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 — N to O

Near North District School Board - NNDSB

Box 3110
963 Airport Rd
North Bay ON P1B 8H1

Board Type: Pub Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: Sudbury-North Bay Regional Office
Phone Number: (705) 472-8170
Toll-free: 1-800-278-4922
Fax Number: (705) 472-9927
General Email: info@nearnorthschools.ca
Website:
www.nearnorthschools.ca

Send the letter of intent to the Superintendent of Education. Find your superintendent's name and email address by finding your school's information in the School Directory (Our Schools > Find Your School), which also lists the principal's name and email address. Superintendents are also listed (name, phone, email, but no schools or responsibilities listed) on the webpage about Senior Administration (in the Board sub-menu).

NNDSB letter of intent

Appendix 1 of their Administrative Guideline is their version of a letter of intent. The statements you're being asked to sign are worded as follows:

I, _____________________, hereby assume sole legal responsibility for the education of my child(ren):

First and Last Name of Child (Please Print) Date of Birth

By so doing, I guarantee that the rights as outlined in the Near North District School Board’s copy “The Basic Educational Rights of Every Child” shall be maintained.

The document they're referring to, The Basic Educational Rights of Every Child, is Appendix 2. The rights listed are fairly vague and aligned with PPM131's reminder to boards that since homeschooling doesn't necessarily look like school instruction, the focus should be on parents having a basic educational plan that includes literacy and numeracy at age appropriate levels.

CAUTION:
- overreaching (signing extra statements)

NNDSB letter of reply

There is a difference between their sample school board letter and actual responses received by parents:

Appendix 3 of their Administrative Guideline is their sample school board letter of reply. It indicates it would come from the attendance counsellor and be cc'ed to the superintendent and principal. It doesn't say "Thank you" for your notification, but simply that they have been informed of it. It states that they expect you to "follow through with the same commitment" that they claim the board has, "to the goal of quality education for each child within its area," and lets you know how to obtain copies of the "new Ontario Curriculum documents." It fails to mention both PPM131 and your right to access EQAO testing.

However, actual responses received by parents have come from the Superintendent of Education and have followed the PPM131 template a little more closely: starting with a "thank you" for the notification, and including a mention of PPM131. However, it does still omit the mention of access to EQAO testing, and does still include the patronizing statement about "quality education."

CAUTION:
- omissions
- prejudicial or patronizing wording

NNDSB policy/procedure

Their Administrative Guidelines page (in the Board sub-menu) includes Administrative Guideline – Home Schooling, which includes links to the following appendices:

CAUTION: the numbering of the Guideline articles is misleading.

If you go by the logic of the numbering system, you would think that they're saying they’ll evaluate your homeschooling after a month even if you're not being investigated. We believe this is not the case, and that the article that mentions this (1.10), as well as the two that follow (1.11 and 1.12), are supposed to be subsections of the previous article (1.9, concerning starting an investigation) rather than on the same level as it, and only implemented when 1.9 is implemented rather than always.

For investigations, initiated after receiving a report of concern, they do not have a detailed questionnaire like PPM131's appendix D, but rather a more flexible process for assessing progress in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics after having given the parent a month to make sure their program meets the educational "basic rights" of the child.

They initiate this process with a letter (appendix 4) in which they inform the parent that they've received a report of concern (but they don't give the specifics of its basis), suggest some sources of help in programming (other homeschooling parents; the Ontario curriculum guidelines), and give a one-month advance notice that they will be following up with a meeting. After a month, appendix 6 is the letter the superintendent uses to set up the meeting and lay out the options for how the child's progress could be assessed:

These minimum standards are defined as recognizable growth in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. It is not our intent to assess your program [emphasis added]. We believe that parents have the right to select the program that they feel is best for their child, [emphasis added] providing the child is growing in his/her understanding of the above three areas.

To accomplish this, parents have the choice [emphasis added] of three options:

1) Assessment of their child’s achievement in Reading, Writing and Mathematics using a standardized test.

2) Assessment of their child’s growth by having the child explain his/her progress using notebooks, workbooks, completed reports and tests.

3) Assessment of your child’s growth by having you explain his/her progress using the child’s notebooks, workbooks, completed reports and tests.

CAUTION: The Administrative Guideline article 1.11 misrepresents appendix 6:

1.11 After the assessment has been completed, the superintendent or his/her designate shall inform the parent in writing of the status of the assessment. (Appendix 6)

CORRECTION: Appendix 6 is not a letter sent after the assessment, but rather before the assessment, setting up the appointment for it.

