Archives for August 2017

Join the (sort of new) ESA Gardening Club.

For the last 10 years, SEEDS Me to We has been ESA’s environmental and social justice club.

In that time we have accomplished much, including, but certainly not limited to:

  • planting the arboretum of native trees out back;
  • renovating the front gardens, including the most recent installation of our bike racks;
  • building each of a school and a clean water project with Free the Children;

After 10 years, I – Ms. Wray, Staff Advisor – am closing up shop as it relates to SEEDS Me to We.

In its place I am launching a dedicated ‘Gardening Club’ to see through the rest of the garden renovations currently underway… in particular, the little interior courtyard.

  • Do you like to dig in the dirt?
  • Are you good with a wheelbarrow?
  • Can you lift heavy rocks?
  • Are you good with a rake?

We are looking for willing volunteers – staff, students and parents – to help us see through most of the rest of the work on the little courtyard this fall. 

  • We plan for most of the work to take place in October, though we’ll be looking for help with some weeding and clearing out in September.
  • The work will only be able to take place after school and in the evenings as there is no access to the courtyard on the weekends when the school is closed.

If you would like to lend a hand, please fill out this Google Form and we’ll be in touch.



Library Volunteers Wanted!!

The Elizabeth Downie Media Library is looking for volunteers. Student volunteers will be trained in all aspects of running the Library… including helping out with running and maintaining the school computer labs.

Library volunteers will be scheduled before and after school, and/or over the lunch hour to help keep the Library open for students to use. Time spent in the Library is eligible for the awarding of Community Service hours.

New student volunteers will be contacted during the first week of school to schedule an orientation session.

Returning student volunteers are requested to drop by the Library once you have your timetable – on Tuesday September 5th – so that we may get the schedule up and running as soon as possible.

Movin’ On Up: Student Services and Library Tech

Please find the materials – and homework! – from the Library workshop session here in a posting at the ESA Library Daily Blog.

Reminder that all students who request(ed) password resets are invited to drop into the Library at lunchtime on Tuesday September 5th to get yourself authenticated on the TDSB network.


Moving on up Day – Arrival Time 9:30 a.m.

Moving on up Tuesday, August 29th. Drop off time is 9:30 AM.

Art and Portfolio Day Updates

We are very excited to usher in the beginning of what is sure to be our busiest and most successful year to date.

We have tracked more than eighty exhibitions within our community in the past twelve months, so were involved in an exhibition every 4.5 days for the entire year! Stay tuned for many more to come, including those at our exhibition space Les Enfants Terribles at Ossington and Argyle.

2017 2018 Grade 12 student Noah Brown is speaking this Sunday at 10.30 am at the Roncesvalles United Church about his work for Portfolio Day 8. Noah has been using the church as a studio this summer and will address the congregation, revealing the issues within his ongoing series of large-scale felted images. All are welcome to attend and we are hoping to film the talk so share with you all. See the attached poster for more information.

We have launched our own YouTube channel and hope that you will all subscribe – it can be found by clicking HERE

We participated in the Second Annual Toronto Art Book Fair June 15-18 2017 and there is a lovely letter written to our students in the recent publication about the fair titled PINK & GREEN. Here is the letter by Emily Pleasance:
“Dear Students. Where was this when I was in my teens? The t-shirts and tote bags, the pins and patches, the pencil cases covered in pencil drawings and the kiss-cheek key-chains? They were everywhere, actually. But not like this. You hijacked the bits and bobs that were given to you. You stole them, re-purposed them, injected them with the youth experience, and gave them right back. It was a DIY of life itself.

One can’t help but notice the colour, exploration, sexuality, laughter, confusion, and self-discovery found in all of your art. There is mindful execution that makes this work very strong. The illustrations in the zine Fat Aphrodite are unassuming and whimsical. My drawings at that age were boring and looked as if I had tried too hard. (I was trying too hard.) The writing in A Childhood in its Last Twelve Hours is both raw and developed. It’s opening, “The Life and Love of Eve Rivers” made me choke up and cry. I cried because its honesty hit a little too close to home. I also cried because this eloquent piece of writing now exists in the world and will hopefully find its way into the hands of someone in dire need of empathetic connection.

