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2019-2020 Director's Annual Report to the Community

2019-2020 Director's Annual Report to the Community
Posted on 12/02/2020
2019-2020 Director's Annual Report to the Community

A Message from the Director of Education, Camille Williams-Taylor

I am proud to share with you our 2019-2020 Director's Annual Report to the Community. This year, the full report is available in a new digital format, which reflects on some of the highlights of a very unusual school year. 

Looking back, it’s easy to get caught up in how challenging this year was, but we must not lose sight of the resilience, the commitment to care, and how we all came together - while keeping a safe distance apart.

We developed new language and behaviours to collectively reduce the risk of the COVID-19 virus, such as respiratory etiquette, physical distancing and enhanced hand hygiene. We had to live, learn and engage with each other very differently. As in all circumstances of change and unfamiliarity, we have experienced some level of discomfort. But we have also learned more about ourselves, our communities, and what is important to us.

With the school closure in March, our entire education system was turned upside down overnight. We were forced to put all the pieces back together to create a new approach to learning.

Rather than shifting into existing routines, we have invented completely new ones. Our students and teachers have worked to create new ways to establish learning communities and develop social connections. Old systems of communicating, socializing, learning and working have given way to innovative new practices to ensure that each person in our working and learning community is cared for.

It is important to stress that learning continued in ways unimaginable a year earlier. Teachers embraced creative ideas to connect with students. We were proud to see the Class of 2020 “cap off the year” ready to tackle the world. Students of all ages adapted to overwhelming change with strength, despite the many struggles they may have faced.

In the past year, our commitment to social justice was also rekindled, inspiring us to see the lived realities of our communities represented in our learning and work. We also developed a deeper understanding of students through the collection of identity-based data. The OCDSB will use this information to help identify trends and patterns, which will allow us to take action to address structural racism and systemic barriers.

Our idea of “school” as a building has given way to the idea of “school” as a community as we fold our virtual schools into the reality of our District. In the OCDSB, the cornerstones of Innovation, Caring and Social Responsibility have emboldened our staff, inspired our students and galvanized our families and partners.

The road ahead is not without challenges, but we have weathered tough circumstances as a community before and we will do it again. This is the opportunity to build new ways of being, based on what we have already learned, and what we know we need to do.

We always knew our success was contingent upon our collective efforts. This has never been more true than in this year.

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