March 5, 2021
I hope your week has been a good one. As students were leaving the building today, I thought it felt a little quieter than usual. I asked a few people about it and most said all was good, but for some, they said that they just had a general feeling of tiredness with the situation and concern about the real concentration of school work over such short quads. This has been a super-challenging time of our lives and I think we’re all feeling the weight of it; still, I really want to encourage everyone to try your best to stay positive and focused on your own success. I know we’re all looking forward to a return to ‘as normal as possible’, as soon as possible… and it’s coming (along with the warmer weather and more sunlight to lift our spirits). And please remember, if you need any help, school-wise or something we could help with personally, please speak to your Teacher, Guidance Counsellor, VP, or me.
A fun and positive thing you could do as an individual or with your family this weekend is to think about your favourite book, poem, short story, etc (in English or in your first language) in preparation for Canada Reads Week (March 8 – 12th). To celebrate the week, Ms. Yulien will be working with her students to compile recordings of students and staff reading from their favourite works. They will put these recorded pieces together into a Danforth/Greenwood podcast that they will be sharing with everyone on Friday, March 12th. All recordings are to be emailed to Ms. Yulien (firstname.lastname@example.org). She tells me that the reading recordings can be in any language, but if it is not in English, to please include an English translation when you send in your recording. Sign language video submissions with closed captioning are also welcomed. Please check out the flyer here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Reading-Aloud-Poster.png for more information.
Ms. Thurston at Greenwood sent a resource to share that I think would be helpful for many of our students for the project above and also for their general studies in English. If you’re not sure how to add closed captions in multiple languages to your Youtube videos, please find instructions here (along with other ways to better use Youtube to support your learning): https://sites.google.com/tdsb.on.ca/ellsonline/online-tools-for-students#h.ootwj56jk9f. And, this site https://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/?_ga=2.117336262.1346105992.1614966976-1340071981.1603902864 ‘has open access and a range of activities for vocabulary building and other skills.” The website blurb says: “LearnEnglish Teens is brought to you by the British Council, the world’s English teaching experts. If you want to learn English while having fun, this free website is just for you. LearnEnglish Teens can help improve your English with reading, writing and listening practice, tips for exams, grammar and vocabulary exercises, games and videos. You can also interact with other teenagers from all around the world.” The Board’s ESL Department promotes this site.
Ms. McFadden and Ms. Blesa-Novati sent staff some good resources for the upcoming International Women’s Day on Monday, March 8 and I thought some of you would also like to take a look at them. The theme for this year is #FeministRecovery. Ms. McFadden sent me the following: “March 8 is International Women’s Day, a time to celebrate the contributions of women and girls everywhere; to recognize women who inspire us all; and to renew discussion about the importance of gender equality in Canada and around the world. This International Women’s Day, we invite you to take a pledge to advance gender equality and support an inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by using #FeministRecovery on your social media accounts. An inclusive recovery offers the opportunity to advance gender equality and provide economic and social stability for all Canadians. Please wear PURPLE on Monday to show your support!” There are many more resources/maps/links on International Women’s Day here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Resources-International-Womens-Day.docx.
I was reminded that “In Quad 4, Catlin (CYC) and Ms. McFadden (GC) will be running an 8-week group for students who have lost a loved one. The purpose of the Bereaved Peers of DCTI is to offer support. Adolescents experience grief in unique ways. As a group, we will explore the many facets of grief. Some of the topics that will be discussed include stages of grief, dealing with holiday and special events, developing healthy ways to deal with stress and being in control of one’s emotions. If you would like to participate, please email email@example.com.” I know that this group has provided a lot of comfort for students who have been grieving. If you have suffered a loss and would like to learn more, please reach out to Catlin or Ms. McFadden.
I’ve mentioned before that the EnVision conference is coming up fast – “EnVision is a conference for middle and secondary 2SLGBTQI+ students and their allies. It focuses on identity, self-acceptance, navigating relationships, dealing with and overcoming homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, bullying, intersectional oppression, and discrimination in our schools and communities.The EnVision Conference is an annual gathering of 2SLGBTQI+ students and allies. This year the conference focuses on 2SLGBTQI+ Black and Indigenous Activism and Wellness… EnVision is most appropriate for students who are part of, or who want to start a Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA), Gender Justice Group, Equity Club or other groups of students interested in advocating for social justice and healthy relationships in schools.The conference is free and is open to TDSB middle and high school students.Launch Date: Tuesday March 30, 2021 9 am – 10:30 am (Zoom webinar), a live theatre performance. Asynchronous and Synchronous Workshops to follow – Tuesday March 30th, Wednesday March 31st, and Thursday April 1st! … Please watch for updates on this site: EnVision Website. We also encourage everyone interested to complete this google form for EnVision updates google form.” The Board’s Gender Based Violence Prevention team posts tons of great resources on a number of issues. If you’d like to explore their Board website, please look here: http://tdsbweb.tdsb.on.ca/schoolservicesgbvp/
The Board really does have some great resources on their website and another one is focused on the mental health of our students who identify as Black. As the site states, “We need to recognize and understand that the emotional impact of anti-Black racism is real, present and daily. We know Black mental health, well-being and wellness are adversely impacted by anti-Black racism, which is woven into the fabric of our institutions and systems. We need to be committed to further develop our understanding that racial trauma does lead to exhaustion, distrust of mental health supports and the silencing of Black voices.” You can read more and find some supports here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/News/Article-Details/ArtMID/474/ArticleID/1602/Black-Mental-Health-Day.
And now, I think it is time for a walk home in the last sunlight of the day!
Best wishes for a good, healthy and recuperative weekend,
I hope that you’ve had a good week and that the sunshine of the last couple of days has been reviving!
As always, lots going on at 800 Greenwood Avenue this week!
The Board’s survey on the mental health of students and staff (see the full report here: staff presentation from the TDSB Planning and Priorities Committee meeting) confirmed our own survey results that showed how stressed and anxious many of our students and staff are feeling. I know that links to websites do not solve every problem, (by a long shot), but for those of you who benefit from these kinds of resources, I wanted to share this set of resource from our schools’ Social Worker, Anita (I’m including the Educator version, too, as I know that we have many parents and guardians who work in the education sector):
Mental health tool kits:
- Student Version: The kit contains answers and resources to address the following questions and can be shared directly with students:
- What can I do to take care of myself during the Covid-19 pandemic?
- How do I know if I should reach out for help about my mental health?
- What do I do if I’m worried about a friend?
- Click here to access the student version: MH Action Toolkit-Student<https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1WxCUVIzDzHu5hCbs6S3DaEJ4wcASJNb3w7i2cmk_mOE/edit?usp=sharing>
- Educator Version: The kit contains resources and learning opportunities that have been prepared to support student mental health and the well-being of educators. These classroom-ready resources can be used for both virtual and in-person learning.
- Click here to access the educator version: MH Action Toolkit-Educators<https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Dhj8pxRJ1B2K6MT92q7txRQWG5t3X7Gr5VYaBmAAWAo/edit?usp=sharing>
- Caregivers/Parents/Families Version: The kit has information about ways parents and caregivers can help support their child(ren)’s mental health and well-being, including answers to important questions, useful resources and how to get help.
- Click here to access the parent/caregiver version: MH Action Toolkit- Parents, Caregivers and Families<https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1xwLHuZ566LLWm8KbJA2LY0GieKGd3eJwZjN1NefUSNA/edit?usp=sharing
I hope you find these resources useful!
Feedback I read on our survey also suggested how much students enjoyed the fitness challenges at both schools, as well as the clubs and teams that students could join. Many will be happy to know that the Danforth Athletic Council is again offering students and staff a fitness challenge! They write, “Are you looking for some friendly competition and motivation to work out? Sign up to be part of Danforth’s fitness challenge, running from March 1 to March 12! Participate with your friends in a team, or join individually using the google form linked below. Track your fitness journey by tallying up points so your team can win! The winners will receive a prize from the athletic council! Now open for teacher and staff participation as well!” Here is the link to sign up: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfhBsF1zlfLnEr357aYXyEAIAMkNosDEHJC6LoaUbHmTaRARA/viewform?usp=sf_link. Also, the Council is offering Intramural Days on March 18 and 19, a day 3 and 4. “We coordinate the Intramural Day is by emailing all teachers a signup spreadsheet that includes available time slots for their class and the activity options they can choose. This way each class will come outside for their break during their allotted time to play a socially distanced activity. Between each time slot, members of the athletic council sanitize the few items that students may have touched.” Student council will also be running their spirit week during this time and I’ll send that info out to all in my next newsletter.
I mentioned the Student Model United Nations in last week’s newsletter and wanted to send out my congratulations to the team! Mr. Kwan tells me that they were amazing, distinguished themselves and won a number of awards, including, Best Position Paper – Subha, Arion, Douglas; Outstanding Diplomat Award – Masrura, Quinn; Best Delegate Award – Arpit. Way to represent Danforth and Canada – Well done team!
Also on the UN page is a new club being led by Mr. Bartakovic, the HeForShe initiative. He tells me that the students wrote the following description for the group: “He for She is a pre-existing organization created by the UN to advocate for gender equality. Their main goal is to educate everyone, no matter their background on the topic, to establish an equitable society for all. He For She puts an emphasis on all genders, learning about feminism as it isn’t only a woman’s battle to fight, but a social justice issue that affects everyone. Here at Danforth, the club will range from safe and inclusive discussions and respectful debates to having movie and game nights. Overall, our objective is to educate, support, and have fun while doing so. Contact Mr. Bartakovic (Ivan.Bartakovic@tdsb.on.ca) or follow the Instagram account @danforth_heforshe find out more.”
Mr. Bartakovic is also starting out a Trivia Club and you can also contact him, if you are interested in joining. Thanks Mr. Bartakovic!
One of our new teachers at Danforth, Ms. Yulien, has started a club called, Let’s Get Crafty! (I like that). This group meets every Wednesday at 4:30 pm; you can learn more on this poster (don’t worry that it says Feb 24):
http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Lets-Get-Crafty-Club-Ad-Promo.png. Last week they “engaged the senses through meditation and created esteem wheels to boost self-esteem through positive affirmations” Here is one of them: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/letsgetcrafty.jpg. Thanks Ms. Yulien!
For those of you who like to read, or would like to read more, please consider joining the White Pine. Mr. Kohn writes: Each year, Danforth CTI Library participates in White Pine: the high school division of the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading program. In our White Pine Book Club, students read from a selection of ten Young Adult novels nominated for the annual White Pine Award. We meet online to discuss the books and Forest of Reading program activities, such as Forest Fridays: virtual author visits by award nominees. Throughout April, students who have read at least five of the nominated books have the opportunity to participate in a province-wide vote that determines the winning title, which is typically announced during the Forest of Reading Festival around mid-May. Several past members have rejoined the club, and new members are always welcome. To sign up, please join our White Pine Google Classroom, accessible through this invitation link: https://classroom.google.com/c/MjE5NTA1ODY4OTgx?cjc=4xugsoi. Once signed up, members can request one of the nominated books by completing our DCTI 2021 White Pine Book Request Form
Danforth School Council will be meeting on March 3 at 7:00 pm. We had a great turnout for our last one… please join us, if you can! Zoom meeting link: https://tdsb-ca.zoom.us/j/93230721196?pwd=V1g4OENDMzhTN3NKSnIydDRtSUl3QT09
Our Greenwood Librarian, Ms. Thurston, wanted to remind people that there are certified math teachers offering help through TVO here: https://www.tvomathify.com/students. I have heard that this is an excellent resource for supporting student numeracy. She also shared this literacy aid that, from my brief review, looks like it could be interesting for both Greenwood and Danforth students. She says that Rewordify “makes a difficult text easier to understand.” You can check that out here: http://rewordify.com/. Thanks, Ms. Thurston!
Finally, I know that many of you heard that we had a VOC ( a COVID ‘Variant of Concern’) in our building. As I noted in my email to all, this is not totally unexpected as there are cases in the community at large. Beyond the changes already made to the screening process, we just have to remain vigilant and continue to strictly follow all health protocols in order to keep our learning environment safe. There was also a case in a Danforth (Grade 9) class and one in a Greenwood (Grade 10) class. There was no link between these and as I have pointed out, there has been no transmission here in the school. Affected cohorts will be returning next week.
Also on the COVID front, the new screening process means that more students will be staying home. If you are staying home because a sibling or someone in the house has been sick, someone was out of the country in the past 14 days or because someone else in your house has been told that they must stay home because they have been a close contact, I ask that you please let the school know and fill out one of these forms:
For students over 18: https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/98c8-Attestation-for-Return-to-School-for-Students-18.pdf; and for parents of students under 18: https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/9095-Attestation-for-Return-to-School.pdf. We rely on everyone to follow the TPH directions – Thank you!
Whew! Are you still with me? That was a long one!
My best wishes for a positive, peaceful, and (… hmm, another ‘p’?), powerful weekend!
February 19, 2021
Students, it was great to see so many of you and your smiling eyes this week – welcome back!
Many of you brought back your textbooks and other items borrowed for Quad 2 this week – thanks for that! If you still have something that one of your peers will need, please bring it/them back the next time you are in school.
Our schools have been trying to provide as many opportunities as possible for our students. At GSS, many of our events are organized through the Wolf Den (for example, fitness challenges, Kahoot games, and social events). If you’d like more information on the Wolf Den, please contact Mr. McKenzie (Peter.McKenzie@tdsb.on.ca).
At Danforth, there are a number of things going on, including an upcoming Coffee House. “This is a message on behalf of your Art Council & Student Council: We’d love to see your talents at our 3rd annual DCTI Coffee House! We’re looking for some music, spoken word, poetry, dancing, visual art, and more! If you would like to be featured in our virtual Coffee House, please fill out the Google Form: https://forms.gle/DNLgGhgz3rMBFYZk7 . Stay tuned for the date and time for Coffee House, to be announced soon!” Check out their great poster here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Virtual-Coffee-House.png (I think you’ve all received this already, so this may just be a reminder).
This week I found out that Danforth has a virtual chess club! Mr. Arenas sent me a note to let us know that “the virtual chess club has been operating since December 2020. Umar has shown tremendous leadership and initiative in promoting and organizing a virtual chess club. The club meets every Tuesday at 1:15 pm in a google meet. Umar then creates a virtual tournament at lichess.org for the players that attend the google meet. Membership is currently at 33.” The team is hoping to challenge clubs across the city and will be doing so in the coming week. If you’d like more information on the club, please contact Mr. Arenas (Rodrigo.Arenas@tdsb.on.ca).
A really exciting event going on this weekend for some of our students is the Student Model United Nations. Students (and their teacher, Mr. Kwan) will have to get up at 6:30 am on Saturday to participate as their host school is in Barcelona, Spain! They will be discussing ‘The Singularity” and the role that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play in the future (I’m really hoping it isn’t the Terminator…). There are over 40 countries represented and Danforth is the only school from Canada! I know you join me in wishing them well. For more information, here is a link to the event, https://singularityfoundation.es/mun/ .
Supporting student and students’ families’ mental health, Dr. Dong, our school Psychologist, has sent out the most recent edition of Hearts and Minds, the publication of Psychological Services in the TDSB http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Hearts-Minds-February-2021.pdf. If you’d like to access past issues, you can do so here Psychological Services website.
You may have seen in the media that some schools have received test kits for COVID; Danforth/Greenwood received 50 this past Thursday. In this article from CBC, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/asymptomatic-covid-19-testing-toronto-high-priority-schools-1.5919114, Dr. Janine McCready, an infectious diseases physician at Michael Garron, notes “there are two main reasons children could be sent home with a test: they have symptoms or they are exposed to someone in their class who contracted COVID-19.” The instructions on how to use the test and submit it (at Michael Garron Hospital) are all in the package itself. In a letter from Dr. McCready that came with the test, we are told, “By using a take home test, we hope to reduce any potential barriers to getting a COVID-19 test, be it booking online, coordinating travel or waiting in line. With the take home test, you can easily self-collect the sample and then drop off the test to a local MGH testing site in your community. If your child has symptoms please do the test and drop it off to a testing site as soon as possible. If you have been notified that your child has been exposed you will receive instructions from the school or in a letter from Toronto Public Health on when to complete the test. Generally it is recommended to do the test about 7 days after your child was potentially exposed to COVID-19. If the test is done too early after an exposure it may miss an infection and it would be recommended the testing be repeated if negative. If you have any questions about the take-home testing kits, contact the MGH team at firstname.lastname@example.org.” If you have any questions, or would like a test, please let me know.
