Reduce, re-use and re-cycle at Blake’s Family Clothing & Book Swap

clothes dont grow

School Council is pleased to host Blake’s 5th annual Family Clothing and Book Swap on Thursday, Nov. 30 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

A SWAP means to exchange and recycle your valued, but no longer used clothing and books, for clothing and books you will use.


It is time to de-clutter and replenish your family with clothes from head to foot with clothes that FIT!



Volunteers Needed: email with SWAP in the subject line please.

We play to host sorting sessions on Nov. 15, Nov. 22 and Nov. 29 to help organize donations. Stay tuned for more details.


Meet Blake’s school council co-chairs for 2017-18

You might have seen Karen and Lanrick around the school yard, or perhaps you’ve made it out to one of the school council meetings so far this year. The pair have stepped up to co-chair our council this year, and we’re grateful for the work they do. Read on to learn a little more about who they are.


In addition to being the Project Manager, maid, cook, and laundry technician of her household, Karen Thomson is an Instructor at University of Toronto’s English Language Program and has a Master of Teaching from U of T. She came to Blake when her children (James, aged 6, going on 16, and Rachel, aged 8, going on 80) began the French Immersion program.

She strongly believes in the research that shows that the best way to for parents to support their children in school is to do just what her parents did – get involved, at school and at home. To that end, at home, she’s very involved in the adventures of Captain Underpants, Dogman, and Creepella Von Cacklefur, and at school, she is involved in many school council initiatives.

Because she is an out-of-catchment parent, she has been very concerned about engaging “bus parents” in the Blake school community, and therefore worked to establish the Communications Committee and the Blake Blog. She believes that by knowing what’s happening at the school, parents and caregivers can ask good questions at home and be more engaged in their children’s lives.

Lanrick Jr. Bennett  currently works as a Regional Advisor for the Toronto Region at Queen’s Park. Prior to his jump to politics, Lanrick spent several years in Arts Education; at The Second City, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and most recently at the Toronto Centre for the Arts where he co-created a music series called Bare Bones & UpFront.

This school year he’s hoping to continue the growth of parental participation in all things Blake. From the Fun Fair and Pizza Lunches to Sports Coaching and School Dances. Get Involved should be our mini rally call. No involvement is to small. He’s also hoping to help encourage more students (and parents) to walk and/or bike to school.

In his spare time he works with a social media team advocating all things East End @IdeasForWard30 and sits on the Board of Directors for Dusk Dances. Lanrick lives at Jones and Strathcona with his wife Sabrina (a Nurse Manager at Princess Margaret Hospital) and two children Jackson Ryan (age 6) and Zoë Elizabeth (aged 9 who attends Duke Of Connaught.)


If you’d like to get in touch with either Karen or Lanrick, send them a note at

School Councils 101 | Safe Routes to School | French Program Deadlines

Check out the latest newsletter from Ward 30 Trustee Jennifer Story


Ward Forum: School Councils 101

Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Place: Danforth CTI, 800 Greenwood Avenue (Greenwood Library)
Special Guest: Michelle Munro, Parent Engagement Office, TDSB
I hope you can join us for this engaging, interactive session designed to help you run, participate in or support an effective School Council at your child’s school.
Michelle will lead us through a short presentation on the basics, with lots of time for your questions, and loads of resources to help you out through the year. 
We will also be holding elections for four positions: Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) Rep (1) and Alternate (1), and French as a Second Language Rep (1) and Alternate (1).
I hope to see you there!  
2017/2018 Ward Forums
Here is the schedule for this year’s ward forums in ward 15 Toronto Danforth. Note: All meetings will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 this year. This is half an hour earlier than previously. 
Many school councils choose a representative to send to Ward forums to report back. This is a great approach to take, but I also want to remind everyone that anyone is welcome to attend any or all of these events.
I hope to see you there!
Tuesday, October 24, Danforth CTI  Topic: School Council 101
Wednesday November 29 at Dundas PS* Topic: EQAO (guest speaker OISE professor Arlo Kempf)  
Thursday January 11 at Earl Grey* Topic: Equity, Anti-Opression and School Councils
Monday February 12 at Riverdale* Topic: Mental Health  
Tuesday March 27 at Diefenbaker* Topic: Safe Routes to School
Wednesday April 25 at Withrow*  Topic: Kids & Financial Literacy 
Tuesday May 29 at Blake/EAST* Topic: Kids, Social Media & School 
(* location tentative, subject to receipt of permit)

