Centre for Black Student Excellence Newsletter - February 2023

Black History Month!

Centre for Black Student Excellence

We invite you to explore our new online presence at www.yrdsb.ca/blackexcellence to:

  • Access videos, resources and information about community partners.
  • Learn more about our work to dismantle anti-Black racism, guided by our strategy.
  • Celebrate Black excellence through video, feature stories, podcasts and more. 
  • Find out about programs available to Black students and families. 
  • Check out our new community newsletter. 
  • And much more.


YRDSB Black History Month Events for Students and Families

February 2, 2023:Virtual Storytime For the Family By Sandra Whiting
Open to All Students and Families in K-6 In person Experience Details to be shared upon registration.
Register Here

February 17, 2023: Black Excellence Program Master Class 2
Secondary Self-Identifying Black Students in YRDSB Schools.
Register Here 

February 23, 2023 9:00-2:00p.m:  In Conversation with MARKTD
Dion Walcott and Dr.D’Wayne Edwards at York University for Self-Identifying Black Students Grade 7 to 12. York University Trip - Specific Schools
Register Here 

February 24, 2023: Family Cookout with Chef Maxine Knight
Open to All: Student & Families

Virtual or in person experience details to be shared upon registration.

Register Here

February 28, 2023: Black Excellence Program
Elementary- Specific Schools
Register Here


YRDSB Black History Month Events for Staff

February 7, 2023 - AEBS Workshop featuring “Black Sun Comics”

4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Register Here

February 7, 2023 - The OSSTF D16 T/OT Black Caucus 

6:00 p.m.

An Evening with Dr. A. Campbell (Dr. ABC); “A little more oil in my lamp”: #SELFCARE and Anti-Black Racism Work - The workshop session will be open to Black identifying employees of the board–secondary and elementary panels.
Register Here 

February 8, 2023 - Building an Understanding of Anti-Black Islamophobia  

4:30 - 6:00 p.m.

A virtual workshop presented by the National Council of Canadian Muslims which will explore the interlocking impact of Anti-Blackness and Islamophobia on Black Muslim communities and Black Muslim students. 
Register Here 

February 13, 2023 - BSA Black Student Associations Drop-In Chats 

4:00pm - 5:00 p.m.

Register Here 

February 27, 2023 - In Collaboration with Curriculum Workshop

4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Sankofa Series Resources at my School.

Register Here 

YRDSB Programs

Black Excellence Program

The vision of the Black Excellence Program, (BEP), is to advance the achievement, wellbeing and sense of belonging of Black students in YRDSB schools through responsive programming that affirms their identity, builds on their strengths, and enhances their access to academic opportunities after high school. Students will have opportunities to learn from each other, experts from diverse fields, and mentors who will uplift, inspire and encourage them. 

The Center for Black Student Excellence is pleased to announce that in the 2022-2023 school year, the program will be extended to 100 students from YRDSB secondary schools who self-identify as Black or African descended. 

Please share information about the Black Excellence Program with your school community and encourage your students to sign-up for this Black-affirming experience using the BEP Registration Form.

Ascending Sisters Pilot Project

In alignment with the Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Strategy, Ascending Sisters serves as a mentorship program that connects Black girls and Black non-binary students with self-identified Black YRDSB staff (e.g., teachers, educational assistants, Child and Youth workers, support professionals, administrators). Cisgender girls, transgender girls and non binary students from grades 7-10 in selected pilot schools are all welcome to participate. Through targeted wellness, health and mentorship opportunities, students will be provided with the opportunity to develop a stronger sense of self, promote healing, increase ability to advocate, communicate
effectively and further enhance their leadership skills.

Please contact the Black Excellence Planning Team at ascendingsisters@yrdsb.ca if you have further questions.

Rise Brothers

Rise Brothers is committed to supporting Black males–elementary & secondary students–from grades 7 to 12. Through school contacts, participating schools will be asked to recommend Black male students who fit the following new criteria:

  • Black male-identified

  • Presently achieving level 2 or below (elementary) or credit deficient (secondary)

  • Have experienced attendance challenges

  • Have a problematic school discipline history 

Please take a look at our promotional video, which outlines the program’s vision and goals. 

