On behalf of the Toronto District School Board, I am writing you to ask for resource supports that will provide the financial flexibility needed to meet the changing and dynamic needs of our students.
As you know, Ontario school boards have a legislative requirement to oversee and maintain a Multi-Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) to ensure effective use of the resources entrusted to them; use the resources for the purposes of delivering effective and appropriate education; and manage the resources in a manner that upholds public confidence.
The TDSB’s MYSP calls for equity of access to learning opportunities for all students, the creation of a culture of student and staff well-being, and the strategic allocation of human and financial resources through differentiated supports to ensure we meet the diverse needs of our students and stakeholders.
Based on feedback from student, parent/guardian, staff and community consultation, we have learned that virtual learning models have not met the educational goals of our MYSP, including commitments to reducing disproportionate outcomes, increasing student engagement and belonging, improving well-being, achievement and equity of access as central components to this plan. Feedback to date has indicated that the vast majority of students learn best in-person and a significant number feel disengaged through virtual learning.
As a Board, we have repeatedly advocated to your Ministry for critical resource support, inclusive of all pandemic related costs to help ensure system flexibility so that we can deliver a strategic pandemic-recovery plan. This includes funding for virtual learning, if required, that is designed in way that is informed by pandemic experiences so that the Board can ensure its ability to uphold its commitment to the MYSP.
Therefore, I am asking that your government provide resources to properly support:
• the equity, wellbeing, and achievement goals of the Board’s MYSP and Pandemic Recovery Plan
• best practices for effective local, required remote learning; and
• mental health
I am also requesting that the resource supports include the opportunity for appropriate planning and consultation with lessons from the pandemic, and that your Ministry provide a decision on resources to the TDSB this month – February 2022.
This would offer the Board adequate time to review and interpret system data and engage in consultations with students, communities and stakeholders to effectively plan for the next school year in a timely manner.
As always, I am available at your earliest convenience to discuss this further.
Chair, Toronto District School Board