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Equity and Inclusive Education

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.


Equity and Inclusive Education

School and Board Action in Equity

For a sample of some of the work being done in the Upper Grand District School Board in equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism and anti-oppression, please view the links below. Links below also include updates supporting our educational community and community partners. And for more on equity in the UGDSB, visit www.ugdsb.ca/equity

News Archive

Indigenous Students Participate in Birch Bark Canoe Build with master canoe builder (July 2021)

Information for staff, students and families regarding unmarked graves at former residential school in Saskatchewan (June 2021)

‘UGTalks about’ initiative centres student voice on issues of social justice (June 2021)

Supports for staff and students following horrific violence targeting Muslim community (June 2021)

UGDSB celebrates National Indigenous History Month (June 2021)

CCVI student takes on leadership role in school GSA group (June 2021)

UGDSB flags to be lowered in honour of 215 children whose lives were taken at former residential school (May 2021)

We include all awesome humans – UGDSB Kicks off Pride Month celebrations (May 2021)

Supporting Students and Staff: Crisis in the Middle East (May 2021)

UGDSB approves new Indigenous Education policy (May 2021)

Program for Indigenous families in the UGDSB: Anishinaabemowin Nanda-gikendan “Seeking to Learn the Language” (May 2021)

Anti-Racist Educator Reads podcast nominated for Canadian Podcast Award (May 2021)

Guelph Black Heritage Society hosting virtual Anti-Racism Summit (April 2021)

John F. Ross CVI student takes action against anti-Asian racism during culminating assignment (April 2021)

Recommended reading in Indigenous education and knowledge (March 2021)

Addressing anti-Asian racism, resources to support educators (March 2021)

UGDSB reflects on Black Heritage, Black Brilliance and Black Futures Month (February 2021)

Black Heritage Month spotlight: Alfred M. Lafferty (February 2021)

CDDHS students express love for themselves through Hair Love video (February 2021)

Victoria Terrace PS students research and pay tribute to Viola Desmond (February 2021)

Student work featured in Black History Month digital exhibition (February 2021)

UGDSB celebrates Black Brilliance month virtually this February (February 2021)

UGDSB introduces Period Equity program to schools (February 2021)

Highlights of progress made in multi-year Equity Plan (December 2020)

UGDSB Equity Team releases 2020-2021 Equity Calendar (September 2020)

Taking action in anti-racism and anti-oppression work (June 2020)

UGDSB presents Pride month virtual art exhibit (June 2020)

UGDSB includes all awesome humans – Celebrating Pride this June (June 2020)

Wheelchair basketball program visits Rockwood Centennial PS (February 2020)

UGDSB students learn about Black History through CEEP Project (February 2020)

CDDHS hosts 2nd annual Black History assembly (February 2020)

#WeAllHaveAbility – This February describe a video (February 2020)

UGDSB continues to make waves in accessibility work (November 2019)

Gateway, Palmerston and Primrose students explore equity and social justice through the arts (June 2019)

#UGRainbow2019 – Students and staff reflect at Rainbow Leadership Summit (June 2019)

#UGDSBIncludesPride – Staff are using tech as a positive platform to share student voice (April 2019)

Passion, emotion and history – CDDHS celebrates Black History Month (February 2019)

UGDSB Equity Plan

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

To review the full Equity Plan, please see the documents below.

Documents:

Equity and Inclusion: Policies

Policy 214 Accessibility Standards

It is the policy of the Upper Grand District School Board to provide an environment in all of its facilities that fosters independence, dignity, respect, integration and equity of opportunity for our students, parents/guardians, the public and our staff. We are committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have the same opportunity of access to services in a similar way as these services are available to all others. We are committed to meeting the accessibility needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner.

To learn more visit: Policy 214 Accessibility Standards

Policy 500 First Nation, Métis and Inuit Self-Identification

It is the policy of the Upper Grand District School Board to provide the opportunity for voluntary self-identification of all Indigenous students as First Nation, Métis, or Inuit. The learning goals and potential of all students can be realized through a responsive, transparent and accountable policy that focuses on improved programs and services and builds on strong partnerships with parents, guardians, and their communities. It is essential to understand the student population and have accurate student achievement data within the Upper Grand District School Board to improve success for all students. To this end it is important to collect voluntary Indigenous self-identification data for planning and decision-making as it relates to Indigenous student success and well-being.

