe. For lots of us who are used to having big, extended family events over this weekend, this may have felt a bit flat, but we know that this absence will make getting together again in the coming months all the more joyful.
I wanted to give families requesting a device/internet an update on timelines. For families who only requested a device, they will be receiving (or have already received) a Chromebook for the duration of this remote learning period. Families who requested both a device and internet will be receiving a LTE iPad. These LTE iPads have not yet been sent. If you think that you have received a device in error (meaning you really need both), please let me know directly. If you did not submit a request through the Board’s site, but need one so your student can do their remote learning, please do so here as soon as possible: https://tdsb.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_24CSItMznYXabrf
Many parents will know about Parents for Education, an advocacy group focused on, you guessed it, education! For those of you who don’t know about them, they share a lot of great information on their website and have online events planned for the coming days/weeks. Specifically, coming up there is a Q and A on April 22nd from 12 – 1 pm with their Executive Director, Annie Kidder, called Education in the Pandemic. You can pre-register, learn more about the event and the group here: https://peopleforeducation.ca/.
Many of us, not only students, are working from home these days and sitting at a computer may not be the best for us. Peter McKenzie, our Head of Phys Ed at Greenwood, sent this excellent, and wordless video that will walk you through proper ergonomic posture when working at your desk. Great for everyone, and super clear for our English Language Learners. Here it is:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnpHLxlj3fQ&t=8s.
As the video above shows, it is really important to take a break on occasion. The TDSB Outdoor Education group has some great suggestions on how to take a break and learn about the environment at the same time. Their website states, “Beyond the many supports for classroom teachers, our highly qualified staff of Teachers and Outdoor Education Specialists have proudly put together the following resources to keep learning IN, ABOUT, and FOR the environment from home. We have designed these activities in an effort to build a deeper connection to our natural and built environments, encourage a connection to our Earth, and be meaningful stewards for generations to come”. They support students of all ages and you can learn more about them here: https://sites.google.com/tdsb.on.ca/toeslearnfromhome/
I was also told about another local foodbank that families may want to check out at The Yonge Street Mission at 270 Gerard Street East. The parent noted that they “run a food bank on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The Yonge street mission is feeding all areas in Toronto for the duration of COVID 19…. All you need is ID and how many in your family so we know the amount to give. For more information people can call 416-929-9614…”.
Finally, many of you may know about Wired Magazine, a magazine that focuses on ‘emerging technologies’. They post a number of interesting videos, including this one from an American astronaut on how he ‘sheltered in space’ and what he learned from that experience. Here’s that video: https://www.wired.com/video/watch/what-astronauts-can-teach-us-about-sheltering-in-place
And now, I’m going to the kitchen space, to start making dinner!
Good evening all,
Covid-19 Communication 14
Thanks for this first week of remote-learning together!
I have just sent a note to thank the teachers at both schools and I wanted to say, publicly, how impressed I have been with the efforts of our teaching staff in making this move to online teaching. I know that their hard work and their care are also evident to you by all the email that I have received. I also want to congratulate the students on making this shift. I know that for many of you, this has been a challenging transition, too. We’ll keep learning together and supporting each other for as long as we need to. Please know that you can always reach out to your teachers, VPs and me if we can be of assistance.
A few students have asked about summer school and I wanted to let you know that with the duration of Covid-19 emergency measures in doubt, it is unclear whether schools will be able to run their typical face-to-face summer school programs. With this in mind, the Danforth Head of Guidance, Ms. Maestri, is encouraging interested students to consider signing up for TDSB’s e-Summer School, which began registering students yesterday (April 8): “These courses are completely online and students can take up to two credits (one in July and one in August). The exception is Civics and Careers which can both be completed in one session.” Please find the list of courses offered, here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/elearning-summer-2020-1.docx.
Finally, I received notice that the Bethany Baptist Church at Pape and Cosburn is running a community foodbank, including fresh produce, on Thursdays from 1:15 to 2 pm. They are also doing foodbank deliveries to area seniors. If you are part of a group that is serving our community and you would like me to include it in a future update, please let me know.
Happy weekend, everyone!
Covid-19 Communication 13
As we all settle into this ‘new normal’, I imagine these updates will get shorter. I will continue to send them out every day that I have something that I think may be helpful to some members of our community.
