ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS YOUR TRUSTEE

“It is our role as trustees in the Education Act to promote student achievement and well-being… to promote a positive school climate… to promote the prevention of bullying and deliver effective and appropriate educational programs…”


At the community level:

  • Engaged students, parents/guardians, staff, school leaders, school partners and community members in discussions affecting their neighbourhood schools through attending School Councils, holding Ward Forums and through regular weekly updates sent via e-mail and posted on my website;
  • Accessible and responsive to student, parent/guardian and community inquiries;
  • Ensured the community was aware of and involved in planning studies through the Long-Term Program and Accommodation Strategy, through additional school and public meetings as well as publicly posting Questions and Answers; Supported keeping the former Vaughan Road Academy building as a core holding in the TDSB as well as ensuring the Bannockburn property would not be sold;
  • Supported raising awareness of the need for schools to be considered essential infrastructure, engaging Residents Associations and community members and working with the local Councillor to address the need for more school capacity as a result of infill development in the Yonge-Eglinton area and advocating for the TDSB to receive Education Development Charges (EDCs) as “growth should pay for growth”;
  • Worked to secure capital funding for the rebuilding of North Toronto Collegiate Institute, for the new rebuild of Davisville/Spectrum (including childcare) and working on funding for a major addition at Hodgson Middle School;
  • Secured improvements to local schools by collaborating with the community and local city councillors, for example on:
    • Renovated schools, school grounds and/or expanded facilities at Brown, Cedarvale, Deer Park, Eglinton, Forest Hill Jr/Sr, Hodgson, Humewood, JR Wilcox, Maurice Cody, McMurrich, Oriole Park and West Prep;
    • Artificial turf fields at Northern, NTCI and Maurice Cody and refurbishing of Hodgson artificial ice rink;
    • Additional cross-walks, signage and kiss and ride areas at neighbourhood schools; and
    • Piloting the first Walking School Bus to reduce street traffic, promote safety, and increase physical activity.
  • Participated with the other elected women representatives from Toronto-St. Paul’s in an annual celebration for International Women’s Day that brings together young women leaders from TDSB, TCDSB and the independent high schools in the riding.

At the board level:

  • Developed the board’s first mission and values and processes for including parents and community in shaping policies and the budget;
  • Contributed to the development of the board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan which will drive all other plans in the TDSB including: Vision for Learning and Service, Integrated Equity Framework, Leadership Capacity Plan, and Long-Term Program and Accommodation Strategy;
  • Supported the hiring of an independent Integrity Commissioner, the first school board in Canada to do so;
  • Reinforced the need to be as transparent and accountable as possible to engage the community in advocacy for well-maintained schools, for example publishing school’s Facility Condition Index (FCI) data and school budgets;
  • Ensured the community remained involved in major capital projects, for example that the New School Review Team (NSRT) could meet more than once to review the scope of the project, discuss site specific issues and examine schematic option(s) to be developed in accordance with the Elementary School Design Guidelines;
  • Recommended the creation of the Governance Review Workgroup and Policy Review Committee as fundamental to the role of trustee and served as the Chair of both – moved that they transition to one of three on-going standing committees of the board and served as the first Chair of the Policy and Governance Committee;
  • Contributed to the development of new policies for the TDSB, for example that resulted in:
    • Acknowledging the importance of meaningful parental involvement in schools and the expansion of public deputation opportunities at committee;
    • Establishment of GSAs and safe places in schools;
    • First Safe Schools Policy;
    • Equity Framework to specifically address anti-Black racism, Indigenous Issues, Islamophobia, Homophobia and Anti-Semitism;
    • Entrenched consultation with parents and community in all school policies as well as modernizing the policy procedures itself;
    • Acknowledgement of the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples at the beginning of all board events and in school announcements as part of taking action from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee;
    • Exploration of Redevelopment Projects: School Space in Commercial and Condominium – led to the Strategy to Address City Growth and Intensification;
    • Establishment of a Documents for Access, Transparency and Accountability Workgroup – led to Open Data Policy;
    • Ensuring that extra-curricular activities are available to students, in some circumstances where it is not possible to offer staff-supervised extra-curricular activities;
    • Environmental policies now referred to as Eco-Schools and Active Transportation initiatives;
    • Severe Weather procedure to include extreme temperatures for Heat as well as Cold;
    • Restricting student travel to the United States;
    • Changing the role of School Resource Officers in our schools; and
    • Differentiated funding to support diverse needs of schools.
  • Advocated for the protection and expansion of:
    • Student mental wellness strategies – currently the Chair of the Mental Health and Wellness Committee;
    • Diversity and equity initiatives (Orange Shirt Day; Pink Shirt Day; Gay-Straight Alliances; Pride, etc.)
    • Universal screening for all students entering grade 3;
    • Student Nutrition programs;
    • Centres of Innovation for Skills and Technologies and expansion of Apprenticeship and Skilled Trades program options;
    • Roots of Empathy programs aimed at promoting anti-bullying;
    • Childcare in schools and community partnerships; and
    • Early years’ initiatives, including piloting Toronto’s First Duty which integrated community services at JR Wilcox Community School.
  • Promoted collaboration between city and school board leaders to better integrate programs and services as a member of the City of Toronto’s first Children’s Committee in the early days of the Board.

At the provincial level:

  • Contributed to strengthening Ontario’s education system as Vice-President and Director of the Ontario Public School Board’s Association (OPSBA) and as Chair, Policy Development Working Table;
  • Involved in the development of OPSBA’s positions concerning major issues such as new water quality standards for schools, the unique needs of Toronto schools, students’ mental health, special education, transportation, choice in public education and good governance practices;
  • Collaborated with OPSBA Executive, senior staff and school board business officials to develop advocacy positions on issues such as general legislative grants, pre-budget consultations, private school tax credits and education funding;
  • As a member and Chair of OPSBA’s Policy Development Working Table, contributed to advocacy positions:
    • For implementing the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum and now for maintaining it;
    • For advancing Reconciliation – First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education;
    • For analysis and actions in response to the challenges in hiring, recruiting and retaining French as a Second Language (FSL) teachers in English public school boards across the province;
    • For the repeal of Regulation 274 (hiring teachers should be based on the best person for the role, not on seniority);
    • For changes to funding to close the gap for student need and for what boards pay vs what they receive for salaries, Special Education and Transportation;
    • For changes to the regulations for Education Development Charges (EDCs) to allow TDSB to receive EDCs and allow boards greater flexibility to renew and build facilities;
    • For “real” funding to fix the back-log for repairs to our schools and for “real” capital funding to build new schools for students; and
    • For monitoring issues related to technology/social media that pose risks and provide opportunities for students.
  • Worked with all levels of government representatives in the Ward as a contributing member of the “St Paul’s Summit” that brings school trustees, city councillors, provincial and federal members of parliament together on a regular basis to meet with community on important issues.