During the 2022-23 school year, we:

  • Created new procedures
  • Changed practices
  • Started several new programs

We did this to ensure all students have the experiences and support for academic achievement and have a positive well-being. The WRDSB also worked to improve how we:

  • Connect with families and communities
  • Communicate and become transparent
  • Partner with local governments and organizations

Transforming Public Education in WRDSB

Transforming public education means challenging the status quo and decolonizing practices. In WRDSB, this work included:

  • The creation of equitable processes
  • Embedding a culture of human rights, equity and inclusion across the school board

This includes every classroom and every workplace.

We are changing how we do things so our education system meets the needs of the students we serve. We shifted our focus to ensure all students have the experiences and support for:

  • Academic achievement
  • Positive well-being

Centring Student Voices

Students are the primary focus of our work. We are committed to consistently:

  • Engaging with them
  • Centring their voices in decisions about their education

Our goal is to increase their sense of connection and belonging at school and throughout our school board.

We’re transforming education in partnership with those we serve, and this includes students. In late 2023, we launched our Student Agency and Voice plan to help us accomplish our goal. Our commitment to centre students requires respect for their agency and voice. We have proposed five strategies to achieve this commitment. These strategies allow us to centre student voice as we create schools where all students are able to reach their full potential. This means intentionally increasing student engagement and deepening relationships across the WRDSB.

Literacy and Mathematics Are Foundational

The year started by delivering new classroom practices for the teaching of reading and math. To address literacy gaps we created a structured literacy plan. It focuses on early interventions and grade-specific literacy interventions, including:

  • Help for families and working with community agencies focused on youth literacy
  • Supportive educator professional development and resources
  • Itinerant literacy intervention specialists and coaching for classroom support

Across the learning stages, we are committed to supporting students to meet their literacy goals.

We are providing intentional leadership and learning across all levels through the WRDSB Math Action Plan. It aims to ensure that identity and social location no longer predict student outcomes. This means that all students will have access to mathematics instructional practices that are:

  • High-level
  • Equitable
  • Inclusive

To support this work, we have implemented Math Facilitators and itinerant coaches. They are helping to build educator capacity, as well as support student achievement and well-being.

We are providing:

  • Additional supports, including Math Facilitators, for priority schools
  • School-based supports for student engagement and learning
  • Such as math tools and resources

The Data Show Progress

We continue to track our progress through the Education and Accountability Office (EQAO) assessment results. Together with data-driven research and the results inform our work to improve outcomes for all students.

Specific resources were assigned to support multilingual learner (MLL) students. They were prioritized for those who are receiving accommodations or modifications. Administrators participated in a learning series specific to multilingual learners to better understand:

  • The Steps To English Proficiency process
  • Assessment and evaluation

The results speak for themselves. For students who identify as multilingual learners, we have seen significant increases in the latest:

  • EQAO assessments
  • Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) results

MLL students are either meeting or exceeding the provincial standards.

The results for students who have special education needs also increased, compared to the previous year’s EQAO assessment.

We continue to take a Kindergarten to Grade 12 approach to supporting achievement in:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics

We aim to foster academic success for every student in all areas of their learning.

Innovation Supporting Transformation

We understand that technology can further support student achievement. We provide equitable access to technology. Every student in Grade 9 to 12 is equipped with WRDSB-owned Google Chromebooks to support their learning. It means that every student has the opportunity to take part in innovative digital learning opportunities.

WRDSB is cultivating inclusive spaces through a culture of human rights. We offer system navigators who provide support to students and families. This includes resources for students who are:

  • Newcomers
  • Racialized
  • Neurodivergent

We continue to provide opportunities for students to explore potential future pathways. By providing:

  • Transitional support
  • Credit rescue and credit recovery programs
  • E-learning opportunities
  • Unique course offerings

This means students have multiple opportunities to:

  • Earn credits towards graduation
  • Expand their potential career pathways

After students graduate we continue to support them as they pursue pathways. WRDSB’s records team has responded to 4,088 requests including:

  • 1,982 requests for transcripts
  • 408 requests for copies of diplomas
  • 294 verifications of education

Working Together to Support Student Achievement and Well-being

We know this is work we cannot do alone. Families and caregivers are essential partners in education. They play a vital role in supporting students’ academic success and well-being.

Engaging with Our Partners

  • To better serve WRDSB communities, we launched community roundtables for various identities
    • These included, but were not limited to, ethnic and religious communities
  • In 2022, we hosted eight Listening Forums and obtained feedback from families and community members. This led to changes to certain practices
  • A community engagement charter was established for community engagement. It clearly outlines how WRDSB will outreach to communities and seek feedback

WRDSB continues the work of reviewing feedback and determining next steps based on the results from the eight Listening Forums hosted in Spring 2022.

We launched government and community tables to advocate for education that is:

  • Equitable
  • Inclusive
  • Accessible

These support conversations in partnership with the:

  • Region of Waterloo
  • City of Kitchener
  • Other local stakeholders

We are committed to working in partnership on behalf of students. For example, working to find equitable options for secondary student transportation.

These partnerships are also creating enhanced and unique learning opportunities for students. Students are using design-thinking to develop solutions for real-life issues impacting their communities. This includes addressing:

  • Housing
  • Food security
  • Nutrition

Student and Staff Well-being

We continue to support school communities that better serve all students and families. This means cultivating learning and working environments that foster student and staff well-being.

The first Student Wellness Conference provided 100 students from secondary schools across WRDSB an opportunity to:

  • Connect with each other
  • Speak openly about mental health and well-being

By providing tools and access to resources, our aim is to support all students to feel a sense of belonging in learning spaces that are:

  • Safe
  • Welcoming
  • Inclusive

WRDSB staff, too, are being better supported in their well-being. WRDSB is building employee engagement and well-being through:

  • Affinity groups
  • Disconnecting from Work Protocol
  • Leadership training
  • Network learning opportunities
  • Professional development
  • Social-psychological counselling for staff affected by traumatic events.

The Path Ahead

We are proud of our accomplishments throughout the first year of the implementation of the Strategic Plan. This first Community Report Card is only a snapshot of the many ways we are moving forward in our plans to transform public education. We remain committed to sharing our progress annually. It’s one part of our commitment to transparency and accountability.

Gratitude for Our Partners in Education

We appreciate the ongoing support of those we work together with in improving outcomes for all students. This includes:

  • Students
  • Families and Caregivers
  • Community stakeholders