Supporting Excellence at the Toronto District School Board
In January 2015, the Minister of Education received a report from Margaret Wilson on governance issues at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). One of the key recommendations in the report was for a panel of advisors to consult with the TDSB community and make recommendations on how the board can work more effectively.
In keeping with the recommendation, the Minister of Education has appointed a seven-member expert panel - TDSB Governance Advisory Panel to conduct these public consultations.
The TDSB community will have an opportunity to participate in the consultation process through online submissions as well as in-person consultations at locations across Toronto.
One recommendation of Ms. Wilson's was a consultation with the local TDSB community, including key individuals and organizations, parents, trustees, city officials, senior staff, union representatives and members from colleges and universities.
The public consultations will take place between March and May 2015. The panel will report back to the Minister of Education with their recommendations based on the consultations by summer, 2015.
Once available, further details on how to get involved or make an online submission will be available on the Ministry of Education website.
Themes / Questions for Discussion
The TDSB Governance Advisory Panel will be consulting with administrators, educators, parents, students and members of the public on the following topics:
Creating a Supportive and Inclusive Culture
- How should elected trustees and senior staff work together to promote and support excellence at the TDSB?
- What would it take to restore or improve your confidence in the TDSB?
- Audits and reviews of the TDSB have identified a pervasive culture of fear in the TDSB. What kinds of changes could improve the culture at the TDSB?
Focusing on the Success and Well-Being of All Students
- What does a world-class school board do well?
- What are the priorities of a well-functioning board of trustees?
- What governance structures or practices would support TDSB trustees in focus on these priorities at a board-wide level?
- What changes could support the administration and the governing body to offer exemplary programs and services to all students of the board?
- A well governed board enables the voices of parents to be heard and their concerns addressed in a timely manner. What is needed to ensure equitable opportunities for the meaningful engagement of all parents with the staff and trustees of board?
- What processes or structures should be in place to ensure that constituents can bring their concerns forward to the appropriate person at the TDSB?
- Is the TDSB too big? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of smaller school boards?
Efficient Capital Asset Management and Effective use of Schools
- What changes could support the trustees and the administration in promoting the effective and responsible management of capital assets to better support the achievement of all of Toronto's students?
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. With approximately 246,000 students attending nearly 600 schools, public confidence in the TDSB is critical to ensuring public confidence in the entire education system.
Effective working relationships between trustees and the director of education are critical to the board's ability to fulfil its governance role. If not adequately addressed, governance and operational challenges have the potential to undermine public confidence in publicly funded education and threaten student achievement and well-being.
Students, parents and the larger community are best served when school boards govern themselves in a manner that is transparent, responsive to local concerns and needs, and focused on the board's key priorities.
Over the past two years, the government has provided significant supports to the TDSB, however, significant issues still persist.
To address these issues, the Minister of Education appointed Margaret Wilson in November 2014 to conduct a review of the TDSB to help address growing concerns about the board's operational issues and governance structure. The review focused on significant issues regarding board policy and practice.
Margaret Wilson's observations were troubling and confirmed the need for the government to take action. Upon receiving the report, the Minister of Education directed the TDSB to comply with thirteen directions to act on Margaret's recommendations.