Responding to TDSB Task Force Recommendation to Phase Out Specialized Schools

Dear parents and guardians:

We know that in recent days many of you have heard about the TDSB Enhancing Equity Task Force draft report dated October 3, 2017 and released on Oct. 6th.

The Task Force has developed a set of draft recommendations to provide guidance to the TDSB on how to enhance the delivery of equitable education. The Task Force recommendations include the realignment of resources, so that every cluster of local schools can offer a variety of specialty programs. Once this is in place, the Task Force recommends that optional attendance and specialized schools be phased out.

The draft recommendation of phasing out specialized schools is understandably of concern to the ESA community. School Council has had little opportunity to review the Task Force report in detailed.

However, we wanted to communicate to parents to ensure that they are aware of the October 31st deadline to provide feedback on the Task Force report. The deadline will occur before the next scheduled School Council meeting, so we would urge parents to individually provide their feedback to the Task Force if they want their voices to be heard.

Here is the link to the Task Force report.

Here is the link to the form to provide feedback to the Task Force report.

School Council will be developing a response to the Task Force report.

In the meantime, we urge you to review the report and to provide feedback to ensure your voice is heard. You can also contact School Trustee Pamela Gough [email protected] to voice your opinion.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at [email protected]



Reminder: Special Speaker’s Event Tonight 7 pm in the ESA Library

Researchers Ruben Gaztambide-Fernandez and Gillian Parekh are coming to ESA tonight – Monday October 23rd to have a dialogue with interested parents on their academic study on the relationship between feeder schools and programs that guide students towards Specialized Arts Programs in Toronto that was published last spring.

It’s an opportunity for parents to ask the researchers questions about their study and the implications of its findings.

Ruben is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Gillian is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University.

This event is not intended to focus on the TDSB Enhancing Equity Task Force draft report recommendations that could impact the future of specialized schools in Toronto.

However, parents are welcome to remain after the event to discuss a potential School Council response to the Task Force’s report.

If you have any questions or comments please contact [email protected].ca.



Special Speaker’s Event on Monday October 23rd at 7 pm in the ESA Library

Researchers Ruben Gaztambide-Fernandez and Gillian Parekh are coming to ESA on Monday October 23rd to have a dialogue with interested parents about their academic study on the demographic make up of the student population at arts schools in Toronto that was published last spring. It’s an opportunity for parents to ask the researchers questions about their study and it’s implications. The discussion will begin at 7 pm in the ESA Library.

Here is some background about the researchers:

Ruben Gaztambide-Fernandez is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. His current research focuses on the experiences of young artists attending specialized arts high schools in cities across Canada and the United States. He teaches graduate courses in the arts in education.

Gillian Parekh is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University. As a former special education teacher and research coordinator with the Toronto District School Board, Gillian’s research interests include critical disability studies, critical analysis of special and inclusive education and structural barriers to education.

To learn more, e-mail [email protected].


Join us for tonight’s important School Council meeting – elections and an engaging speaker on helping teens cope with stress

All parents are welcome to come to this important School Council meeting on October 10th from 7-9 pm in the ESA library. Elections will be held to fill School Council roles. Proposed plans and activities for the year will be discussed. Come and participate and help to guide the direction of School Council this year.

We will also be hearing from Megan Hope, a registered psychotherapist and mental health counsellor at Stonegate Community Health Centre, about how parents can support their teen to better cope with stress.

Here’s the agenda:

7:00-7:05       Welcome and approval of September minutes

7:05-7:25       School Council elections

7:25-7:35       Principal’s Report

7:35-7:40       Enid Wray – library/faculty update

7:40-7:45       Lisa Egri – SESAT update

7:45-7:50       Mary Bella – community choir/ Kevin Martindale – ward meeting

7:50-8:00       Proposed School Council plan/activities

8:00-8:45       Megan Hope, mental health counsellor at Stonegate,

                        presentation on helping support teens to better cope with stress.

8:45-9:00       Open discussion

9:00                Adjournment

We are planning to webcast the meeting, but have been experiencing technical difficulties connecting to the webinar server. If this is resolved in time for the meeting the URL to connect will be:

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Reach us at [email protected]


NEW! ESA COMMUNITY CHOIR – for parents, alumni and the broader community

Calling all ESA parents, alumni, parents of alumni and supportive Community members!
LOVE TO SING? Join ESA’s new COMMUNITY CHOIR (hip cool name tbd).