On Wednesday, February 25th from 1 – 2 pm, there will be a live, virtual presentation from The TDSB’s African Heritage Committee, Jewish Heritage Committee, Liberation75, USC Shoah Foundation, and Peel District School Board . The Board’s note says, “Our world has seen an increase in Anti-Black racism and Antisemitism. This conversation will help us consider what we have learned from history and witnesses to genocide, and reflect on how that knowledge can help us take action to counteract hate.” There will be a number of guests, including Max Eisen (a Holocaust survivor) and Joe Wilson Jr, Author of “The 761st “Black Panther” Tank Battalion in World War II, Son of Joe Wilson Sr, a member of the 761st Tank Battalion. “The 761st Tank Battalion was the first all African-American Tank Battalion in World War II. They were instrumental in helping defeat the Nazis as well as liberating several concentration camps. Holocaust survivor Max Eisen was in one of the camps they liberated.” It sounds like a fascinating presentation and one that will be appropriate for students from grades 6 – 12. A link has not been sent out yet, but once we get it, I will have it posted on our website.
Danforth Librarian, Mr. Kohn, has put together a great summary of a number of resources that the library offers. You can read more about those here http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/February-Library-Report-DCTI.docx .
And finally, please remember to wear your pink shirts on Wednesday, February 24th! On this day (and hopefully every day), Canadians across the country say that we will not be onlookers to bullying or discriminatory behaviour and say nothing, do nothing. You can read about Pink Shirt Day here https://www.pinkshirtday.ca/about .
I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing weekend,
February 12, 2021
It’s a big week ahead! We’re all really looking forward to getting back into the school and also to having you all back.
For our return, I would like to remind everyone of the importance of continuing to follow all the health guidelines that are in place. That means continuing to wear a mask that fits well and covers your mouth and nose, keeping a social distance of 2 meters, hand sanitizing/hand washing on a regular basis and following all the directional arrows in halls and on stairs. It may take a couple of days to get back into it, but I’m sure it will be old hat very quickly! I wrote in my last newsletter about some changes to the app for check-in each day, but want to say again that it is so important that if you have any of the conditions listed that you stay home. And now, you also need to stay home if anyone else in your family has COVID symptoms, has been told to stay home because they were in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID, or if anyone in your household has been out of the country in the past 14 days (you can review all of these directions here on the screening sheet from Toronto Public Health: students JK-12 ; I thought some of you might also like to see the TDSB’s Health App as a review, or if you haven’t downloaded it yet, TDSB Health App). Thanks for taking care of yourself, and all of us, by following these clear rules.
For our return, students please bring back textbooks and other items that you borrowed in Quads 1 or 2. We’ll have the auditorium open so you can go in one door, drop off your things at the appropriate table (they will be labelled) and exit through the other door. We’ll sanitize and keep these items isolated for a week before anyone else touches them. This is for both Danforth and Greenwood students.
Students and parents and guardians, please double and triple (!) check the courses that you are in. If you are in a course that you should not be in (for example, you’ve taken it before and already have a credit in it) please speak to/write to your Guidance Counsellor. Everyone does their best to ensure that this does not happen, but with thousands of course combinations, you can imagine it does happen on occasion. Please check!
Ms. Prole let me know about some exciting opportunities for students who want to make music! She writes, “The Danforth Music Department will soon be starting a virtual guitar club and a virtual wind ensemble. If you play guitar, or a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument, we’d love to have you join. Contact Ms Prole at email@example.com for more info. Please follow the Danforth Arts Council Instagram account @artofdanforth to see student work, and get info about upcoming Arts Council events. Students can submit their own art, music, and drama work to be posted by using the link found in the account!” Thanks Ms. Prole and the Arts Council!
And finally, I know I say it a lot, but one of the greatest things about our schools is their diversity… in every way. I recently received a good link on gender diversity that I hope people will take a moment to read. Specifically, it is about personal pronouns; as the note from Kids Help Phone says, “Personal pronouns are words that replace people’s names. Each person may like to be addressed with pronouns (e.g. “they”, “he”, “she”, etc.) that reflect their gender identity. If you have questions about pronouns, it’s OK if you’re not sure where to start. We asked our community of crisis responders what questions they get asked most about personal pronouns and what information they felt might be helpful for young people to know. Here, Kids Help Phone interviews the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) to share information about what pronouns are, how you can use them respectfully and how to advocate for yourself and others.” Here’s the link to What Are Personal Pronouns and Why Are They Important? – SOURCE: kidshelpphone.
Finally, my best wishes to all students and their families who are celebrating Lunar New Year! I hope you all have a happy and prosperous New Year!
Great weekend and Family Day to everyone!
February 5, 2021
Hooray! I am sure you’ve all heard that we will be back at school on February 16th for live, in school classes – I’m happy about that and looking forward to seeing you all back in the building!
I’m writing ‘hooray’, but I know that there is still some anxiety out there around returning to school. I want to remind everyone that Danforth and Greenwood had about 500 students coming to school every day up to the lockdown and we did not have a single case of transmission within the building. Students and staff were closely following the health protocols and I know they will continue to do so when we return. There will be a few more questions added to the screening process, as well as some changes to the directions as to who should not come into the building. In the past, for example, students who had been out of the country in the past 14 days could not enter the building; now, if you have anyone who lives with you who has been out of the country for the past 14 days, you must isolate with them until their quarantine is completed. Also, in the past, if someone in your household was a close contact with someone who had COVID, they alone would have to isolate; now, everyone in a household will have to stay home if one member has been told that they must isolate. I think that these added layers will be helpful and should provide another layer of confidence for everyone. Again, we’re all looking forward to seeing you!
Another reason to be happy about this return to school is that it will allow for the human connection that I know many people are missing. In the survey I sent out last week, responses on mental health from students were not unexpected, but were not great. About 50% of students identified themselves as 4 or 5 on the stress scale. In the comments section, students focussed their comments on feeling isolated, depressed and anxious. They spoke appreciatively of the work that their peers were doing to support them – from the Athletic, Arts and Student Councils, in particular. They also appreciated the online resources provided, as well as the support of individual Teachers, Guidance Counsellors and other Staff. They spoke of wanting more opportunities to meet with their peers, online or in person, and of looking forward to being back together in classes. I will look at the comments from staff and students and work with the staff at both schools to implement more supports for all.
We’re looking forward to being back together in class, but we do have one more week of online learning to go. For the week of February 8th, please continue to follow the schedule we have been using for online learning. Starting on the 16th, we’ll go back to the schedule we had prior to the lockdown. As a reminder, I will re-send that schedule later next week. As of today, all students should now have been invited to their new classes for Quad 3 and should know how to connect with their new teachers on Monday morning. I hope you have a successful and positive Quad!
Back on the COVID front (we’ve got to keep strong and united in our efforts on this, but I know it is a subject that we’re all getting a little weary of!), I have been attending weekly information sessions with the East Toronto Health Partners, (out of Michael Garron Hospital) and they are asking Principals to send out the following note:
“As we approach the return to in-person learning, it’s important to note that COVID-19 remains in our community. To help stop the virus from spreading — at home, in our classrooms and in our community — we must continue to follow public health guidelines, including getting tested for COVID-19. If you or someone in your household feels sick or think they may have been infected, we encourage you and your family to get tested at Michael Garron Hospital’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre or at a local temporary testing site or a site that is closest to you.
If you or someone in your family tests positive, a medical professional will call you to help you get better and ensure no one else in your household gets sick. There are also community and government supports available to help you with things like income assistance and groceries if you need to self-isolate. We have seen the devastating effects of COVID-19 in long-term care homes and other areas of the city. Let’s continue to keep each other safe by wearing a mask, physical distancing and getting tested.” I hope that is helpful, but if you have any questions about this, I can also try to find you answers.
I also wanted to share with you two messages from the TDSB that include some invites and information links for both African and Chinese Heritage Month.
“February is African Heritage Month at the TDSB
The Toronto District School Board is the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. Nearly one-quarter of our students were born outside of Canada, and collectively, we speak more than 120 languages. Understanding all cultures is essential to the success of our young students today as they transform and transition to be our future leaders of tomorrow.
During the month of February, the Toronto District School Board is proud to recognize and celebrate African Heritage Month. It is an occasion to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of peoples of African descent to Canada and the world. The chosen theme for 2020-2021 is Kujichagulia: Self Determination.
Please see our entire message, poster and information about African Heritage Month on the TDSB public website: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/News/Article-Details/ArtMID/474/ArticleID/1583/TDSB-Recognizes-African-Heritage-Month-in-February
Several resources, daily quotes, detail information about each of our initiatives may be found in the Heritage/History Month website for African Heritage Month: http://tdsbweb.tdsb.on.ca/equity/Heritage-History-Months/2020-2021/African-Heritage-Month-at-the-TDSB
February is Chinese Heritage Month at the TDSB
“The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) proudly co-host the event: Addressing Anti-Asian Racism in Schools and Communities to unpack the impact of racism in our communities. The February 9th evening event happens at an opportune time to both acknowledge and celebrate African Heritage Month, and to highlight Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese New Year.
The evening event is on February 9th. Time 5-6:30pm
Keynote speakers are:
- Gen Ling Chang, Deputy Executive Director of ALPHA Education will provide the historical and current context of anti-Asian racism
- Vidya Shah, Assistant Professor at York University, will speak to lateral violence, centering on Black and Indigenous voices, complicity and allyship
While speakers discuss the increase of anti-Asian racism in the current context of the pandemic, it is also placed within a historical backdrop. To assist educators, parents and community members to unlearn racism, ETFO and TDSB will launch a new resource that was developed in partnership and with the assistance of Asian educators.
The new resource Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators, will be available to the public for free download after the launch. This educator document is the first of its kind in Canada. It provides a foundation for reflection, discussion and social justice action, and centres Indigeneity and Black lives within the document.
For further inquiries, please contact Jennifer Watt at firstname.lastname@example.org or Alice Te at email@example.com .
TDSB contacts also include: Jacqueline Spence firstname.lastname@example.org and Karen Murray email@example.com
PUBLIC REGISTRATION LINK:
The Toronto District School Board is proud to recognize Chinese Heritage Month (CHM) during the month of February 2021. This year is the Year of the Ox: Loyal, Honest, Responsible, Hard-Working and Logical. Many Chinese Canadians will celebrate Lunar New Year on Friday, February 12. Lunar New Year is also known as the spring festival and begins with the first moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first moon of the lunar calendar 15 days later. Though celebrations will be altered this year because of the pandemic, the spirit and joyfulness will remain the same through virtual events and in-home family-based festivities.
Copies of the winning posters from our poster challenge and students from all grade levels across the Toronto District School Board will be posted soon. Please see the public TDSB website for additional information about Chinese Heritage Month: : https://www.tdsb.on.ca/News/Article-Details/ArtMID/474/ArticleID/1584/February-is-Chinese-Heritage-Month-in-the-TDSB
More information about these initiatives are on our official Chinese Heritage Month site
Resources and materials accessible through the TDSB Professional Library are available through the Heritage/History Month website: http://tdsbweb.tdsb.on.ca/equity/Heritage-History-Months/2020-2021/Chinese-Heritage-Month-at-the-TDSB“
And finally, I wanted you to know that our staff and Equity Committee (our two schools work together on this) continue to work diligently to provide leadership within the school on a full range of issues. Most recently, we had a presentation from the Urban Indigenous Education Centre and have reconnected with them as a part of Aanse (‘a program whose name comes from an Anishinaabemowin word meaning transformation’). We have 8 staff who will be ‘working collaboratively with the UIEC staff to deepen professional learning; participating in a collaborative inquiry in Indigenous Education at Danforth; and leading our school to better support Indigenous students and community.’ I’m really excited that we are reconnecting with this group after the disruption of the last year and a half.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and are as happy about our return to school on the 16th as I am!
January 29, 2021
Thanks to all of you who have responded to our survey so far. If you haven’t yet (but plan to), please do so here https://forms.gle/YERd3JaNnEdkh65YA by 4 pm on Monday, February 1st. Thanks again.
I’ll send out a report on what we discover in the surveys, but I can already see that we will need to look at how we can better support our students’ good mental health. On this topic, our school Psychologist, Dr. Dong, has shared this month’s Hearts and Minds publication. He asks you to, “Please take a moment to read through the latest issue of the attached newsletter, Hearts & Minds, which is being shared by the TDSB’s Psychological Services department. If you missed earlier issues, they can be found on the TDSB Psychological Services website, along with some information about the Psychology department. We hope you find it timely and helpful”. http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Hearts-Minds-Newsletter-Jan-2021.pdf
As we head into the Credit Rescue Week, students at both schools have been informed that in order not to be marked absent, they must sign-in to their classes during their scheduled times. Ms. Martin at Danforth sent the following, that applies to students at both schools:
“The end of the quadmester is fast approaching! Here’s what you need to know: Beginning February 1st, teachers will devote afternoon class time to credit rescue. The purpose of credit rescue is to provide students with additional opportunities to complete work that has not been completed during the regular classroom time provided. This initiative focuses not only on improving learning skills, but also targets particular curriculum expectations that students have not achieved. This intensive form of intervention will take place online, depending on class and cohort on February 1, 2, 3 and 4th. Please see the attached flyer for more information. http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Credit-Rescue-instagram-Made-with-PosterMyWall.jpg. If you have any questions about this opportunity, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or your son/daughter’s subject teacher. Thank you!”
If you’re looking for some Homework Help (Kindergarten to Grade 12), Toronto Public Library is offering ‘Brainfuse’. You can access this help from 2:00 pm (provided you’re not in class!) until 11:00 pm (hmm, provided you’re not supposed to be in bed!). Beyond homework help, this service includes ‘practice tests, support for adult learners, writing assistance, skills building and more’ Check them out here: https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMEDB0193&R=EDB0193
Students at Greenwood and Danforth have been attending the Envision Conference over the last number of years and I wanted to let you know that it is coming up. This conference ‘aims to create safer and braver spaces to explore identity, self-acceptance, navigating relationships, dealing with and overcoming homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, bullying, intersectional oppression, and discrimination in our schools and communities while centering what queer, trans and non-binary youth say they need to thrive.’ If you have attended the conference in the past and would like to provide some feedback on what you’d like to see in this year’s conference, please use this link to express yourself (by February 5, please): https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSflrxzmJp4cDiM6OIe34Ypy7duy2SAxkTN1R74duXOxHjB93Q/viewform. I’ll post more info about the conference as soon as I receive it.
Black Women in Motion is offering a Black Youth Employment Assistance Plan and you can find out more about it here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Learn-More_-BWIMs-Youth-Employment-Program-Spring-2021-Cohort.pdf . I will follow up and get some more information from the group, but as there is a due date coming up for applications, I wanted to make sure that those students who are interested can also follow-up asap. (Thanks for sharing this link, Ms. Blesa-Novati!).
The Danforth Arts Council has started an Instagram account and they wanted you to know about it! Their account will “share student artwork, music, and drama. Follow @artofdanforth to check out the great work our students are creating. Students can submit their work for posting at the form linked on the poster”. http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Danforth-Arts-Council.png
I also wanted to remind everyone that we’re having the Danforth School Council meeting on Wednesday, February 3 at 7 pm. We’ll be discussing a number of items, including course selection for next year (more about that here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Course-Selection-Night-Instagram.jpg). You can join the Zoom meeting at this address: https://tdsb-ca.zoom.us/j/95295275220?pwd=V0M0TXZBS2JtcFlmU2IxWGFWTWNjdz09 .
And finally, good wishes to all for a good weekend!
January 25, 2021
Hi Greenwood Students, Families and Friends,
Ms. Hurst has just told me about a new program from Access Alliance called “Newcomers Cooking Together”. As usual, it has to be a Zoom workshop, but, students will be given all the ingredients before the workshop and then all students will cook together online – sounds like fun!