Please contact the Black Excellence Planning Team at Blackexcellence@yrdsb.ca if you have further questions.



The Alliance of Educators for Black Students(AEBS) is committed to promoting well-being and excellence in achievement for students of African/ Caribbean heritage.  You can follow them on Twitter@AEBSyrdsb

Learn more about Black community agencies that provide supports in your area:


Upcoming Community Events

February 3, 2023 @ 6:00pm
ABC/Black History Opening Ceremony 

Enjoy a night of elegance with dinner, a silent auction, and entertainment. Thanks to our main sponsors, the Town of Aurora and TD Bank, the event is free to our everyone. Located at Corner Stone Church, 390 Industrial Pkwy S, Aurora, ON L4G 3V7

You can register at RSVP

February 17, 2023 - Paint, Poetry & Jazz Night

Black Excellence Paint Night is about building a more unified community, working together, learning and experiencing Black Joy.

It will be an elegant evening listening to poetry while painting and having a glass of wine as you flow with the Jazz. Children 10+ can also attend with an adult.

February 4, 2023 @ 10:00 am - NACCA/Black History Month 2023
We are very pleased to have planned an exciting roster of events throughout Black History Month, and are hosting a very special reception for Saturday, February 4, 2023. This year’s theme is “The Black Family: Source of Perseverance and Resilience.” The inspiration for this theme is from the writer and activist, Maya Angelou. Her phrase, “I sustain myself with the love of family” rings evermore true today. The reception will be hosted at the Old Town Hall in Newmarket, located at 460 Botsford Street with a wonderful day-long program beginning at 10 a.m. through to 4:00 p.m.

February 4, 2023 - NACCA/Call for Art Exhibit 

Theme of the art is: The Black Family: Source of Perseverance and Resilience. Art Exhibit will take place at Old Town Hall, 460 Botsford Street, Newmarket ON L3Y 1T1 on Saturday, February 4, 2024.
Submit all forms of visual art including photography, painting, sculpture etc until January 15, 2023 via email to blackhistory@naccacommunity.ca or by USB to NACCA (449 Eagle Street, Newmarket ON, L3Y 1K7) 

February 8, 2023 - Creating a special Afrocentric Valentine

Learn how to create and design your own unique Valentine's Day. Bring your imagination and get ready for an evening of fun!!

February 8, 2023 - An annual celebration of Black Artistic Expression
York University - Word Sound Power 2023

The Jean Augustine Chair is proud to announce this year's Black History month showcase. The showcase is an opportunity for the amplification of cultural and artistic expression as we spotlight Black oral narratives and musical expression.

Performances include the York R&B and Oscar Peterson Ensembles, the York University Gospel Choir, High School Students to Emcees, Coco Murray, Dwayne Morgan and students from the Toronto District and Peel District School Boards. This is a free event and all are welcome to attend.


February 18, 2023 @ 11:00am
YRAACC/Black History Month Celebration 

6th Annual Black History Month Celebration at Bur Oak Secondary School!
Please see the poster for more information and use this link to register!
Contact info@yorkregionaacc.ca for more information. 

March, 2023 -MACCA/York Region Youth School Success Initiative
Now accepting Black students in grades 6-8 in the York Region Youth School Success Initiative! Kick off the week of March 21st. Register today!


SHINE Podcast

Listen to the SHINE Podcast

SHINE is a YRDSB podcast that features voices from the Black community. 

It introduces conversations that inspire and challenge. Guests share their lived experiences, advice, industry expertise and more. SHINE is a production of Tune In YRDSB. Tune In YRDSB is the first podcast of its kind in Ontario, featuring a wide range of topics related to education. 

Tune In YRDSB is available on all major podcast platforms. 

To request support from a member of the Centre for Black Student Excellence team
please email: BlackStudentExcellence@yrdsb.ca