Volume 5

Using an Equity Lens: A Guide to Creating Equitable and Inclusive School Environments

Author: Gail Belisario, Judith Ngan

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) is committed to a vision of All Students Achieving Their Full Potential. As guided by the HWDSB Strategic Directions of Achievement Matters, Engagement Matters, and Equity Matters, the HWDSB Equity Policy (Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, n.d.) provides a framework for our Board to work towards creating safe and inclusive learning environments, identifying and removing barriers throughout the organization, providing learning experiences that meet the needs of all students, and facilitating meaningful parent and community involvement.

Keywords: equity, inclusive, environments

Why is Student Engagement Important?

Author: Dawn Lane

Before attempting to answer, allow me to introduce myself and establish my perspective on this vital question. My name is Dawn Lane and I am a SERT at Oak Ridges Public School in Richmond Hill. I work in a community that has a diverse student population, with some families that have plenty and others who have need. Our school council runs a snack program to ensure that every student has access to healthy food to fuel his or her growing body and brain.

Keywords: student, engagement

The First Nations Kindergarten Transition Program in York Region: Action Research in Students Achieving Outstanding Social and Academic Success in Full Day Kindergarten

Author: Tanya Leary

Historically, schools in First Nation communities, have not included positive experiences for their students. Fortunately, the world is finally discovering the truth behind the Residential School and Indian Day School Experiences. Looking toward the future, however, provides excitement and encouragement as First Nation communities, schools and students begin their educational journey forward.

Keywords: first nations, kindergarten, social, academic

Engaging Minority Parents

Author: Denise Mabee

The intent of this paper is to examine the importance of engaging minority parents in partnership with Ontario’s education system. Historically, minority parents have been an underestimated source of knowledge, a relatively quiet resource from which the education system would greatly benefit. Through a practical perspective of the Ministry’s Parent Engagement and Equity documents, I will be addressing the following questions: How has parental involvement evolved through the Ministry’s perspective? Why are minority parents typically remaining silent? What concerns do minority parents generally have about their children’s education, in particular Native American Indians and African Americans? How can schools encourage these groups to share their voice through parental engagement?

Keywords: engaging, minority, parents

Showing the Talk: How Artifacts Contribute to Inclusive Schools/Workplaces

Author: Kevin McBean

A quick review of district websites reveals mission, vision and value statements laden with words related to student achievement, well-being, equity, inclusion and engagement. That is the “talk”. But “the talk” is meaningless without “the walk”, that being the enactment of such values in behaviour, communication and decision making. I think we can all agree that we would like “the walk” to match “the talk”, but it must be recognized that this does not always happen and certainly will not happen consistently by chance.

Keywords: talk, inclusive, schools, workplaces

How can teachers access the brain’s learning processes in second language acquisition and use the information effectively and practically?

Author: Maria Merecoulias

Questions plague humans, and in their quest for answering them, growth is attainable. WHO? The English language learners’ brain is of great interest to ESL teachers as it holds the secrets to best practice for second language acquisition. WHERE? Ontario’s multicultural schools are the epicentre of equity. To foster its dissemination teachers must work as efficiently and effectively as possible. WHEN? Cognitive linguistics is not new, but since the brain is extremely complex its research is ongoing and often controversial. As Canada’s immigrant population increases so does the urgency for teachers to plan better so that learners are able to learn faster. WHAT? The way parts of the brain are related to learning a second (third, fourth etc.) language.

Keywords: teachers, learning, second language

The Hidden Curriculum Teaching Model/Learning Model

Author: Priscilla Mochrie

Mountain View Elementary School is nestled in the village of Stoney Creek, within Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. The school welcomes about 350 students in grades junior kindergarten through Grade 8. Approximately 60 per cent of the student population is South Asian, creating a climate within the school that speaks to diversity.

Keywords: curriculum, teaching, learning, model

A Road of Reform Well Travelled

Author: Beate Planche

During the last decade, in a similar fashion to other school systems in Ontario, York Region District School Board educators have been involved in many professional conversations about how to best improve and reform elementary and secondary schools. With the benefit of dedicated investments and professional learning supports by the Ontario Ministry of Education, significant gains in provincial achievement in reading, writing and mathematics have been made. As importantly, as a part of a collective quest to develop relevant 21st century learning environments, our professional conversations are increasingly focussed on how to deeply engage students as partners in learning.

Keywords: reform, travelled

The Fifth Business of educational improvement: Leadership for equitable and inclusive schools

Author: Malcolm J. Richmon

LEADERSHIP: A REFLEXIVE INTRODUCTION Undertaking a literature review on leadership in education is, at best, an act of scholarly bravery, but less charitably, an act of considerable foolhardiness. With well over a century of academic writing to draw on, the literature isn’t simply voluminous, it’s all but insurmountable. Further still, the literature itself is so varied, and the conceptual features of leadership so widely disputed, that there is very little assurance that different inquiries into leadership are even studying the same phenomenon.

Keywords: fifth business, leadership, equitable, inclusive

Sports And Academic Achievement

Author: Rajesh Singh

The link between athleticism and academic performance has always been an area where educators are keen to investigate. Knowing whether students benefit from the impact of sports involvement is a huge advantage in engaging learners from a variety of backgrounds. In doing a recent literature review I have found that students who are involved in sports benefit in a variety of ways, not only academically through increased grade point averages (GPA) but through greater school involvement, better self-esteem and social skills.

Keywords: sports, academic, achievement

Creating Our Future

Author: Karen Steffensen

It was mid September 1990 and in my newly appointed role as Vice Principal at Sechelt Elementary I was keen to put into practice suggestions I had encountered in the numerous leadership readings I had been doing, in particular, one that made reference to “managing by walking around”. As I wandered the hallways of the main floor, I soon came across a group of boys outside their respective classrooms, engrossed in a game of eraser hockey, oblivious to my presence and keen on scoring their next goal. Curious as to why they were not in class and wondering what they were supposed to be doing, I asked them what class they were missing.  They stared up at me with big brown eyes and sheepish grins and muttered a single utterance- “French”.

Keywords: creating, future

The Power of Play: Using the Integrated Play Group Model to Enhance Motor and Social Skills for Learners with Autism

Author: Alison Tonks, Dave Sandiford, Andrea Keddy, Amy Getzler

Teacher Inquiry Question: How can we use the Integrated Play Group model (IPG) to enhance the gross motor and social skill development of our Primary and Junior Autism Community Classroom learners?

Keywords: play, social skills, learners, autism

Cultural Responsiveness as a Component of Conflict Management in Secondary Schools

Author: Rosemarie Walker

Current conflict management practice in public schools seldom reflects the varied worldviews and backgrounds of disputants, nor does it often address the causes of conflicts. In increasingly diverse North American communities, this often results in disproportionate numbers of marginalized students being suspended and expelled. Research was conducted in a south central Ontario school board to examine the conflict management practice of secondary school administrators. The language of cultural proficiency was used as a framework to describe what respectful attention to cultural diversity might look and sound like in the management of student conflicts at school.

Keywords: cultural, responsiveness, conflict management