Sovereignty through Indigenous Community Engagement

Urban Indigenous Community Advisory Committee


About the Workshop


Indigenous parents and staff of the Urban Indigenous Education Centre will co-facilitate a discussion about reconciliation that emphasizes transforming institutional structures to enhance sovereignty seeking goals. Integral to sovereignty within educational contexts are the voices of Indigenous families, beyond consultation, and toward direct involvement in current decision making processes and acknowledging and further creating parallel decision making processes and governance.

A variety of resources will be provided, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action and the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.



Tanya Senk

Centrally Assigned Principal


Parent Consultation: Realities and Possibilities

Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)


About the Workshop


This workshop seeks to bring together the thoughts, experiences and opinions of the presenters in “consultations” as they are currently practiced by the TDSB. In addition, participants in the workshop will be encouraged to share their experiences as parents in trying to engage and consult the Board. The presenters have both been extensively involved with PIAC, as members representing their parent communities, and in various PIAC working groups and conferences. They will be encouraging workshop participants to share their views on how groups like PIAC can more effectively engage parents in building a more meaningful dialogue with their educational communities. Please join us, and add your experiences and opinions to the workshop discussion, which the presenters hope will contribute to further learning, and practical improvements, in this important area.



Loen Hansford

Parent and PIAC Member


Jess Hungate

Parent and PIAC Member



Finding Calm with Less Stress Parenting

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


This workshop is for parents of children and youth of all ages. Your own self-discovery will explore ways to recognize, reduce and manage stress. This interactive session will provide practical strategies that you can take into your everyday life for yourselves and with your children.

Resources: Laptop Power Point Presentation, Speakers



Anne Murray
M.Ed. A.T.C., B.N.Sc., R.N.

Nurse Educator
Psychology Foundation of Canada


Anne works with families, educators and youth, facilitating ways to recognize, reduce and develop strategies for managing the stressors in their lives. As Lead Trainer for the Psychology Foundation of Canada she provides training, program development and builds partnerships, with a focus to reduce stress in our children and youth.


Learning Skills Bootcamp

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


In this workshop, I provide tips and guidance to parents about how to role model and encourage development of effective time management, organization, preparation, and self-advocacy skills in their children. I use simple, free tools and suggestions.

Resources: Worksheets and book recommendations



Jane Kristoffy
BA., BEd., MEd., OCT.

Educational Strategist


As an Educational Consultant & Strategist and owner of Right Track Educational Services, I’m passionate about helping kids thrive, academically and personally. My mission is to help students find their “best fit,” and their gifts. Over twenty-five years in my roles as teacher, coach, guidance counsellor, school administrator, volunteer, and parent have taught me ways to encourage perseverance, good work habits, self-efficacy and self-advocacy in kids — among other things.


Homework Battles: How you can move from tears to strategies

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


Homework seems like a dirty word. Yuck. As parents, we tend to picture the battle that starts up the minute homework is pulled out. We feel the pressure to get it done. To ensure our child is doing the work. To push them to meet the expectations that are put in front of them. Over the years, through my Mom experiences and my training as an Occupational Therapist, I slowly figured out that homework has another purpose. And when you tap into this new purpose, it will change how you approach and view homework. You and your child will start to move away from the tears and into strategies that not only help your child at home but in school too.

Resources: Handout

www.shiftyourthinkingld.com www.beyondok.com



Susan Schenk

Occupational Therapist


Author of Beyond OK from Invisible to Invincible | Learning Difference Advocate | Co- founder of Shift Your Thinking + Occupational Therapist I worked as an Occupational Therapist in the school setting for 20 years. I watched and I learned -- I looked at skills and how learning was viewed and what seemed to be missing when it came to supporting kids that were learning differently. I had the passion to created change in this part of the learning world and so from my own learning and professional experiences my business was born! I stepped out to help parents support their children in a new way so they could see their learning abilities. I then started to support other Occupational Therapist with my various online courses to allow them to tap into the power of technology when it came to developing skills. From my story came a new program Invincible Mama and finally the Summit and Shift Your Thinking LD Movement. www.technologyandtoolsforkids.


