June 28th, 2022
In March, we invited you to Have Your Say as we plan for the future of the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB). We’ve started to put together the results, and are ready to share a preview of what we have planned.
We are committed to making the WRDSB a place where every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential, and to pursue their dreams. Working towards this goal begins with recognizing that our system is currently not providing these opportunities for all students. Our next steps will focus on creating an education system where students’ identities and backgrounds are not factors that limit their options in school.
Together, we can make our schools places where each and every student can uncover and excel on their chosen path in learning and life.
What You Told Us
We are pleased to share that more than 10,000 students, community members and staff shared their thoughts, ideas and hopes for the future. More than 5,000 of these were students, who shared their experiences and visions for school using three methods:
- A written online survey for students in Grades 4 to 12
- A Postcard to the Future activity for students in Grade 7 to 12
- A Draw Your Ideal School Day activity for students in Kindergarten to Grade 6
Staff and community members provided their feedback using these methods:
- A written online survey
- Consultations with school communities and community partners
Based on what you told us, we are building our strategic plan. This is what we heard:
Where we are going
Celebrating the gifts of each and every student by creating limitless opportunities for them to flourish, grow and become their best selves.
Why we exist
Creating learning environments where all students excel and become skilled, caring, compassionate, global citizens.
Planning Our Strategic Directions
As we continue this work, we are setting our goals high. We see a clear opportunity to set the WRDSB apart as a leader in public education not only in Canada, but around the world. With that in mind, we have set our strategic directions:
All students’ voices are important
- We will strive to centre students and their voices in decisions about their education.
- We will ensure they are heard and have a sense of connection and belonging at school.
- Success looks like an inclusive community that reflects our students’ identities, abilities and lived experiences, where students are highly skilled.
- We will support students who have been placed on the margins.
- We will also achieve our Sovereignty commitments by addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action including Indigenous student success.
Support for student and staff well-being
Students and staff experience positive well-being as part of a caring and inclusive community
- Well-being is important for students and staff to feel like they can show up as their best and whole selves.
- We will support students and staff with their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.
- To do this we will provide them with the resources they need to support themselves, their peers and the community.
Equitable opportunities and outcomes
Create opportunities for everyone to succeed
- To ensure equitable outcomes, we will provide all students with what they need when they need it.
- We will create equitable learning experiences and opportunities that support students from all backgrounds to become successful.
- We understand this requires our explicit commitment towards upholding Indigenous Sovereignty.
Strengthen connections through family and community engagement
Better relationships with families and community partners
- Families and the community are central to students’ success in education.
- We will work with families and the communities we serve to define meaningful engagement.
- We will also work to ensure our structures support this.
- Through engaging with families, we will build healthier community relationships and create opportunities for partnership to increase student success.
- Together we will help students reach their potential and become compassionate global citizens.
Increase student learning through engagement
Ensure learning opportunities lead to a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment for students
- WRDSB recognizes the importance of joy, creativity and engagement to students.
- These are critical and valuable parts of student learning.
- We will engage students by making learning more meaningful and relevant.
- We will do this by connecting learning to students’ interests, real world issues and real-world skills.
- We will provide students with creative learning environments through intentional opportunities.
- The goal is to help them understand how their learning can shape and positively impact the world.
Collaboration and compassion for transformation
Working together to bring change
- Working with students and the school community, we will plan how to make our schools reflect what matters most to them.
- By listening to different voices, we can determine how to better improve our structures so that through our learning and work, we transform and care for our local and global environments, students and the community – towards a kinder, more compassionate and sustainable community.
We are also working to identify the character traits we know each student needs to be successful in learning and in life. We call these learner profiles and they include students being:
- Comfortable using critical thinking skills to make decisions and try new things
- Can embrace their skills, vulnerabilities and resourcefulness and apply them positively to the world around them
- Critical thinkers and can ask questions to develop a deeper understanding of themselves, one another and the world around them
- Can use their creativity and curiosity to imagine new possibilities and build a better future
- Values multiple perspectives
- Committed to learning about and celebrating differences
- Understand how to express themselves to enact change that matters
- Speaks for themselves and amplifies the voices needing support
Attentive to relationships
- Knows the importance of building and maintaining healthy relationships with:
- Their families
- Their community
- The world
- The environment
- Knows that everyone has a story
- Can use active listening, patience, vulnerability and compassion to understand and feel connected to others
- Understands we are in relationship to all things
- Cares about their community
- Understands the need to care for themselves, one another and our shared environment
As we move into the summer months we will continue to refine our plan. We aim to share a more detailed overview of our Strategic Plan in Fall 2022.