I had mentioned that today (Wednesday) is International Day of Pink and that I know many of you would be participating with your families. Mr. Wires and Mr. Bylykbashi are putting together a platform on our websites where we can post some pictures from Pink Day and also from our day to day lives as we practice self-isolation. We thought that this might be a good way to get some images up and feed our collective sense of community. We’ll let you know as soon as the site is ready – looking forward to seeing you all again!
The IDP reminder also had a couple of people writing to tell me how they are using these posts to spark conversations on family walks and around the dinner table. Some have also written to say how their discussions about empathy, and how we show it in times of emergency, as well as during ‘normal’ times, have been meaningful and positive. I know that there are many challenges that we’re facing right now, but I was really happy to read about how people are trying to focus on the ‘silver linings’. Thanks for sharing those.
I also understand that the longer this goes on the more challenging it is getting for some, adults and youth. One resource that our Librarian sent out is a really good one for sharing some of your feelings. The first story I came across on the site was entitled, “”Day 11 of quarantine. My parents are surprised that I am getting sick of only physically being around four people.” … I thought that might ring true for some of you. You can read the stories of other young people here: Teen Health & Wellness and contribute your own, here: Staying Connected During COVID-19.
I know that many faith groups have been supporting their families and neighbourhoods over the years and with this new health emergency many have been ramping up that support. Today, I learned that the Mosque that many of our students and families attend, Madinah Masjid, is offering support by assisting with ‘grocery delivery, medicine delivery, hygiene kits and more’. You can reach them firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 647-344-2483. I know that they are also happy to have additional volunteers (though, again, no pressure to do this, of course). If your community group/faith group would also like me to mention what they are doing, please let me know and I’ll add that to a future update and to our list of resources.
Mentioning faith groups reminded me that this week and the coming weeks will see holy days for many of our families. For all of them, and for everyone, I wish you peace and good health.
Covid-19 Communication 12
I hope that the week started well for everyone.
I know that we had a few hiccups yesterday with Live Teaching happening at the same time in a couple of classes, but hopefully that was all straightened out for today. The confusion was not the fault of the teachers at all. The final decision was not sent to the teachers (by me) until the weekend, so many had understandably already set up classes for this week. Thanks again for your patience as I/we get better at this. Thanks also for all your messages (positive ones and those with suggestions); I know that the staff and I appreciate hearing from you.
Usually, on the second Wednesday of April, Danforth and Greenwood have a great showing for International Day of Pink. As Mr. Barone notes, “It is a day where communities across the country, and across the world, can unite in celebrating diversity and raise awareness to stop homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, and all forms of bullying”. We wear pink to show that we are united in making our schools safe places to be for everyone. You can learn more about IDP at their website, here: https://www.dayofpink.org/en/home. Although tomorrow will have to be a virtual day of pink, you can still have fun with it at home … pink clothing, pink cupcakes, pink Tie-dye? We’ll look at a way to share your images, so take some photos!
There are quite a few students at both schools who will be receiving support in the coming days of technology and/or internet. Board IT staff collected computers from schools over the weekend and early this week and they are making every effort to get them out to students who need them as quickly as possible. As you can imagine, it is a massive job. We’re sorry that we weren’t able to get them out sooner, but they should be with you shortly. If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to write me.
For today’s updates, I also wanted to offer a few reminders and to add to our resources list. First, as teachers go online, it is really important that students remember they will only be able to ‘enter’ classes with their TDSB email addresses; this will be consistent for all teachers and is in everyone’s best interests and safety.
As for resources… many of our families have had cause to use Holland Bloorview over the years and the team there has put together a really interesting set of links that will support people in many ways, from information on your Legal Rights During Covid 19 to a Spanish resource for families, and to free Yoga videos (among many other useful links – http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-19-Family-Resource-Centre-e-letter-March-31.pdf). I’ve also been informed that the Eastview Community Centre has a food bank that will be providing for families in need between 10:30 am and 1 pm, every Tuesday (from the East Gym Door at Kempton Howard Park – 86 Blake Street). Families can also learn more about how they can get support from the Ontario government during this challenging time here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-families.
And that’s it for today! Thanks for reading,
Covid-19 Communication 11
Welcome to week 3! I hope you all had a positive and relaxing weekend.