I know it says that the due date to register is today, but Access Alliance has told us that they will still accept registrations this week (until it fills up). If you would like more information or need any help registering, please contact Ms. Hurst (Melissa.Hurst@tdsb.on.ca). The first class begins February 1st! Here’s the link to register: HTTPS://TINYURL.COM/AANCTYE1.
Have a good evening,
January 22, 2021
I hope you’ve had a good week!
I think that many of us have been on an emotional rollercoaster for the last 10 months and the events going on in the States from the beginning of January have certainly lent yet another dimension to this ride. On a massively positive note, I think that anyone watching footage from the inauguration of President Biden was impressed by the poem and presentation of Amanda Gorman, the American Youth Poet Laureate. If you missed it, I recommend you take a look at it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ055ilIiN4. I have added the poem itself here http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/The-Hill-We-Climb-Amanda-Gorman-Inauguration-Poem.docx, for those who would like to read and reflect on it.
I received that copy of the poem from Javier, who works in our Board’s Gender-Based Violence Prevention office as a Student Equity Program Advisor. He also sent out this amazing set of resources, in a very compact form, with links, here: https://wp.me/a8wC7f-2iY. These links are on Health in general, on Mental Health, on crisis supports and on support for students who identify as 2SLGBTQ.
For Newcomer Youth at Greenwood, Catholic Crosscultural Services has partnered with Immigration Canada and are offering three very exciting programs for newcomer youth. The first project is called digital resilience – it’s for newcomer youth 14-25, and Indigenous youth from Manitoulin Island, 14-25, who will connect online to make digital stories, a podcast, and a digital art installation. Participating youth will receive a grocery gift card, and a care package: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MTouSQP1hl5C0J4Cub0lZu2o5VJvvuuJ/view?usp=sharing. They are also offering a podcasting drop in group, for newcomer youth 14-19, where youth will learn how to make a podcast and actually create one: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Hv8DXJPe4PGC3fZ96ThbC8M5olkjo7Xn/view?usp=sharing. And finally, they offer the Youth Culture, Arts and Media program, a weekly drop in group for newcomer youth to learn all kinds of social and life skills here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Hv8DXJPe4PGC3fZ96ThbC8M5olkjo7Xn/view?usp=sharing. Greenwood students, please follow up with Ms. Hurst (Melissa.Hurst@tdsb.on.ca) or Mr. Bylykbashi (Dritan.Bylykbashi@tdsb.on.ca), if you would like to discuss these opportunities or need assistance signing-up!
At Danforth, Mr. Jackson has been working diligently on the Yearbook. I had the opportunity to review the student and teacher pictures that have already been sent in – they look fantastic! Since we’re not going to be able to have the usual school photos (most likely), he is asking everyone to send in a photo (that would be good for the yearbook) so that we can get as many students in as possible. Even if you’re not planning on buying a Yearbook (though we hope you will), please send in a photo so you’re included. It is going to be an out of the ordinary and amazing book, from all indicators I have seen so far! Contact Mr. Jackson if you have any questions about this – Deryk.Jackson@tdsb.on.ca.
Finally, and as always, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
Good health and good weekend to all of you,
January 15, 2021
I hope your second week back has been good and that you are all keeping well – both physically and mentally.
To support your well-being, the Danforth Athletic Council has come up with another good idea to keep us active. They sent me the following information to share with you: ”Are you looking for some friendly competition and motivation to work out? Sign up to be part of Danforth’s first ever fitness challenge! Participate with your friends in a team, or join individually using the google form linked below. Track your fitness journey by tallying up points so your team can win! The winners will receive a prize from the athletic council! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScj52S9n-3TNOdKkx62MU5Qj_HhLJT9KKcrgwsdOFFOyMqqBQ/viewform?usp=sf_link.” The Challenge starts on Monday, January 18th and ends Sunday 31st at 11:59 pm, so dust off your runners and get stretching! (Ok, that last bit was from me… and they are my runners that are dusty!).
Another way to maintain good health is to sleep well. The Mental Health & Wellness Team put out a survey to students about wellness workshops that may be of interest and the most popular topic that they selected was… sleep! In response to this, our amazing Social Worker, Anita Filice, will be running a Sleep Workshop next Wednesday, January 20th from 3:30-4:30 pm. Please see details in the flyer below (or click here: https://wp.me/a8wC7f-2iC):
Still on the staying well front, the Greater Toronto Y is offering support to learn about substances and harm reduction. They are offering free webinars that “…will focus on specific substances and will explore the effects, some history and harm reduction strategies when using the substances. We will also be answering questions. Suitable for anyone looking to learn more about substances and harm reduction, including youth, parents and service providers.” You can read more about these workshops and get date info here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/YSAP-Webinar-Calendar-FINAL.pdf . By clicking on this page, you will go to their website for more info and other programs.
Students who will be writing this year’s Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) might benefit from workshops and resources being provided by DCTI Librarian, Mr. Kohn. Please see this note from him, “Good day students! Please take a few moments to complete the OSSLT Literacy Boost Online Questionnaire (https://classroom.google.com/c/MjQzMzYxOTU3NjMw?cjc=4aybhxi). I will be using your responses to create a Google Meet schedule that takes your availability into account. I anticipate that there will be between six and eight workshop sessions (including a general introduction, workshops on specific reading and writing tasks, and an information session on the test dates and new online format, once these have been announced by EQAO). Each workshop will be offered twice per week. The OSSLT orientation session will be held the week of January 18 (next week).” Please speak to your teachers if you need any help with signing up. You can also reach Mr. Kohn if you have any questions by writing him here, Michael.Kohn@tdsb.on.ca.
We’re all feeling that this has been an… exceptional year, I think. If you’re looking for a keepsake of it, please consider buying a school yearbook. Danforth has published a yearbook every year since 1923, including the war years of 1939 – 1945 (so COVID is definitely not stopping us this year!). We normally have these purchased as part of your school fees, but this year all those fees were waived, of course. So, the Yearbook will be a bit smaller than other years, but it will only cost $20 and will include student work, photographs of this very odd year from the events we’ve been able to have and from all around the school. Sales are in their final push now and once we put in the numbers, we’ll need to stick to them. Your parents can reserve one online at this address: https://tdsb.schoolcashonline.com (there is a sign-in/registration for parents to purchase school items online). Mr. Jackson will be sending out more directions on how to purchase a Yearbook and he will also post those instructions on the school website in the coming days. Thanks for considering the purchase of a school Yearbook… a year to remember, for sure!
And finally, I wanted to say that at all the online meetings I’m attending, the school staff is consistently telling me how much they are missing seeing all of you, our students – and I am feeling the same! We are all really looking forward to being together again at the school… and I hope you are, too.
I hope you all have a great weekend,
January 5, 2021
I hope your start of this stage of online learning for everyone has been ok and mostly glitch free!
As the school offices are now closed, I wanted to make sure that everyone is aware of how to contact staff, if there is a need.
You all have my contact info, through this email, if you need to reach me.
Mr. Bryan Wires (Students with last names that start with A – K) Bryan.Wires@tdsb.on.ca
Mr. Darren Gani (Students with last names that start with L – Z) Darren.Gani@
Ms. Tracey Reavell-Roy (Last names A – G)
Ms. Jessica Chan (Last names H – K)
Ms. Alexis Martin (Last names L – M)
Ms. Kim McFadden, ACL (Last names N – Z)
All Teachers can be located on our website, under Contact Us: https://
Mr. Alvin Ng
Mr. Dritan Bylykbashi (All Students)
Ms. Melissa Hurst (All Students)
All Teachers can be located on this document:
Thanks and hope you are all keeping well!
January 3, 2021
Happy New Year to all of you!
I hope that you have had a safe and enjoyable holiday.
As you know, as of Monday, January 4th, all students will be continuing their classes online. Students who were online through Virtual School or through our Local Virtual School will continue their studies as before the winter break. For students who were coming to school for their classes, they will now also be studying fully online. For those students, classes will begin at 9:00 am on Monday; it will be a Day 1. They will access their classes with the same codes used prior to the Break, unless they have heard otherwise from their teachers.
As you may recall, the school sent out a contingency schedule for online learning starting on January 4th. On the Friday before the winter break, the Board sent out another, different schedule for this synchronous (live) teaching time/independent learning time. After discussing these two options with VPs, Department Heads and seeking feedback from School/Student Council (DCTI), I have decided to continue with the schools’ plan. For both Danforth and Greenwood, classes will run from 9 – 11:30 am, with some part that may be dedicated to 1 on 1 work with the teacher/small group work. Students will continue their independent learning from 11:30-12:30 and then have their afternoon class as they did before the break – from 2 – 3:15 pm.
If there is a need to re-visit this model or if the online learning extends beyond the end of January, I will reach out again.
If you have any questions or concerns about this, please feel free to write.
Again, best wishes for a positive start to 2021!
December 11, 2020
I hope this email finds you well.
We’ve had a good week at the school that, for many students, started on the back field with class cohort events on Monday and Tuesday. Students played giant Jenga, and a few other games while masked-up/practicing social distancing with their classmates. It was cold, but sunny and everyone seemed to positively enjoy their breaks (almost felt like the longed-for ‘normal’!). Thanks Athletic Council!
Speaking of ‘normal’, I know that our students who are studying virtually may not be feeling that same, normal connection to their school. I wanted to reach out to all of you to remind you – you are ours! We want to make sure that you and your parents know that we are thinking about you and want to continue to support you – again, you’re still Danforth and Greenwood students! Students studying virtually know that they can reach out to their Guidance Counsellor and VPs at either school, (or me), but you should also know that there are other resources to help you through this challenging time. Ms. McFadden and the Student Support team at Danforth have put these support resources/info together for students, here https://docs.google.com/document/d/16mDPFunrZbMrzCTXteV7kzHHzG1psunxJN-c1GRtaJk/edit?usp=sharing and for their parents, here https://docs.google.com/document/d/1k7CDpL5oQXK872VSAWJlF4rqidb_hum7RahTOpYjzQA/edit?usp=sharing. We hope you find them useful. Thanks Ms. McFadden and team!
I know that Mr. Jackson sent out a reminder, but if I could please also appeal to everyone to return last year’s textbooks. Our budget was cut this year to reflect the number of students who are not directly in the school and this has a dramatic impact on what we can purchase. Those textbooks sometimes cost over $100 each, so every one returned is important to your school. Thanks for bringing those (and any other equipment, like cameras), into the main office of either school.
With just one week to go, I thought you might also be interested in seeing what the Government of Ontario is calling Celebrate Safely – their suggestions for planning for a safe holiday. You can find more info here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/celebrate-safely-during-covid-19. Along similar lines, Toronto Public Health (TPH) has also sent out a letter regarding the holidays: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Holiday-Guidance-Parent-Letter-December-11-2020.pdf. Finally, on the COVID front, I’m sorry to say that there was another case in the school (#6 since the start of the school year) that resulted in one cohort of 5 students and 1 teacher having to isolate. Here is the letter from TPH on this: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/2020-12-07_DanforthColegiateTI_GeneralSchoolLetter-3.pdf
Finally, Holland Bloorview is hosting a webinar called ‘Home for the Holidays: Tips and Resources for Parents and Caregivers of Kids with Special Needs’. They are a great group and they have invited interested families to a Zoom webinar on Dec 15, 2020 07:00 PM. If you’re interested in this opportunity to hear from and ask questions of their professional team, please pre-register at: https://hollandbloorview.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PCymjOeLRcKg7wEfzM3Ajg. You will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.
And that’s it for another week! I hope you all have a great weekend.
December 4, 2020
We had a sorta ‘sleepy’ day at Danforth/Greenwood as many students (and some staff) came to school for Spirit Week’s last day – Pyjama Day – in their PJs! Thanks Student Council for all your efforts to bring cheer, to support our students and to ‘normalize’ our new school world as much as possible – you’re doing a great job!
Speaking of supports, some of you may not know about TVO’s Learn at Home Resources for Grades 1 – 12 students and I wanted to share that link for you to explore. I know many students and families who have accessed the TVO site and I have heard a lot of positive feedback. As their site states, ‘Access 144 Grade 9 – 12 online English or French high school courses with our TVO ILC Open House. Students can study by computer or tablet to keep up with their learning or deepen understanding of a specific subject. All content is developed by TVO Ontario Certified Teachers.’ Use this link to check it out: https://tvolearn.com/ .
There have been some significant changes to Toronto Public Health’s advice on the COVID screening process at schools. Just this afternoon I received this information (that you may also receive this weekend) on the new screening process that is to take effect on Monday. Please take a look and please follow these directions:
‘Toronto Public Health just announced today it is has updated its COVID-19 student screening tool to prevent further opportunities for virus spread. The TDSB follows direction from Toronto Public Health and the new screening tool will be effective starting Monday, December 7, 2020.
As part of this guidance, if a child has one or more new, or worsening COVID-19 symptoms, parents will now be required to:
- Keep their child home.
- Keep siblings and other children home, even if they do not have symptoms.
- Arrange for the child to get tested or contact their health care provider.
- Without testing, the child must stay home for 10 days.
- Monitor the family for symptoms. Adults must stay home if they have one or more symptom.
I hope that everyone is aware that the Ontario Government announced a repeat of the funding for families that was offered in the Spring. They will give families $200 for each child up to the age of 12 years old, and for children who have special needs, up to the age of 21. For more information, please go to this site: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-learners . You can also find a great list of Government and charitable supports for students with disabilities here: https://giftedpeople.ca/funding/.
COVID testing, COVID information in multiple languages. and Mental Health supports in the community can be found on the South Riverdale Community Health Centre information site, herehttps://mailchi.mp/262a70fe333e/covid-19-community-messages-and-pop-up-testing?e=7028b78777. For more info on counselling agencies for Mental Health in Toronto, please call 1-866-585-6486. You can also find some clear information and links at the Canadian Mental Health Association, here: https://toronto.cmha.ca/mental-health-2/find-help/mental-health-resources/. For students, I know I’ve sent it many times, but please remember that you can text a live counsellor 24 hours a day at Kids Help Phone at TEXT 686868 for support.
Finally, I thought I would share this great image and story from the Globe and Mail this week of Danforth students in 1937! Thanks to a parent for sharing it with me!
|JACK SMITH/THE GLOBE AND MAIL|
|Students from Danforth Technical School in Toronto watch a demonstration of The Globe and Mail’s wirephoto transmitter by L.T. (Lou) Kellie, a Globe and Mail wirephoto operator, in the spring of 1937. It had been about four months since The Globe began using wirephoto technology, reducing the time it took for news photos to travel. The Globe was printing photos alongside breaking news stories and readers wanted to learn how this was possible. The Globe’s wirephoto operators were accustomed to carting the transmitter to different schools for demonstrations. On this day at Danforth Tech, a picture was taken of students in class then developed and printed in the school, transmitted to The Globe’s wirephoto room, developed and printed again, then rushed by car to the school to show the students. Similar demonstrations were offered during the summer’s Canadian National Exhibition. Solana Cain|
I hope you all have a great weekend,
November 27, 2020
I hope your transition to Quad 2 has been positive and that you are settling into your new classes smoothly!
There were a few small bumps as we adjusted to the LVS (Local Virtual School) model, but I am thrilled with how well it is going so far. Please let us know if you have any concerns, questions or suggestions on how things are running.
Transitions are, generally, stressful times and we’ve been going through a lot of them lately. In the not too distant future, we’ll be moving into the Winter Holidays and I wanted to let you know that the team at Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO https://cmho.org/) will be running a free webinar to support families who may be concerned about how those holidays are going to go. The webinar will take place on December 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 and will be led by mental health experts. If interested, you can sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdQ-GlIhKyCCwAvhO9i7jiyldpIfiaiUgnLB9a6ksf0IO4L9g/viewform . I don’t really know the CMHO group, but it looks like they have some good supports, including this one on preparing for the holidays: https://cmho.org/seven-tips-to-get-ready-for-the-holidays/. Finally, on the mental health front, the source of this info was a tweet from Lumenus (https://lumenus.ca/), which is a new organization formed by the amalgamation of The Griffin Centre, Skylark, The Adventure Place and The Etobicoke Children’s Centre. Their site looks like it will be another good resource for students and families seeking information on mental health.
