TDSB Enrolment & Resource Allocation Processes

In Communications by Angela Matich

The Equinox School Council is doing its best to communicate regularly with the parent community to keep you informed. This includes: emails, Facebook posts, updates on the www.EquinoxSchool.ca website, posters, whiteboard notices and more. Unfortunately, we are still hearing from parents “I never heard of this.” As a last resort, today we sent out paper flyers with the information below. We understand that it’s not environmentally friendly, but it seems to be the only sure way to reach each and every parent in our community and hopefully have them read this content. Below is a detailed outline of the TDSB enrolment process and resource allocation process.

As an alternative school, Equinox is an Optional Attendance school. Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, TDSB froze enrolment numbers for all Optional Attendance schools so that it could reduce overall student movement between schools in order to better assess and allocate resources.

TDSB requires that ALL of its schools submit their current enrolment numbers to them each year by February. Here comes the important part, with alternative school numbers being frozen in 2015-2016, the Principal was only allowed to accept new students to Equinox in the 2016-2017 school year if it was known that a current enrolled student was leaving. In that situation, only, could the Principal designate that placement on the enrollment list submitted to TDSB towards a new student off the waitlist. That meant if a student decided to leave Equinox after those enrollment numbers were submitted to TDSB, then that desk had to remain empty for the upcoming school year.

Last year, TDSB did not take into account Equinox’s waitlist of more than 170 students in that process. The result, only 25 new students were accepted at Equinox in the 2016-2017 school year, which included mostly JKs. Based on that process, TDSB decided to merge our middle grades from three to two classes increasing the overall number of students per each class.

Hold on to your hats because it gets even more complicated. If one of those NEW students declined their spot at Equinox before the end of the first two weeks of school, then Equinox could replace them with someone off the waitlist. After the first two weeks, then those new student seats became frozen as well by TDSB.

Here comes the good news. This year TDSB has agreed that Equinox may follow a new process for the 2017-2018 school year enrollment numbers. Equinox will be able to count applicants from our waitlist as firm numbers to supplement our current enrollment. This will help Equinox increase and maintain its enrollment numbers in the next school year at approximately 200 students vs. the current 189. However, like all other Optional Attendance schools, the lists will be frozen after those enrollment numbers are submitted to TDSB. If an existing student leaves Equinox after that information has been confirmed with TDSB in March, then that spot will remain empty. If there is enough movement in different grades, it could result in the collapsing of three classes into two again to maximize staff allocations across the entire school board.

The Principal confirmed that TDSB has predetermined school class model breakdowns for how teachers are allocated and the number of students per each class. TDSB selects the best models possible within preset parametres. This is why student movement at Equinox, the enrollment numbers, class space available etc. all play such an important role in that process.

If you are a parent considering moving your child from Equinox, it is imperative that you inform our Principal as soon as possible before the end of February. With more than 170 students on the long Equinox waitlist, it would be a shame to have a seat left empty at Equinox.

Please share this information with Equinox parents you know. Hopefully working together, we can keep everyone well-informed. Thank you for your help.

Oh, and just one more thing. We have an Equinox Movie Night this Friday, February 24th featuring the newly released Disney movie, “Moana.” Doors open at 6 pm and the movie starts at 6:30 pm. There will be a snack bar with pizza, hot dogs, popcorn, treats and more. Hope to see you there.