- Equity, inclusion, and Indigenous education assist the board in meeting the needs of its students.
- The Near North District School Board issued its annual report earlier this month, noting that “positive momentum continues” in its commitment to fostering an inclusive learning culture.
In June, the board approved a multi-year strategic plan, emphasizing the importance of maintaining an inclusive culture while outlining four pillars that would help guide the board throughout the year.
The pillars are excellence in teaching and learning, innovation, relationships, and communication. Overall, the annual report is “one of accomplishment and success,” according to Craig Myles, director of education.
“As component of our commitment to equity and inclusion,” according to the report, an Equity Advisory Circle was formed to “engage community partners” with the board.
This year, representatives from OUTLoud, the Children’s Aid Society of Nipissing and Parry Sound, the Metis Nation North Bay, and other organizations attended three meetings.
According to the report, the board “values and embraces students and employees from diverse backgrounds, identities, and personal experiences” and has been emphasizing culturally responsive teaching.
This curriculum “acknowledges that all students learn differently and that these differences may be related to background, language, family structure, and social or cultural identity.”
New resources that “support diversity and inclusion” are added to school libraries across the NNDSB “ongoingly,” “so students will see themselves, their culture, and identity reflected in their library books.”
Indigenous education remains a top priority for the board. There are currently 24 Indigenous studies courses available at the secondary level, and “many tools and resources” are available for younger students.
“We have responsibilities to help close the educational gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students,” the board’s report states, “as well as to educate all staff and students about Indigenous issues, such as the residential school system, treaties, and the role of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.”
The multi-year strategic plan will guide the board until 2026. Regarding this year’s annual report, Myles stated that he was “happy and proud” of the work done to put it together and thanked the “strong team” that ensured its completion. “Without these organizations, this report would not be possible,” he explained.