We aim to create a consistent, collaborative environment and relationship with community organizations and local governments through regular meetings.
Fostering Community Partnership and Collaboration
The cultivation of these communities of practice will build trust and relationships across organizations. They will foster the initiation of community-led initiatives in support of priority areas to achieve student well-being and achievement.
We will provide participants with a brief that outlines the purpose of meetings and practice, and identifies clear levels of participation. We will aim to get clear acceptance on dates, times, a neutral place of hosting for meetings, and a set of norms or guiding principles amongst the group.
It is important that identified participants (i.e. Community groups, WRDSB staff, and local governments) involved understand commitments within the practice, and the guidelines established to acknowledge power dynamics that are present within the group.
The goal of the community engagement strategy is to build:
- Capacity in support of our priority initiatives which impact students and families
- Partnership through trusted dialogue and relationships
Through the establishment of a community of practice, participants involved will ultimately have the opportunity to organize themselves around initiatives and can all play a part in the success of reaching an intended goal.
Partner with Community
We heard that many families want more opportunities to give input and engage in decisions concerning their children’s education. We know that our community partners are trusted by families and should be involved in our efforts to increase engagement with families through public consultation.
We will connect with community partners to determine when consultations may be required and how we can collaborate to co-facilitate in order to engage with more families. These consultations can also provide the opportunity for us to share information about those we serve to support the work of our community partners, as well.
Ultimately, our purpose is to improve the ways we engage with families.
Partner Staff with Community Organizations to Create Professional Learning for Educators in Support of Multilingual Learners
We know that more needs to be done to enable and support students; especially those that are multilingual learners at school. We aim to work with grassroots and community organizations to co-create culturally appropriate training for educators in support of strategies identified in the WRDSB Board Improvement Equity Plan (BIEP). This will build on the successful activities and expertise of the MLL Itinerant Teachers and WRDSB System Navigators.
Our goal is to increase the supports available for multilingual learners through partnership with community organizations. This collaboration with community groups intends to increase families’ understanding of curriculum and pathways offered by the WRDSB. It’s one part of our wrap-around support model that supports students through the partnerships we have with the community.
Meet Community Where They Are
We heard from community, cultural and religious groups that they need more touchpoints and engagement directly with the WRDSB. This is so they can support families with their needs, questions and concerns about students’ education. We aim to work with organizations to identify opportunities to increase touchpoints and provide a WRDSB presence in their environments to support families.
We will identify more opportunities for us to “show up” for community, cultural, and religious organizations at gatherings to directly engage with families. We will prioritize hosting these opportunities in chosen spaces of these groups, rather than only at WRDSB spaces.
Our goal is to support community, cultural and religious groups with their trusted communities through engagement. This will also support us in reaching all the members of the community we serve. This will also alleviate the strain on the community, cultural and religious groups to be the most constant vessel of communication to their communities on educational needs and concerns.
Commit to Host Community and Local Government Roundtables
We will host quarterly roundtable discussions with community, cultural and religious organizations and groups, and local government. These roundtables will provide us with an opportunity to stay in a consistent engagement loop with the community and atop of relevant needs and concerns. Roundtables with local government will provide us with the opportunity to advocate and discuss the relevant issues that impact students and their families.
We will maintain momentum with these roundtables by establishing the mechanisms needed for communication and feedback loops to support ongoing conversations. We know we must communicate clear expectations for these roundtables as distinct from the work of the community of practice. The roundtables will be a facilitated space of dialogue and an investment in the relationships with all stakeholder groups.
We aim to support ongoing conversation alongside the creation of relationships with community organizations and local governments. Our aim is to understand how students are experiencing their environments outside of school and hold space for productive dialogue to advocate for their needs.
Evolving Education in Partnership with Community and Local Government
As a school district we have made a commitment to improve public education so it better serves all students and prepares them for the evolving landscape of the 22nd century. To properly prepare graduates for their future pathways we need to evolve from structures created hundreds of years ago.
We intend to transform public education through:
- Collaborative relationships
- A spirit of innovation
- A clear purpose to support student achievement
The WRDSB’s goal is to have students graduate as literate and compassionate global citizens equipped with the skills to pursue their chosen pathways.
As students are the primary focus of our work, we are committed to engaging with and consistently centring their voices in decisions about their education, and increasing their sense of connection and belonging at school and throughout the system.
What We’ve Heard So Far
In the 2022-23 school year, as part of the strategic planning process, we conducted a wide range of consultations to hear the voices of more than 10,000 of our stakeholders. More than 5,000 of which were students. We engaged with students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 to understand what students want in their school experience and to help inform the Strategic Plan.
Throughout this process students spoke clearly and passionately about the kind of school district they want and how they would like to engage with the system. Our commitment to centre students requires respect for their agency and voice. To achieve this, we’ve created strategies to build mechanisms to centre students in district improvement by intentionally increasing student engagement and deepening relationships across the structures of the WRDSB.