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.

Resources: 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


The Power of Yet: Developing a Growth Mindset in our Kids

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


"I can't do it! It's too hard!" Find out how to change this childhood chorus into an inspirational anthem that will have your kids feeling confident, loving a challenge, and actually wanting to persevere with problems. Learn how to identify a Fixed Mindset, discover the power of changing our word, and learn how to help your children develop a Growth Mindset. This workshop is appropriate for parents of children in elementary grades (K-8) and will provide you with useful strategies you can use at home.



Wendy Burch-Jones
B.A.Sc and M.Ed



Wendy Burch Jones is a teacher with the TDSB who has decades of experience working with kids. She is passionate about helping children develop a positive attitude about learning and uses growth mindset in the classroom and at home to help "all her kids" discover that failure is a great thing, that challenges are how we learn, and that anything is possible if you can believe in yourself.


Brain Storm: A Young Person's Journey with a Mental Illness

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


This workshop will give you a chance to dive into the mind of an adolescent who has struggled with mental health challenges. Join me on my journey through mental illness, stigma, recovery, and finding my identity despite my struggles. Brain Storm will give parents and adults a chance to gain insight on how to support a child in their mental health and well-being, breaking down stigma, and a chance for a Q&A from a teen who has been there. To wrap it all up, there will be a performance to illustrate the journey of mental health and hope.



Delicia Raveenthrarajan

Student Speaker, Performer, Author


Delicia Raveenthrarajan is a 17 year old motivational speaker and activist, specializing in mental health advocacy. Delicia’s public speaking journey started at a very early age and ranges from her work with Me to WE, schools, hospital research lectures, and various corporate, community and public events! Delicia has worked across North America and around the world. Highlights include partnering with school boards, performing for President Obama, speaking at the University of Toronto, and performing in Kenya, Ecuador and Mexico.
Delicia has a strong fervor for helping others and is an active volunteer internationally as well as a passionate motivational speaker. She is an ambassador for ME to WE and her passport is composed of five service trips to Kenya, a trip to the borderlands of Arizona and Mexico for Advanced Leadership Training, and a volunteer experience in the Amazon Rainforest. Delicia has been decorated with the Leading Girls Building Communities Award of Ontario and The Governor General Sovereign Volunteer Medal of Canada, as well as being named Scarborough Walk of Fame's Rising Star.


Raising Resilient Teenagers, Ready for the Real World

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


In this workshop, I urge parents to allow their children to fail, and face challenges on their own so they can feel a sense of self-efficacy and confidence. We look at skills needed to thrive in the real world, and how parents can support their transition to adulthood and the real world.

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 25 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.


Student Data Privacy and Digital Learning Tools

Leadership, Learning and School Improvement


About the Workshop


This session will highlight TDSB provided digital learning tools. We will also examine student data privacy, strategies and actions the district and our schools have to protect student data privacy.



Kevin Bradbeer

Senior Manager Client Relations - TDSB IT Services


Kevin is the currently the Senior Manager of Client Relations in TDSB's IT Services team. Previous to that he coordinated Teaching and Learning with Technology in TDSB's curriculum department and was a classroom teacher & teacher librarian in TDSB.


Mental Health & Well-being Supported by Technology

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


In this session, we will explore a variety of digital and technology tools to support Mental Health and Well-being in the classroom. Through discussing and experiencing different strategies and resources, participants will develop their schema of integrating tools for students with anxiety, hyperactivity, focus and attention challenges and more. Please come ready to try new things, collaborate and share.

Wellness & Mental Health [PPT]



Andrea Taskey Trusty

Special Education 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.


How Do I Navigate a Mental Health Crisis with my Child?

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


It can be overwhelming to seek and connect with support when your child is dealing with a mental health crisis. What do I do? Where do I turn for help? How do I handle this? Hear some ideas on how to navigate this journey from a panel including: Child Psychiatrist, Senior Manager of Professional Support Services at TDSB and the Director of Strategy for Toronto’s Lead Agency EMYS who works to create opportunities to access children mental health services across Toronto.



Miriam Blond

Family Navigator

Miriam completed a graduate degree in social work at the University of Windsor with a special interest in family-centered care which she reflected in her Graduate thesis. She comes with an extensive background in community mental health and hospital psychiatric interventions. Regarding experience, Miriam has worked with a varied population including those with dual diagnosis, concurrent disorders, homelessness, and trauma and most recently was the liaison between North York General and the community through the Emergency Department Diversion Program. In addition, Miriam has provided therapy to Children and families through the North York General Child and Adolescent Outpatient Mental Health Clinic as well as facilitated Cognitive Behavioral groups for children and parents.