To learn more visit: Policy 500 First Nation, Métis and Inuit Self-Identification

Policy 503 Safe Schools

It is the policy of the Upper Grand District School Board to support and maintain a positive school climate for all students, staff and the community. A positive school climate is accepting and inclusive of all. As part of this mandate the board will strive to eliminate all forms of bullying through prevention and intervention strategies which foster positive learning environments, support academic achievement and help students to reach their full potential.

To learn more visit: Policy 503 Safe Schools

Policy 504 Equity and Inclusive Education

It is the policy of the Upper Grand District School Board to ensure a safe and inclusive learning and working environment for all students, staff and the community, regardless of age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, socio-economic status, employment, housing, sex, and sexual orientation.

To learn more visit: Policy 504 Equity and Inclusive Education

Policy 519 Indigenous Education (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) Policy

The Upper Grand District School Board acknowledges that Indigenous Peoples are distinct from other equity seeking groups in that they are self-determining nations with inherent rights, laws, and institutions. Indigenous rights are distinct. It is the goal of the UGDSB to ensure that Indigenous staff and students are not deprived of their rights, and are provided with a learning and working environment that is free from racism and discrimination of any kind.

To learn more visit: Policy 519 Indigenous Education (First Nations, Métis, Inuit)

Human Rights Policy

Coming soon.

UGDSB Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Team

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion involves both structural and cultural change.  This includes policy development, data and research initiatives, training programs and actions such as hiring, shifting norms, language and perspectives as well as challenging the status quo. Our goal is to create sustainable change that is ideological, interpersonal, institutional and internalized. We can achieve this goal through the process of addressing the roots of inequity in order to create an environment where everyone can thrive.

Our EDI Team wants to create a space at the UGDSB where people feel confident in learning new terms, engaging in difficult conversations, and are free to question ideas, thoughts and methods concerning EDI that may currently be unfamiliar. Through our work, we hope to make EDI accessible to all employees and provide staff with the necessary tools to adapt to and navigate EDI conversations. 

We are aware that EDI work has no ending point. Instead, learning in this area is ongoing. People and our understanding of society/each other are not static and just like the geographical landscape; communities change, populations change, and needs change. Therefore, we call upon our UGDSB staff members, students and community partners to actively join us in committing to the ongoing initiatives that are vital in reaching our collective goals.

EDI Venn Diagram

Accessibility in the UGDSB

1 in 5 Ontarians have a disability. 70% of disabilities are invisible. Ontario has committed to full accessibility by 2025. 

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 is the first of its kind in Canada. People with disabilities should have the same kind of opportunities as everyone else. They should be able to do the things that most of us take for granted like going to work or school. That’s the goal of Ontario’s legislation. Businesses and organizations – like the Upper Grand District School Board – who provide goods and services to people in Ontario will have to meet certain accessibility standards in five important areas of our lives: Customer Service, Built Environment, Employment, Information and Communication, Transportation. 

The Upper Grand District School Board is committed to ensuring that its services meet optimum standards of accessibility for people with disabilities.

Feedback

We welcome your comments and feedback about accessibility issues at the Upper Grand District School Board.

Accessibility Policy and Procedures

The Upper Grand District School Board has developed new Accessibility Policy and Procedures that went into effect in March 2013:

Accessibility Planning

Accessibility Reports

Accessibility in the UGDSB at a glance:

More great UGDSB stories about Accessibility can be found on the UGDSB website. 

Inclusive athletic programs

Training

UGDSB employees have received online accessibility training that was customized to the board’s needs. Example of similar training provided by the Ontario Education Services Corporation (OESC) can be accessed on their site.

We All Have Ability Virtual Speakers Poster

We All Have Ability   Virtual Speakers Poster

 

Anti-racism and anti-oppression work

Anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism is deeply rooted in our country, society, institutions and our history, and much work needs to be done to address this systemic racism. 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.

Resources for Educators

Books

Anti-Racism Resources for Parents and Guardians

Racism, anti-Black racism, privilege, power, discrimination, bias and oppression are all topics that students are seeing and hearing in the media. They are subjects that generate many questions. They are subjects that require discussion, thoughtful reflection and honest answers.  We hope these resources will help parents, guardians and caregivers in our communities have these discussions with their children, so that together we can dismantle racism from our communities.  

