Dear families, It has been a joy to welcome our students back to school. We have missed them, and whether they are joining their classrooms in person or remotely, we are so happy to see them and hope they have had a positive start to the school year.
We are deeply saddened by the news that again, unmarked graves have been found at the site of a former residential school in Canada. The remains of 751 people, mainly Indigenous children, have been identified at the site of Marieval Residential School in Saskatchewan. This is an ongoing reminder of the devastating legacy of residential schools in our country, and highlights our need to continue to address the ongoing trauma that Indigenous students, families, staff and communities face.
Yesterday, we were heartbroken to hear of a Muslim family that was targeted with a vehicle in London, Ontario. Our deepest condolences go to the family and all those grieving this act of terrorism and hate.
Over the weekend, we were heartbroken to see the news of the discovery of a mass grave of 215 children at the former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. This is a devastating reminder of not only the tragic legacy of residential schools in our country, but our need to continue to address the ongoing trauma that Indigenous students, families, staff and communities face. Our Director’s Action Plan commits us to interrogate the ongoing impact of colonialism, and Residential Schools were a dehumanizing embodiment of the Canadian colonial project.
It has come to our attention that some hurtful and disturbing comments have been shared on Twitter. The account that shared the Tweets has been alleged of having an affiliation with one of our Trustees.
Dear Minister Lecce and Dr. Kurji,I am writing to you on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the York Region District School Board, our 128,000 students and their families and over 19,000 staff members. We are very concerned about the rising number of COVID-19 variant cases in Ontario, and specifically York Region. According to letters issued to families from York Region Public Health, “they are becoming the dominant strain in the community.”
During the pandemic, it has become increasingly clear how important it is for our families to be able to find important and up-to-date information. We are very excited this week to be launching our refreshed Board website. This new site better reflects our board and will make it easier for our community to find and access the information they are looking for. In redesigning the site, we continued to centre our families, including those who are underserved and underperforming. Our work was informed by feedback from the community, data and website design research.
On March 2, 2021, the York Region Region District School Board of Trustees voted to rename the former Vaughan Secondary School after Hodan Nalayeh, following a community consultation process.The renaming was initiated by Black community leaders, who brought the issue to the Board’s attention for action. We are thankful for their leadership, advocacy and their efforts.We also want to thank the students, families, staff and community members who shared their input throughout the consultation process.
Reflection is critically important for good decision making. While this process is often invisible to our community, I think there are times when we need to publicly share our thoughts. The harm caused through the current renaming process in the City of Vaughan warrants this degree of openness and acknowledgement.
Yesterday, at our annual inaugural Board meeting, the trustees elected our officers of the Board. I am humbled to serve this year as Board Chair. I am pleased to congratulate Trustee Allan Tam who was elected as Vice-Chair and Trustee David Sherman who will serve again as Budget Chair. I also want to offer my thanks and congratulations to past Chair Juanita Nathan for the leadership and commitment she demonstrated over the past year serving as Chair of the Board.