Safe and Inclusive Schools
Equity and Inclusive Education
HDSB Safe and Inclusive School – Your Voice Counts!
The Halton District School Board commits to serve staff, students and families in diverse communities by incorporating the principles of equity and inclusive education into all aspects of its operations, structures, policies, programs, procedures, guidelines and practices, consistent with the principles of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The Safe and Inclusive Schools team focuses student support and staff learning on 4 areas which are inter-connected and promote a safe, healthy and inclusive classroom for all students:
- Culturally Responsive Teaching
- Developmental Assets
- Restorative Practices
- Think Kids Collaborative Problem Solving
The Halton District School Board's 7 Equity Lenses include:
- First Nation, Métis and Inuit
- Race, Culture and Language
- Sex, Gender Identity and Gender Expression
- Sexual Orientation
The Halton District School Board values the diversity of our school communities and we demonstrate an understanding of faith accommodations within the public education system.
For more information please contact:
Mary Jane Farrish,
Principal of Equity and
JWS Education Centre
905-335-3663 x 3208
Superintendent of Education
JWS Education Centre
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) is an intentional way of teaching that takes into account the visible and invisible complex social identities that exist within each student and their relationships with others and the world around them. Students’ individual identities and backgrounds should inform curriculum design and instruction. CRT provides students and teachers with the opportunity to challenge the biases and stereotypes that exist in our world. Culturally Responsive Teaching teaches to and through the strengths of all of our students (Gay, 2010).
In the HDSB, the term Culturally Responsive Teaching reflects the HDSB’s 7 Equity Lenses (Ability, Faith, First Nation, Métis, Inuit, Gender, Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity, Socio-Economic Status, Race/Culture). HDSB staff are committed to the elimination of all types of discrimination. CRT can act as a vehicle to create safe spaces where students can fully express their identities without fear of harassment and bullying. CRT is sound teaching practice whether the demographics of the classroom are visibly or invisibly diverse as it encourages an increased understanding of differences for both teachers and students.
The Developmental Assets are the building blocks for youth development. Grounded in extensive research in youth development, resiliency, and prevention, the Developmental Assets represent the relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that young people need to avoid risks and to thrive. Research shows that the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors such as bullying, and the more likely they are to thrive academically, in their relationships, and in the community. Assets have power for all young people.
Restorative practices build the capacity of the student and the school community to develop internal and external assets, and healthy relationships; they are the foundation of preventing bullying behaviour. Restorative Practices use a spectrum of proactive and responsive strategies including the use of emotional expression (sharing thoughts and feelings), classroom circles, small impromptu conferences and formal conferences. Restorative Practices support the whole school approach to positive school climate and bullying prevention/intervention by engaging the community to adopt a unified set of practices that enhance respectful relationships, build empathy and compassion, and strengthen acceptance of responsibility.
Suggested Resource: International Institute for Restorative Practices
Think Kids: Collaborative Problem Solving
The Think Kids: Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) model is used effectively with all students to build and improve relationships through working collaboratively to solve problems/issues/concerns. CPS adopts two core principles: first, that challenging behaviour is best understood as the by-product of lagging cognitive skills, and second, that these challenges are best addressed by teaching children the skills they lack. The paradigm shift for teachers is to acknowledge that “children will do well if they can” and CPS addresses the skills our children are missing so they can do well. CPS provides a helpful framework to explore and build the skills and social scaffolding necessary to prevent bullying behaviour among students, and to put in place effective solutions with students who have bullied others, who have been targeted by bullying, and those who have witnessed bullying.
Suggested Resource: Think:Kids (http://www.thinkkids.org/)