Construction Update

In follow-up to the community meeting held at Lord Lansdowne on September 26, we have consulted with TDSB Occupational Health and Safety regarding parents’ requests to investigate the following: building a second physical barrier on Board property, the testing of sand in the school’s sandbox and on-going air quality and noise monitoring. 

Physical Barrier

The developer will be building an 8ft plywood hoarding along the west and north side of the construction site. The TDSB has asked for an update on the anticipated completion date of the plywood hoarding and will update the school community as soon as we hear back. 

At this point in time, there is no evidence to suggest that a secondary barrier of any kind is required and would be beneficial. Adding an additional hoarding may add more hazards than protection.

The TDSB will continue monitoring the development to ensure the safety of students and staff.

In addition, the TDSB will be confirming with the developer, whether a water tank has been obtained to keep dust and debris supressed within the construction zone. The addition of a water tank would be used to keep vehicles exiting the compound clean, reducing the potential for airborne particulates from exiting the compound and causing sidewalks and roadways from becoming saturated with dust/debris.  

Testing of Playground Sand

The sandbox doesn’t represent a source of contaminants as the contractor has an obligation to remove all designated substances such as asbestos and lead prior to demolition.

The TDSB will continue monitoring the development and conducting air quality and noise testing as needed.

Any visual hazards identified by staff or other users of the sandbox should be brought to the attention of the school’s caretaker. As part of TDSB standard procedures, the caretaker inspects the grounds for visual hazards and implements immediate controls if any hazards are found.

On-going air quality and noise monitoring

Additional noise and air quality testing will be conducted by ECOH, an external environmental consultant, once excavation starts. The TDSB is waiting for confirmation from the developer on the excavation start date.  

The TDSB will continue monitoring the development, and testing air quality and noise levels as needed to ensure the safety of students and staff. Should parents/guardians have any concerns, they should contact the school principal.

Student art project

At the September 26th community meeting at Lord Lansdowne, parents also expressed interest in coordinating a student art project to cover construction hoarding of 484 Spadina Ave. This was discussed at the May 15th meeting at Lord Lansdowne and TDSB staff is following up with the developer to confirm the feasibility of this project.

Welcome Back to the 2018/2019 School Year

Dear Parents and Guardians of da Vinci School,

On behalf of the entire staff at our school I want to wish everyone from our community a warm and sincere welcome back to school! I am very excited to be the new Principal at the two schools and am committed to making student success a top priority where achievement, wellbeing and equity are focused in everything we do. It is important that this is a caring school with caring adults inside and that it is a safe place to learn. Along with my Vice Principal, David Gilmore, we will be leading an incredible staff and there are number of new staff to welcome to our school community. We will be sharing an updated staff list shortly on the school blog. We have already had an assembly with all the Kindergarten classes and then another one with our grades 1-6 students in both schools. Students met the staff and we discussed expectations around safety, behaviour and how we all need to work together to making the school a successful place to learn, work and play.

Our school hallways and classes look immaculate, after a busy summer of hard work by our caretaking staff, Sheraz, Elizabeth and Dave and outgoing staff, Louie. The school revitalization is well under way. We are working through the window replacement project with the Robert St. windows replaced and almost complete and work has begun on the octagon one curtain wall at a time. The pylons are almost all repainted and the school is beginning to look refreshed. While there might be some disruption to the classrooms, all the work will be done with the proper precautions in place and measures taken to ensure everyone’s safety. I am working closely with the contractor, caretaker and project supervisor to facilitate the work as smoothly as possible.

Please make sure to check the school blog for upcoming events and information. Please note the Lord Lansdowne instructional day is 30 minutes longer than da Vinci, due to the integrated International Languages program. Entry and dismissal times of the two schools differ by 15 minutes at the beginning and end of the school day. However, the two schools have recess and lunch times in common.