Books

Podcasts and Videos

Should you require additional supports in talking with children at home, please reach out to your school administrator for direction, support and/or referrals.

First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education

At the Upper Grand District School Board, we ensure the inclusion of First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories and perspectives in our schools, our system and our school communities. By recognizing and promoting an awareness of these histories and contemporary realities, we will support the holistic success of all our students, in particular our First Nation, Métis and Inuit students.

Download the 2020-21 Board Action Plan on Indigenous Education

First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Council

The UGDSB has formed a community First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Council. The purpose of this council is to assist in identifying community needs and to provide advice and guidance on Indigenous initiatives and to advise on the annual First Nation, Métis, Inuit Board Action Plan. New Indigenous education initiatives and projects at the board, will be shared with this group for consultation and feedback.

FNMI Education Council Minutes

First Nation, Métis, Inuit Education Council:  Terms of Reference

Indigenous Education Policy

Policy 519 Indigenous Education (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) states that the Upper Grand District School Board acknowledges that Indigenous Peoples are distinct from other equity seeking groups in that they are self-determining nations with inherent rights, laws, and institutions. Indigenous rights are distinct. It is the goal of the UGDSB to ensure that Indigenous staff and students are not deprived of their rights, and are provided with a learning and working environment that is free from racism and discrimination of any kind.

The UGDSB is committed to supporting staff and students who identify themselves as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit. The UGDSB is also committed to supporting the education of staff and students on Indigenous Peoples and anti-Indigenous racism. Through this new policy, the board responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action by addressing the ongoing impacts of colonialism, and protecting Indigenous Peoples’ right to education as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This policy is important to Indigenous Peoples, students, parents, staff, school councils, and community members because everyone has a responsibility to ensure Indigenous Peoples are not deprived of their rights, and are provided with a learning and working environment that is free from racism and discrimination of any kind.

Policy 519 was developed in collaboration with the Indigenous community partners who sit on the UGDSB First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Council. It is the result of years of conversations on how a school board can both promote and protect Indigenous education.

View the policy and procedures manual

Land Acknowledgment

Canada has entered into a period of reconciliation. The federal government’s December 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission report included 94 calls to action to further reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Part of the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action include respecting and honouring the treaties and nation-to-nation relationships. To that end, the board’s FNMI Education Council, together with local communities, drafted this territorial acknowledgement:

From the Anishinaabe to the Haudenosaunee and the Métis, these treaty lands are steeped in rich Indigenous history and modern traditions. As a community, we have the responsibility to honour and respect the four directions, land, waters, plants, animals and ancestors. Today, this area is home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island. We acknowledge the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation of the Anishinaabek Peoples, on whose ancestral and treaty lands we teach, learn and live.

The Upper Grand District School Board covers the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Six Nations of the Grand River, and Saugeen Ojibway Nation Territories. 

Self Identification

proud to be fnmi

Parents of all UGDSB schools are asked to voluntarily identify their child as being of First Nation, Métis, or Inuit ancestry or non-Indigenous ancestry. Individual data will not be shared and will be kept confidential.

The data collected through the Self Identification process will be the foundation of our efforts to further support the success of our First Nation Métis and Inuit students. This will allow us to advocate for funding that will provide the means to develop and implement supports for all students to experience achievement in both elementary and secondary school.

The board’s actions are based on the government of Ontario’s First Nation Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework. You can find out more about the province’s Indigenous education strategy at www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/aboriginal.

Download the Self Identification form (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important for parents/guardians to participate in the Voluntary Self-identification? UGDSB schools continually strive to meet your child’s education needs. Completing and returning the Self Identification form will allow us to learn more about student achievement for all students in our system. We want to ensure we are meeting your child’s learning and developmental needs through appropriate supportive programming in the schools. Participating in student self identification process is voluntary.

Who is being asked to voluntarily self-identify? All new and existing elementary and secondary students are being given a Self Identification form. The information is provided on a voluntary basis.

What box do I select if my child is both Métis and First Nation (non-status)? The parent or guardian has the choice to select which ancestral background.

Is it mandatory for parents/guardians to self-identify their child? No. It is voluntary for parents/guardians to participate in this process. Parents/guardians have the option to not participate if they choose. The student information given is collected as a whole and kept confidential. Verification of ancestral background is not required.

