Please see below a letter to the editor of Professionally Speaking in response to their December 2019 issue.
York Region District School Board serves over 127,000 students and employs over 15,000 staff members. It is the third largest publicly funded school board in Ontario and serves one of the most diverse regions in Canada. We are proud of this diversity and value the many and often intersecting social identities our students and staff members represent. Furthermore, we believe that each and every member of our school board community, regardless of social identity, deserves to feel safe, welcome and supported in our schools and workplaces. They also need to see themselves and their real lived experiences in the curriculum and lessons.
Educators have a duty to ensure classrooms are supportive and reflective of students’ identities so that students may be resilient, confident and develop a strong sense of well-being. When we intentionally remove barriers and enhance supports for historical and systematically underserved and underperforming students - all students benefit.
All students, staff and community members matter and belong in the York Region District School Board. To be clear, persons of all genders, sexual orientations, faiths and identities matter and belong.
We strongly believe in championing equity and inclusivity and put students at the centre of all that we do. Our board has focused our efforts to develop leading strategies to better serve students who are marginalized. Staff will continue on this successful path to enable student success and to ensure York Region District School Board remains a leader in this work.
All of us must aim to better serve students and eliminate systemic barriers. It is vital Professionally Speaking reflects the values of public education and the best interests of all of our students. Our communities, staff members and, most importantly, our students depend on us.
Louise Sirisko Corrie McBain
Director of Education Board Chair