How to fix your Toronto public school district: ‘It’s the same old problem’

With the district still struggling to find its footing after the shooting of two teachers, Toronto Public School’s interim board of directors is preparing to release its first update on its progress.

The board met on Thursday and announced its new mandate will include:  ● Creating a board of governors with six teachers from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) as the top two to be selected.● Redesigning the school district to include at least 10% gender equity.● Establishing a new superintendent, who will have the power to appoint and fire the district’s top two teachers.

The district has struggled to find a new leadership team since the shooting at the district on April 4, when two teachers were fatally shot.

The school district has not returned to regular services since then.

The school board has said it will not release its interim report until after the May 17 provincial election, when it will decide whether to run for re-election.

The board said the report will provide a framework for the district to rebuild, but it has yet to release a full agenda of proposed measures, including the hiring of a superintendent and hiring more teachers.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, interim chairperson Karen MacLellan said she was encouraged by the board’s decision to start its work by revamping the district and its governance structure.

She said the school board will work with the city to create a more transparent governance structure that will enable the board to better identify problems in the system.

MacLellaan said the board will also examine how the district can be more responsive to community concerns and to ensure the district is responsive to the needs of its students.

She added that the board is committed to making sure the district has a clear plan for addressing all of its challenges and that it takes care of its community.

Toronto’s public school system is struggling with a number of issues.

There are about 1,000 full- and part-time teachers in the city, and many of them are struggling to pay for school supplies.

In March, Ontario’s auditor general reported that the TDSB is paying nearly $9 million to schools in the province for a total of more than $1 billion in education-related spending.

Last year, the province also announced it would spend $6.4 billion on teacher training, which is intended to improve the effectiveness of the province’s new teachers training program.

Maclellan also noted that the district, which was ranked the nation’s sixth most segregated in 2016, was also ranked the seventh most segregated by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

She said there has been a marked increase in racialized crime in the district.

The number of shootings involving students has tripled over the last four years, with one shooting in the first quarter of this year involving a student and another in the second quarter of 2016 involving a teacher. 

She said she believes the district will address some of the district problems by investing in a better system to track student progress, improving student safety and creating a community-based education approach that addresses systemic issues.

Mac lellan believes the board needs to hire a superintendent who can create a safe environment for all students.

“I think the superintendent needs to be able to listen and understand the community and the community needs to have a voice in the process of the superintendent’s decision-making and that the superintendent is going to have to be very responsive to that,” MacLellen said. 

Maclellen said the new superintendent will also be responsible for overseeing the district as it prepares to transition to a new administration.

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