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Ontario Supporting the Success of Black Students

Photo of Black Student


Investments will Promote Greater Access to Mentorship and Tutoring Programs, Targeted Supports and Coaching

TORONTO — The Ontario government continues to advance and promote the success of Black students as part of its plan to provide every student with an opportunity to realize success. In partnership with community organizations and to provide targeted supports for Black students, this school year, the province is investing a total of $4.3 million, reaffirming its commitment to offer all students access to quality learning environments that are free of discrimination or bias.

Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, made the announcement as Ontario celebrates Black History Month — a time to honour the legacy of all Ontarians of African descent, past and present, and their contributions to our province’s history, culture and social fabric. The announcement builds on past initiatives to help eliminate barriers to success that some Black students may face.

The Ontario government is committed to ending long-standing inequalities that have disproportionately impacted racialized children through higher rates of suspensions and expulsions, higher rates of being streamed into applied programs, lower graduation rates and lower rates of transitioning into postsecondary education.

“We are committed to breaking down barriers so that every student — irrespective of heritage, faith or colour of skin — has the opportunity to achieve their full potential,” said Minister Lecce. “Ontario’s investments will help ensure Black students have access to targeted programs and services that support their academic goals, while better promoting Black history, experiences and leaders across all classrooms in Ontario.”

Community investments for 2021-2022 include:

  • $400,000 – to Lifelong Leadership Institute to provide programming and activities focused on enhancing arts, academic, entrepreneurship, technology and leadership skills for Canadian youth of Jamaican, African-Caribbean and Black heritage
  • $200,000 – to the Pinball Clemons Foundation to provide comprehensive social, athletic and academic programming and activities to marginalized and racialized youth
  • $150,000 – to Parents of Black Children to deliver its tutoring program in French, Math and English for Black students from Kindergarten to Grade 12
  • $50,000 – to Jaku Konbit to provide African-Caribbean Black Canadian youth in Ottawa with after-school educational cultural programming.

The government is also investing in the Graduation Coach Program for Black Students. For 2021-2022, Ontario will provide an additional $566,000 to the $2.94 million already invested in the program. For 2022-2023, the initiative will receive an additional $1.17 million.

This multi-year funding provides intensive, culturally responsive support to Black students by hiring graduation coaches with lived experience and connections to Ontario’s diverse Black communities. These advisors work with school staff and school board leadership and offer direct supports and mentorship to Black students to support their well-being and academic achievement. The program also helps to promote greater access to postsecondary opportunities so that when they graduate, students can get the specialized training they need to enter well-paid, skilled careers.

Since Fall 2019, the Graduation Coach Program for Black Students has benefited more than 1,000 Black students.

These funding partnerships build on the ministry’s announcement last week that it is investing $300,000 toward strengthening learning around Black history through curriculum-aligned resources developed by African Canadian National Coalition against Hate, Oppression and Racism (ANCHOR).

The new investments are part of the Priorities and Partnerships Funding (PPF) COVID-19 Equity Supports, which funds various initiatives that help to promote a positive school climate, support healthy relationships, build empathy, and address bullying and cyberbullying.

This total funding is complemented by the $176 million the ministry is investing in comprehensive tutoring supports through its Learning Recovery Action Plan. These supports are available to all students through school boards, including in partnership with local community organizations to deliver targeted, culturally appropriate programming for students where and when they need it, as well as the expansion of online tutoring through Mathify and Eurêka!.


Quick Facts

  • In July 2020, the Ontario government announced bold new changes to the education system to combat hate and discrimination in schools. As part of this action, the province moved forward with ending Grade 9 streaming into applied and academic courses, starting with Grade 9 Math in September 2021, eliminating discretionary suspensions for students, strengthening sanctions for teachers who engage in behaviour of a racist nature and providing teachers with additional anti-racism and anti-discrimination training. Beginning in September 2022, all Grade 9 subjects will be offered in one stream.
  • In October 2020, the government announced that O. Reg. 274/12 Hiring Practices was revoked, and that teacher hiring in Ontario will now be dictated by merit, diversity and the unique needs of the school and communities.
  • In June 2021, to improve education outcomes for Black students and break down systemic barriers, the Ontario government introduced a new tool for school boards and made available $1.43 million in programs that help address policies and practices that have had adverse impacts on Ontario’s Black students, as well as support anti-racism work underway in schools across Ontario.
  • For the 2020-21 school year, the ministry included anti-racism and anti-discrimination training as one of the mandatory professional activities (PA) day topics to be implemented by school boards prior to the start of the school year.

Quotes

“That the Ministry of Education has earmarked special funding to ensure appropriate educational supports are provided to Black youth is both welcome and appreciated. The Lifelong Leadership Institute was placed in a position to deliver supportive programming to Black youth last summer 2021 and the results were highly satisfactory. We welcome the opportunity to again offer services this year. We congratulate the Ministry for recognizing the need for support, and for acting to provide the necessary funding to enable community organizations such as ours to fulfil our mission of providing supportive educational services to Black youth.”

– Trevor Massey
Chair of Lifelong Leadership Institute

“It is with gratitude we accept the challenge to be more, do more and provide more! For many years, Black students have thrived despite multiple barriers, and the goal here is to have our students soar because of the intentional, useful and transformational supports derived from our collective efforts. Thank you to Minister Lecce and the Ontario government for their willingness to grow with us. Our community simply desires to be a greater part of Team Canada.”

– Michael “Pinball” Clemons
Founder of the Pinball Clemons Foundation

“The systemic barriers faced by Black students often means that their brilliance and academic abilities are stifled. Having access to a tutoring program that provides academic support in a culturally responsive setting means that Black students are able to thrive and showcase their academic excellence.”

– Kearie Daniel
Executive Director, co-founder of Parents of Black Children

“Thanks to a generous $50,000 investment from the Ontario government, more Black youth and students in Ottawa will have the opportunity to receive tutoring assistance, mentorship support and to be connected to resources, such as volunteering, employment, recreation, cultural programming and services.”

– Kenneth Campbell
President of Jaku Konbit

“Every student in Ontario should have the opportunity to learn in a supportive environment that encourages them to participate. This investment will support programs to help Ottawa students of African and Caribbean descent learn more about their history, culture and their important roles in strengthening our community through civic and economic engagement.”

– Jeremy Roberts
Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean

SOURCE Province of Ontario

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