In this update I wanted to talk further about teaching and schedules for this and the coming weeks. As I have mentioned, there is not going to be one, single method of delivering the curriculum to students. For the sake of common language, staff in both schools have agreed that we will use the term ‘Live Teaching’ to describe when teachers are actually teaching a class online with students watching and participating; we’ll use the term ‘Independent Learning’ for the work teachers will send to students and expect them to do independently and then submit in the manner outlined by the teacher.
For teachers who are going to be doing Live Teaching, it seems that the only way we could schedule students and avoid conflicts is by following our school schedules. So, for example, if you are in English on Day 2 period 1, and Danforth’s schedule says that happens on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of that week, those are the times your teacher can schedule live sessions and expect some, most, all students to join them online. The same would be true for Greenwood classes, of course. To be explicit, teachers are not going to be scheduling every period that they would normally see students. But, if they are scheduling time, this is when the teachers will do it. To help you plan for this, you will find the Danforth calendar, with days, here: http://www.danforthcti.com/calendar/ and the Greenwood calendar, with days, here: Greenwood SS School Calendar.
In terms of the amount of time that students will spend on a course, I wanted to make a clarification on my Communication 10 update on Friday. In that note, I had said that students would have a ‘minimum’ of 1.5 or 3 hours of work per course, depending on the school. A parent asked me about the use of the word ‘minimum’. I think that the number was more meant to be a guideline or target, rather than a minimum. In this very strange time, we are trying to create a positive balance for all students and are very mindful of the fact that everyone is going to have a different response to this kind of learning. We would like to support students in meeting as many of the essential expectations that remain in their courses as possible, while ensuring that we are not overloading them and causing undue stress, in a very stressful time. Students (or Parents/Guardians), if you feel that the balance is not working for you, I would encourage you to reach out to your teachers to discuss this. Of course, you can also always connect with me, if I can be of help.
For students in Grade 12, I know that many of you are feeling quite anxious about graduation and the marks that will be submitted to the Colleges and Universities. I have asked teachers to inform you of the mark that you had going into the March Break; to inform you of marks on assignments that you may not yet have back; to let you know of any outstanding assignments and which ones you can still hand in; and, to let you know about any assignments that can be re-submitted for improved grades. This is true for all grades, of course, but I know that students in a graduating position are feeling the marks pressure very keenly. I want to assure you that in this exceptional year, we are all going to be as flexible and as accommodating as possible.
For some resources to support students in both schools, please take a look at these links that the Danforth Student Success and Student Services Team have put together. There is a great Chris Hadfield link, some good sample schedules to help you organize your days, lots of academic support links and some tips on healthy internet use (again, I know you’ve heard it a million times, but please take a moment to at least look at these…maybe you’ll find something new!). Here’s the link: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Student-Success-Tips-for-Working-at-Home-2020.pdf
In terms of support, I wanted to provide a few more links to consider. I know that this is a very tough time for many families (whether financial, social or emotional). For those families fortunate enough to continue in secure work and have the ability and inclination, I know that many of you have been lending a helping hand to your families, friends and neighbours. If you are looking to extend your help and generosity to others in the larger community, here are some groups/organization who could use your support. Daily Bread Food Bank is an agency that families at both schools benefit from; you can find their donor page here: https://www.dailybread.ca/ways-to-give/. The Red Door Shelter is an important community shelter for women and their children and you can learn about and support them here: https://www.reddoorshelter.ca/ways-to-give. If there are other community agencies or groups you think we should be thinking about, please let me know.
Finally, students, some of these resources might be of interest to your parents and guardians, too, so please share them with them. And parents and guardians, if you think your students may not be taking the time to look at these updates, please encourage them to! And, if you have suggestions on how we could get this information to all more effectively, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Great rest of the day to everyone,
Covid-19 Communication 10
This new reality that we’re all experiencing can be stressful and challenging, but it is also providing all kinds of new learning opportunities that can be really positive (I know, even to me, that sounded very Principal-y). I am learning a lot about technology, my colleagues (and their commitment to student well-being) and about the families that are writing and connecting on a variety of issues, among other things. I hope your learning is mostly positive, too, during this unique time in our lives.
In that learning mode, I wanted to share a light-hearted, short video that Kim, one of our Child and Youth Workers (CYWs) in the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Program shared with me. She reminded me that this is Autism Awareness Month and that it would be great if students and their families who are not in the ASD Program could take a look at this video and learn a little more about living with ASD. In both schools there are students who live on the Autism Spectrum and it would be wonderful if their peers took a little time to understand what this means. You can find the video here: https://vimeo.com/144769608.
