December 13, 2019
Dear Minister Lecce,
On behalf of the Toronto District School Board, I would first like to thank you for the reinstatement of the Priorities and Partnerships Fund: Parents Reaching Out Grants.
These grants are vital to our schools’ ability to engage with parents, which is a key factor in the enhancement of student achievement and well-being. When schools, families and communities work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer and enjoy school more. And, when parents are actively engaged in supporting their child’s success in school, students are more likely to be motivated, earn higher grades, have better behavioural and social skills and continue their education to a higher level.
These grants ensured that all schools could hold events, workshops and activities, such as family math nights and information sessions on developing resilience, to inform, inspire and engage their parent community.
This year, however, there have been two significant changes to the grants that have had a substantial impact on schools’ ability to connect and engage. First, there was a major reduction in our funding by more than two-thirds and second, the process moved from a grants model to an allocation model.
We ask that for 2020-21 school year, you consider restoring past funding levels and returning back to the grants-based model.
This spending should not be considered a want but a basic necessity in our continued efforts to engage with parents and families. A full restoration of these grants will ensure we are able to continue to support initiatives designed to break down barriers to parent engagement and further support our students, schools and communities.
Robin Pilkey, CPA, CA, ICD.D
Chair, Toronto District School Board