Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Roadmap - Update 2022

Purpose of the Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Roadmap

The OCDSB’s 2020-2023 Indigenous, Equity Human Rights and Equity Roadmap outlines a pathway to fulfill the District’s commitment to identify and address systemic barriers that affect students, staff and families’ well-being and success. These barriers are evidenced by the disparities and disproportionalities in access, opportunity and outcomes for groups of staff, students and families who experience individual and/or intersecting inequities. As a result, this pathway requires intentional moves to transform the creation or interpretation of oppressive and discriminatory policies, procedures, practices and behaviors that cause hurt, harm and trauma to students, staff and families.  

What shifts/changes are taking place in schools and departments?

Over the last two years, schools and departments started or accelerated culturally relevant and responsive learning and strategies in one or more of the following six focus areas identified by students, staff, family representatives and community partners:

  • Securing Accountability
  • Importance of Identity
  • Building Staff Awareness and Capacity
  • Increasing Representation 
  • Programming and Supports for Students
  • Engagement and Connectedness

As COVID-19 revealed more and more individual and intersecting inequities that affected students, staff and families, schools and departments were better able to begin or expand their capacity to shift and transform their learning and workplace cultures to be more equitable and inclusive to serve the full diversity of students, staff and families in the OCDSB community.  This enabled the OCDSB to respond responsively and completed many of the key priority items identified in the Roadmap’s six focus areas. 

Securing Accountability 

Key Indicators: 

The following governance and leadership structures, policies and practices were developed or revised to centre Indigneous, human rights and equity principles:

  • Structures: the establishment of the Indigenous and Equity Division; the establishment of the Office of the Human Rights and Equity Advisor in 2020;  Annual Trustee Orientation; Equity Goals in Board and School Improvement Plans
  • Policies: P.147.GOV Human Rights created in January 2022;  PR.696.SCO Fostering Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation Inclusive Schools created in February 2022; PR.628.SCO Student Dress Code revised; Safe school policies revised; (5) PR.646.SCO Requests for Ontario Student Academic Records and Eligibility Forms for English Instruction in Quebec revised;
  • Practices: Gender Identity Guidelines revised; Direction on Use of Slurs issued in December 2020
  • Accountability Mechanism:  Human Rights Reporting Form introduced in January 2022; O-HREA Review of Police Involvement in Schools in June 2021;  Establishment of the mandate of the O-HREA by the Human Rights policy in January 2022.

Importance of Identity 

Key Indicators:

Identity specific indicators to address inequities and to build trust with students, families, staff, and communities that have been under-served include:

  • Disaggregated identity-based reports on suspensions, achievement and belonging, based on the Valuing Voices: Identify Matters Student Survey data, that was released in 2021, provided quantitative evidence of disproportionate access, opportunities and outcomes for students who identify as Indigenous, Black and minoritized. The evidence aligned with student and family concerns regarding:
    • higher rates of suspensions;
    • streamed student pathways and lower graduation rates; and,
    • lower sense of  belonging. 
  • The Staff Engagement Survey was conducted and revealed that 29% of staff have experienced racism, stereotyping, harassment or discrimination in the workplace and 11% experiencing these in the  promotion process.  One staff members’ comment asked for “actual tangible support in helping BIPOC staff (teachers) achieve leadership status VP/P)”
  • Developed protocols and guidelines for Indigineous cultural and spiritual practices such as smudging and qulliq lighting

Building Staff Awareness and Capacity 

Key Indicators:

Professional learning sessions, with accompanying resources to increase the capacity of staff to understand and apply anti-racist and equitable practices to decrease disparities and disproportionalities in access, opportunities and outcomes for Indigenous, Black and minoritized students and staff include:

