School Council Meeting Minutes DRAFT – Nov. 10, 2020


Date:    November 10, 2020
Time:   7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Place:  Zoom


1. Welcome
Co-Chair Simon Wild introduced the meeting.
2. Member roll call and call to order
A roll call was taken, and quorum was present. Council members in attendance: Simon Wild & Angela O’Hara (Co-Chairs), Rose Ernjakovic (Treasurer), John Doherty & Mary Bella (Co-Secretaries), Jill Alexander, Derek Shipman, Shawna Groskleg (Members at large), Amanda Platt (SESAT), Emerjade Simms & Ariel Dasarth (Community reps)
3. Review and approve minutes of meeting of October 2020
John moved to approve, Rose seconded. Motion carried.
4. Report of Treasurer/banking arrangements
Balance as of Sept 30 was $111.46.  Current balance as of Oct 30 $109.51
Angela and Rose to go with Grant to submit paperwork to add Angela as signing authority to School Council bank account.
Rose Ernjakovic
5. Reports of Constituent Representatives 
Principal’s Report Firstly, there will a Virtual Open House for prospective students next Monday, Nov 16 on ZOOM, because it can’t be done live at the school. Students will branch out into groups according to majors, along with another group with administrators and guidance, so students can rotate through different groups. There will brief presentations followed by a Q&A. Secondly, the SSON (School Statement of Needs) needs to be looked at/revised/refreshed by School Council, and submitted to TDSB in December. Simon says it was last updated 2 years ago, last year Council voted not to amend it. Council will confer offline (via email) about that. Thirdly, we had our 2nd case of COVID-19 at the school – a staff member. Information was shared with the school community, a follow-up will be coming from TPH shortly. First reported this past Sunday, school notified the impacted classes immediately. The school can now choose to inform classes/cohorts to self-isolate based on a potential exposure, without TPH having to confirm the positive case conclusively. Each class now has 2 cohorts – an A & B. Eight cohorts (4 classes, 88 students) grade 9 & 10 music theatre program were potentially impacted and told to self-isolate. However, now there are only 2 cohorts (1 class) – Grade 10 Music theatre and Dance Class 1A, Vocals Class 2A are confirmed needing to self-isolate. The other students have been advised that they can return to school. The floor was opened for parents to ask Principal Fawthrop questions. Evaluating exposure: TPH evaluates the amount of time that the students and staff member were together in an enclosed space, mask compliance, physical distancing, setting or environment. They also look at the onset of symptoms of the infected person, and the 48 hours before that. If the student has to self isolate does that mean that the whole family has to? No. Other people in the student’s family (eg: siblings) are not considered close contacts with the original infected person. They would only have to self-isolate if the self-isolating student themselves tested positive. Do all staff have the COVID app installed on their devices?
Staff have to go through screening verification every morning, typically at one door. They can verify using the app or the paper questionnaire form.
There is not a mandate for TDSB staff to use the COVID tracking app. Principal Fawthrop’s and the school’s priority is safety first. It may present a challenge – there are sometimes obstacles. We appreciate everyone’s buy-in for the safety of the community. It’s part of our protocol to call everyone affected individually, and take that extra step. ESA is still a special place to be, the students and the programming are incredible, and still engaging all things considered. There was a question about returning to school arts major after doing remote learning.
Majors are being offered Q1&3 for grades 9 & 10 and Q2&4 for grades 11 & 12. You can request to come back to in person learning through the school. There are 870 back for Q2 at ESA – a large percentage at in person learning. With the rise in numbers will it be possible to switch to attending virtually for Q2?
Virtual school is no longer enrolling students due to large numbers. It won’t be possible to switch from in person to virtual school in Q2.
When health/wellness issues arise, staff will do our best to accommodate. It does become difficult to meet the learning needs when large numbers are away. But so far attendance has been excellent. Averaging only 40-50 absences out of 850 students a day (including both morning in person and afternoon online). Simon noted that parents are commenting very positively and sending thanks for how the school is dealing with this situation.
Grant Fawthrop
Faculty Representative
There are changes in the application and audition process including no middle school visits. This may affect application numbers. Staff are working on initiatives to reach out to middle schools. It would be helpful if parents who had contacts with elementary schools, or schools where their children went, could reach out to those schools and relevant communities. Goal is to reach out to 30 schools at least. Simon suggested reposting what ESA posted about applications on middle schools’ parent Facebook Groups or Pages. Note: New ESA admission policy – ESA is now only accepting students with an M postal code – ie: residents within the City of Toronto.
Nick Morgan
Student Representative
No student reps present.
Ward Representative
No update. Simon noted, we don’t have an official Ward rep currently and will have to share this role around the Council members.  He invited parents to volunteer for this role.
Angela offered to reach out to Trustee Nunziata. She asked the group to send any questions for the Trustee to the group chat so she can bring them up.
Community Representatives
No update.
Scott Martin (Treasurer). Not doing a lot of onsite fundraising, not much activity for SESAT. Direct donations coming through $14,000 in account. Now assessing how much is needed to deal with annual audit for CRA compliance. Then SESAT will decide how can be allocated to each of the 6 majors.
Scott Martin
6. School Council Insurance
We are facing a challenge because Council has very limited funds. Insurance covers us for meetings and events. Given that we are not physically attending meetings or holding events, Simon believes we don’t need the additional insurance from the TDSB at this time. Grant will check with the legal department.
7. Guidance Councillor Presentation
Overview of University / College Applications / Scholarships