Going back to online learning, I think that many of you will have seen the Minister’s outline of expectations. In the coming weeks, students at Danforth will be expected to focus on each course for a minimum of 1.5 hours per week and students at Greenwood for a minimum of 3 hours per week (the difference is because Greenwood is semestered with 4 courses per semester and Danforth is full-year, with up to 8 courses over the year). I will be sending out some more information on online learning early next week. In the meantime, though, I know that many families and teachers have religious holidays coming up. On those days, of course, we are not expecting students or teachers celebrating their holy days to be available on line.
I was asked yesterday about Grade 12s who are applying to College or University and what this all means for their applications. I looked into it further and have been told that OUAC and OCAS, which organize the applications, are still expecting to upload marks on April 21/22. This transmission will be done centrally and we will be uploading those marks in a few weeks, unless we are given other directions from the Ministry. Guidance will be sending further information, as it comes out, to students in a graduating position. I will be speaking to the teachers of some courses, like Grade 12 Calculus, to discuss this further.
I wanted to share this next resource for families who may be using Food Banks over the coming weeks and months. I know that some of these sites have closed or put some restrictions in place, and I wanted you to have the most up to date information that we have. You will find information about these services, across the city here https://covid19.211central.ca/ and here : https://www.dailybread.ca/need-food/programs-by-location/.
And finally, since I am writing this on Friday afternoon and many of you may want to catch a film, you’ll find some great short ones (and some longer ones) here https://www.nfb.ca/, at the National Film Board site.
Thanks for reading these updates and my best wishes for a good weekend.
Covid-19 Communication 9
In this update, I wanted to focus on the upcoming learning that students will be doing in their online environments and to provide another resource for our community.
Students, I wanted to remind you to please use your TDSB student email address when connecting with teachers and school staff. I imagine that this is not the email you use with your friends (or that you check most often), but for the next while, please make it your primary email address for all things related to school. If you have forgotten your password, or need to reset it for any reason, you can do so here: TDSB’s Forgot Your Password?. Parents and Guardians, if you think your student may not be receiving these emails, please check and remind them that it is the only address that teachers (and I) will be able to use to connect with them.
In the online environment, it is important that we always show respect to each other and continue to follow all classroom and school expectations. I wanted to make sure that you all have the Online Code of Conduct and that you review it; you’ll find it here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-
As we are going to be really focussing on the most essential learning in each class between now and when we return, I thought some of you might like to look at the curriculum documents that we will be using for your courses. This link will take you to the curriculum documents for all Secondary School Courses; you just have to choose Grade or Subject and then select from there. Here is the link: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/
Finally, I also wanted to share with families of Asian heritage, an excellent service that many students and families I have worked with over the years have accessed, Hong Fook Mental Health Services. From their website (https://hongfook.ca/), “Hong Fook, meaning “Health” and “Felicity” in Chinese, has been serving the Asian communities in the Greater Toronto Area since 1982. We strive to address the mental health concerns of the Cambodian, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Korean and Vietnamese communities.”
For everyone, I wish you good mental and physical health!
Covid-19 Communication 8
By now, you’ll all have received letters from the Minister of Education , as well as our Director, informing you that we will now be out of school until May. I think we all understand that this is the right and logical thing to do in the face of this pandemic, but knowing that may not make our day to day lives under the ‘stay at home’ order any less challenging.
Students, some of you may think it odd for me to say, but I hope that you will see school work not only as a means of deepening your knowledge and preparing you for next year’s work, but also as a means of giving structure to your days. One of the things that can be hardest for all of us is to feel at ‘loose ends’; if this goes on for too long, we can start to feel down and out of sorts. Staying engaged with your school work, and seeing your teachers and friends online, will help to organize your days and give them a positive sense of purpose.
In my meeting with Department Heads at both schools, we discussed how learning will look over the coming month. We’re still working on the details, but there will be a variety of ways that teachers will engage you. For example, some teachers may engage you actively and in real-time, using technology to invite you to live lessons, or hold “office hours” in a video-conferencing software. Others may expect you to work more independently, sending you resources through email or Google Classroom with links to electronic textbooks, video lessons, or activities you can complete online or in your home. Whatever the means your teachers use to reach you, we have encouraged them to be flexible and responsive to your needs. We know that this new online environment is going to be challenging – for you and for your teacher, and that no one’s circumstance, whether teaching or learning from home, will be the same.