Tracey Addison

Parent with Lived Experience (PAL)

Tracey holds a B.A. in Developmental Psychology and a B.Ed. from The University of Western Ontario. Her career includes 25 years in education, working in independent schools in roles ranging from Director of Admissions to Vice-Principal. Through her lived experience, Tracey brings to her position at the Family Navigation Project an understanding of the impact of mental health and addiction on the family, treatment options, advocacy, and the importance of self-care. Her goal is to rely on her lived experience to support other families who are dealing with youth mental health and addiction issues.
The Parent Advocate with Lived experience (PAL) is a parent of a youth with mental health and/or addictions issues who has previously been engaged with the mental health and/or addictions system. The PAL complements the work of the navigators and offers the kind of knowledge and peer support for families that can only be provided by those who have “been there.”

Marcia Powers-Dunlop


Marcia is the Senior Manager of Professional Support Services for the Toronto District School Board. Working as a Social Worker for more than 35 years, Marcia has extensive experience helping children and youth who exhibit a variety of social-emotional problems and consulting with their families and school Staff. In her current role, she oversees five services within professional support services and works closely with community agencies to develop partnerships to enhance service to Toronto District School Board students. Marcia serves on a number of community agency boards and committees

David Willis

Director of Strategy and System Management with Toronto's Lead Agency, East Metro Youth Services

In this role David represents the 33 Children’s Mental Health Agencies within the city of Toronto in the areas of Strategy, System Alignment, Access and Partnerships. He works with multiple levels of government and community to create opportunities for children and youth to access mental health services across the city of Toronto. Prior to this role David was in the Brain and Mental Health Program at the Hospital for Sick Children where he provided clinical leadership to the Psychiatric, Adolescent Medicine, Indigenous and Technology enabled health services. David sits on multiple Boards and community agency committee’s


I see the world differently -- so what? How our sensory needs shape our well-being

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


About the Workshop


The terms 'neurodiversity' and 'sensory-needs' are often only associated with kids that have an autism diagnosis however this assumption is short-sighted. Just as the term ‘neurodiversity’ implies, it is applicable to our whole population – if we have a nervous system, then it can be diverse; and the diversity within our nervous system affects how we perceive the world and how we react to it. This workshop will provide an introduction to how our sensory system guides our interaction with our world, our behaviours, our experiences, and our well-being. The hope of this workshop is to help develop a more compassionate understanding to why we act how we act, why we do what we do, and why we are how we are…for ourselves and for our children.

Raising a Sensory Smart Child The Inspired Treehouse



Jocelyn Lai



Jocelyn Lai is a physiotherapist that works with the TDSB in the occupational (OT) and physiotherapy (PT) department. In this role, she consults about students’ OT and PT needs in congregated school sites, DD-ISP classes, and mainstream schools with the ultimate goal of maximizing participation and promoting student success.


Full Life in the Community after Graduation: Are you thinking about employment for your student with intellectual disabilities?

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


About the Workshop


We will show you examples of persons with disabilities working in meaningful ways in their community and how they got there with a focus on inclusive models.
Securing a job, acquiring the needed skills to becoming independent, building relationships and networking are essential elements in one’s life. A paid job in the community is one of the most important needs expressed by individuals who are living with an intellectual disability and families across Canada and Ontario.
The current system can trap people in a perpetual revolving door of training programs that have demonstrated poor employment outcomes.
Families do not have the knowledge, social networks and resources which allow them to experience success. Many families feel excluded, isolated and marginalized by the system. Families need help to support their family member to have choices, independence, make their own decisions, be part of the community and promote real inclusion for people with a disability so that they can secure meaningful paid positions.
Families and individuals with intellectual disability need to create a vision around employment and articulate it, so that by utilizing evidence-based approaches, be able to advocate for, demand and acquire employment for their family member with a disability.

Resources: There are several handouts which can be separately emailed



Ines E. de Escallon



I am a microbiologist and biochemist by training. In 1987, the birth of my third son Julian, who was born with Down’s syndrome, motivated me to transform my life. I began a personal journey to transfer my skills and build new knowledge regarding intellectual disability. I joined other families going through similar circumstances. In 1988, I was one of the founders of the Corporación Síndrome de Down – Down’s syndrome Corporation - in Bogotá, Colombia. Alongside professionals, the organization championed the needs of families and individuals with Down’s syndrome. During the following 16 years, I was the director of the Corporation. Between 2000 and 2002, I became a member of the District Council for Persons with Disabilities in Bogotá, representing individuals with intellectual disability and their families.


