Centre for Black Student Excellence Newsletter - February 2024


Happy Black History Month. We are pleased to share with you several events that are taking place within York Region District School Board and our broader community to recognize Black History Month and beyond. 

This school year, we are continuing to grow and expand some of our Centre for Black Student Excellence programs, including Ascending Sisters+, RISE Brothers and the Black Excellence Program

We also want to invite and welcome you to visit our Centre for Black Student Excellence on the website where you can find information about our programs, Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Strategy, Black History Month resources for students and families, and links to community partners.


YRDSB News and Events


Celebrating Black Excellence - Black Voices

YRDSB is pleased to continue the Celebrating Black Excellence - Black Voices campaign! 

As a continuation of our Celebrating Black Excellence campaign, YRDSB will be celebrating Black History Month with Celebrating Black Excellence - Black Voices. Celebrating Black Excellence - Black Voices aims to centre and celebrate the Black members of our YRDSB community and share their voices. All features will be posted to our Instagram (@yrdsb.schools). You can also learn more about past celebrations by visiting www.yrdsb.ca/celebratingblackexcellence. To learn more about the campaign and to see features from previous years, please visit our Instagram (@yrdsb.schools) or the board website www.yrdsb.ca/celebratingblackexcellence. 


Discussion for Families of Black Children on Pathway Opportunities for Students and Families

Thursday, February 8, 2024 at Dr. Bette Stephenson Centre for Leadership and Learning, Richmond Hill. 


Anti-Blackness in Schools - Virtual Affinity Session for Black Students, Families and Staff

Tuesday, February 27, 2024, 7:00-8:00 p.m., held virtually Join us for a Virtual Affinity Session for Black Students, Families and Black Staff with Presenters Dr.Joi Spencer and Dr.Kerri Ullucci. 


Ubuntu Healing Circle

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024, 4:00-5:00 pm (weekly for eight sessions)

A virtual healing circle for Black identified students across YRDSB to join together in an inclusive affinity space, focused on supporting emotional well-being. This space is one that has been created to promote healing, wellness and resilience for Black identified students. The group will be facilitated by members of the School Social Work Team. Students in Grades 7-12 are invited to attend and participation will occur virtually. 

For more information, or to sign up: Please ask your Teacher, Guidance Counsellor, SERT, Student Success Teacher, Principal, or Vice Principal to contact either: Melanie Beckford, RSW or Tracy Thomas-Elleston, RSW at the following email address: communitycareteam@yrdsb.ca 


Family Cookout with Chef Maxine Knight

Thursday, February 29, 2024, 5:00-6:30 p.m. at Dr. Bette Stephenson Centre for Leadership and Learning, Richmond Hill

Journey to the Caribbean in this in-person storytelling with recipe demonstration workshop featuring Chef Maxine Knight, RHN.  



Upcoming Community Events


NACCA Black History Month Events

NACCA is hosting multiple events throughout February to celebrate Black History Month.  

  • Flag-Raising Ceremony, February 1, 2024
  • Black History Month Reception, Art Exhibition & Ujamaa Marketplace, February 3, 2024
  • Falls Illumination, February 9, 2024
  • Film Screening “Living in Colour” and Archives of Ontario Presentation with Melissa J. Nelson, February 16, 2024
  • “Writing our History” with Dr. Natasha Henry-Dixon, February 21, 2024
  • Art Exhibit and Content, February 3-29, 2924
  • Elman W. Campbell Museum Exhibit, February 3-29, 2024


Aurora’s Second Annual Black History Gala

An evening celebrating the rich and vibrant history of the Black community. This in-person event promises to be a night filled with live cultural performances, inspiring stories, delicious food, and Corporate Sponsor VIP Reception. 

Date: Saturday, February 3, 2024

Time: 6:30 p.m. 

Location: Northridge Community Church of The Salvation Army in Aurora, ON, Canada


YRAACC Black History Month Event “Black Excellence Through Mentorship”

The York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities (YRAACC) will host its 7th Annual Black History Month (BHM) celebration with keynote speaker, Dr. Bimpe Ayeni. This year's event's theme is Black Excellence through Mentorship! The overarching theme of our annual BHM event is the strengthening and celebrating of Black families in all their diverse compositions and ways of knowing within the context of our Sankofa Mentoring programs. Register Here.

Date: Saturday, February 17, 2024

Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Bill Crothers Secondary School, 44 Main St. Unionville, ON. L3R 2E4


Black Youth Gala - “How I Was Raised” (Black York Region Youth)

The Black Youth Gala is an event to celebrate their accomplishments. Youth will have the opportunity to receive scholarships for post-secondary. In addition, Black Youth artists and fashion designers will also have the chance to showcase their work in the gallery and opening performance portion of the event. 

Date: February 17, 2024

Time: 6:00-10:00 p.m.

Location: JC Banquet Convention Centre, Scarborough


Community Programs and Announcements


Black Foundation of Community Networks (BFCN) Scholarship Applications

Look out for updates on the current website and to find out more information, please reach out to Cheryl Yarde at the contact info on the website. For questions, please contact Cheryl Yarde at info@bfcn.ca 


Youth School Success Initiative, After School Program

YSSI: empower Black Youth (Grades 6-8) for High School Success! Personalized academic support, culturally relevant curriculum, and life skills development. Fostering community, boosting confidence and celebrating diversity. Join us for a brighter future. Register Here.


City of Markham Mayor's Black Youth Liaison

Applications open

The Mayor's Black Youth Liaison is a committee dedicated to representing a voice for Black youth in the City of Markham. MBYL strives to empower and uplift youth through valuable initiatives and advocacy. As a part of the committee, you will be asked to plan events, discuss issues facing Black youth, and develop initiatives to enhance the Black youth experience within the City of Markham.


University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine Summer Mentorship Program

The Summer Mentorship Program (SMP) gives high school students of Indigenous or African ancestry a chance to explore health sciences at the University of Toronto over four weeks in July. Students can explore health science education and careers and earn a credit. Learn more about the Summer Mentorship Program and how to apply



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: