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


Mindful Parenting and Resilient Children/Youth

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


This experiential workshop will provide parents with practical skills and knowledge about mindfulness: what it is, what are the benefits to both parents and children and how it can be practiced. It will deliver practical tips on practicing mindful awareness within family dynamics. The session will examine aspects of mindfulness specifically related to parenting and education:

  • how parents can support their children through mindful parenting
  • how mindfulness can support well-being for families



Heidi Borstein

Mindfulness Educator


Heidi is the co-founder and executive director for Mindfulness Everyday, a Canadian registered charity that has been delivering mindfulness programs in the community since 2010, to students, parents, and educators. Heidi is an MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction) teacher, a Hatha yoga and meditation teacher. She is the co-creator of The Mindful Edge™ – Stress Reduction and Life Strategies for Teens. Heidi is a certified facilitator for SMART: smartEducation -- Stress Management and Resiliency Techniques for Educators. Heidi has been teaching yoga and meditation in Toronto since 2002 and continues to support yoga, meditation, and mindfulness programs for children, youth, teens, and adults.


Parents as Partners Supporting Children’s Mental Health & Well-Being

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


Parents/caregivers play a key role in helping students be successful both in school and in life. This session will discuss the important role that parents/caregivers play in supporting their child/youth’s mental health and well-being. We will share foundational knowledge about mental health and well-being, share resources, provide information and ideas about how you can be involved in supporting the development of mental health and well-being with your child both at home and school. We will also offer concrete ideas about what you can do to support your school’s Parent Council on Mental Health & Well-Being.

Resources: Data, Projector, Speakers



Heather Johnson

Mental Health Lead


Heather Johnson MSW RSW, Mental Health Lead TDSB. As part of a provincial team supported by School Mental Health ASSIST – Ministry of Education Heather is involved in developing, implementing and supporting the TDSB’s Children and Youth Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy. Heather is passionate about helping to raise awareness about the importance of creating welcoming, safe, inclusive schools which foster the well-being of all students. Heather’s social work experience includes working in schools, children’s mental health, child welfare and hospitals. This will session will be co-facilitated by members of The Parents as Partners Supporting Mental Health & Well-Being Committee developed through the TDSB’s Mental Health & Well-Being Strategy.


Social Media Literacy 101

Leadership, Learning and School Improvement


About the Workshop


In this workshop, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the pros and cons of social media use. There will be a focus on understanding the needs of digital natives and appropriate social media use. Participants will learn how to navigate social media and ensure safety for your their students which includes look-fors, acronyms, and mental health associated with social media use. The overall goal is to demystify social media so that parents are aware of its capabilities without fear.

   Social Media Literacy: The 5 Key Concepts Media Smarts
   IGI Global
   Toronto Star - Digital media literacy matters to all
   Safe Search Kids
   Internet Safety 101
   Kids Health



Josie Nanfara-Grande

K-12 Inclusion Learning Coach


Josie Nanfara-Grande is currently an Inclusion Learning Coach in the Toronto District School Board, servicing schools in the Scarborough area. In her role, she supports administrators and teachers in the implementation of inclusive and culturally responsive practices. She consistently strives to be a lifelong learner, collaborator and facilitator. Teaching experiences include grade 1, 5, 8 and Special Education support for all grades from 1 to 8. She is currently a Digital Lead Learner Mentor. Her experiences with technology-enabled learning began in the Special Education classroom, where assistive technologies were essential, and continued to be a part of teaching and learning in her classroom, benefiting all students. Josie believes in having high expectations for all students, focusing on student-centered learning, and developing inquiry based practices in order to engage all learners. Josie holds a Specialist in Special Education, a Specialist in the Integration of Computer Technology in the Classroom, and just recently completed her Principal’s Qualifications.


Renu Mann

Humberwood Downs JMA - LC1, LN5

Grade 6 Inclusion Teacher, Divisional Chairperson (POR), Methods and Resources Teacher


Renu is a SERT at Humberwood Downs JMA. With her colleagues, she orchestrated the integration of technology at Humberwood. Google Apps has been a focus for her ever since they were introduced by TDSB. She uses GAFE (now called Google Suite) for normal day to day working in class and differentiating instruction. She strongly believes in teaching students in a way they want to learn and works towards making them proficient in using a variety of apps and devices so that they are well prepared to become independent learners. Gamifying classroom learning is her latest interest and endeavour because, she believes, if learning is not fun and/or interesting, it is not retained. Renu has completed AQ Specialists in Integration of Computer Technology in the Classroom, Primary & Junior Math Specialist and is currently working towards her specialist in Special Education.