One way to combat stress and maintain good mental health is by being active. The new Student Athletic Council at Danforth asked me to pass along this message to everyone: ‘Feeling sluggish due to the lockdown? Then it’s time to get active! Starting November 30, the athletic council will be hosting virtual workouts every Monday and Thursday from 3:30-4:00pm. You can find the google meet link in our Instagram bio @danforth_athletics, where we’ll also be posting more details!’ Thanks to the students of the Council and Mr. D’Angelo!
At Greenwood, Mr. McKenzie and the staff are also looking out for student and staff mental health, too, and Mr. McKenzie gave me this to share: ‘Greenwood students have all been invited to join the Wolf Den google classroom. In the Wolf Den you will find fun and interesting information to keep you happy and healthy during these difficult covid times. We will also be running three google meets each week through the Wolf Den. On Monday and Wednesday at 3:15 you can join Peter Lam from TDSB Newcomer Services for a live workout. On Thursday at 3:15 you can compete against your friends and teachers in a live Kahoot. If you are having difficulty logging in to the Wolf Den, please contact email@example.com.’ Thanks Mr. McKenzie!
I’m also happy to share this note from Mr. Kohn, the ACL of Library and Literacy at Danforth regarding library circulation and resource and research information: ‘COVID-19 has forced our entire education system to make significant changes to how we serve students’ learning needs. Though social distancing and resource handling protocols have been obstacles to accommodating classes in our cozy physical space, Danforth Library & Learning Commons has adapted its services to students and staff through virtual channels. To make it easier for students to sign out books safely and conveniently, we have introduced the DCTI Library Book Request Form. After a student completes and submits this Google Form, Danforth’s teacher-librarian retrieves the requested book and signs it out to the student for pick up at the front entrance of the library. Further details, including a link to the DCTI Library Catalogue, are on the form itself.
To serve students’ needs for research and resource assistance with course assignments, we have also created the DCTI Library Research Assistance Request form. Students can use this Google Form to ask their teacher-librarian for help with finding current, relevant, and valid sources of information. The teacher-librarian will search DCTI Library’s catalogue of print resources and TDSB Virtual Library’s online resources, which include eBooks, streaming media, and databases containing academic journals, news and magazine articles. Search results, including links to recommended digital resources, are sent to students through their TDSB student Gmail accounts. Additionally, relevant print materials are held for students to pick up at the library entrance.
Going forward, Danforth Library & Learning Commons will continue to tailor its program and services to the evolving circumstances presented by this pandemic. For more information on subject-specific resources online, please visit the Our Learning page of Danforth’s Virtual Library.’
There’s feeding the brain and there’s feeding the stomach – to help with the latter, Danforth and Greenwood are putting together food banks to support our families (and they’re already looking good!). I will be sending out information on how to contribute and collect safely (nothing will be shared that has not been isolated for 72 hours, among other safety measures), but did want to give the heads-up now that this is coming soon. Students, Student Councils at both schools and your cohort teachers will be sharing more info in the coming days.
On that positive note, wishing you all the best for a good and healthy weekend,
November 20, 2020
I hope you’ve had a good and productive Credit Rescue/Marks Improvement week and that you are all looking forward to Quad 2!
As you know, we had a late curve ball thrown at us with the task of creating a local virtual school (LVS) and this has caused some delays as we move students from in-school to LVS and set new timetables. This has meant that students will only receive their timetables at some point today. This is not how things are normally done, of course, and we’re sorry about this timing. We appreciate your patience as we juggle all these moving pieces to get in place for Quad 2.
For students enrolling in our LVS (Local Virtual School), your teachers will be reaching out to you with invitations to your classes. As I’ve mentioned (in my past communications), please don’t be surprised if the teacher name on your timetable is not a Danforth or Greenwood teacher. To make this model work, we have ‘shared’ students between schools in a ‘hub’ model. This means that if a student at Danforth wanted a class that we could not offer in the virtual school, but another school could, we ‘transferred’ that student to that class in this quad (only). It also means that some Danforth virtual classes will have students in some of their LVS classes from the other schools in our Learning Centre (Malvern, Riverdale, Monarch Park, EYCI, Bloor, Humberside, Eastdale, Heydon Park, Oakwood, Alternative Schools, Runnymede, Lakeshore, and SOLE are all participating). It would be hard to express the amount of work that has gone into making this complex model work for our students (and teachers) and I would like to publicly thank our Guidance Counsellors, who have worked some evenings until 9 pm in order to get students placed in their classes, and VP Wires, who has been at the centre of the whole project, for their extraordinary commitment to meeting the needs of our students.
Our community continues to strictly adhere to wearing masks, keeping social distance, and not mixing cohorts. That said, we know that COVID cases are rising in the community and this will have an impact on our students. Unfortunately, we had a case last week (confirmed this week) of potential exposure, so we have one cohort at home until next week. TPH has sent this letter, as part of their process of informing communities http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/TPH-COVID-19-Letter-Nov-20-20.pdf. Though it is possible that we will have other cases in the future, so long as everyone follows our health rules, there is little risk to students and staff. I want to assure everyone that we have had no transmission at the schools.
Very sadly, I learned that there was a death of a young person in our broader community recently (not COVID related and not a student at either school). I wanted to pass on my condolences to those who have lost their friend and I wanted to remind all students that we have supports in our Guidance Departments; at Danforth, there is also a Bereavement Group. Ms. McFadden reminded me that “In Quad 2, Catlin (CYC) and Ms. McFadden (GC) will be running an 8-week group for students who have lost a loved one. The purpose of the Bereaved Peers of DCTI is to offer support. Adolescents experience grief in unique ways. As a group, we will explore the many facets of grief. Some of the topics that will be discussed include stages of grief, dealing with holiday and special events, developing healthy ways to deal with stress and being in control of one’s emotions. If you would like to participate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
A couple of weeks ago I received the instruction that schools are to collect ‘attendance’ for days when students are studying at home. The process on this collection of attendance will be sent out in the early days of next week. Basically, students will be asked to enter information to confirm that they are studying at home. Their teachers will then submit the ‘attendance’ to the office for record keeping. This is going to be a little tricky (we don’t want the system calling you if you are marked absent), but we’ll figure it out! This is a Board/Ministry of Education requirement.
And, on that note, I’ll wish you all a good weekend and good start to Quad 2!
I hope you and your families are all well.
The end of our first quad is approaching and I hope that students are happy with their achievement to date. As you all know, we have Credit Rescue days to hand in assignments and to work with teachers to ensure a strong, passing mark. In senior classes, students also have the opportunity to work to improve their marks from the quad.
This week marked Remembrance Day and Danforth has a rich history that we make a special point of honouring every year with a special assembly. This year, we did this on the PA system and I would like to recognize the students and staff of both Danforth and Greenwood for putting on such a lovely ceremony; there were poetry readings (in multiple languages), music, a live rendition of O Canada, a moment of silence and a thoughtful reflection. This year the school was also recognized in two newspaper articles that I thought you might find interesting: https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/11/10/lest-we-forget-staff-and-students-from-danforth-collegiate-and-technical-institute-who-served-in-second-world-war-remembered/ and https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/meet-the-97-year-old-second-world-war-veteran-who-s-helping-a-new-video-game-take-off-1.5793310?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar.
The following looks like a good opportunity, but I’m sorry to say I only received it late this week… Still, I thought some of you may be able to take advantage of this Monthly Workshop Series for Black Parents. The note reads, “The Black Foundation of Community Networks is hosting a monthly workshop series for Black parents. The first session is Friday, November 13 at 7 p.m., titled I Am Focused, offers parents scheduling tools and techniques to get your family focused and ready for success. An open discussion will follow the formal part of the workshop. These free, virtual workshops are open to all Black parents, but are designed especially for those with younger children. Please share this information widely with your school community. Registration via Eventbrite is mandatory in order to participate. A Zoom link and further details will be sent to all those who register. For more information or to share accessibility needs, please contact us at email@example.com or 416-566-2731.” If this information is coming to you too late for you to be able to take advantage, I hope that you will contact the organizers so you can attend future meetings.
Unfortunately, we had another COVID case at the school. The students and staff of one class are now in isolation. They have all been informed, but I would also like to pass on to you the school letter from TPH on this case: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/2020-11-11_DanforthCollegiateTI_GeneralSchoolLetter.pdf. TPH has also sent the following: “As we know that Toronto will move into the Red – Control category of the Province’s colour-coded system for COVID-19 restrictions, with additional measures beginning November 14. Please share the Public health measures for red control level and Toronto public health specific enhanced measures to your community through your digital platforms or newsletters. Also, Learn more about the health measures and how to protect yourself and others during this period. Furthermore, some of your community members will be celebrating Diwali this weekend. We wish all of those celebrating Diwali a very Happy Diwali and safe celebration! Please do not host or attend in-person gatherings this year while celebrating the festival of lights, but rather celebrate and connect virtually. Please follow TPH recommendation for Celebrating a Safer Diwali safely this year.”
We have been moving forward on the creation of a Local Virtual School (LVS) Model for those who have requested it. As I mentioned in the initial planning, those students who have requested LVS may:
- Be placed with Danforth and Non-Danforth teachers
- Have their timetables changed to fit courses that are available
- Not be able to get all their requested courses
- Not be able to participate in specialized programming classes like MaST
I know that this is not ideal, but unfortunately we have many limitations imposed on us by this new structure. If you have any questions about this, please reach out to your Guidance Counsellor first.
Exciting news from Arts and Athletics at Danforth: First, “do you want to get more involved in athletics at Danforth? Be sure to follow @danforth_athletics on instagram to stay up to date on upcoming events and activities. If you are interested in taking on a role on the athletic council, be sure to DM us! For the Arts, “All students enrolled in any Drama, Music, or Visual Arts class are invited to join our new Danforth Arts Council!!This student-led council will:
- Organize and promote student activities within the Arts program and school.
- Provide leadership and encourage participation in all aspects of school life.
- Act as advocates, mediators and mentors for students of the Arts program.
- Foster school and department spirit.
There will be executive positions available, including President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary, and more. There will also be a general council of students who will help to plan and support Arts-related events in our school. Our virtual information session will be held on Tuesday, November 17th at 3:30pm. The Google Meet code is DanforthArtsCouncil. https://drive.google.com/file/d/17wvvnBTctv44b2xeeu7zSB91C5YSeP85/view?usp=sharing
Back to the Academic front, some of you may be interested to know that the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) graduation requirement “will be waived for all students graduating during the 2020-21 school year. The ministry is continuing to explore a field test of the online OSSLT in Spring 2021, which could allow the opportunity for non-graduating students to write the test and have successful attempts counted on their transcript.”
My best wishes to all for a wonderful weekend and for those celebrating this weekend, happy Diwali to you and your family!
November 6, 2020
Remembrance Day/Equity/Grade 12 Plans/COVID Test Ctrs
I hope you’ve all had a good week. How wonderful, in November, to have the windows and doors open and to have this infusion of fresh air!
I recently learned that the East end of the city has a number of new, pop-up COVID 19 assessment centres. All but one (South Riverdale) will run until the end of November. If you’re interested, please take a look below for more information on sites near to where you live:
- Flemingdon Park (2 locations) http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Flemingdon-Final.pdf
- Warden Woods http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Warden-Woods-final.pdf
- South Riverdalehttp://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/South-Riverdale-Final.pdf
- Taylor-Massey (Crescent Town) http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Taylor-Massey-Crescent-Town-final.pdf
- Thorncliffe Park http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Thorncliffe-final.pdf
- East York (MGH) http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/East-York-final.pdf
And here’s a map to show you where they all are – http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/MGH-PopUp-Assessment-Centre-Map_Nov20.png
As we settle into this oddest of years, the schools are beginning to get back into our School Improvement Planning (SIP) process. One aspect of the plan is focused on Equity issues in general and Anti-Black Racism, in particular. I’ll share more about this plan as the year proceeds. In the meantime, I thought that some of you may not know about one resource we use – the City of Toronto website, under the section called ‘Toronto for All’ (https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/get-involved/community/toronto-for-all/anti-black-racism-2/). The site includes info on Anti-Black Racism and Mental Health, Islamophobia, Indigenous Peoples of Tkaronto, Trans Youth of Colour, Anti-East Asian Racism, Disability Awareness and Inclusion, and more. In each of these sections, there are links for support and exploration (like ‘check your bias’, for example).
The Danforth Guidance Department will be hosting “Life After High School: Applying to Apprenticeship, College, Full-time Employment & University” on Monday, November 16th from 3:30 – 4:30pm. This is an information workshop that will help guide Grade 12s though the coming months. We will discuss each of the Pathways, review graduation requirements, highlight important dates and deadlines, as well as answer any questions that our Grade 12s may have as they navigate their way to graduation and beyond. A Google Meet code will be posted in the Grade 12 Guidance Google Classroom closer to the workshop.
Some of you who come by the school building will notice that there is a scrolling list of names to commemorate Danforth students and teachers who served, and some who died, for Canada during World War 2. Those of you who are new to the school may not know that Danforth had the highest number of students and staff of any school in the Commonwealth enlist to fight fascism in Europe during the War. To honour this profound sacrifice, the school was given the beautiful stained glass windows in our library (boarded up now as stonework is done on the façade of the building). Our Remembrance Day Services each year are informative, moving and reinforcing of the deep history that Danforth has in our community and country. This year, we will remember on November 11th and 12th and will have a student and staff led program on the PA system for Remembrance Day. (We will do this over 2 days so most students and staff can experience it).
I hope you all get to enjoy the lovely weekend ahead,
October 30, 2020
School Council/AODA/2SLGBTQ/NOV 2 PHONES DCTI/GSS
I hope you’ve all had a great week.
One of the wonderful things about our schools is the incredible diversity that exists within our walls. I try to ensure that I am being as inclusive as possible when sending out information/resources in these newsletters, but if you find that you don’t see yourself or community reflected in these messages on occasion, please let me know and I’ll work to fix that. Another good way to get your voices heard is by participating/tuning in to School Council meetings. We were a little slow off the hop this year (a few distractions!), but we’re now ready to get started. The School Council Executive from last year has sent the following message and links:
“Welcome new and returning DCTI students and families! As we start a new year, we invite parents and caregivers to our first school council meeting for the 2020/21 school year. This is a school year like no other, with covid creating challenges for students, parents, teachers and administration alike. The School Council wants to welcome new and returning DCTI students and families. The Council is here to engage with and support all families to make the 2020/21 school a great experience for all.
To start, parents and caregivers are invited to attend the first DCTI School Council meeting on Thursday, November 10th , a virtual session via Zoom. The agenda (http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/DCTI-School-Council-Agenda-Nov10-2020.pdf) will be posted online along with other DCTI School Council resources under the Community tab on the DCTI website. The first meeting activities will include the election of the 2020/21 School Council executive members; we encourage you to join. Please see the DCTI newsletter – http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/DCTI-School-Council-2020-Newsletter-1-1.pdf – for details. We would love to meet you!
For parents and caregivers, information is a key tool. The Danforth CTI School Council is an important source of information and resources that can help you contribute to your students’ high school experience.
DCTI School Council
Thursday, November 12
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Nov 12th Meeting Location: Virtual (Zoom details to be posted online)”
I will be setting a date for a ‘town-hall’ meeting, as well, in the coming week. I see that meeting more as a general Q and A, versus the more formal School Council agenda.
It would be an understatement to say that the year has been a stressful one for many families. Unfortunately, that stress can sometimes lead to frayed relationships at home; Guidance has shared with me a resource that may help some families with this as it “…aims to encourage and foster positive relationships between parents and their youth.” You can find more information on this resource here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Virtual-Triple-P-flyer2.pdf.
For families who have a child with a disability here at Danforth/Greenwood or elsewhere, you may find this link on ‘A Guide to Parents Advocating for a Child with Disabilities in the School System’ helpful ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtadvCvcGC0). Another really good source of information on Ontario’s laws on special education is a series of videos that the ARCH Disability Law Centre has put together. I’ve reviewed a couple of the videos and they seem thoughtful and helpful; you can find them here: https://inclusiveeducation.ca/advocacy-for-inclusion/.
