Trustee Update

Zakir Patel Ward 19: Scarborough - Guildwood
Toronto District School Board
Tel: 416-395-8787
Cell: 647-709-7973

Post-Secondary Information Session for Grade 12 Families

The TDSB invites families of Grade 12 students to attend an upcoming Post-Secondary Information Session on Wednesday, October 6, 2021. This session is aimed at helping parents/guardians and students better understand the post-secondary admissions process during COVID-19. Learn more about the upcoming Post-Secondary Information Session. This event is meant to support the post-secondary initiatives that schools are coordinating for their students locally. Grade 12 students and families are encouraged to direct any questions about post-secondary planning to their school Guidance Counsellors.

Following a brief overview of the post-secondary application process, participants will have the opportunity to hear from a number of GTA post-secondary institutions regarding their admissions process and how their institutions are addressing teaching and learning during the pandemic. Presenters include:

  • Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program
  • Ontario College Application Service
  • Centennial College
  • Seneca College
  • George Brown College
  • Humber College
  • University of Toronto
  • Ryerson University
  • York University

This Post-Secondary Information Session will take place on Wednesday, October 6th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. via Zoom. Click here to join the Information Session on Wednesday evening. In the event that the webinar reaches capacity, families can watch the live YouTube stream.

Families can request interpretation services for this event in advance, by completing this online form.

The following updates are important for potential graduates:

  • The literacy requirement has been waived for 2021-2022 graduates this year.
  • Community involvement hours have been reduced from 40 to 20 hours for graduates this year. Students are encouraged to participate in virtual community involvement opportunities (Ontario Volunteer Centre Network or Volunteer Toronto.)

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school Guidance Counsellor.

TDSB Will Open Boyne Natural Science School as Indigenous Land-Based Learning Site

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Urban Indigenous Education Centre (UIEC), with guidance from the Elders Council, will open the Boyne Natural Science School as an Indigenous Land-Based Learning site. Trustees unanimously supported the initiative during this evening’s Regular Board Meeting.

This site is located on 308.5 acres of the Niagara Escarpment, adjacent to the Bruce Trail and the Boyne River Provincial Park. Its reopening supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action and supports Indigenous Education on The Land for all students, staff and Indigenous communities.

For more information, please read the news release.

TDSB Releases Mandatory Vaccine Procedure

The Toronto District School Board has released a COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccine Procedure for implementation.

Through this procedure, the TDSB is taking action to protect the health and safety of employees, students, families and community members and is in line with Ministry of Education direction, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s instructions, and a resolution by the Board of Trustees. The TDSB also conducted consultations with several stakeholders.

By November 1, 2021, employees, Trustees, and other individuals who have direct contact with staff or students at a TDSB workplace, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (subject to approved requests for exemptions under the Human Rights Code). Until then, those who are not vaccinated or have not disclosed their vaccination status must continue to undergo rapid antigen testing at home and provide proof of a negative result, twice per week. In addition, those who do not have a medical/disability exemption will be required to undertake an education session on the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information, please read the news release.

Virtual Mental Health Support

Professional Support Services is offering virtual drop-in hours for parents and caregivers to discuss strategies to help support the mental health and well-being of your child. Learn more about Virtual Mental Health Support.

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

For the next several weeks, Toronto Public Health will be offering Youth Mobile Vaccine Clinics for youth aged 12-17 to increase access to vaccines. Learn more about these clinics and where to access them.

School Immunization Program

Toronto Public Health is hosting vaccination clinics for students, in Grade7 and higher who need the following vaccines: Meningococcal-ACYW, Human papillomavirus and/or Hepatitis-B. Read the full letter from TPH and complete the consent form to access.

Parent and Caregivers as Partners Conference

Registration opens soon for the annual Parents and Caregivers as Partners Conference. Join our virtual event on October 16 and 17 to connect with other parents and caregivers, learn from experts and be inspired by our keynote speakers. Learn more about the Parent and Caregivers as Partners Conference.

Student Transportation

Are you a parent/guardian of a child who takes the bus to school? Don’t forget to register for the Student Transportation Parent Portal to access important information and updates, and to sign up to receive email notifications of bus delays and cancellations. Please also ensure that student contact information and phone numbers are up-to-date.

International Languages: Elementary and African Heritage (ILE-AH)

This free online program welcomes JK to Grade 8 students to learn a language (except for English and French) for 2.5 hours a week. Learn more about ILE-AH and register online today

Daily Health Screening

Ensuring the health and safety of our students and staff is a priority and everyone plays a role. The most important thing families can do to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, is to screen their children daily for any COVID-19 symptoms and keep them home from school if they are sick or have had close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19. All staff and visitors will also be required to screen themselves before entering a TDSB building.

Before coming to school each day, all students must conduct an active student health screening self-assessment and if, based on your answers you are clear to come to school, please record the information daily through the paper pass or the Health Screening App, which will allow you to enter to your school or administration building.

