About Hawthorne II Bilingual Alternative School

Hawthorne II Bilingual Alternative School opened in 1977 with the aim of exploring social justice principles and French language learning in a public school setting. Today, we share a home with Essex Public School near Christie Pits Park.

At Hawthorne, we strive to cultivate life-long learners and active citizens through the principles of communication, critical thinking, creativity, compassion, and community. We follow the Ontario elementary school curriculum from the framework of the following three pillars: 

1. Second-language learning: Research shows the many cognitive benefits of early exposure to a second language. Our French program begins in JK and emphasizes accessible and authentic oral communication. 

2. Nature-based learning is integrated every day into classroom programmes and focuses on exploration, problem-solving, and STEAM subjects. By engaging with nature and outdoor spaces in our urban environment, students develop physical literacy, self-identity, and social and mental well-being. 

3. Community and social justice learning at Hawthorne takes place through collaboration and relationship-building among students across the different grades, parental involvement in decision-making and school activities, and an ongoing partnership with Essex Public School. All kinds of families are welcome at Hawthorne. 

Through mutual collaboration with students, teachers, parents, our neighbourhood, and beyond, we aim to help children build self-awareness, empathy, and critical thinking skills as they navigate a complex world. We welcome all families to partner with us as we learn and evolve together!

Hawthorne In Person Open House will be held on January 18, 2024 from 6 – 7 pm

Hawthorne Open House 2024

In Person Open House – January 18, 2024

January 18, 2024 from 6-7 PM

Learn about our TDSB alternative school in the Christie Pits neighbourhood, including:

  • Our new alternative French language learning programme featuring a 50/50 French/English Kindergarten
  • Our commitment to learning through outdoor play
  • Intimate, warm school community and partnership with Essex Public School

General inquiries: h2chair@gmail.com

To watch a video about our school click here.

H2 Open House Jan 2024 flyer

Welcome to the Hawthorne II Alternative Bilingual School website!

Our school is a unique K to 6 school in that it offers a bilingual program in French and English. A strong emphasis is also placed on social justice and environmental education. Learn more about our school or find out how to apply.

This site is a work in progress run by parent volunteers and we appreciate your patience as we develop it over the coming school year. To share your comments or suggestions please Contact us!


Protocol for Entry and Exit

You may check TDSB COVID-19 Advisories for a list of confirmed cases among students and/or staff in TDSB schools.

School Hours 
Grade AM PM
Sr & Jr Kindergarten 08:45 – 11:20 12:35 – 15:05
Grades 1–6 08:50 – 11:35 12:35 – 15:20
To enter the building

Please complete the Updated TDSB Student Health Pass (Updated January 2022) every day before coming to school. This screening will be repeated when your child is at school.

If your child feels well, they may enter the building. Children who do not feel well will be asked to wait in a designated, supervised wellness room and parents will be contacted so the child may return home.

Re-entering the building

(for example, returning after lunch)

Students who go home for lunch are expected to remain off school property until just before lunch ends at 12:35 PM.

Students who have been screened in the morning don’t need to be rescreened. They will be provided with hand sanitizer before entry.

Exiting the building

Staff will supervise students as they leave. Please pick up your children at the same doors you dropped them off at.

Map of doors and lineups for each class.

Changes to Optional Attendance Process (ie how to try to get your child into Hawthorne for September 2021 during COVID)

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Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

If you would like to enter your child into the lottery to become a student at Hawthorne you must follow the Optional Attendance Process outlined in this message copied here sent by email from the TDSB. It has changed slightly to adhere to current lockdown protocols. More info to follow about the Equity Admissions process this year.

All Elementary and Secondary Parents/Guardians,

The Toronto District School Board is adjusting the Optional Attendance process due to school closures and the heightened need to reduce potential Covid-19 exposures. 

As such, the following process will be in place for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year for students applying to a school via Optional Attendance.