Learning more about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) may also be of interest for some of our families. You can watch “AODA 101 An Introduction to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act” by visiting https://youtu.be/zrPLb3N1DBQ. “This talk will be helpful to people with disabilities, anyone who has people with disabilities among their family or friends…” … “These two new videos now form part of the growing series of AODA Alliance online captioned videos on a wide range of important topics relating to accessibility for people with disabilities. You can check out our video lecture series online… Everyone is free to make use of our videos. We welcome your feedback on these videos and on any other related issue. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
For students and families who identify as 2SLGBTQ, I was recently sent a good summary of some of the GTA Groups that support the community (and different groups within it). You can find the summary here: FIND LIST OF GROUPS HERE (email Ilana.David@tdsb.on.ca for edits and additions). Another great resource is @queermunityspace on Facebook. I just took a look at the site and it has opportunities for a number of different social justice initiatives that youth can consider.
A couple of facilities issues that I wanted people to be aware of: on the COVID front, the Board has informed me that they will be doing work on the air flow in the building. This means that the HVAC system will be bringing fresh air (versus re-circulated air) into the building at a rate of about 30% more than at present. We’ll continue to keep windows open a crack to ensure fresh air in classes, but I think that this is great news as the weather cools. Secondly, we are having a new firewall installed for our computer network at school and this means that the schools will not have any phone lines or computer connectivity from 1:00 – 3:00 pm on Monday, November 2nd. If there is an emergency, you can always contact me directly at my email address: Rob.MacKinnon@tdsb.on.ca.
Finally, Students, thanks for your good spirits every day as we sign you in! I know it creates a bit of a delay, but I am always impressed by your patience and positivity – it’s a pleasure to see your smiling eyes each morning!
Great weekend to all of you, Principal MacKinnon
October 30, 2020
What to Do If You Are Sick
- Do not come to school.
- Call the school at 416-393-0744 to tell us you are sick. If you are under 18, ask your parent to call.
- Do you think you need a Covid test? Here are some ways to find out some more information or to book your test:
- Go to https://covid-19.ontario.ca/
- Call your family doctor for more information
- Call 211 (no medical advice, but will help you book a test)
- Call Telehealth Ontario for more information 1-866-797-0000
More info on Telehealth Ontario for all your health questions:
Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000
- Free health advice from a registered nurse
- No health card needed
- Can advise you if you need a Covid Test
- Can tell you where to get a Covid Test
- Interpreters Available – Ask for your language
- Can give advice on all health related issues
Please let us know if you have any questions! Vice Principal Bylykbashi (Dritan.Bylykbashi@tdsb.on.ca); Guidance Counsellor Ms. Hurst (Melissa.Hurst@tdsb.on.ca); or, Principal MacKinnon (Rob.MacKinnon@tdsb.on.ca)
October 23, 2020
COVID Process/ Virtual School/ Tutoring
What did you learn in school today? Lots of students get asked that question every day, but this year (and especially this week), I have to say that the adults in the building are also learning something new every day, too!
For me, my big learning has been on the practical application (and refining) of all the rules associated with dealing with a positive case of COVID in our schools. There are many elements to this, as you can imagine, but I did want to walk you through some of the critical steps so everyone understands, generally, how this plays out.
When I am told that there is a positive case on site, I:
- Contact Toronto Public Health (TPH) and a variety of Board officials, including our Superintendent of Education;
- Contact the teachers of the classes and tell them to self-isolate and self-monitor;
- Contact students/families by phone (VPs and I call families directly) and email to inform them that there has been a positive case in their class and that they must self-isolate and self-monitor until they hear back from me and TPH;
- Contact all school staff to inform them;
- Contact teachers of students who will not be in class due to self-isolation so they can prepare to support those students working remotely.
TPH immediately begins an investigation to determine, among other things, the period of communicability (POC) – this is when a person is contagious; the POC is considered 48 hours before the onset of illness. So, in our school’s case, for the student who became ill on the 17th, the POC was on the 15th and 16th. Anyone who was in close contact with the student prior to the 15th is not considered a close contact and does not need to self-isolate/stay home from school/work. And for the student who became ill on the 14th/15th (there were differing reports on this date, hence part of the challenge with TPH) the POC would have been on the 12th/13th; students who were with this student in the week preceding were not considered close contacts by TPH and do not have to self-isolate. (I asked for and received written confirmation from TPH that these two cohorts could return to school). For those 2 cohorts that TPH has determined to be ‘close contacts’, it has now sent a letter, forwarded by me, informing them of that fact and of the date that they can return to school. (I have been asked if a negative test will allow a student to return to school and I’m sorry to say that no, the full quarantine period must be followed). TPH also sends a letter to the whole school about each case and you can find that here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2020-10-22_DanforthCollegiateTI_General-Letter-to-School.pdf. I hope all of that clarifies, but I want to reassure you that the safety of everyone in the building is my top priority. If you would like to learn more about this process, please let me know.
Another big piece of news this week was that Virtual School will not be accepting any more students in Quad 2. For bricks and mortar schools this was big news also as we have been told that we will be providing virtual school opportunities for students. This is going to be a challenge as I work with staff at both schools to ensure that student programming will continue to meet all Ministry of Education expectations and that expectations placed on teachers are realistic. As soon as we have a model, I will be sharing that with all of you. In the meantime, you will be receiving a survey request from your school (DCTI or GSS) asking if you would like to study virtually (if you do not respond to this survey, we will assume that you would like to continue to study in the school). Unfortunately, we may not be able to accommodate all courses in a local virtual school model. Students who would like to return to the school building from Virtual School will have the opportunity to do so, if a timetable can be constructed.
I have sent out one opportunity for working with tutors from the University of Toronto and I wanted to share this one, too, that is offered through the U of T Medical Society. This is a long-standing program that used to be offered in person, but now will, of course, be just offered through Zoom. Their invitation reads: “Since 1996, we have provided free tutoring and mentorship to high school students in Toronto who may be struggling academically but have demonstrated the desire to explore their potential. Beyond providing academic support, our program puts an emphasis on mentoring and guiding students as they navigate high school and begin to prepare for post-secondary pursuits. How will the program work? On a typical Saturday, high school students receive one-on-one homework help from volunteers from EITHER 9:30 am-11:00 am OR 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm. There will be an exciting enrichment workshop from 11:15 am-12:15 pm for ALL students (no matter which tutoring session you attend). These events will take place through ZOOM. Time commitment: The program will start on November 28, 2020 and run for 13 Saturdays until April 17, 2021. … If students are interested, please direct them to the application form link: https://bit.ly/33wAGbz. The deadline for applications is October 30th at 11:59pm. The Saturday Program Information Sheet, Media Release Form and Permission to Participate Form for Parents/Guardians are also attached in this email.”
Finally, I want to remind students that we offer a Breakfast Program of sealed foods and drinks that you can pick up each morning in the Greenwood cafeteria on the A floor. Come and pick something up to enjoy on your break!
And that’s all for this week! I hope you all have a great weekend,
October 16, 2020
I hope your weeks are starting to feel a little more normal as we adjust to this very strange time.
As I’ve moved to sending these newsletters once a week, they are getting a little long; you may want to put on the tea…
On Thursday I had a meeting with a group of about 12 students, from all grades, arranged with the help of Student Council. We had a similar talk to the one I had with the all-employee group 2 weeks ago. The questions were similar and focused on the transition back to school – ‘what’s going well’; ‘what’s not going well’; ‘what are some of the issues that you are concerned about going forward’; ‘are there any other concerns’. Overwhelmingly, the students said that they felt safe and that the health precautions put in place were good; they were also happy that most students were consistently following the directional arrows and wearing masks. The safety concerns that they had focused on the stairwells at the end of the day (too many students in them at one time) and the fact that some people were not strictly following the rules (going down an ‘up’ stairwell, for example). Some students also expressed some concerns about the following:
- Students were positive about their classes and the efforts of their teachers and were all happy to be studying in-person at the school.
- Some teacher expected students should have learned a particular concept/process/idea/etc in the previous year, when the previous year was so disrupted after March Break; some students found this difficult. Students understood that teachers were feeling under pressure to ‘cover the expectations of the course’, but felt they had to learn work from last year, as well as keep up with the work of this year. I said I would work with the teachers on this and explained that this was also all new for them and that they have been rapidly adjusting to timelines and planning as well. Students understood that, but those in grade 12, especially, felt that their grades might be lower than in past years due to all of the changes.
- Coming from a full year school model, students also spoke about the challenge of getting used to the pace of classes (‘We had a whole year to complete a subject; covering so much material in such a short time; teachers are moving on before I understood the last concept’).
- One concern expressed was that students didn’t have texts to bring home to work through on their ‘at home’ day. On that front, I’ll work with teachers and ACLs (Department Heads) on this and we’ll order more, where needed.
- Some students said that they are feeling disconnected from each other, not having any clubs or teams. I let them know that we are all adjusting to these very challenging times and some sports and in person meetings will not be possible for the foreseeable future. That said, I know that some groups and clubs are planning to start up shortly.
The students spoke well and represented the student body very effectively. Students, if you have any other concerns, questions or ideas that you would like to express, I would like to encourage you to write me directly. The issues raised here have been shared with all staff.
Everyone is busy, so volunteering may not be at the top of the list for all, but some students and families have asked about it, so I wanted to share some info. For those of you (students and parents) wishing to look at volunteering as a way to have some other great experiences, you will find some opportunities (virtual as well as live) at this City of Toronto/Ontario Health/United Way supported site, Volunteer Toronto, https://www.volunteertoronto.ca/. I’ve been told that it’s the best site, but you may also find interesting volunteer opportunities here https://www.sparkontario.ca/. If you’d like to learn more about the Board’s commitment to Community Involvement, please take a look here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/High-School/Going-to-High-School/Beyond-8/Community-Involvement. If you do do some volunteering work, you can use this form https://www.tdsb.on.ca/portals/0/highschool/docs/communityinvolvementform.pdf to record it and send to your Guidance Counsellor.
For students who are interested in attending College next year, I wanted to remind you that we will be holding our annual College Panel on Tuesday, October 20th from 1 – 2 pm. This year, all will be virtual and students from Monarch Park will be joining us. Grade 11 and 12 students have received a join code in their Guidance Google Classroom and we hope they will come and explore post-secondary opportunities with the 6 GTA colleges (Centennial College, George Brown, Georgian College, Humber College, Seneca College and Sheridan College). If you have any questions about this, please contact Ms. Reavell-Roy at Tracey.Reavell-Roy@tdsb.on.ca .
TPH sent me a note to remind people: “…please be advised that along with Twitter and Facebook accounts, Toronto Public Health also has an Instagram account. To get the latest updates on the status of COVID-19 in our city from a trusted source, we are encouraging schools that have social media accounts to please follow Toronto Public Health. You will get updates, guidance, educational tools, and more. Help inform our school communities on ways we can all stay safer and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by liking, sharing and retweeting Toronto Public Health messages on your school accounts.
I’m sorry to say that the news isn’t better on the computer front for those who have requested devices. The Board was going to supply computers to students who needed them, but right now they are focusing on getting them to students in virtual school only. As soon as I learned that, I ordered computers through the school’s budget; unfortunately, Chromebooks are on back order and won’t be in until sometime in December, I’m told. One thing that may help our students is a program that was started a few years ago by Danforth students; it’s called ‘Laptop Drop’. Students and staff worked on donated laptops and then we gave them to students for free. We have a few that are being looked at now for suitability, but if you have a laptop in reasonable condition (with a camera and microphone so it can be used for virtual learning) at home, or your place of work, that you think could be given to a student, please let me know. Please just write to me directly at this email address if you would like to further discuss this. Thanks for considering helping us to support our students. Once we have a pool of these, we’ll get them out to students directly.
The Guidance Counsellors at Danforth are using a new appointment booking system! Students should follow the links below to book an appointment through Google Cal. Please note that a Google Meet is automatically generated but all appointments will be in-person unless otherwise noted.
Ms. Reavell-Roy (A – G): http://bit.ly/MsReavellRoyGuidanceAppointments
Ms. Chan (H – K on Day 1 & 2 only): http://bit.ly/mschanguidanceappt
Ms. Martin (L – M): http://bit.ly/MsMartinGuidanceAppointments
Ms. McFadden (N – Z) : https://bit.ly/MsMcFaddenGuidanceAppointments
And finally, as the weather begins to change, I would like to remind everyone to wear warm clothes that will allow you to go outside and take a break and take off your masks. Rooms will also have windows left open a crack to allow for air circulation so it may be a little cooler (after last year’s heat-a-thon in some spaces, that may be nice!). Also to help with wait times (though they haven’t been too bad), it would be great if you could come to school by 8:35 at the latest; this will get you in with plenty of time to settle into class.
To close out the message, please take a look at these lovely fall photos from the front of the school taken by one of our talented Greenwood students! http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Snapchat-1288078979.jpg, http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Snapchat-1110602527.jpg, http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Snapchat-475120951.jpg
p.s. For people who receive these messages through our website, you may be interested to know that we’ve just posted 2 older messages from a while ago (sorry about the delay getting those up on the site). You may find some of those resources helpful
October 9, 2020
I hope you have had a good and positive week and that you are looking forward to some time with family (I want to write, ‘and friends’, but…) to celebrate Thanksgiving. Despite all our challenges, I know that we have much to be thankful for – for me, being a part of the Danforth and Greenwood communities is one of those things.
Another thing to be thankful for (ok, I suppose this will be the theme today!) is all the supports that we have in our communities. The Urban Indigenous Education Centre has a group to ‘foster community, support Indigenous parents and caregivers in the TDSB, and to help answer questions and concerns.’ This group will meet virtually every Tuesday at 2 pm, starting October 13th. Please take a look here for some more information on this group: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/UIECVirtualParentsGroup2020Flyer.pdf. If you have any questions about this, you can reach out to Tsitra McKay, Social Worker, at email@example.com. or Emily Claire Blackmoon, Social Worker, at firstname.lastname@example.org
A great support for all of us during this pandemic has been Toronto Public Health (TPH). They have some great, descriptive links that I thought some of you might appreciate going through. Coming into the school each day, students go through a screening process, as you know. These have changed a little and you can find more info on these changes here: Learn more . On symptoms in young people and what you, as a parent should consider, please look here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/8e4c-TPH-Child-Symptoms-Flowchart-final.pdf . If (and hopefully you’ll never have to consider these), your child does contract COVID 19, TPH has created this site: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/What-to-do-if-your-child-has-Covid-19-Symptoms.pdf. Should this happen, before returning, students (parents) will have to fill out the Back to School Confirmation Form . Finally, on the COVID front, for all our sake, thanks for continuing to follow the guidelines from Toronto Public Health, including practicing physical distancing; wearing a mask while indoors; washing your hands regularly; and downloading the COVID Alert app.
For academic support, the University of Toronto Arts and Science Students’ Union is offering tutoring for all subject areas. You can find the application and more information at these links: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/PUM-Tutee-Application-2020.pdf and http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/PUM-Flyer-2020.pdf.
Students interested in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program in either Hospitality and Tourism or Transportation Technology at Danforth should consider attending an information session next week; information on the meeting can be found here:: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/SHSM-@-Danforth-2020-1.pdf
The Board’s Gender Based Violence Prevention (GBVP) group sends out regular updates on supports for all students, and particularly for students who identify as 2SLGBTQ. They have shared that EGALE Human Rights provides a comprehensive set of resources on their website, which can be found here: website here. They also write, “… we invite you and your loved ones to check out our NEW Back-to-School Resource Package curated just for students, parents/guardians, and teachers/staff.” Danforth and Greenwood also have student groups for 2SLGBTQ students; these will be starting up again in the coming weeks.
Finally, all students and their families may find this resource of help when they are looking for… help. “211 is the easy-to-remember, free 3-digit information helpline and online database that connects families to the complete range of government, health, community and social services in Ontario. 211 is free, confidential and available 24/7 (even on holidays) in 150+ languages and can be accessed through multiple channels:
- Phone – Call 2-1-1
- Online – Search 211Central.ca
- Text – Send an SMS to 21166
- Live Chat – Visit 211Ontario.ca/chat
- E-mail – Send an Email to gethelp@211Ontario.ca
211 understands the needs of families in your school community. Click here to learn more about the needs of marginalized families in your school community and the impact of COVID-19.”