The full presentation can be viewed online under the Grade 12 Guidance Google Classroom or at THIS LINK. Guidance will be doing additional presentations on the OUAC application to the grade 12’s virtually Nov. 17, 18, 19 from 11am-12pm. Re: Arts program applications – Portfolios will be uploaded to the individual school portals, not through OUAC.  So students should complete their OUAC application and then the school will contact them with portfolio details.  Often portfolios are due around February.
Natalie Webber
8. Open Q & A
Will there be a Yearbook this year? Yes, yearbook is a go.
Will you grandfather applicants with siblings at ESA from outside the M postal code? No, the TDSB has stated that all new ESA applicants (not current students) must be from the City of Toronto.
Concern about large numbers leaving at the same time and getting on full buses together. Students have been advised to not rush and to wait for another bus if one is too full. But we don’t have the same volume of students using transit as some schools do. TTC has put in more buses and has staggered the buses as well.
Concern about students unable to attend ESA from outside Toronto. This was a TDSB policy decision applying to all specialized schools, to make room for more students from the Toronto area.
9. Other business
VP Petal Farquharson outlined the ESA application process. Applicants must provide Proof of address and submit optional attendance form signed by current principal. Because Guidance counselors are now in the classroom, ESA appealed directly to the Principals and VPs of the Middle schools and asked them to share with their communities. Next Meeting: December 8, 2020
Mary moved, Katie seconded having a meeting in December. Angela asked the group to suggest some presentations for School Council to offer. Some ideas: Mental Health, Parenting Creative Teens, Substance use, Coping with Isolation, Building connections in the virtual world. Breakaway Community Health. Career paths for performing arts.Ariel Dasarth (Community rep) is doing grad studies in psychology and offered to lead a workshop/presentation for Council. Nick Morgan (ESA staff) suggested topics could come from our school statement of need from the past   Unfortunately the grant that used to help pay for these presentations is no longer available. Rose and Angela will look into possible funding sources and speakers.   Add to Agenda next month:
– School Statement of Needs – please review before the next meeting and email  comments/ suggested amendments to the Council for discussion.
– Plan presentations for future Council Meetings.
10. Termination
Simon thanked everyone for attending andthanked Grant and the teachers for all they are doing to help the students. Simon moved to close the meeting. Angela seconded. Motion carried.
Meeting concluded at 9pm.