  1. The parent/guardian will complete the Optional Attendance form and will email the completed form to current school principal. The form may be sent as a scan, a photo or a screengrab: Optional Attendance Form for Secondary School Application and Optional Attendance Form for Elementary School Application
  2. The current school principal or designate (VP, office staff, etc.) will sign and email the form(s) to the receiving school.
  3. The receiving school will confirm receipt of the form(s) by way of email reply to the sending school.
  4. The current school will communicate with families that the Optional Attendance Form was signed, sent and received by the receiving school. 
  5. The current school principal or designate will track optional attendance applications to ensure that TDSB policies are being followed.
  6. All current timelines are still in effect. Forms for secondary schools are due by January 29, 2021, and for elementary schools by February 12, 2021.
  7. Important Dates:

     Elementary Optional Attendance – Key Dates:

     February 12, 2021
     Optional attendance forms due at elementary school.

     March 5, 2021
     Deadline for parents/guardians to be informed of the status of the application           request.

     March 26, 2021
     Parents/guardians must inform the requested school of their acceptance of the         offer.

    Secondary Optional Attendance – Key Dates:

     January 29, 2021
     Optional attendance forms due at secondary school.

     February 12, 2021
     Deadline for parents/guardians of students to be informed of the status of the           application request.

     February 26, 2021
     Course selection sheets due at secondary schools.

For more information regarding Optional Attendance, please visit www.tdsb.on.ca/Find-your/School/Optional-Attendance.

NOTE: Many families have already completed Optional Attendance Forms and have dropped them off or mailed them to the school(s) that their child has apply to. These applications are deemed valid and received and no further action is required.

Please contact your school principal should you have any questions. Thank you.

Welcome Message from the Hawthorne Parent Council Co-Chairs

Dear Hawthorne Parent Community, 

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Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

Welcome to Hawthorne! Or welcome back to Hawthorne! And an extra big Hello and Welcome to new JK parents! 

By now you will have seen and heard about some of the new protocols put in place by the school to keep our children as safe as possible while still comfortable and happy. We dearly hope that the weeks went well for you and your children. 

This year will be different in terms of the parent council as well. Our usual activities, like pizza day, enrichment activities, fundraisers etc. are not possible at this time. And in an enormous switch for our school, parents are not allowed in the school building at this time. While it is sad to see everything so limited, the primary goal of school during a pandemic is to see our children safe, socializing (safely), and learning something. This year, it is enough to see the joy and stability that our kids are getting from a routine that involves leaving the house and engaging with peers. 

And for those of you who have chosen to go online this year, we want to support you and stay connected as much as possible. We are creating a ‘class’ of virtual learners for parent council communications and have started an FB group for Hawthorne remote learners

There is a lot for us to do! Here are our plans are for the year:

Outdoor Education

Right now, the biggest initiative is in outdoor education. Our goal is to support the teachers in their endeavours and to help facilitate as much outdoor time as possible. We are following the leads of the teachers and the needs will keep evolving as the weather changes. As of this week, we have supplied the teachers with five rolling white boards for exterior use, are working on setting up handwashing stations, and have supplied piles of yoga mats being used for sit spots for the children. We need a volunteer to set up the handwashing stations – contact h2chair@gmail.com if you can help. 

Hawthorne Visioning

We are continuing with our Hawthorne Visioning project this year. Last year, this committee worked on outlining an Arts and Environment Based Curriculum for our school to adopt. We would like to continue this work this fall. Join us to have a say in the future of Hawthorne. Email h2chair@gmail.com to indicate your interest. 

Community Building

This year, keeping our community coherent and vital is a priority. We want to ensure that our online members feel part of Hawthorne, that we work to keep our community together, and that we continue to work in partnership with Essex. Let us know if you have any brilliant COVID-safe ideas. Email h2chair@gmail.com if you would like to be the ‘class’ rep for the remote learning group. 


We are not doing any fundraising at this time, and we are not collecting any enrichment fees either. We still have money left over from last year and are financially fine for now, but as the seasons progress and we need more supplies to keep the kids outside, we may be coming to you with a direct, pay-what-you-can request. We will only do so when we have a better sense of our needs. 