Niagara Catholic District School Board

427 Rice Rd
Welland ON L3C 7C1

Board Type: Cath Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: London Regional Office
Phone Number: (905) 735-0240
Toll-free: lists some numbers as "toll free" but they all start with 905
Fax Number: (905) 734-8828 (superintendents’ area fax: 905-735-9710)
General Email: contact form (no attachments capability)
Website:
www.niagaracatholic.ca

Send the letter of intent to the Superintendent of Education responsible for your school, and a copy to the School Principal. The board's webpage about the Senior Administrative Council (in the Board sub-menu) lists each superintendent's name, responsibilities, family of schools, and link to their own contact form. However, since there is no email address anywhere on the site, and no attachment option for the contact form, the letter of intent will need to be sent by postal mail or fax unless you can obtain an email address in another way.

Niagara CDSB letter of intent

Their notification form is acceptable in its wording. However, it's a pdf, so although it can be printed to fill out and edit certain things by hand, it can't be directly edited to remove the word "sample" from the heading, nor to add the space needed to fill out the part about which Catholic school is relevant:

I/We live in the school boundary of _ Catholic Elementary/Secondary School.

You could cross out the word "sample" and indicate the school at the end of the sentence instead of within it. Or, since the form is otherwise similar to the one in PPM131, you could use the OFTP's standalone version that has the word "sample" removed, and either edit it to include a sentence specifying the school boundary in which you live, or else just omit that extra information.

Niagara CDSB letter of reply

The board's sample letter of reply is the same as PPM131's sample school board reply. In actual responses to parents there have sometimes been slight modifications in the wording, and sometimes the addition of a sentence about notifications in subsequent years.

CAUTION:
- misleading wording in emails that send the reply letter as an attachment ("request", "application", "approval")

Niagara CDSB policy/procedure

Their webpage on Governance Policies, By-Laws, Administrative Operational Procedures, Protocols and Procedures (in the Board sub-menu) lists Home Schooling (in the Protocols and Procedures tab) as Home Schooling – Ministry Policy/Program Memorandum No. 131. It's a partial summary of PPM131 and uses the same appendices as PPM131, with slight variations of wording. It links to PPM131 itself.

CAUTION:
- omissions
- overreaching (misrepresenting "reasonable grounds")
- the same cautions as for PPM131 itself

Of positive note is that this board mentions part of PPM131 that many boards omit in their own policy/procedure documents:

A member of a recognized support group for parents, from one of the Home Schooling Support Associations, [emphasis added] may be present when a Board is conducting an investigation.

This mention would be better if the associations in question were mentioned by name, but the document does provide a link to the PPM131 document itself, where the OFTP and other associations are so mentioned.

It's also worth noting that the board's document is more explicit than most concerning the process of transitioning back into a school operated by this board:

Should a home schooler wish to return to school on a full-time basis, parents need to meet with the Principal of the home school. The principal will determine whether an assessment will be required for educational placement.

For secondary placement, the Ministry of Education's General Educational development (GED) is a testing service for high school equivalency and is available by visiting the Independent Learning Centre (ILC) website or by telephone at 1-800-575-7022. [emphasis added]

Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre School Authority

567 Glenridge Ave
St Catharines ON L2T 4C2

Board Type: Provincial/Hospital
Board Language: English
Region: London Regional Office
Phone Number: (905) 688-3550
Toll-free: 1-800-896-5496
Fax Number: (905) 688-1055
General Email: info@niagarachildrenscentre.com
Website:
http://niagarachildrenscentre.com/ncc/programs-services/services/school

Since this is a Provincial/Hospital board type, the usual procedures for withdrawing a child from enrolment may not apply. However, if they do, you can just use the standard letter of intent and send it to the school authority without addressing it to any specific person.

Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board - NPSCDSB

1000 High St
North Bay ON P1B 6S6

Board Type: Cath Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: Sudbury-North Bay Regional Office
Phone Number: (705) 472-1201
Toll-free: none
Fax Number: (705) 472-0507
General Email: contact@npsc.ca
Website:
www.npsc.ca

Send the letter of intent to the Superintendent of Education responsible for your school. The Board Administration page (Contact sub-menu) lists each superintendent's name, phone ext, email, as well as their assistant's name and email address. At the time of writing this, both Superintendents of Education seem to have the same Executive Assistant, so if you don't know which superintendent is assigned to your school, you can send the letter of intent to the assistant.

NPSCDSB letter of intent

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

NPSCDSB letter of reply

They have no sample reply letter on their website and we have not yet seen any responses received by parents. If you have received one from this board, please share it with us so we can let other parents know what to expect.

NPSCDSB policy/procedure

Their Policies page (About sub-menu) 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.

