Northern Secondary School

January 12th, 2024

Monday, January 22, 2024 08:27 AM

Dear Northern Families,

Happy New Year!

I want to acknowledge the 4th anniversary of Ukranian Airlines Flight 752 being shot down. On January 7th 2020 Northern student Maya Zibaie passed away when the plane was shot down on its way back to Canada. Maya continues to be missed.

A reminder that exams run from January 24-29. The moratorium period begins on Thursday January 18th. There will be no excursions/ athletic events etc during this period. You can find an updated and (hopefully) more user friendly exam schedule here: Exam Schedule The schedule follows this format:

Students will follow their Day 1 schedule as follows for exams:

Wednesday January 24th- Period 1 Exam

Thursday January 25th- Period 2 Exam

Friday January 26th- Period 3 Exam

Monday January 29th- Period 4 Exam

ALL exams will begin at 10am.  Exam duration will vary by subject/ year.  Looking ahead, students should make sure they eat a good breakfast as they will eat a “late” lunch on these days once exams are over (late relative to our usual 11:40am lunchtime).

Please take some time to look through our Exam ReadiNSS site for information and resources.  More information will be added as the January exams approach – including some in person exam preparation sessions provided by our student services and special education!

The Special Education ARC department is preparing for exams and has surveyed students with computer accommodations on their IEP. Students can check with their classroom teachers beginning Monday to ensure they are on the correct list.

Transition Days: January 30th has no exams scheduled. Students may be approached by their teacher to complete work on this day. January 31st is an attendance taking day. We will do exam review with students in the morning and students will engage in credit rescue with teachers by invitation in the afternoon. February 1st is a PD Day, and Semester 2 starts February 2nd.

CULMINATING TASKS AND EXAMS Culminating activities and examinations carry the same importance and the same attendance requirement. Thus, attendance during culminating activities is mandatory. Some courses have culminating activities that take place over several days. Thus, attendance during culminating activities/summative evaluations is mandatory. A culminating activity is the final evaluation in each course which is worth 30% of the final mark. “This evaluation will be based on evidence from one or a combination of the following: an examination, a performance, an essay and/or another method of evaluation suitable to the course content” (p.41-Growing Success). Students who miss culminating activities or summative evaluations will be given a mark of zero for the portion missed with no opportunity to make up the missed work unless there is an extenuating and documented circumstance, such as a medical situation, court date, funeral etc. It is absolutely crucial that students do not miss any time during the end of a semester. Under Ministry of Education and TDSB regulations, there can be no accommodations made for students who miss the 30% culminating activities and summative evaluations at the end of a semester for personal reasons such as vacation or work. Students and parents should be aware that scheduled vacations at this time can significantly impact student achievement. With the exception of a medical emergency, all summative tests and assignments that are missed as a result of these absences will be assigned a mark of zero.


Here are the “Three Things You Need to Know about Northern Next Week”:

  1. Tuesday: School Council Meeting @6:30pm
  2. Tuesday: Canadian Math League Contest #4
  3. Wednesday: Late Start at 9:55am
  4. Wednesday: All* 70% Term Work Returned to Students (*submitted on time)
  5. Thursday: Moratorium Begins


Review of Legacy Technical and Commercial Boundaries:

As part of the Long-Term Program and Accommodation Strategy, the TDSB aims to address outdated technical and commercial boundaries that exist in certain areas of the city.

These outdated boundaries were established during a time of academic-vocational streamlining, but now hinder equity of access. The Board is proposing the dissolution of these legacy boundaries by September 2025 to provide equal access to all Toronto students.

The affected schools include Central Technical School, Central Toronto Academy, Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute, Northern Secondary School, Victoria Park Collegiate Institute, and Western Technical-Commercial School. The proposed changes would not affect current programs. 

I encourage you to attend public engagement opportunities, which are scheduled for mid-January 2024 through three virtual meetings, details of which will be provided before the winter break.

For more information, please visit the Boards’ Secondary Program Review which can be found here:

A webpage dedicated to the review of legacy technical and commercial boundaries can be found here:


Battle of the Bands:

Northern’s first ever battle of the bands will be after school on Wednesday March 27th! Anyone can sign up to compete for a performance opportunity at our end of year concert! See our POSTER . Check out Instagram for all the details or sign up at


Attention Graduates!!

Graduation photos will take place on February 12 and 13th. Please book an appointment online following the link and steps below:

Click “Classic Sitting”

Choose date and time of your liking, click “confirm and pay now”

Enter student, contact and billing information and click “confirm and pay”

**Props will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own to personalize your session. Additional props could include- an old school photo, a small item that shows of your personality or an interest. If you would like to take a casual photo, please bring an additional outfit/top.

**Please come prepared in a white collared shirt or blouse and tie.

**A black graduation gown, sash and graduation cap will be available.

**Your confirmation email will confirm the location of your photo session.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Northern Math Contest:

Registration is open for the University of Waterloo - Pascal, Cayley, and Fermat Contests.