Knowing that it is good and healthy to plan for what we’re going to do once we’re through this, I thought that some of you will be thinking to next year and to College or University. If that is you, you may want to take some virtual tours of Canadian Colleges and Universities here: https://blog.
Covid-19 Communication 7
In these updates, our team has tried to share as much information as possible, without sending so much that it becomes overwhelming. We review everything before it is posted and believe these links will be helpful to many. We are trying to send e-supports for all of our diverse community of learners and their families, but if you think we are missing something, or someone, please write to me and let me know directly.
I reached out to the Urban Indigenous Education Centre today and asked for resources to support our students during this period and they sent me this very comprehensive list of resources. I started to edit it and then realized that I might be taking out something that could be of use for families who have connections across the city, and even across the province. Again, it is a well-organized, but very big list – there are a number of resources here that others also may find useful: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-
On the resources front, please review the resources pages on our websites as we regularly update and add to them. I don’t reference every addition in these updates.
Students, I’m sure most teachers (all?) have now connected with you. If not and you would like to connect with them, here are the names and email addresses for teachers at Danforth, http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-
And finally, as I say in our assemblies together (for students and parents), if an issue arises that needs to be dealt with, please don’t let it simmer – let’s deal with it quickly and resolve it! Please reach out, if we can help in any way.
Covid19 – Communication 6
I hope everyone had a good weekend (though they are starting to blur a little with the weeks, aren’t they?).
On Friday, we received direction from the Board that all teachers would begin online teaching, in a variety of ways, starting April 6th (I am aware that many of you have already been working with some of your teachers). This week, we are working together to make sure that everyone is ready for this very significant change in the delivery of curriculum and we appreciate your patience as we work out any issues that arise. This week, students and families should also be hearing from teachers who have not yet connected with them. This initial outreach will be to touch base, check-in and to begin the process of planning for the coming weeks.
A few people have reached out to tell me about some of the great work that students and their families are doing to volunteer in their communities, helping older neighbours and sewing masks for the local hospital, for example. I am attaching our volunteer form here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Portals/0/HighSchool/docs/communityinvolvementform.pdf
so students and parents can keep track of their hours. The forms can be signed in the future, once things are a little more back to normal. The form also asks for approval from me or a designate, but, for now, please just keep track of the work and the hours and we can confirm what was eligible when we return. As students know, they can also enter their volunteer hours via www.myblueprint.ca/tdsb. If you have questions about what can be used for volunteer hours, please connect with Tina Maestri, (Tina.Maestri@tdsb.on.ca) Head of Guidance at Danforth, or Melissa Hurst (Melissa.Hurst@tdsb.on.ca), Head of Student Services at Greenwood. (All of that said, please, this is not in any way meant to pressure students to do any volunteering during this time… we are putting this out there for those who are asking for the information, only).
Greenwood students, we have posted some work for those catching up on their math skills. This math is for students who have gaps in their learning, through no fault of their own. Some of it may seem like it is for younger students (and they can certainly use it, too), but the fundamental teaching is supportive and helpful. Please find math support for students studying at the Grades 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8 levels, here: ELL Math Resources .
For our LGBTQ+ students, we have a Youth Outreach Worker (YOW), Shayen Henry (he/him) who is responsible for connecting with youth, addressing their immediate needs, providing advice, and facilitating access to resources in the community. Our LGBTQ2S+ Youth Outreach Worker will also help to empower youth, families, and groups in the community to take action on the issues affecting their lives including health, education, employment and the community environment. Shayen specializes in LGBTQ2S+ topics, and explores navigating options with young people who identify with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit and questioning community. You can reach Shayen at: email@example.com
For families and agencies supporting students with Developmental Disabilities, you may find this information helpful in explaining how students can keep themselves safe and healthy. Please find the link here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Plain-Language-Information-on-Coronavirus-accessible-1.pdf.
Thanks all and hope you have a good evening,
Covid-19 – Communication 5
I hope you all enjoyed this beautiful, sunny day!
Some of you have reached out to ask about accessing textbooks and other work in schools. At this time, unfortunately, we still can’t access (or allow others to access) our schools. In the meantime, there are some textbooks that are available on line that you may find useful. These may not be the resources that you have been using up to now, but they will provide information that will help with your studies. In the coming weeks, your teachers will be using these and other online supports to teach the curriculum. For now, please find Nelson textbooks and codes to access them here (thanks Mr. Heath for forwarding this!); you can find Pearson textbooks here ; and you’ll find McGraw Hill here. Again, we know that many will need more direction to use these books, but for those who can use them now, we didn’t want to hold back on connecting you.
