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Education Week - Equity in Action!

Education Week - Equity in Action!
Posted on 05/08/2018
Education Week - Equity in Action!This week, the province and the OCDSB celebrate Education Week. It is an opportunity for our schools to showcase some of the great work that is happening in our classrooms. This year’s theme, Equity in Action, rings true with us as it is a focus right across our District.
Our Board of Trustees approved a strategic plan for 2015-2019. This plan is built on five pillars - learning, wel
l
-being, engagement, stewardship and equity. The Board sees its role as not only providing equity of access to opportunities for all students but also ensuring equity of outcomes for all students. Here is a snapshot of what this looks like in our schools.
Student Voice
We know that we need to learn more about our many different groups of students and their needs. Who better to ask but the students themselves? 
Rainbow 
Youth
Forum
: On  we hosted this annual event. Over
 300 students
 from grades 7-12 
and 
80
 staff 
came together to discuss issues related to our LGBTQ learners. This student-led conference provided our LGBTQ students and staff (as well as their allies) with the opportunity to share the great experiences as well as the challenges of learning in our school district, always with the purpose of making our learning environments better for all. More than 30 community partners were on hand to connect with students and to make them aware of the services in the community.
Indigenous 
Youth Symposium
: On March 23, over 100 
I
ndigenous students and staff came together to celebrate the indigenous culture and to think about how we can make learning more culturally relevant in our school district. Elders, knowledge keepers, community leaders and our OCDSB 
I
ndigenous education team joined the students in leading these activities. Cody Coyote, a popular artist
,
 entertained the students and provided an excellent role model for finding their voice. Students were encouraged to express their thoughts in words and artistic expression throughout the day.
Black Youth Forum: On May 14, Black students and their allies from a number of secondary schools will gather to share some of their lived experiences that impact academic success and well-being.  Under the theme, A Day in the Life of A Black Student, the students have generated and will engage participants in four workshops: Double Standards and Stereotypes; Cultural Appropriation; Intersectionality; and, Black Empowerment. The conference’s key note speaker will be the CBC’s Adrian Harewood.  There will be a special performance by Ottawa’s Poet Laureate, Jamaal Jackson Rogers.
 Date with Diversity: This activity is not only for students but for parents, staff, and community members as well. On May 8, participants will have the opportunity to move from table to table to engage with a facilitator who has lived experience as a person who  is from one of the many groups in our community. After a decade hosting this evening, we continue to see it's impact on promoting understanding as well as building inclusive learning environments.
Identity-based Data Collection: The Ministry has asked the OCDSB to be one of four lead boards to develop data standards for the collection and use of identity-based data. This data will enable us to identify groups of students who need additional supports to reach their full potential. We will be reaching out to communities to help us determine methodologies as well as the best way to connect with parents. This is an exciting project for the 2018/2019 school year. This data will enable us to identify groups of students who need additional supports to reach their full potential as well as areas where we can continue to improve our efforts. 
In addition to the aforementioned activities, many of our schools across the District will be showcasing what teaching and learning looks like in a diverse and inclusive environment. Check our district website or your school's website to see what's offered. I'll be doing the same!
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