Parent Council Meetings

The parent council is a group of parents, teachers, and admin whose purpose is to enhance student experience and to foster the broader school community. 

This year’s first parent council will be virtual. We do not have a date solidified yet, but it will be in the middle of October. Please join us! This is your chance to get as much information about the school year as possible. Harry and Rachel will be there to give reports and answer questions, and so will we. 

We will have spots on the parent council available and will be voting for the council. Every September we need to vote on a new parent council. We are accepting nominations up until October 9. You can join parent council as named position or a member-at-large and be in the know. Send an email to h2chair@gmail.com to express interest or for more info. More information on nominations to come. 


We don’t know what our volunteering needs will be exactly this year, but we will need a roster of people available to be called upon when needs arise. We will send out a sign up sheet around the first parent council meeting and ask that you consider putting yourself onto it to stay involved and help keep our school running smoothly. 


Because parents are not allowed in the schools at this time, communications from parent council are more important than ever. We are working on creating new class lists (this task is surprisingly complicated this year), and will continue to give you updates from the trustee, the board, the principal, from us. Contact h2chair@gmail.com to learn more about being a class rep. 

* Please help us create new class email lists so you can continue to receive these updates

If you have a child entering JK, please fill out the form for JK families.

For parents of children in Grades SK to Grade 6, please fill out this form to help us create the new class lists.

Please complete the forms by Friday October 9, 2020. They will only take a couple minutes to complete.

We look forward to seeing you virtually at the first parent council meeting. Please contact us if you have any questions or want to volunteer for anything.

Jackie Wylde and Tereza Macel 
Parent Council Co-Chairs

Updated mask requirement

Parents and Guardians are required to wear a mask/face covering while outdoors on school property, including during pick-up and drop-off.

In response to rising confirmed cases of COVID -19 in Toronto, the GTA and elsewhere in Ontario, health agencies, and provincial and municipal governments are reviewing and updating health and safety measures in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus.

The TDSB is also reviewing its health and safety measures and making changes where needed. The TDSB’s Mask Guidelines have been updated for the above reasons and in light of confirmed cases among school staff and students. The updated guidelines also provide additional direction to school administrators and superintendents regarding mask exemption requests. You can also visit our Mask/Face Covering Required webpage.

Below is a summary a key change to the Mask Guide:

Clarification that parents/guardians who are on school property temporarily (e.g., drop off/pick up) must wear masks and physically distance which responds to situations that have been noted where during drop-offs and pickup parents are coming into close contact with other parents and students.

The EarlyON Center at Essex

child playing with green plastic toy
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Our beloved EarlyON Centre is closed until further notice but you can still enjoy virtual programming.

Please visit the Facebook Page where you can access fun activities for families with young children, story and music time, and information about community resources and links to other agencies.

If you’d like more information please contact us at marlene.stothers@tdsb.on.ca or call 416 394 2104


International Languages Programs are online this year!



In an increasingly globalized world, it is important to set our students on the path to being active global citizens. 

This fall, the International Languages – Elementary / African Heritage Program will be offering 
• language classes to students and
• African Heritage classes
to students (TDSB and non TDSB) in Kindergarten to Grade 8. 

Language classes

Students will take part in a remote/at home learning. Classes run 2.5 hours, one day a week. Students will have live face-to-face interactive lessons with their instructor and other students for approximately 30 minutes. Remaining time will be spent on independent work. Activities will be focused on building student’s abilities in oral communication, reading and writing.

African Heritage classes

Students will take part in a remote/at home learning and will learn about Black culture and the contributions of people of African descent. Classes run 2.5 hours, one day a week. Students will have live face-to-face interactive lessons with their instructor and other students for approximately 30 minutes. Remaining time will be spent on independent work. 

• Please note that a minimum of 23 students is required to open a language class.
• Classes start October 2020. Cost is free while the program is offered remotely.

For more information, please visit www.ileprograms.ca