ETFO Statement on Anti-Black Racism
June 1, 2020
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario stands in solidarity with communities in Canada and the United States protesting the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota and the suspicious death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto when police were called to her home for assistance. ETFO recognizes the multiple and systemic ways that anti-Black racism is reproduced and enacted every day including through targeted policing, in our public education system, health care system and in many other institutions.
ETFO is deeply concerned about the ongoing systemic and individual forms of anti-Black racism in our communities and beyond.
It is a fatal destructive force in our society and local communities, affecting students, adults and families here in Ontario. While individual acts of anti-Black racism occur daily, systemic anti-Black racism within institutions oppresses entire Black populations on an ongoing basis.
Education systems are not immune. In the past two years, several school boards have come under intense scrutiny for allowing and perpetrating anti-Black racism in their practices. We need to hold school boards, and the provincial government, accountable to existing anti-Black racism policies and push for more such policies to be introduced.
ETFO is committed to working with its educators to stop anti-Black racism and teach ways to unlearn it. From our ground-breaking workshops on white privilege introduced several years ago to our continuing professional resources in response to the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, ETFO has called its members to action to fight anti-Black racism.
As a union dedicated to equity and social justice, our goal is to empower educators with the tools and resources they need to make schools and classrooms welcoming and inclusive. Addressing and challenging anti-Black racism and supporting Black students and others demands our dedicated efforts if we are to help shape a society where the human rights of every individual are respected.
ETFO extends its deepest condolences to the families of Regis Korchinski-Paquet and George Floyd and those of others who have felt the impact of police violence and anti-Black racism.
Bonjour! Teaching FSL through distance learning has unique challenges.
Did you know that the WRDSB has Google Groups for Elementary French, Core French, and French Immersion teachers? They are a great place to find resources from our consultant, Wanda West. They are also an easy location where you can post questions, share resources, and connect with fellow French teachers in our board.
To find and join any of these groups, be logged in from your @wrdsb.ca account, then go to Google Groups and in the top search bar, search for "WRDSB Elementary French," "Elementary Core French," or "Elementary French Immersion." Click the blue join button to request access and wait to be accepted.
Nous sommes tous unis!
Nominations are now being accepted for non-released positions on the ETFO Waterloo Executive!
Nominations are due ***Thursday, April 23, 2020***, at 4:30 p.m.
Learn more, including a listing of received nominations, by clicking here.
Our local office will be closed during the shutdown.
However, the Waterloo Released Team will be working remotely from home and will be checking messages throughout office hours.
It is strongly recommended that email be used for contacting us - if there is a need for a telephone conversation it can be initiated via email first. This will help ensure that messages are not missed and members get responses in a timely manner.
- President - Greg Weiler email@example.com
- Vice President - Joanne Threndyle firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vice President - Ali Lyon email@example.com
- Vice President - Jeff Pelich firstname.lastname@example.org
- Administrative Assistant - Amanda Drewett email@example.com
Due to increasing concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, the ETFO provincial office will be closed starting 4:00 p.m. Friday, March 20, 2020 and will re-open 8:00 a.m. Monday, April 6, 2020. ETFO staff will be working from home during this period.
Members with work-related questions or concerns are asked to leave a message by calling 416-962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836. The general mailbox will be checked daily by staff and every effort will be made to return member calls on the same day.
The Emergency Legal Assistance system will be operational during this period to respond to critical calls only.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.
On Friday, November 1, the employees of the Waterloo Region District School Board kicked off our annual United Way Workplace Giving Campaign.
This year’s campaign, running from November 2 to 18, asks the question: “Are You The One?” Individually, our contributions may seem small, but together, we can make a big difference in the lives of our community members. Join in on social media with #iamtheone and let us know how you’re supporting the campaign. A little bit goes a long way when it’s multiplied by the power of many. Are you the one?
ETFO Waterloo was proud to make a $20,000 donation to kick off this campaign. Each year, our local receives part of this funding as part of our relationship with OTIP Auto and Home Insurance and the executive decided to allocate these funds directly back to our community.
United Way Waterloo Region Communities ensures that funds raised locally stay local in order to improve lives right here in our community. In 2018, your donations made all of this possible:
- 13,646 individuals were able to access counselling to decrease psychological distress
- 7,995 youth were able to access programs that helped them improve their self-esteem and wellbeing
- 1,719 individuals improved their reading, writing and financial literacy skills
- 246 individuals in emergency shelters were able to move into more stable housing
Individual members are encouraged to donate to this campaign!