The Impacts of Bias on Learning

Leadership, Learning and School Improvement


About the Workshop


In this workshop, participants will gain a deeper understanding of bias as related to students with diverse learning needs. Facilitators will touch on various forms of bias including unconscious bias, confirmation bias and self-serving bias that can impact the achievement of all learners. Facilitators will build knowledge capacity on the subject and share tangible strategies for parents to disrupt bias from impacting their child. There will be a focus on sharing, discussion and advocacy.

  • Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?
  • Power Wheel
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Inclusive Education Videos (TDSB)
  • The Gender Unicorn
  • Courageous Conversations
  • Implicit Bias - PB & J
  • Article: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack
  • Learning for All: ON Ministry Document
  • CAST



Sheliza Jamal

K-12 Inclusion Learning Coach


Sheliza Jamal is an educator and experienced equity facilitator. She has over 10 years of experience delivering workshops on equity and anti-oppression to youth and educators in the education sector as well as with staff and faculty in higher education institutions and non profit organizations. Sheliza is currently an Inclusion Learning Coach with the Toronto District School Board. Sheliza holds an Ed.M from Harvard Graduate School of Education in addition to a Hons. BA and B.Ed. from York University.


Reem El-Youssef

K-12 Inclusion Learning Coach


Reem is a K-12 Inclusion Learning Coach and a member of the Black Excellence Task Force


Parenting in a Digital Society

Leadership, Learning and School Improvement


About the Workshop


The TELUS Wise Parenting in a Digital Society workshop offers tips for parents/teachers on internet, smartphone and social media safety, helping youth navigate cyberbullying, sexting and more.

Helping our kids [PDF] Digital Safety and Privacy Tips [PDF] Talking to your kids about sexting [PDF]



Amanda Lee

Senior Project Manager, TELUS Wise


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


Inclusive Education at TDSB: William's story

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


About the Workshop


William is a Grade 5 student experiencing inclusion in school for the first time. He is a nonspeaking autistic boy who uses low- and high-tech forms of Augmentative and Alternative Communication to reliably share his thoughts. In November 2018, his placement in the Intensive Support Program was changed to Regular Classroom with Support. While William and his team continue to work towards full inclusion and resolving the necessary supports, the gradual integration and inclusion has begun, with great success. William’s mother Giorgena will speak about various strategies used for his successful inclusion. School Principal Tracy Hayes will also be available to speak to William's inclusion and success at TDSB.



Giorgena Sarantopoulos



Tracy Hayes

Principal, Maryvale Public School





William is a grade 5 student experiencing inclusion in school at TDSB for the first time. He is a nonspeaking autistic boy who uses low- and high-tech forms of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) to reliably share his thoughts.


Supporting Students with LD and ADHD at Home

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


About the Workshop


This workshop will explore ways parents can support their child’s learning at home using strategies and supports appropriate for LD and ADHD. We will look at simple and accessible strategies to develop executive functioning skills. The use of assistive technology to strengthen academic skills will also be demonstrated and discussed.

Teach ADHD LD@Home LD Online



Vicky Adelson

Coordinator, Assistive Technology


Vicki Adelson has been working in Special Education in the TDSB for over 15 years and has held several roles in the central Special Education department. She is currently the coordinator of SEA/Assistive Technology for the TDSB. She holds an M.Ed focusing on research and practice in Special Education.


Casey Moore

Consultant, LC4


Casey has spent her entire teaching career in Special Education and is currently a special education consultant in LC4. She has worked in TDSB schools and at Holland Bloorview, encouraging achievement for all students and supporting teachers to promote best practices.



Empowering Minds: Mindfulness at School and Home

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


In this workshop, we will explore why Mindfulness and Well Being practice are important in the classroom and at home, the benefits of wellness practices and resources and strategy sharing including sensory mindfulness, mindful movement and technology and mindfulness. Through discussing and experiencing different strategies and resources, participants will explore strategies for children and adults with anxiety, hyperactivity, focus and attention challenges and more. Please come ready to try new things, collaborate and share.

Empowering Minds [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. 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.


Cinzia Scarano

Itinerant Transition Student Success Counsellor


Cinzia is currently a Student Success Transitions Counsellor with LC3 in TDSB. She previously taught for 11 years with Section 23 (TDES) and focused on the infusion of positive mental health strategies that promote pro-social and self-regulation skills. Cinzia is a mother of two very active boys, one of which struggles with mental health challenges, and so is a stronger believer and practitioner of mindfulness activities within both the school and the family structures.


Miriam Riches

Special Education Consultant


Miriam Riches is a Special Education Consultant supporting students and their families in the TDSB achieve their potential at school. Previously, she has been a special education teacher partnering with Sick Kids Hospital for 10 years and supported Section 23 as the Literacy Chair. Miriam is a strong advocate for the achievement and well being of students.



School Councils: Communication 101

Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)


About the Workshop


Conveying and exchanging information is a key role of School Councils. We will go over WHY good communication is important, HOW to use different platforms to engage your audience and WHAT tools you can explore with your School Council. Join this workshop if you want to learn and share!



