Anti-Black Racism Joint School Council Letter

Joint School Community Letter – Jackman School Council, supported by Jackman Ave JPS Administration:

Jackman’s Parent Equity Committee stands firmly against anti-Black racism in all its forms. As a group of parents, we reaffirm our commitment to anti-Black racism and stand in solidarity with Black parents, caregivers, staff, and administrators at Jackman and throughout the TDSB. The recent protests and events that have unfolded in the United States and in Canada, are part of a long, painful, and on-going struggle against anti-Black racism. As parents and caregivers of children in elementary school, it is often said that we are our children’s first role models. We can use this position to work towards dismantling systemic racism, speaking up and deepening our knowledge and understanding of race and racism in Canada and beyond. Helping children make sense of the world around them begins by supporting their critical thinking skills beyond this moment in time.  Dismantling racism is hard work.  Racism is a system, not an event, but it is also a “socialized condition that begins in our homes and hides behind how we see others and in the implicit and explicit biases we must all confront and address”. 

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.  —James Baldwin

Jackman Ave JPS is deeply committed to dismantling any systems and processes that exist in our school which are rooted in Anti-Black Racism. Through our context of public education, we have influence over the information that is shared in our classrooms, and it is incumbent upon us to reduce the negative effects of implicit bias on Black students. 

At Jackman Ave JPS, student voice and agency are supported through professional student-educator relationships. Black students need to be heard and seen and have their identities and experiences validated through the curriculum, processes, and policies. As a staff, Jackman Ave JPS will engage in robust, uncomfortable, and challenging conversations to ensure student voice is centred in decision-making processes to move beyond the status quo in Teaching and Learning. Jackman educators must be a part of creating new norms.

Jackman Ave JPS and Jackman School Council will continue to plan and work collaboratively in our next steps together in this process of unlearning to reconcile, restore, and rebuild our system to reduce the replication of racial inequalities and prejudices based not only on race but within the intersectionalities of class, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and Indigenous stereotypes. We invite your active participation in our transformational work.

To support parents and children with meaningful conversations we have pulled together some resources ( by no means is this list exhaustive) as well as some FAQs  that we hope can help support on-going conversations in your homes:  

FAQs:

1) What is anti-black racism?

Anti-Black racism is prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping or discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and colonization. Anti-Black racism is deeply embedded in Canadian institutions, policies and practices, to the point that it becomes a part of our systems.

https://files.ontario.ca/ar-2002_anti-black_racism_strategy_en.pdf

2) What is systemic racism?

Systemic Racism is the subtle discrimination that is built into the cultural memories of our laws and institutions that isn’t overtly designed to maintain racial power dynamics, but works to keep them in place anyway. 

Importantly, the beliefs and actions of individuals within a society don’t have to be racist for an institution or society they represent to be racist on a systemic level. The assumptions of racism are ‘baked-into’ the society in issues of educational and economic inequality and inequality of access. 

For example, the same laws or standards apply to people of all races in Canada, but just as a couple of examples:

Black and Indigenous children are more likely to be removed from the family home than white children with the same or similar circumstances

http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/interrupted-childhoods

Black and Indigenous children are less likely to be streamed into academic vs. applied secondary school programs 

https://brighterworld.mcmaster.ca/articles/black-students-still-face-major-hurdles-getting-into-university/
https://brighterworld.mcmaster.ca/articles/black-students-still-face-major-hurdles-getting-into-university/

Black and Indigenous  are more likely to be penalized more harshly than whites for the same offences 

https://johnhoward.ca/blog/race-crime-justice-canada/

3) What does BLM mean?

At its heart, BLM is about recognizing that police, civilian misconduct or racially-motivated violence resulting in the death of a black person has gone unpunished or ‘swept under the rug’ too often and for too long. When these crimes, often the result of excessive-use-of-force (or abuses of stand-your-ground laws in the US) are minimized or go ignored by authorities, the message is that black people are guilty until proven innocent and that their wrongful death or murder is acceptable. 