Traffic Safety in School Zones: My Response to Toronto’s Vision Zero Plan

Concern about road safety is a common concern among many Toronto-Danforth families.
The City of Toronto has announced a program to improve the safety of children walking to school, as one component of its larger Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.The program will operate in partnership with the TDSB. 13 schools have been selected for the first year. Those school communities will work collaboratively to determine the most effective safety features for their site,  such as flashing beacons, school zone pavement markings, “Watch Your Speed” driver feedback signs, and other mechanisms designed to slow down traffic and make drivers more cautious of pedestrians.
Though this program is welcome news, the implementation at all Toronto’s public schools at the current rate will take over forty years. This is an unacceptable pace for kids and parents experiencing real dangers now.  
Councilor Paula Fletcher and myself have written this letter to the head of the City’s Transportation department, and TDSB Director John Malloy. Councilor Fletcher has also moved this motion to accelerate the school safety zone program. 
In the meantime, I continue to work closely with Councilors Fletcher and Fragedakis on a site by site basis to identify ways to make routes to school safer. This work is mostly municipal and carried by our City Councilors. This Guide to Safer Streets can help your school community identify solutions and advocate for safer routes to school.

Parent Reaching Out Grants (PRO)

Government of Ontario Parent Reaching Out (PRO) Grants are designed to support parents in identifying barriers and finding solutions to parent engagement in their own communities.
Congratulations to the following Ward 15 schools approved for 2017-2018 Parent Reaching Out Grants!

School Board


Project Title


Toronto DSB

Blake Street Jr PS

Parent Workshop Series


Toronto DSB

Bruce Jr PS

Raising Financially Literate Kids


Toronto DSB

Chester ES

STEM for Parents/Students Mental Health


Toronto DSB

Cosburn MS

Inclusivity – Welcome to All


Toronto DSB

Danforth CTI

Presentations for Parents


Toronto DSB

Diefenbaker ES

Building Resilience/Grit and a Growth

Mindset in Children and Teens


Toronto DSB

Dundas Jr PS

Family Fitness Night


Toronto DSB

Earl Grey Sr PS

Social Media and Online Safety Presentation


Toronto DSB

Eastdale CI

Improving Parent Engagement


Toronto DSB

Equinox Holistic Alternative

Parent Workshops


Toronto DSB

First Nations School of Toronto

STEM 101 for Parents


Toronto DSB

Frankland  Community School

Building on Equity


Toronto DSB

Leslieville Jr PS

Mindfulness for Parents


Toronto DSB

Queen Alexandra MS

Welcoming Parents for Engagement


Toronto DSB

RH McGregor ES

Parent Conference


Toronto DSB

Roden PS

Mental Health Workshop Series


Congratulations to the successful applicants. If you would like to share your event or activities with other schools in our ward, I’d be happy to include information in a future newsletter. Just send me an email. 
For more information about PRO grants, a list of past projects and/or the application procedure, click here.

Save the Date:

Parent Engagement Conference

Registration is opening soon for the PIAC Parent Conference! See what’s in store for the 11th annual conference for parents.
High School Information Nights

To help you make an informed decision when choosing a high school, TDSB schools host information nights for parents and Grade 8 students each year between October and January. Learn everything you need to know about our incredible variety of schools, programs and courses. The dates and times for all High School Information Nights are available online
French Programs Application Deadline

For families interested in the Toronto District School Board’s French Immersion or Extended French programs, we offer an online process for applying to:

– Early French Immersion (EFI) which begins in Senior Kindergarten
– Junior Extended French (JEF) which begins in Grade 4

We guarantee an offer of placement in the program (not a specific school) to all on-time applicants. Transportation is provided as per the Board’s Transportation policy.

The timelines for applying for these programs for September 2018 are:

– Applications for Early French Immersion (for a Junior Kindergarten aged child), must be completed online between October 30, 2017 and November 30, 2017.
– Applications for Junior Extended French must be completed online betweenJanuary 8, 2018 and February 8, 2018.

Offers of placement within your chosen program will be made to all on-time applicants in the weeks following the close of the application window.

Please note: families with an older sibling currently in a French program are still required to complete an online application for the new student.

For further information about French as a Second Language programs, the application process and dates for information evenings, please

Secondary Success Indicators Fact Sheets

The Secondary Success Indicators have examined annual Toronto District School Board (TDSB) student achievement patterns since the 2000-2001 school year. The most current Fact Sheets are for the completed 2015-2016 school year.

