Director's Update - October 2023

Posted On Friday October 06, 2023

Dear Families, 

It is difficult to believe that the school year is already a month old and that we find ourselves transitioning into the beautiful season of fall. Many of our schools are walking schools and October is International Walk to School Month. If you are able, we encourage families to walk or ride their bikes to school to take in some fresh fall air and get some exercise. It also helps to manage the amount of traffic that many of our school sites experience. 

Over the past month, our schools have commemorated important dates, such as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, recognized in our schools as Orange Shirt Day. This day serves as an important reminder of the historical and ongoing impact of colonization on Indigenous peoples and their territories. We want to reaffirm our commitment to bringing Indigenous presence and voice into our schools. We are dedicated to creating opportunities for Indigenous students and staff while fostering mutual respect and reconciliation. We also commemorate the survivors of Residential and Indian Day schools, recognizing the lasting impacts and current realities affecting Indigenous peoples as we continue to work toward removing systemic barriers.? 

As the school year unfolds, staff are working on implementing DDSB-wide initiatives to support and improve student achievement through targeted and precise instruction in reading to help improve early literacy, the revised Grades 1-9 Language curriculum, financial literacy modules for secondary students, and a new Grade 10 Digital Technology and Innovations in the Changing World course. Ensuring educators and other school-based staff are well prepared to deliver new curriculum and course options to students has been the focus of professional learning sessions so far this fall.?? 

In particular, we have been working diligently to design DDSB’s new math strategy in response to the Ministry of Education’s renewed focus on mathematics through the Math Action Achievement Plan. We will present our plan publicly in early November that will include next steps for implementation as well as specific goals and strategies to ensure students are challenged and supported in achieving success in math throughout their time in DDSB schools.? 

We have now completed the first round of public consultation on the development of our new multi-year strategic plan. We appreciate the input from our students, families, staff, and community members as we work together to shape the future priorities of our organization. We anticipate sharing more with the community in early November. To learn more about the strategic planning process, please visit our website

Durham Region is growing! We have five new schools planned to open between September 2024 and September 2026, and there is a continued need for more in many areas of our community. There is a lot of work taking place behind the scenes to respond to this challenge and we have created an Enrolment Growth and New Schools webpage to share more information with you on our planning to ensure families have access to great schools in their communities. 

I know that many of us have observed recent media coverage of current events involving public education, which may impact students, staff, and families, especially those who are members of 2SLGBTQI communities. We have supports available through our schools for any student who may require it. Our focus as a District will always be on upholding the human rights of those in our school communities and ensuring that our learning and working environments are safe, welcoming, inclusive, respectful, accessible, and free from discrimination and harassment. 

This month, in partnership with the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, we highlight Local Government Week, taking place from October 16 to 20. This event aims to raise civic awareness among our students, emphasizing the vital role that government plays in our community and promoting the role of school trustees. School trustees are dedicated community members who play a pivotal role in setting our educational vision, policies, and resource allocation. 

The Not in My Name Holocaust Exhibit recently opened at the DDSB Education Centre and, along with it, new professional learning opportunities and resources related to the exhibit and Holocaust education have been made available for staff and students. The exhibit tells the important story of the MS St. Louis where a group of Jewish refugees were denied entry into Canada, the United States, and Cuba prior to the start of the Second World War and explores the intersections of the Holocaust, Antisemitism, and Canada’s discriminatory immigration policies at that time in history. 

As we approach this October long weekend, we want to take a moment to express our gratitude for your continued partnership in your child’s education. Happy Thanksgiving to those who recognize this holiday. We hope everyone will enjoy time with friends and loved ones and that our students return to school refreshed and ready for the exciting stretch toward the winter season. 


Camille Williams-Taylor 
Director of Education 
Durham District School Board