to Alpha!

The Kids Are All Right

Posted by Rob on May 10, 2013

This recent article featuring Alpha Alums captures what makes Alpha such a special school. Featuring fantastic shots by Michael Barker.

We’re Hiring

Posted by Rob on April 18, 2013

Elementary teacher ALPHA Alternative School

The ALPHA Alternative School teacher is a flexible, creative but strong teacher who will work in a democratic team environment to help elementary school students achieve literacy, numeracy, and–through emergent and interest-based, often arts-infused explorations–develop a strong awareness of the world and their place in it.

 Summary of Duties

  • Will work with Grade 3-6 students, in a small (80 students) elementary alternative school
  • Will work in partnership with two or more teachers, to develop and deliver programming for multi-age classes
  • Will engage in learning and developing democratic education approaches: with students, parents and fellow teachers
  • Will learn and contribute to ALPHA’s democratic community processes: student meetings, student-run disciplinary committee, and a staff-community council
  • Will both individually and collaboratively develop programming that responds to student interest while growing their knowledge of the world and beyond.
  • Will develop responsive strategies for helping individual students of various skill levels and learning styles to gain strength in literacy and numeracy
  • Will investigate and collaborate in arts-integrated literacy, math, science and social studies programming, using decentralized strategies like learning centres, projects, integrated theme-based approaches, as well as classic sequential skills-teaching
  • Will collaborate with fellow teachers and parents to create developmentally appropriate social justice programming, and infuse critical perspectives into the curriculum.
  • Treasures every child’s individuality, models respect and responsibility, and gives space to various experiences, identities, understandings and values.
  • Will be both cooperative and proactive, able to respond to children yet retain one’s natural authority as an adult and teacher
Qualifications and Skills Required
  • JK-Grade 6 qualification
  • Wants to be in a collaborative, democratic community school, interested in democratic and free-school history and or approaches
  • Sees children as pro-active, curious, exploratory learners rather than as empty vessels to receive information: practices democratic, progressive, emergent, and/or responsive pedagogies, and is willing to keep learning from children, peers and community.
  • Committed to cooperative, non-competitive, non-hierarchical approaches to learning.
  • Committed to restorative approaches to behavioural problems and conflict
  • Comfortable with diverse persons and families
  • Able to open conversations and non-judgmentally and collaboratively deal with homo/transphobia, racism, sexism, classism, gender stereotyping, colonialist bias as it is brought into school by young children and unaware adults.
  • Alternative school experience: in teaching, supply or internship
  • Experience in community facilitation, peacebuilding and conflict resolution, in school or other contexts
  • Aware of the difference between freedom and license
  • Skills and strategies to engage children with different learning styles
  • A background in critical pedagogy, particularly with respect to decolonizing and Indigenous perspectives
  • Experience and skills in integrating and infusing anti-racism, anti-oppression into schooling approach and curriculum.
  • Strong listening skills and patience, for working with peers and families
  • Arts/music/drama/story-telling/science/sports an asset
  • Experience in outdoor and nature education an asset
The interview criteria will include the following areas:
  • Experience, skills, knowledge, and commitment to community-based, democratic free-school approach
  • Specific Teaching skills/experience
  • Requisite additional skills/experience to thrive in the role of teacher in ALPHA’s democratic free-school community
  • Attributes to thrive in the role of teacher in ALPHA’s democratic freeschool community
  • Experienced commitment to anti-oppression, decolonization, equity and social justice

Alpha Staffing

Posted by Rob on April 9, 2013
The hiring committee has been working hard. It has recently come to light that because we are adding Full Day Kindergarten next year, we will be adding another half-time staff person next year in addition to the replacement for Sue.
So we need to get the word out to prospective candidates. Like the other job, applicants have to be current half-time regular teachers of the TDSB.  This job is not open to teachers on the eligible to hire list, or not yet employed, or an Long term occasional.
They have to be
  • half-time
  • a regular permanent TDSB teacher
So please talk to all the TDSB teachers you know and ferret out the dynamic, great half-time teachers.  We need your help!

Indie Kidz Music Fest 2013

Posted by Rob on April 9, 2013

Indie Kidz Music Fest

This April 27, 2013 Indie Kidz Music Fest is returning to the Tranzac Club!

Join us from 1 pm to 4 pm for some epic rock and punk from:

  • The Burning Boys
  • Pixelated
  • Out Watch
  • Alpha Uke Club

Featuring a not to be missed silent auction and rock-n-roll makeovers.

