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
Why Red for Ed?
By collectively wearing red and participating in the weekly action teachers, education workers, parents, and community allies are uniting to visibly express solidarity to defend public education and stand up for students.
The weekly action is something that everyone can participate in to help build support for our public campaign and the current round of bargaining. To make this action successful and to increase support in communities across the province, we need your help to encourage members and allies to wear red.
Ways to share the message and extend ETFO’s visibility
To increase our #RedforEd profile, ETFO encourages members and locals to share their participation on social media with posts, group photos, or selfies. Be sure to include the #RedforEd hashtag in your tweets or Facebook posts and email any photos you wish to share to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For your quick reference, a shareable image to advertise #RedforEd on social media is available on the website at http://etfo.ca/link/etfostrong. Please be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page.
Do you need red ETFO clothing?
ETFO Waterloo has t-shirt available for all members! Please contact Jeff Pelich if you need a shirt (and did not receive one last year).
Background on selecting Fridays
The Provincial Executive received a report to determine if the Friday#RedforEd actions should be held on an alternative day due to concerns about other awareness activities to wear red clothing on Fridays. ETFO staff spoke with the Deputy Director of Corporate Services at the National Office of the Royal Canadian Legion who indicated that wearing red to support the military was an awareness campaign for supporting Canadian troops and veterans, who were engaged in combat in the Afghanistan conflict. The Friday campaign began in 2005, and it has petered out since the end of the conflict in 2014. The National Office of the Royal Canadian Legion stated that it does not object to educators wearing red on Fridays and it further stated it does not see this action as co-opting the issue.
ETFO is committed to promoting Reconciliation in our schools, across the province, and beyond. As an organization, we have endorsed the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Monday, September 30 is Orange Shirt Day and it provides us with another opportunity to recognize the survivors of the residential school system and teach our students the truths of Canadian history.
What is Orange Shirt Day?
In 1973 six-year old Phyllis Webstad was gifted a brand new orange shirt from her grandmother and wore it to the residential (mission) school she attended in British Columbia. Upon her arrival, school officials removed and discarded the shirt from her and replaced it with a school uniform. This greatly impacted the mental and emotional well-being of Webstad and symbolized that "her feelings never mattered." September was chosen as the time to commemorate all the children that attended residential schools as it was also the time of year that children had to leave their homes and communities to attend the schools. This annual campaign began in 2013 after Webstad shared this experience at a reunion with other survivors.
How should we observe Orange Shirt Day?
There are many options to choose from depending on whether you are planning a lesson for your classroom, organizing for your school, or planning a community event. Some possible suggestions include:
- write announcements to be shared with the school
- plan to wear orange
- distribute orange cloth patches, ribbons, or buttons that can be worn in solidarity
- read books that share the experiences of Indigenous children who attended residential schools. Examples include:
- plan an assembly or classroom lessons (link to sample lesson plans in both English and French)
- watch videos to learn more:
- check our additional ideas and resources online:
Consider sharing your Orange Shirt Day initiatives on Twitter or Instagram using the #etfowr hashtag or by mentioning @etfowaterloo.
ETFO Waterloo Local Office
Beginning Friday, June 28, the local office is closed for the summer.
The office will be open on limited hours beginning Monday, August 26. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, September 3.
If a member has any professional emergency over the summer, please contact the Provincial Office as outlined below.
Requests made before Thursday, June 27 at 3 pm will be processed before the office closes on Friday. During July and August, MDF and STEL requests will continue to be received but will not be processed or formally approved until the office reopens on Monday, August 26. As these must be made electronically (see below), they will be timestamped. Please ensure that any requests submitted continue to adhere to the minimum 2-weeks in advance of the activity start date. Requests submitted closer than 2 weeks to the activity may not be approved and any requests submitted after the start of an activity will be declined.
ETFO Provincial Office
Beginning Tuesday, July 2 through to Friday, August 30, the ETFO provincial office will be operating on summer hours. The switchboard will open at 8 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Regular hours will resume Tuesday, September 3.
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 (email@example.com) and receive a small token of our appreciation in return.