January 16, 2020

Peel board works to identify, address, eliminate educational barriers for students living in poverty through Focus on Poverty Action Plan

​The Peel District School Board has begun implementation of year one of its long-term Focus on Poverty Action Plan to help address the disproportionately negative outcomes for students and families who are impacted by poverty. Year one of the action plan runs to June 2020 and includes specific actions, activities and deliverables within five action areas: awareness and understanding of the impact of poverty, supports for families living in poverty, equitable allocation of human and material resources, equitable participation in programs and student success and well-being. 

"Poverty should never be a predictor of potential," says Director of Education Peter Joshua. "The impact of poverty, and its intersectionality with other aspects of a student's identity, create equity and inclusion challenges that present barriers for students and families living in poverty. Being able to identify, measure and understand poverty is crucial if we are to support the success and well-being of students."

Highlights of progress on the plan include:

  • launch of the Peel Learning Foundation – a community-based, charitable organization created in partnership with the Peel board to enable its students to achieve personal excellence by providing resources to help them overcome barriers related to poverty. To date, the foundation has provided 303 backpacks filled with school supplies to Peel board students in kindergarten to grade 12, and the Student Emergency Needs program has been able to support 263 students in need.
  • release of an updated Peel Partnership Handbook – a guide to support collaborative and positive working relationships among school staff and school-based early years and child care service providers 
  • development of an online database of community supports that Peel board staff can use to help students and families living in poverty
 
The creation of the action plan was overseen by the Peel board's Poverty Working Group, which includes board staff representing a wide range of roles and departments. In order to understand the current needs, challenges and barriers facing Peel board students and families living in poverty, the group reviewed recent Peel board research reports: Poverty Indicators (Bennett & Favaro, 2018) and Socioeconomic Vulnerability Index (SVI) (Napierala, Favaro & Bennett, 2019). The group also sought input from other groups within the board (e.g. Families of Schools, board departments and staff) before developing the long-term action plan, as well as a year one action plan. 

Guided by the board's mission to inspire success, confidence and hope in each student, and the board's goal to achieve inclusion for all through continuous progress on equity, the year one action plan includes actions and activities that will be monitored and measured. The results will be used to inform the next phase and provide direction for the next action plan. 

Notes Joshua, "The Peel board looks forward to continuing to work with community partners to provide supports for families living in poverty. This includes ongoing collaboration with the Region of Peel to create a community where everyone works together to build a poverty-free Peel." 

 
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Media contact: Peter Joshua, Director of Education, 905-890-1010 ex. 2005, [email protected]

Reference: Ryan Reyes, Manager of Communications and Community Relations, 905-890-1010 ex. 2652, [email protected]  

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