The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) will launch its Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement on Tuesday.
Guyana-born Karen Murray, the principal for the Centre told The Caribbean Camera that it will provide ” multiple support for Black students, their families and the community based on our nine-point mandate .”
She said it will :
· Provide support to Black students in TDSB schools to combat racism, navigate complaint processes, identify barriers to success and access appropriate resources (such as scholarships, networking, mentoring);
· Use evidence to highlight promising practices and engage in meaningful research on topics relevant to Black students that are then integrated across schools and at the system level within the TDSB;
· Create professional learning in anti-Black racism and collaborate with other staff in facilitating learning in decolonization, Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression & human rights recognizing the similarities and intersections of various forms of oppression;
· Identify, develop and facilitate culturally responsive and relevant healing practices for groups of students;
· Inform changes to policies and procedures so that all students may benefit from the learning and innovative practices developed by the Centre;
· Establish effective mechanisms for monitoring improvement in the achievement of Black students;
·Provide annual accountability reports and recommendations to the Board of Trustees and staff;
·Support meaningful engagement and advocacy of caregivers for their children in TDSB schools and programs and improve communication to them about Black student success, system navigation and complaint processes; and
·Engage in strategic community partnerships related to education within the annually identified approved budget for this purpose.
Murray said 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
The Centre will be the first of its kind in public education in Canada, according to a TDSB news release.
At the official launching, several prominent educators will take part in panel discussion about the the Centre’s mandate.