Julian Escallon

Person with a Disability


I was born in Colombia in a family committed to inclusion as a pathway towards building my skills, empowering me to be who I am today. Since my early years, I have had many opportunities. I was a pioneer of inclusive education in Colombia, going to regular education since kindergarten, taking music lessons, and being part of a swim team. When I moved to Canada in 2002, I became a student of the Toronto Catholic School Board, graduating from Marshall McLuhan in 2008. During my tenure there, I became fluent in English, performed in front of my peers and received the “Yes I can” award.
During my final high school years, volunteer and co-op placements gave me an understanding of the importance of having a job. I have been working for Maple Leaf Sport and Entertainment since graduating from Marshall McLuhan. After 5 years at the job, I was awarded for being an outstanding employee. At the end of 2017, I was given sales-related training and assigned additional responsibilities.


Jeanette Campbell



Jeannette is a passionate believer in the non profit sector, and its ability to move the needle on awareness, opportunities, and education about disabilities and promote the inclusion of all members of our communities. She has 20+ years of demonstrated success providing service, program design, evaluation, and partnership development with educational institutions, service agencies, all levels of government, and private sector stakeholders.
Jeannette’s work in program development and the ability to put them into action has resulted in successful programs that support clients to achieve goals, encourage and enhance wrap around services, and ultimately the success of individuals, organizations, and employers.


Nancy Ceci



Building Your Zones of Regulation & Mindfulness Toolkit

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


Together we will explore Zones of Regulation and how it can be used to support student learning both at home and at school. We will explore calming techniques, cognitive strategies and sensory supports so students can build their toolbox of methods to support them between the four different zones for greater success and self-regulation.

Resources: Stop Think & Breathe For iPhones & iPads only.
The Stop, Breathe & Think App is a free mindfulness, meditation, and compassion building tool for middle-school students, high-school students, and adults. The app lets you check in on how you are thinking and feeling, and select emotions that guide you to recommended choices from 15 age-appropriate mindfulness and compassion-building audio meditations.

Stop Think & Breath Just Breath [video]



Trish Johnson

Special Education Consultant


Trish Johnson is a Special Education Consultant in Learning Centre 3 and has over 15 years of experience as an educator in both regular and special education in the elementary and secondary panels.


Understanding the SST and IPRC Process and How it Serves Your Child

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


About the Workshop


During this session, parents will gain a better understanding of the In-School Support Team (IST) and School Support Team (SST) process and how it can help meet their children's needs. Further, the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC) process will be thoroughly explained with regards to its purpose, the process, and what certain results mean for students. Parents will be encouraged to ask questions so that they can feel more confident in the fact that we are all working together in the best interest of their children.

Special Education Plan [PDF]



Sandra Puglielli

Coordinator-Leadership, Learning and School Improvement


Sandra has worked for the TDSB for 12 years with the last 3 years as a Special Education Consultant and 1 year as a Coordinator. In this capacity she oversees and supports 25 schools and 71 Low Incidence programs in Learning Centre 3 in regards to all special education areas such as programming, professional learning opportunities, pertinent document development, use of technology, accessing community resources, and collaborating within a multidisciplinary team to help students achieve academic and personal success. Sandra works with principals, vice principals, psychologists, social workers, speech-language pathologists, teachers, support staff, students, and their families to try and make the students’ school experience as positive and progressive as possible.


Stephen Hepburn

Coordinator-Leadership, Learning and School Improvement



Math Learning in the Era of "Focusing on the Fundamentals of Math"

Leadership, Learning and School Improvement


About the Workshop


The Ministry of Education has put forth a renewed goal of "Focusing on the Fundamentals of Math." What does that mean? How is this the same as the work teachers already do? What is different? What are the fundamentals that we should be focusing on? This workshop will explore this focus, including some hands-on experience with the math, and the role that parents and caregivers can play in supporting math learning for their children.

Resources: Laptop Power Point Presentation, Speakers

Google Drive



Jason To

Coordinator, Mathematics and Numeracy


Jason To is the Program Coordinator for Mathematics and Numeracy in the Toronto District School Board. He has served as a Math Coach in the TDSB and has taught in secondary schools in Toronto's northwest.


