Toronto District School Board

Access and Secondary Program Review

What is Our Equity Goal?

  • Increasing equity of access and opportunity for all students in all schools. 
  • Engaging student participation through the review process and reflecting student voice in programming decisions. 

How Have We Started To Achieve It?

  • Designed consultation format and developed guiding questions to engage students in a conversation about the Secondary Program Review which will determine the conditions required to create exemplary secondary school learning environments that provide: equity of access, engagement and inspiration, pathway planning that positions students for success and results in equity of outcomes and programs that are creative and innovative.
  • Hosted four Student Voice Consultation Sessions – one in each Learning Centre – to understand the focus of the review and how students could engage their peers. 
  • Trained students to host their own Speak-Up Forum to broaden the outreach with secondary students. 
  • Initiated a year-long collaborative inquiry involving 16 schools to actively engage with each other and provide support around Delayed Pathways. This included learning first-hand from schools that have already successfully de-streamed their programs.

What Have We Learned?

 We have deepened our understanding about the possibilities and potential for de-streaming – where all Grade 9 students take core courses at the Academic level – and are continuing to use this as an opportunity to understand what we can do as a system to support this.

Student Voice – Comments from Student Voice Consultation Sessions:

  • Choice of Program - This ranges from choice of course content to method of delivery, students are asking for more comprehensive choices than what has traditionally been available. There was a focus on personal finance, skills that are immediately relevant in the lives of students at a young age. 
  • Quality of Instruction - We have heard many comments about the quality of instruction. Students also mentioned favoritism in class and some gender inequity; lack of differentiation that is meaningful; teacher seen as holder of knowledge and a gatekeeper to next level, but not necessarily a partner for students. 
  •  Access to Opportunity - This includes physical access to all aspects of school and learning, and also access in terms of all students receiving the same opportunities, as opposed to what currently happens - only the "chosen few" are selected, leaving others out consistently. 
  • Focus on Equity- Students appreciate the recent focus on equity in schools, but want to see this go deeper and be more inclusive. Not enough has happened to get our schools into a truly equitable place, and they know it, and they want to know how to improve this.

What’s Next? 

  • Review and implement changes to the admission procedures for all specialized schools/programs. 
  • Review access to French programs across the TDSB. 
  • Assess impact of the de-streaming initiative that is currently underway in a number of TDSB secondary schools through the Structured Pathways project. 
  • Partner with postsecondary institutions to expand Dual Credit programming in all our secondary schools. 
  • Disseminate report on Student Voice and confirm next steps. 
  • Report on Student Voice and program scan in every secondary school.
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