Introducing you to the Jackman Parent Council Equity Committee

We will be featuring the different committees that make up the parent council both in our newsletter and on the blog! Join a committee today! You know you want to:)

Equity Committee

Who we are:

The equity committee is composed of Jackman parents who work closely with the school administration and teacher equity committee. The parent equity committee has been on parent council since 2008. The core mandate of the committee is to advance and promote education around matters of equity and social justice through the curriculum and various other initiatives.

In the past, the committee has worked on a variety of projects such as working with teachers on equity related themes for the year, purchasing equity related materials for teachers and an equity carousel/assembly, which brings together speakers from various sectors for half a day. These speakers engage kids on matters of social justice, access and equity.  For instance, last year, the theme for the assembly was “where are you from”? Speakers and dancers included the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, Faigie Libman, a Holocaust survivor and Raheel Raza, an internationally renowned author, advocate and filmmaker. This year, the committee was able to obtain Lawrence Hill as a speaker. The renown author of The Book of Negroes, Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On being Black and White in Canada, Any Known Blood and many other publications, will be speaking on Tuesday, April 16th. There will be a mix and mingle with staff and parents during the lunch hour. He will then engage the students after lunch for approximately an hour on the topic of mixed race identity, which will be one of the themes being explored by students during that month.

An equity-related project in 2013

Why a project?

Over the last 6 years, it was determined by the administration and parent council that the school would focus on two essential lenses: ecological and equity. There are many physical manifestations of the ecological lens: gardens, the green roof, tree planting, the maze, rock purchases, the murals outside and inside the school and so on. Annual resources have been expended in these areas to the benefit of the students in their learning. At the same time,  Jackman’s natural environment has improved and become more enjoyable. Likewise, the broader community who enjoy the school grounds benefit from these investments.

the equity committee will be following suit this year with a project that will engage students on matters related to social justice. The idea for an equity-related project for students- a prominent artistic visual– has been around for several years. It is important to demonstrate that the equity focus is also a strong focus for Jackman students. Having a physical manifestation of our commitment to equity will be an ongoing reminder of the significance of the equity lens. Students will be actively involved in working on the project. it is a way to build both awareness and knowledge of equity issues.

Teaching children to be more knowledgeable and respectful of people who may be perceived as different from them based on culture, religion, family composition, sexual orientation and so forth, positively impacts not only our children, but their families, the Jackman community and broader society as globalization and technology increasingly bring diverse people in contact with one another.

Reasoning for an equity-related project:

1. Equity and Social Justice are part of the Ontario curriculum.

2. Over and above the curriculum mandate, Jackman has chosen Equity/Social Justice as an important driver of learning and character development.

3. As part of the School Improvement Plan, Equity/Social Justice is one of the two areas of lenses, by which students are developing intellectually through a focus on critical thinking.

4. Toronto, in particular, and Canada as a whole, are home to highly diverse cultures. Advanced understanding of Equity/Social Justice issues help our children get along, work, play and live with others, today, and in their work, community and family lives down the road.

5. The world continues to “globalize” and Equity/Social Justice matters can be expected to be central themes and challenges in our children’s lives.

This project will also align with the 50th anniversary of the Ontario Human Rights Code, which also coincides with Jackman’s 50th anniversary. As stated in the Preamble of the Ontario Human Rights Code, “…it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination that is contrary to law, and having as its aim the creation of a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and able to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community and the Province”.

*Highlights of the specific HR code can be found here: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/ontario-human-rights-code

More details on the equity related art project will be announced in upcoming newsletters and on the blog.

Many thanks to Astrid Jacques and Lisa Farun- our Equity Co-Chairs, for putting together his fabulous article.

This entry was posted in Equitable Schools, Equity, Jackman News. Bookmark the permalink.

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