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Guide to the School Year

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year

We hope everyone had a safe, healthy and enjoyable summer. Our caring, professional and dedicated school teams have been working hard to prepare to welcome your children back to school.

School Start-Up

At the start of the school year, you will receive:

  • A start-up package from your child's school that includes important information about your school that you should review. 

  • Required start-up forms. Please take the time to review and complete the forms.


Stay Connected

If you have a question or would like to learn more about our Board or a school, you can:

    Edsby Classroom

    Online Guide

    This online guidewill help you quickly access the additional information that you may need throughout the school year. Please note that this page can be translated by using the translate button on the top right. 

    In this guide:



    Welcome to York Region District School Board. We are the third-largest school district in Ontario and one of the largest in Canada. Our students consistently perform above the provincial average and the Board is one of the top achievers in the province.

      Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting

      All assessment, evaluation and reporting in Ontario schools is based on the policies and practices described in Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting In Ontario Schools, First Edition, Covering Grades 1 to 12 and Kindergarten.

      School Day

      We are committed to providing safe, equitable and inclusive learning environments where all of our students know and feel that they matter and belong, and their identities are affirmed. Learn more about the policies, procedures and strategies in place to support student learning, achievement and well-being every day. 

      We encourage families to use active travel to and from school, including walking or cycling. You can also consider parking a block away from the school and walking the rest of the way.  

      Learn more about Active Travel to School. 

      Learn more about School Transportation, including school bus and taxi services. 

      Transportation will be cancelled by 6:00 a.m. if conditions are unsafe or are expected to deteriorate significantly by the time students are to be transported  home. Learn more about weather conditions. 

      Regular and punctual attendance affects school success and is expected of all students. It is important that students, families and school staff work together to ensure regular attendance. 

      Parents/guardians are expected to:

      • Notify the school as soon as possible if their child will be absent or late.
      • Provide medical documentation to confirm their child’s illnesses if requested by the principal.
      • Ensure the school is aware that they approve all absences from school.
      • Provide a note for their child (under the age of 18 years) when they need to leave school early for an appointment.
      • Report to the office if picking their child up from school during the school day.


      Late Arrivals 

      If an elementary student arrives at school after the entry bell, in the morning or after lunch, they are considered late and must go to the office for an admit slip. Secondary students who arrive late for class should report to the Attendance Office.


      Chronic Lates/Absences 

      If a student is chronically late or absent, the school will engage the parents/guardians to discuss the absences. The school social worker may be consulted/referred if attendance patterns are ongoing, possibly connected to a concern for student well-being or affective academic achievement. This school social work consultation/referral may result in regular contact with the student and family to address possible barriers to school attendance and support student well-being.

      Learn more about reporting student attendance.


      Family vacations during school days can have a significant effect on student learning. If your child will miss 15 consecutive days of school or more, you must complete the Request for Vacation Form available through the school. Without the completed form, your child may be identified as having concerns related to attendance, demitted from the school register or possibly be referred to a school social worker for attendance reasons. 

      Before withdrawal for any vacation not on the school calendar, check with your school office to find out what effect a long vacation may have on your child’s academic and social progress. You may ask the school administrator to provide a program of study. Students may be responsible for completing modified assignments upon their return to school.


      Working Or Volunteering During School Hours

      Students, you may only be employed or volunteer during school hours if you are in a cooperative education/Personalized Alternative Learning (PAE) or Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) program that allows you to do so.  The SAL program allows students to have flexible programs to meet their academic and life goals. A program might include attending classes, taking job training, counselling or any other activity that addresses their needs and is approved by the Board. For more information, see the Supervised Alternative Learning Policy and Procedure. 


      The safety of our students is our mutual priority and responsibility.  Supervision for students in the morning starts 15 minutes before the bell. This is the point in time when staff will be supervising students.

      Parents/guardians are responsible for their children until staff are on duty.  At the end of the school day, staff will supervise students’ safe exit from the school upon dismissal.  Please check your school’s dismissal time to plan in advance for your child at the end of each school day.

      Communication with parents/guardians is important. Schools use a variety of ways to communicate with you throughout the year. A few examples are:

      • school agenda
      • school and classroom newsletters
      • phone calls home
      • email
      • school and classroom websites
      • school and classroom blogs, or Twitter or Instagram accounts
      • periodic announcements or letters

      You are encouraged to communicate with your child’s teacher. Speak with the teacher about what method of communication is preferred. You are welcome to request an interpreter to assist with some communication with your child’s school, such as interviews and meetings.


