TDSB moving to US-style choice?

 In Save Our Schools, The public board -TDSB

ref:  Board Services Agenda Record
Program and School Services Committee March 30, 2011 Agenda Item 8.

TO  Programs and School Services Committee  30 March 2011

1. That Programs of Choice be approved to open September 2011 in the
following schools:
A. Boys? Leadership Academy (Grades 4-8) ? Calico Public School, The
Elms Junior Middle School;
B. Girls? Leadership Academy (Grades 4-8) ? Highland Heights Junior
Public School;
C. Sports and Wellness Academy (All grades) ? Carleton
Village Junior/Senior Public School, James S. Bell Junior Middle
School, Rene Gordon Elementary School,
Donview Middle School and Shoreham Public School; and
D. Vocal Music Academy (Grades 4-8) ? Heather Heights
Junior Public School, Ryerson Community School.
2. That the Board approve a budget of $285,200.00 for these Programs
of Choice; in addition to the following:
A. Classroom start up costs which will depend on enrolment at each
Program of Choice site; and
B. Minor facility upgrades or site renovations at Shoreham Public
School, Donview Middle School, Highland
Heights Junior Public School and Heather Heights Junior Public School.
3. That the Board direct staff to identify a funding source for
Programs of Choice as identified above within existing Board funds.

RATIONALE  On 26 April 2010, the Board decided: that a feasibility
study be approved for four elementary Programs of Choice in each
quadrant, and that the study include potential viable site locations
and their potential pathways to secondary programming, equity of
opportunity for families wishing to attend Programs of  Choice, a
budget plan including the cost of school start up and the resources
required for each and be presented to the Program and School Services
Committee by August 2010:
(i) the Boys? Leadership Academy;
(ii) the Girls? Leadership Academy;
(iii) the Choir School [ the Vocal Music Academy]; and
(iv) the Sports Academy [the Sports and Wellness

CONTEXT  Over the past few months, a cross departmental team representing
Futuristic Schools, Planning, Special Education, Facility Services,
Business Services, Employee Services and the Deputy Director Academic
met to explore the feasibility of Programs of Choice.
The following outlines work done to date:
A. Determination of Guiding Principles as a Framework for the
Feasibility Study;
B. Examination of Potential Program Models;
C. Examination of Staffing Implications;
D. Comprehensive Site Scan and Local School Visits to
Determine Space Availability and an Examination of
Potential Pathways to Secondary School Programming;
E. Development of a Budget Plan.

A. Determination of Guiding Principles as a Framework for
the Feasibility Study
The following Guiding Principles were determined as a
framework for the feasibility study:
1. The Board believes in offering a variety of choices to support the
differing educational needs and interests of the students it serves.
2. All students will have equity of opportunity and equity of
access to programs.
3. Preferred models of delivery will be cost efficient with regard to
facility upgrades and resources.
4. Site selection will be determined by space availability, projected
enrolments, ability to grow the program (up and down) over time,
proximity to appropriate secondary locations and student and family
5. The Board will work toward fair and equal distribution of
specialized programs so that all schools will have an opportunity for
a specialized focus.

B. Examination of Potential Program Models  Four potential program
models, with advantages and disadvantages, were examined.
? A Program within a School Model ? This model allows
every school to offer a program in a flexible and locally
determined way, e.g. by grade or subject;
? A Neighbourhood School Model ? This model converts an
existing school to a program theme;
? A School within a School Model ? This model operates
independently but is housed in an existing school; and
? A New Stand-Alone School Model ? This model requires
opening a closed site to launch a new program.
It was determined that:
? the ?school within a school? model, with a targeted
enrolment of 150 students, would be most suitable for the
Boys? Leadership Academy, Girls? Leadership Academy
and the Vocal Music Academy. There is the potential for
expansion to a stand-alone site should numbers warrant;
? the ?neighbourhood school? model would be most suitable for the
Sports and Wellness Academy.

C. Examination of Staffing Implications
It was determined that:
? Staff understanding and support of the program vision are critical
to the successful implementation of the program;
? Staff, including support staff, teaching staff and administrators,
will be allocated, selected and placed through regular staffing
protocols and adherence to collective agreements.

D. Comprehensive Site Scan and Local School Visits To
Determine Space Availability and an Examination of
Potential Pathways to Secondary School Programming
1. A comprehensive site scan was conducted to determine
potential Programs of Choice site locations in all
elementary schools. The site scan was conducted using the
following criteria:
? Surplus space that accommodates 150 students or more
in 2010/11 and 180 students or more in both 2015 and
2019. This allows for potential growth. The scan
included system-wide implementation of Full Day
Kindergarten by 2015;
? Identification of existing programs (e.g. Extended
French and French Immersion, Full Service Schools,
Alternative Schools) to honour Guiding Principle #5
which states: The Board will work towards fair and
equal distribution of specialized programs so that all
schools have an opportunity for a specialized program
focus and so that existing specialized programs can be
supported for growth and expansion;
? Identification of existing programs (e.g. Parent and
Family Literacy Centres, Child Care, Special
Education, Continuing Education Programs, Model
Schools for Inner City, Safe and Caring Programs,
Section 23 Programs, Alternative Programs) to ensure
that they would not be impacted by accommodating a
proposed Program of Choice; and
? Identification of elementary pathways and potential
pathways to secondary school programming as well
as available pupil places.
Information regarding operational elements (e.g. grade
range, Family of Schools, Ward, and Learning
Opportunities Index, barrier free access, the Facility
Condition Index, portables on site, square footage) was also
2. In order to collect critical school based information, local site
visits were conducted and the  following information was gathered:
? Actual number of classrooms available;
? Ability of the school to configure a cluster of classrooms to
accommodate a Program of Choice;
? Access and proximity to public transit;
? Student drop off area at the school;
? Criteria specific to a Sports and Wellness and Vocal Music
? Proximity to community partners and resources (e.g.
libraries, agencies, City facilities);
? Childcare availability (on-site and/or licensed nearby); and
? Proximity to like schools.
RESOURCES  E. Development of a Budget Plan
To determine the potential costs of opening a Program of Choice in
each feasible site, staff noted:
Human Resources:
? Costs of teaching staff will follow enrolment patterns and
will be allocated from the existing staffing complement Resources to
Support Program:
? Costs applicable to new program start up (e.g. one time enhancements
for costs applicable to new classroom start identified as $3,000.00
per classroom);
? One time funding of $25,000.00 per program to support local
programming start up. This funding would be spent on applicable
resources as defined and determined through shared discussion with
each local school community; and
? One time funding of $3,520.00 per program for additional release
time for staff for professional learning.
Resources for Physical Plant, Site Renovation and/or Facility Costs:
? Where facility upgrades or site renovation are identified, further
costing will need to be determined.
A Budget Plan specific to each site location is included in
Appendix A.
Total Start-Up Costs: $285,200.00 plus Classroom Start Up and Facility Costs

Appendix A  Detailed Information Regarding Suggested Program of Choice Sites
Appendix B  Specialized Schools/Programs, Skills Enhanced Programs and
Specialist High Skills Majors
Appendix C  Map Showing All Sites

FROM  Chris Spence, Director of Education at
or at (416)-397-2413
Karen Grose, Central Coordinating Superintendent of Innovative
Programs and Futuristic Schools at or at
(416) 394-3910.

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