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Black Student Success and Excellence (BSSE) at Rawlinson Community School 2021-2022

Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Categories: Equity

Rawlinson Community School is proud to be part of the TDSB’s Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement’s Black Student Success and Excellence initiative. Due to the ongoing reality and impacts of anti-Black racism, Rawlinson remains steadfast in its commitment to create the conditions for the academic success, achievement, and well-being of Black students. We, as a school, recognize that this requires the collective efforts of administration, staff, families and caregivers, students, and the broader community.

Black Student Success and Excellence Inquiry: In what ways might we cultivate the necessary conditions to support building positive racial identity within instructional programming to promote the achievement and well-being of Black students and disrupt deficit narratives rooted within anti-Black racism?

Here are some intentional learning experiences and initiatives inspired by the voices and lived experiences of Black students, families, and staff at Rawlinson Community School:

  • Students: Through the guidance and support of teachers, Bianca Layne and Mandisa Bromfield, Rawlinson initiated its first Black Student Alliance for Grades 1-8. The Rawlinson Black Student Alliance seeks to cultivate spaces to affirm students’ racial identity and voice.
  • Families and Caregivers: In collaboration with Freedom School Toronto, families participated in a three-part series entitled: How to Talk to Your Kids About Race and Racism. Further opportunities included a conversation on “Why Black?” providing comprehensive data on Black student achievement, and the development of an Affinity Space for Black Families, on a regular basis for families who self-identify as Black. Rawlinson continues to advance our Rawlinson's Black Excellence Speaker Series to highlight excellence within Black communities. This series included the Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine, Dwayne Morgan, Dr. Juliet Daniel, Stephanie Croisière, and Assistant Deputy Minister David Mitchell. The speakers come from a range of backgrounds such as medical science, politics, law, public policy, and the arts.
  • Staff: monthly committee discussions to examine successful teaching and learning practices rooted in culturally relevant, responsive, and anti-oppressive practices. These conversations highlight student learning experiences, and discuss strategies to interrupt, disrupt and address harmful and discriminatory comments, actions, and behaviours. Staff also participated in various synchronous and asynchronous opportunities facilitated by Early Reading Coaches, Mandisa Bromfield and Tara Waters, Student Equity Program Advisory, Chelsea Takalo and Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement staff.

Rawlinson’s leadership team with Principal Lorelei Eccleston and Vice-Principals Ken Santos and Louise Reis-Bertini, are deeply committed to dismantling anti-Black racism. In partnership with Rawlinson students, Black families, school staff, Black community leaders and allies, and the Centre of Excellence of Black Student Achievement, we are collectively striving to advocate for Black students, eliminate systemic barriers, and consistently put students at the forefront of our work.

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