School Board contacts, policies, forms, and responses

See the page on School Board Policies for important information about your rights and what to watch out for. If you're already well-informed, you can skip directly to the list of school boards to find yours by alphabetical order.

School Boards — H

Halton Catholic District School Board - HCDSB

Box 5308, 802 Drury Lane
Burlington ON L7R 2Y2

Board Type: Cath Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: Toronto and Area Regional Office
Phone Number: (905) 632-6300
Toll-free: 1-800-741-8382
Fax Number: (905) 333-4661
General Email: comments@hcdsb.org
Website:
www.hcdsb.org

Send the letter of intent to the Superintendent of Education (School Services) responsible for your school. You can find the name of your superintendent by consulting the Board-wide Organizational Chart (Our Board > HCDSB Staff > Organizational Charts). The board's webpage on Senior Staff (Our Board > HCDSB Staff > Senior Staff) lists each superintendent's name and phone number, but no email addresses (and no assignment of schools or details of responsibilities). If you'd like to email your letter of intent rather than postal mail it, you can use the most relevant email address listed on the Contact page (Our Board > Contact Us): the Director of Education, director@hcdsb.org, listed under the heading Department Contacts.

HCDSB letter of intent

They don't appear to have their own notification form, so you can just use a standard letter of intent template.

HCDSB letter of reply

Actual responses received by parents are similar to PPM131's appendix C except in two respects: they omit the mention of EQAO, and they add the request that a letter of intent be submitted annually.

HCDSB policy/procedure

Their Policy & Procedures page (in the Board sub-menu) doesn’t list anything for Home Schooling. Given the letter of reply, we believe this means they follow PPM131 directly. The only cautions are therefore the cautions that apply to PPM131. (However, if you receive a policy document from them, please share it with us so we can let other parents know what to expect.)

Halton District School Board - HDSB

Box 5005, 2050 Guelph Line
Burlington ON L7R 3Z2

Board Type: Pub Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: Toronto and Area Regional Office
Phone Number: (905) 335-3663
Toll-free: 1-877-618-3456
Fax Number: (905) 335-9802
General Email: contact@hdsb.ca
Website:
www.hdsb.ca

This board's policy directs parents to send the letter of intent to the principal, but you might also want to send it directly to the school board, since that's what the Ministry's policy (PPM131) directs you to do. Address it to the Superintendent of Education responsible for your school, as they are the person to whom the principal is supposed to forward it. The board's webpage on Administration and Superintendents page (Our Board submenu) includes superintendents' name, phone, email, and schools (no responsibilities), and assistant's name and email.

HDSB letter of intent

Their Administrative Procedure document for Home Schooling includes a letter of intent form as Appendix A, which is acceptable to use. They request a separate form be filled out for each child. There is a place for the Principal's signature as well as yours, but you just leave that blank when you send it in, even if you send it directly to the Superintendent.

HDSB letter of reply

Their sample letter of response is included in their Procedure document as Appendix B. It mentions the availability of EQAO testing and does confirm the child is excused, but omits mentioning PPM131 and links only to a Ministry of Education main page through which it is now difficult to find PPM131. The wording is very different from PPM131's sample letter in a few ways and it mostly lists all the things to which you will not have access.

CAUTION: Their prejudicial wording could be misleading if you're not aware of the ways in which services and resources are accessed differently for homeschoolers than for children attending school.

HDSB policy/procedure

Their Administrative Procedures page (Our Board > Policies & Administrative Procedures > Administrative Procedures) lists Home Schooling under School Operations.