ENTRY: da Vinci entry bell for all students rings at 8:50 am for an 8:55 start to the instructional day. All students in grades 1-6 will meet their teacher in and around Crocodile Island and Kindergarten students will meet at Three Tree Island. Da Vinci students will use the da Vinci doors Exit #2 and the Kindergarten class will enter using Exit #3. Parents are asked not to enter the school and accompany their child during entry time in order to ensure student safety. If your child is late after the students have entered please take/send your child to the main doors Exit #1 where they can proceed to the da Vinci office to receive a late slip and then go to class. We believe this will allow for a calmer, safer entry in to the school and result in a more focussed start to the learning day.

DISMISSAL: da Vinci dismissal for all students is at 3:15 pm using the same doors as for entry. We have asked other daycares (there are currently six!) to identify a meeting spot in the yard and to provide a clear sign so they can pick up their students. We continue to have before- and after childcare through St. Stephen’s Childcare, which has permits for several of the classrooms on our first floor. We also have permits for Makom after school program using classrooms on the second floor. Both on-site programs have increased enrollment for the 2018/19 school year. The permitted classroom spaces are shared with classroom teachers and International Languages programs.

More information will be coming to you shortly about our Curriculum Night which will be held in early October.

Extracurricular sports are starting this week and traditionally both schools are included in participation. Our Cross Country Team grades 1-6 will be practicing on Tuesdays and Thursdays meeting on the field at 7:50 am for an 8:00 am start. First practice is tomorrow Thursday September 13. If your child is interested they should have already received forms from their classroom teacher. If you have not signed up yet for your child to participate, please bring a pen to tomorrow’s practice and Ms. Spekkens will have some extra forms. The Area Qualifier is on Tuesday October 2 so there are only a short number of practices before the first meet. We will also have a Junior Boys Volleyball team and a Junior Girls Basketball team. More information will come from the coaches through the classroom teachers. We are also hoping to have clubs operating throughout the year as well as outside program providers. Once we have further information we will post this here on the school blog.

Our school snack program will be starting shortly and we are looking for parent volunteers to assist the program coordinator with providing a healthy nutritional snack to all our students every day. If you are interested in assisting, please speak to me or Mr. Gilmore. We are also looking to find a roster of supply Lunchroom Supervisors. This is a 1 hour and 15 minute paid position and you would be learning great skills while working in a school environment. If interested or you know of someone who may be interested please contact me or Mr. Gilmore as there is paperwork involved.

You should have received a number of important forms last week, including data verification forms. TDSB permission forms have been streamlined and several required forms are on the same page. We ask that you complete and return them to your child’s homeroom teacher by Friday September 14 and you ensure that the information is updated including phone numbers and email addresses.

We are committed to improving regular communication between home and school this year. You should have already received information through our School Messenger system and this will be a way that we reduce the amount of paper that we consume through photocopying. The office and the administration will be sending important information using this system which can send both emails and phone calls to you using our Student Information System database. We will also look to improve the type of information that we provide to you through this school blog. Stay tuned for more information from your School Council regarding our upcoming meetings.

If you have any questions or concerns please call the school office am at 416 393 8204 and pm at 416 393 1350 or email us at or

Yours in partnership,

Eric Szonyi

David Gilmore
Vice Principal

Street-proofing Tips

At school, the safety of your child is our most important priority. We remind you to keep your school staff up to date with your address, phone number, childcare arrangements, to whom your child may be released, etc.

We also encourage you not to permit your child to make alternate arrangements over the lunch hour if they are in a lunch program. We need you to let us know about any changes of routine and to sign your child in if they are arriving late or leaving early for any reason. The Toronto Police street-proofing program encourages you to teach your child:

  • his/her name, address, phone number
  • to Dial 9-1-1 in an emergency
  • to communicate with you when they feel unsafe or afraid
  • to keep you informed as to his/her whereabouts at all times
  • never to admit to being alone in the home when answering the telephone
  •  never to invite strangers into the house or answer the door when alone
  • never to approach or enter a stranger’s car or hitchhike
  • never to travel or play alone- always be with friends
  • to trust their feelings and say “NO” to an adult if that adult wants them to do something that is wrong
  • not to accept gifts from strangers
  • to tell you if someone has asked them to keep a secret from you
  • that no one has the right to touch any part of his/ her body that a bathing suit would cover
  • that if he/ she is being followed, or approached too closely, to run home or go to the nearest public place and ask for help
  • to report to your school authorities or a police officer, anyone who act suspiciously towards him/ her
  • never to play in deserted buildings or isolated areas
  • never to enter anyone’s home without your permission
  • to avoid taking shortcuts through parks and fields
  • never to show his/her money and, if attacked, to give it up rather than risk injury
  • to be aware of his/her surroundings and not be distracted–never text and walk or wear headphones orearbuds to play loud music
  • that a police officer is a friend who can always be relied upon when he/ she is lost or needs assistance.