Dread Inside Your Child's Head

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


Why Dread Lives In Your Child's Head - is about the fear and anxiety associated with learning differences such as a learning disability or dyslexia. It offers insight into what it feels like to not understand your way of learning and the stresses that come from that. I also review why a child may respond the way they do. At the end of my talk, I talk about the small steps that can be taken to support your child to move out of this state of anxiety and mastering how they learn.



Susan Schenk

Author of Beyond OK from Invisible to Invincible
Learning Difference Advocate
Co-founder of Shift Your Thinking
Occupational Therapist


I have 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. I have written a book called Beyond Ok from invisible to invincible that shares more about this learning journey.


Raising Awareness of Course Selection for Student Success

Model Schools for Inner Cities (MSIC)


About the Workshop


"This workshop will explore ways to increase family engagement leading to improved navigation of secondary school course selection that keeps many options open for all students. We hope that together we will learn ways to: 1) Identify current barriers faced by students for successful transitions into high school and pathways, 2). Identify allies to support a transition that leads to successful academic achievement, 3) Examine current practices and general areas for improvement, 4) Introduce tools that parents and professional staff can use to support children within the education system, specifically, with high school course selection.

Resources: Handouts and support materials will be distributed at the workshop



Khadra Hussein

Community Support Worker


Khadra Hussein has been a TDSB Community Support Worker for several years and currently works in Learning Centre 1.


Connecting with your teen/preteen: Having conversation about alcohol, cannabis and other drugs

Toronto Public Health


About the Workshop


This workshop is best intended for parents/caregivers of children 10 -14 and will provide you with knowledge and parenting strategies to have effective conversations with your child about alcohol, cannabis and other drugs.



Laurie Noakes

School Liason Public Health Nurse


Laurie Noakes is a School Liaison Public Health Nurse on the Healthy Schools and Substance Misuse Prevention Program (Toronto Public Health). Parenting is a joy but can also be very challenging! Laurie enjoys supporting parents with strategies that promote health and resiliency in their children & youth.


Parent Engagement for Fathers and Blended Families

Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)


About the Workshop


The workshop is a focus group on parent engagement to include single fathers, step fathers, the male role model and blended families. Parent engagement after divorce or separation can create new challenges especially for non-custodial parents. The topics include the parent concern protocols, custody and access issues, parental alienation, and removing barriers to fathers, single parents and blended families. Everyone wants to know how to be a part of their child's education and work together to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for our kids. We also want to hear from parents about the challenges they face in parental engagement post separation.

Toronto PIAC Parent Engagement TDSB Parent and Community Involvement Policy [PDF] Best Start Resource Centre - Step by Step: Engaging Fathers in Programs for Families [PDF] A Guide to Privacy and Access to Information in Ontario Schools



Christopher Levien

Parent / PIAC REP


Chris is the Ward 20 PIAC Rep and has hosted Engaging Fathers and the Male Role Model at previous events with PIAC. Past guest speakers include Heidi Nabert of Father's Resources, Pastor Patricia Keith of Break Free Family Center, Dr. James Brown of Canadian Association for Equality and Family Law Lawyers.
Chris is a shared parenting advocate and knows how important it is for active parent involvement in the TDSB as well of the challenges of working with the board when there is a non-custodial parent involved.


Developing Early Reading Skills at Home

Early Years Advisory Committee


About the Workshop


Parents will learn how to actively read with their young children (K to Grade 3), regardless of what language they speak at home. We will discuss how reading with your child can support their learning to read and write at school. Parents will be provided with hands on strategies to develop vocabulary, and critical thinking skills by reading with their children. In addition, we will talk about the link between oral language and literacy through phonological awareness. Parents will learn how to incorporate phonological awareness into their book reading to support their children’s early literacy development.



Sherry Raffalovitch

Speech-Language Pathologist


Sherry Raffalovitch is an experienced Speech-Language Pathologist at the Toronto District School Board. Sherry has worked in a wide range of school communities, where she provided consultation and programming to teachers and parents of students with language and literacy difficulties and is currently working collaboratively with Early Years to develop and deliver teacher learning opportunities. Sherry has co-authored a co-instructional reading program with Jana Leggett and designed a summer school program, based on this program.


Jana Leggett

Speech-Language Pathologist


Jana Leggett is also an experienced Speech-Language Pathologist with Toronto District School Board. Her role has included assessments, program planning and development, co-instruction in the classroom, small group intervention, and the delivery and development of professional development sessions for teachers and parents. She is and is currently working collaboratively with Early Years to develop and deliver teacher learning opportunities. Jana is a co-author of Oral Language at Your Finger Tips and an adjunct instructor in the SLP department at the University of Toronto.