If a white teenager was killed by cops because he was jogging in a hoodie like Trayvon Martin, or a white father was slowly choked to death by police while handcuffed merely because he was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill like George Floyd, the consequences would be swift and exacting. But because these men were black, authorities only saw fit to act appropriately after massive public protests forced them into acting. The implication is that other lives matter by default, but black lives only matter if there is video evidence and an overwhelming public response

4) Why can’t “all lives matter” mean “all lives matter”? 

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to talk about which ‘colours’ of life matter at all. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where goes without saying that most lives matter, but black lives are too-often treated as disposable until someone demands that they are valued. ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter, it means Black Lives Matter isn’t a given the way it should be, and that needs to change.

Saying ‘All Lives Matter’ is a lovely sentiment if sincerely felt. But it refutes or minimizes the point that it is black lives that are being devalued based on racist stereotypes and institutional discrimination. When you repeat that phrase, you are aligning yourself with people who really, really want to avoid confronting that reality. That means things stay exactly the way they are now, and we can keep mourning these incidents as ‘one-off tragedies’ without addressing the why they keep happening.

Resources for parents:

Ontario Human Rights Commission: Call it Out 

Afua Cooper, The Hanging of Angelique

Robyn Maynard, Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present 

https://www.cityline.tv/video/5-programs-to-watch-to-better-educate-yourself-on-racial-injustice/

http://www.childrenscommunityschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/theyre-not-too-young-1.pdf

Resources for Kids:

CBC Kids: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/post/watch-what-canadian-kids-should-know-about-blacklivesmatter

Where to find books;

Canadian 

A Different Booklist: https://www.adifferentbooklist.com/?q=h.tviewer&using_sb=status 

CBC YA novels; https://www.cbc.ca/books/6-canadian-books-for-younger-readers-to-check-out-during-black-history-month-1.5032987  

Canadian  Children’s Boon Centre: https://bookcentre.ca/theme-guide-black-history-month https://bookcentre.ca/theme-guide-black-history-month 

American:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/06/app-news-section/cnn-sesame-street-race-town-hall-app-june-6-2020-app/index.html

https://www.embracerace.org/resources/where-to-find-diverse-childrens-books  https://www.embracerace.org/resources/where-to-find-diverse-childrens-books

Of potential Interest- Anti-Black racism at Queen Victoria Elementary School;

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/black-teachers-tdsb-school-racism-1.5547761

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2020/05/26/ding-dong-the-witch-is-gone-black-parents-aghast-over-racist-letter-to-vice-principal-force-changes-at-tdsb.html

December 2019 – Phase 2 update

The steering committee met with the TDSB and we are so excited to report that Phase 2 of the Field of Dreams will take place in 2020!  Construction drawings will be issued for tender soon.  We will have a brand new track/running trail, a running long jump pit, an eco storage unit and a fantastic new climber combo area (photos below)!  

We want to thank the parents for their on-going support and contributions.

We would also like to thank our corporate donors The Big Carrot, Foodland and Treasure Island, for their ongoing support and generosity!  

We are close to reaching our goal with fundraising. But it’s still not too late to get a personalized, engraved paver that will be installed in the re-design of the schoolyard, with a donation of $500.00.  We already have 70 pavers which will be featured in a very special donor designated area! 

Thank you for supporting the Field of Dreams!
Theodora Rowlands and Liz WestCo – chairs Steering Committee

Community Initiatives

Riverdale Basket Brigade
We’d like to pass along information about a fundraiser in our community – the Riverdale Basket Brigade –  a registered charity providing holiday food baskets to families in need in Toronto’s East End. You can get involved by donating your time to help fill boxes or by monetary donation (tax receipts issued for donations over $20). Learn more at their Facebook page or make a donation by clicking here.

Harvest Fest 2019

Once again, Jackman’s annual Harvest Fest was a huge success thanks to our wonderful and supportive community.

We’d like to thank all of the parents who volunteered to help make this event a success by doing the behind-the-scenes work – preparing baked goods, making pots of chilli, helping with set-up/clean-up of the event and helping man the booths during the festival. 