This will be a six week pop up choir, rehearsing one evening a week at ESA from January through February 2018, culminating in a performance at an ESA Event TBD in late February/early March. We are considering Tuesday evenings 7-8pm, or possibly Mondays or Wednesdays.

No experience necessary. All levels welcome! Songs will be chosen to suit the group.

Cost to enroll will be $60 total per person, for the 6 weeks of rehearsals plus performance(s). The funds collected will cover choir expenses and support future School Council fundraising initiatives. Payments will be made through School Cash Online in December, leading up to the start of rehearsals.

Mary Bella, a current ESA Parent, will be conducting and organizing the group. Mary has a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and a Graduate Opera Diploma. She has 5 years choral conducting experience and 20 years of professional choral singing under her belt, including 15 years with the Canadian Opera Company Chorus. She has also served choirs for many years as both manager and board president. Mary believes that a choir could bring together the broader ESA community in a very special way, in addition to raising funds for our school

SIGN UP NOW through this FORM to indicate your interest, experience and voice type (if known). There is also a field to select your available weeknights to help us decide which evening would be best for rehearsals.

Even if you’re not sure yet, please indicate your interest on the form and include any questions or concerns in the Message field. We’ll need at least 20 participants to go ahead, so please RSVP as soon as you can so we can start making arrangements!

We are also seeking a piano accompanist – volunteer or paid – so please let us know if you are interested in accompanying the group.

Questions? Email Mary directly for more info. [email protected]

Get Ready! Get Set! Go! We’re off to a running start. Join us at the Tuesday, October 10th School Council meeting in the ESA Library at 7 pm!

We’re electing candidates to fill School Council roles. We’re unveiling a proposed plan of activities and we’re getting down to work. Come out and learn more. Find out how you can get involved. All parents and guardians are welcome. Whatever your skill set – event planning, fundraising, communications, social media, strategic thinking, finance – we need you this year to help make things happen.

And if you need even more reason to come out, our guest speaker Megan Hope, a registered psychotherapist and mental health counsellor at Stonegate Community Health Centre in Etobicoke, will offer advice on how to support teens to better manage stress. Whether your teen is navigating the transition to high school or juggling the demands of their grade 12 year, Megan will guide you with expert advice.

Join us in the ESA Library from 7-9 pm. You don’t want to miss it!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Anything you have to share, reach out to us at [email protected]



This is it #BuddyUp!

Join your ESA parent community social night – no audition required. 

Tickets still available at or tonight, Oct 3rd at Crooked Cue, 3056 Bloor St. West. 

See you there!

PARENTS: The 5 W’s of “BUDDY UP” night – get your tickets now!

WHO: All parents are welcome – New and ‘seasoned’ parents and Principal Peggy Aitchison.

WHAT:  Welcome new parents social event; a networking evening – “speed meeting tables”, food and fun! Appetizers, soft drinks/juice will be served and there will be a complimentary pool table. (Full menu and beverages available for additional purchase.)

WHERE: Crooked Cue, 3056 Bloor St. West. Two minute walk from Royal York subway or street parking and Green P lot behind. Tickets are $10 and available on School Cash Online at

WHEN: Tue. Oct 3, 7-9 pm

WHY: You told School Council you wanted more opportunities to connect with other parents. So come on out! Hope to see you there!

Questions, comments, ideas are always welcome: [email protected]


It’s “Buddy Up” Night, A Special ESA Community Event on Tuesday October 3rd, 7-9 pm

Join us on Tuesday October  3rd — 7-9 pm for a special event to welcome new  parents to the ESA school community. Brought to you by the ESA School Council. You won’t be bored at this event. Highlights will include “speed meeting tables” and our wonderful Principal Peggy Aitchison will be in attendance. Appetizers, soft drinks and juice will be served and there will be complimentary use of a pool table. Additional food and beverages will be available for purchase at the event. Location: The Crooked Cue at 3056 Bloor St. West. (It’s a 2 minute walk from the Royal York subway station. Street parking and a lot behind is available.)  Tickets are $10 for this event and they are available for purchase at School Cash Online until September 26th. All are welcome! Hope to see you there! For more information contact [email protected]

Join Us for the First Joint School Council & SESAT Meeting Tuesday September 12th at 7pm in the Library

Another exciting school year is set to begin! Please join us for the first joint School Council & SESAT (Supporters of ESA Talent) meeting on Tuesday September 127pm – 9pm in the library. Come learn more about ESA’s two parent run councils and the great things we’re planning for the 2017-2018 school year.