Finally, I want to wish you all a great Thanksgiving weekend!
I’ll connect with you again next week.
September 30, 2020
I you’re having a good week.
Last year’s student Yearbooks will be handed out on Thursday and Friday this week to students in grades 10, 11 and 12 who paid their student fees last year. Mr. Jackson will meet you in the Auditorium starting at 12:30 pm each day. Entrances and exits will be clearly marked and social distancing maintained. Once you receive your book, please exit the building (I know that the temptation will be great to hang out and sign each other’s books, but I’d like to ask you to please not do that this year.) I know it is a little humbug, but we have to continue to be watchful and not share things like pens and books that could hold the virus. All of that aside, I know you’ll be impressed by the great job that the students and Mr. Jackson did to make this a wonderful Yearbook! It’s a reminder of all the things that we’re looking forward to getting back to in the hopefully not so distant future.
Next week, students in Virtual School are encouraged to come to the school building between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm to clear out their lockers and drop off textbooks from last year. Students will be able to sign in to Exit 2 (Greenwood and Strathmore) from Monday to Friday between these times. You will have to pass the health check to come in to the building (of course). There will be no other students and few staff in the building at this time. (We’ll have to clear out all lockers by mid-October).
Students who are attending in-school learning should also clear out their lockers and return textbooks as soon as possible. Thanks for taking care of this within the next week.
Parents and Guardians who are picking up students at the end of the school day/dropping off at the start of the day are asked not to park on the west side of Greenwood Avenue outside of the front doors of the school. This is causing traffic jams and some unpleasant altercations between drivers… Please arrange with your children to meet on the side streets on the north and south sides of the building. Thanks!
A few items on mental health that I wanted everyone to know about… first, Danforth’s Social Worker, Anita, and Child and Youth Counsellor, Catlin, will be running a “Community Corner” every Wednesday from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm, starting October 7th. It will be a place for ‘students to connect online with supportive and caring adults and peers within the Danforth Community’. The link is www.meet.google.com/tev-uugx-byh . (They wanted me to remind people that this is not a ‘clinical support group. If you require individual or group counselling, please see your Guidance Counsellor.’)
Toronto Public Health is a fantastic source of resources on a number of COVID related issues, among other things. This site focusses on mental health and has some good information and some great links to resources – please check it out here: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-mental-health-resources/
On a totally different tack, if you would like a hard copy of your timetable, please click here for Greenwood students https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfZIVfD68p-MCNukYCDhWxb7jY6Hbl5zh6A32zu-C2sJeg5RQ/viewform?usp=sf_link and here for Danforth students https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe64D4K-ESBRDZEPD4tcx-HMdmF7NfsMNOfh_dKvE8mz8Mn_Q/viewform?usp=pp_url.
And, finally, the following Google Classrooms have been set-up by Danforth Guidance to help communicate important information and share community resources. Please add the appropriate Google Classrooms below:
Gr. 9 Google Classroom: fv7ovmj
Gr. 10 Google Classroom: qgjh3b4
Gr. 11 Google Classroom: wou6lhx
Gr. 12 Google Classroom: bxygxlq
That was way more than I intended to include when I started this note – hope you found aspects of it relevant and useful to you!
Great evening to all,
September 28, 2020
(FYI – This communication was written on Monday, September 28th. The system used to send these emails was down and is just up again this morning.).
Orange Shirt Day/Health and Communication
I hope you were all able to enjoy the weekend and the glorious weather.
I think that many of us were surprised by the numbers of reported positive cases in the city and province this morning. I want to take this opportunity to thank students and staff for taking the positive steps needed to keep us all safe and well (wearing masks properly, not coming to school when sick, washing and sanitizing your hands on a regular basis, keeping social distance, etc) . Thanks also to those who were able to download the health self-check each day; if you can, but haven’t, please do. It makes entry into the school very fast, (which will be especially important when the weather starts to change. On that front, please remember to always dress for the weather so that teachers can continue to take students outside for a mask break… memories of recess!?). Again, no problem at all if you don’t have a cell phone… we’re getting good at quick look-ups! On the cleaning front, Caretaking staff is completing deep cleaning every evening of classrooms and desktops, and sanitizing the washrooms once every hour that the students are in the building.
In terms of sources of information, some of you may already be aware of Trustee Jennifer Story’s website. For those of you who are not, she also posts great information about Board news and community services. You can find more here https://t.e2ma.net/webview/6cf1do/a5cd37438b78a1db56d6609abb431e88 (We’ve also put a link to her site on our schools’ websites).
The Equity Committee of both schools is starting up again and they wanted me to remind all of you about the upcoming Orange Shirt Day. They write: “Orange Shirt Day, on Wednesday, September 30th, is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in the spring of 2013. It grew out of Phyllis’ Story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually.
The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year…”
You might be interested to read this article, for some more background, or if you would like to talk about this further as a family: https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/orange-shirt-day-campaign-fundraisers-1.5739546
The Board also sent a reminder about Orange Shirt Day, “For additional information and resources visit the Urban Indigenous Education Centre (UIEC) website and Google site, which includes K-12 Orange Shirt Day activities and resources. Follow @UIEC_tdsb and @tdsb on Twitter to see how students and staff from across the Toronto District School Board recognize Orange Shirt Day. See the attached Orange Shirt Day 2020 poster.”
We encourage all staff and students to wear orange shirts on Wednesday to show support of this important day.
As I hope you know, I think communication with all stakeholders of both schools is really important. Today, I met with representative from all staff groups (teachers, secretaries, caretaking, support staff, etc) in order to hear feedback on what has been going well, how we can improve what we’re doing, and what some of the issues are that we see coming down the track. I will also be meeting specifically with caretaking on Tuesday, with student representatives in the coming days and with parents in the not too distant future to continue the conversation. As always, please feel free to write with any questions, issues or concerns.
Great evening to all (and I hope you all have a great Tuesday!),
September 18, 2020
We made it!
How great to see the students back for our first two days of in-school learning.
I talked to many students and staff about these days and the reports were overwhelmingly positive. Students told me that they were happy to be back and to see their friends and teachers and the staff told me that the students seemed in good spirits and ready to learn. I know that we still have lots of things to figure out and that the first days were not all sunshine and roses for everyone (!), but again, the vast majority of feedback that I heard was positive and affirming. A lot of people have put in many, many hours to make this return possible and successful – I thank them again and again for all their hard and seemingly tireless work.
All of that said, in talking to some students as you were coming in, I heard you when you told me that the six months out of school had been hard – hard on you and on your friends and on your families, in many ways. I want to remind you all that we have lots of support in the building through Guidance, Social Workers, our CYC, VPs, me, and the staff in general. Whatever the issue, we will try to support you or find someone who can. Please don’t let things get bad before reaching out. If you need help outside of school hours, one of the best resources is Kids Help Phone. You can reach them 24/7 at https://kidshelpphone.ca/.
The sign-in process to get all students into the building has been a bit challenging (and the system crashed, on both days… grrr), but we actually got students into the building faster than I thought possible. The last students were entering the building by about 9:10 on both mornings. Again, far from ideal, but as more and more students sign up for the app so they can do their pre-screening health check at home (and get the QR code), things will move even faster. If you haven’t signed up, you can do so here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Return-to-School/Health-and-Safety/Daily-Health-Screening. Please don’t worry if you don’t have a cell phone; we can sign you in on paper quite quickly.
For students who started the day with a snack at our Breakfast Program last year, you’ll be happy to hear that it is going to be up and running again as of Monday (in a reduced state, sadly). We’ll be using the Greenwood cafeteria where students can be given (with tongs!) a juice box, milk and granola bar (or some kind of pre-packaged snack). Thanks so much again to staff at both schools for making this happen for our students.
Because of our late start, the quadmesters have been altered so that we have an equal split of the year. Here are the new dates, along with the new dates for the Professional Development Days (students are not in the building on those dates):
Quad 1: September 17 – November 17 + Exams November 18 & 19 = 43 days + 2 exam days
Quad 2: November 23 – February 2 + Exams February 3 & 4 = 42 days + 2 exam days
Quad 3: February 8 – April 20 + Exams April 21 & 22 = 42 days + 2 exam days
Quad 4: April 23 – June 23 + Exams June 24, 25, 28 = 43 days + 3 exam days
The secondary PA Days are now:
- November 20 (board-wide PA Day)
- February 5 (secondary PA Day – new)
- February 12 (board-wide PA Day)
- June 29 (secondary PA Day)
On the mask front, students were great and respectful of the safety of their fellow students and staff (beyond a couple of reminders to cover noses as well as mouths… which we all need on occasion, I know). Thanks students! The rules around wearing masks is the same for all of us, of course. In case you would like to review the Board’s policy, here it is again:
Finally, we’ve been trying to put together a list of students who require tech support (a computer and/or internet), so we can send this to the Board. If you are a student (or your child is a student) who needs some help with this, please let me know directly. We can add them to the list.
Thanks again everyone – students, staff and parents – for all your work to make this week’s return to school as successful as it could possibly be.
Students who will be studying virtually should be getting their timetables and further instructions from the Board on Monday.
Great weekend to all,
September 15, 2020
Grade 9s will now have received a corrected version of their timetable, with instructions for the orientation tomorrow (Wednesday). The timetables for all other grades of students coming back for ‘in-school’ learning have now been sent to the Board and will be forwarded to you shortly. Below, I have outlined what Thursday, September 17th will look like for returning students. The first day of school will be a Day 1 on your timetable.
School Entrances that will be open from 8:00 AM (for all students of both schools):
- Danforth Main Entrance
- Greenwood Main Entrance
- Entrance #2 ( the corner of Strathmore and Greenwood)
These entrances will be open until all students waiting have been brought into the building. Once everyone is in the school, we will lock all doors, except for Entrance/Exit #2. There will be a staff member at that entrance to oversee it, sign late students in, and greet and direct people who have appointments until 4 pm.
Before coming to school, all students must complete a pre-screening check to say that they do not have any symptoms of COVID 19.
If you have a cell phone, please use this link to do this https://tdsb.service-now.com/tswp. You will receive a QR code on your cell phone that you can use to sign into the school each day. The VPs, Hall Monitors and others will be at the entrances to try to get you in as quickly as possible. This sign-in process will have to happen each day. By doing the pre-screening, we’ll be able to do this much faster.
No worries if you do not have a cell phone (or if you have trouble signing in); we will ask you the same questions and register you, each day, through our devices or on paper.
For full instructions on the signing in process, please visit the TDSB website here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Return-to-School/Health-and-Safety/Daily-Health-Screening.
While waiting to be signed in, we will all need to practice social distancing. You will find markers to indicate appropriate spacing at each of the entrances.
Our first days signing people in may take a while, so I’ll thank you now for your patience as we work this through and get better at processing students quickly.
Students will be able to go directly to their classes or pick up a quick breakfast snack in the Greenwood Cafeteria on the A Floor each morning (starting on Monday, September 21). Students may eat these snacks, drink their juice boxes/milk in their classrooms.
If you have materials/textbooks to return, the Auditorium will be open and our Office Managers of each school will be there to accept whatever you are returning. As always, please follow the directional decals on the floor. They will be there at the start of the day and again at 12:30 for the first few days of school. After that, please return your materials to the appropriate school office.
At 12:30 students will be excused from their classes and should leave the school. (I have asked about the use of school space for student success activities, individual support, and the use of facilities after 12:30 but, while I wait for that answer, we will not be able to have students here after 12:30).
Student lockers cannot be used at this time. If you have a locker from last year, please clean it out as soon as possible. We will be removing locks and clearing out lockers by the first week of October. For students going to Virtual School who have lockers, I will be announcing some dates and times for you to come and collect your things.
If Danforth students have any questions about Guidance issues or your timetable, please see this link to our website for more information: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pdk3U8Vb3q33eRecYh6D50fBn2uHYmzwdrbN1IbcY84/edit?usp=sharing.
If Greenwood students have any questions about Guidance issues or your timetable, please go to the Greenwood Main Office and make an appointment.
Mr. Gani has also put together this Danforth Package for students returning to in-school learning:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qnad2jha3xqWGuO9pTer-q0OgNLu4fLzLiphgdRz1sU/edit?usp=sharing; it contains a lot of the information that would have been in our printed agendas and should be reviewed by students and families. Greenwood students should also review this package, put together by Mr. Bylykbashi:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P9f2em1mNJB0RiVL_rZsuXMbgKuCVYVH9olh4aog-Kk/edit?usp=sharing.
I’m looking forward to seeing all of you!
With the TDSB distribution of timetables happening from September 15-16, here is a quick guide to assist you in interpreting the timetable you have just received.
When you receive your timetable, it will look something like this:
The timetable you receive will be for only the first quadmester. The full timetable is much larger, and could not be sent by the TDSB effectively online. The full timetable will be available through your classroom teacher in the second week of school.
Note that there are four days in the school schedule. You will attend only two of the four days. Which days will depend on your cohort in each of your classes.
Note also that there are 4 periods in a day: Period 1, Period 1a, a Lunch break, and Period 2.
You will be in school for only the days where you have a class schedule in Period 1.
Note how the class has a room number (B3 in this example) under the teacher’s name. This is your classroom.
Note that when your class appears in the Period 1a part of the timetable, it says *AT HOME. On days that you have a class in 1a, you are expected to complete work independently at home (your teacher will give you assignments, but will be unavailable during that time, as they will be teaching the other cohort).
Note also how Period 2 classes are all listed as *ONLINE. During period 2, your teacher will be available to provide synchronous instruction through the online classroom (though you will need to access it from home).
Your cohort isn’t fixed. Please know that some students will be placed in cohort A for one class, but cohort B in another. This could lead to a student attending for two days in a row (with 2 days off between).
In the above example, the student attends classes on Day 2 and Day 3, unlike in our first example, where the student will attend every other day (on Day 1 and Day 3).
This also impacts on your start date: students with in-school classes on Day 1 will start on September 17, whereas those with in-school classes on Day 2 will start on September 18.
We hope that this helps explain how to read your timetable. Please know that your teachers and all of the staff at Greenwood SS are available to assist you if you should have any questions.
September 11, 2020
I was mid-way through this note to you all when I realized I was wearing my mask…in my office… with the door closed. Sigh. I suppose I write that just to say, it’s a little hard at first to be wearing the mask all the time, but when we have to wear it, it starts to feel normal and not such a big deal. I hope that that will be everyone’s experience once we are all back together (but sincerely realize this is going to be more challenging for some than others). The Board has put together a very good website that answers many ‘mask’ questions… you can find that here: website.
By this time, I’m sure you’ve all heard the news that secondary schools will not open until September 17th. With all the changes coming so fast and furiously, I’m not sure how things would have been ready in many schools by the 15th. This delay to the first day means that students and teachers will have a little more time knowing what their courses are before everyone is in the building… and I think that is a good thing. Student timetables, for all grades will be sent out by the Board early next week.
This delay to the start will not affect the Danforth Grade 9 Online Orientation on Friday, September 11th, from 1 – 2 pm. For more information, please visit the Danforth website at www.danforthcti.com/grade-9-orientation. The link to the Google Meet will be posted on this site at 12:45 pm tomorrow, 15 min before the session begins. Danforth Guidance tells me that ‘This orientation will include welcome addresses, tips for success and will let you know what to expect when you arrive at school.”
The start delay will change the date for next week’s visit to the school for Grade 9s (originally planned for Monday). Ms. Reavell-Roy, who is overseeing this process writes, “With the delay of the first day of school, this orientation will take place on Wednesday, September 16th. We will have staggered entry for a morning and an afternoon session. Check the website link above early next week for more details. We look forward to welcoming our new Grade 9 students and can’t wait to meet you all in person!”
For Greenwood Secondary School, we will now be having our Grade 9/Students new to the building orientation on Tuesday, September 15th at 10:00 am. Vice Principal Bylykbashi will be reaching out to you individually on Friday or Monday to invite you and to discuss this.
For both schools, you may be interested to review this really well done Minecraft tour of the school created by some of our graduating students, led by Bipon (thanks and congrats to the team!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6KDS2VoRDw&ab_channel=BiponRoy (the voiceover for the tour starts at about 48 seconds in).
