Fight for specialized programs in the TDSB

Fight for specialized programs in the TDSB

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Brinley Fellows started this petition to Colleen Russell-Rawlins (Director of Education TDSB) and


The TDSB has proposed a new policy in an attempt to make specialized schools more accessible for marginalized communities. Some of the changes proposed include: Students will no longer be required to submit report cards and learning skills, or to complete an audition process to get into the school. While some of these changes would surely help, it would also make the existence of specialized schools very difficult. 

 If the TDSB truly wanted to make specialized schools more accessible they would be increasing funding and resources so more people could attend, and open more specialized schools across the city, rather than taking away the little resources we have left. 

If we allow this proposal to become policy, we will not recover, which is why it is so extremely important for us all to contact the TDSB and media outlets to express our concerns with this new proposal. 

Help specialized programs maintain their unique identity.

Link to the proposed policy:

All donations to support the Contemporary Arts program at ESA can be made here:

(tax receipts available!) Thank you for your generosity and support. 

This is another petition you can also sign to help!:

Full list of Email Addresses:

You can follow @saveourspecializedschools on Instagram for more updates 

“Arts Schools/Programs will need to shift the structure of programming towards a more general admission process. In Grade 9, students will be given more opportunity to experience various forms of art education. In advancing grades, students will have the opportunity to focus on specific areas of the arts that are of greater interest. Focus and specialization will still occur, but after a period of exploration and investigation. The programs will be designed to have admissions that better accommodate applicants with experience/interest in Contemporary and Visual Art, reflecting the largest number of Applicants.”

This is from page 14 of the policy proposal from the TDSB.

What does this mean? This means they are not only changing the admission process to specialized art schools, but they are also changing the entire structure of the programs.  In grade 9 (and possibly grade 10) you will not be in a specific major, everyone will be doing a bit of everything, dance, drama, musical theater, film, music and contemporary/visual arts. When you are in the older grades you will be in a major.

We will not be able to operate at the same levels we are now. In contemporary arts at ESA grade 9 and 10 are mostly “foundation” years, where you can experiment with different mediums and concepts, in grade 11 and 12 you are mostly preparing your portfolio and creating university level artworks. If you are not in a major for grade 9 and 10, when you are in grade 11 and you decide you want to be in contemporary arts, you will be operating at a grade 9 or 10 level, as opposed to a university one. Portfolio day will not be able to exist if we cannot continue to create advanced artworks. This destroys our program completely.

Similarly the Music Theatre Department teaches the technique for the triple threat (singing acting and dancing) in Grades 9 and 10 so the students have the skills and understanding to put on major musicals in Grade 11 and Grade 12. Not to mention the lack of performing opportunities if there isn't significant time within the curriculum to learn material - it can't all happen outside of class time. Performing arts students need performances!

This is no longer about the application process or audition day. This is about the survival of our arts program. If this becomes policy the entire structure of our school will be destroyed.

If you would like to write a letter to the Board members at the TDSB:

0 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!
At 7,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!