October 29, 2019

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These are two of the most critical, important issues for Canada’s future.” 

Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair shared this thought about the themes of this year’s Quest conference: Indigenous Education and Equity. 

These issues are also critical to our goals to raise the achievement and well-being of our underserved and underperforming students. 

Know​ing our students

“Everyone has some special deep, down story,” said Raghib, a student at Johnny Lombardi P.S. and a member of our Regional Student Equity Committee

Our students, staff and family members bring those stories and their identities to school with them every day. One of the most important things that we can do as adults who work in an education system is to create a safe space where our students know that their stories and identities are valued and respected; where they know and feel that they matter and belong. 

Quest will give us all an opportunity to deepen our understanding of Indigenous Education and Equity, to explore these issues with experts and colleagues from around the world, and to identify actions we can take in our classrooms, schools and offices that will benefit our students.

What can you expe​ct at Quest this year?

  • Renowned keynote speakers who are experts in their fields.

  • A program that includes practical workshops and traditional teaching space sessions that reflect Indigenous ways of learning and knowing.

  • All the hands-on fun of The Playground.

  • New this year, a chance to get outside while indoors in The Backyard.

  • Inspiring and moving performances from our students, and an opportunity to connect with this year’s Artonomy project. 

Registration is still open. Join the conversation at #YRDSBQuest. The conference takes place November 20-22 at the Sheraton Parkway in Richmond Hill.

Deepening our learning

I also want to thank everyone who took part in Monday’s Board-wide PA day training on Anti-Black Racism. The learning focused on developing a system-wide understanding of anti-Black racism, including the history of segregation in Canada, and the effect anti-Black racism continues to have on the well-being and achievement of our students. 

Similarly, last year, we held a Board-wide PA day on residential schools. Many of us did not learn about residential schools or the shocking treatment of First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada when we were in school. The learning focused on this part of our history, and ensuring our staff members understand the lasting effects of residential schools on Indigenous communities today.

We need to have a shared understanding of these histories and the experiences of our students, families and communities to move forward in an authentic way with the work outlined in our Indigenous Education and Equity Strategy. That learning will continue at Quest.


Louise Sirisko

Director of Education