A sustainable school system has the right programs in the right places for all students to access both classroom and extracurricular programming. Ensuring our learning environments are safe, welcoming, caring, clean and healthy is an important responsibility and essential to student learning.
School climate is important and surveys are an active measurement we use to gauge how students feel inside their school. We are committed to stand up against bullying at the TDSB. Through supports like the Board-wide positive spaces program, restorative practices and progressive discipline initiatives, we work to provide caring and safe learning environments for all students.
In the past four months, the Gender-Based Violence Prevention team has assisted 43 schools with consultations and the creation of school-based violence prevention plans to address issues related to bullying, relationships, sexual identity, stereotyping and building positive spaces. We now have more than 80 Gay-Straight Alliances and Gender-Justice groups who work to create a school climate that is safer and more positive for students and staff of all sexual identities, gender identities and gender expressions.
In September, we opened the doors to the newest Paediatric Clinic at Yorkwoods Public School, serving students from a number of schools. The Model School Paediatric Health Initiative was first established in 2010 and to date, students have attended more than 3,000 appointments to address a range of medical issues. These clinics are an important option to provide safe and accessible clinical health care services for students who may not otherwise seek medical support.
We also continue to provide student access to vision and hearing assessments within schools. In the last school year, more than 26,000 students had their vision checked with 3,600 follow-up visits and 2,600 students received free glasses. Additionally, more than 11,000 elementary students had their hearing checked with over 1,000 referrals to physicians for follow up.
Making the connection between what we eat and how it affects wellness is one of the most important lessons we can learn when it comes to healthy eating. We want to ensure that all students have equity of access to nutrition programs to support student achievement and student engagement.
More than 112,000 students – about 65% – participate in our student nutrition programs. We offer 508 programs within 400 schools and operate breakfast, morning meal, and snack or lunch programs. With a recent commitment to increased funding, we will be able to add programs to an additional 70 schools over the next five years.
To ensure the quality of our learning environments, over the summer, our Facilities team worked on an amazing 591 renewal, renovation and construction projects, including the building of the Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy, which houses an unprecedented 26 full-day kindergarten classes. We are proud of our Early Years directions with the addition of 114 more Phase Four Full-Day Kindergarten sites and 80 more Before and After School Child Care Programs.
We are excited to be moving forward with the Solar Schools Project which supports our ongoing commitment to being one of the greenest school boards in Canada and operating in a way that aligns with the environmental education taught to our students. Over the course of the project, the revenue generated by installing solar panels on school roofs will fund approximately 4.3 million square feet of school rooftop repairs and replacements.