Official opening of Centre of Excellence to be held on June 13

Karen Murray

The official opening of the Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement in Scarborough will be held on June 13.

In announcing the “grand opening” of the “new physical space” of the Centre at the Winston Churchill Collegiate, Guyana-born Karen Murray, System Superintendent, noted that at the “live-streamed virtual event” there will be the unveiling of artwork developed by artist and creator of the LEGACY posters and Order of Canada recipient, Robert Small, along with award-winning Afrofuturist muralist and cultural curator, Danilo Deluxo.

There will also be performances by Coco Collective, Multidisciplinary intergenerational artists specializing in African and Caribbean arts, TDSB students from Africentric Alternative School and Randell Adjei, Ontario’s first Poet Laureate

 Itah Sadu, storyteller, author and managing director of Blacjhurst better Known as  A Different Booklist Cultural Centre: The People’s Residence, will be the moderator.

A Robert Small original

“We have been working all year on some amazing programming for students, staff, families and caregivers and we are now finally opening the doors to launch our physical space, “Murray told The Caribbean Camera.

Colleen Russell-Rawlins, Director of Education with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), is one of several prominent educators who will take part in a panel discussion about the Centre’s mandate.

The concept of a Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement was first proposed in TDSB over two years ago by the Enhancing Equity Task Force.

The Task Force’s recommendations led to a number of action plans aimed at removing practises that stream students and decrease the educational opportunities of under-served groups of students, especially Black students

The Centre will have about 20 staff positions, including a social worker, child and youth counsellor and five graduation coaches all focused on supports for Black students, improving students’ experiences and identifying the ways in which anti-Black racism is operating in TDSB and offering possible solutions to eradicate it.

“Though we have made changes in our structures, processes and system, it has clearly not been enough and we need to do more to support the achievement and well-being of Black students in TDSB,” said John Malloy, TDSB director.