Keeping it Together – A Tool to Support Students with ASD Transitioning from Home to School

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


About the Workshop


Beginning a new school year is a time of uncertainty, which usually translates into stress and anxiety for parents and students. The transition process can be more manageable when you have a system in place to keep yourself organized. We will provide you with Keeping It Together Binder, a helpful organizational tool for you to use as you prepare your child for their transition to school and to capture the most important information about your child’s strengths, interests and specific transition needs new teachers/schools need to know.

Resources: Keeping It Together Binder, Surrey Place Community Resource Directory



Lydia Tisma

Co-ordinator Autism Services


Lydia Tisma is a Central Coordinator for TDSB Autism Services. In this role she acts as an expert resource to TDSB administrators, staff, parents and the community. Since 2003, Lydia has been affiliated with the School of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University as a contract lecturer, teaching the Assessment for Programming course.


Sara Yelland

ASD Team Consultant


Sara Yelland is a Special Education Consultant with the TDSB’s ASD Team. Sara has extensive experience as both a classroom teacher and consultant in supporting students with special needs. In her current role, Sara works as part of a multi-disciplinary team to support schools to best meet the needs of learners with ASD.


Lisa Cohen

Surrey Place SST Manager


Lisa Cohen is the Surrey Place School Support Program (SSP) manager. She has a background in Disability Policy and Critical Disability Studies. Lisa has supervised programs in the sector and has also supported individuals with ASD within different roles, including being an academic counsellor and a transition coordinator for students within Ontario universities. She supports the Surrey Place SSP Team in successfully meeting the goals of the program and the needs of each student and family.


Assistive Technology: Fostering Student Voice using Read and Write

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


About the Workshop


This session will show parents and students how to use the Read and Write Suite of Apps to support the reading, writing, and research process at home. Parents and students will learn how to use Read and Write on PC, Mac, Chromebook or iPad. Participants will learn about and try tools such as text to speech, word prediction, voice typing, and digital highlighters. These tools will support multiple means of student expression. This session is appropriate for students from K-12. The workshop will be led by both teachers and students.




Holly Sharpe

Assistive Technology Consultant


Holly is the Special Education Consultant with the Assistive Technology Team of the Toronto DSB. She supports the District by providing leadership and guidance to administrators, teachers and support staff with a specific focus on Assistive Technology. She has taught Special Education in the Private and Public sector in Canada and abroad.


Joshua Sollak

Assistive Technology Teacher


Joshua Sollak is an Assistive Technology Teacher with the TDSB. His teaching experience includes Diagnostic Kindergarten, Developmental Disability and Home School Program classes. He has a passion for bringing technology into the classroom to foster student independence, confidence and inclusion.


Andrew Pearson

Assistive Technology Teacher


Andrew is an Itinerant Resource Teacher with the Assistive Technology Team of the Toronto DSB. He supports teachers and students with the integration of technology to differentiate instruction and promote inclusion. As a classroom teacher and a special education teacher Andrew has sought to use Assistive Technology to transform learning experiences for all children.


Ashleigh Ramson

Assistive Technology Teacher


Ashleigh Ramson is a passionate educator with a wealth of teaching knowledge as she incorporates technology throughout the curriculum to support students educational needs. Ashleigh has presented workshops for Model Schools, O.I.S.E., York University, special guest educators from China, Key to Learn sessions, Parents as Partners and Unleashing Learning. She uses technology and interactive tools to educate teachers when engaging with their students and ensures they are acquiring the skills and knowledge that enable them to work independently while fostering student well-being.


Andrea Taskey-Trusty

Section 23 Teacher

Andrea Taskey Trusty is a Section 23 Mental Health Teacher in partnership with Humber River Hospital. She is a Digital Lead Learner Mentor for the TDSB and has been on the Assistant Technology Department Team. Andrea has taught Special Education for 14 years for Grades K-12, advocating and supporting the well-being and achievement of the students and their families.


Sharon Moskovitz

Assistive Technology Teacher


Sharon Moskovitz is an Assistive Technology Teacher with the Toronto District School Board. She is an award-winning educator and has presented various workshops within her board and other boards in Ontario training teachers. She has run several workshops on integrating technology into the classroom with teachers.


Understanding Accommodations in a Secondary Classroom

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


About the Workshop


This workshop will provide an opportunity for parents to broaden their understanding of Special Education accommodations in the Secondary School setting.

