Google Translate           
Principal's Message 218
Principal's Message

February 2018 Newsletter

Principal’s Message


Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,


            Can you believe that one-half of the school year has already gone by?  With so much going on during Semester 1, it is easy to lose track of time.  Read the Department News inside this newsletter to see some of the activities our students were involved in.    


The change of semester is bringing about some changes to our school personnel.

·      Mr. Glezakos who has been filling in as a vice-principal will return to retirement later this month.  We wish him all the best!

·      Mr. Patrick McQuade will join the school as a vice-principal starting at the end of the month.  He will work primarily with students whose last name begins with the letters M to Z.

·      Ms. Ball in Science and Math returns from her leave at the beginning of February.

·      Ms. Hoffschmidt from the French department has accepted a contract position at Dr. J.M. Denison Secondary School.  We wish her congratulations!

·      Ms. Wong from the Math department has moved to Richmond Green Secondary School for a Science position.

·      Ms. Ivanovskaya will join the French department for Semester 2.

·      Ms. Pendergast joins the Math department for second semester.

·      Ms. Sharifi is also joining the Math department for second semester.

·      Mr. Prosser will join the Technology department for part of Semester 2.

·      Ms. Hart continues as an ESL teacher at Williams.

·      Ms. King will continue at Williams for the beginning of second semester.



In September, Williams hosted its annual Awards Evening to recognize the achievements of students who were in Grades 9, 10 and 11 during the 2016-2017 academic year.  There were 80 awards coming from the school, the Board, and the community going to more than 100 students.  Our Honour Roll for students who were in Grades 9 to 11 last year had over 170 names on it.  These award recipients should be applauded for both their personal achievements and for their contribution to the school as a whole.  Our award recipients are some of our brightest students and best school citizens.  They are role models for their classmates, and they provide a positive influence within the school.  It is students like these who will provide positive leadership at the school this year as well as in the community in the future.  Congratulations!  I wish you continued success this year. 


The Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School is an International Baccalaureate candidate school, and this year marked the admission of students into the Williams’ Pre-IB Program in Grades 9 and 10.  We continue the process of becoming a fully authorized IB World School starting in September 2018.  One of the last major steps in this process is the verification visit.  In December, two IB consultants – one from Canada, and one from the United States – inspected the school as part of the verification process.  They met with school and Board staff, spoke with students and parents, a reviewed the facility.  Although we have not yet received their final report, their initial feedback was positive.  They were impressed by our facility and the enthusiasm of our teachers.  Their final report will be available to us in the spring.    


In December, our school hosted the first Board-wide community class dance-a-thon.  Twenty different community classes from 15 schools participated in the dance-a-thon.  This event was held as a fundraiser for Sick Kids Hospital in recognition of the work that organization has done to support students and their families.  It demonstrated that everyone can make a positive difference in the lives of others.  At last count, over $9000 was raised.  Thank you to Mr. Grassi and Ms. Wilmshurst for their initiative and leadership in organizing this event.     


            The release of this quarterly newsletter coincides with the distribution of the final Semester 1 report card.  In case you are not aware, teachers provide a final mark for the course and personalized comments indicating something students have learned, a strength, and a next step for improvement.  Furthermore, teachers also provide an assessment of your son/daughter’s learning skills and work habits – responsibility, organization, independent work, collaboration, initiative, and self-regulation.  When you review your son/daughter’s report card with them, please have a discussion about their learning skills.  These learning skills are an important factor in their success in school and beyond. 


This semester, Williams welcomed nine new international visa students from China.  These students bring a valuable international perspective to our classes. 


The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) will be written on Tuesday, April 10.  In December, we held a “Lit Blitz” to help students prepare for reading and writing activities that they will experience on the test.  An after-school literacy support class is being provided to some students.  If your son/daughter is writing the OSSLT this year, please do not schedule appointments, trips, job interviews, etc. for them on that date.  Successful completion of the Literacy Test is a requirement to earn a high school diploma.  If you have questions about the OSSLT, please contact Ms. Borenstein, our Literacy teacher, or Ms. Sopha.      


Grade 9 Math students wrote the EQAO Math Assessment in January.   We are looking forward to receiving our results in September. 