$10 for adults • $5 for kids • $25 for the whole family

All proceeds support Alpha Alternative School

Romni Wools Silent Art Auction

Posted by Tania on March 21, 2013

romni wools

Romni Wools is having a silent art auction with all proceeds going to Alpha Alternative School. We will have paintings, stone etched lithographs, sculptures, and more on display in our front window at 658 Queen Street West in Toronto until Saturday April 6th. Bids can be in person or by dialing the store at 416-703-0202. Winning bids will be contacted by phone. Don’t miss it!

Thank you to Romni Wools for their generous support!

Staff Openings at ALPHA Elementary School for September 2013

Posted by Tania on January 28, 2013

Teachers and ECE interested in working at Toronto’s oldest elementary alternative school, ALPHA, a public democratic free school are invited to attend an Information Night on:

Thursday, February 21 from 6-7pm.

Then from 7-8pm, we invite you to stay for our Admissions Information night where prospective families come to learn about the school. We are located at 20 Brant Street, near King and Spadina.

This is a chance to meet current teachers, students, and parents. You will learn more about the school and be able to ask questions prior to the interview process. *Applicants must be on the TDSB eligible to hire list.

(See also:

We look forward to seeing you on February 21!

Please RSVP by calling the school at 416-393-1880.

Interested in coming to ALPHA? Come to one of our Info Nights

Posted by Ryan on January 8, 2013
Please spread the word far and wide about our upcoming Admissions Info Nights:

ALPHA, the oldest elementary alternative school in Toronto, is Ontario’s only public
democratic free school.

To learn more about our school and place your child’s name on the waiting list, please attend our

ALPHA Admissions Information Night
Wednesday, January 23, 2012
Thursday, February 21, 2012


20 Brant Street
(Spadina Ave & King St W)

We especially encourage families belonging to the following groups to join our community: Aboriginal, people of colour, new immigrant, working class and low-income, queer, and with children who experience exclusion due
to gender non-conforming behaviour and/or appearances.

Farewell, Sue!

Posted by Ryan on December 5, 2012

Sue’s retiring at the end of December, 2012! For 31 years, she has given her heart, creativity and unflappable wisdom to ALPHA and we’re going to miss her!

Sue loves to hear about what grads are up to these days, testimonies about their time at ALPHA, as well as collecting/seeing vintage photos. Send her a message by email at: suhesss <at>

Thanks for all the memories – we’ll miss you, Sue!

Handmade goodies for sale at the Bazaar

Posted by Ryan on November 30, 2012

We have a sweet variety of kid-made, eco-friendly and handmade items for sale at the Bazaar tomorrow.

Here’s our growing list of goodies:

* ALPHA T-Shirts
* Felt Decorations (animals, fairies, monsters)
* Greeting Cards
* Flower Jewellery (pins, earrings, rings)
* Wildflower Seed Bombs
* Crochet Dishcloths
* Knitted Scarves
* Cloth Gift Bags
* Curry Lentil Soup-in-a-Jar with Beeswax Cloth (a re-useable alternative to plastic wrap)
* Buttons
* Bubble Blowers
* Bicycle Colouring Books
* and more!

Check out the details in our previous post about our annual Bazaar!

ALPHA Bazaar – December 1, 2012

Posted by Ryan on November 13, 2012

40 years of re-using and re-purposing:

Annual ALPHA School Bazaar Offers Green Families an eco-friendly shopping and eating adventure

Kids need stuff, sometimes lots and lots of stuff. For almost 40 years our school community has hosted the ALPHA Alternative School Bazaar offering families eco-friendly relief from the expensive gifts, toys and clothing that kids need.

ALPHA Alternative School is excited to announce its annual Bazaar and Café. Offering previously loved clothing (children’s and adult) toys, house wares, books, giftware, baked goods and handmade crafts, this annual fundraiser offers something for everyone, at a suggested admission price of $2.

The Bazaar will be held:

December 1st, 2012

11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre

427 Bloor Street West (near Spadina), Toronto

Benefiting the School’s programs and activities, the Bazaar has become a favourite for savvy, frugal, eco-shoppers. “The Bazaar is truly a shopping adventure. It is amazing to see items being past from family to family. The ALPHA Café offers a delicious vegan lunch and snack menu, where tired shoppers can relax with a cup of gourmet coffee after searching out their treasures,” explains ALPHA parent Emily Paradis. “And for those difficult-to-shop-for members of the family, the Bazaar has a Unique Boutique where shoppers will find unusual, memorable and vintage gifts that you won’t find anywhere else!”

Watch this site and for updates.