Nazerah Shaikh

Parent Representative


Nazerah Shaikh has been a Parent Representative on the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) since March 2016. She has extensive experience serving on school councils at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. Nazerah loves to explore how technology and social media can be used as effective parent engagement tools and is eager to share what she’s learned, but more importantly, she would love to learn from you!


The Who What When Where and Why of Mental Health supports. From school to beyond

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


With an emphasis on discussion and questions, the aim is to help families understand resources in the school that can help them with understanding and supporting mental health. We will focus as well on different ways to navigate, advocate and support children outside of school and where to access resources in Toronto.



Annette Grossi

School Social Worker


Annette Grossi is a School Social Worker and Attendance Counsellor with the TDSB since 2003.


Nurturing School Council

Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)


About the Workshop


In order to have greater success improving the capacity of a school to serve students and parents, parents need to understand the context of teaching, learning and the role of Principals.
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 nurture your School Council and help it become more effective.
Find out about TDSBs 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.

Multi-Year Strategic Plan MYSP Guide [PDF] TDSB Senior Team Organizational Structure Senior Team Organizational Structure [PDF] Service Excellence Policies, Procedures and Forms PIAC



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.


Supporting Learning Skills and Work Habits at School and at Home

Model Schools for Inner Cities (MSIC)


About the Workshop


Parents will discuss and have a better understanding of learning skills on the provincial report card and how they can support these life-long skills in the home. These learning skills include responsibility, organization, independent work, collaboration, initiative, and self-regulation.

Resources: Handouts and materials will be provided at the workshop.



Michael Mohammed

K-12 Learning Coach


Michael Mohammed is a K-12 Learning Coach for the Toronto District School Board.


Specialized Programs

Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)


About the Workshop


Getting from A to Z in the TDSB. An overview of key aspects surrounding Specialized programs.



Yvette Blackburn

EIC Guidance-LC1


Through her extensive work in race relations, social justice, politics, and labour relations. Yvette Blackburn has made her mark as an astute leader, strong political advocate, and effective community activist. Yvette has sound knowledge and application in strategic organizational change, Equity, Education policies and procedures, Anti-racism, Oppression and Anti-Black racism and Education. A very forward thinking individual who does not sit in indifference when wrongs are being committed. Even in the face of adversity, she champions the rights of citizens, believes in the principles of fairness, and the public voice.
Ms. Blackburn is a current Educator with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) currently serving as an EIC Guidance Counsellor in Learning Centre 1. She serves as the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory board member (Canada), member of the TDSB-BSAAC committee, is a former Provincial Executive with ETFO, Vice-chair of the Toronto Police Services Black Community consultative Committee (BCPCC), and a member of the Toronto Police Services PACER Committee. She is a former Provincial NDP candidate, running in the ridings of Windsor-West (2003), and Scarborough-Agincourt (2007) elections. Ms. Blackburn is a graduate of the University of Windsor, holding a BEd, Major BA in Criminology, BA in Political Science and a certificate in criminology and criminal justice.


TDSB Global Competencies and Deep Learning Through Technology

Leadership, Learning and School Improvement


About the Workshop


The TDSB Global Competencies and Deep Learning through Technology are a significant part of the Multi-Year Strategic Plan. This session will introduce the competencies, TDSB supported digital tools and the UN Sustainable Development Goals as they relate to Ministry curriculum and real world problem solving.

TDSB Global Competencies TDSB DLL



Marlena Rivett

TDSB Program Coordinator
Teaching and Learning with Technology

Program Coordinator - Teaching and Learning with Technology, MEd - Gender, Equity, Education and Technology, Librarianship Specialist, Physical Education Specialist, Level III International Baccalaureate Psychology Certification


Sex and teens with developmental disabilities: They deserve the facts too!

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


Even though sexual health is a component of the provincial curriculum, students with developmental disabilities are often exempt from classes. This presentation outlines the sexual health education series launched within one large urban school board for multiple classes. our objectives are to share the sessions we created in the hopes that teachers will implement them into their milieus; to allay anxieties with respect to leading these groups; to improve communication skills re: sexuality for students with disabilities, and to provide strategies re: modifying/delivering information. Method: A series of classes were developed based on available evidence, focused on accessible, comprehensive materials & delivered over the past six years. Positive feedback has been received from students, teachers and families. Key elements of success were committed schools, consenting parents and enthusiastic students. Groups provide opportunities to educate students with developmental disabilities re: physical development, hygiene, privacy, boundaries & good/bad relationships etc. in a safe environment. Discussing these aspects with peers and instructors in groups allows for the realization that they’re not alone. This format also enables students to gain answers to questions that they were too embarrassed to ask.