CAUTION:
- misleading wording bordering on misinformation ("must")
- restrictions (no part-time attendance allowed)
- overreaching ("opportunity" to discuss reasons for homeschooling)
- the same cautions as for PPM131 itself

Of note in their Procedure document:

Supplementary Information for Principals and Vice Principals

Q. Are principals required to meet with parents/guardians to review their home school education plan(s) for their child(ren)?
A. As the parent(s)/guardian(s) have made the decision to home school, responsibility for providing satisfactory instruction rests with them. The absence of articulated Ministry of Education standards for “satisfactory instruction” makes the assessment of the program arbitrary. [emphasis added]
[...]
Q. What should a school do if it has cause to believe that children who are being home schooled are not receiving instruction?
A. If a school has reasonable grounds to believe that a child of mandatory school age who would normally attend school is not being educated, the Principal will attempt to initiate contact with the family. If the family indicates that they have chosen to home school, the Principal may ask them to complete Appendix A or send a letter to the School’s Superintendent of Education indicating their decision. [emphasis added] If the parent/guardian refuses to do either, the Principal will inform the school’s Superintendent of Education and School Social Worker. A referral may be made to the Provincial Attendance Counsellor.

Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board - HWCDSB

Box 2012
90 Mulberry St
Hamilton ON L8N 3R9

Board Type: Cath Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: London Regional Office
Phone Number: (905) 525-2930
Toll-free: none
Fax Number: (905) 525-1724 (general) or 905-523-0247 (letter of intent, addressed to the Manager of Social Work Services)
General Email: none
Website:
www.hwcdsb.ca

The HWCDSB directs parents to send the letter of intent to the Manager of Social Work Services who then forwards it to the Superintendent of Education. Even though the title includes the words "Social Work," do not be alarmed by this, it doesn't mean any intervention by social services like Children's Aid, it's simply the department that includes attendance counsellors. Currently (Fall 2020) the Manager of Social Work Services is Jenny Athanasiou-Malisa, at athanasiouj@hwcdsb.ca if emailing or 905-523-0247 if faxing. If the email address becomes invalid, you can send the letter of intent directly to the Superintendent responsible for your school. The board's Contact webpage (Board > Departments & Administration) doesn't include the Manager of Social Work Services but does include Superintendents' name, phone number, email address, family of schools, and program areas.

HWCDSB letter of intent

They do have their own version of the letter of intent, but there's no link to it from their website, and the link to it from their Procedures document is for staff only (login-protected). If you don't get one from the school principal, you can just use a standard letter of intent form, optionally adding the following information they request on theirs: each child's grade level and date they started homeschooling, as well as the name of the school they'd be registered to attend if they weren't homeschooling, and the "Expected Date of Return to Regular School Attendance (if applicable)."

HWCDSB letter of reply

Their letter of response is the same as PPM131's appendix C, with the addition of the following:

"You are further advised that you will be contacted prior to the next academic year to declare your intent to continue to home school."

In other words, you don't have to worry about whether or not to send a letter of intent yearly, since they will request one of you directly each year, and you would then send one in response. Their Procedures document directs the Manager of Social Work Services to make that request in May of each year for the following school year.

HWCDSB policy/procedure

Their Policies, Protocols and By-Laws page (Board submenu) doesn’t list anything for Home Schooling, but they have been known to send a Home Schooling Procedures document to parents, even though it appears to be intended for school and board officials rather than parents. (It indicates parents are to be sent a copy of PPM131, which would make their own document redundant). It refers to Policy/Program Memorandum No. 131 as providing direction to them regarding home schooling, and briefly covers the basics of PPM131. Its main focus is rightly on detailing its own board-specific procedures for processing letters of intent, namely the roles of the principal, Manager of Social Work Services, and superintendent's office. It briefly mentions investigations as well as what kinds of resources are available to homeschooling families. It has no misinformation or misleading wording of its own. It does have the usual omission about how homeschooling can look different from school education, but presumably that's covered in the guidelines that are referred to in the brief section on investigations, so the only cautions about the HWCDSB's Procedures document are the same as the cautions that apply to PPM131 itself.