Pathways to Accessible Education and Empathy

Equity Policy Community Advisory Committee (EPCAC), Accessibility and the AODA


About the Workshop


A hands-on workshop that seeks to raise awareness of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and how it impacts our children. Attendees will participate in activities that will raise their awareness of disability issues and foster the development of empathy for children and people with varying disabilities – including invisible disabilities. It is important to remember that not all disabilities are visible and not all people are aware of what barriers their friends may face to learning. The workshop will be physically interactive and a document referencing links to additional resources and training will be available to take away after the workshop.

6 Empathy Work Stations that will be broken into sections within the room
Existing resources to be determined for information



Dina Anker

Accessibility Coordinator


Dina has been an Accessibility Advocate for nearly 20 years, currently the Accessibility Coordinator with the Toronto District School Board. This position was created to coordinate the efforts and continue successes within the TDSB this past year.
She has over 15 years of knowledge in providing learning, technical and pedagogical support, instructional design and workshop facilitation for Accessibility related training. She has a demonstrated commitment to the principles of inclusivity, diversity, equity and accessibility.


Vanessa Pfaff

Communications + Inclusive Design Consultant


Vanessa uses strategic communications and inclusive design principles as her tools for building diverse, equitable, accessible and inclusive communities. She started out promoting IMAX films and transitioned to amplifying social justice and human rights initiatives. Her childhood in apartheid South Africa fueled this passion and over the years she’s developed collaborative programs with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Easter Seals, Cineplex, OCAD-U’s Inclusive Design Research Centre, various levels of Government and the Disability community. Vanessa is currently developing a communications plan for TDSB’s accessibility policies and inclusion strategies for Sidewalk Labs and the Canadian Stage theatre company. Vanessa holds a Master of Inclusive Design from OCAD University.


Developing Emotional Vocabulary: Moving Beyond Happy, Mad and Sad

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


Parents will learn how to help their children talk about how they are feeling! We will discuss developing words – not just happy, sad and mad – but many other words that help children identify their feelings so they can understand and manage their behaviour better. The workshop is for parents of young children (K to Grade 1) and will include useful strategies and books that you can use to help your child at home.



Jennifer Stephen

Speech-Language Pathologist


Jennifer Stephen is a Speech-Language Pathologists with over 15 years of experience at TDSB, including over five years in the Kindergarten Oral Language Intervention (KELI) Program. She has implemented the Emotional Literacy program in a number of her schools and has a strong interest and experience in helping students connect emotional vocabulary to social interactions and reading comprehension.


Hidden Costs of School Fundraising

Equity Policy Community Advisory Committee (EPCAC)


About the Workshop


The desire to see their children learn in schools full of resources and opportunities leads many parents to engage in school fundraising. Money raised is used to pay for everything from sports equipment and field trips to library books and instruments. Fundraising is often heralded as a way to increase parent engagement and provide much-needed support to schools. However, fundraised dollars may come at the expense of other goals parents seek to achieve, including the creation of inclusive and equitable learning communities.In this workshop EPCAC members will draw on research to highlight some hidden costs of school fundraising: exacerbating inequities between students and schools; excluding some students and parents from school activities; and enabling government disinvestment in public education. Presenters will discuss why many parents find fundraising hard to resist, propose alternative means for achieving benefits of fundraising, and suggest strategies equity-minded parents can use as they navigate the tricky terrain of school fundraising.

People for Education (2018). Fundraising and Fees in Ontario’s Schools Winton, S. (2018). Viewpoint: Fundraising and fairness. Education Canada. Winton, S. (2016). The normalization of school fundraising in Ontario Winton, S. & Milani, M. (2017). Policy advocacy, inequity...



Sue Winton

Member of TDSB's Equity Policy Community Advocacy Committee


Sue Winton is a member of TDSB’s Equity Policy Community Advocacy Committee, the parent of three sons, and an Associate Professor at York University. Her research examines implications of education policies for democracy. Sue is a former elementary school teacher and has taught in Mexico, Ontario and the USA.


#thetalk… Talking Race and Racism with your Child

Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)

Ballroom B

About the Workshop


Research shows that children require their caregivers/family to talk about race to assist them in navigating race and avoidng colour blindness. We also know that children are understanding race as early as nine months old. This sesssion will share the research and provide strategies for talking race and racism with children.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Race



Michelle Munroe

Manager, Family Engagement TDSB


Michelle Munroe has worked in anti-oppression and anti-bias within Family Engagement for many years with the TDSB.