  • Sexuality with a focus on healthy relationships
    Terri Couwenhoven
    Girls' Guide to Growing Up,
    The Boys' Guide to Growing Up
    The: Choices & Changes During Puberty Publisher: Woodbine House (Sept. 1 2012)
  • Enright, Rick & Sara Van Hammer.
    Caution: Do Not Open Until Puberty! An Introduction to Sexuality for Young Adults with Disabilities.
    1995. Distributed by Devinjer House
  • Henault, Isabelle.
    Asperger’s Syndrome and Sexuality – from Adolescence through Adulthood.
    Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 2006.
  • Hindman, Jan.
    A very touching book (for little people & for big people).
  • Hingsburger, Dave.
    I Openers – Parents Ask Questions about Sexuality and Children with Developmental Disabilities.
    Family Supports Institute Press. 1993
  • Hingsburger, Dave.
    Just Say Know! Understanding and Reducing the Risk of Sexual Victimization of People with Developmental Disabilities.
    Diverse City Press, 1995.
  • Preparing for (and Surviving) Puberty [PDF]
  • sexuality education for students with intellectual impairments
  • The Circles Program
  • Sexual Health
  • Sex Information and Education Council of Canada
  • Talking about Sexuality. Tips for Parents. 
  • SexAbility
  • Talking about Sexuality in Canadian Communities



Mona Sidler-Hosios

Occupational Therapist TDSB


Mona Sidler-Hosios, an Occupational Therapist at Toronto District School Board, supports teenagers and young adults with diverse disabilities, including autism, developmental and physical disabilities. Though her role is to advocate, educate and accommodate students, families and staff, sexuality and relationships plus transition to adulthood are the most invigorating aspects of her practice.


Toronto's Public Alternative Schools

Alternative Schools Community Advisory Committee (ASCAC)


About the Workshop


Toronto is host to the oldest and largest system of diverse, public alternative schools in the World. Representing dozens of unique, nontraditional pedagogies (teaching and learning values and practices), Toronto’s Alternative Schools offer choice to students and parents seeking, or in need of, different kinds of learning opportunities and experiences. Serving about 4,000 students annually in 40 schools on 42 different sites, Toronto’s Alternatives are a small but invaluable feature of our public school system.
This workshop provides an overview of the TDSB's Alternative School System, while providing an informative introduction to the ways in which nontraditional approached can differ from conventional schooling. In addition to democratic, inclusive, supportive and student-centred values and principles, alternative schools underpin daily practice with evidence-based strategies and practices that privilege the learner. They empower students; are relational and egalitarian by necessity and design.

Alternative Schools Alternative Schools Community Advisory Committee



Liam Rodrigues

Curriculum Leader of Programme


Dr. Rodrigues has been affiliated with alternative schools for a quarter century. In 2014, he worked with alternative school students, the Shaw Festival and ORION to develop youth-sourced curriculum material. He is a founding teacher of East York Alternative, wrote and developed York University's AQ in Alternative Education and is the Curriculum Leader at SEED, the continent’s oldest public alternative school. In 2017, he contributed a chapter to Alternative Schooling and Student Engagement.


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.



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

Communicty Support Worker


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.



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.


Turning Around Meltdowns: Strategies for Connecting with your Kids and Helping Them Manage Their Emotions

Mental Health and Well-Being Parent Partnership Committee


About the Workshop


When kids and teenagers are having strong emotional reactions like stress, worry or outbursts it can often be hard to know what to do, let alone prevent these reactions. This presentation, based in the work of Vancouver psychologist Gordon Neufeld, is focused on how to maintain a strong attachment with your children, validate their emotions, and support their emotional and behavioural regulation.



Doug Schmidt



Dr. Doug Schmidt is a school and clinical psychologist who works with TDSB and at South East Toronto Family Health Team. He has worked with many children with autism spectrum disorder, acquired brain injury, and learning disabilities and their parents.


Individual Education Plan: What Parents Need to Know

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)

Ballroom A

About the Workshop


This workshop will focus on the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and the development process. It will help answer questions for parents such as “What is and IEP?” “Who needs an IEP?” “Who gets an IEP?” “How can I help/contribute to my child’s IEP?" It will provide practical information to facilitate parent understanding, input and participation in order to ensure a collaborative relationship between home and school to support student achievement and well-being.

The Individual Education Plan [PDF] Special Education in Ontario [PDF]



Crys Kartos



Crys Kartos is a Special Education Consultant in TDSB. She supports schools, students, parents, and school communities from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in Learning Centre 3.


Trish Johnson



Trish Johnson is a Special Education Consultant in TDSB. She supports schools, students, parents, and school communities from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in Learning Centre 3.


Laurie Jantzi



Laurie Jantzi is a Special Education Coordinator, Communications in TDSB. She supports many schools in LC 3. Her area of special interest and expertise is communication exceptionalities: Learning Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Language Impairment, and Speech Impairment.