The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has approved funding to create a Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement.
It wil be the first of its kind in public education in Canada, according to a TDSB news release last week.
Stating that anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, including TDBS schools, the the TDSB said in the release that its trustees unanimously approved the project.
“It is one of TDSB’s responses to dismantle anti-Black racism within the school board and improve both experiences and outcomes for Black students,” it said. “The creation of the Centre is also responsive to the voices of the Black communities who consistently advocated for deeper systemic change from the TDSB,”
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 underserved 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.
“The new Centre of Excellence will provide another way for us to not only confront anti-Black racism, but to be more accountable to Black students and their families.”
No date has yet been announced for the establishment of the Centre.