I know that there is a lot of information to digest (and that there will be more in the coming days) and I don’t want to overload you, but here is an early-ish overview ofwhat signing into school is going to look like on the 17th. Thanks to Mr. Wires for putting together these clear directions: “For those wondering about the entry process, the TDSB has rolled out an app to complete the “screening” required before a student (or staff, student, parent, or other visitor) can enter the school building. Their page with information on how to access and use the app is here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Return-to-School/Health-and-Safety/Daily-Health-Screening. For those without access to a smartphone or computer, there is also a “paper pass” option. In order to sign in to the app, students will need to remember their password. The TDSB has a “Chat with Support” page set-up to assist students with account or device related issues such as password resets. The page can be found here:https://csdwebchat.tdsb.on.ca/StudentWebChat/servlet/AppMain?__lFILE=ChatForm.jsp”
Last, but still really important (!)… I sent out many mental health updates and resources last year and will continue to send new ones this year. Please check out this one from the TDSB that links you to many resources and has some great suggestions for personal care and reflection: file:///C:/Users/028713/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/MHJTBZXB/High%20School%20Handout%20(1).pdf .
Thanks everyone for your ongoing support of our schools and your understanding as we go through all of these ‘firsts’ together!
September 4, 2020
I hope you’ve all had a good week!
I’m sure that you can all imagine that the schools are hopping with planning and trying to get our heads around all the changes that this new year will bring us. We’re doing all we can to make the transition to in-school or remote learning as smooth as possible, and we really do appreciate your patience as we work it all through. For those who are interested in the numbers, about 80% of students have opted to return to ‘in-school’ learning and 20% chose the remote option.
You’ve probably heard that schools are going to be having to send staff to the virtual school (quite the process!); because some of our staff will be leaving us for the year (all will still be part of Danforth staff), this means that we now have to re-schedule the school, including timetables for all students and staff. This is a monumental job that we usually do over weeks and months, that we are now doing over days. Still, we have great teams at both schools and I am confident that we will have a schedule that will work well for the vast majority of students. All of this means, though, that student timetables will not be sent out as early as hoped. They will go out from the Board as soon as possible.
We are continuing to do what we can to support the transition of students to our new year. Greenwood is planning on a transition day for new students on the morning of Thursday, September 10th – details will follow early next week.
Danforth Guidance has planned for the transition of new students to the school and wanted me to send out the following: “Save the Dates!!! Danforth CTI is excited to welcome our new Grade 9 students and will be offering two events in the coming days. On Friday, September 11th from 1pm to 2pm, the Guidance Department will be hosting a virtual “Welcome to Grade 9 Information Session” via Google Meet. On Monday, September 14th, grade 9 students will have an opportunity to attend an in-person orientation. Following safety protocols, students will meet their Day 1/2 Cohort Group and teacher and participate in socially distanced activities, meet some of the Danforth staff, and have a guided tour of the school. Detailed information and Google Meet code to follow”. Just as a teaser… some of our graduating students put together a tour of the school using Minecraft! We’ll send that out early next week.
Also from Danforth, our new Head of Guidance, Ms. McFadden has let me know that “The Guidance Department has a new Instagram account! Please follow danforthctiguidance to learn about important guidance information as well as opportunities and resources for students”. She told me that she put it up a couple of nights ago and already has 146 followers!
We now have 3 ACLs (‘Heads’) of Special Education at Danforth – Ms. Michaels (Rasha.Michael@TDSB.on.ca) continues in her role as ACL and will be supporting our ISP programs; Ms. Funnell (Helen.Funnell@tdsb.on.ca) is new to our school and will be the ACL of our Resource Program; and, supporting our students in the program for students with Developmental Disabilities is Ms. Joyce (Kelly.Joyce@tdsb.on.ca). They have put together the following documents to support our students and families who work with our Special Education program: http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/09/04/special-education-transition-and-supports/. Our LD/ASD programs will have a transition day for Grade 9 students on Thursday, September 10th, also from 10 – 12 pm; and a transition day for Grade 10 – 12 students in the ASD program on Friday, September 11th at 10 am. More details will follow.
Ms. Joyce has also put together this helpful document for your support: http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/09/04/dd-program-introduction-letter/. She will also be sending out an invite for a visit to the school on Thursday, September 10th from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. If you have any questions about this, please send them to Ms. Joyce.
The TDSB has put this welcome back video together for students and I thought it was worth sharing – good energy and some good information…https://youtu.be/CNk2XilghQc.
That was a pretty long email and perhaps enough for the Friday before a long weekend! I hope you all have a good one,
August 28, 2020
School Survey , MaST, Spec Ed
We hope that you are feeling good and increasingly comfortable about launching into our new school year. We are working hard to put all possible safety measures in place and to create a positive and supportive learning environment for all.
I know that some of you have still not been able to register your preference of how you would like to return to school (in-person or remotely). Over the next week, the Board will be calling families for whom they don’t have this information. In addition to the Board’s survey, I would like all families to please fill in this Danforth/Greenwood survey (https://forms.gle/dkQPntGLqhkiJMU58) so we at the school will be able to cross-reference the information with the files that the Board eventually sends us. I don’t want any student not to be able to start school on the first day of the year due to our not having accurate information. We’ll follow up with you if there are any discrepancies.
I have also had many parents and students in our MaST program ask how this unusual year will have an impact on the program. Our new Assistant Curriculum Leader (ACL, the ‘Head’ of the program), is Mr. Deryk Jackson; he has written a note for students and families in the program that you can access here: http://www.danforthcti.com/2020/08/28/information-for-incoming-mast-students/
I know that some students and their families in our Special Education programs also have a number of questions about how the coming year will look. Next week, I’ll be working with our Administration and ACLs of Spec Ed to review recently received Board documents. We’ll be sending out more information on our plans for a smooth transition back to classes as soon as possible.
I hope you all have a wonderful and healthy weekend,
August 24, 2020
Student Schedules, Board Survey, Safety Info
I am sure that you have now all heard that school opening will be delayed until September 15th for both elementary and secondary schools. We will then have a staggered entry for orientation that will take an additional 3 days. As I get more information on this process, I will communicate with you directly.
A number of students and parents have reached out to me about how to declare if they want to continue remote learning or return to school. The Board sent out a survey on this, but it seems that many families were missed. They will be sending out another survey this Wednesday, August 26th, as they recognize that some families were missed and because they understand that as the model changed, some families may have changed their decision about in-school or virtual learning. Even if you feel you successfully registered your decision on the old survey, it is important that all families respond to this survey again; this is the information that the Board will use to organize next steps. You can find more information on this survey at the Board’s website here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Registration. If you do not receive this survey, please reach out to me by the end of the week.
For students who will be returning to the school, there will be safety measures in place to support all of us. Details on our return to the building can be found here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Return-to-School/Health-and-Safety/Health-and-safety-measures. I will be in touch as we develop more school-specific measures over the coming days.
As things stand now, the only students who will be able to be in school for the full day, are those learning in our Developmental Disability classes. These small classes do not have integrated courses with the mainstream school, unlike students in our ASD and LD programs.
Students who are not in the DD program will follow the schedule found on the Board’s website here: visit the website. In this model, classes will be halved, with one group of students, ‘Cohort A’, studying at school on Day 1 and Day 3 and students in ‘Cohort B’, studying at school on Day 2 and Day 4. These in-school classes will run from 8:45 am until 12:30 pm. On the days that students are not at school during this time, they will be studying independently at home. (Unfortunately, we may not always be able to put students into Cohort A or B for both classes, so some students may have 2 days of in-school classes/2 days of independent home study in a row; this will not affect afternoon classes). Every afternoon, from 2:00 – 3:15 pm, teachers will lead synchronous (‘live virtual learning’) classes on the subject that was not taught that morning. (The lunch break for teachers will be from 12:30 – 1:10 and then they will have other professional responsibilities from 1:10 – 2:00 pm). This is the model that all secondary schools in the TDSB will be following. I hope that between the link to the visual schedule and this description, that the model is clear to all. If it is not, please feel free to contact me.
We will be sending more information on individual students timetables by the end of next week.
As the link above explains, those students and families who choose to learn remotely will have their 2 classes of the quadmester scheduled from 9:00 to 11:30 am and 12:30 to 3:00 pm (with a minimum of 90 minutes of synchronous learning per day, per course). These classes will be run by TDSB teachers and supervised by TDSB VPs and Principals, but those people may not be Danforth or Greenwood staff. More details on this model should be coming soon.
Dates for the start and end of each quadmester are included in the link above. Please note that students will be able to change their choice of remote or in-school learning at each quadmester turnaround time, but not during the quadmester.
I will be in touch in the coming days as more decisions are made and as information comes our way.
August 20, 2020
Welcome back to the 2020/2021 school year!
I would like to give a special welcome to students and families who are new to Danforth and Greenwood this year. I know that coming to a new school, even at the best of times, can be challenging, so please be assured that we are making every effort to create a transition plan and orientation to the school that will help you to get settled in as quickly and as safely as possible. For those returning physically to the school, I’m really looking forward to seeing you back in the halls and welcoming you back to the school! For those returning remotely, I’m hoping that we get a chance to connect over the coming weeks.
For the past number of years, I have been sending the welcome back letter out just as we were leaving for the summer in late July. This year I delayed that, thinking it would be best to include what the new year’s schedule would look like; as you know from last night’s Board meeting, those decisions are only being made now. It looks like we now have the new schedule for in-person learning, with a component of synchronous (live) teaching on line and independent learning at home. Our scheduling Vice Principals will be getting instructions today on how to make changes to the timetables in order to reflect this new model. As soon as we have this settled, we’ll be sending out timetables to students so you’ll know what your first Quadmester will look like. For those who have opted to learn remotely, I am still waiting for clarity on how that will be organized and will send those details to you as soon as possible.
As you can imagine, there are many new challenges to opening the school this year that we are working through now. We sincerely appreciate your patience as we put our plan together for a safe and positive school year. You can find more information about the Board’s plan for the return to school here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Return-to-School.
As I always say at our student and parent events, please keep an open line of communication with me, the rest of the Administration and your teachers. As those of you returning know, I will write to all of you on a regular basis, as new information comes forward and to offer learning opportunities and general resources to our students and families. We’re in for another year of interesting challenges and new experiences, but by supporting each other as best we can, I’m sure we’ll make it as positive and successful a year as possible.
Finally, I want to assure you that we are also thinking about how we can ‘normalize’ school to a degree for students who are coming back into the building. We know that school is not only about learning a particular aspect of the curriculum, but also about all the things that make schools (especially ours!) great places to be; this means we will be trying to have clubs, activities and opportunities for students to interact (safely) wherever possible. If you have ideas and suggestions about how we can do this safely, please feel free to share your thoughts with me.
I’ll be reaching out in the coming days and weeks with transition to school plans, orientation for new students and the details of timetables/school schedules. We’re all looking forward to working with all of you this year and will do whatever we can to make it a great year!
Principal R. MacKinnon
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Happy second last day of school!
I was going to wait until tomorrow to send out update #50 (!), but I did want to remind students that tomorrow (Friday) at noon is the last time people can sign up for summer school. If you’re having difficulties signing up, please contact your Guidance Counsellor (or me, and I’ll direct you to the right person). I know some courses are already full, but there will also be courses offered in August, that you can sign up for into July.
I also wanted to send First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students, their families and supporters/teachers this note from the UIEC (Urban Indigenous Education Centre):
Maawanji’idiwag: Ending The Year In A Good Way
“…the Urban Indigenous Education Centre seeks to build capacity within school communities, so that teachers, school administrators and support personnel can play a critical role in the day-to-day experiences of Indigenous students. We work with students and families in a holistic way that centres on Indigenous world views and supports mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being with the understanding that it is not only an individual responsibility but a collective one towards all communities. On behalf of the Urban Indigenous Education Centre, Emily Blackmoon, MSW, RSW and Tsitra McKay, MSW, RSW have compiled a Google Slide document of tips and resources for Indigenous families and those working to support Indigenous families over the summertime. It includes self-care and cultivating family connections through the four directions that may be valuable for everyone.”
Thanks all and a great evening to you!
Covid-19 Communication 49
I hope that this email finds you all well.
The Arts and Computer Science staff and students at Greenwood and Danforth have put together our first ever Virtual Gallery, 800greenwoodpresents.ca. Please take a look at the wonderful work of our students and teachers. I would especially like to recognize the Arts Department Heads at both schools, Alison Prole (DCTI) and Kevin Andrachuk (GSS) and all the art teachers for their hard work in bringing the work together and Computer teacher Ms. Lal and her students Frank, Souradeep and Shafee (it was the students’ idea to put this gallery together as their computer science project and they put 100+ hours of work into it!). I know that the plan is to continue to put work up on the site, (including musical and dramatic performances), as they receive it, so please come back and visit in the days and weeks ahead. Congratulations and thanks to all involved!
The Minister of Education has put together this video to congratulate this year’s graduates. You can find that here: Grade 12 graduates.
Finally, many of you will have reviewed the government document that I sent you at the end of last week. In it, School Boards have been directed to create school timetables that will facilitate learning and teaching in what will likely be another disrupted year. One issue that will no doubt arise is the full-year timetable structure at Danforth. This model presents two immediate challenges in this new and challenging landscape in which we find ourselves: first, students have 8 classes over the two day cycle, making it much harder to limit the number of contacts that students have while in school; second, individual teachers are responsible for up to 180 students (6 classes x up to 30 students in each class), making it very difficult to monitor and support students in an online environment. I think that one way to address these two issues (among others) would be to go to a semester model. I know that in the past, there has been staff and parental support for this model, but that some students were not in favour of it. There are pros and cons to both models (the vast majority of schools are now semestered), but the challenges of the coming year will, I think, be more easily addressed by a semester model. This would be a big change for Danforth, but, especially in the present climate, I think a positive one. None of this is set in stone and we may, in fact, be directed by the Board to follow a particular model. That said, if we do have a say on this, I want to be transparent about my thinking for the coming school year. Thanks for your thoughts, comments and questions on this, or any other issue about the upcoming year (and your understanding that in many cases, my answer may be, ‘we don’t know yet’).
My ongoing thanks for your support of our wonderful schools,
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The last week of school is upon us!
First, I wanted to remind students that the school will be open (front entrance) for Danforth and Greenwood students who want to return books/borrowed items, clean out their lockers and pick up their Yearbooks tomorrow (Wednesday, June 24). Please remember to follow the rules of entering the building (as outlined on our website). We will have staff signing students into the building from 9:30 – 11:20 and from 12:30 – 2:30. If a line forms, please be patient and practice physical distancing (there are marks on the pavement). We are allowed to have 75 people in the building at any given time, so please come in and take care of what you need and exit through the Strathmore doors (Exit #2). Thanks and see some of you tomorrow!
I’m excited to say that we have 3 videos to share with you today.
First, the Greenwood staff have put together a video to say ‘stay strong and have a great summer!’ to our Greenwood Students. You can find that here: 1080p.mov . Thanks also to the Trinity Theatre folks and other supporters for your help in putting this together!
Next, some of our Danforth staff have put together this high-energy celebration of sports at Danforth (for as long as they lasted… un-smiley face emoji thingy). You can find that here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qSP0IuWvpCn4LFSIwJdL9XY7HHkKeKCM/view?usp=sharing (Thanks Ms. Topp, Ms. Mochina and Ms. Martin!).
And finally, for our Danforth Graduates, Mr. Barone has put together this compilation of best wishes from the staff. As I say in my little talk, we’re all sorry you’re not here so we can celebrate your achievement… hopefully, we’ll all be able to be together in the Fall to celebrate your success! Please find the video here: Danforth Grad Video 2020.mp4
Thanks everyone, and hope you have a good evening,
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I hope you’ve had a positive week.
Many of you may have seen this, but just in case, I wanted to share with you the Government’s plan for the next school year. You can read their detailed announcement here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/approach-reopening-schools-2020-2021-school-year . School Boards will have to work on how best to implement these directions over the coming weeks. This means that it is unlikely that I’ll be able to share exactly what next year will look like until well into August. The Admin of both Danforth and Greenwood will be looking at the document to see if there are any things that we can proactively plan for, for next year.