Resources: Handouts-Examples of Accommodations

Ontario Ministry of Education



Dawn Gardner

Special Education Consultant


Dawn’s career includes experiences in a variety of positions within the Toronto District School Board. She has taught students from JK-8 in both regular and special education programs. Dawn has a passion for working and supporting students with unique learning challenges. Her path has led her to her current position as Special Education Consultant. As a Special Education Consultant she provides consultative support to school administrators, staff and families to address special education needs.


Geetu Puri

Special Education Coordinator


Geetu’s career includes teaching adults at City Adult Learning Centre and teaching Science, Chemistry, ESL and Special Education to students in Grades 9 to 12. Before becoming a system consultant and program coordinator, she was Assistant Curriculum Leader in Special Education at both North Albion and George S Henry Collegiates. As a Special Education Coordinator she provides consultative support to special education programs, administrators and community members.


The Ontario Human Rights Code and Accessible Education

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


About the Workshop


This workshop will consider the recently released Policy on Accessible Education, prepared by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Topics to be discussed include what constitutes discrimination and how to work with the school team to obtain appropriate supports for your child with disability related needs. The workshop will also touch on the TDSB's Special Education Guide.

Resources: TDSB Special Education Plan, OHRC Policy on Accessible Education



Paula Boutis

Parent / Member of SEAC


Paula practiced law for almost 20 years. More recently, she is an adjudicator on a provincial tribunal. She has a daughter with disability related needs at the Toronto District School Board and has been a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee at TDSB for four years as a community representative.


Toronto Autism Services

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


About the Workshop


Toronto Autism Services is the partnership of six agencies delivering the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) in our city. Under the leadership of Surrey Place, our community partners include Adventure Place, Aisling Discoveries, The Etobicoke Children’s Centre, Geneva Centre, and Kerry’s Place. In the past year, we’ve provided support to approximately 5000 families, and evidence-based behavioural services to over 2200 children and youth. Services are available from the time a child receives a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder up until age 18 years. This presentation will include a discussion of our Foundational Caregiver Services and evidence-based behavioural services provided within the OAP.

Surrey Place



Nancy Freeman



Dr. Nancy Freeman has dedicated her career to working with children and youth on the autism spectrum, beginning as a university student 36 years ago. For over 20 years, Dr. Freeman has worked at Surrey Place Centre, first as a psychologist providing diagnostic services for children on the autism spectrum, and then in the Toronto Autism Services (formerly TPAS). Initially she was a psychologist clinically supervising Intensive Behavioural Intervention, and for the past 15 years, Dr. Freeman has been Clinical Director.
Dr. Freeman is an Adjunct Professor in Graduate Psychology at York University, a sustaining member and past Board member of the Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis (ONTABA), and a past chair of the Research Special Interest Group of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Freeman has been a member and has chaired Provincial Expert Panels on behavioural treatment for children with autism, published and presented widely at conferences in areas that effect children on the autism spectrum and their families, including Intensive Behavioural Intervention, communication, best practice in assessment and diagnosis, and parenting stress and coping.


Lydia Tisma

Co-ordinator Autism Services


Lydia Tisma is a Central Coordinator for TDSB Autism Services. In this role she acts as an expert resource to TDSB administrators, staff, parents and the community. Since 2003, Lydia has been affiliated with the School of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University as a contract lecturer, teaching the Assessment for Programming course.


Promoting Well-Being with 10-5-2-1-0

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


Establishing healthy habits early on in life is essential for a child's well-being. Caregivers and educators can help students achieve overall success in life by teaching and role modelling behaviors that will support healthy growth and development. Toronto Public Health promotes healthy behaviors in elementary schools through the Into Kids' Health 10-5-2-1-0 messages which encourages the following on a daily basis: 10 or more hours of sleep, 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruit, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity and 0 sugar-sweetened drinks. In this workshop, we will explore practical ways to foster these healthy habits in your family.

Resources: Laptop Power Point Presentation, Speakers



Sarah Buzek

Public Health Dietitian


Sarah Buzek is a Public Health Dietitian with Toronto Public Health. She is a Registered Dietitian who has worked in a variety of settings, including promoting healthy food environments at schools and workplaces, diabetes prevention and management, and most recently has joined Toronto Public Health's chronic disease and injury prevention team. She will be co-facilitating this workshop with Public Health Nurse, Angela Yeung.


