One of our top priorities as a school board is creating an environment that enables our students to focus on learning and be successful. That means creating environments where students are safe and feel safe, where all of our students know that they are welcome and supported, and where they see their identities reflected, valued and celebrated.
Championing Equity and Inclusivity
Championing Equity and Inclusivity is one of the priorities outlined in the Board of Trustees’ Multi-Year Strategic Plan. We are fortunate to live in one of the most diverse regions of Canada, and welcome students, staff and families with a broad range of identities and experiences. There has been much work underway at the Board in the past few months to ensure we are providing all of our students with a safe, equitable and inclusive learning environment, including:
Providing Board-wide training for over 12,000 school staff on anti-Black racism.
- Bringing together over 250 students and staff at our annual SpeakOut conference for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
- Acknowledging Treaties Recognition Week, and learning about the importance of treaties and treaty relationships in Canada from First Nations community members.
- Hosting a labour market information night for parents to learn about current and future career opportunities and employment trends.
- Bringing together hundreds of members of the education community for three days of learning focused on Indigenous Education and Equity at our world-renowned Quest conference.
This is in addition to the ongoing work taking place in our schools. It is also important that our families know and feel that they are a valued, respected and important part of our school community. We recently held regional school council forums that brought together school council members from across the region to learn and share together on important topics such as engaging families, vaping and more. It was wonderful to see so many family members there.
The Board of Trustees was also pleased to receive and commit to taking action on the recommendations in response to the Anti-Black Racism, Antisemitism, Classism and Islamophobia community consultations.
With the winter weather already upon us, I also want to remind families that school transportation may be cancelled on extreme cold or inclement weather days, and there may be rare occasions when emergency weather conditions result in school closures. To ensure families are aware, last month, we tested a new system to send text messages to families in emergency situations only. Information about transportation cancellations and school closures will also be available on Board and school websites, Board social media channels and local media.
Many of our students and families will be celebrating days of significance and holidays in the coming weeks and months, and I wish you all the very best for the season. I hope everyone has a safe and happy winter break and we look forward to welcoming students back in January.
Trustee, Markham Ward 1/Vaughan Ward 5