  • Fact Sheet 1 looks at annual subject completion of four mandatory Grade 9 subjects: English, Mathematics, Science, and Geography. Read the most recent fact sheet (2017) here;
  • In Fact Sheet 2, credit accumulation of students in Grades 9-12 is analyzed. Read the most recent fact sheet (2017) here;
  • Fact Sheet 3 focuses on achievement outcomes of students in Grade 12, including graduation, Ontario Scholarships, and returning students. Read the most recent fact sheet (2017) here.
  • Fact Sheet 4 incorporates post-secondary applications of TDSB students to Ontario’s colleges and universities. Read the most recent fact sheet (2017)here.
The Fact Sheets document increases in TDSB achievement, but also outline achievement gaps and challenges according to such key variables as gender, Grade 9 Program of Study, neighbourhood income, and Special Education Needs. Read the Summary of Key Findings for Secondary Success Indicators (2015-2016) here.
Should you require any additional information, please contact Roula Anastasakos, Executive Superintendent, Research, Organizational Design and Information Services, Education Partnerships at

Volunteer or Work at Blake!

It’s easy to find a way to support Blake students with the gift of your time. There are a variety of opportunities currently available. Which one fits your schedule?

  • Join the equity committee. A joint staff and community equity committee has recently been struck.  A November meeting is being planned. If you are interested in joining us in pushing equity and social justice to the forefront of our school vision, please email
  • Support struggling readers as a PALS volunteer. PALS stands for Partners in the Acquisition of Literacy Skills. Blake Street PS is searching for interested parents, caregivers, grandparents or community members who are interested in supporting reading at the primary level with our struggling readers three to five times a week, 15 minutes a day. In doing so, you can make a big difference in an individual child’s success at school, while also learning how to effectively help your own child become a successful reader. Training and on-going support and materials will be provided by teachers.  If interested, please email
  • Become a lunch supervisor. We are looking for interested parents, caregivers or community members who are interested in applying to become lunchroom supervisors. This position  is a great gateway opportunity to get into the TDSB.  If you are interested, please send an email to or come to the office and let us know.
  • Donate your junk!  We are currently collecting loose parts for our OPAL program. Items may include: milk crates, art easels, car tires, wheels, large empty spools, plastic piping, old kitchen items, old electronics, cardboard boxes, landscaping scraps like tree stumps. Items can be dropped off in the office or to your child’s teacher. Learn more about the OPAL program
  • Help us throw a spooky party! Blake’s third annual Family Halloween Dance is set for Oct. 27 at 6:00 p.m. The whole family is welcome to come out in costume and enjoy some music, pizza, sweets, face-painting and other fun. If you have any time to help out before, during or after the event, please email
  • Celebrate the teaching staff! The annual teacher appreciation potluck will be on Thursday, November 16. Any and all contributions are appreciated! Contact Trish to sign up at

OPAL Update: Got stuff?

Last year, we developed a partnership with Earth Day Canada and launched a pilot project to bring Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) to Blake Street PS. Working together as a learning community (teachers, parents, administrators, daycare staff…) we continue to develop a play implementation plan for outdoor time. The children will engage in self-directed play with loose parts (tools, cardboard boxes and tubes, spare tires, fabric, rope, water, hay, logs, etc.), boosting their sense of agency and creating a more inclusive and reciprocal social environment.

The idea of playing with scrap materials isn’t new. In fact, we have probably all done it before! In play, loose parts are any materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials to inspire building, fort making, imaginative worlds and active play.

As you may be aware, we have a school age OPAL shed on the south east corner of our field, and we need to fill it up. We are currently collecting loose parts for our OPAL program.  If you have something old, broken, or taking up space in your home, we want you to think of the potential for loose parts play before you throw it away!

Items may include: milk crates, art easels, car tires, wheels, large empty spools, plastic piping, old kitchen items, old electronics, cardboard boxes, and landscaping scraps like tree stumps.

OPAL donations can be dropped off in the office or to your child’s teacher. Thanks for making OPAL play time even better!

Boultbee/Jones Ave. traffic light update

At the Oct. 17 meeting of the Toronto and East York Community Council, Ward 30 councillor Paula Fletcher will move a motion to have the city install a traffic light at Jones and Boultbee Avenues.

councillor fletcher oct2017

Councillor Fletcher attended our Oct. 11 parent council meeting to fill us in. She explained that the intersection does not currently meet “warrant” standards to have a light installed; it should be considered a school zone but it’s not.

Here’s how you can help: email Toronto and East York Community Council ahead of the meeting at to express your support for the motion and to share your own experience and insight. 

Visit for more info. The Oct. 17 meeting is open to the public and a good venue to discuss issues around school safety.

Two Blake students compete in south city cross-country finals


A big congrats to these two Blake students, who represented the school Oct. 13 at the TDESAA south city cross-country finals at Ashbridges Bay park.

Kieran placed 22nd in the Grade 3 boys category! And Marie-Claire finished 17th in the Grade 4 girls category! She’ll go on to compete in the city finals Oct. 26.

We are so proud of our runners. Thanks to their coach, Mme. Morton for all her work with them.