How will my child benefit from answering the Voluntary Self-Identification question? Knowing how our students, as a whole, are doing in school will help us understand what education programs and methods are working, where additional programs and supports are required and what changes need to be made.

What specific information will be tracked? Information on ancestry such as First Nation (including Status/Non-Status), Métis and Inuit will be collected as a whole. In order to measure the success of all students, establishing baseline student data is required. Particular attention will be given to monitoring grade promotion/retention, academic performance, and graduation/dropout rates.

How is the information collected and maintained? All student information collected is kept confidential. These forms are securely stored to respect privacy and will be treated in the same manner as Ontario Student Record Guidelines, according to the Education Act and Municipal Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.

For further information or questions, please contact the school Principal or Colinda Clyne, Curriculum Leader for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education at (519) 822-4420 Ext. 727 or [email protected]

Supports for Indigenous peoples; information for allies

Please see below for supports for Indigenous students, staff and families, as well as resources for allies and suggestions for action. 

Supports for Indigenous students, staff and families

For UGDSB students and families requiring support, school and board staff are available, including the board’s Indigenous Social Worker. Staff are encouraged to reach out to the board’s Employee & Family Assistance Program, which provides a wide range of services and resources. 

Additional supports: 

Resources and information for allies

2SLGBTQIA+ Inclusion in the UGDSB

Gender-Specific and Gender-Neutral Pronouns:

Each of our schools is committed to providing its students with a positive school climate. We know that when students feel safe and supported in a healthy school climate, they have greater success. Through board specific initiatives as well as the province’s Well-Being Strategy and Equity Action Plan we are committed to creating the healthy, positive spaces in schools that our students need.

Many of our high schools and elementary schools have Gay Straight or Gender Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) and Equity clubs. These clubs are safe spaces for our students, staff, and allies of the Rainbow community to come together and discuss issues they may be facing and topics that matter to them. Our GSAs and Equity groups are places that our students feel comfortable being themselves and can take action in supporting the equity of all people.

In our elementary schools, through the Health and Physical Education curriculum, students learn to understand and respect things that are the same and different from each other. This includes that not every family looks the same. Some families have a mom and a dad, some just have a mom or a dad and some families have two moms and two dads.

What supports are available to staff and students in schools regarding 2SLGBTQIA+ issues?

In addition to our GSAs and Equity groups, all of our schools in both Elementary and Secondary have an Equity and Wellness Teacher Representative as a contact and support for their schools. For several years, the board has offered Egale and Harmony training to our staff to support their knowledge. School Administrators have also had equity-based training and are aware of our UGDSB 3-Year Plan in accordance with Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan.

How do I talk to my child about various sexual and gender identities?

Since everyone parents in different ways, it is difficult to answer this question. You will know best on how to speak to your child about accepting and including people who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+.

For elementary aged children, we suggest focusing your discussion on love and relationships and explain that people love each other in different ways. When talking to children about people who identify as transgender, explain that in their head and their heart, they feel that they are a boy, girl or combination of those traits. Sometimes it takes a person more time to be comfortable to express themselves as who they really are and sometimes how people express themselves changes over time.

We recommend the following books to help guide your conversations:

  • Molly’s Family by Nancy Garden
  • George by Alex Gino
  • Transphobia: deal with it and be a gender transcender by j wallace skelton
  • Pride: celebrating diversity & community by Robin Stevenson
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  • Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino
  • My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
  • I am Jazz and Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
  • Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

These books can be found in many of our school libraries as well as our local public libraries.

The Human Rights Campaign in the United States has a guide for parents on discussing 2SLGBTQIA+ issues with students.

Celebrating and Supporting Sexuality, Gender and Pride Clubs in the UGDSB

What is a GSA/Pride Club?

A Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) or Pride based groups are student-initiated and led clubs (supervised by a staff member) found in many UGDSB schools. These clubs are a safe and supportive environment for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and others to work within allyship*. These groups address marginalization and promote advocacy with the intent of supporting safe UGDSB schools free of discrimination, harassment and intolerance.

Student-initiated and led GSA/Pride Clubs function within several UGDSB elementary schools (for grades 5 and older), as well as UGDSB secondary schools.

Through Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act, the Ministry of Education requires school boards to allow students to form groups at their school to raise awareness and understanding of important topics including gender identity and sexual orientation.