      Text Messages

      Families can now receive text messages in emergency situations only - as part of our elementary school safe arrivals program, to communicate the COVID-19 school closures or in the rare occasion of schools being closed due to emergency winter weather. Ensure your school has your correct cell phone number captured to participate. Families can opt out at any time. 


      Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) 

      Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) affects how schools, staff and school councils communicate electronically to parents/guardians. CASL prohibits the sending of any type of electronic message that is commercial in nature unless the recipient has provided consent first. Examples of commercial electronic messages include requests for money such as registration fees, pizza days, field trips, fundraising initiatives, school photos and others.

      CASL does not apply to electronic messages that are for informational purposes (e.g. student progress or attendance information, notice of a community/school council meeting, etc.). It also does not apply to commercial messages sent out in hard copy formats.

      To subscribe or unsubscribe to your school’s commercial electronic messages, your child’s school website or the CASL section on the Family Resources section of the website and submit a valid email address.

      Students can choose to attend the full-day kindergarten program in the calendar year that they turn four years of age. The kindergarten program is available to all families with children who are turning four and five years of age by the end of the calendar year.

      Attending school becomes compulsory at age six. If a child turns six years of age before September, then they must start school that year. If they do not turn six years until after September, then they do not have to start school until the following September.

      Students must stay in school or in another educational program until they turn 18 years (if their birthday falls before the end of June) or until the school year ends in June (if their 18th birthday falls after June).

      Students may remain in school until June of the year in which they turn 21.

      Each school has its own dress code. Students are expected to dress appropriately. For more information, see the Student Dress Code Policy and Procedure and speak to your school.

      Schools cooperate with the media and other organizations, within reason, to encourage the celebration of school and student achievements. The school will make every effort to notify families in advance if media are attending the school, and will notify parents/guardians if the media wish to interview, photograph or profile your child specifically. Families are asked to provide consent at the start of the school year for their children to be interviewed, photographed or recorded by media. Please ensure you complete and return the Student Personal Information Consent Form that will be shared with you at the start of the year. If you have any questions, please contact your school principal.

      Each student in Ontario has a student identification number assigned by the Ministry of Education. This number is known as the Ontario Education Number (OEN). To learn more about the OEN and how it is used, visit the Ministry of Education website.

      An Ontario Student Record (OSR) is the ongoing, confidential record of a student’s educational progress through elementary and secondary schools in Ontario. The OSR is filed at your school. If you transfer to another school in Ontario, your OSR is transferred to the new school. 

      A student’s OSR can be accessed by:

      • the student
      • parents/guardians parents/guardians of students under 18
      • parents/guardians of students over 18 if the student has signed the Consent for Information Sharing - Students at the Age of Majority
      • anyone else identified in writing by the student or parents/guardians

      You may make an appointment with the school administrator to see the OSR. You may also request the correction or removal of OSR content subject to the approval of school administration. The OSR contains information from all elementary and secondary schools a student has attended.

      The school and the Board are not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen personal items. You can reduce the risk by leaving valuable items at home. Always secure items. 

      Students are expected to show respect for school property and materials at all times. Students, together with their parents/guardians, are responsible for ensuring that school items are returned in good condition. Textbooks, lockers, desks and chairs should not be vandalized (e.g., writing inside school books, torn pages, holes in desks, etc.). Lost or damaged textbooks, library books or other school materials are the responsibility of the student. Restitution will be expected and outlined by each school.

      At the start of each school term or semester, school administrators will advise all members of the school community that:

      • The school administrator has the right to search school property, such as lockers and desks, without notice to, or permission from, any person.
      • In urgent, pressing or emergency circumstances, personal property such as knapsacks, purses, jackets, etc. may become subject to search in accordance with the Police and School Boards Protocol.
      • Except in urgent, pressing or emergency circumstances, police seeking to conduct searches of school property including lockers, are required to obtain a search warrant. When executing a search warrant, police will serve the principal or designate with a copy of the search warrant.

      The YRDSB is committed to respecting and protecting the personal information in our possession or control. It is important for our students and parents and/or guardians to understand how and why we collect, use, and disclose your personal information including how you can request access to it. Please visit our Privacy Notice to learn more.


