From the Director

To all staff and students of TVDSB,

Another school year has come and gone and we have so much to celebrate. Our students continue to amaze all of us with so many outstanding accomplishments, in the classroom, on the playing fields, in the theatres and even in our community. They represent the best in our board and are a source of great pride for the staff, their families and the community.

Staff at all levels provide a learning experience for our students that is second to none. From central office support to school administrators, to the staff in our classrooms, you demonstrate your professionalism and dedication each and every day. We all know that it is challenging to meet the diverse needs of our students and our communities and yet, you take on those challenges with enthusiasm and a remarkable level of energy. I hope that you feel proud of the work that you have done over the past year.

For those who are leaving our system whether through graduation, retirement or moving on to new adventures, please accept my sincere thanks and congratulations for your part in making TVDSB truly great. I wish everyone a relaxing and fun filled summer.

It has been my pleasure to have led this incredible organization for the past six years. I offer my sincere appreciation for all of the support that you have given to me both personally and professionally. While I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life the TVDSB will always be in my heart and my mind.

Laura Elliott

Director of Education


Previous letters from the Director:

National Volunteer Week 2019 Message from the Director and Chair

Dear Thames Valley District School Board Communities,

The week of April 7-13 marks an important celebration in Canada—National Volunteer Week. Thousands, if not millions of people who choose to volunteer their time in the service of others will be recognized for the many contributions they make through their selfless acts of kindness.

Within Thames Valley District School Board our volunteers make important and sometimes life-changing contributions:  in the classroom or on the playground, supervising field trips, coaching an athletic team, supporting students in extracurricular activities and clubs, raising funds for special projects, participating in strategic planning sessions, as well as serving on school and board committees.

The spirit of volunteerism is an important part of our board and school culture.  It positively impacts student learning in so many ways, and is foundational to our work. Special people choose to volunteer and make a difference in the lives of others. Many things compete for the time volunteers are able to give and we are grateful that our volunteers chose Thames Valley.

Here are just a few of the exceptional volunteers we have in Thames Valley:

Mark Cadman – Volunteer Coach at North Middlesex District High School (NMDHS)
Mark has a long history with the Thames Valley District School Board. A former NMDHS Marauder, Mark first became a volunteer basketball coach at Parkhill West Williams Elementary School. He went on to coach boys and girls teams at NMDHS for a number of seasons and led teams to TRVA, WOSSA and OFSAA Championships. His guidance and leadership has helped shape student athletes on and off the court.
Lynda Jackson - Volunteer at Delaware Central Public School
Lynda is a supportive parent and an treasured volunteer at Delaware Central. As president of Home and School, Lynda takes on many roles and commits numerous hours to the school community. She effectively communicates with administration and teachers in a timely and respectful manner and spearheads many school fundraisers. Lynda also volunteers her time in the classroom and at many school events. She helps provide a welcoming and inclusive school environment and is dedicated to the students and the Delaware Central community.
Jennifer Nuyens - Volunteer at Northdale Central Public School
Jennifer is a vital member of the Northdale Central Public School and Dorchester Community. She works tirelessly to improve the lives of students, staff and community members as she volunteers her time as School Council Chair and Home and School Association Chair. Jennifer has been instrumental in organizing numerous innovative learning opportunities, such as Academic Award & Character Recognition Assemblies, Family Math Nights, Grade 3 Orientations and Chromebook labs. She also spends countless hours ensuring community-based activities, such as school dances, fun fairs, hot lunches and holiday bazaars can be enjoyed by the students and their families. Jennifer’s contributions will have a lasting impact and Northdale Central is fortunate to have her as part of the school community.
Karen Rapien – Volunteer at Stoneybrook Public School
Karen is a retired teacher who continues to volunteer her time at Stoneybrook Public School. She has been especially important in the life of a student named Quinn. Karen has provided a stable and trustworthy partnership, allowing Quinn to gain the confidence she needs to achieve higher levels of competence at school. A lifelong teacher and mentor, Karen has dedicated her career and volunteered her personal time to put the needs of students first and support her colleagues.
Tracy Raposo - Volunteer at Caradoc Public School
Tracy is a kind, loving, and dedicated member of Caradoc Public School. Tracy runs the School Age Program before and after school and works hard at providing a stimulating and innovative program for the students in her care. She constantly looks for new activities to keep the students engaged and learning. In addition to volunteering in the school library and in the classroom, she volunteers her time as noon-hour supervisor. Tracy inspires innovation and independence and is a valued member of the Caradoc school community.
Gordon Sproule - Volunteer at Byron Southwood Public School
Gordon is a true model of a lifelong learner who possess a growth mindset. Each and every day he helps our students learn to their potential. An irreplaceable volunteer, Gordon contributes to Byron Southwood’s school identity on many levels. He is the first person to arrive and greet students at the before-school program. He knows students by name, engages parents in conversation and helps to build a positive school community for everyone. His understanding of student’s needs and natural connection with children from kindergarten to grade 8 is astounding. Gordon is a reliable and versatile volunteer and Byron Southwood school is fortunate to have him as part of their community.

