Transitioning from COVID-19
COVID-19 disproportionately affected communities and is key to the TDSB's Pandemic Recovery Plan. We need to apply what have we learned from the disruption to teaching and learning over the past two years to ensure equitable outcomes for students.
We owe it to our students to support their academic success as well as their mental health and well-being. We need to have high expectations and to provide learning environments that support and nurture their self-esteem, social responsibility and civic engagement. An emphasis on safe, caring and healthy schools free from discrimination and harassment will support student success.
Incidents of racism and discrimination are still prevalent in our school system. Every incident of hate is now tracked and monitored through the Racism, Bias, and Hate Portal (RBH). We must redouble efforts to provide resources that support educators to respond effectively to help students better understand their rights as humans, both individually and as a society, and to better understand racism and intolerance. Now more than ever, we – as part of the public education system – have the responsibility to educate against hate.
Parent and community engagement
It is essential that we establish conditions for effective school councils and create other opportunities, inviting parents/caregivers and the community to discuss issues, provide advice and contribute to decisions facing students, schools and the board, both in-person and virtually. Through dialogue we can enrich student experiences and strengthen school programs.
Strengthening human resources
It is the people in our schools who make the difference; all it takes is one caring adult to turn a student’s life around. More adults in our buildings are needed at all levels – vice-principals, teachers, education workers.
A systematic review of all policies is important to ensure that they are relevant, and to support the development of new policies through consultation that gathers public input. Good policy is nonpartisan.
Improving allocation of resources
Different levels of funding are required to produce equitable outcomes; differentiated funding is key to removing barriers for some students traditionally underserved. We must review the budget with this lens in order to provide effective programs for all students.
Successful planning for school space and infrastructure
Innovative approaches are needed to provide additional school spaces, repair and replace aging school infrastructure, improve school buildings and grounds, increase needed childcare and expand the community use of schools. In order to achieve these goals we need to bring the province, city and other partners together and continue to support the board’s strategy to address intensification and growth.
It is critical that students receive environmental education in order to be prepared to respond appropriately to the climate crisis. As an early supporter of EcoSchools, I continue to support TDSB's initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and adapt to climate change.
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