Together, we can keep our school and community a safe environ ment for our children.

OPAL request

WE NEED A PARENT WITH A PICK UP TRUCK TO DO US A BIG FAVOUR…Please contact us (Ticia or anyone on the Parent Council)

Ticia has found a source for wooden spools, and they are FREE. The issue is that they are in Markham and can only be picked up Mon.-Friday. from 8:30am-4pm. We have been looking for a supplier – as the spools are a HUGE favourite – but until now, could not find them for FREE. I had tried to see if I could pick them up this weekend in our car, but they are 66′ wide! If you have the time, the right sized truck, and could support the school in picking these up please see the owner’s reply and contact George.

For those who are not familiar with the OPAL program, our students thoroughly enjoy their play experiences with OPAL and “Loose Parts”. This enriches their play, allows for deepening their connection with nature and place based learning, develops social reasoning and collaboration with others, promotes problem solving and provides authentic opportunities to support gross motor development and co-ordination.

All of the materials we have come from rethinking, reusing and re-purposing items from home and the community. To continue to provide students with new play experiences we need to add to our collection of loose parts on an on-going basis. Most recently, we asked for your support in helping us out by bringing old Christmas trees to the school for the children to use. Now, we need your help to assist us on our hunt for new treasures both large and small.

Milk Crates
Old Stuffies
Plastic Plumbing Pipe of Various Sizes (Clean)
Pool Noodles
Pots and Pans (handles missing OKAY!)
Kitchen Utensils (spatulas, tongs, flippers)
Lamp Shades
Tarps (can have holes)
Wooden Spools
Large Foam Pieces
Small Area Rugs
Construction Helmets
Expired Helmets (hockey, skiing)
Snow Shoes
5 Gallon Pails
Appliance boxes (fridge, stove, washer, dryer)

ANY items that you can donate would be greatly appreciated. They can be brought to school and left in front of the storage shed by the large play structure if they are large items. Smaller items can be given to Mr. Leung, Ms. Smith, Ms. Spain or Ms. Heibein. If you are able to pick up the spools, please speak to Ms. Heibein and she will co-ordinate with the care taking staff to open the fence so you can back in to unload directly into the school yard. Thank you in advance for supporting our OPAL round-up. We appreciate all you do for our community and our children.

With gratitude,


Families First: free parent education workshops

SickKids CCMH offers a variety of different topics relevant to community parents and focuses on concerns that children and youth may be dealing with. These parent education workshops are free to attend, and offered at both location sites, Sheppard and Maitland.  Presently, they occur monthly, and registration is required. 

Child care is available. Select titles below for more information on the workshop and on how to register.

Helping your child cope with worries
Introductory workshop for parents of children with mild to moderate anxiety

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018
6 to 8 p.m.
114 Maitland Street, Toronto
SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health


How to validate so your teen will talk
Building trusting relationships with your teen to help reduce their anxiety, manage stress and develop more meaningful communication

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
6 to 7:30 p.m.
1645 Sheppard Avenue West, Toronto
SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health

OPAL wants to re-use your trees!

Dear families, 

Lord Lansdowne/da Vinci is part of a program in the TDSB for Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL)

Like last year, we will collect your used Christmas trees as materials for students to play with as part of the OPAL initiative. 
You may drop off your tree by the storage shed in the schoolyard. We will accept trees until Friday January 18, 2018
We are looking forward to seeing the students use these natural materials in their play. 
Thank-you for your ongoing support in OPAL!
Your LL/daV OPAL Team