How to Advocate for your Child with Teachers

Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)


About the Workshop


In order to have greater success in securing a positive outcome during conversations with your child’s teacher, parents need to understand the context of teaching and learning.
Learn how to use knowledge of TDSB and Ministry of Education policies, the organizational structure, the new Strategic Plan, Service Excellence commitments, and School Improvement Plans to help your child improve his/her achievement levels.
Find out about TDSB's position on equity and well-being and how it can help you help your child be more successful at school.
Listen to real parent challenges and discuss effective solutions.

Growing Success [PDF] Multi Year Strategic Plan TDSB Senior Team Organizational Structure TDSB Senior Team Structure [PDF] Service Excellence A Vision for Learning in TDSB Vision for Learning [PDF]



Terry Singh



Terry has served 14 years as Principal in five different schools (K-5, K-8, gr. 7-8) in Scarborough/Etobicoke/North York/Toronto. He has taught in elementary and secondary schools and cares deeply about the role equity/inclusion and parent/community engagement plays in improving the lives of students and families. Terry’s daughter attended TDSB schools.


How are you doing.....Family Engagement?/ School Council Basics/ School Council Bylaws

Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)


About the Workshop


How are you doing...Family Engagement?
Fifty years of research prove that when families are engaged in their children’s learning, student’s benefit. But what does it look like? This workshop will help families understand the importance of engaging in their children’s learning and provide suggestions. It will also assist Councils looking for meaningful ways to support their families. School Council Basics Whether you are new to School Council, or looking for a refresher course, this workshop will help you. We explore the basics of Regulation 612 (governing school councils), elections, funding and running an effective meeting. It’s never too late to go back to the beginning. School Council Bylaws We can't have an effective Council without a firm foundation. This workshop will take participants through the need-to-know of writing Council bylaws. Whether you’re looking to update your current document or write a new one, this workshop will keep you focused on what’s important - and how to get there.



Nancy Angevine-Sands

Family Engagement Consultant


Nancy Angevine-Sands has worked as a family engagement specialist for over 15 years. In that role, she has designed and delivered training seminars for councils, Parent Involvement Committees, educators and staff, provided training for pre-service teachers, and facilitated solutions for schools looking to build effective home-school partnerships. Nancy’s podcast, “Schools Don’t Own Education” may be found at voiced.ca.


Play-Based Learning

Model Schools for Inner Cities (MSIC)


About the Workshop


Play-based learning is an integral part of the Kindergarten Program. Join us to learn more about the benefits of play-based learning and how to support your child at home. We will discuss the fundamental principles of play-based learning and provide examples of how to engage in learning through play with your child at home.

Resources: Will be provided at the workshop



Sabrina Persaud


Sabrina Persaud, is a busy mother of 4 children. She is very active in her community and currently serves in the role of Parent Council Chair for her children’s’ school. She is passionate about the power of play to build children’s social and cognitive skills.


Casey MacDonald

Early Reading Coach


Casey MacDonald is an Early Reading Coach with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). She supports Kindergarten and Grade One teams to meet the goal of all students reading by the end of Grade One. Casey is a former Reading Recovery teacher with extensive experience and expertise in both Literacy and the Early Years.


Play as a Way to Learn and Grow!

Model Schools for Inner Cities (MSIC)


About the Workshop


Parents will learn a variety of inclusive games to play at home with their families. The workshop will also focus on how play is a natural way for children to learn and to support healthy physical, emotional and social development.

Resources: Handouts and resources will be provided at the workshop



Kirby Davidson

Right to Play Canada - Youth Program Officer


Kirby Davidson is a Program Officer with Right To Play’s Youth To Youth program. He has been with Right To Play for 3 years. His role is to train, coach, and support both teachers and youth-leaders in TDSB Model Schools to run Right To Play’s youth leadership program called Youth To Youth.


School Improvement Plan - Ensuring School Council and Family Involvement

Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)


About the Workshop


Mandated by the Ministry of Education, the School Improvement Plan (SIP) is an annual road map that identifies changes a school needs to make to improve their level of student achievement. SIPs should be developed with input from teachers, school council, families and community members. This workshop will focus on how a SIP is developed and how school council and families can work with their school to identify what, when and how changes will be made.