Of note in the wording of their procedures document:

"Normally, the board should not investigate matters pertaining to home schooling. However, if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the child is not receiving satisfactory instruction at home, the board should take steps to further explore. Such circumstances which may warrant further exploration include: [PPM131's list of so-called "reasonable grounds"]" [emphasis added]

COMMENT: We hope the expression of the process as an "exploration" rather than an "investigation" might be indicative of a less adversarial mindset than with most boards.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board - HWDSB

20 Education Court
Hamilton ON L9A 0B9
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 2558
Hamilton ON L8N 3L1

Board Type: Pub Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: London Regional Office
Phone Number: (905) 527-5092
Toll-free: none
Fax Number: (905) 521-2539 (general) or 289-674-0150 (for the letter of intent)
General Email: info@hwdsb.on.ca
Website:
www.hwdsb.on.ca

Send the letter of intent to the Manager of Social Work Services, email homeschooling@hwdsb.on.ca, fax 289-674-0150, or postal mail to the P.O. Box address above. Even though the title includes the words "Social Work," do not be alarmed by this, it doesn't mean any intervention by social services like Children's Aid, it's simply the department that includes attendance counsellors.

If you need to contact the superintendent for your school, you can find them on the board's webpage about the Senior Team (About HWDSB > Senior Team). Their title is Superintendent of Student Achievement.

School year 2020-2021: If you want to cc your letter of intent to the person in charge of remote learning (to avoid continuing to be contacted about your child's absences), the email address is remote@hwdsb.on.ca.

HWDSB letter of intent

We haven't seen their letter of intent form, but presume they might have one, given that they have a template titled Appendix II for the school board letter of response. You can use the standard letter of intent form.

HWDSB letter of reply

Their letter of response is provided as a filled-out template labelled Appendix II. It's briefer than PPM131's sample reply, as it omits the paragraph about the availability of EQAO testing. They don't enclose a copy of PPM131, just a link to it. They do enclose a copy of their Home Schooling - Related Information sheet, which also omits the mention of EQAO and is misleading in other ways.

HWDSB policy/procedure

Their Policies page doesn’t list anything for Home Schooling, but they send an information sheet to parents who send a letter of intent. It's mostly a brief summary of the Resources part of PPM131 (although it omits the availability of EQAO testing) but it also includes a paragraph on provincial inquiries, which is problematic. It's labelled Appendix IV and therefore appears to be part of a school board policy/procedure document that's not being made available to parents. While their letter of response does include a link to PPM131 itself, the failure to share their own policy document (which is presumably redundant to PPM131 but so is the information sheet) does raise issues about a lack of transparency. However, what's even more concerning is that it fails to elucidate the context and applicability of the last paragraph, which mentions provincial inquiries in a way that can be frighteningly misleading without that context.

CAUTION:
- lack of transparency (not sharing their main policy/procedure document)
- misleading wording (PPM131 excerpt on inquiries taken out of context)
- omissions
- the same cautions as for PPM131 itself

Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board - HPEDSB

156 Ann St
Belleville ON K8N 3L3

Board Type: Pub Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: Ottawa Regional Office
Phone Number: (613) 966-1170
Toll-free: 1-800-267-4350
Fax Number: 613-961-2003
General Email: information@hpedsb.on.ca
Website:
www.hpedsb.on.ca

If returning a notification form provided to you by the school, send it to the person to whom they ask you to send it (e.g. the attendance counsellor or the school's superintendent). Otherwise, send the letter of intent to the Superintendent of Student Services, student.services@hpedsb.on.ca or to the Director of Education, directors.office@hpedsb.on.ca. The board's webpage on Senior Administration lists their name, phone number, email address, area of responsibilities.

HPEDSB letter of intent

Their notification form is acceptable to use, being very similar to PPM131's sample letter of intent, with an additional line for indicating the school last attended.

HPEDSB letter of reply

We couldn't find a sample reply letter on their website, but there have been no complaints about the actual responses received by parents. If you've received a letter of reply from them, please share it with us so we can let other parents know in more detail what to expect.

HPEDSB policy/procedure

Their Policy & Procedures page lists Home Schooling as Administrative Procedure 398 – Home Schooling under the heading Students. Also listed is their notification form (letter of intent), Form 398-1. The procedures document covers the basics of the letter of intent but doesn't mention the letter of reply nor much of anything else. It mentions PPM131 in the context of describing the protocols to follow when parents request access to EQAO testing for their homeschooled child, but doesn't attempt to summarize PPM131 in any other way. The first page of the pdf that provides the notification form is an information sheet that lists a few points under the misleading heading "Regulations" and then, under the heading "Part–Time Enrolment" briefly describes the kinds of resources and requirements involved in part-time attendance.

