Authors: The Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement & Research and Development, Toronto District School Board
The TDSB partnership with the ARD focuses on ensuring Black students obtain successful learning experiences in schools. The partnership focuses on two specific related but distinct initiatives in TDSB:
- The Black Student Success and Excellence (BSSE) Initiative
- The Pre-Kindergarten Summer Learning Program
This mid-year report provides an overview of the actions taken within the initiatives in core areas. Reported outcomes include:
- A podcast series, launched February 2021, comprising a collection of audio episodes on topics related to Equity, Anti-Racism, and Anti-Oppression in education.
- Implementation of the Debt in Adolescent Literacy (DIAL) Program, which focuses on collaborative inquiries at the school level. The goals of the program are to use a culturally relevant and responsive approach to literacy teaching that nurtures and affirms students’ racial, cultural, and reader identities in multiple content areas; supporting the reader in building a positive reading identity through explicit strategy and skill development that is contextualized and encouraging students and educators to take a critical stance, to respond or to take action as they engage in the critical analysis and evaluation of text as it relates to issues of equity, power, and social justice.
- Initiatives have been underway to support numeracy development and academic success in mathematics for Black students in the TDSB. Schools have undertaken collaborative inquiries to infuse social justice issues into elementary and secondary mathematics programs. Disrupting academic streaming in secondary mathematics is also well underway in the TDSB. Finally, there has been an emphasis on professional learning focused on differentiated instruction, universal design for learning, and culturally responsive pedagogy in mathematics across all secondary school mathematics lead teachers to built system capacity in these areas so that math teaching and programming honours and leverages the lived experience of Black students and is more inclusive for all.
- As part of the ongoing professional learning within the BSSE, a three-part series focusing on building the critical consciousness of administrators to address, and interrupt and disrupt issues of anti-Black racism at their schools and site of practice is being offered within the system.
- Dr. Carl James, York University’s Jean Augustine Chair, has been engaging in parent engagement workshops across the BSSE schools
- The 2021 Pre-Kindergarten program has been expanded this summer.
- Twenty students participated every Saturday in Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), in collaboration with Toronto universities, to further the development of Black student focused leadership programs.
- The TDSB has hired a Research Coordinator who is leading upcoming Black focussed conversations tied to unpacking the mandates of The Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement and co-development of the Black Students’ Summer Leadership Program.