As we move along into the school year, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the schools and their principals in the Toronto–Danforth community. This month I spoke to Janice Chung, principal of Leslieville Junior Public School.
Returning from a year-long sabbatical after having been at Indian Road Crescent Jr Public School in the city’s west end for three years, Chung started as principal at Leslieville this school year.
Chung says she was pleased to take on the new position — particularly as it brought the new challenge of leading Leslieville during its first year as a Model School. The Model Schools for Inner Cities is a Toronto District School Board initiative found in several schools citywide. Its goals are to offer equal opportunities to all students and to form strong connections between a school and its surrounding community. For Chung, this is an essential element in creating the best possible learning environment and one she is very excited to focus on with the Leslieville community.
“Parents are vital to the school community,” she says. “Their involvement both in and outside the classroom can be key to their child’s success. The Model School initiative affords schools the extra time and effort toward actively engaging the school with its parent and neighbourhood communities.”
Chung feels this is an especially relevant endeavour in Leslieville’s neighbourhood of East Chinatown, where language barriers and different customs amongst the diverse population can make engagement more challenging between school and community.
As well as becoming a Model School, Leslieville also expanded their Cantonese language program this fall. While it had previously been available as an after-school program for students already familiar with Cantonese, Leslieville is pleased to be offering a beginners’ Cantonese class for students with no experience in the language. Chung feels this program expansion is an integral part of connecting with the community as it opens up the opportunities for communication and understanding between students of all backgrounds and can help them connect with Leslieville’s vibrant and diverse neighbourhood.
All in all, how has Janice Chung found her first few months at Leslieville PS?
“Wonderful. The children are so sweet — they know how to play. I think it is a great testament to their parents and the community that these students are out playing and cooperating at recess, out helping in the community. I look forward to seeing where the year takes us.”
For more information on Leslieville Jr Public School or the Inner City Model Schools project, please visit the board’s website [url]www.tdsb.on.ca[/url] or contact the school directly.