John English SAC – Meeting Minutes Thursday, May 14, 2020, 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Welcome & Introductions                                                                                  7:00– 7:07

  • Introductions completed around the group.
  • No additional agenda items.

SAC Board Business                                                                                             7:07 – 7:18


  • All pending events for this year’s school calendar have been cancelled.
    • Marlies game
    • Flower fund raiser
    • Movie night
  • Pizza lunch money will be or already has been refunded.

Treasurer’s Report

  • See the attached May Meeting Budget.
    • If parents paid for pizza lunch with cash or cheque, those refunds may not be done until school re opens.
    • There is a healthy amount of money for SAC for next year.
    • A preliminary budget has been created for next year, based on this year’s fundraising results.
    • We have paid half of the USchool, so far.  A prorated amount may be billed in the future.
    • The pizza lunch profits may change a bit once all refunds are reconciled.          

Principal Report                                                                                                    7:18 – 7:50

Mr. Howe (Principal)

  • Healthy bites refunds may carry forward as credits for next year, but no decision has been finalized.
  • Staff changes Ms. Kenny and Ms. Gorman have both come to JEJMS as Vice Principals in 2020.
  • Grade ¾ class Ms. Estevez has returned from a leave.
  • Sowah has gone on leave.  Mme. Brankovan has taken over.
  • Collective agreement between teachers and TDB has been ratified.  It is a 3 year agreement which allows stability.
  • Morning announcements that are sent out via email have a lot of information for kids. Friday email updates contain more for parents.
  • Priorities of TDSB during distance learning:
    • Health and wellness
    • Continuation of learning
    • Building staff capacity to be effective during distance learning.
    • Connectivity of all students.  TDSB has distributed over 50 000 laptops or tablets for students since schools closed.
  • Classes for Grades 4-8 are using Google Classroom for distance learning.
  • Most younger grades are using Google Sites and/or Seesaw.
  • Ontario Ministry of Education expectation is that Grades K – 3 are learning 5 hours a week. Grades 4-6 are learning 5 hours a week within the 4 subject areas of Math, Language, Social Studies and Science.  Grades 7-8 are learning 10 hours a week, within the 4 subject areas of Math, Language, Social Studies and Science.
  • Parents should use their judgement about their children’s participation in activities.
  • Teachers are trying their best to engage with all students.  Students have a variety of circumstances regarding Internet, devices, etc.
  • Paper packages of work were sent home for students on a one-time basis who did not have connectivity, prior to receiving a device on loan from TDSB.
  • Parents are not teachers.  Flexibility is very important.  Drawing or cooking or other household activities are also learning opportunities.
  • Teachers will meet students where they are when they return to school.
  • Transitions from Grade 8 to 9 are being worked on.
  • Report cards will be sent home in June.  The emphasis will be on learning from February to March Break.  Students have the opportunity to improve their grades through distance learning, but grades will not decrease.
  • Collection of belonging of students from the school is not yet understood.  The school is waiting for direction form the TDSB.
  • An announcement from the Ontario Minister of Education is expected early next week regarding whether or not schools will re open before the end of June. As for September, the situation is not known.
  • Monday, May 18 is a holiday.
  • June 5 is no longer a PA day.  It will be a regular school day as per the Education Minister’s announcement that all PA days between now and the end of June will be converted into regular school days.
  • Class assignments were shared.  There are projected to be 867 students at John English next school year. 5 teachers have been allocated by TDSB for the 20-21 school year.
  • Wellness Wednesday seems to be a big success.
  • Trades people who are doing maintenance are not in the school at this time.  Outside maintenance is the same.

Other Business                                                                                                             7:50 – 8:15

Question and answer session

  • See saw is a frustrating learning platform for some parents.  Is there discussion among teachers about what is working and what isn’t?
  • Teachers are sharing what works and what doesn’t.  There are 2 teaching platforms that TDSB provides.  One is Google classroom and the other is Brightspace.  However, if teachers were already using a platform like Seesaw, they may have decided to continue with it, for continuity.  Teachers are learning and trying to be flexible with students in a variety of distance learning situations.
  • Students want to hang out with their friends.  Many younger students are missing their social connections.  What can be done to help them?
  • That message has been heard by staff.  The importance of maintaining social connections is encouraged.  TDSB has communicated that synchronous learning is optional.  So, live meetings vary from class to class.  Mme. Smith added that the well being of students is the most important aspect of learning right now.  This is a very new and fluid situation.  It’s challenging for parents, student and teachers who are all missing the organic learning of the in-person classroom.
  • IS there a plan for more Google Meet meetings and specific instructional hours?
  • Instructional hours are mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Education.  If there is a change, it will come from the ministry.  Teachers do check in with students and parents about whether there is too much work, not enough work, etc.
  • Will teachers indicate to student and families what curriculum expectations will not get covered this year?
  • Teachers are focussing on key concepts that will be necessary for the next grade.
  • Who do we email about class make up for next year?
  • Email Mr. Howe directly.
  • Do parents think that in future, doing visual meetings could be an option, even when life gets back to normal?
  • Please send your feedback on that one to
  • Many other questions have been asked and answered on the SAC meeting May 14 2020 – FAQ attached.

Open SAC Positions (with support provided)

  • Secretary
  • Fundraising lead for one or more fundraisers

Meeting Ends                                                                                                               8:15

This is the final meeting of the school year.  Thank you to all for your time and support to our SAC throughout the 2019-2020 school year!

 Ward 3 School Trustee: Patrick Nunziata can be reached at or 416 996 5572, sign up for e-newsletter at or follow him on Twitter @Nunziata