Of note in the procedure document:

There is no direct mention of investigations, only the following sentence in the introductory paragraph:

Maintenance of “satisfactory instruction” is mandatory and will be further assured by direction from the Ministry of Education if the need arises.

CAUTION: (in the notification form sheet)
- misleading wording ("must")
- prejudicial wording
- offers of resources = possibility of strings attached
- omissions
- the same cautions as for PPM131 itself

Huron Perth Catholic District School Board - HPCDSB

Box 70
87 Mill St
Dublin ON N0K 1E0

Board Type: Cath Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: London Regional Office
Phone Number: (519) 345-2440
Toll-free: 1-800-265-8508
Fax Number: (519) 345-2449
General Email: none
Website:
huronperthcatholic.ca

Send the letter of intent to the Superintendent of Education via their executive assistant. The board's webpage on Administration (Our Board submenu) lists each superintendent's name, phone, email, and general areas of responsibility. It's not clear which area of responsibility would include processing homeschool notifications, but there is a single Executive Assistant to the Superintendents of Education, currently (Fall 2020) Cassidy Flanagan, 519-345-2440 Ext. 8057, cflanagan@hpcdsb.ca​.

HPCDSB letter of intent

We don't know whether or not they have a form of their own. You can use the standard letter of intent. However, if you receive a notification form from them, please share it with us so we can let other parents know what to expect.

HPCDSB letter of reply

We have not yet seen a reply letter from this school board. If they follow PPM131 directly, it should look somewhat like PPM131's appendix C. If you've received a letter of response from this board, please share it with us so we can let other parents know what to expect.

HPCDSB policy/procedure

Their Board Policies page (Our Board submenu) doesn’t list anything for Home Schooling. We hope this means they follow PPM131 directly. The only cautions are therefore the cautions that apply to PPM131. However, if you receive a policy document from them, please share it with us so we can let other parents know what to expect.

Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board - HSCDSB

90 Ontario Ave
Sault Ste Marie ON P6B 6G7

Board Type: Cath Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: Sudbury-North Bay Regional Office
Phone Number: (705) 945-5400
Toll-free: 1-800-267-0754
Fax Number: (705) 945-5575
General Email: front.desk@hscdsb.on.ca
Website:
www.hscdsb.on.ca

Send the letter of intent to the Superintendent of Education responsible for Home Schooling. The board's webpage on Senior Administration (Board submenu) lists each superintendent's name, phone, email, link to details of responsibility. One responsibility listed is for Home Schooling, currently (Fall 2020) assigned to Christine Durocher, Christine.Durocher@hscdsb.on.ca, Administrative assistant: Frances.MacDonald@hscdsb.on.ca.

HSCDSB letter of intent

Their letter of intent form is similar to PPM131 appendix B. It, too, has the word "sample" in the heading, so you can use our standard letter of intent form instead (removes the word "sample").

HSCDSB letter of reply

Their sample letter of reply is similar to PPM131's appendix C.

HSCDSB policy/procedure

Their relevant Policies page (Board > Board Policies > 5000 - Student Instruction) lists Home Schooling as Policy 5007 – Home Schooling (which is a very brief statement), Procedural Guidelines – Home Schooling (which is a brief summary of the main points of PPM131), and the following forms:

  • Appendix A: sample letter of intent
  • Appendix B: sample school board response
  • Appendix C: sample investigation questionnaire

CAUTION:
- misleading wording (timing of letter of intent)
- misleading wording ("request for homeschooling")
- omissions
- the same cautions as for PPM131 itself


Continued >>>

See the page on School Board Policies for important information about your rights and what to watch out for. If you're already well-informed, you can skip directly to the list of school boards to find yours by alphabetical order.