      The Board conducts research in schools as part of our efforts to advance student learning and well-being, create equitable and inclusive learning environments, and to meet Ministry of Education requirements. The research is used to support Board and school improvement planning and decision-making, and includes:

      • Conducting school climate surveys and gathering information about the experiences and perceptions of students, parents/guardians, staff and community members.
      • Conducting a student census every four years to identify and eliminate systemic barriers to student success.
      • Evaluating the effectiveness of programs and services.
      • Analyzing and reporting on demographics, student learning, perceptions, and school processes data.

      During regular operations, the Board also considers requests from institutions, agencies, staff members or other individuals to conduct research in our schools and departments. For more information, see the External Research Policy and Procedure.

      Under Ministry of Education guidelines, schools do not charge fees for supplies related to coursework required for graduation, with the exception of regional programs. Fees may be charged for enhanced materials – voluntary enrichments beyond what is needed to meet curriculum expectations. 

      Activity Fee (Secondary Schools) 

      This fee supports activities that strengthen the sense of community in secondary schools, including school spirit events, team transportation, dances and guest speakers. Your support helps schools to continue providing a range of opportunities for students and the school community.

      For more information, see the School/Student Fees Policy and Procedure.

      Student leadership, voice and involvement are important to establishing thriving learning environments for each student.

      Student Leadership and Student Voice Policy and Procedure outline our commitment to ensuring the student voice is heard and considered in decision making at the elementary, secondary and board levels. For more information about how the Student Leadership and Student Voice Policy is being implemented at your child’s school, please contact the principal.

      Student Council 

      Each secondary school has a democratically elected student council that represents the student body and works to improve school spirit and community. The council also generally runs a number of activities that benefit students.

      Elementary schools may have a student council or an alternative elementary student leadership group that works to improve school community, promotes student engagement and acts as a link between school administration and the school.

      The York Region Presidents’ Council brings together school council members from all Board secondary schools to work with student trustees to voice concerns and enhance cooperation among student councils.

      For more information about student trustees and the annual student trustee election process, visit the student trustee website at

      If you are still enrolled in secondary school, please contact your school's Guidance Department for assistance.

      If you are no longer enrolled in secondary school complete the School Records Request Form available on the Board website. Processing time for transcripts is five to seven business days. This does not include mail delivery time. During peak periods or in certain circumstances processing time may be longer.

      We recognize that learning can be enhanced by technology and we have created opportunities in our classrooms to leverage digital tools to enhance teaching, learning and communication​​​​. Each school has its own guidelines about electronic devices. Discussions will take place in our classrooms throughout the year about the effect of digital footprints and how a positive attitude towards using technology supports collaboration, learning and productivity.

      • At a minimum, cell phones and other personal communication devices must be turned off and kept out of sight during all instructional periods, unless you have clear permission from the principal or the classroom teacher.

      • Camera and/or video functions on mobile devices are not permitted for use on school property without clear permission from the principal or teacher. Infractions will be dealt with as student discipline, under the Caring and Safe Schools Policy and its related procedures.

      • Check with your school’s main office to find out if you may bring electronic devices into the classroom, use them in school, or if you must leave these items in your backpacks/lockers. There are exceptions for students who need specific devices as per their Individual Education Plan (IEP), such as voice recorders and other mobile technology. Board staff members manage the use of these tools.

      • At no time may electronic devices be used in washrooms or change rooms. Students are responsible for the care and security of their personal devices. The school is not responsible for any damage, loss or theft.

      • The use of recording devices to record and playback lessons for the purpose of reviewing class instruction is helpful for some students.  When recording lessons, students must be very aware of respecting the privacy of their fellow students, teachers and support staff.  Any student and his/her parent(s)/guardian(s), where the student is less than 18 years old, must sign the Audio Recorder Appropriate Use Agreement Form. Interested students should speak with their classroom teacher to obtain a copy of the agreement form before recording any lessons. 

      • Students use Board Wi-Fi and not personal data plans.

      • Students must use Board-approved digital tools (e.g. mobile apps, web apps and other online software) or digital tools that have been approved by an administrator, teachers and parents.

      • Students must report inappropriate, unlawful, uncomfortable, and/or unsafe situations involving personal devices to a staff member immediately.

      • Students must not use VPNs to bypass the Board's Network Security protocols.

      There are many opportunities to get involved. Please contact your child’s teacher or principal for more information. All volunteers must comply with the Volunteers in Our Schools Policy and Procedure and:

      • Complete the Volunteers in Our Schools Form, available through the school.

