Help EMV save Mr. D!

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Lorraine Linton, Superintendent of Education, TDSB

John Malloy, Director of Education, TDSB

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

 

Dear Ms. Linton and Dr. Malloy,

Re: The surplus of Mr. Mike De Bartolo at École Melody Village (EMV)

We, a group of parents from École Melody Village, write to you today because we’ve recently learned that one of our beloved teachers, Mr. Mike De Bartolo, has been surplused.

While we understand that the number of teachers we’re entitled to relates to the size of the school population, losing a teacher like Mr. D (as the kids like to call him) is a major blow to our small community.

Mr. D has been a teacher at the school for 18 years, and is easily the most loved by students, past and present. Not only will the students lose a teacher that they adore, who believes in them and pushes them to their full potential, but they’ll be losing out on all the other qualities, skills and activities that he brings to EMV.

Mr. D is a very involved teacher. On top of teaching core English to our grade 4 and 5 French Immersion students, he teaches music to all grades. When he leaves, so will their music teacher. A music teacher who plays his guitar or the piano with them, leads them in songs for assemblies and concerts. He inspires students to play instruments, write original songs and act in the year-end productions. In fact, every year he makes a video, including all of the children, then presents it at the year-end assembly. The children look forward to the opportunity to get involved, while learning about what goes into making a film.

Outside of the classroom, Mr. D is just as involved. It’s commonplace to find Mr. D greeting parents and students in the mornings at drop-off or at afterschool pick-ups. After school, Mr. D has organized floor hockey for the kids every year for the entire 18 years he’s been at EMV. Even children who have long graduated from Melody Village come back to play, or just to say “hi”. At lunchtimes, Mr. D organizes intramural floor hockey, which most of the older kids play. At the end of the season, Mr. D runs a tournament, and awards all the children with trophies and makes individual hockey cards for each child with their stats for the year. In previous years, Mr. D and another teacher organized an ice hockey team as well. In a school with very few sports teams, this will leave a huge void in the children’s physical activity.

Mr. D will not only be missed by the students, but I’m sure by Ms. D’Angelo, too. While we don’t speak on behalf of Ms. D’Angelo, we must mention that he has been the acting Chair or Person of Responsibility (POR) for the last two years. He is someone she can count on to step in on her behalf, or help out with difficult situations when she has her hands full. Mr. D is the perfect person for the job because of how patient and caring he is with the children. He genuinely cares about each and every student at our school, and goes above and beyond for them every single day. In fact, he initiated a drive to help a student’s family that was in need.

Mr. D’s contributions haven’t gone unnoticed. He was nominated by parents and staff for the TDSB Excellence Award in 2018 – an honour long overdue.

As you can see, by losing Mr. D, the families, teachers and, most of all, the students of our community will be losing out on so much more than just a teacher. Given that our children are already attending an inner-city school, with many of our students feeding from various model schools in Toronto, this is yet another blow to the students who are already at a disadvantage.

We implore you to consider the serious ramifications of this specific surplus decision. We appreciate that there is only so much room in the budget and so many staff to be had, but we feel helpless and distraught about losing one of the best teachers our school has ever known. Please let us know if there’s anything that we can do to keep Mr. D at EMV.

Sincerely,

the Parents of Melody Village

 

cc: Harpreet Gill, Trustee for Ward 1