Learn more at

Keeping Kids Safe

Drivers are reminded to do their part to keep children safe near school buses.

Drivers should follow these tips:

  • Stop and never pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing.
  • Leave space around school buses and avoid blocking school bus loading zones so children can enter and exit safely.
  • Be prepared to stop for a school bus at any time, not just during school hours.
  • Always obey the rules of the road and watch for children, especially in school zones.
  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and school crossings.

Parents can also help keep their children safe by reminding them to be aware of their surroundings when they are on or near school buses.

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween provides an opportunity for parents and children to spend time together creating costumes, carving pumpkins, planning trick or treat activities and participating in family parties. Hallowe'en is a big event at schools and provides opportunities for parties, creative activities, art programs and impromptu history lessons. Hallowe'en is also a time for students, parents, and schools to take extra care to ensure safety and security.

If parents are concerned about trick or treating, here are some basic safety rules to follow:

  • Children should NEVER eat any treats until parents have had a chance to go through them and inspect them. Parents should look for tampering of packages and discard any they believe to be unsafe or unknown
  • Have your child carry a flashlight.
  • NEVER go into a stranger's house
  • NEVER trick or treat with people you do not know
  • Trick or treat only at homes you know
  • Children should always stay in groups if no parent is present
  • Younger children should ALWAYS be accompanied by an older person.
  • Accompany your child when trick or treating
  • If you can not accompany your child then know the route your child will take
  • Flame resistant (retardant) costumes are in order. Keep costumes short and remind children to stay away from pumpkins with candles in them
  • Remind children to stay away from pets they do not know
  • Remind children of road safety rules. Cross only at corners. Do not criss-cross the road. Go up one side of the road and down the other side. Never cross between parked cars. Walk facing on-coming traffic if there is no sidewalk
  • If adults are driving their children, drive slowly, with lights on and be cautious when pulling to the side of the road
  • Children should wear their own shoes when trick or treating. Wearing costume shoes/boots can be dangerous and uncomfortable.
  • Remind children that not everyone celebrates Hallowe'en, and to avoid any homes that have no lights on. Also remind children not to run through neighbours yards or gardens.
  • With older children, be sure to know what other events (such as parties) they plan on attending.
  • Set time limits when children should return home.

October is Islamic Heritage Month at the TDSB 

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) proudly recognizes Islamic Heritage Month during the month of October since our Board of Trustees passed their motion on June 22, 2016. Our main theme for the month continues to be: Reflect. Celebrate. Learn.

Canadian Islamic Heritage Month has been recognized across our nation since October 2007.  Subsequently, since November 2016, the province of Ontario established October as Islamic History Month through the Islamic Heritage Month Act, "proclaiming a month to be Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario will provide all Ontarians, both today and in future generations, with an opportunity to reflect, celebrate, and learn about the rich and longstanding Islamic history in the Province and the diverse roles and contributions of Muslim people in communities across Ontario. This new understanding will turn help combat anti-Islamic sentiment."

The TDSB Islamic Heritage Month Volunteer Planning Committee initiated a poster created by photographs provided by author Richard A. Awid with the theme History of Early Canadian Muslims.  In addition, we’re excited to release an updated version of the TDSB Islamic Heritage Month Resource Guidebook (2021) as it may be used as an educational tool to learn about the Islamic heritage.  

During the month of October several Islamic Heritage Month events are being organized for students, staff and TDSB community members. TDSB students - Grade 7-12 will be invited to attend a virtual event with Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, former American Professional Basketball Player who challenged the International Basketball Federation when informed that she could not participate in the league while wearing a hijab. Bilqis will share the challenges she faced while trying to change this requirement for players.  

TDSB community members, students and staff will also be invited to a join a virtual event with Master Chef contestant Reem Ahmed and City TV Host Maleeha Sheikh in the upcoming weeks. We will learn about preparing a meal and we’ll hear a candid conversation about Islamophobia and what it is like to be Muslim in Canada.  Registration will be required and details will be shared soon.

Follow the Islamic Heritage Month Committee on Twitter at - @tdsb_ihm

October is Somali Heritage Month at the TDSB

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) proudly recognizes Somali Heritage Month during the month of October. The TDSB has been marking Somali Heritage Month since June 2016, and we continue to expand on the selected theme Educate. Elevate. Excel. 

In October 2020, the Government of Ontario proclaimed Somali Heritage Week Act, 2020 which will take place on June 25 through July 1.

“By proclaiming the week of June 25 through July 1 as Somali Heritage Week, the Province of Ontario recognizes the economic, political, social and cultural achievements and contributions of Somali Canadians in all aspects of Ontario society. Like many refugees and immigrants who have made Ontario their home, Somali Canadians are proud to be part of diverse communities across the province.”
The attached power point is being shared with you as it provides information about the Somali Heritage.  Enjoy and learn about us!

Please follow us on Twitter:  SomaliHM@TDSB

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Dear parents, Pease be aware of the NEW Screening Tools