      • Submit a Vulnerable Sector Screening completed within the last six months (requirement for new volunteers) OR sign the Annual Offence Declaration (returning volunteers).

      • Sign a Confidentiality Agreement.

      • Complete training, as required. 

      Welcome to elementary school. Our schools provide warm, welcoming and inclusive learning environments that will support student learning, achievement and well-being. 

      Welcome to secondary school!

      Our secondary schools offer a high-quality education, welcoming environments and a range of opportunities for students to explore their interests and gain new skills. 

      It is important to us that all of our students feel valued, respected and supported. There are many people, supports and resources available to help you make the transition and be successful in secondary school. 

      The Board offers a number of optional credit and non-credit programs to support adult learners and school-age learning that continues beyond the school day and beyond the classroom. 

      Elementary School Programs include:

      Secondary School Programs include: 

      Adult Learning Programs include: 

      Student Learning

      We are committed to supporting student learning, achievement and success. Curriculum documents identify what students must know and be able to do at the end of every grade or course in every subject in Ontario publicly funded schools.

      Learn more about some of our programs to support student learning: 

      We recognize that playing and learning in the outdoors support cross-curricular connections as well as students’ holistic well-being through the seasons. Opportunities for students to build connections to the land have meaningful, long-term, positive health implications, especially on mental health and well-being. Community walks are not Field Trips, but are defined as community excursions that take place off school property, which last less than one day and do not require transportation. Parents/guardians are asked to provide permission for community walks at the start of the school year through the school start-up package.


      The Board believes that we have a shared responsibility for minimizing our effect on the environment and taking an active role in its protection. Schools are encouraged to engage in environmentally responsible practices, demonstrate a commitment to reducing their ecological footprint, and acknowledge and care for the land. There are many benefits to outdoor learning, including health, well-being, and it is through these relationships that we will foster citizens who will care for and protect the land, the water, the air, and one another to put into action our commitment to the Calls to Action for Truth and Reconciliation. For more information, see the Environmental Responsibility policy.

      What are schools doing?

      To make learning engaging and authentic, the Board encourages environmental literacy and outdoor learning experiences both on and off school property.  YRDSB schools take action in different ways. Many YRDSB schools participate in the EcoSchools Canada Program, an environmental education and certification program for Grades K-12. If your school is working to nurture environmental leaders, reduce your ecological impact, and build sustainable school communities, learn more at

      YRDSB supports elementary and secondary outdoor and environmental learning.  In elementary, all Grade 2, 4 and 7 students visit one of our five Outdoor Education Centres for curriculum-connected learning experiences that are fully subsidized for all students. Our relationships with community partners in the field offer students curriculum-connected learning opportunities. These include but are not limited to programs through the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Birds Canada, EcoSpark and the McMichael Gallery. Programs include Environmental Racism, Climate Justice, Sustainable Art and the Land programming, as well as an EcoCamp leadership experience each fall.

      Secondary students receive funding for self-selected environmental-themed excursions and experiential learning opportunities including stream studies, Specialist High-Skills Major training, environmental focused design thinking challenges, a yearly province-wide Envirothon competition, as well as our well-established Outdoor Education credits and club programs. 

      As we work to decolonize outdoor education we must acknowledge that racism in the Canadian Outdoors is rooted in history and cultural assumptions we make around who belongs in these spaces.  We continue to build equitable access to outdoor education and the many ways students can learn in the outdoors, during all seasons using the nearby natural space available.  Developing this relationship to place may extend to: community walks, co-created Land Acknowledgements; school pollinator gardens; outdoor learning spaces; litterless or boomerang lunch programs; well-being initiatives; composting initiatives; lights and monitors off campaigns; textile waste campaigns; learning locally in, about and for the environment; as well as walk to school programs. 

      Learn more about outdoor learning and environmental and eco-schools programs.

      We recognize that experiential learning opportunities that are grounded in student voice and choice are essential for students to acquire valuable experiences and skills as part of their program of learning.  Experiential Learning empowers educators to safely and equitably provide curricular opportunities for students learning in varied learning environments. It involves real-life, first-hand experience, and exposure to fields and industries, which helps students develop a wide range of skills and work habits needed to be successful.

