As a school board, our priorities are set out in the Board of Trustees’ Multi-Year Strategic Plan. To achieve those priorities, the Director’s Action Plan sets out five goals that align with the strategic plan and our Board’s Mission, Vision and Values.
The Director’s Action Plan goals focus on raising the achievement of students who are underserved and underperforming. This is in line with concepts in the Ministry of Education’s Learning for All, which outlines that “assistance targeted at a specific group can help everyone.” When we focus on raising the achievement and well-being of students who are underserved and underperforming, all students benefit.
To raise the achievement and well-being of students who are underserved and underperforming, we are inspired and committed to:
Well-Being and Mental Health
Goal: Build safe, healthy and inclusive learning and working environments where all feel they matter and belong.
Equity and Inclusivity
Goal: Build Understanding of Anti-Oppression, Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy and the Ongoing Impact of Colonialism.
Effective Instruction and Assessment
Goal: Provide effective instruction and assessment that reflect students' identities, lived experiences, strengths, needs and interests.
Goal: Build trust and collaborative relationships with students, families and staff by developing shared solutions through respectful communication and responsive actions.
Goal: Build a shared understanding of Ethical Leadership that elevates student, staff, family and community voice.
High Level Articulation of supports, professional learning and resources that schools and departments can access to support their improvement work.
- Continue to focus on the implementation of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy and associated learning activities.
- Implement system-wide learning connected to “Miss, Dismiss and Avoid”.
- Expand Youth S.P.A.C.E to 50 additional schools.
- Implement the Ministry mandated Health and Physical EducationMental Health lessons for all students in grades 7 and 8.
- Continue to focus on the implementation of the Indigenous Education and Equity Strategy at the system, school and classroom levels.
- Continue to implement the Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Strategy to support actions at the system, school and class level by focusing on:
- Bold leadership and System Practices.
- Culturally Relevant Teaching and Learning Outcomes.
- Black Affirming Environments and Community Engagement .
- Introduce the Dismantling Hate and Oppression Framework and the Anti-Asian Racism report and develop a responsive action plan.
- Continue to create professional resources and develop learning opportunities to support the use of effective identity-affirming, anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and anti-colonial practices, processes, and strategies.
- Introduce and implement the revised Ontario Language Curriculum in alignment with the YRDSB Comprehensive Literacy Framework.
- Continue with the implementation of YRDSB’s K-12 De Streaming Plan at the classroom and school level.
- Continue to focus on Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy.
- Implement the Mathematics Action Plan supporting the use of evidence informed strategies and approaches to address local learning needs in schools.
- Identify and remove barriers to engaging families and communities that are marginalized (e.g., access to technology, translators, language barriers).
- Develop resources and learning opportunities to support schools and departments with inclusive approaches for engaging community.
- Develop and foster community partnerships with culturally relevant agencies and organizations, religious institutions, etc.
- Continue to provide leadership opportunities to build competency and critical consciousness.
- Continue to implement the Actions for Leaders from YRDSB’s Leadership Framework to inform and engage with colleagues, students, parents, families and communities.
- Continue to engage with parents, families and community as valued partners in student achievement and well-being.
- Continue to support Student Trustees, York Region President’s Council to increase and promote opportunities for YRDSB student leadership and student voice at the elementary and secondary levels.
What Have We Done?
- Prioritize and support the mental health and well-being of students by:
- implementing and monitoring priority actions outlined in the Student Mental Health and Addictions Strategy: A Holistic Approach to Mental Health Within Us, Between Us, Around Us
- understanding counteracting the oppressive ideologies which create barriers to mental health for racialized and/or marginalized students by implementing the ABC’s of Mental Health Lesson extensions for K-12 students;
- providing access to and promoting linguistically, culturally, and racially relevant and responsive services by:
- engaging in partnerships and collaborations with an expanded list of diverse
identified childrens’ mental health organizations and other associated organizations.
- Prioritize and support the mental health and well-being of staff by:
- promoting feelings of mattering and belonging through positive relationship building amongst staff, students and community.