Northeastern Catholic District School Board - NCDSB

383 Birch St N
Timmins ON P4N 6E8

Board Type: Cath Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: Sudbury-North Bay Regional Office
Phone Number: (705) 268-7443
Toll-free: 1-877-422-9322
Fax Number: (705) 267-3590
General Email: current contact's name-based email found on Contact page
Website:
www.ncdsb.on.ca

Send the letter of intent to the Superintendent of Education responsible for your school. The board's webpage on Superintendents of Education (Our Board sub-menu) includes their name, phone, email. We have not found information on their website about which schools are assigned to which superintendent.

NCDSB letter of intent

Their notification form is acceptable to use, being very similar to PPM131's sample letter of intent, with an additional column for indicating the child's grade.

NCDSB letter of reply

Actual responses received by parents contain the same wording as their sample letter of reply. It acknowledges receipt of the letter of intent and confirms that the child is excused under section 21(2)(a), but otherwise differs from PPM131's sample reply in the following ways: it doesn't mention PPM131 nor the availability of EQAO testing; instead, it links to their own website's homepage for "more information about Home Schooling Policy and Procedures" without indicating where on the website one might find it; there is an added paragraph offering to review your child's curriculum and progress and conveying that they'd welcome your child back to school; and a sentence telling you you "must" notify them on a yearly basis.

CAUTION:
- overreaching (offers of help = possibility of strings attached)
- prejudicial or patronizing wording ("change of heart")
- misleading wording bordering on misinformation ("must")

NCDSB policy/procedure

Their Administrative Procedures page (Our Board > Policies > click on the button for Administrative Procedures) lists Home Schooling as Policy E-15 - Home schooling and the following as separate documents:

CAUTION: beware not to jump to conclusions about this wording [emphasis added below]:

1.1 A child must be registered in a NCDSB school before parents/guardians can advise of their intent to provide home schooling.

Instead of taking this to mean that you must enroll your child, we take it to mean that, if your child has never been registered to attend a Catholic school in this board's jurisdiction, you should not send a letter of intent to homeschool to this board; and if you need a reply letter from a school board in order to access ILC courses as a homeschooler, you will need to send your letter of intent to the default public school board instead.

Also of note: NCDSB directs that the OSR be maintained by the school last attended until the child's progressed grade requires a transfer to an NCDSB school that offers the next grade levels. For secondary school:

3.7 In the event that the student being home schooled has reached the appropriate age for entry to secondary school, and no such facility exists within the NCDSB, the Principal will communicate the name of the student with the coterminous board. A decision will be made on the transfer of the OSR, and correspondence placed in the Documentation File accordingly. All further notifications for home schooling will be facilitated by the school board of the respective secondary school.

In other words, in spite of what PPM131 directs parents to do (keep sending yearly notifications to the school board that operates the school the child last attended), it sounds like, when it comes to the OSR and the responsibility of processing letters of intent, the NCDSB might transfer both over to the public school board if NCDSB doesn't operate any secondary schools that the teen has the right to attend.

CAUTION:
- misleading wording bordering on misinformation ("will excuse")
- misleading wording bordering on misinformation ("duty to investigate")
- misleading wording bordering on misinformation ("must" notify in writing)
- misleading wording bordering on misinformation (what information "must" be provided)
- the same cautions as for PPM131 itself

Northwest Catholic District School Board - TNCDSB

555 Flinders Ave
Fort Frances ON P9A 3L2

Board Type: Cath Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: Thunder Bay Regional Office
Phone Number: (807) 274-2931
Toll-free: 1-888-311-2931
Fax Number: (807) 274-8792
General Email: info@tncdsb.on.ca
Website:
www.tncdsb.on.ca

This board's internal policy directs you to send your written notification to both the Director of Education and the School Principal. The board's webpage on Board Staff (Board sub-menu) lists the Director's name, phone, email.

TNCDSB letter of intent

Their letter of intent form (last page of their Procedures document) does not include any statement about the parent understanding their responsibilities under the Education Act.

CAUTION: more information requested than needed:

What their form does include, which the PPM131 template does not, is a place to indicate "reasons for taking this action" [emphasis added] followed by three numbered lines. This is intrusive. You do not need to explain yourself to the board. If they want feedback so as to know what they could do to improve the school environment, they should extend an invitation to that effect when replying to a letter of intent, not make it part of the notification form. The letter of intent is supposed to be your notification to them, not an application that can be granted or denied. Do not be misled into thinking this is required information just because it's presented as something for you to fill out. In order not to enable and normalize this overreach, you can leave this part of the form blank, or just use the standard letter of intent template instead.

TNCDSB reply letter

We haven't found their reply letter template on their website and haven't yet received any information from parents who may have received a TNCDSB response to a letter of intent. If you've received one, please share it with us so we can let other parents know what to expect.

