Transform Student Learning
- We will provide all students with positive, supportive learning environments that have high expectations and enable them to reach their full potential as valuable and contributing members of society.
- We will work actively to ensure that communication, critical thinking & problem solving, collaboration & leadership, global citizenship & character, creativity, inquiry and entrepreneurship are embedded in all learning, beginning in the early years. On a foundation of literacy and math, students will deal with issues such as environmental sustainability, poverty and social justice in order for them to develop compassion, empathy and solutions to challenging problems.
- We will use technology thoughtfully to ensure that students develop both digital fluency and the ability to build healthy relationships with classmates and adults.
- Deep Learning: Global Competencies
Students engage in Deep Learning when they are given opportunities to use higher-order thinking skills including critical thinking, reasoning, communication, analysis and problem solving. These skills are known as global competencies, and building these competencies leads to improved engagement and better outcomes for students.
The TDSB will assess how Global Competencies are currently being taught in TDSB schools, and explore new opportunities, including through the responsible use of technology and the expansion of experiential learning through co-operative education placements.
- Deep Learning: Mathematics
The TDSB is focusing new efforts on ensuring students develop strong math skills.
We will train our teachers and school leaders to use instructional tools that are proven to work, and to use assessment tools that give a meaningful sense of student learning. Newly established counsellors will work with students in Grades 6 through 8 to close gaps in math knowledge, and parents will be able to access new math help resources through the TDSB’s webpage.
These efforts will support the improvement of EQAO scores at all grade levels, and will be informed by ongoing feedback from working groups of parents, teachers, students and administrators.
- Deep Learning: Literacy
Strong literacy skills are the foundation of global competencies like collaboration, communication, leadership and problem solving. That is why the TDSB is introducing new strategies for closing the achievement gaps in literacy.
These include introducing new counsellors to work with students in Grade 6 through 8 to work on their literacy skills, improving professional learning and collaboration amongst teachers and improving awareness of culturally relevant classroom practices.
- Early Years – Literacy and Numeracy
It is our goal that all TDSB students, regardless of background or social identity, will be able to read with confidence and enjoyment by Grade 1. And then, by Grade 2, have foundational skills and concepts in mathematics.
We will strategically allocate Early Reading Coaches to schools most in need of assistance, and pilot a program that provides specially trained speech and language pathologists to work in kindergarten and Grade 1 classrooms.
And we will create a renewed focus on the early math concepts in learning plans, supported by school system leaders.
- Inclusion/Special Education
Students deserve an open and inclusive learning environment that recognizes that most students can be effectively served within their own community school.
The TDSB will build the capacity of its educators to support students with special needs in the most inclusive ways, and to create and use effective Individual Education Plans. This will be supported through the establishment of Inclusion Coaches, who will be responsible for supporting teachers to respond to the individual strengths and needs of students.
While the Board will continue to provide intensive support programs for those students with the most specialized learning needs, we will work to decrease that number, particularly for those students in Grades 4 to 8, and will work to increase employment opportunities for students with low incidence exceptionalities, including physical and intellectual disabilities, low vision and hard of hearing.
Importantly, this work will be done in close collaboration with parents, who will be engaged effectively in decision-making processes regarding their child’s program placement and well-being.
- Suspensions, Expulsions and Restorative Practices
Our school environments need to be safe and welcoming spaces for all students. That is why the Board will be working to reduce the number of students who are suspended and expelled from school each year and focus instead on restorative practices.
This means that instead of focusing on punishing individual students, we will focus on repairing relationships between students and within the school community.
At the same time, we will be tracking suspension and expulsion data, to understand trends and patterns and most effectively implement anti-racism and anti-oppression principles to our discipline policies.
- Grade 9 and 10 Academic
We believe that every student can succeed, and over the next three years we will work to support the majority of Grade 9 and 10 students to study academic-level courses. Much of this work will be focused on encouraging more students to enrol in academic-level math, and will be done in close collaboration with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.
We know we will have to start early. Classroom interventions to support this strategy will start as early as Grade 4, and Grade 7 and 8 students and parents will benefit from new resources they can access at home.
An important part of this exercise will begin this fall and continue through the winter of 2019, as we examine whether class sizes can be adjusted to better meet the needs of students in this context.
- Indigenous Education
The impact of colonization and public schooling on Indigenous communities is ongoing, and there remain knowledge gaps among staff and students about the history, culture and contemporary reality of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The TDSB will work with Indigenous communities to close those gaps, including professional learning for trustees, senior staff, principals and vice-principals, teachers and guidance counsellors at the board, among others.
The Board will also organize an annual Indigenous Mental Health and Well-Being Conference, and create an updated Land Acknowledgement.
- Toward Excellence in the Education of Black Students: Transforming Learning, Achievement and Well-Being – Leadership Development
Leaders and aspiring leaders within the TDSB will be supported by professional learning about anti-racism and anti-oppression. This training will be mandatory for principals and vice-principals.
It will form the basis of how we drive improvement in our schools because when students of diverse abilities and backgrounds feel welcomed and embraced, when they see themselves reflected in the decision-making of teachers and leadership, they are more engaged, happier, and ready to learn.
Superintendents will be responsible for monitoring our progress in improving outcomes for Black students and other vulnerable groups.
Diversity at the staff level will be supported by providing professional learning to all managers and supervisors to ensure competency in equity and human rights are embedded in our hiring practices and that barriers to fair hiring are eliminated.
- Toward Excellence in the Education of Black Students: Transforming Learning, Achievement and Well-Being – Pathways and Transitions
In order to improve outcomes for Black students and other vulnerable student groups, new attention will be focused on transitions in and out of high school and pathways to post-secondary education and employment.
We will work to increase the engagement of Black newcomer and refugee students and their parents in academic pathway decisions, including course choices and timetables, and inform them about programming options such as alternative schools.
And we will curate and co-develop with educators and community partners a repertoire of culturally responsive strategies, curriculum supports and community partnerships to ensure students see themselves reflected in their learning environments.
- Toward Excellence in the Education of Black Students: Transforming Learning, Achievement and Well-Being – Special Education
High expectations for learning lead to better academic outcomes, but also to improved well-being for students. This is why the Board is taking steps to address the overrepresentation of Black students in special education programs.
Board leaders will be supported by professional learning that promotes inclusive models of education and that deepens their awareness of anti-Black racism, critical disabilities and culturally relevant teaching practices.
In addition, we will identify models for success within the TDSB schools where inclusion and high expectations for learning have contributed to the well-being of all students, and create opportunities for those schools to share their models with other schools.
- Toward Excellence in the Education of Black Students: Transforming Learning, Achievement and Well-Being – Suspensions and Expulsions
As we work to reduce the number of students that are suspended and expelled from school each year, the Board will focus its efforts on racialized students, who are overrepresented in those numbers.
This will mean confronting and challenging unconscious bias within our schools, and working closely with principals and superintendents to problem solve and ensure that Black students are treated equitably.
This strategy will be closely informed by data, and shaped in close collaboration with community partners.
- Toward Excellence in the Education of Black Students: Transforming Learning, Achievement and Well-Being – Early Years
Students and their parents need to be given opportunities to build positive relationships, and to feel a sense of belonging within their school communities. The TDSB is going to provide professional learning to school leaders so that they can help remove barriers to Black parents becoming partners in their school communities, and better engage them in student learning.
The board will also begin work to expand Africentric and other culturally relevant pre-kindergarten programming, as a way of improving school readiness and school entry transitions for young Black students.