- Prioritize the creation of identity-affirming spaces and practices that are inclusive of all communities, free of racism and hate by:
- developing supportive relationships with students, families and community members;
- using culturally reflective and responsive resources in schools and workplaces;
- reviewing curriculum implementation/long range plans/courses of study and learning materials (e.g., using the Text Selection Tool); and
- selecting and supplementing resources so that all students see their true selves, the contributions of their communities, and the diversity of society reflected in what and how they are learning;
- Implementing the discriminatory slurs and statements protocol and continued use of the Protocol for Addressing Incidents of Hate and/or Discrimination; and
- implementing and monitoring priority actions outlined in the DABRS.
- Use an anti-oppressive framework to design culturally responsive and identity-affirming learning environments, experiences and assessments that are flexible, relevant and authentic by:
- focusing on excellence of all students;
- reflecting prior knowledge, lived experiences and multiple ways of knowing;
- supporting instructional entry points for learning; and
- promoting reciprocal and collaborative partnerships with educators, students and families.
- Establish, communicate and maintain a culture of high expectations for all students, in all courses by:
- using data about programs and processes to reveal biases and oppression within our schools that support or impede student experiences and outcomes;
- believing that all students can achieve high expectations; and
- providing actionable feedback that guides a student to where and how a student can improve their learning and work.
- Identify and dismantle barriers that families and students experience and build safe and welcoming environments for all by:
- hiring translators to support language barriers;
- developing and fostering community partnerships with culturally relevant agencies and organizations, religious institutions, etc.
- inviting students, staff, families and communities that are marginalized to ask questions, engage in dialogue and discourse, and co-construct shared understandings in authentic ways; and
- engaging with Information and Technology Services to support access to learning.
- Engage in ongoing communication and relationship building with students, families and staff in planning and decision making by:
- understanding and centring the needs, interests and lived experiences of marginalized students, staff, families and communities;
- engaging in self-reflective practices in order to centre the lived experiences of our underserved families and students.
- ensuring students, staff, families and community have ongoing, equitable access to information using multiple modalities to connect, guide planning and inform decision making.
- Use the Actions for Leaders in the YRDSB Leadership Framework to support self-reflection and self-assessment for the purposes of discussing ethical practices and leadership growth by:
- expanding the YRDSB Leadership Framework Self-Assessment tool to include corporate management and professional staff; and
- supporting all staff in seeing themselves in the YRDSB Leadership Framework Actions for Leaders.
- Use the Actions for Leaders in the YRDSB Leadership Framework to frame and support open discussions about ethical practices in support of students, families, and communities by:
- supporting School Councils to remove barriers by including diverse family and community voices, e.g., PRO Grants application development;
- creating a collaborative space for all School Council Chairs/Co-Chairs to connect;
- inviting members of School Council to School Council Forums in collaboration with local PEAC member and Trustees; and
- including diverse family and community voices to address barriers and increase engagement, e.g., supporting School Councils with PRO Grants applications.
Classroom and Workplace Monitoring
What is Changing in Staff Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, Beliefs, Practice as a result of what we’ve done?
- Validate the whole child through acknowledging and honoring the student’s social identities as a means to support student mental health and well-being.
Increased Knowledge/ Understanding of:
- How environment and circumstance can impact students’ mental health.
- Universal approaches do not necessarily yield universal impact.
- The impact of social location on personal mental health and well-being.
- The resources and supports available to respond to and promote staff mental health and well-being at the individual and team level.
