The Learning Forum will become the heart of the school as it integrates learning support, library resources and technology services to provide our digital learners a real space for academic collaboration and inquiry.
Dr. Susan Elliott, Executive Director, Learning Forum @ TFS and Campaign Supporter
From our founding, TFS was committed to accepting talented students regardless of parents' financial means. The scholarship program is a chance to honour our earliest roots and to live, once again, the principles of accessibility.
Susan Markle, Executive Director of Admissions and Campaign Supporter
The Learning Forum @ TFS will complement the school's multi-faceted curriculum, while providing a personalized, enriched learning experience, so that all students can thrive. We believe in the TFS approach to education and are excited to be a part of such a transformational undertaking.
GREG HAVER AND JULIANA SPROTT, CURRENT PARENTS AND CAMPAIGN SUPPORTERS
We are pleased to support Entrance Scholarships at TFS, as gaining students from diverse backgrounds can only make our school better. We are convinced that an inclusive strategy to attract students from all walks of life will serve the future of TFS well.
PHIL AND SHERRY EVERSHED, Parents of an Alumna and Campaign Supporters
We are pleased to support program enrichment and have chosen to focus our gift on environmental inquiry and sustainability projects. We encourage all families to join us in supporting Soaring Beyond to help ensure that all students continue to receive the very best educational experience.
CHRISTIAN AND FLORENCE EXSHAW, CURRENT PARENTS AND CAMPAIGN SUPPORTERS
October 2, 2014
TFS parents are, quite literally, the foundation of our school. TFS was founded by parents, Harry and Anna Giles, who started the bilingual school in their home because they wanted to offer their children educational opportunities that would reflect Canada’s two languages and many cultures. Today, the TFS Parents’ Association is one of the driving forces behind the school’s flourishing growth and success.
All TFS parents are automatically members of the Parents’ Association and are welcome to attend the monthly general meetings of the PA Council. While you could simply say that the Association’s main function is to “represent” parents to the school administration, TFS parents do that and so much more. Mary Hountalas, President of the TFS Parents’ Association, describes the Association as a liaison, linking faculty, staff, parents and students to one another, which in turn fosters a sense of community, enriching the experience for everyone.
“The Parents’ Association facilitates and filters the flow of information — both ways,” Mary explains. “Our parents are extraordinarily diverse and come from many parts of the world and from different backgrounds, so they have much to offer in terms of new perspectives and can provide useful feedback to school administrators.” TFS parents are truly partners in their children’s educational journeys.
Building a friendly and supportive community to enrich the educational experience for TFS students means that the parent body is actively involved in school life as volunteers, donors, organizers and members of TFS’ Board of Directors. Indeed, the PA, with branches and representatives at the Mississauga campus, the Senior School, Junior School and La p’tite école, plays a vital, supportive role, addressing both school and student needs.
One of the PA’s core mandates is to raise funds by organizing a variety of events throughout the year. Funds raised are then allocated to purchase educational materials and “extras” or they can be directed toward special initiatives. Each year, the branches attend to their Principal's Wish List, a list of “would-love-to-have” items for their school that could include a new musical instrument, speciality books or equipment. Surplus funds can also be deployed on larger projects or campaigns.
So when the TFS Parents’ Association was approached about Soaring Beyond: The Campaign for TFS, every parent was on board. When asked to choose which campaign “pillar” to support, it was agreed that the Learning Forum @ TFS best fit the Association’s goals and mandate. To date, the PA has donated a total of $225,000 to the Learning Forum — $200,000 from the Toronto branches and $25,000 from the Mississauga branch.
“The Learning Forum @ TFS is an inclusive project,” says Mary, “one that will benefit every student attending TFS because Learning Forum hubs will be established at all four branches. It made sense to us. TFS parents are keen to see every TFS student thrive and succeed.”
Karen Brock, Coordinator of the Mississauga Branch Parents’ Association, agrees. Mississauga’s smaller campus means a tight-knit community of parents, all of whom are supportive of Soaring Beyond: The Campaign for TFS and of the Learning Forum @ TFS as the focus of their support.
“Program Enrichment is very important for Mississauga too,” Karen says, “but our parents are really excited about the Learning Forum because we have seen the benefits already.” Karen is referring to both the multiple resource teachers available to students at Mississauga and to a pilot program implemented last year, called Scratch. The Scratch Program was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab to help young children learn to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively through technology, all essential skills for life in the 21st century.
As Karen points out, “The Learning Forum is for all students, whether they are gifted or just need some extra guidance. And that’s what makes this such a worthwhile strategy to support.”
Mary Hountalas, whose son will be graduating at the end of this academic year, embodies the generous spirit that defines all TFS parents. “I am so excited about the development of the Learning Forum. Though my son will be graduating next year, I am confident that the Learning Forum will be a core benefit to TFS’ students in the future. The school has great potential and I am happy to help. You contribute what you can, for your child and for others.”
“TFS parents are dedicated, involved people who care a great deal about the school,” adds Karen Brock. “We all recognize the value. We can hardly wait to see renovations begin!”