It is just about two months I have been at my new job as Trustee for Don Valley West at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB – Ward 11). During this time, I have been immersed in learning about the inner workings of the TDSB and the 24 schools in our ward.
My term began with a weekend of governance training at the Rotman School of Business. This was a productive crash course attended by all 22 trustees and the top levels of TDSB staff. These sessions gave our new board a chance to learn about our responsibilities and operational procedures, become familiar with the inner structure of the TDSB, and begin forming relationships with each other and members of our most senior leadership team. It was an invaluable experience, especially in light of the fact that with 22 members, we are one of the largest governance boards of any type in North America, and also, one might say, a fresh, new board. With 12 of our 22 members, including yours truly, new to the job, we are full of new faces and new ideas. This makes for an exciting start of a new term at the TDSB!
The first two months on the job have been spent primarily in school visits, in learning sessions on all aspects of the TDSB, and in committee and board meetings. At our first official board meeting, held on December 4th, we determined the organizational structure of the board by choosing and voting on trustee appointments to various committees. All trustees are required to sit on two standing committees — the “Committee of the Whole” (comprising all trustees) and one other. I chose the “Program and School Services” committee, where the focus is on educational matters within schools. As many of you may know, this is my primary area of interest and expertise. With the many program reviews coming through this committee, it is sure to be full of interesting and important work.
I have also volunteered to sit on the following statutory and community advisory committees: the “Parent Involvement Advisory Committee” (PIAC), the “French as a Second Language Committee” (FSLAC — dealing with all French programming, not just immersion and extended), as well as the Early Years Community Advisory Committee (EYCAC). As trustees, we are permitted to sit in on and ask questions of almost all committees, but due to the overlap of meetings, we often have to settle for briefings regarding the work of all the committees. Hopefully, our learning and decision-making process will be informed and broadly-based regardless of our particular area of focus.
As your local representative at the TDSB, I am eager to keep you informed of developments at the board and in our local schools. To this end, I will be holding regular coffee mornings and evening events throughout the year. To stay up to date on education issues in Ward 11 and the TDSB, I encourage you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and to sign up for my digital newsletter. My January newsletter can be accessed through the following link, with sign-up for my communications listed at the bottom: https://t.e2ma.net/webview/ugb5fb/dad0fa574b12d7f7fafd1085500381c9. I hope to meet many of you at some of my ward-wide events this school year!