  • Indigenous Team’s sessions to support decolonizing the curriculum:
    • Moving beyond Land Acknowledgements (understanding the impact of colonialism)
    • Boys with Braids (significance of hair in Indigenous culture)
    • Inuit Culture Awareness (understanding diversity among Indigenous people)
    • Indigenous lived experience programme at Gloucester (credit course)
    • Skill Development (deep learning; system shift/change)
    • Honouring the Beauty & Brilliance of Indigeneity (moving focus from trauma & harm)
    • Selecting Indigenous resources (importance of choosing Indigenous created resources & reducing harm)
    • Building Relationships with Indigenous students, families, communities
  • Human Rights and Equity Advisor’s Office provided training on:
    • Fundamentals of Human Rights for Educators in August 2020;
    • Slurs and Epithets and rolled out to all staff and accompanying resources and rolled out to all staff in December 2020 and January 2021;
    • Gender identity procedure rolled out to principals in November/December 2021;
    • Gender, pronouns, index cards and the OSRs to administration officers in April 2022
    • Human rights to occasional teachers
    • Bias-aware discipline to a school staff (2021);
    • Human rights and belonging to school staff(2022)  
  • Equity and CRRP Team developed or coordinated the following anti-racism sessions:
  • PD session focused on anti-indigeneity, anti-Asian and Anti-Black racism, including Islamophobia
  • PD session focused on the relationship between anti-racism and mental health
  • Awareness sessions with Nicole West Burns (CRRP/Equity Teams, LSS, Nepean High School Staff , Hard Conversations Group and System Leaders in partnership with OPS)
  • See Us…Learn Us Series
  • Unpacking Complexity in the Classroom with a focus on Antisemitism
  • Equity Team’s Awareness sessions on gender identity:
    • Gender Diversity at School  (for students and staff)
    • Transgender Day of Remembrance Panel
    • 2SLGBTQ+ Interfaith Panel 
    • Principal Mentoring Session on Gender
    • Gender Identity Inclusive Schools
    • All-Gender Phys Ed:  Why Does It Matter?
    • Clarifying Parental Consent and 2SLGBTQ+ Topics
    • Gender Diversity in the Early Years (both awareness and skill development)
    • Gender Inclusion in the Health Curriculum
    • Updates to Gender Markers at OCDSB
  • Equity and CRRP Skill Development sessions to support equitable and inclusive decision making:
    • Equitable Recruitment Training for Assessors for Administrative Positions
    • Bias Aware Discipline for P/VP mentorship group and school teams
    • Systems Thinking Through an Equity Lens during superintendencies, school and department team trainings
  • Equity Team’s Skill Development sessions to support gender diversity:
    • Shifting School Culture (both awareness and skill development)
    • Fostering Gender Friendly Schools  (both awareness and skill development)
    • Supporting Trans and Gender Diverse Students Socially Transitioning
    • Self-Determination, Gender Identity and Gender Expression
    • Gender Diversity in the Classroom        
  • Diversity and Inclusion Fundamentals and Unconscious Bias modules integrated as part of the onboarding process  
  • Deepening the Relationship between the Third Path and Equity to Shift from a Behavioural to a Relational Lens to Cultivate a Culture of Belonging (Learning Support Services & Equity partnership)
  • Black Excellence series to explore support within the OCDSB, role models in the community and student perspectives to change the narrative around Black Excellence and fostering conversations that would distinguish and demonstrate what this can mean. 


Key Indicators (curriculum and staff)

To increase representation of Indigenous, Black and minoritized individuals who reflect the demographics of OCDSB’s student population, the following indicators were completed:.

  • Policies: Equitable HIring Policy passed in 2022; Equitable HIring Procedure passed in 2022, Planning for Employee Systems Review
  • Staffing:  Mentorship programme for Indigenous and Black Leaders, 
  • Networks: Employee Resource Groups expanded from four to six with the  BIPOC and Jewish Educators Group joining the Learning Disabilities and Allies, Ottawa Black Educators Network, Muslim Eductors Network, Rainbow Educators.  A vital part of the networks is to create a space of belonging for staff members who self-identify within each group, generate learning opportunities for membership, including opportunities to share information about promotions and leveraging their lived experiences to support the district in serving students who also share their  identities.

Programming and Support for Students 

Key Indicators

To increase representation of Indigenous, Black and minoritized students in curriculum, courses, programs and pathways departments and schools, the following priorities were completed: 

  • Courses developed or redesigned to represent Indigenous,  Black and minoritized histories, perspectives, and ways of knowing in content and delivery include:
    • All  schools offering compulsory Grade 11 English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Metis and Inuit Voices
    • On-going resources provided to support educators to address the TRC’s Calls to Action
    • Piloting and rolling out of the Black History and Anti-Black Racism courses,
    •  Indigenous, Black (Sankofa) Reach Ahead Program and the Rainbow Bridges Program for grade 8 students transitioning into High Schools
    • Pilot and roll out destreaming in grades 9 and 10 to support students in expanding their awareness about multiple pathways for success 
    • Growth in GSAs (including elementary schools), drop in spaces for  spaces for Queer and Muslim Students, 2SGLBTTQ+ student and Black Excellence networks, Social Justice Clubs, Jewish Student Unions
  • Supports to decrease disproportionate representation of Indigenous, Black and minoritized students in programs and pathways includes:
    •  Indigenous and Black Graduation Coaches who have been instrumental in expanding pathways for Indigenous and Black Students. This includes engaging students and families in physical or virtual spaces; conducting,  scholarship and job readiness workshops, leading the Ask Me What I do Series for Indigenous and Black students during Take Your Child to Work Day, addressing matters as they arise in schools, advocating for and supporting students to build agency to advocate for themselves, as well as other culturally responsive services that result in an  to an increase in credit recovered and higher graduation rates. 
    • Indigneous Instructional Coach 
    •  Ensure all students have access to technology for learning.  As we moved through covid BNLT discovered there were adjustments needed as demand increased

Engagement and Connectedness  

Key Indicators

To build and strengthen respectful and collaborative relationships with Indigenous, Black and minoritized students, staff, parents and communities in order to create a community of belonging, promote excellence and inform actions to eliminate disparities and disproportionalities in service delivery, the OCDSB:

  • Established  Student Achievement Through Equity Inquiry (SATE) for 11 elementary schools 
  • Created FACE to enhance connections with families and communities
  • Expanded multilingual services for families
  • Reimagined the Parent Conference
  • Established formal partnerships with Wabano and Inuuqatgiit
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