PUBLIC EDUCATION MATTERS

TDSB Ward boundaries and numbers are changing… on July 30, 2018, the Government of Ontario introduced the Better Local Government Act, 2018 (Bill 5) to align Toronto City Council ward boundaries with current provincial and federal ridings, and reduce the number of Toronto City Council seats from 47 to 25. As Trustee ward boundaries must follow municipal boundaries, TDSB trustees held a special meeting on August 9 to determine how to divide the governance responsibilities of 22 trustees over 25 electoral ridings. And because of timelines imposed by the province, public consultation on any changes was not possible.

On August 14, 2018, Bill 5 was passed by the Government of Ontario and received Royal Assent. In addition to confirming 25 Toronto wards, it extends the nomination period for councillor and school board trustee nominations. As TDSB also voted to support the City’s motion considering legal action, this may change again. We should know on or shortly after August 31.

With Bill 5, the current Ward 11 becomes Ward 8 and will include the ridings of Eglinton-Lawrence and Toronto-St Paul’s. I plan to transfer my nomination papers to the new TDSB Ward 8 and look forward to representing an expanded area.

With your support, I can build on my proven track record as your trustee at the Toronto District School Board of working with students, parents and community members to consult, represent, advocate for, and deliver on your priorities.

I will continue to work to help us realize our community’s goals – thriving, effective public schools that create safe and supportive learning environments, celebrate diversity, have high expectations for all, and give each and every child the ability to reach their full potential.

Priorities

Student achievement
We owe it to our students to support their academic success as well as their mental health, have high expectations, provide learning supports and nurture their self-esteem, social responsibility and civic engagement. An emphasis on safe, caring and healthy schools will support student success.

Parent and community engagement
It is essential that we establish conditions for effective school councils, inviting parents/guardians and the community to discuss issues, provide advice and contribute to decisions facing students, schools and the board. Through dialogue we can enrich and strengthen our school programs.

Strengthening human resources
It is the people in our schools who make the difference; all it takes is one caring adult to turn a student’s life around. More adults in our buildings are needed at all levels – vice-principals, teachers, education workers.

Improving allocation of resources
Different levels of funding are required in order to produce equitable outcomes; differentiated funding is key to removing barriers for some students. We must review the budget with this lens in order to provide effective programs in great schools for all students.

Effective planning for school space and infrastructure improvements
Innovative approaches are needed to provide additional school spaces, repair and replace aging school infrastructure, improve school buildings and grounds, increase needed childcare and expand the community use of schools. In order to do this we need to bring the province, city and other partners together.

 

Media Release – TDSB Ward 11 Trustee Shelley Laskin Files Re-Election Papers

May 1, 2018, Toronto, Ontario – Shelley Laskin, Toronto District School Board Trustee for Ward 11, confirmed today that she is seeking re-election, officially filing her nomination papers at City Hall.

Laskin served as a trustee from 1997-2003, and then returned to the board in 2010. Some of the initiatives she championed during her early years include new policies for eco-schools and equity, entrenching parental involvement, forging the private-public partnership to build the new North Toronto Collegiate, and expanding funding for nutrition, literacy and parenting programs. Shelley has been instrumental in getting a number of facility improvements and program enhancements in Ward 11 schools and continues to champion meaningful parental involvement and supportive system relationships to advance student mental health and well-being as well as academic success. Laskin sees this extensive hands-on experience as crucial for the city’s schools.

“The issues we face as a school board are not simple and experience matters in understanding the complexity at the board level and particularly, how board decisions affect the students, their families and the communities in Ward 11.” That is why she communicates weekly through an e-mail newsletter to ensure transparency and accountability to her community so they can be informed of the challenges and success of the board’s agenda and how they can be involved. She understands good policy is non-partisan and was instrumental in ensuring the board established a Governance and Policy Standing Committee where she seconded an Open Data Policy, the first of its kind for a school board. She has been a vocal advocate and supporter of the board’s strategy to address intensification and growth, and for a provincial urban strategy that includes access to Education Development Charges (EDCs) for the TDSB. And she does this not only at the TDSB, but through the Ontario Public School Boards Association where Shelley serves as Vice-President on the Executive. “Growth should pay for growth” is part of her mantra.

Additionally, over the years Laskin has consistently demonstrated commitment to her community. She is a champion of strong schools and healthy communities, and has been active in community groups and her synagogue. Currently, in her fifteenth year in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) as a Senior Advisor, Laskin supports the governance role of provincial agencies; previously she worked in the Pan Am Games Secretariat, as a Senior Policy Advisor and led corporate priorities in inclusion, accessibility and diversity. Her first role was in the Business Improvement Office. She feels her background in the OPS and understanding of government enhances her role as a trustee on the TDSB.

When asked about how she manages time for these commitments, Laskin stated that being engaged is what she loves. “I do these things because they are my passion, because from a young age I was taught the importance of directing your efforts towards the good of your community. I love having the opportunity to speak with people and work to craft solutions to the challenges we are all facing in the public education system. That’s what I’ve done as a trustee, and that’s what I want to continue to do.”

The election takes place on Monday, October 22, 2018.

Shelley Laskin – Experience that can be measured.

Contact – shelley@shelleylaskin.ca

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