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Durham District School Board
Ignite Learning
Making a Difference at the Poverty Symposium

Poverty-in-Ontario-School-Boards-story.jpgThe impact of poverty on a child's academic achievement in education is astounding. Poverty is directly linked to lower educational outcomes and students who live in poverty have lower student achievement results. Overtime these factors can impact all aspects of a student's future.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Students enrolled in public education don't have to be another statistic. They, along with involved educators and communities, can rise above the challenge of poverty.

​​​Poverty doesn’t have to dictate future outcomes, if we all work together, the impact of education on poverty will be overwhelming

his was the message delivered to more than 150 participants at the first ever Make a Difference "Rising Above the Challenge of Poverty Symposium," held Saturday, October 24, 2015 at the Durham District School Board Education Centre.

The symposium organized by the DDSB Early Years 'Make a Difference' program, DDSB Staff Development, UOIT and Ontario Public School Boards' Association brought together educators and administrators, trustees, health care providers, community programs, child care providers, ministry representatives, educational consultants, parents and students to share effective strategies in overcoming challenges related to learning while living in poverty.

DDSB Presented the first Blueprint for addressing
"Oshawa has twice the child poverty rate as the rest of Durham and our community have an opportunity through our staff, principals and teachers in partnership with our community members to make a difference," stated Michael Barrett, Trustee for the City of Oshawa and Chair of the Board.

Barrett, together with DDSB Superintendents Silvia Peterson and Lisa Millar introduced the 'Poverty Blueprint for Ontario Schools' aimed at supporting school districts to effectively implement poverty reduction strategies to ensure all students and their families are part of a healthy and vibrant learning community.

"After two years, the results in engaging parents in establishing a number of programs and initiatives has resulted in increasing parental involvement, supporting new schools based programs and a focus on high academic expectation," stated Lisa Millar, Superintendent of Education, Operations/Leadership Development/ Early Years.

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The voices of national speakers Eric Jensen and Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker were added to the dialogue at the symposium. Jensen spoke on the power of 'Teaching and Engaging with Poverty in Mind' from his perspective as a specialist in human development and poverty. Ciuffetelli Parker engaged attendees by focussing on her storied research on poverty in schools to show how policy and working in schools to improve education through changed practices can be effective.

​The support from local community partners such as: Raising the Roof, Habitat for Humanity, United Way of Durham, Ontario College of Teachers, UOIT, Family and Community Action Program, Community Development Council Durham and College of Early Childhood Educators providing informational kiosks added to the breadth of resources for attendees to make the symposium a success.

Participants attended from as far away as Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Upper Grand District School Board, Toronto District School Board, District School Board of Niagara, York Region District School and of course, Durham District School Board. Sheridan College and UOIT also had participants in attendance.  Health care professionals attended from Chatham-Kent, Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge as well as the Region of Durham Health Department.

Poverty doesn't have to dictate future outcomes, if we all work together the impact of education on poverty will be overwhelming.

The DDSB thanks all participants, partners and presenters for making the symposium a memorable one.




Durham District School Board
400 Taunton Road East,
Whitby, ON
L1R 2K6 Canada

Phone: 905-666-5500
Fax: 905-666-6474
Toll Free: 1-800-265-3968
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© Durham District School Board, 2013