As promised, our Staff in Special Education have put together some resources. For students in the ASD program, or who are diagnosed with ASD, please take a look here for some resources: http://www.
The Greenwood Staff, and especially the ESL Department, also wanted to make sure that our English Language Learners (ELLs) have access to work they can do on line. Please cut and paste the Username ‘Greenwood 2020’ and password ‘Wolfpack’ to access levelled reading resources at Learning A-Z . A really interesting site, with scaffolds and higher order questioning, is Actively Learn; this site has texts and videos for ELA, Science, and Social Studies. You will find a picture dictionary/vocabulary support for ELD A/B and ESL A/B student here: http://learnenglishteens.
A support for families with young children, or for those who have children identified as behavioural might find this 30 day ‘challenge’ program interesting and useful. The only catch is that it is free today (Friday, March 27, 2020), but will be fee based after today. Take a look and see if it is a good fit for you, here: https://shop.self-reg.ca/
I hope you all have a relaxing weekend and that you stay physically distant, but socially active (on line, by phone… whatever works for you!).
COVID-19 Communication 4
For today’s update, I wanted first to reassure you that we are continuing to work on supporting student learning in every way possible, for all students.
Students, I know that many of you are receiving work and are communicating with your teachers. We’re not there yet, but in the coming days and weeks we will get to a place where we are consistent in what you are receiving and how we are supporting you. To that end, we are also working with teachers to support them as they tackle new technologies and ways to teach in this somewhat surreal time we find ourselves.
We’re continuing to update the FAQs as you send in your questions, so please check them out here http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/03/26/march-26-faq-updates/ . We also edit answers as we receive new information, so please do review these on occasion.
I hope everyone is also regularly checking in on the Board’s website, as it is also getting new resources posted daily. For example, you can find TDSB Mental Health Resources During Covid-19 here:https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Elementary-School/Supporting-You/Mental-Health-Well-being/Resources-During-Covid-19
For Parents, our Social Worker, Iolanda, offers this one-pager (Top Ten Tips for Staying Home with your Children During the Covid-19 Pandemic) for your support: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/tips-for-parents-during-pandamic.pdf . Also, I believe that you will have all received the Director’s communication, but just in case, here it is: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Director-of-Education-Letter-March-25-2020.pdf. Students, I also want you to have this information from the Director and others; please take a look and read it over. If you have questions about it, please ask!
So you know, Special Education and ESL staff at both schools are compiling information that we will post shortly.
Students, remember, we also want your questions, comments and concerns, so please always feel free to connect. If I can’t answer your question, we’ll find someone who can… or we’ll wait for the answer together!
Before signing off, I’d like to publicly thank all the staff for their work behind the scenes and online in supporting our community. I’d also like to recognize the work of VPs Gani, Bylykbashi and Wires who are working tirelessly every day to support all of us…me included!
COVID-19 Communication 3
For today’s update, I wanted to share some resources from our Social Worker, Anita Filice, here: Health and Wellness Resources for Students, Families and Staff These supports focus on some basic needs, like access to food, as well as mental health supports.The Danforth Librarian, Michael Kohn, has put together a great reference package for students and their families so they can access all the great learning resources offered through both the TDSB and the Toronto Public Library. You can find more information here: School and Toronto Public Library Learning Resources .I’m working with staff of both schools to collect resources that we can use to support English Language Learners, and for students in our ASD, DD and LD programs. I’ll send those out as soon as we have them together. (One of the team, our Greenwood/Danforth Social Worker, Iolanda Scarcello, has already sent in a great resource for our students and families in the ASD program… I didn’t want to delay getting it out there, so here you go! Supporting Individuals with Autism Through Uncertain Times)If you have specific information/resources that you think others could benefit from, please send them my way and we’ll include those we can in future updates.Thanks everyone for being such a great community to be a part of – lots of wonderful sharing and feedback!
Covid 19 Communication 2
I am sure you have all now heard that school closures will continue past the two weeks initially announced by the Government. I know that this will be challenging news for many students and their families. No return date has yet been proposed.