Thanks to all of the students and staff who worked hard to make Harvest Fest possible, especially Mr. Cressman, Ms. Csamer, Madame Pace, Principal Lee and the Jackman JETs!

A special thank you to  Jennifer, Heather, Blythe, Rolf and the rest of the  OEC committee who organized this event.

Harvest Fest is truly a community event that would not be possible without the help of incredible people like yourselves! 

In particular, we would like to give a huge shout out to our community partner, COBS bread on Danforth, and Brefny for your generous donation of delicious bread and help!

We sold out of baked goods by 6:15pm and were serving our last bowls of chilli by 6:45pm.  Hotdogs and popcorn were still going strong and despite the long line-ups, the weather held out and people had a good time.  

We are always looking for feedback and way to improve. Please reach out to parent council if you have any suggestions or feedback. Plans are already underway for next year’s event.

September 2019 – Field of Dreams Phase I update

We are thrilled that the Field of Dreams – Phase I was completed on time for the start of school in September.  Our thanks go to Allina and the TDSB for their assistance with this effort. It’s great to see kids, teachers and the community making use of the new space that has opened up.  

We are happy the basketball poles could be retained and took advantage of the revised rules around nets by installing colourful new ones! 

The sport court paint will be touched up to take care of some initial marks made. Also, the mulch area is being re-evaluated for a new portable.  

Looking Ahead…

As for Phase II, we are getting really close to meeting our fundraising goal and that means we will be committing to construction for 2020.   A meeting to finalize the plan is scheduled with the TDSB for Nov 12th. 

Fundraising

Thank you to those families who bought pavers at Harvest Fest.  To meet our target we will continue to offer engraved pavers as a thank you for donations over $500. We have an exciting Foodland Christmas Tree promotion planned,  along with the annual parents MVP night (thanks to Kelly Gauthier and team), and a new year Danceathon!  


Liz West & Theodora Rowlands – FOD Steering Committee Chairs 

2018-2019 Jackman School Council Financial Results

Treasurer’s general comments on the 2018-2019 financial results:

Overall, a great year for Jackman School Council and the Jackman Avenue Public School community with net revenue growth of 8.6% year-over-year, to $89,588 from $82,490 last year and 21.7% greater than 2017. A very aggressive Field of Dreams target of $53,000 and underperforming Dance-a-Thon created significant downward pressure on actuals to target objectives. Total assets for the start of this year are $154,000 to support school programs and strategic objectives such as Field of Dreams. We note 2018-2019 ‘run-the-school’ expenditures ~$41,000. 

Revenue centre comments:

  • Spring Fair: $7,400 favourable to target driven by robust donation environment ($13,000).
  • Pizza Days: $5,800 increase in net proceeds. We note expenses stayed flat year-over-year (~$16,000), contributing to a solid margin of 57%.
  • Harvest Fest: Experienced a modest increase in net revenue to target of $400 – essentially flat on expenses year-over-year.
  • Jackman Gear: $3,000 unfavourable to target, however we note the program is net positive with revenues of $4,400 vs. expenses of $4,100 We experienced downward margin pressure from early season inventory purchases for gear ($2,500 in October and November). We also point out fees from sales platform Shopify of ~$300. A review of inventory to identify top performers is underway to gauge market demand.
  • MVP: Solid performance $2,500 favourable to target.
  • Dance-a-Thon: Underachieved ~$9,000 unfavourable to target based on mismanagement. Approach is under review.
  • Field of Dreams: Unfavourable to target due to very aggressive ask of $53,000 and coming in at $25,000. We note donation environment continues to be strong, as evidenced by steady state of donation stream during the fiscal year.

Although we are encouraged by year-over-year growth of revenue to satisfy our strategic goals, obvious areas for improvement remain.

We also note ~$7,000 in unpaid liabilities are outstanding (e.g.: Math Manipulatives cheque $~$3,000, $2,500 for Indigenous Mosaic)

David Smith, 2018-2019 Jackman School Council Treasurer Co-Chair

MVP Night a Big Success!

