Over the past week, several parents and community members have contacted my office to bring to my attention various concerns. I really appreciate the feedback. Thank you! I thought I would share my responses with the larger community to keep you all informed and involved.
Dog Poop, Syringes, and Garbage
There have been several concerns raised about dog owners not picking up after their dogs, syringes being found in playgrounds, as well as garbage and general field/playground maintenance in several schools throughout the ward. This is a growing issue that we need to address as a community because there is a balance that we need to maintain.
I strongly believe in Community Use of Schools and in our schools being Community Hubs, but with that we have to come together to care for our neighbourhoods and school grounds. Aside from locking our gates after school hours, there is no quick and easy way of handling these issues. However, I know from having discussions with our Superintendents and facilities staff that our caretaking staff work very hard to keep our schools clean inside and out.
What I have asked staff to look into is putting up prominent signage that asks community members to recognize that these spaces are for our children and to respect our spaces by 'poop n' scooping' and putting their garbage into the appropriate bins (which we probably need more of).
As a dog owner myself, I always pick up after my dogs and I would expect all dog owners to do the same. These are not issues unique to our schools, public parks have many of the same challenges. Having said that, we do recognize that schools are also unique public spaces that require extra attention to keep our children and families safe and healthy.
I'd welcome suggestions on how you believe we can work together to maintain the balance of community access out of school hours while maintaining the level of cleanliness and safety we expect.
School Parking Lots
Many of you have contacted me about parking at Jarvis CI, Lord Dufferin, and Nelson Mandela. The reality is parking in the downtown is scarce and outside of school hours our lots should be open to the public for use. However, the challenge is school staff need exclusive access to the lots during school hours because often there isn't even enough parking for all of the staff. Having to tag/tow cars in the morning because they did not vacate the lot in time for school hours is a hassle to our Principals and Caretakers, which is why they have resorted to locking the lots after school hours.
Again, I believe in community use of schools. However, when community members aren't mindful and respectful of our educators, that is when it becomes an issue. School parking lots are an issue board-wide and senior staff are working on addressing this issue on a system-wide level. It is not unique to our community. I am working with our local staff to find a solution to our parking lot situation and have requested that the parking lots at all of our downtown schools remain unlocked and open for community use outside of school hours; at least until the board develops a system-wide strategy/policy.
If you have any ideas which would help us address this challenge please feel free to share them with me.
SK FRENCH IMMERSION APPLICATIONS - DUE DEC 1
Applications for entry to Senior Kindergarten French Immersion at the TDSB in September 2017 are now being accepted. To ensure a placement in the program, applications must be in by Dec 1, 2016.
Application information is here:
Information nights at French Immersion schools take place from Nov 1- Dec 1.
Full details are here:
All TDSB junior kindergarten students should have received an information package in their backpacks by last week. If not, all information needed can be found here: www.tdsb.on.ca/French
Please be sure to share this information with interested friends and neighbours. To join the French as a Second Language mailing list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your first and last name and the name of your school.
Continuing Education - Community Programs
Register for Winter Learn4Life beginning November 16. Take up a new hobby, learn a language, and meet people in your community. Put your hands to work and decorate and glaze your own pottery or sculpture. Take up a sport and stay active this winter.
Register at www.learn4life.ca. Learn more at Facebook.com/TDSBLearn4Life and @TDSB_ConEd.
Classes begin Saturday, January 14, 2017.
UPCOMING WARD COUNCIL DATES
Jan 31 - Bullying & Racism @ Lord Dufferin (coincides with "No Name Calling" week)
Feb 21 - School Councils 101 @ Rose Avenue
Mar 21 - Facilities & Fix Our Schools @ Jesse Ketchum
Apr 11 - French Immersion & Extended French @ Winchester
May 9 - Community Use of Schools @ Sprucecourt
You can access my schedule as well as a calendar of events and meetings on my website at http://www.chrismoise.ca/calendar
Trustee, Ward 14
Toronto District School Board