Equity and Well-being
This section of the Director’s Annual Report provides evidence of the Board’s progress towards identified goals in the area of Equity and Well-being. It also identifies the progress related to human rights and equity in schools as outlined in the Ministry of Education’s Equity Action Plan. The Equity Action Plan includes three key areas: School and Classroom Practices; Leadership, Governance and Human Resources; and Data Collection, Integration Reporting.
Every student will learn in an inclusive and caring environment that promotes their well-being.
System training in Inclusive Design and Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy (CRRP) was facilitated at Family of Schools (FOS) meetings with Principals and Vice Principals and senior staff, through individual CRRP school teams projects and with Equity Leads who worked with staff back at their respective school sites.
Staff were provided professional development strategies to support student well-being, equity and inclusion (e.g., Egale Training, Anti-Black Racism: Beyond Black History Month, Expanding Critical Consciousness, Islamophobia, Diverse Gender and Identities) at FOS meeting, Equity Lead sessions (Anti-Black Racism, responsive learning environments) and CRRP school projects (focus on Race and improving the learning environment).
Some students with special needs require the use of assistive devices and assistive technology to support their learning needs. The Student Services Department has consistently improved the range of options for students, the training available for students and staff, and the speed at which new devices get into the hands of students.
The HDSB Mental Health Strategy continues to guide the development and delivery of programs and resources that support the positive mental health and well-being of all students. This year, the strategy included professional development in support of trauma informed classrooms, educators learning how to support students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, the provision of the Healthy Transitions Program for students in Grade 8, and the development of an Elementary Suicide Protocol.
Collaborative meetings were held with Halton Region Public Health to examine the increased incidents of student vaping and associated risks. The HDSB Code of Conduct was reframed to prevent possession of vapes in addition to prohibiting vaping in schools. Educational efforts in all schools included increased signage, aligned messages and providing educational materials to families.
Every student will learn in a respectful culture of high expectations that values diversity, and will see themselves reflected in their learning.
The HDSB Welcome Centre expanded its support for the initial transition of newcomer students and families into school with ongoing settlement and programming support for Grade 1-12 students. The Welcome Centre increased its direct settlement support in 33 schools.
All schools had Well-being teams in place to ensure positive mental health, safe and inclusive schools and equitable classroom approaches.
All staff will engage in learning, and model a culture of equity and inclusion in support of student well-being.
“Orchestrate Your Classroom” training workshops were offered to staff. This training was offered to increase teacher capacity in building strong classroom cultures designed to reduce behaviours and increase engagements. In the first year, approximately 400 teachers participated in the training.
Restorative Practices training continued to support pre- and post incident interventions that can improve the learning climates for students.
Mental Health learning opportunities have been provided for many staff groups, which have included Inclusive School and Classroom Practices, Mentally Healthy Classrooms, Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Awareness and Stigma Reduction, Trauma Informed Classrooms and Schools, Positive Relationships, and Kids Have Stress Too.
The scope of work for Social Workers and Child and Youth Counsellors has been clarified with new structures developed to support the needs of students, including two new itinerant service teams - Mental Health, and Crisis and Safety - in each area of the Board.
We will advance a culture of respect for all students, staff, families and community.
Equity learning opportunities were offered to parents and various employee groups as a means of creating welcoming school environments for all.
The initial Respectful Workplace Survey of staff in 2018-2019 was completed by more than 3,400 employees. Training has been provided to system leaders and will be rolled out to all staff throughout the year. A follow up survey will be conducted in 2020.
In the 2018-2019 school year, the HDSB entered into a partnership with Special Olympics Ontario to host two Multi-Sport Days at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton.
The HDSB saw a record number of schools participate in the World Down Syndrome Day with a focus on seeing the abilities of all students.
On June 14, 2019, the annual
Special Athletes' Track Meet celebrated its 32nd year of providing an opportunity for hundreds of special needs students to participate in a day of sport, activity and fun.
This year, the Board engaged the services of an external consultant to complete the third and final phase of the Special Education Review. The findings of this review continue to help guide improvements in the provision of programs and services that support students with special needs.
We will use innovative approaches to student accommodation that reflect the changing needs within our communities.
HDSB staff continue to use a collaborative multi-stakeholder approach to the design of new schools.
The annual Community Planning Partnerships public meeting took place in the fall of 2019. Additional partnership opportunities are being pursued as part of the new capital priorities submission.
In 2018-2019, there was interest from Links2Care to access available space in Acton schools. The Board is reviewing the opportunity to change school grade configurations at Acton elementary and secondary schools in order to accommodate the program in an elementary school (i.e. McKenzie-Smith Bennett Public School)
2018 Human Rights Symposium - Indigenous Realities
On Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, the Halton District School Board hosted the
Human Rights Symposium - Indigenous Realities to bring together education and community partners to engage in vital conversations about Indigenous Rights and the current realities faced by Indigenous Peoples.
More than 300 education and community partners gathered together for an important day of learning and collaborating about Indigenous issues and respect for diversity. Keynote speakers
Susan Aglukark and Jesse Wente led attendees through an important day of learning and collaborating about Indigenous issues and respect for diversity. Participants attended a selection of workshops led by First Nations, Métis and Inuit rights advocates, educators, artists and more.
Take a look at the learning that took place at the 2018 Human Rights Symposium, captured by those who attended.
Watch an event recap of the Human Rights Symposium: