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At HWDSB, we are aware of how COVID-19 has highlighted two pandemics in our society: one related to the virus itself, and one related to social inequities the virus intensified, like anti-Black racism.

HWDSB is committed to developing safer, more equitable and more inclusive learning environments. Schools have an important role in learning about equity, and supporting student and staff well-being.

To address both pandemics, a team of staff informed by our community created a series of lessons called Learn.Disrupt.Rebuild@HWDSB: Building a Community of Care​.

These lessons for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students align with HWDSB’s Board Annual Plan and Equity Action Plan. The lessons will support students and staff on topics related to human rights, equity and mental health during the pandemic. Lessons support the Ontario Curriculum.

We have organized age-appropriate lessons into four modules:

  • Module 1. Physical Safety, Mental Health and Wellness.
  • Module 2. Understanding Identity and Intersectionality.
  • Module 3. Exploring Human Rights, Equity and Anti-racism.
  • Module 4. Empowering Action and Allyship.

Students will learn that who they are – their identity – is an important part of their learning and well-being. We want students to understand who they are, speak up when things are unfair, and help create a safer learning experience for everyone.

Some of these topics are complex, so we encourage you to talk with your child about this learning. You can ask questions like: What did you learn about today? What did you think about what you learned today? Do you have any questions about this topic?

Over time, we will add to this website with resources such as sample lessons.

If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with your child’s teacher or principal. You can also learn more about Addressing Concerns at HWDSB.

Thank you for helping all students and staff feel safe, supported and accepted.

Why is HWDSB teaching the ideas behind Learn.Disrupt.Rebuild?

The lessons, aligned with HWDSB’s Board Annual Plan and Equity Action Plan, support students and staff on topics related to human rights, equity and mental health during the pandemic. All content aligns with the Ontario Curriculum and Ministry of Education directions.

To enhance our human rights education instruction, a team of dedicated staff was hired to create a series of culturally relevant and responsive lessons. These lessons, informed by our community, are called Learn.Disrupt.Rebuild@HWDSB: Building a Community of Care.

Learn.Disrupt.Rebuild@HWDSB​ is one of many equity initiatives in our Equity Action Plan, which also includes the 2021 student census, 2020 employment equity audit, 2019 staff census and much more.

The lessons are designed to support HWDSB schools to fulfil their legal obligations in promoting fundamental human rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with which HWDSB is required to comply.

Ontario’s Ministry of Education states that: “A positive, inclusive, equitable, and non-discriminatory elementary and secondary school experience is vitally important to a student’s personal, social, and academic development, to their future economic security, and to a realization of their full potential.” Ontario Ministry of Education’s – Curriculum and Resource

Lessons in Learn.Disrupt.Rebuild@HWDSB align with Ontario’s Education Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy: “Equity and inclusive education aims to understand, identify, address, and eliminate the biases, barriers, and power dynamics that limit students’ prospects for learning, growing, and fully contributing to society. Barriers may be related to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnic origin, religion, socio-economic background, physical or mental ability, or other factors. It is now recognized that several factors may intersect to create additional barriers for some students. These barriers and biases, whether overt or subtle, intentional or unintentional, need to be identified and addressed.”

The lessons in Learn.Disrupt.Rebuild@HWDSB support the Ministry’s and HWDSB’s goal to develop and integrate Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy (CRRP) approaches to promote teaching, curriculum and assessment that are responsive to students’ needs and lived experiences. These lessons are intended to support staff as they address issues related to equity, mental health, and well-being.

CRRP is an approach to education that emphasizes the importance of acknowledging learners’ and educators’ multiple social identities and how they interest with the world; the importance of engaging students with a full range of differences in learning background, strengths, needs and interests.

“CRRP provides a framework for building positive environments, improving student responsibility and success, encouraging parent-school relationships, and building strong community connections. It also emphasizes that it is important for educators and school leaders to examine their own biases and to analyse how their own identities and experiences affect how they view, understand, and interact with all students. This can help to prevent discrimination, harassment, and the creation of poisoned environments. Educators are responsible for meaningful teaching and learning that recognizes and responds to who is in the classroom and the school.” Ontario Ministry of Education’s – Curriculum and Resource

Updated on Thursday, May 06, 2021.
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