to Alpha!

ALPHA’s Admissions Open House

Posted by Emily on January 11, 2018

Interested in attending ALPHA Alternative School?

SDSC04772tep right up to our Admissions Open House on

Thursday, February 1, 2018 — 6-8pm

This event will be held at 20 Brant St (near King/Spadina) in Toronto.

Tours will be from 6-7pm, followed by a presentation and Q&A at 7pm.

You must attend the Open House in order to register for our admissions lottery.

For more information, please call us at 416-393-1880.

Join us at the 44th Annual Bazaar! Sat Dec 9 at ALPHA

Posted by Emily on December 7, 2017


Join us for our WONDERFAIR.

A wonderous winter way to celebrate ALPHA, we’ve been waiting 44 years to host at the school!

There will be crafts, face painting, entertainment, food (including the famous ALPHA roti), community raffle and a bargain basement full of kids clothing, books and toys!

All the things you’ve come to love at our bazaar wonderously enhanced. $10/person, $20/family or pay what you can. Admission includes tickets for activities and raffle.

ALPHA’s Envelope Campaign!

Posted by Emily on November 14, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 5.40.23 PM

Dear families and friends of ALPHA students, past & present,

Thank you for being part of our extended Alpha community! We are immensely grateful to be part of a school that since 1972, has been encouraging Toronto kids to develop autonomy, creativity, healthy conflict resolution skills and social responsibility through democratic education. ALPHA kids never cease to amaze us in their ability to freely express their passions and interests.

From now until the end of November, is the ALPHA Envelope Campaign, our biggest annual fundraiser! We’re asking for your financial support and for your help spreading the word. Talk to your families and friends, whomever you can, about supporting ALPHA!

ALPHA Parent Fund is a great cause! Contributions will fund:
• Classroom and community support from our amazing Volunteer Coordinator;
• Visits by classroom guests like the celebrated poet Duke Redbird or the Jumblies Theatre troupe;
• School trips to locations like the Ontario Science Centre or Itah Sadu’s “A Different Booklist”;
• And more!

For lots more info, check out this FAQ.

If you are able, click to donate online now! We’re all too busy to remember to do it later.

The reality is, not all of us can afford to donate, or have the wealth-connections to fundraise a donation from our extended families/communities. For those of us that can, how about donating $500 for the year? Broken down over the 10-month school year, this works out to about $1.67 a day; you could think of it as donating one coffee or tea every day to ALPHA!

Any amount is very much appreciated; from $5 to $5000, every one helps us reach our goal.

Thank you for all that you do for ALPHA!
Tania (Oscar Bean), Reno (Milosh), Rachel (Griffin) & Margot (Zion & Mia),
Envelope Campaign parent volunteers

All contributions are voluntary and confidential. ALPHA’s “Parent Fund” is registered charity, created in 1976 by parents to support the school. It meets Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requirements. The Parent Fund is managed by our Finance committee volunteer parents, Urszula (Tyrus & Iza), Babette (Kahero) & Rachel (Aiden & Ruby). As a school community, we set the budget together by consensus at our monthly Parent meeting. The 2017-18 draft budget, to be finalized at November Parent meeting, is $17,500. You will receive a tax receipt for any monetary donation.

P.S. Dear current ALPHA families,
Year after year, some families don’t respond to this fundraising campaign because they haven’t heard about it! We are working hard to reach everyone! Please respond and let us know we’ve reached you. Thanks thanks thanks!


Fill out the short form online, here:
OR fill out a paper copy (available in the front stairwell at school) and return to Uncle Fred, the locked box beside the mail tubes on the first floor, near the kitchen

***SAVE THE DATE! Come and celebrate the magic of Alpha with food, music, crafts and activities at our Winter Fair, Saturday Dec 9th, 11-4 at ALPHA, 20 Brant St.

ALPHA’s IndieKIDZ Fundraiser is June 4!

Posted by Emily on May 31, 2017

Indie Kids Poster 2017

Feb 2: Information Night for Teachers and Families!

Posted by Emily on January 16, 2017


An ALPHA Alternative Elementary School teacher is retiring … we will miss you, Steve!

Teachers who are interested in working at ALPHA, Toronto’s oldest elementary alternative school and the city’s only public democratic free school, are invited to attend an:

Information Night
Thursday, February 2nd at 5.30 pm
at ALPHA Alternative School
20 Brant Street, near King and Spadina

(Please RSVP by calling the school at 416-393-1880)

This is a chance to meet current teachers, students, and parents. You will learn more about our wonderful school and have a change to ask questions about what it’s like to work at ALPHA. Note that any teacher applicants to ALPHA must be on the TDSB “eligible to hire” list; we expect a position will be posted in the hiring rounds this spring to start in September 2017.

