Transforming public education is not something we can achieve alone. To make this vision a reality, we will work hand-in-hand with the students and communities we serve. We know that change is not easy, and there is no doubt that we will encounter challenges on the road ahead. However, the only path is the one which leads to a kinder, more compassionate and stronger public school system in Waterloo Region.
Together, we can create classrooms where every student is able to rise to their full potential in every subject area – from the physics classroom, to the art studio, to the auto shop, to gym class.
Students are eager to have their voices heard in this work. Grade 12 WRDSB student Hana Adham found purpose in taking action at her school to help eliminate discrimination, by offering an anti-racism conference for teachers, and creating an anti-racism suggestions sheet for teachers.
For Hana, whose first name is often mispronounced (hun-ah, not han-ah), name pronunciation was an important topic to include as part of the suggestion sheet. Correctly pronouncing a student’s name is an important part of showing them they are welcome and respected.
“That’s me,” said Hana. “That’s what my parents named me. I’m not okay with you anglicizing my name.”
Hana’s efforts embody this strategic direction, as she helps us to create a more compassionate and stronger system.
The same spirit was on display during Boldly Belonging: the Black Brilliance Student Conference in November 2022. The event, first hosted in 2018, is a joyful celebration of being Black and features a keynote address and breakout sessions. It’s just one example of the innovative approaches taken to ensure every student in the WRDSB is supported in reaching their full potential.
Students told us exactly what this event means to them.
“I love coming back here,” said Khalil Derman, a student in his fifth year at Glenview Park Secondary School. “Each time I’ve had a little bit of a different experience, but it’s always been good.”
“It was really inspiring,” said Jehan Cameron, a Grade 11 student at Huron Heights Secondary School. “I’ve never really been in a room with that many people like me.”