Students and staff who have straight and cis-gendered** identities or family members and friends who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ are often part of the GSA/Pride work within our schools. Working within allyship, these youth and staff can share their passion to make our schools safe for all 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

*Acting in allyship – supporting a marginalized group though not necessarily identifying as part of that marginalized group.
**Cis-gendered – a person whose gender identity and/or expression match the sex they were assigned at birth.

What do GSA/Pride Clubs do?

In these spaces students discuss, plan and lead actions (supervised by a staff member) focused on creating awareness and reducing ignorance, stereotypes, homophobia and transphobia. Each GSA/Pride Club within the UGDSB is unique based on student interest and community need.

Often times schools have social justice or equity themed clubs that address issues of oppression across a wide spectrum of concerns (racism, poverty, ableism etc.). These groups will often celebrate, support and facilitate 2SLGBTQIA+ needs similar to those of a GSA/Pride Club.

Why are GSA/Pride Clubs important?

GSA/Pride Clubs are important as they increase awareness of 2SLGBTQIA+ identities and foster safe spaces for marginalized students, families and staff. The work of these clubs also serves to provide new information and understanding about 2SLGBTQIA+ people and families.

As a safe space for marginalized students and those wishing to work within allyship, GSAs and Pride Clubs can support students as they learn about identities and grow as adolescents and into adulthood. The safe space created in a GSA/Pride Club can help reduce feelings of isolation and increase self-esteem and self-worth.

Another benefit of GSA/Pride Clubs is the action work that comes from many of these groups. As a venue for student voice, students within these groups can lead information and awareness campaigns or activities supporting their school communities to be better informed about gender and sexuality. From this advocacy work, schools can continue to be safe and inclusive places for all students, families and staff.

What if having a GSA/Pride Club is against my personal values and beliefs?

We believe that our schools are safe and inclusive spaces for everyone. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Additionally, regardless of your personal values and beliefs, we all must follow the Ontario Human Rights Code that protects marginalized groups from discrimination and harassment. We support GSA and Pride Groups and our Rainbow events as a demonstration of our commitment to stand up against discrimination and harassment of any kind within our board.

Additional Resources:

How does my child become involved in a club such as these?

Students are encouraged to speak to any staff member or administrator at their school about an existing club or group, or to find out more about starting a club. All schools within the UGDSB have an equity representative on staff who can provide more information and connect them with system supports. Jessica Rowden, the UGDSB’s Equity and Inclusion Lead, may also be contacted at [email protected].

Who can we contact with questions or concerns?

Please contact your child’s school administrators with questions or concerns.

Celebrating Pride in the UGDSB

To see how we are celebrating Pride, check out the UGDSB’s Pride Month 2020 website! (2021 content will be added soon!)

Flying the Pride Flag

What is the Pride flag?

The current Pride flag’s exact colours and dimensions have changed from the Gilbert Baker flag, which first appeared as a representation of the LGBTQ+ community in 1977.  The Rainbow flag is strongly connected to the LGBTQ+ community, it also is a representation of social change cited as being a symbol of hope and peace. 

2SLGBTQIA+ stands for Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex and Asexual, while + stands for other ways folks express their gender and sexuality outside heteronormativity and the gender binary. There are specific flags and flag variations for many identities within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

Pride Flag

Why is my child’s school flying the Pride flag?

The month of June is Pride month. Many of our students, staff, parents/guardians and community members identify as members of the Rainbow or 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Flying the Pride flag not only signals that our schools are safe spaces for everyone, it also aligns with our Vision Statement and Guiding Principles of inclusion and student and staff well-being and our new Equity Plan.

Our school district is committed to supporting and celebrating the 2SLGBTQIA+ community throughout the year. During Pride Month specifically, it is the expectation that schools and offices across the UGDSB raise the Pride Flag to show our support and acceptance and to celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

We continue to raise awareness and support inclusion and acceptance of other marginalized groups in other ways.

Some examples include supporting staff affinity/identity groups, centering feedback and voice provided from student groups including Black Chapter/Black Student Unions, Equity Committees and Muslim Student Associations, our Poverty Challenge initiative aimed at increasing awareness of socio-economic disadvantage, the One Voice One Team initiative aimed at creating community for racialized students, supporting persons with disabilities by making our schools more accessible, acknowledging the original people of these lands, and committing to ensure that Indigenous staff and students are not deprived of their rights. We continue to work to ensure the equity and inclusion of all our students and staff.

