I hope everyone has had a wonderful start to 2023, and enjoyed their winter break.
One of the most important roles of school board trustees is communicating with the public. I hope to use this newsletter as one way to keep you updated on Board news, to communicate my role as trustee and how I can support you, and to answer some of the questions I am often asked as a trustee.
Communicating with the public includes both sharing information and attending events to build relationships with families, but also ensuring I am available to you. If you have questions about Board policies or budget, concerns about your community, ideas and suggestions, or have a question and don’t know who to call, please feel free to reach out. I am happy to assist you.
Our Board of Trustees is made up of 12 trustees elected during the municipal election process, and one Indigenous trustee appointed through a separate process. Eight of the 12 elected trustees are new this term, and we are all looking forward to connecting with families and fulfilling our roles to support student achievement and well-being.
What do Trustees Do?
In addition to communicating with the public, we are also responsible for:
Establishing a Multi-Year Strategic Plan. This plan sets out our priorities as a school board and guides our direction and decision making as a system.
Setting policy. Policies govern the operation of our schools and organization, including field trips, school transportation, homework, caring and safe schools and much more. You can find out which policies are up for review in our meeting agendas, or which policies are out for comment on the website. Your participation in this process is important to ensuring our policies are serving our communities and align with our priorities.
Setting an annual budget. I look forward to sharing more information about this process with you in the coming months as we engage in budget consultations.
Participating on Board and Advisory Committees. You can find the dates and agendas for these meetings on the Board website. You are welcome to attend and observe any public Board, Advisory and Board Committee meetings.
Hiring the Director of Education. This process is governed by the Director of Education Selection Policy, and we will keep you updated as this process progresses. In the meantime, I am deeply grateful to Interim Director of Education Scott Yake for his commitment and service.
Advocating for quality public education. I became a school board trustee because I believe in public education. I believe in the potential of each and every one of our students and our responsibility to nurture their learning, growth and achievement. Our decisions as a board are centred on our commitment to deliver the best for our students.
What’s Happening in YRDSB
Kindergarten registration opened January 20 for families with children who will start Kindergarten in September 2023.
French Immersion registration is open from January 20-February 6 for students entering Grade 1 in September 2023.
Student trustee elections are currently underway. All students in Grades 5-12 will have an opportunity to vote for the student trustees who will represent them next school year.
In February, we recognize Black History Month, celebrating the contributions of Black people to the fabric of our society. I encourage you to visit the Board’s Centre for Black Student Excellence webpage and newsletter to learn more about upcoming events during Black History Month and what’s happening in the Board to celebrate Black excellence.
Family Day and the March Break are also approaching and we hope everyone enjoys the break.
There are a number of other events for families coming up and I encourage you to check the Board calendar.
One of the other questions I am asked, particularly in growing communities is about new schools or capital projects. I can let you know that in our municipality the following capital projects have received approval:
- Blue Willow Public School Kindergarten Addition, proposed to open January 2025.
- Kleinburg/Nashville Elementary School, proposed to open September 2024.
- E.J. Sand Public School replacement, proposed to open September 2023.
There are many ways you can stay up-to-date with what’s happening in our school board. Visit the newsroom or website homepage at www.yrdsb.ca. Listen to our podcast. Follow the Board on Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. Read your school newsletters and emails. I look forward to staying connected with you.
Estelle Cohen, Trustee, Vaughan Wards 4 and 5