- Log in to the WRDSB Staff Intranet and click on the United Way “Donate Now” button located on the right-hand side
- Credit Card, Cash or Cheque
- Complete the paper donation form available from your site champion
What is Pride Month?
June is a month to celebrate diversity and its triumph over hate and intolerance. It’s a month to acknowledge the discrimination that members of the rainbow community have experienced as part of Canada’s history and to recognize that today, there are still barriers that must be overcome. Pride Month is a time to recognize our accomplishments as a society and recommit to building a brighter, more just future.
Why should I celebrate Pride Month in my classroom?
Our classrooms are full of diversity. We teach students who identify or will one day identify as members of the LGBTQ2+ community. Our students’ families include members of the rainbow community. We have colleagues who are part of this community. Each of these individuals deserve to be represented in our teaching. The love, acceptance and respect that we model in our classrooms will become the world in which we live.
What can I do?
There are many options. Pick an idea or two and get started!
- Take a walk to your site’s flag pole. Notice the Pride Flag that has been raised. Teach a lesson under it. Read a book under it. Eat your lunch under it. Show your support under it.
- Talk about the rainbow flag and the diversity it represents. Discuss all the ways that each of us is different and how diversity makes us stronger. Acknowledge that our society sometimes makes things more challenging for people with certain differences.
- Point out your ETFO-WR LGBTQ2+ Resource Poster. Put it up as a class. Discuss why every member of your class community deserves to be celebrated and supported. Use the strategies suggested on the poster.
- Read your favourite rainbow picture book. Invite students to share their connections. Try reading: The Family Book or It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr or 10 000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert.
- Read Jake’s Progress (Le cheminement de Jake) from ETFO’s More Than a Play resource.
- Make a plan to stand up to acts of homophobia, transphobia, and other acts of bullying. Role play what to say and how to help
ETFO-WR Equity Pinterest Board
ETFO-WR LGBTQ2+ Resource Poster
Take a Stand Resource Posters
Many teachers are reflecting on how to build more inclusive classrooms. As teachers, we know that the conditions we create in our classrooms have a large impact on student learning. We also know that creating inclusive environments does not happen without deliberate intention. Students need to feel safe and believe that they belong in order to thrive and engage meaningfully with the school community.
The Equity and Social Justice Committee would love to come to your school and facilitate a discussion with your staff on how to create these conditions for all students. The Stories on the Road workshop will introduce your staff to storybooks that promote acceptance and inclusion, with an emphasis on LGBTQ2+ themes.
We have been to many schools and the discussions are rich and inspiring. There is no cost for the workshop. We will leave behind a large Rainbow Kit of inclusive story books and novels for your school to borrow and will bring snacks and prizes. What could be more fun than that?
The staff at Sheppard Public School in Kitchener feel passionate about promoting Reconciliation through raising awareness and taking action with students. Toward that end, staff initiated making an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement part of the daily announcements beginning in September 2016. The acknowledgement was developed in consultation with Nicole Robinson, Equity and Inclusion Officer with an Indigenous focus at the WRDSB.
This Indigenous Land Acknowledgement is read as part of the daily announcements at Sheppard Public School in Kitchener, Ontario.
Beyond the Announcement
Staff at Sheppard P.S. recognize that getting the Land Acknowledgement onto the announcements was only a starting point. They believe that students and community members need an understanding of its importance. To facilitate this, staff discuss the meaning of the Land Acknowledgement with their students and have promoted it using social media. They are hopeful that other schools will follow suit. Daily Indigenous Land Acknowledgements have been adopted by some school boards, such as the TDSB.
ETFO Models at Federation Events
The Elementary Teachers of Ontario models the practice of Land Acknowledgement by ensuring our First Nations, Métis and Inuit Statement is read at the commencement of all ETFO-sponsored events.
Special thanks to ETFO-WR member Anna Lucas for sharing the good work being done at Sheppard Public School. Stay tuned for more news about their journey toward Reconciliation in future posts and newsletters.
Are you taking action on Equity and Social Justice?
The ETFO-WR Equity and Social Justice Committee encourages you to share what ETFO members on staff are doing to promote human rights and equity. Send an image and description of your initiative to Ryan Wettlaufer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and receive a small token of our appreciation in return.