On behalf of Senior Administration and our Board of Trustees, we would like to thank all of our Thames Valley volunteers for generously giving their time and talent for the benefit of our students and staff. The dedication and support of every volunteer helps us build each student’s tomorrow, every day.

Laura Elliott                                                 Arlene Morell

Director of Education                                Chair of the Board

Holiday Message from the Director and Chair 

Dear Students, Staff, Families and our Community,

As the holiday season approaches, we would like to thank you for making the Thames Valley District School Board an innovative place to learn and work and for the dedication that you bring to your role each day. We are very grateful for all of the students who have chosen to learn in Thames Valley schools.

Over the next couple of weeks, please take a moment to reflect on the positive difference you have made in the lives of others and in our schools. Our students and staff should be proud of all our accomplishments this past year; we have much to be thankful for.

We hope you find comfort this season in time-honoured traditions and the simple joy of sharing your spirit with family and friends. We wish you an enjoyable and safe holiday season.

Laura Elliott, Director of Education

Arlene Morell, Chair of the Board


An Update: Health and Physical Education Curriculum - October 4, 2018

October 4, 2018

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This message is intended to clarify recent public statements made about the Health and Physical Education Curriculum (HPE) – sometimes referred to as the “sex ed curriculum.”

In 2015, Ontario's Ministry of Education revised the HPE in both elementary and secondary schools to reflect changes in society since the curriculum was originally written in 1998 and revised in 2010.

However, in Spring 2018, the newly elected Ontario government directed all school boards across the province to return to teach an Interim 2010 HPE curriculum in Grades 1-8 this September.

The Interim 2010 curriculum is similar to the 2015 document – including topics such as online-safety, sexual orientation, mental health, gender identification and consent – but is aimed at students at slightly older grade levels. These changes in grade levels can be viewed in our Grade 1-8 Healthy Living Learning Summary.  

It is important to note that this change only affects elementary schools. The 2015 HPE curriculum will continue to be used in secondary schools.

Thames Valley District School Board has provided resources for teachers to assist them in delivering the appropriate HPE curriculum in ways that meet the Ministry direction, and create a learning environment for students that is safe, inclusive and focused on their success and well-being.  

TVDSB acknowledges that parents and guardians are the primary educators of their children with respect to learning about values, appropriate behaviour, ethnocultural, spiritual, and personal beliefs and traditions, and they act as significant role models for their children.

Parents and guardians can learn about the Interim 2010 HPE curriculum (Grades 1-8) by visiting the Ministry's 2010 HPE Curriculum-Grades 1-8. [link to curriculum document]

We encourage parents and guardians to direct their questions or concerns about the curriculum to their child's teacher or principal and/or follow our Public Concerns process.

Laura Elliott, Director of Education

Matt Reid, Chair of the Board

An Update: Our Statement on the Health and Physical Education Curriculum - August 30, 2018

August 30, 2018

As you know, the provincial government has re-issued the 2010 Interim Health and Physical Education curriculum. The 2010 “interim” curriculum requires the use of the 1998 Human Growth and Development content. While we now have our direction for the upcoming school year, TVDSB is providing some additional information to our communities related to this curriculum.

Of note, the Grades 9-12 Health and Physical Education curriculum has not changed. Changes however, have been made to the Grades 1-8 Health and Physical Education curriculum.

TVDSB and all Boards are required to comply with Ministry of Education directives and policies, which includes teaching the curriculum as developed by the Ministry. We will be working with our teaching staff to ensure they have the support they need to deliver the curriculum.

TVDSB wishes to assure parents, guardians, staff and community members that, regardless of the Health and Physical Education Curriculum, the Board will uphold its responsibilities and obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Education Act and Board policies to ensure respect, inclusion and safety of all.

What has not changed is that TVDSB will continue to be an inclusive organization that works to affirm all identities on a daily basis, including students and families identifying as LGBT2Q+. All students and family members have the right to feel safe, included and valued at school and this requires that students see their identities reflected in real world school and classroom activities.

Laura Elliott, Director of Education

Matt Reid, Chair of the Board

Our Statement on the Health and Physical Education Curriculum - July 19, 2018

July 19, 2018

The Ontario government recently announced its intention to begin public consultation on a new Health and Physical Education Curriculum. The government has also said the current curriculum, last revised in 2015, will be "temporarily replaced" this fall with the previous version introduced in 1998.

While the government has indicated teachers will have some “flexibility,” the Ministry of Education has not yet provided any details to school boards.  As soon as information is received, TVDSB will communicate with staff, students and families.

TVDSB wishes to assure parents, guardians, staff and community members that, regardless of the Health and Physical Education Curriculum, the Board will uphold its responsibilities and obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Education Act and Board policies to ensure respect, inclusion and safety of all.