Your show-and-tell-like table was so thoroughly laid out. Your work is fruitful and incredibly honest. The artifacts you created have no remorse for the customary and no respect for the conventional. Thank god.

What I saw at your table was an experience I wished I had lived, art I wish I had created, and an honesty I wish I had been surrounded by. It was a rejection of all rites-de-passage. It was a marking of territory and a proof of existence. It was a claim to the Arts not as a privilege but as a right. Do not stop your unbridled expression! Do not give into the do’s and don’ts! Most importantly, do not listen to me (or anyone), for you know better.

We need our youth to discipline the Disciplines.

Sincerely, Emily Pleasance, an envious admirer.”

We thank you so very much Emily for writing about us!

ESA Contemporary Art Graduate Callen Schaub has been receiving a lot of attention recently, including several million views of videos of him painting on BuzzFeed and other platforms, including this video by the CBC – click here to watch Callen’s next solo exhibition takes place at Project Gallery with an opening reception and live performance on Thursday Sept 28th 6-10pm.

Portfolio Day 8 will be a turning point in our history. Stay tuned for time and date of our parent/participant meeting mid-September. We will review the process that helped one of our 2016 2017 grade 12 students receive more than a million dollars in scholarship offers, provide information on assisting with the event, and speak about the application and scholarship process. PD8 happens Friday November 3rd, and everyone is invited to join us to see the 80+ exhibitions by our grade 12 students from 7pm to 10pm. Click here for our invitation We will be launching our PD8 fundraising campaign in the next two weeks, and hope everyone will assist in getting the word out to support grade 12 students from all six majors in this remarkable international event and life time opportunity.

Thank you ahead of time for your participation and assistance this year! This is an exciting place to be and I am honored to work with you all.

As always, please follow us on Instagram at esa_contemporary_art and esa_contemporary_photography

Matthew Varey

School Cash Online

To parents/guardians of students attending Etobicoke School of the Arts in the 2017-2018 School Year:

The Toronto District School Board has launched School Cash Online, an easy-to-use, safe and convenient way for parents and guardians to pay for the costs connected with schools. At ESA that includes the Student Information Package ($50 SIP–student agendas, yearbooks, activities), Arts Enhancement Program ($100–guests artists, workshops, supplies), class field trips, spirit wear, etc.

School Cash Online provides benefits for parents/guardians and for the ESA office staff. All school fees applicable to your child will be posted on School Cash Online. Once you register, you can choose to “purchase” the items or activities using a debit or credit card. You will be able to see when the school has a new item posted online for purchase and you also have the option to be notified whenever your child has a new school event requiring payment. You will receive confirmation of your purchase which will provide you with a clear record of payment. On the school office side, this will eliminate the need for counting and housing large sums of money, and will generate accurate payment records for the office.

Several TDSB schools successfully piloted School Cash Online in the 2016-2017 school year. ESA is signing on this year. School Cash Online will be available to ESA starting on July 17, 2017.

In order to use School Cash Online, parents/guardians will first register. Registration will be opening the week of July 17th. To register for School Cash Online, please copy and paste into your browser, select “Get Started Today” and complete the three registration steps. For more information on the registration process, please see the handout attached to this email. Once registered you will receive an email notification when items become available online.

School Cash online registration Step-By-Step Parent Handout

Registration Tips…

  • Copy and paste https://tdsb.schoolcashonline.cominto your browser to access the ‘School Cash Online’ site.
  • When you are entering your child’s date of birth, please use two digits for the day and two digits for the month.
  • You will find it easier to complete the registration from a desktop or laptop computer than a smartphone. When using a mobile phone to register there is often a space at the beginning of the box. Backspace to ensure you are at the beginning of the box.
  • Registering siblings: register the first child, wait a few hours and then register again.
  • You are not required to use a Student Number when registering.
  • Use the legal name on your child’s school records to register, not the ‘preferred’ name.

If you have questions about the registration process or using School Cash Online, please select the “Get Help” option on the top of registration page. You can also contact the School Cash Online Parent Help Desk by phone at 1-866-961-1803 or by email at [email protected]. The Parent Help Desk is available to assist parents/guardians with the registration process, password recovery, accessing your account and payment issues. In addition, you can always reach me for help via email.