      Schools may offer a variety of extracurricular activities: out-of-class programs or activities supervised by the school that provide curriculum-related learning and character-building experiences. These activities are voluntary, not part of the regular school curriculum, not assessed and students do not earn credits. Extracurricular activities may vary from school to school depending on student and staff interests. They may include activities such as elementary and secondary athletics, the arts (including drama, music, visual arts) or clubs of interest. 

      Field trips support curriculum and provide students with educational experiences that enhance classroom learning. Field trips could be one day, short-term overnight or extended field trips.

      We strive to ensure all field trips are accessible for students in which to participate. Field trips may have a cost associated with them. Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure no student is excluded from participating. Speak to your child’s teacher if you have a concern. Students who are unable to go on a trip are expected to be at school where they will do work associated with the regular program.

      For more information, see the Field Trips Policy and related procedures.


      The Ministry of Education defines homework as “work that students do at home to practise skills, consolidate knowledge and skills, and/or prepare for the next class.”

      The Board has a homework policy that supports student learning and recognizes the importance of personal and family well-being. The amount, frequency and nature of assigned homework will vary depending on the student’s strengths and needs, well-being, grade, subject and other factors. For more information about time guidelines and more, please see the Board’s Homework Policy and Procedure.

      Students are expected to:

      • Establish a homework routine.

      • Make a reasonable effort to complete homework by the due date.

      • Communicate with the teacher if unable to complete homework. 

      • Understand that homework contributes to academic success and impacts overall performance, but not to the detriment of well-being. 

      • Use time management skills to create balance between homework and other activities.

      • Understand that homework tasks can be used as self-assessment to focus learning.

      • Locate and organize necessary materials and resources for homework completion.

      • Request clarification or assistance with homework when necessary.

      • Self monitor stress related to homework, communicating with teachers and parents/guardians when support is needed.


      Parents/guardians are encouraged to:

      • Consult the classroom teacher regarding homework, as needed.


      The following timelines are intended to show daily recommended maximums across all subjects and courses. It is not meant to be an average or expected daily amount.

      GradeDaily Maximum
      Kindergarten10 minutes
      Grades 1-320 minutes
      Grades 4-640 minutes
      Grades 7-950 minutes
      Grades 10-1290 minutes


      Math Homework Help

      All students in Grades 4 to 11 can access free, online math tutoring from a certified Ontario math teacher. Students also have access to resources such as interactive tutorials, commonly asked question videos and a glossary.

      TVO Mathify is free, live and anonymous. Chats take place Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., and Sunday 3:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.  Other resources are available online 24/7.

      To learn more and to register, visit the Board website or This resource is a partnership between the Ministry of Education and TVO’s Independent Learning Centre. You can also visit the Online Student Tools page on the Board website to find more learning resources. 

      How do I Register? 

      Students need their Ontario Education Number and date of birth to register. It is recommended that students use an anonymous username and password when registering.

      All students and their parents/guardians are expected to read the Board’s Appropriate Use of Technology Policy as well as the Use of Technology Agreementand are required to sign the School Start-Up Permissions Form to acknowledge that you have read, understand and will support the conditions/rules concerning the use of school/Board and personal technology as it supports learning.

      This agreement is designed to ensure a safe and supportive school environment as well as ensure network integrity.

      The term school/Board technology as used in this document refers to, but is not limited to, computer networks, stand-alone computers, handheld devices, peripheral devices, digital media and memory storage devices while in schools, using Board- provisioned networks or tools and/or interacting with other students or Board staff.

      For more information, see the Appropriate Use of Technology Policy and related procedures.

      Student Support

      Our professional and dedicated staff members are committed to supporting our students to be successful. Learn more about some of the supports and opportunities available for our students.

      Caring and Safe Schools

      Learn more about our commitment to create caring and safe schools.

      Equity and Inclusive Education

      The Board is committed to ensuring equitable and inclusive learning environments for all students, staff, families and community members.

      Check out our podcast Tune In YRDSB and our newsroom to learn more about how we are working to create inclusive, identify-affirming learning and working environments.

      Mental Health, Health and Well-Being

      Mental health and well-being are a priority for us. Learn more about how we are working to support healthy schools and workplaces and mental health. For more information, read the Student Health Supports policy and procedures

      Visit the Health Issues page for important information about:

      • accident/illness
      • allergies and scent sensitivities
      • concussion awareness, prevention and management
      • handwashing
      • head lice
      • immunization
      • medication
      • and more

      Access information and resources related to COVID-19