TVDSB will continue to be an inclusive organization that works to affirm all identities on a daily basis, including students and families identifying as LGBT2Q+. All students and family members have the right to feel safe, included and valued at school and this requires that students see their identities reflected in real world school and classroom activities.

As leaders in public education, we commit to being inclusive, fair and equitable by empowering students to become caring community members and responsible global citizens, and recognizing and celebrating the contributions and diversity of students, staff and volunteers.

Laura Elliott, Director of Education

Matt Reid, Chair of the Board

An Open Letter to our Thames Valley District School Board Community

Today's economy is supported by an increasingly complex set of skills and knowledge. Predictable, routine tasks of today are becoming more and more automated. Non-routine, unpredictable tasks will increasingly become the jobs of the future. As such, mathematical skills and knowledge are increasingly becoming critical components of success.

Over the past three years, EQAO Mathematics scores for students in grades 3, 6 and 9 in the Thames Valley District School Board and across the province have declined. This issue is of paramount importance to our students, parents, teachers, administration, trustees and the Ministry of Education and I am writing to describe how we, at Thames Valley are taking action, and to enlist your support.

In April 2016, the Ministry of Education made a commitment to help students gain the mathematics knowledge and
skills they need by creating the Renewed Math Strategy. Mathematics achievement is a key priority for the Ministry, and is being supported through dedicated funding to school boards. This Renewed Mathematics Strategy supports Thames Valley's continued focus on Mathematics grades 1 to 12.

The Thames Valley Math Strategic Plan provides the framework for support to our students, parents, teachers and principals. Our goal is to enhance and support leadership and instructional capacity in mathematics so all students
are successful. We will focus on the following priorities:

  • Increase achievement in mathematics for all students,
  • Build mathematical leadership capacity throughout the system,
  • Increase content knowledge, skills and instructional capacity of educators in mathematics; and,
  • Involve parents in their children's learning of mathematics.

I am deeply concerned about this issue and I believe that we can make the necessary changes for all students to be successful in mathematics. It is critical that we work together to solve this challenge. I encourage you to discuss this important issue at home and with your school. This dialogue will support a renewed focus on ensuring our students' success in mathematics.

We sincerely thank our students, parents, employees and community partners for their continued support in
helping our students achieve their potential.

Laura Elliott
Director of Education

Update: An Open Letter to our Community 

In November 2016, an open letter (above) to our community was posted on our website to provide information on
our Renewed Mathematics Strategy and our progress in addressing our District mathematics results. We asked students, parents, staff and community members for their support and I would like to thank those who answered the call. At this time, an update on our progress is provided below.

Supporting Instructional Leadership at All Levels

Improving math results in our Thames Valley classrooms involves the commitment of all staff throughout the organization. It requires staff to be knowledgeable about the mathematics curriculum, as well as utilize instructional strategies which engage students in their learning to make meaning of mathematics.

Within our district, we remain committed to building staff capacity in mathematics. Initiatives which target professional learning through networking and coaching opportunities have been met with enthusiasm and success among Thames Valley staff. Designated mathematics leads in every elementary school, as well as our system Instructional Coaches and Learning Facilitators are part of the team ensuring that mathematics is the focus in all schools. If you visit an elementary school you will see and hear evidence of mathematics learning with all staff and students.

We have also required our Thames Valley secondary schools to work on improving mathematics instruction to make greater achievement gains for our grade 9 and 10 students. Additional networking and coaching opportunities for secondary mathematics teachers supports the use of a variety of instructional strategies. The use of innovative math software by our students and teachers is being monitored and tracked by our research department. Other mathematics tools and resources are also used to engage our students in their learning.

Principals and Vice-Principals also have access to principal mentor-coaches to improve their knowledge and understanding of math pedagogy to better support their teachers. Thames Valley has gained attention from system and provincial leaders in our approach to improving math leadership with our school and system leaders.

Support at Home

The research is clear that achievement is also impacted by the involvement of parents/guardians in their children's learning. Many of our schools have offered Mathematics Nights for parents to come together with educators to learn more about how to support their children's mathematics learning.

 Dr. Marion Small, an international mathematics expert, was hosted by our Thames Valley Parent Involvement Committee, in a 'sold out' event. Dr. Small spoke to the audience about new versus traditional teaching methodologies. While the debate has continued about the teaching of traditional mathematics skills versus problem solving, it is important to note that it is not an 'either/or' debate. Both are essential and appropriate at specific points in math instruction.

Parents and students are also accessing a variety of supports including Homework Help, which is free and available to all Ontario students in grade 7-10. Additionally, our math department regularly communicates math tips for parents in school newsletters.

I am proud of the Thames Valley learning community for their commitment to this renewed mathematics strategy. As the Mathematics department reminds us, we are on the right path to achieving excellence for all students.

Thank you to students, staff, parents and our school communities for working together in partnership. Together, we will achieve our goal of high achievement in mathematics.

Laura Elliott
Director of Education

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