Students will write on Wednesday, February 28th at 9:00 a.m.
The registration fee for the contest is $7.
More information is available at

If your student is interested in writing please have them join the Google Classroom using code kzwovat and register before Monday, February 5th.


Toronto DSB Student Elections 2024-25

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is accepting applications for Student Trustee positions for the 2024-2025 school year.

Student Trustees represent the voice of approximately 240,000 students in the Toronto District School Board. They work closely together to empower and promote student voice and engagement across the district.

Key Dates

January 8, 2024 – Application Opens - - (new Application link)

January 8, 2024 – Email to students

January 17, 2024 – Information Session

§ Microsoft Teams meeting

§ Join on your computer, mobile app or room device

§ Click here to join the meeting

§ Meeting ID: 270 275 351 962
Passcode: jZTi8Y

§ Download Teams | Join on the web

§ Learn More | Meeting options

January 19, 2024 – Application Deadline

February 12 to 19, 2024 – Campaigning Period

February 20, 2024 – Voting Period to determine Runoff candidates

February 22-27 – Campaigning period for Runoff candidates

February 28 – Voting to determine two Student Trustees


Film- Periphery

On Monday Jan. 15, the Equity. Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression Department invites you to a virtual screening of Periphery, an evocative film about ethnic diversity in Toronto's Jewish Community. Screening is followed by a discussion with the director/producer Sara Yacobi-Harris, and co-founder of No Silence on Race, Akilah Allen-Silverstein.

Periphery is suitable for grades 9-12. More information, the trailer and curriculum to accompany the film, visit

Monday Jan. 15, 2024

Educators, Students and Community. 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Registration link for both can be found here: Register for Periphery

Flyer is attached .


Black Student Summer Leadership Program

Applications for the 2024 Black Student Summer Leadership Program opens December 18. The Black Student Summer Leadership Program offers mentorship, skill development opportunities and paid experiential learning placements. During the program students are matched with a for-profit or not-for-profit organization representing a variety of employment sectors and relevant to the students’ field of interest. As part of the Black Student Summer Leadership Program, all registrants participate in Youth Participatory Action Research. Throughout the program students will explore societal issues, deliver presentations to their peers and participate in skills training workshops.

Registration opens: Dec 18, 2024

Registration closes: January 19, 2024

Information session: January 16, 2024 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Interviews: February 15 -24

Registration link or

Students will need to be logged into their TDSB accounts in order to register.

See flyer for all offerings.


ELL Learners- This guide provides secondary schools with guidelines around accommodations for English Language Learners (ELLs). The Ontario Ministry of Education clearly states that ELLs are entitled to accommodations throughout their learning experiences, particularly during assessment and evaluations.



New Books: Looking for a way to get your teenager to take a break from their phones? Our Library can help. We have some great new books for all types of readers, including popular manga titles and engaging graphic novels. Encourage your kids to check out a light read to bring home.
Here's a sample of our newest and our most circulated:

From the Toronto Public Library, at the Northern District Branch

Teen programming for the month of January:

  • Crafty Thursdays between 4pm to 5pm. Weekly themes are found in the calendar. We have crafts throughout Thursdays of January except the 25th. This program occurs in the Teen Zone.
  • The Chillzone between 4pm to 6pm every Monday of January. This is located in Room 200
  • Henna Art Workshop on Tuesday January 23rd from 4pm to 6pm. This program is located in the MFPR


Student Success:

Peer Tutoring- Peer Tutoring is now available! We are able to offer tutoring support in all compulsory subjects for Grades 9 and 10. Students, please complete the Tutee Registration Form in order to be matched with a Peer Tutor this semester.


School Council:

1. School Statement of Needs - Comments welcome before January 12th. The School Statement of Needs is a document used to guide hiring decisions in the event that a new Principal is hired. School Council revises the document yearly. We welcome comments from the parent community. Last year’s document can be viewed here. Your comments are welcome by email ( before 4 pm on January 12th.

2. Walking Buddies - Saturday, January 13th - 9:30-10:30 am Join other Northern parents for some fresh air, exercise, and conversation about school, kids, and life! Email for more details.

3. School Council meeting - Tuesday, January 16th at 6:30 pm. School Council meets in the Northern Secondary School Library. We are looking forward to seeing you in person or on the screen - the meeting will be hybrid. If you would like to attend virtually, please email us at with the subject line "School Council Meeting Link." The link will be sent by 4 pm the day of the meeting. Draft minutes from the previous meeting can be found here.

4. Ask Adam The Principal's update is an important part of every school council meeting. If you have a question about something that is happening at Northern, please submit your question to with "Ask Adam" in the subject line.


Guidance Updates:

  1. Guidance Week-in-Review: Welcome back and Happy New Year; Exam Prep Sessions, getting prepped for upcoming course selection!

