Message from the Director of Education (Interim)
For the 2021-2022 school year, York Region District School Board continued to provide programs and services to meet the needs of all our learners and families. With over 126,000 students in 180 elementary and 33 secondary schools, the achievement and well-being of students remained a top priority.
To serve the needs of students and families who could not or preferred not to return to in-person learning during COVID, YRDSB mobilized resources and services to offer both a virtual elementary and secondary school option for learners. Together, staff and educators worked to deliver quality classroom instruction in both virtual and face-to-face environments throughout the 2021-2022 school year.
In addition, staff continued to deliver on action items in the Director’s Action Plan. Work was undertaken to identify and remove systemic barriers faced by staff and students, in particular those faced by underserved and underperforming students.
In 2021-2022, YRDSB launched the new Centre for Black Student Excellence, a space committed to the promotion of dismantling anti-Black racism. The centre aims to eliminate barriers that YRDSB data shows have resulted in disparities of achievement and well-being for Black students. The centre launched with a new website hub that provides access to resources, programs and information designed to eliminate anti-Black racism while celebrating Black excellence. The hub is part of YRDSB’s ongoing work to implement the actions outlined in the Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Strategy.
Work to build a broader understanding of the ongoing impact of colonialism resulted in our February announcement that, beginning in 2023-2024, all students in York Region District School Board will take Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices as their required Grade 11 English credit. The course is already offered as an option or replacement for Grade 11 English at many secondary schools in the board.
Also in February, the 2022 Staff Census launched to help identify systemic barriers to staff. The data collected through the staff census will be used to inform and support hiring practices that better reflect the identities of YRDSB students and address gaps in representation.
As a result of this and other work, significant progress was made throughout 2021-2022 in achieving organizational goals. I am fortunate to work with dedicated staff and trustees who demonstrate a strong commitment to student achievement and well-being. These efforts result in better outcomes for all YRDSB students and in particular those who are underserved and underperforming. I look forward to helping lead YRDSB in accomplishing its goals in 2022-2023.
Director of Education (Interim)