MVP Night a Big Success!

This year’s MVP Night event on Thursday, February 21 in the Jackman GPR, was another successful night of fundraising for the Field of Dreams, and friend-raising amongst all the fantastic Jackman parents!

The school was bustling with parents and staff, excited to try out the photo booth, dance to great tunes, have their tarot cards read, sip local wine and beer in Heaps Estrin collectible Jackman cups, enjoy all the amazing food of the Danforth, and outbid one another on over 120 auction items. With over $18,000 raised toward the Field of Dreams bottom line, we are getting even closer to realizing our beautiful new playground, thanks to the generosity of local businesses, support of the parent community, engagement of Jackman staff, and volunteer hours of the MVP committee. 

We would like to thank all of you who attended, as well as our generous sponsors: 

Alcohol Sponsors: Georgian Bay Spirit Co. , D’Ont Poke the Bear, Steam Whistle 

Gold Sponsors: Angela Mandalas, Mayfair Reno Corp, Shangri-La Hotel, Riverdale Martial Arts, Massage Addict, Ticketmaster.

And, all of the other sponsors, supporters and volunteers who made the event happen. Click here to have a look at our PowerPoint presentation for the full list!

In order to make next year’s event even MORE successful, we’d like to invite you to please take a minute to fill out this quick survey whether or not you attended: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C2JDFFY

Volunteer for Jackman Maple Syrup Season!

Volunteer for Jackman Maple Syrup Season!

Winter is nearing an end and spring is just around the corner. You know what that means… Maple Syrup Season at Jackman will soon begin. Our maple tree project is a lot of fun and educational for our students, but we need a lot of help from eager parent volunteers to make it happen!

We can’t say exactly when we’ll start or what our timelines look like at this point – it all depends on the weather, as we need need the right temperatures to tap our trees. In the meantime, please consider lending a hand by signing up to volunteer for one of the following jobs.

1. Tapping Trees: When the temperatures are just right, we will organize a day to tap the trees. Several classes will be involved. It will be a great educational experience for kids. If you are interested in participating in tree tapping day, please contact Rolf at rolf.struthers@gmail.com. Date TBD.

2. Collecting Sap: During the school week, many classes will be involved in collecting sap. But we will need help from families on weekends and during March Break. We are also collecting weather and sap data with a shared Google doc. If you’re interested in helping in this way, please contact Mr. Cressman at paul.cressman@tdsb.on.ca.

3. Boiling Down the Sap: Perhaps the biggest job, boiling down the sap is a long, slow process. We need some backyard enthusiasts to help us do this. Don’t worry, we’ll teach you everything you need to know. Email Rolf if you are eager to help in this way, rolf.struthers@gmail.com.

4. Maple Syrup Festival: To wrap up a successful season, we will engage the whole school with a maple syrup celebration. If you can help with serving pancakes and fresh maple syrup, please contact Mr. Cressman at paul.cressman@tdsb.on.ca. Date TBD.

Looking forward to enjoying another sweet treat from Jackman’s schoolyard!

MVP Tickets On Sale Now!

MVP Tickets On Sale Now!

Don’t miss MVP (Most Valuable Parent) Night at Jackman on February 21, 2019! Our second annual adults-only evening promises to be an exciting event bringing neighbours and new friends together, for fun, conversation, dancing, great food and community-building. We’ll also be featuring a silent auction, where you can bid on great experiences, hotel stays, camps and much more.

Click to buy your MVP Night tickets now!

MVP entry tickets are $5, which includes one alcoholic drink or 2 non-alcoholic drinks. We’ll have them on sale at the doors of the school’s General Purpose Room (GPR) at the event. But we expect a sell-out, so buy them online now to avoid disappointment.

All funds raised will go toward our Field of Dreams project to build an outdoor space at the school that will be enjoyed by Jackman Avenue Junior Public School students and the surrounding community. The price to achieve this goal is steep, but as MVPs we know you are up to the challenge!

We can’t wait to see you all at MVP Night in the Jackman GPR, starting at 7:30 pm on February 21!