UGDSB Vision Statement

Students will attain individual excellence through dynamic programming provided by an effective staff and supported by a committed community. We will meet our students’ diverse needs through the provision of equitable and accessible resources. Our learning environment will be characterized by empowered administrators, effective communication and mutual compassionate respect.

Guiding Principles

We believe that:

  • Student learning is our focus
  • The learning process is open-ended
  • Education is a community responsibility
  • Embracing diversity contributes to community
  • Teachers make a significant difference
  • Leaders must focus on students
  • Continuous professional development supports life-long learning
  • A commitment to values guides activities
  • A safe physical environment needs to be sustained
  • A respectful learning environment fosters personal growth
  • Opportunities and resources need to be equitably distributed
  • Everyone should be treated with respect

What if the flying of the Pride flag is against my personal values and beliefs?

We believe that our schools are safe spaces for everyone. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Additionally, regardless of your personal values and beliefs, we all must follow the Ontario Human Rights Code that protects marginalized groups from discrimination and harassment. We are flying the Pride flag to demonstrate our commitment to our community that discrimination and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated in our board.

What are the rules around flying flags in the UGDSB?

The UGDSB has specific procedures that all schools must follow to request permission to fly a flag (in addition to the Canadian flag) outside of the school. These procedures are outlined in Policy 310 – Display of Flags.

UGDSB Policy 310 – Display of Flags allows for the display of other flags under specific parameters. The information below and available at the following link explains the policy and processes related to the flying of flags in our board.

Policy Statement

It is the policy of the Upper Grand District School Board to display flags with dignity and respect. This policy is aligned with and supports the principles and expectations of the Board’s policies for Safe Schools (503) and Equity and Inclusive Education (504). At all times, this policy shall be consistent with all UGDSB policies and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Documents

The Upper Grand District School Board’s philosophy on Student Dress Codes

It is the policy of the Upper Grand District School Board to ensure a safe and inclusive learning and working environment for all students, staff and the community, regardless of age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, socio-economic status, employment, housing, sex, and sexual orientation (Policy 504 Equity and Inclusive Education).

The UGDSB’s student dress code philosophy is one way that we are working to ensure safe, inclusive and equitable learning environments for all of our students. Schools need to be able to focus on teaching and learning without undue emphasis on monitoring dress code infractions. Dress codes must be presented in a manner that does not reinforce stereotypes. We believe that students have a right to learn in a safe and caring space that is free of bias and discrimination, and that students have a right to respectfully express their individuality. To ensure that our learning environments are safe and respectful spaces, our board has adopted a shared set of guidelines for student dress (listed below).

UGDSB school principals, in consultation with their school council, staff and students, shall determine a dress code for their students. Schools are encouraged to create a dress code that is based on the board’s dress code philosophy, values and guidelines.

Our values and beliefs:

  • All students should be able to dress for school without fear of unnecessary discipline, body shaming, bias or discrimination.
  • Individuals are responsible for managing their own personal biases and or perspectives/opinions (distractions) related to others’ choices of clothing.
  • All students are treated equitably regardless of their race, age, ability, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, socio-economic circumstances, or body type/size.
  • Students have a right to wear clothing of their choice that expresses their self-identified gender.
  • Students have a right to wear religious attire without fear of discipline or discrimination.

Guidelines for school dress codes:

  • Dress codes must avoid using language that reinforces stereotypes.
  • Student dress code enforcement must not result in unnecessary barriers to school attendance.
  • Courses that include attire as part of the curriculum (for example, public speaking and job readiness) may include assignment-specific dress. Schools need to be aware that there may be diverse culturally-specific attire that would also meet the requirements of a course.
  • Schools must maintain a safe learning environment in classes where protective or supportive clothing is required. For example, activity-specific shoe requirements are permitted (e.g., athletic shoes for Physical Education).
  • Dress codes must prevent students from wearing clothing or accessories that display (but are not limited to) the following: Images, logos or language that portray, ethnic prejudice, racism, sexism, vulgarity, gang-related markings, obscenities, profanity, hate speech, and/or pornography.
  • Dress codes must prevent students from wearing clothing or accessories that denote, suggest, display or reference alcohol, drugs or related paraphernalia, or other illegal conduct or activities.
  • Dress codes must prevent students from wearing clothing that exposes genitals, buttocks, and breasts.
  • School staff need to be able to explain the dress code and address dress code infractions without using body-shaming language.

