Director’s Annual Report 2021-2022
The 2021-22 was a challenging year for so many in our communities. We continued to work together through the pandemic, while continuing to focus on our priorities of achieving excellence, ensuring equity, promoting well-being and enhancing public confidence. These priorities were evident in all areas of our work, within schools and departments, with a focus on every staff member working toward the common purpose of serving the students of the Upper Grand District School Board.
The 2021-22 school year was also characterized by some exciting changes. I was deeply honoured to be selected to take on the role of Director of Education, following the retirement of the venerable long-serving Director, the late Martha Rogers.
Throughout the year, we turned our focus to the themes of re-engage, refresh, and re-imagine. Re-engaging with students, families and staff in their achievement and well-being; refreshing our good solid practices following two years of disruption; and re-imaging public education, with what is possible to better serve our students and families.
Please continue reading for just some examples of how we moved forward in alignment with our key priorities.
Achieving Excellence is about many things, central to all of which is the importance of centering the needs of the individual student, through wrap-around supports, differentiated learning, student-centred approaches.
Each child has their own unique interests, goals and strengths. Every student should have the same opportunity to succeed and graduate from high school. The UGDSB is working to improve the learning experience for all students. We share a common goal — to help all students build a promising future for themselves.
As an educational community we have a responsibility to identify and describe racism and oppression and then work to dismantle it. The Upper Grand District School Board is committed to disrupting systemic racism and oppression in all of its forms. We will implement ongoing mandatory anti-racism and anti-oppression training for all staff, review our protocols and policies, including our hiring practices, and be fully transparent and accountable to all Upper Grand students, staff, families, and stakeholders in an ongoing manner.
The Upper Grand District School Board’s Three-Year Equity Plan (2019-2022) drives our commitment to safe and inclusive practice. The plan is divided into four main sections:
- Identify and Name Bias, Oppression and Racism through reflection, evidence, voice/feedback and data
- Build collaborative relationships to foster community and alignment
- Address and educate with accountable policies and practices
- Eliminate Bias, Oppression and Racism through disruption and action
|During the 2021-22 school year, the UGDSB updated Policy 504 Equity and Inclusive Education. The UGDSB is committed to the principles of equity through inclusive and culturally responsive programming, services, and operations in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Human Rights Code, and the Education Act. The UGDSB values all students, employees, and families, regardless of age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, ability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, socio-economic status, employment, housing, sex, and sexual orientation, and is committed to creating and maintaining a learning and working environment where everyone can participate fully, thrive, and reach their full potential, free from trauma, bias, stereotyping, oppression and systemic racism. The UGDSB recognizes that many identities do not exist in a single form and are often intersecting with multiple identities. Intersectionality can create a compounding impact on oppression, discrimination and racism.||In May, the students of Centre Dufferin District High School’s Black Chapter showed how brilliant they truly are by organizing a day of workshops and exercises for their Black Brilliance conference. What took months of preparation and hard work turned into a day of success. The CDDHS’s Black Chapter invited and hosted other Black Chapters from neighbouring schools in the UGDSB. The Conference featured an opening ceremony, guest presentations, workshops led by different Black Chapter members, and more. CDDHS’s Black Chapter and other Black Chapters across the UGDSB are spaces where students across the African diaspora have carved out a space for themselves to feel safe and to discuss issues that impact the Black community all over the world.||Period Equity is a movement that refers to making sure that all people who menstruate are able to access menstrual products for free and with dignity. It is a movement that recognizes the financial burden placed on people who menstruate by ensuring products are available for all who require them. In partnership with various departments and staff in the UGDSB, the Period Equity program began with an opportunity to understand the inequities that exist for people who menstruate. Now, there are accessible machines that dispense free menstrual products in every “For Use by All” single stall washroom in all of our UGDSB schools and offices. Machines and products are in place in all “For Use By All” single stall washrooms so that all students, staff and community members can access the products regardless of age, ability, sex, gender or status in the school.|
At the UGDSB, we strive to promote healthy schools, where staff, parents/guardians, students, and community partners work together to share, plan and take action to create a learning environment that has a positive impact on students’ health, well-being and learning. Wrap-around student supports at the UGDSB include both school and board based staff, focused on supporting proactive and responsive student-centred classroom strategies. Ongoing collaboration alongside classroom teaching staff is a priority in the UGDSB to ensure staff feel they have the tools and resources they need to support the students they serve. Mentoring, coaching, clinical supports, and specialized teams are all key services in place for staff in their work with students, families and community partners.
Enhancing Public Confidence
Throughout the 2021-22 school year, the board continued its commitment to enhancing public confidence in the education system. Through the careful stewardship of the board’s resources, to a commitment to transparency and communication, and keeping the well-being and achievement of students as our top priority, the board continued to build trust and enhance relationships within our school communities.