Guidance Week Ahead:

  • Ontario University applications are due January 15, 2024 –
  • Ontario College applications are due February 1, 2024 for equal consideration –
  1. Semester 2 Course Change Request REMINDER: there are VERY specific criteria for any Semester 2 timetable changes. See below:

Criteria for Requesting a Semester 2 Timetable Change:

  1. You are eligible to drop a course and will take a spare.
  2. You are missing a compulsory course or a graduation requirement (i.e. English, Math, Science).
  3. You are in grade 11 or 12 and are changing post-secondary pathways. For example, you have three Science courses, but have decided to not study Science in post-secondary.
  4. You do not have a full timetable: Grade 9 & 10 = 8 courses; grade 11 = 7 courses; grade 12 = 6 courses.

Please note: We will not be able to accommodate all timetable requests. Thank you for your understanding. Please see your guidance counsellor with any questions.

  1. NSS Course Selection Overview: Mark Your Calendars!
  2. Graded Live-Stream In-Class Course Selection Presentations:
  3. Tuesday, February 6/24 Period 2 – Grade 9 Course Selection Presentation
  4. Wednesday, Feb. 7/24 Period 1 – Grade 10 Course Selection Presentation
  5. Thursday, February 8/24 Period 2 – Grade 11 Course Selection Presentation
  6. Friday, February 9/24 Period 1 – Grade 12 Course Selection Presentation
  7. Evening Course Selection Presentation for NSS Community– Thursday, February 8, 2024 6:00pm – Link to TBA
  8. NSS Course Selection Fair – EXTENDED LUNCH Friday, February 9, 2024.
  9. myBlueprint OPENS: Monday, February 5, 2024

myBlueprint CLOSES: Wednesday, February 28, 2024.

  1. Semester 2 Night School Registration and Course Offerings:

Continue to check our website for updates as all of our information you can find here:

Registration Opens: Closes January 19, 2024.

  1. TDSB eLearning Semester 2: Registration CLOSES February 22nd, but all courses are now waitlisted.

For more information and course offerings click here.

  1. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) 2023/2024

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is the formal evaluation and credit-granting process whereby students may obtain credits for prior learning. Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired, in both formal and informal ways, outside secondary school. Students may have their knowledge and skills evaluated against the expectations outlined in provincial curriculum policy documents in order to earn credits towards the secondary school diploma.

The 2023/2024 PLAR Challenge process will kick off with a Virtual PLAR Information Session for Families on January 17, 2024 from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Please share the information below with your school community.

  1. University of Toronto Outreach Opportunities:
    STEAM Design:
  • Program Dates: July 2 - 26, 2024
  • The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Design Program is an experiential learning program with an equity focus, as it is designed for grades 10-12 students identifying with groups that are underrepresented in health sciences (i.e. Black, Indigenous, Filipino, Latin American, racialized, and/or from any background experiencing socio-economic barriers)
  • Click here to APPLY


  • Program Dates: July 8 – August 2, 2024
  • Blueprint is an academic enrichment program designed for highly motivated Black students interested in science and engineering. Blueprint is open to students currently in Grades 10 and 11, and are interested in careers in STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math).
  • Click here to APPLY
  1. IMPORTANT Volunteering Information:

PLEASE NOTE: Events and activities supporting a not-for-profit initiative are approved. If you are unsure if your activities supports a not-for-profit program, please see your Guidance counsellor for approval of the volunteering initiative.

For more information about the TDSB’s policy on Volunteering, click here.

  • for volunteering information and opportunities, please visit your Guidance Google classroom or

You can find the TDSB Community Involvement form here.

  1. Post Secondary Updates:
    1. UPDATE FROM OUAC: Please note that students are not able to view and make changes to their application until their payment has been received and processed by the OUAC. Applicant Services Extended Hours Prior to Application Deadline:
      Friday, January 12 - 9:30 am - 4:15 pm (EST)
      Monday, January 15 - 9:30 am - 7:00 pm (EST)
      Applicant Services Phone: (519) 823-1063
    2. Do you have questions about how to access accommodations at your post-secondary school? This chart lists each university's policy/needs around what is required to get accommodations:
    3. NSS Post-Secondary Individual School Lunch Visits 2023/24
    4. NSS Post-Secondary Guide is here!
  2. Scholarship Information:
    1. NSS Scholarship Information Chart 2023/2024 where Northern-specific scholarship information and deadlines can be found (along with other common awards).
    2. Seeking Scholarships has released their November Scholarship Report which has upcoming scholarship dates listed for students applying to post-secondary programs. It also has some great tips this month for writing scholarship essays

Northern students, teachers, and families can access from this link using the password, scholar58:

Please note: This resource is copyrighted and only available to Northern families - please do not share outside of the Northern community.

  1. Online Graduation Requirement – Information and Opt-Out Form

Looking for information about the new Ontario Ministry Online Learning graduation requirement? Please click here

Overview Info:

  • applies only to students who entered Grade 9 on or after September 1, 2020.
  • Students may withdraw/opt out of this new requirement and graduate with an OSSD
    • if you have decided now to withdraw from the graduation requirement, please complete the TDSB Opt Out/Withdrawal Form and return it to your Guidance Counsellor.


Have a great weekend!

Adam Marshall


Follow me @PrincipalNSS