It’s been a busy few months since my Mid-Term report in January! Summer will soon be upon us, but there is still much to share from the Board in this final newsletter of the school year.
Below are some highlights from the latest end-of-year update – for the full newsletter: June 2013 Trustee Jo-Ann Davis newsletter
TCDSB Director of Education, Bruce Rodrigues – Appointed CEO of EQAO
It’s been less than 2 years since Trustees hired Bruce Rodrigues as Director of Education, and sadly – for us – he has been appointed CEO of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) for Ontario. “His appointment reaffirms this fact and speaks to the quality of the world-class educators at the TCDSB.” Trustees will begin the search for a new Director in the next few weeks.
St Michael Elementary School – Next Steps for Repairs to Gym
A community meeting took place on 28 May, to inform parents that repairs are needed to the gym, and the engineering analysis underway. A next meeting is proposed for 17 June to determine the best way forward for students in September – date to be confirmed in June. The work may necessitate the entire school being relocated in September for several months to a local available elementary school. Relocation is not the preferred outcome, but as it is a possible outcome, we are planning now – the community will be consulted every step of the way.
Advocating for our Schools – St Francis of Assisi, Early French Immersion in 2014
I have been advocating for the expansion of programming to our downtown schools at every opportunity, and am thrilled that the decision was made by trustees at the April, 2013, Student Achievement & Well Being Committee meeting to expand the Early French Immersion Program to two schools, including St Francis of Assisi in Little Italy. Parents and Staff will be consulted to ensure successful implementation of the program for September, 2014
Let’s put ourselves into the hands of the Lord, and pray that God will bless us and our families during the wonderful months of summer.
May we all help make our home a place of relaxation, joy, love, peace and safety.
May we be generous and considerate, not thinking only about ourselves, but helping others.Lord God, Creator of all things, guide our steps and strengthen our hearts, during these months of summer and vacation days. Grant us refreshment of mind and body.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
EXPENSES FOR Dec 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013: $527.20 (phone/internet/meeting child-minding
Recent Initiatives of Trustee Jo-Ann Davis (since January, 2013 newsletter)
ü Creation of a Catholic Social Justice Committee – to Close the Opportunity Gap: Trustees passed my motion at a recent Student Achievement Committee meeting to create a Catholic Social Justice Community Advisory Committee based on the social doctrine issued by the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace with the mandate of advising our Board on Policies, Programs and Services which close the learning opportunity gaps for school communities in need. It was recommended that the Committee include Trustee, Staff, Parent, Student and expert community representation. We are waiting on Terms of Reference from Staff to begin work.
ü Our Lady of Lourdes & St Paul Boundaries to Reflect Local Communities – At Corporate Services staff brought forward a report recommending certain schools be prioritized for boundary reviews. It did not include Our Lady of Lourdes (OLOL), though the current boundary excludes St James town. Trustees supported my plea and OLOL and St Paul are now on the overall Board priority list – the process will begin in the 2013-2013 school year. This should allow both OLOL and St Paul to have their local communities within their school boundaries – St James town and Regent Park, respectively.
ü TCDSB Partnership with Toronto Humane Society – Responsible Pet Ownership. This partnership between the TCDSB and the Toronto Humane Society (THS) is the first of its kind for the THS. A pilot project for grades 4 & 5 students was created and rolled-out to teach them the importance of responsible pet ownership. I was able to sit-in on the presentation given at St Luke school – students were very interested and engaged, and asked a lot of great questions! Of course, the highlight for students was getting to meet Crosty, a blind dog currently at the shelter.
Below is a column by Anthony Quinn from the current June, 2013, Issue of Zoomer Magazine, in Support of my Approved Motion for Intergenerational Programming
CARP (Canadian Association for Retired People) was pleased to appear recently before the Toronto Catholic District School Board in support of a motion moved by Trustee Jo-Ann Davis, “to develop board-wide programming and initiatives to help combat ageism.” Trustee Davis pointed out to the Board that ageism is the most tolerated form of social discrimination in Canada, citing a 2012 survey by Leger Marketing, that showed 40% of older persons reported being ignored or treated as though they are invisible and 38% reported being treated like they have nothing to contribute.
The resolution would see programs developed for elementary and secondary school students to “combat ageism and create opportunities for intergenerational learning environments that bring students together with older persons in meaningful ways.”
Children exposed to new forms of intergenerational cooperation, knowledge transfer, mentorship and the prospect of life-long learning will have a better understanding of aging and appreciation of the value of their elders and their contribution to the fabric of society, regardless of age. This exposure also creates an ‘age awareness’ whereby students can recognize and adapt the mobility and other issues that often accompany the aging body. CARP supports and commends the TDCSB on this plan and we sincerely hope they follow through on this motion. We also encourage school boards across the country to investigate their role in the fight against ageism in society.