TNCDSB policy/procedure

Their Admin Procedures page (Board sub-menu) lists Home Schooling in the Students section, as Administrative Procedure H-03 - Home Schooling. Its last page is a letter of intent form.

CAUTION:
- misleading wording (timing of letter of intent)
- misleading numbering (investigations and inquiries)
- misinformation (re: curriculum, learning materials, "full day")
- the same cautions as for PPM131 itself

Ottawa-Carleton District School Board - OCDSB

133 Greenbank Rd
Nepean ON K2H 6L3

Board Type: Pub Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: Ottawa Regional Office
Phone Number: (613) 721-1820
Toll-free: none
Fax Number: (613) 820-6968
General Email: communications@ocdsb.ca
Website:
www.ocdsb.ca

Send the letter of intent to the "Superintendent with system responsibility for home schooling" — apparently (judging by the school board letter of reply that parents have received) the Superintendent of Program and Learning K-12 (there is only one). The board's webpage on their Senior Team includes their name, phone, assistant’s name. To find the corresponding email address, consult their alphabetical directory (ordered by last name).

OCDSB letter of intent

They direct you to PPM131 appendix B. For a version of it that has the word "sample" removed, you can use the standard letter of intent.

OCDSB letter of reply

Responses received by parents are similar to PPM131's appendix C except for omitting to mention PPM131, even though their Procedures document indicates they are to send a copy of it. Their reply letter also includes the names and email addresses of two board contacts to whom parents are invited to bring any questions or concerns about homeschooling. There is also a paragraph requesting that you confirm by June 30th if you plan to continue homeschooling for the following school year, and indicating they will send you a "current" (i.e. updated) confirmation letter at that time. The paragraph ends with: "If [child's first name] returns to school, it is important that you let us know so that we can update our records accordingly." This seems unnecessary, since the school principal will presumably follow their protocol for that scenario, which includes providing the information to the Superintendent with system responsibility for home schooling.

CAUTION:
- possible omissions (failing to mention / enclose PPM131)
- unnecessary steps (informing the board if re-registering)

OCDSB policy/procedure

Their Policy page doesn't list Home Schooling. Their Procedures page lists Home Schooling as PROCEDURE PR.565.SCO - Home Schooling under School Operations. It includes the following appendices:
- Attachment 1: Home Schooling Visitation Record
- Attachment 2: Protocol for Home Schooling
- Attachment 3: Components of a Successful Home Schooling Program

NOTE: The Protocol appendix includes the following statement [emphasis added]: "Ministry Policy/Program Memorandum No. 131 is the first major policy statement on the topic of home schooling since 1981. It should be reviewed prior to meetings or discussions with parents on the topic of home schooling." This is just as well, given that some of their document seems to be left over from the policy they had in place before PPM131.

NOTE: The Protocol appendix includes the names of homeschool support groups and organizations, including OFTP, OCHEC, HSLDA, and local groups

CAUTION:
- outdated wording (date of last revision, wording of Education Act, name of Ministry of Education, "Home Schooling Visitation Record", CCAC)
- overreaching (attempts to dissuade)
- revoked practices (excessive contact)
- misleading wording ("responsible for determining whether")
- misleading wording ("responsibility to ensure")
- misinformation (requirements for health services)
- overreaching (unnecessary or excessive contact with the board)
- overreaching ("Components of a Successful Home Schooling Program")
- misleading wording bordering on misinformation (use of Ontario curriculum)
- misleading wording bordering on misinformation (planning, records)
- omissions
- the same cautions as for PPM131 itself

Ottawa Catholic District School Board - OCSB

570 West Hunt Club Rd
Nepean ON K2G 3R4

Board Type: Cath Dist Sch Brd (E/F)
Board Language: English
Region: Ottawa Regional Office
Phone Number: (613) 224-2222
Toll-free: none
Fax Number: (613) 224-5063
General Email: info@ocsb.ca
Website:
www.ocsb.ca

The OCSB's procedures document directs parents to send the letter of intent to the Associate Director of Education. Their email is Associate.Director@ocsb.ca. They're listed on the same page as Superintendents, so you can visit that page for their name, phone, fax, email, family of schools, and Twitter.

OCSB letter of intent

You can use the standard letter of intent.

OCSB letter of reply

We have not yet seen a reply letter from this school board. It's likely to be similar to PPM131's appendix C. If you've received one, please share it with us so we can let other parents know what to expect.

OCSB policy/procedure

Their Policies and Procedures page (Our Board sub-menu) lists a policy for Home Schooling. It's very basic and remains in line with PPM131.


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.