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Guidance Counsellor FAQ’s by Denise Edney



My child is skipping class, what can I do about it?

Each teacher is responsible to monitor the attendance of each of their students and the computer will call home for any students who miss a class without a reason.  If they discover that a student has skipped a class they may call home/assign a detention with them or in the office/require a note, etc.  After they have attempted to address the situation they may refer the student to the appropriate vice-principal.  The vice-principals are responsible for attendance issues.  This will likely involve meeting with the student, a call to the parent(s) and possibly a meeting with the student and parent(s).  If the irregular attendance pattern continues a referral will be made with our school attendance counsellor who will follow up with the family.  
As a parent, if you are concerned about your child skipping class please do not call them in as ill if they aren’t actually sick.  You might want to call the appropriate vice-principal (Ms. Greeley A-L, Ms. Tuck M-Z) to express your concerns and try to work on an approach together to address the issue.


My child is going to miss class for a few weeks/a month – is there a way that I can get their homework assigned to work on while he/she is away?

We really discourage extended absences in secondary school but understand that sometimes there are circumstances beyond a student’s control.
If a student is going to be away for an extended period of time for any reason they are asked to pick up an extended absence form from Ms. Buttigieg in the main office.  They will take this form to each of their teachers to let them know they will be away.  The form is also signed by the student’s vice-principal and guidance counsellor.   
From the TDSB Homework Policy:  “Teachers shall not be expected to provide detailed classroom work and homework assignments for students who are away for extended periods of time as a result of family or parent-initiated absences.  For absences due to extended illness, parents may contact the school principal to discuss available options.”
If a student misses a culminating activity/assessment at the end of the year for a reason other than a documented illness, they will receive a mark of 0 for the assessment.  
If a student is ill and will miss more than a few days of school the parent is encouraged to call their child’s vice-principal or guidance counsellor to arrange for them to notify their teachers and to provide work for them if they are able to complete it at home.

My child is having a difficult time adjusting to high school and seems very anxious/moody/depressed. What help can the school provide for him/her?

Several resources are available for students who are struggling.  Start with your child’s guidance counsellor who can then refer them to one or more of the following:  Student Success teacher, Focus on Success Program, school social worker, etc.  Each month we have an ‘In-School Team Meeting’ where all the teachers of specific students meet to discuss their strengths and needs and a ‘School Team Meeting’ where the guidance counsellors, vice-principals, ‘student success’ and special education teachers meet with our school social worker, psychologist and special education consultant to discuss students-at-risk.  Parents will be notified of these School Team Meetings in advance to give permission to discuss your child with our outside board support employees.

My child is regularly being sent to the office for acting up in school/being caught with his/her phone in class. How can the school help me curtail this?

My best answer to this would be to not allow your child to have a phone or to leave it at home on a school day – understanding that this doesn’t seem to be a reasonable response we would ask that parents review appropriate rules regarding the phone at school – it should be in a student’s bag out of sight during class time.  
If a student is using their cell phone during class time the teacher will deliver it to the appropriate vice-principal.  Students may pick up their phone from their VP at the end of the school day.  The second time the phone is turned into the VP they will call home to discuss the distraction of the phone with the parent/guardian before they return the phone to the student.  The third time the phone is turned into the VP the parent/guardian must themselves pick up the phone from the VP.
If a student is sent out of class on a regular basis they will see their VP in the main office and may meet with the teacher and the VP at the end of the school day.  An office detention may be assigned and a parent/guardian meeting may be requested.  A student who is demonstrating repeated behavioural issues may be referred to the Student Success teacher for support or the Focus on Success program for removal from a specific class on a permanent or temporary basis.  The student may also be referred to the In-School Team Meeting and/or the School Team Meeting for discussion on strategies to address behavioural concerns.


My child is finding his/her class too hard/too easy. Can s/he switch into the applied/academic stream of that subject – if there is a cut-off date when is it?

A switch to other levels of a course can usually be made for a certain period of time at the start of every school ear.  This date is generally published in the school agenda.  Next year it will likely be a few weeks after the first report card to give time for parents/guardians/students to consult the classroom teacher and/or their guidance counsellor before a switch is made.  To switch from the applied to the academic level a recommendation from the classroom teacher would normally be required.
I would encourage parents/guardians to read through their child’s agenda at the start of every school year when they receive it.  It is a great source of information on school policies, dates, etc.

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