Dr. Dong, our School Psychologist has shared the next edition of Hearts and Mind. In it, there is some really helpful advice about (and resources for) talking to young people about racism and discrmination (I think there is some really good stuff here for personal reflection and for talking to people of our own age, too). They can be difficult conversations, but they are ones that need to take place. http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Hearts-Minds-June-17-2020.pdf
And the Reach Out group is… reaching out… to find 5 students who identify as LGBTQ+ for their advisory panel. For more details: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/YAC-2020-Advisory-Cttee.pdf
Thanks again to all of you who are still sticking with these updates, 100 days into the COVID Period (or whatever we’re going to call it when we’re out of it!).
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Students, there will be another opportunity to come into the school to drop off textbooks on Wednesday, June 24th from 9:30 – 11:20 and 12:30 – 2:30. On that day, please just come to the school and enter through the main doors on Greenwood Avenue; we’ll have a sign-in station set up. Due to COVID, the school can have a maximum of 75 people in the building at one time. We have appropriately distanced markers outside of the school, if people have to wait for entry. Everyone must follow the rules outlined for entry that was sent out last week; bring your own mask, if possible; and, bring a bag to empty your locker, please.
I also received the note below from the Board today that I would like to pass on to our graduating students (many of you may find it interesting):
Today, June 16, is the International Day of the African Child. Since 1991, the Day of the African Child has been marked on June 16 to commemorate those who took part, including many who lost their lives, in the Soweto Uprising in South Africa, and to recognize the courage of the students who marched for their right to an education. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness for the ongoing need to improve the education of children living across Africa.
Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors, co-founded an organization called Giants of Africa, which is dedicated to the mission of using basketball as a means to educate and enrich the lives of African youth both on and off the court.
This year, Giants of Africa is celebrating by giving back with local community initiatives around the world. GOA team members in Africa, the US and Canada will be marking the day with activities that celebrate hope and youth development.
Here in Toronto, Giants of Africa would like to congratulate and celebrate the graduating classes and students of 2020. Masai Ujiri and the Giants of Africa team have put together a video for the graduating classes in the TDSB that provides an inspirational message, along with some tips and trips from coaches with the Raptors and Raptors 905.
Thanks all and I hope you have a good evening!
Covid-19 Communication 45
I hope everyone had a good week.
I know it is a little odd to say it, considering we’ve been out of school for so long, but we only have 2 weeks of school left! I hope that during this last push, you are able to finish up all the work that you’ve started and that you are able to improve your marks in (or pass) as many courses as possible. As I said at the Grad Breakfast last week, we are proud of our students and their work during this incredibly difficult time. All of you have worked as best you could and made efforts to balance your personal as well as academic lives; we recognize that this has not been easy. We also recognize that you are learning a lot in this process that does not have a lot to do with school work. In the long run, I hope all of these ‘lessons’ will be of benefit to you.
I’ve posted a number of items on Summer School for new credits and for credit recovery, but like so many things these days, the information keeps on changing. I know that this must be frustrating for lots of you, so I have attached a link to the Board’s website on Summer School for up to date information here: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/High-School/Going-to-High-School/Night-School-and-Summer-School/Summer-School. For those of you who have already signed up for Summer School classes at high schools throughout the city, you’ll find information about cancelled courses here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Summer-School-Credit-2020-Closures-1.pdf. If you’re planning on taking Summer School and it’s all still a little unclear to you, please don’t hesitate to contact your Guidance Counsellor for some help. At Greenwood, students should connect with Ms. Hurst (Melissa.Hurst@tdsb.on.ca); at Danforth, students with the last names A – He should contact Ms. Reavell-Roy (Tracey.Reavell-Roy@tdsb.on.ca); last names Hi – Mn should contact Ms. Martin (Alexis.Martin@tdsb.on.ca); and last names Mo – Z should contact Ms. Maestri (Tina.Maestri@tdsb.on.ca).
Many Greenwood students and some Danforth students may be considering classes at the City Adult Learning Centre (CALC) at Broadview for September. Students can access online registration at CALC by registering through their website: http://schools.tdsb.on.ca/calc/. (Greenwood students need to have completed at least ESLB and be 18 or older as of September 8 2020 to be eligible to register at CALC. Students may also want to note that there are other adult sites (Yorkdale, SCAS) also opening up for fall registration. If students would like more information, please contact your Guidance Counsellor).
Danforth will be honouring our grads by bringing signs of congratulations to your homes. We will place these signs on front yards or, if you are in an apartment or condo, we’ll call ahead and hand one to you so you can proudly place it in your window. Our plan is to distribute these on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. If you are going to graduate and do not want a sign delivered to your home, please contact VP Gani (Darren.Gani@tdsb.on.ca). I’m also talking to Ms. Michael and the Prom Committee about what we can do to celebrate with our graduates in the Fall. Stay tuned!
And finally, a reminder for Greenwood students to check out the Wolf Den Website (https://sites.google.com/view/greenwood-wolf-den/home ) for regular updates. A reminder that only members of the Wolf Den Classroom will have full access to the content on the website. If you are having difficulties accessing either the Wolf Den Classroom or Site please email@example.com.
Thanks all and best wishes for a wonderful weekend,
Covid-19 Communication 44
I hope you all had a good Monday!
First, a reminder that for the next week, students will be able to access the school in order to clear out their lockers and drop off borrowed school items. I sent out an earlier message on how to do this, but if you are having trouble with it, please write to either Mr. Wires at Danforth (Bryan.Wires@tdsb.on.ca) or Mr. Bylykbashi at Greenwood (Dritan.Bylykbashi@tdsb.on.ca) and they will be happy to help you.
As many of you know, June is Pride Month and I wanted to share with you some resources for our LGBTQ+ students at Greenwood and Danforth. Our Youth Outreach Worker has shared the following resource for online opportunities to connect and create community: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/reachOUTs-Q.T-online-Hub.png and, also, a couple of counselling supports, http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LGBTQ-counselling-2020.jpg and http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/YOW-Outreach-flyer.jpg. Specifically for supporting Black LGBTQ mental health, here is a more in-depth note on how to support yourself and those you care about http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Supporting-Black-LGBTQ-Youth-Mental-Health.pdf. And, finally, for now, here is a link to let you know that there will be a Pride Prom for students 14-21 here (more details to follow):
Greenwood students are also reminded about the Envision Group that meets on Tuesdays at lunch. It’s a safe space for all students to be themselves, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, ability, or social class. You can join the meet on Tuesdays at 11:30 using the link: https://meet.google.com/zfd-eant-mig?authuser=0 or you can join the Envision Google Classroom using the code n25qwq6
The Greenwood Girls Group has moved to 4pm on Wednesdays and all Greenwood girls are able to join in through the Wolf Den meeting link! Jobelle and Madeeha will join Ms Hurst each Wednesday to talk about how to stay healthy and happy during Covid. Ms Hurst misses the Girls Group very much and hopes everyone will join in the Wednesday 4pm meets! Link for Girls Group Meetings:
Finally, for everyone, we also have a new Mental Health TO flyer, with contact info if you would like a phone or video counselling session http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/MHTO-Flyer-June.pdf.
Thanks all and I hope you have a good evening,
Covid-19 Communication 43
As the saying goes, we are certainly living in interesting times.
In the midst of it all, our two schools continue to work together to serve our students. I know from the feedback I’ve been getting that there are many good, though heavy and sometimes challenging, conversations going on. I thought that you might find a few more resources helpful for these reflections.
On the topic of anti-Black Racism, Mr. Bylykbashi’s wife shared this great set of links:
Toronto.ca Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/get-involved/community/confronting-anti-black-racism/, and a full list of resources here: Toronto For All Community Support Resources
Because of the COVID 19 situation there has also, sadly, been an increase of Anti-Asian Racism. ETFO has put out a good document with lots of information and links for people to access and think about, here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Anti-AsianRacism.pdf. Thanks to our Superintendent, Ms. Persaud, for that resource.
On a more positive note, I wanted to let you know that our schools continue to be committed to Indigenous learning and to fighting the discrimination faced by Indigenous people in Canada. At Greenwood, the Grade 9 NAC 10 course (Expressions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Cultures) has been running for years and, at Danforth, it is being introduced this coming year. Danforth is also introducing the brand new Grade 11 Indigenous Literature course (Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit Voices), which will be counted as one of the 4 compulsory English Courses that a student needs to graduate. You can find out more about these courses and other information from the Urban Indigenous Education Centre in their newsletter here: http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/UIEC-Newsletter.pdf. Finally, “Kâpapâmahchakwêw – Wandering Spirit School of Toronto will be offering a unique summer school program this July 6-31. Students will be able to take NAC1O (Expressions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Cultures) – which substitutes for grade 9 Visual Arts; NBE3U (Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices) – which substitutes for Grade 11 English; or MDM1D/2D (Grade 9/10 academic math). Those students interested, please have them register at: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/High-School/Going-to-High-School/Night-School-and-Summer-School/Summer-School.”
Ms. Hurst wanted me to remind Greenwood students about the “Wolf Den” google classroom. “In this classroom, you will find all kinds of fun messages and videos from Greenwood teachers. You will also find important information about school events and activities, such as summer school. It’s easy to join:1. Log in to your tdsb account. 2. Go to google classroom 3. The Wolf Den Classroom will be there (click accept). If you are not already a part of the Wolf Den Google Classroom, please join. Also, on Monday June 8th, Ms Hurst will present “How to Register For Summer School” for Greenwood students. Students are welcome to ask questions at the end of the presentation. The presentation will be on the “Wolf Den” meet. The link of the meet is on “The Wolf Den” google classroom. Danforth students are also welcome to attend the presentation, but should email Ms Hurst at firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation (because it is through a Greenwood Google Classroom).”
Mr. Ravera mentioned what sounds like a fun event for grads (though anyone can participate, of course). “CTV is having a nationwide grad celebration on Sat. June 6th. The full details can be found at National Grad Event CTV June 6th at 8pm.“ And don’t forget about the Grad Breakfast at Danforth tomorrow (Friday) morning!
Have a wonderful evening, all!
An addition to this post, applicable to Greenwood Girls Group:
Members of the Girls Group are asked to click the following link for access to the Girls Group Meet each Wednesday (Ms. Hurst will post the link in the Wolf Den).
Link for Girls Group Meetings:
Covid-19 Communication 42
I hope your day is going well.
A few students have written to ask me what the last day of online teaching will be. Teachers at both schools have been told that all marks must be submitted on June 19th. That day will be the last formal day of ‘classes’. Of course, Teachers can and will continue to support student learning in the last full week of the month. Please let me know if you have any questions about this.
I received a few more resources on opportunities for Indigenous youth from our incoming Head of Student Services, Ms. McFadden, that I thought some students and their families might find useful. They are:
1. Our #IndigenousYouthRise COVID-19 Support Fund has launched! This support fund is a small grant of up to $500 that Indigenous youth across the country can apply for, in order to lead/host online events and projects for their peers, youth and communities. Please see a poster attached for sharing and the link to download the application & info here: wemattercampaign.org/supportfund … and the poster http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/WM-Covid-Support-Fund-Poster.pdf
2. We have started a weekly Instagram Live event called Feel Good Thursdays, where Indigenous youth can tune in at the same time every week for chats on mental health, creative workshops, interviews with cool folx, and more! See attached a social media card with the IG Live times and follow us @WeMatterOrg to see what’s next and tune in! http://www.danforthcti.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/WM-Feel-Good-Thursdays.png
Dr. Dong, our school Psychologist has sent me the next addition of Hearts and Minds, along with this intro, “Please take a moment to read through the 2nd version of the attached newsletter, Hearts & Minds, which is being shared by the TDSB’s Psychological Services department.. If you missed Issue One, they can be found on the TDSB Psychological Services website, along with some information about the Psychology department. https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Professional-Support-Services/Psychological-Services.” It has some useful links and information, so please take a moment to check it out.
And finally, from Ms. Martin, “Attention Graduates! Please join us for our Annual Grad Breakfast on Friday June 5th from 11:30am-12:30pm. This year we will be hosting the breakfast virtually so remember to BYOB (Bring Your Own Breakfast). The flyer attached includes all relevant information. Looking forward to seeing you all next week.” Check out our flyer here: http://www.danforthcti.com/school-wide-grad-breakfast/
Thanks to all of you for your ongoing positivity and energy in the face of some challenging times,
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I normally start these updates on a Monday with a ‘hope your weekend was great’, but after this past weekend’s events in the States, it is hard to say that. I believe that all of us have been deeply shaken by the horrendous murder of George Floyd and by the resulting unrest south of us. While it might be comforting to think that the causes leading to this death are only an American problem, we know that that is not the case. The anti-black racism that led to this crime sadly also exists in Canada and we all need to work with intention to end it. We need to challenge racism when we hear it or see it, to recognize that we all have biases and that we must confront those biases, and that, from a school perspective, we need to thoughtfully work to ensure that our curriculum better reflects the rich diversity of our country. It is only when we collectively work to defeat racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and Islamophobia (and all the other phobias that marginalize people) that we will have truly safe places for all students and staff and the families and community members who come into our schools. The brutality that we are seeing on our screens is hard to digest and is causing distress for a lot of people; if you are struggling with this and need to talk to someone about it, please know that our Guidance Counsellors, Social Workers (Anita and Iolanda), CYC (Catlin), the VPs and I are all here.
That’s a sombre message and reflection and hard to follow it with other items… I will write another update tomorrow with some more information about upcoming events and some resources.
I wish you all a peaceful evening,
Covid-19 Communication 40
It feels like a while since I wrote – I hope you are all doing as well!
I wanted to share a couple of good news stories, as well as some more resources for students and their families.
First, Danforth was identified by the Fraser Report as one of the fastest improving schools in the province. The story was highlighted by the Toronto Sun – FRASER REPORT: T.O. schools among province’s fastest improvers. As I wrote in my letter of congratulations to staff, “I think that some of my quotes are a little out of context, but the point that I was trying to make is… this is the work of a whole community of supportive adults that got us to this place of year over year improvement. In my talk with the reporter, I spoke to the leadership of the Spec Ed Dept and the Literacy/English and Math groups, but also emphasized that all staff work to support student numeracy and literacy at Danforth. I also talked about the fact that we try to make the school a safe place to take (positive) risks and to create a learning environment that celebrates students, whatever their pathway.” I’m really proud of the work of the staff at both schools and wanted to share that.
Two students from Danforth, Chandrima and Mika, also won ‘excellence in writing’ awards for their critiques of films that classes watched at Cinéfranco Jeunesse… ‘the biggest French Film festival in English speaking Canada’. Félicitations to both students and teachers!
For families at both schools who are looking for some digital tools to support your students in math, ‘Discovery Education and Knowledgehook will share tips on using these tools to enhance the remote learning experience.
On Tuesday, June 2, at 6:30pm Discovery Education will host an information session to explore Discovery Experience, STEM Connects and Math Techbook (Grades K-12). Please register for the Discovery Education session here.
On Wednesday June 3, at 11:00 am and Thursday, June 4 at 4:00 pm Knowledgehook will be hosting a session with tips on how to use key features within the digital resource (Grades 3 – 9). Please register for the Knowledgehook sessions here. Please check our TDSB Mathematics for Families website for upcoming sessions.’
Ms. Prole asked me to remind students at both schools about the upcoming art show… “Calling all artists! This is the final week for Danforth and Greenwood artists to submit their work for inclusion in our virtual art gallery. 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. Submissions are due Friday, May 29. The form to submit pieces can be found at https://forms.gle/68gwu2hfMvNw978i9”.
I thought some families at both schools might also be interested in this opportunity for Summer Adult ESL courses: “Adult ESL is planning on delivering a remote synchronous learning model, with whole group and small group instruction, from July 6 to July 24, 2020 from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Classes will be five days a week for three weeks. We will also be implementing a modified Portfolio-Based Language Assessment program to include 1 to 2 assessments. The number of classes and levels will be based on student enrollment, interest and funding. More information is available on www.ESLtoronto.ca.”
I hope you all have a great evening!
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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:
Covid-19 Communication 32
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!
Covid-19 Communication 16
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!