Ms. Wasilewska is the Office Administrator at Etobicoke School of the Arts. She has received training in School Cash Online and is looking forward to implementing SCO this fall. She and I have set for ourselves the goal of having 100% of our families signed up before school starts on September 4. We have been told that no TDSB high school has met the target of 100% registration, so we are challenging ourselves to make ESA the first TDSB high school to hit that goal.

If you have any questions about the process or the plan, please let me know.

Peggy Aitchison Principal, Etobicoke School of the Arts

675 Royal York Road Toronto, ON  M8T 2T1

Where the Arts + Academics = Excellence 416 394-6910 x 20010 [email protected]

I would like to acknowledge that Etobicoke School of the Arts is situated upon traditional territories. The territories include the Wendat, the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations, and the Métis Nation. 

The treaty that was signed for this particular parcel of land is collectively referred to as the Toronto Purchase and applies to lands east of Brown’s Line to Woodbine Avenue and north towards Newmarket. I also recognize the enduring presence of Aboriginal peoples on this land.



Gr. 9 Moving on up Day-Tuesday, August 29th

Moving on up Day

On Tuesday, August 29, we hold our annual ‘Moving on Up’ program for students in all grades new to ESA for the 2017-2018 school year. The program runs from 9:30 AM (sign in) to 2:15 PM. We will provide lunch. If you or your child has any questions, please let me know.

If you or your child hasn’t signed up for Tuesday’s program yet, please email and I will add your child’s name to the list. Here is what you and your child need to know for Tuesday:

  1. Student drop off

Our parking lot is in the final stages of repaving and will not be accessible on Tuesday. Please drop off your child before 9:30 on York View Drive on the west side of ESA. There is a crosswalk at York View and Royal York Road. We will have senior students present at the crosswalk to direct students into the school. I suggest you do not stop on Royal York Road as it is a busy street at that time of the morning.

  1. Arrival and sign in

Students go to the cafeteria at 9:30 AM to sign in. They will receive a bag with their timetable and other important information. We will have students throughout the school to provide a friendly ‘hello’ and directions.

  1. Student meeting in the Nancy Main Auditorium

Students will be escorted to the auditorium for introductions and welcome. Then teachers from the Arts Major will take their own students for the morning program and the day is underway!

  1. Parent/Guardian meeting

We look forward to meeting with parents/guardians in the auditorium in the afternoon from 1:00 to 2:15. Parents/guardians will meet key people in the school including the School Council and Supporters of ESA Talent (SESAT). If you drive, you will find parking on the streets around the school including York View, Edgecroft, Bentley, Delroy, etc.


The student and parent/guardian programs end at 2:15. You can meet your child in the main hall at that time.

Special message for Grade 9 students who are coming from TDSB schools… Sometime before 12:00 noon on Monday, please try to logon to the TDSB network from home. This will tell you if your password is still active. If you get a prompt to change your password, please follow through with the password change.

If you are unable to logon, then by 12:00 noon on Monday, fill out this Google form:

Ms. Wray, our librarian, can reset your password before Tuesday’s Moving On Up.


Peggy Aitchison Principal, Etobicoke School of the Arts ,

675 Royal York Road Toronto, ON M8Y 2T1

Where the Arts + Academics = Excellence 416 394-6910 x 20010 [email protected]


I would like to acknowledge that Etobicoke School of the Arts is situated upon traditional territories. The territories include the Wendat, the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations, and the Métis Nation. 

The treaty that was signed for this particular parcel of land is collectively referred to as the Toronto Purchase and applies to lands east of Brown’s Line to Woodbine Avenue and north towards Newmarket. I also recognize the enduring presence of Aboriginal peoples on this land.

TDSB Network Access: Sat Aug 12th and Sat Aug 19th

For students who might be taking online courses, and/or staff who might be starting to prepare for ‘Back to School’…

  • Sat Aug 12th:  ALL TDSB applications, services and system will be unavailable
  • Sat Aug 19th: E-mail services – including TDSB G-mail accounts – will be unavailable

Plan accordingly!