The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has been a leader in promoting equitable and inclusive practices within its schools. In recent years, public attention has focused on the fact that many schools across the district are named after individuals whose historical legacies no longer represent the values and perspectives of our students and communities.
On April 21, 2021, the Board of Trustees voted to establish a special reference group comprised of students, parents/guardians/caregivers, TDSB educators, community members, appropriate qualified experts and individuals involved in anti-racism work to propose amendments to policy P047 and procedure PR592 - Naming Schools and Special Purpose Areas - so that school naming or renaming can be made from time to time. The reference group, which has met several times since the fall of 2021, has also provided a proposal for a city-wide review of all school names so that TDSB schools reflect the diversity of Toronto.
In submitting an initial report to staff for consideration, the Reference Committee has made a number of recommendations with regard to the creation of a city-wide school naming review that includes the following pieces:
- Recommend that the following schools engage in the renaming process immediately: Sir John A MacDonald CI, Ryerson Community School and Dundas JPS
- Create a 5-year renaming plan
- Determine a specific number of schools to rename each year
- Establish a framework for students/parents/staff or community members to request a school name change
- Explore a partnership with the City of Toronto to support a historical understanding of school names as the renaming process is undertaken
- Provide resources to underserved communities when they are going through the process of school renaming
- Ensure opportunities for education are provided to students and the wider community as they engage in the renaming process
- Center the voices of the students, families and communities who make up the school population when engaging in the renaming process
It's important to note that recommendations of the Reference Committee will be reviewed by a staff working group and then staff recommendations will be presented to the Governance and Policy Committee and the Board of Trustees for approval later in the school year.