While the Board continues to work on how to best support student learning (for all students), I know that many of you will have a number of questions. We would like to try to answer as many of those questions as we can. To facilitate this, we have posted on our school websites, Danforth CTI and Greenwood Secondary School , a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section where you can read the questions of others and propose your own. For questions that we are not absolutely certain of the answer to, we will forward them to the appropriate authority and will cite that authority in our answer; it is critical that we are certain that any answers we provide are not in contradiction or create confusion with directives from the Government or Board.
On that note, I know that it is tempting to read rumours and to check out websites that speculate on many of the questions you may have during this unprecedented health care situation. I would like to encourage you to not do this and to always use trusted, mainstream news sources or Board or Government websites to check the facts.
Again, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have any questions or comments or suggestions. We will post this and all future communications on our websites so that the translate feature may be used.
School Closure Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Schools remain closed due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). During this time, school staff are working from home, and available for parents and students who have questions or concerns about their education.
The questions below have been submitted by our student, staff and parent community. If you would like to view the TDSB’s FAQ, it can be found here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Elementary-School/Supporting-You/Health-Active-Living/Coronavirus
Do you have a question you would like answered? Complete this form: https://forms.gle/z2QQBbkFypCqiKEr9
We will answer all questions as soon as we are able, and will update this page daily with new responses.
Q: Registration for e-Learning Summer School is supposed to open on April 1 (during school closure) and the form to be signed by a guidance counselor. Will the registration still be delayed due to school closure?
A: Registration has been delayed until April 8, pending a possible return to school on April 6. The department is considering options for approvals and registration in the event that school closures extend past April 8. You can review any updates on the e-Learning Summer School registration page: https://schoolweb.tdsb.on.ca/elearning/e-Summer-School/Registration
Q: Since the OSSLT was supposed to be on March 31st and due to the extra-long break that ends on April 5th is the OSSLT going to be cancelled?
A: Yes. The Education Quality and Accountability Office announced that the OSSLT and all other EQAO assessments are cancelled for this school year, and the graduation requirement for students eligible to graduate this year will be waived. You can view the release below: https://www.eqao.com/en/about_eqao/media_room/Pages/2019-2020-Assessment-Cancellation.aspx
Q: Will there be an opportunity to drop a course if you have enough of them, so it doesn’t adversely affect your options to get into university?
A: Yes. The full disclosure date is April 22, 2020. No course dropped prior to that date will be reflected on transcripts or used for university admissions. With the guidance office closed, we are unable to process drop requests at this time, but if you contact your guidance counsellor they will process this as soon as possible upon our return to school.
March 23, 2020
Welcome Back-ish! Greenwood S.S
I hope you and yours are all well and were able to have/enjoy something of a March Break!
As I mentioned before the Break, the Board and Ministry of Education are looking at ways to support students and student learning through this very challenging time. I am expecting further clarification on how we will be doing this, today. As the Board also has the ability to send these mass emails, you may also be receiving direct communication from them. You can also keep up to date on Board communications by checking the website at TDSB.on.ca.
Students, I wanted to ask that if anyone knows of a fellow student who, for whatever reason, does not have regular access to email, that you let me know their names. I am putting together a list of students who we will support with alternative means of communication going forward. I am expecting further direction on this from the Board, but would like to prepare, as much as possible, so that all are supported.
Further, I know that this can be a very stressful and anxiety-causing time for some people. Students, please remember that you can reach out to Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or at kidshelpphone.ca; this is a free and confidential service and counselors are available to chat, 24/7. I know that the school and Board are also looking at ways to support student mental health, as well as academics, throughout the coming weeks. If you have health-related questions, a great source of information on Covid 19 (or any other issue) is Toronto Public Health www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/.
So you know, so far, questions from families have been focused on access for those who don’t have internet/computers at home and the impact of this closure on students’ graduation/applications to College or University. As mentioned above, to the first question, I am told that both the Ministry of Education and the Board are working to find solutions to support students who need devices/internet; and, to the second question, the Minister has said that the two-week closure will not have an impact on graduation or applications to Colleges/Universities.
I would like to encourage everyone to stay as positive as possible and to know that this challenging time will pass.
As always, I am available and can be reached at my email address if you have any questions or if I can be of help.
Please note, this message will be posted on our schools’ websites; the translation feature can be used so that all will have access to this message.
Thanks – I’ll be connecting again soon!