The due date for course selection is February 23.  Please make sure your son/ daughter goes online to to request their courses by our school deadline.  Your son/daughter needs to submit two copies, one soft copy through Career Cruising on the computer, and a hard copy signed by a parent/guardian and handed into Guidance.  Students will receive a verification sheet sometime in March.  If there is a need for you to make any changes, we can take care of them at that time.  Career Cruising is a very user-friendly program; however, if your son/daughter experiences any problems, please ask them to book an appointment with their Guidance Counsellor: (last name alpha) Mr. Fuller (A-L) or Ms. Durbacz (M-Z).

Course Selection

Step 1.  Go to and sign in.

Step 2.  Choose your courses and submit them electronically.

Step 3.  Print off a hard copy, have it signed by a parent, and hand it in to Guidance by February 23, 2018.


Here are a few highlights of events organized by and for students:

·      The Williams’ Athletic Council worked behind the scenes to support teams such as hockey, basketball, volleyball, cross country, and Nordic skiing.

·      Various donation drives collected non-perishable food items, toys, socks, and other clothing. 

·      History, Drama, Music, and Communications Technology students participated in the organization of the school’s Remembrance Day assembly.  We were fortunate to have an officer from the Canadian military here to address the school. 

·      Semi-Formal was held successfully at King Valley Golf Club on November 23.  Our own Mr. Watkin was the DJ! 

·      Music Council held fundraisers to raise money for childhood leukemia.

·      Arts’ Council created some spooky fun with its annual Haunted Hallway at Halloween.

·      The Music Department’s annual winter concert featured a variety of performances including a piano solo and a small woodwind ensemble in addition to the choir and the concert bands. 

·      The Peer Mentors helped the new Grade 9 students transition to high school by organizing the school’s annual Camp Robin Hood day in September. 

·      Mr. Collins’ class organized various events such as Safety Week and Healthy Living initiatives like $1 Salad Days, the Walk-a-Block initiative, and the Simply Say Hello campaign.

·      Equity Council promoted bullying awareness, exam anxiety reduction strategies, and mental health awareness.


Art students will have the opportunity to travel to Iceland on an international field trip in May.  Participants on this trip will refine their photography skills while experiencing glaciers, volcanoes, lava caves, natural hot springs, fjords, coastal villages, and perhaps even the northern lights.  Participants will work with a professional adventure photographer and visit the Reykjavik Museum of Photography which has more than 6 million images.  Please look for details about an upcoming information meeting for parents later this month.


Grade 12 students are already starting to think about Prom.  This year, Prom will be held earlier than usual – on Thursday, May 3.  This is a reminder to students that they may need to order their formalwear (dresses, etc.) early so that it is ready in time for Prom.


Graduation will be held on Tuesday, June 26 this year.  Only students who have completed all diploma requirements are recognized at Graduation.  Diploma requirements are:

·      the successful completion of 30 credits (18 compulsory and 12 elective),

·      the completion of 40 hours of community service, and

·      the successful completion of the literacy requirement.

Community service hours must be submitted to Guidance by May 22.  Proof of credits earned at private school must be submitted to Guidance by noon on Friday, June 22.  Graduates who wish to attend the ceremony must complete their gown order formalities by May 22.  Speak to Ms. McKie or Ms. Northover in the main office for more information. 


We are pleased to announce that the Ministry of Education and the York Region District School Board have identified a path forward for the relocation/replacement of Dr. G.W. Williams SS to a new secondary school site located in the northeast quadrant of Bayview Avenue and Borealis Avenue.

The planning, design and construction of a new secondary school is an exciting but lengthy process.  It is estimated that the relocated/replaced Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School will not open earlier than September 2023.  Once an opening date has been finalized it will be shared with the community.  Until that time, the current Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School will continue to operate as normal. 

It has also been determined that the existing Dr. G. W. Williams Secondary School facility will be retained by the Board and utilized for administration purposes. 


This newsletter is published only on the school website.  We would like our communication to be accessible to all.  If you know of someone who does not have internet access, please let the main office know so that we can provide them with a hard copy version of the newsletter. 



Christopher Hilmer





Share |
Connect With YRDSB!
York Region District School Board Twitter Feed
York Region District School Board YouTube Channel
York Region District School Board Linkedin
YRDSB Mobile App
Privacy Policy / Copyright / Disclaimer

© York Region District School Board. All Rights Reserved.
60 Wellington Street West, Aurora, ON. L4G 3H2