Between 6 and 8pm, we invite you to stay for our Admissions Information Night where prospective families come to learn about the school.

We look forward to seeing you on February 2nd!

Missed our Free School Panel? Watch it here:

Posted by Emily on December 19, 2016


It was an honour for us to host a webinar with Chris Mercogliano (Albany Free School) and Meghan Carrico with David Gagnon (Windsor House) in conversation with ALPHA staff and moderated by our wonderful archivist, Deb O’Rourke.

Check out the webcast archive online:

Note: You need a flash plug-in to view. It takes a minute to load. The panel begins a few minutes into the video.


Panel – Free Schooling at the Elementary Level – Join our Webinar!

Posted by Emily on December 8, 2016


Best Practices at ALPHA and Beyond

Thursday, December 8th, 6-8pm at ALPHA
online broadcast starts 6:30pm EST at

Everyone in the ALPHA community (staff, families, administrators) are more than welcome to attend. Exciting guests will (virtually) be present and exciting soup will (non-virtually) be served to in-person guests.

Panelists include:

Chris Mercogliano, former teacher and director of the ALBANY FREE SCHOOL and author of Making It Up As We go Along well as many other books on education)

Meghan Carrico, former teacher and current director of WINDSOR HOUSE (a Canadian public free school in Vancouver)

David Gagnon, current teacher at WINDSOR HOUSE


Members of our own beloved ALPHA TEACHING COMMUNITY

Moderator: Deb O’Rourke, former ALPHA Volunteer Coordinator and author of SEEDS of Democracy in Canada and and Defending a Democratic Public Education Site
Please click the links above for more information; you can also watch a documentary about the Albany Free School here.

Sonya and Deb are gathering questions for the panelists. Make sure to add yours to the list! You can do so at this link. 

In addition, please note that there is now a display in the ALPHA Library with resources on the free schooling movement (including Chris’ books and DVD copies of the Albany Free School Documentary). Please take advantage of these as you are able! We are also working to arrange a screening of the Albany Free School documentary next week and after school; details on this to be posted ASAP.

We are looking forward to seeing some of you next week (be it in person or in cyberspace :))

Fall FUNraiser! Come one, come all!

Posted by Emily on November 13, 2016


ALPHA’s Day of the Dead

Posted by Emily on November 3, 2016



dsc_0539Here are some photos of ALPHA’s gorgeous altar in honour of the Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is a non-religious Mesoamerican tradition celebrated by several ALPHA families.

Thank you to vocalist Rosy Cervantes for a captivating performance and to our parents who organized everything from baking bread and building the altar to giving a wonderful presentation for the entire school. Thank you!

Walking and Talking Treaties Art Exhibit, featuring Big Kids work

Posted by Emily on April 12, 2016


Walking and Talking Treaties
GINGKO SISTAS, ALPHA Alternative School and Jumblies Theatre
April 14 – May 7, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 14, 5 – 8 pm

Walking and Talking Treaties is a collaboration between GINKGO SISTAS, ALPHA Alternative School and Jumblies Theatre for Images Festival 2016. Comprised of 30 individual pairs of handmade shoes, a video and four fabric hangings, it focuses on the legacy of treaties. One shoe per pair shares the student’s learning about indigenous history and experience with treaties, and the second represents their own family’s history.

Collectively, Walking and Talking Treaties demonstrates commitment to make visible connections as accomplices between indigenous, immigrant and settler communities.


GINKGO SISTAS is a collective by Anishnaabe artist Maria Hupfield and Chinese Canadian educator Emily Chan in Toronto. We create socially engaged projects that highlight the responsibility of voice and necessity of communal dialogue. Our name comes from the Ginkgo tree: a ‘living fossil’, and the sole survivor of an ancient group of trees.

Jumblies, founded by Ruth Howard, makes art in ordinary and extraordinary places, with for and about the people and stories found there. Jumblies artists involved in creating this project include: Marianne Alas, Mackenzie Konecny, Adrienne Marcus Raja, Liam Coo, Parker Dirks, Karis Jones Pard, Rhonda Lucy, Nikki Shaffeellah, Ange Loft and others.

ALPHA Alternative is Toronto’s oldest public alternative elementary school, founded in 1972. Located near King/Spadina, it upholds the values of democratic education in promoting a lifelong love of learning.