All are welcome. If you’re a new parent to ESA and want to meet other parents and get involved, we’d love to see you at the meeting. If you’re a returning parent, we’re looking forward to welcoming you back. This is an opportunity for you to share your ideas and help to shape activities and initiatives in the coming year.

The joint meeting will include:

  • a parent meet and greet;
  • an overview of what the councils do;
  • sharing of plans for the 2017/18 school year; and
  • a brainstorming session to generate new ideas for the councils.

Look forward to seeing you there!

If you have any suggestions or questions, you can reach out to us at [email protected] or [email protected].

Thank you.

Your SESAT and School Council


School Council Meeting, Elections and Understanding Your Teen Presentation Tonight!

Don’t forget to join us tonight for our final meeting of the year and interim elections, starting at 6:30 and our presentation from Psychologist Sara Dimerman at 7:30 in the library (also available live-streamed at  If you have any comments or questions, please contact us at [email protected] or [email protected].  See you then. View the Meeting Agenda.
Sara Dimerman – Understanding your teen
The teen years can present a challenge for both parents and children. During adolescence, kids need their parents more than ever. Ms Dimerman’s presentation will offer a fresh and positive perspective, along with practical tips on how to reduce your teenagers stress, encourage cooperation and develop effective parenting approaches. The presentation is open to everyone.Some of the topics she will address include:  Peers and Priorities, Drugs and Alcohol, Dating and Sexuality, Communication and Privacy, Homework and School, Technology, Responsibilities and Chores.

Sara Dimerman is a Psychologist who has been counselling parents, teens and families for 25 years. She has authored four books, one of which will be auctioned off at the meeting. She is a. Columnist for Parents Canada and a frequent contributor to the CBC, CTV and Newstalk 1010. Find out more about Sara Dimerman at

Like, Share and Invite your friends on Facebook. Showing support for this event will ensure more like it in the future.

Your School Council Would Like to Hear From You! + Agenda for Tuesday’s meeting

Whether this is your first year, last year or somewhere in between, as you marvel at all the year end performances, please take a moment to reflect on your experiences.  Your Council would like to hear from you.  You can always reach us at [email protected] or [email protected].  (Your feedback will be kept anonymous.)  Better yet, below you will find the agenda for our meeting tomorrow night, Tuesday May 9 at 6:30 in the library.  Come and share your thoughts and ideas as we wrap up 2016-17 and pave the way for an even brighter future!

ESA School Council Meeting Agenda
Tuesday May 9, 2017; 6:30 p.m.
ESA Information Resource Room (Library)

Welcome and Introductions: Tanja Corovic and Ann Agar (6:30-6:33)

New Business: Equity and Diversity: Tanja Corovic (6:33-6:43)*

Principal’s Report: Ms. Peggy Aitchison (6:43-6:46)

Additional Reports: Council (6:46-6:55)

Trustee: Pamela Gough

SESAT: Bev Marinucci

Faculty/Staff: Enid Wray

Student Council: Ann Agar

Parent Engagement/PRO Grant: Frank Sgarlata

On-Going Business: Council (6:55-7:05)

Fun(d)raising: Flower Sale, Future Efforts

Graduation: Awards, Assistance

Air Quality/Environmental Compliance

Academics and the Arts:

Waitlists, AP Offerings, Post Secondary Preparation, Meeting the Needs of all Students, Wellness

Outstanding Issues and SSON

2017-2018 Planning

Officer/Interim Officer Elections: Ann Agar (7:05-7:15)

Recognition of Retiring Officers: Ann Agar (7:15-7:20)

Break (7:20-7:30)

PRO Grant Presentation: Understanding Your Teen: Frank Sgarlata, Sara Dimerman (7:30-8:45)

Question and Answer/Additional Council Needs (8:45-9:00)

Adjournment (9:00)

Next Meeting: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 – Planning for 2017/18, tentative

*Pre-Meeting at 6:00 for task force and all those interested.