All UGDSB school principals have been provided with a template based on this philosophy, which they may use when developing their school’s student dress code.

Period Equity in the UGDSB

What is Period Equity?

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.

Why is the UGDSB investing in this initiative?

Period Equity Poster PNG fileOur school district recognizes the inequity placed on people who menstruate and the additional challenges presented to the same people who may be living with limited access to funds and/or transportation, both of which are required to purchase menstrual products. This initiative is part of a collective approach to ensuring we continue to raise awareness and support inclusion and acceptance in various ways throughout our board.

UGDSB Vision Statement

Students will attain individual excellence through dynamic programming provided by an effective staff and supported by a committed community. We will meet our students’ diverse needs through the provision of equitable and accessible resources. Our learning environment will be characterized by empowered administrators, effective communication and mutual compassionate respect.

Guiding Principles

We believe that:

  • Student learning is our focus
  • The learning process is open-ended
  • Education is a community responsibility
  • Embracing diversity contributes to community
  • Teachers make a significant difference
  • Leaders must focus on students
  • Continuous professional development supports life-long learning
  • A commitment to values guides activities
  • A safe physical environment needs to be sustained
  • A respectful learning environment fosters personal growth
  • Opportunities and resources need to be equitably distributed
  • Everyone should be treated with respect

How does this program work?

In partnership with various departments and staff in the UGDSB, this program began with an opportunity to understand the inequities that exist for people who menstruate.

Through a generous donation from the Upper Grand Learning Foundation, there are accessible machines that dispenses free menstrual products in every “For Use by All” single stall washroom in all of our UGDSB secondary schools. The machines are currently being installed and filled in all elementary schools with grade 7 & 8 students.

Machines and products are currently 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. Machines will be stocked regularly.

Will products be available in all UGDSG locations?

Moving forward, the UGDSB will extend free period products to remaining K-6 schools. 

Resources for UGDSB schools

Culturally Responsive Novels

Culturally responsive teaching and resources focus on various identities and lived experiences in ways that validate and reflect a variety of diverse people and their lives. These books and many more are developed for educator use and can be accessed through your school’s Teacher Librarian.

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions Equity and Inclusion Toolkit

In 2018, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) made a commitment to build on their existing work with young workers and equity-seeking groups by creating an Equity and Inclusion Toolkit. The toolkit provides resources to support the CFNU, Member Organizations and individual members to grow and expand advocacy in these areas. The toolkit contains a range of materials, including: FAQs, an introduction to using equity lens, a glossary of inclusive language, an organizational scan checklist, an event accessibility checklist, sample workshops and sample policies/position statements: https://nursesunions.ca/research/equity/Canadian Federation of Nurses Union - Equity Toolkit cover image

Prayer Room Signage

Location Door Sign Prayer Room

Click here to download the signage

For Use by All Washroom Signage

IMG_0735

Equity & Mental Health Walk Through Form

Sustainable Development Program

Coming soon.

UGDSB Equity and Inclusion Calendar

This calendar will support equity and inclusion work by identifying some of the important days of celebration, commemoration and observance for students, staff and their families and community members this year. It is not a complete list of days of importance. Please note that some Holy days are impacted by the lunar calendar which means that their calendar date may change.

Click here to download the 2020-2021 Equity and Inclusion Calendar.

Equity and Inclusion: Mental Health

If this is an emergency, call 911. If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help:

  • Guelph/Wellington: 1 844 437 3247 (HERE247)
  • Dufferin: 519 941 1530 (DCAFS)
  • KidsHelpPhone: 1 800 668 6868

Ensuring positive student mental health is a shared responsibility of students, staff, parents/guardians and community partners. As part of the provincial Open Minds, Healthy Minds Mental Health Strategy, our board’s Mental Health and Addiction Lead works with stakeholders within our board and in our community, to promote: mentally healthy schools; student mental well being; educator mental health awareness and knowledge; evidence based prevention programs; and clear pathways to care.

We hope the following resources and information will help support mental health and well-being in children, youth and families: