Black History Month

February is observed as Black History Month at Thames Valley. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of Black Canadians and a chance to educate our students about the many noteworthy individuals who, throughout history, have had significant impact inducing change in our society.

In consultation with Black administrators, educators and clinical staff, the TVDSB Equity Team has prepared Black History Month resources, virtual class presentations and professional learning opportunities to support learning throughout February and beyond. 

The TVDSB Equity Team would like to thank Thames Valley staff and students for their commitment to embedding learning related to Black history, people and social justice education throughout the school year. Resources to support this learning can be found on the Equity SharePoint page at the following link: https://tvdsbo365.sharepoint.com/teams/Equity.


Important Information for Staff: CULTURAL SAFETY

It is important to create a learning environment that is respectful and that makes students feel safe and comfortable not only physically, socially, and emotionally but also in terms of their cultural heritage. A culturally safe learning environment is one in which students feel comfortable about expressing their ideas, opinions, and needs and about responding authentically to topics that may be culturally sensitive.

Teachers should be aware that some students may experience emotional reactions when learning about issues that have affected their own lives, their family, and/or their community.

Before addressing such topics in the classroom, teachers need to consider how to prepare and debrief students, and they need to ensure that resources are available to support students both inside and outside the classroom.

Students can also experience strong emotional reactions when learning about the adversity and challenges faced by others.

There may be students who express the wish or need to opt out of the learning.

If students are demonstrating a negative reaction to content discussed during the presentation, staff are encouraged to:

  1. Discreetly touch base with the student and assess their emotional response
  2. Connect the child with the administrator, LST or school support counsellor (if needed)

Important Reminder For Staff Before Discussing Student Identity:

CALLING SOMEONE IN

  • Done privately, after the fact
  • Invites a conversation and creates understanding
  • A chance to explain why the behaviour/language was inappropriate and what changes can be made
  • Can be difficult but, ultimately, enlightening
  • Helps someone shift their perspective
  • Depends on your social influence and relationship
  • Takes energy and patience

How it might sound:

“Hey, can we chat about what happened during the presentation? It’s about…”

 

CALLING SOMEONE OUT

  • Done publicly, in the moment
  • Stops problem behaviour immediately
  • Demonstrates that certain behaviour/language is never acceptable
  • Can be shaming, isolating and punishing
  • Might push someone into an insincere apology
  • Depends on your position / authority
  • Takes energy

How it might sound:

“There will be no Islamophobic remarks here!”

Staff Professional Learning Resources

To support staff learning related to Black History Month, employees are invited to register for the following virtual professional learning opportunities:

Anti-Black Racism and the Impact on Student Well-being
Session Description: Join two TVDSB School Social Workers to increase your knowledge of anti-Black racism in Canada, and in the school context. An understanding of the impact anti-Black racism has on student development, identity and well-being will be discussed. You will leave this session with some direct actions you can take in your role within TVDSB, as this session is open to all TVDSB employees.
DateTuesday, February 8, 2022; 6 – 8 pm
Registration informationRegistration in the Employee Portal beginning on Jan. 26th, 2022. Registrants will receive a meeting link for the presentation upon registration.

Educators and staff looking for tips, strategies and best practices for discussing race and racism are invited to review the following guide prepared by Teaching Tolerance at the following link: https://bit.ly/3gSwyZI

Educators and staff are also invited to explore the Dismantling Anti-Black Racism in Schooling, Education, and Beyond: Resource Guide developed by the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at the University of Toronto at the following link: https://bit.ly/3nDnIlv

Virtual Presentations

Join Saidat as she brings celebration, awareness, and a call to action during Black History Month.
As "black history is world history," Saidat will help students learn more about the events, accomplishments and triumphs of the African diaspora that may not be included in history curriculum.

Kindergarten to Grade 3 Assembly
Join Saidat for an hour of music and movement as she shares stories of incredible black heroes and gives students fun and effective ways to love the skin they live in; embrace and celebrate their cultural identity; as we'll as become an agent for justice and equality.
Students will learn:

  • What is Black History Month
  • Why is Black History Month important?
  • How can you be an ally?
  • Cool ways to celebrate diversity

Grade 4 to Grade 8 Assembly
For 20 days, students will be given facts, historical highlights and key terms that help them understand how to combat anti-black racism and embrace ally ship and diversity.
After completing the 20 day video series, Saidat will end with a virtual celebration assembly that will include a trivia game show.
Students can test their knowledge on what they have learned from the 20 Day Diversity Moments.

Elementary Classroom Resources

ETFO Black Canadian Curriculum Resources:

Black History Month, Kayak - Canada's History Magazine for Kids

Black Canadian Calendar - Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario 
The individuals represented on the calendar offer a glimpse into the historical and contemporary political and societal realities faced by Black Canadians. The calendar is both a celebration and acknowledgement of a fraction of the contributions and impact Black Canadians have had to help shape Canada to be the nation it is today. 

 

Heritage Minutes - The Canadian Encyclopedia

To view the Heritage Minutes, please scroll down once you open the link: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/collection/black-history-in-canada

Secondary Classroom Resources

Black History in Canada Timeline
Discussion Questions From the timeline:
1.Identify significant factors/issues that likely motivated the fight for equal rights and explain your choices. 
2. Identify legislative changes intended to improve the quality of life for Black people in Canada. 
3. Many important people and events related to the history of Blacks in Canada are not included in the timeline. Identify one and provide an argument for inclusion.

Black Canadian Calendar - Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario 
The individuals represented on the calendar offer a glimpse into the historical and contemporary political and societal realities faced by Black Canadians. The calendar is both a celebration and acknowledgement of a fraction of the contributions and impact Black Canadians have had to help shape Canada to be the nation it is today. 

Heritage Minutes - The Canadian Encyclopedia
To view the Heritage Minutes, please scroll down once you open the link: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/collection/black-history-in-canada

Groundbreaking Black Canadians and Events
University students share their thoughts on these groundbreaking Black Canadians and Events. Each video clip is between 3-10 minutes long.

Portraits of Black Canadians
Students can listen to this 27 episode podcast to extend their knowledge on notable Black Canadians

 

External Resources 

London Black History Month Calendar of Events

The London Black History Coordinating Committee has planned several events and initiatives for Black History Month 2022.

Please review a calendar of events in English and French, as well as event information at the following link: http://www.londonpubliclibrary.ca/black-history-month

 

Links:


Humans of Thames Valley Dawn Brereton-Young

Dawn Brereton-Young

Dawn Brereton-Young 

I’ve been with TVDSB for 15 years and worked in various secretarial capacities. In my present role as an Executive Assistant for the Communications and Legal departments, I am proud to be the first Black person ever to hold an Executive Assistant position at Thames Valley.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Crime and Deviance from the University of Toronto, Office Administration certificate from Fanshawe College, and currently finishing up a Legal Assistant certificate at Seneca College.

I am a first generation Canadian of Caribbean parentage and a proud mother of three kids who is passionate about volunteering with local organizations to support Black youth in our community.

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to listen to many Black students share their own lived experiences within Thames Valley schools.

It saddens me that they are still experiencing many of the same barriers I did when I was a child.

I believe that equity and anti-racism work is an important endeavor for our school communities. When students see themselves reflected in the curriculum and have educators with similar lived experiences it has a positive effect on student engagement and achievement.

Educators need to be culturally responsive when racialized and/or marginalized students enter their classrooms. There must be an awareness that many students have stories and lived experiences that should be tapped into and explored as part of their education. Having an anti-racist lens also allows students to be supported and affirmed.

As a community, we should all take the time to check our own biases and disrupt the practices in order to help racialized and marginalized students succeed and soar in their educational path.


Immaculate Kizito Namukasa

Immaculate Kizito Namukasa

 Immaculate Kizido Namukasa

I am an employee of the Faculty of Education at Western University, where I am an associate dean and an associate professor. I have been a University Teaching Fellow researching the integration of technologies and hands-on activities in teaching. I am originally a secondary school teacher by profession who enjoyed teaching. My research and teaching at the university has focused on mathematics and other integrated science and technology areas. During the pandemic, this work introduced me to thinking more about teaching in ways that show both deep care for the content and care for the learners, pedagogies of care. While working at Western, I have served on numerous committees as well as volunteering in schools and in the community. I have also visited elementary schools in the role of a human library, who alongside others visits and answers questions, showcasing African cultures. In addition, I have served on a leadership board of a community organization, African Canadian Federation of London and Area, ACFOLA and have volunteered with a free tutoring program based at LUSO Community Services.

I am a mother of 3 school-aged children. Outside my family life, I am most proud of my teaching, research and volunteer work; the latter has taken me to many classrooms where I have enjoyed interacting with students of all ages and their teachers. Because of my interest in individuals and groups of people living on the margins of society, who often find learning in schools and post-secondary institutions less accessible, I am currently part of three Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion projects at Western, and in collaboration with Ontario Tech University.

As a person who emigrated to Canada when I was already an adult, and who is now raising 3 children in Ontario, I am so thankful for the anti-racism/equity work being offered within our school communities. I highly respect teachers, colleagues, authors, leaders, consultants, students and professionals in schools and other educational contexts who have been doing this important work for many years, especially when it was extremely difficult. This work needs to continue to be done, by both those in power who are allies to those on the margins and those who do this work in search of equitable practices in all sectors of society.


Anthony Friday

Anthony Friday

Anthony Friday

I have had the pleasure to have worked for the Thames Valley District School Board for the past 20 years. My current role is Vice-Principal at Eagle Heights Public School. I am from Afro-Caribbean descent and have a passion for anti-racism and equity work. I am most proud of the partnerships that I have built with fellow educators, community members and our parent community in advocating for our students and to ensure that our students have the best possible environment to thrive in.

The commitment to anti-racism and equity work within our school communities is of the utmost importance. Fostering a safe and inclusive school environment where everyone feels welcomed, represented, and has a voice is essential in creating an inclusive school culture; a school culture where all students and staff are positioned to experience success, learn, and thrive. Inclusiveness in education and the pursuit of lifelong learning are fundamental commitments that we must all strive for. Our Diversity is one of our greatest strengths.


 

 

Other Noteworthy Black Canadians

Rachel Almaw


Sawyer Carnegie


Travae Williams


Myah Romain


Shad


Miranda Ayim


Dr. Floydd Ricketts, DMus


TVDSB Educators: View the Black History Month Resource Guide

 

 

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