- Devote intentional time during the instructional day to support student mental health and well-being through the use of Positive Mental Health Daily Activities
- Implement practices and attitudes from the Caring Communities Resource (e.g., 5 Minute Chats With Individual Students, The 1st 10 Days and Beyond, and Understanding Cultural Safety - Guiding Considerations) that create a supportive experience for students as they transition back to school and through the year
- Develop ongoing opportunities for student voice and student leadership at the classroom and school levels
- Use inclusive and respectful language when communicating among staﬀ members
- Engage all staff members in ways that honour their diverse backgrounds and experiences
- Increase in the number of employees accessing staff wellness resources (e.g., Staff Well-Being Sharepoint site, Staff Well-Being Training Suite modules, wellness webinars, and EFAP)
- Schools and workplaces committing to implement the Healthy School and Workplace Action Guide 2020-2021 to promote personal and team well-being and positive relationships
- The importance of listening to and acting upon student interests and expressed needs to inform decision-making regarding policy, programs, practices and procedures
Increased Knowledge/ Understanding of:
- How power, privilege, and bias operate to advantage some students and disadvantage others
- How social identity and location are constructed and impact school and system practices
- Marginalization and its impact, both historically and currently
- The ongoing impact of colonialism on Indigenous communities
- Select/use texts and learning resources that represent a diversity of social identities, experiences and world views in identity affirming ways that do not limit choices of possible selves
- Co-construct learning, knowledge and spaces that affirm students’ identities and incorporate multiple ways of knowing
- Build learning environments that encourage students to question existing power dynamics and take action against oppression and discriminatory elements in society
- Name and respond effectively to acts of harm and incidents of identity-based hate, discrimination or bullying
- Engage in partnership with students and families to incorporate and value multiple community knowledges that decenter euro-centric ways of knowing and doing
- Analyze data (including student and community voice) using an anti-racist and anti-oppressive framework to actively seek information about students who have been marginalized in order to inform program planning and instructional practice
Staff Beliefs/ Mindset:
- See all students as capable and hold high expectations for all students, particularly those who are underserved and/or underperforming.
Increased Knowledge/ Understanding of:
- The Importance of developing deep knowledge of learners to inform responsive assessment, planning and instruction
- Culturally Responsive and Relevant Practices
- Continuums to support student development of concepts and skills, and to help understand where students are as learners and where they need to go next (e.g., ESL/ELD STEP continua, math continuums, landscapes, and/or trajectories, developmental reading assessments).
- Educators reflect on the ways in which social identities, lived experiences, power and privilege, biases and assumptions intersect with planning, instruction and assessment and seek to de-centre dominant perspectives
- Cultivate students’ mindsets that promote risk-taking, build sustained engagement in deep learning, and value mistakes as learning opportunities
- Co-construct learning opportunities that involve student collaboration and voice, invite choice, and reflect the diverse identities, strengths, needs and interests of students
- Co-construct learning opportunities that are innovative, experiential, reflective of and connected to the communities from which students come and the diversity of Canadian society.
- Co-construct learning so that problem solving, inquiry and student agency are central to the development of fundamental concepts and skills
- Differentiate learning and provide multiple entry points in order to ensure all students have access to learning
- Increased use of effective questioning, accountable/ equitable talk, prompting, and feedback as instructional strategies
- Use observations, conversations, and products/representations to document evidence of learning over time and understand students as learners
- Engage students in the assessment and learning processes through co-constructing success criteria, self-assessment, and providing feedback to their peers
- Honour and leverage the expertise of families and communities within school and department planning
Increased Knowledge/ Understanding of:
- How their social locations (e.g., social identities, power and privilege) impact building authentic relationships, and actively work to change the way they communicate with students, staff, families and communities who are marginalized
- Build safe and welcoming environments which invite students, staff, families and communities that are marginalized to ask questions, engage in dialogue and discourse, and co-construct shared understandings (e.g., facilitating conversations about mathematics and literacy learning, actively soliciting input, feedback, and concerns, creating dialogue around whose voices are heard and not heard or silenced)
- Gather input from students, staff, families and communities that are marginalized before and when making decisions to inform the direction of the system, department and/or schools
- Intentionally ensure students, staff, families and community have ongoing, equitable access to information needed to guide planning and decision making (e.g., pathways planning; school, department, and system goals and initiatives; documents and resources in accessible languages and formats)
- Respond proactively to structures and concerns that perpetuate marginalization by: using active listening; acknowledging and learning from mistakes; integrating critical feedback into future planning, practices, interactions, products and services; and being accountable to stakeholders by meeting timelines and keeping commitments
- Develop community partnerships with culturally relevant agencies and organizations, religious institutions, etc.
- The importance of self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-regulation for effective ethical leadership.
Increased Knowledge/ Understanding of:
- How social identity, personal assumptions, and biases influence personal leadership.
- The impact of anti-oppression and personal biases on students, families and staff
- Model the importance of engaging in actions and communication that develop trust.
- Are highly visible and accessible to family and community members to understand their unique strengths and needs.
- Build collaborative, professional, and productive relationships with key stakeholders.
- Create school and workplace procedures, practices and spaces that intentionally engage families, guardians, communities and Elders to increase the voice of marginalized communities