Aretha Phillip

PIAC Ward 13 Representative


Aretha Phillip has been involved with PIAC for the past four years. She has been active in the previous Ward 17 working with school councils and families on improving parent engagement. and ensuring student success in education. A consummate volunteer, when she is not working at Toronto City Hall, she busy with her children's school councils and other organizations that advocate for social justice and change.


Affirmation and Acceptance: Talking to children about gender and sexual identity

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


As parents, we all want the best for our children; but mainstream conversations often stigmatize and exclude particular interests, expressions and identities they may have. And while we encourage our children to share their thoughts, feelings and identities with us, we may feel uncertain about how best to respond. This workshop will explore how expectations of gender and sexuality impact young people’s lives, and how parents can engage their children in conversations that help break down social stigma, model empathy and build resilience.



Ilana David

Gender-Based Violence Prevention Social Worker


As a TDSB social worker, Ilana provides a range of support and consultation services to schools and families. Ilana facilitates groups for parents/caregivers of transgender and gender independent students; provides counselling services to students in the Triangle Program, Canada’s only LGBT2SQ+ alternative school; and advocates for safe and inclusive school climates across the TDSB.


Avi Magidsohn


Avi is a transgender man who is the parent of school-aged children with special needs. As a social worker in the Gender Based Violence Prevention Program, he provides support, counselling and training across the TDSB; facilitates the monthly kids gender independent group; and provides individual and group counselling support to the students at the Triangle Program, Canada's only LGBT2SQ+ alternative school.



Anxiety 101 – Is it time to worry?

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


The purpose of this workshop is to provide parents and caregivers with an introductory understanding of the physical, social, emotional and cognitive signs of anxiety. Parents and caregivers will develop knowledge of anxiety indicators in children and adolescents. This will allow them to distinguish between developmentally appropriate levels of anxiety/worry versus anxiety where professional consultation may be needed. Parents and caregivers will be provided with strategies to help their children and adolescents cope with anxiety. Additionally, resources (information, referral sources and treatment options) will be provided for parents who are seeking additional support for their children and adolescents. Time at the end of the workshop will be provided for discussion and questions.

Resources: (information, referral sources and treatment options) will be provided for parents who are seeking additional support for their children and adolescents



Elizabeth Lynett



Elizabeth is a psychologist with the TDSB. She has been supporting individuals in dealing with anxiety by collaborating with school support teams, families and other community mental health professionals.


Vicky Timmermanis



Vicky is a psychologist with the TDSB. She has supported children and families in coping with anxiety through schools, community mental health agencies and hospitals.


Supporting Students in FSL Programs

French Advisory Committee


About the Workshop


This session will support a discussion about the implications for programming, and strategies for differentiated instruction, to accommodate a range of learners and learning needs in FSL programs.

Resources: Laptop Power Point Presentation, Speakers

French as a Second Language [PDF] French as a Second Language Programs [PDF]



Kirsten Johnston

FSL Program Coordinator


Our FSL department promotes access for all students to quality FSL programs that are engaging, inclusive and promote a high level of confidence and proficiency in French as well as provides all the benefits of second language learning.


Angela Caccamo

Centrally Assigned Principal, LLSI


Our FSL department promotes access for all students to quality FSL programs that are engaging, inclusive and promote a high level of confidence and proficiency in French as well as provides all the benefits of second language learning.


Connecting Schools and Communities: Going Deeper!

Model Schools for Inner Cities (MSIC)


About the Workshop


We will share how Provincial Youth Outreach Workers & TDSB Community Support Workers can help parents to connect both their families and young people to various services in the TDSB and their communities. We will also highlight a few different successful programs in schools and the community.

Resources: will be provided at the workshop



Duane Spencer

Community Support Worker


Community Support Workers in Learning Centre 4.


Ian Macpherson

Community Support Worker


Community Support Workers in Learning Centre 4.


Michael Cruickshank

Community Support Worker in Learning Centre 4



Family Engagement from a Human Rights Lens

Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)

Ballroom A

About the Workshop


This session will discuss both the Ontario Human Rights Code and the TDSB Human Rights Policy and processes. We will also highlight how schools are currently engaging in practices that support human rights in education.

Human Rights Education



Alana Lowe

Student Equity Program Advisor LC3


Chelsea Takalo

Student Equity Program Advisory LC4


Chelsea is a MSW, trained in anti-oppression and Human Rights.


Silvia Argentina Arauz

Student Equity Program Advisor LC3


Josue Tario