Grand Erie Launches Video Series Showcasing Equity

In 2016, Grand Erie approved a new strategic direction that guides the work that the school board is doing. At the centre of this Multi-Year Plan is the goal of Success for Every Student.

Each fall, as a way to highlight the Multi-Year Plan, a series of videos has been created. This year, to demonstrate what the Multi-Year Plan means, Grand Erie is focusing on one of the six indicators that helps the board achieve Success for Every Student.

Equity is a part of everything Grand Erie does, from the supports provided to students and staff, to the events and activities the board honours and celebrates. Equity is, and continues to be, a guiding force. These videos, created by Grand Erie’s Safe and Inclusive Schools Committee, tell just four of the many stories of students and staff embracing Equity.

The first video highlights Matt Cain, a Simcoe Composite School student who came out as transgender in Grade 11. After years of struggle, he found support from Jason Dale, a Guidance Teacher at the school. Jason helped Matt not only stay in school, but also succeed and thrive, providing the safe and encouraging environment that Matt needed to build his confidence. Matt now speaks to various groups, including the Children’s Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk, about his experiences.

The second video highlights Nour and Khaled Aldakak, who settled in Brantford from Syria with their two children. They credit their successful transition to Canadian life to the supports they received from staff at Pauline Johnson Collegiate and Vocational School as well as the Grand Erie Learning Alternatives (GELA) team.

Launched on Accessibility Awareness Day in Grand Erie, the third video in the series features the story of Brent Flicks, a former student who attended Simcoe Composite School. Brent was born with spinal muscular atrophy, and uses a wheelchair. He brings an inspiring message about equity and inclusion that celebrates the spirit of Accessibility Awareness Day.

This fourth and final video in the series highlights Maria, a member of the Low German Mennonite community who was struggling to move forward in life, lacking the education she desired. Through the Moms & Tots program, facilitated by the Norfolk Help Centre, she was able to get the support she needed to succeed. She completed secondary school through a Grand Erie Learning Alternatives (GELA) program. The program provides child care so mothers are able to work on their education. Maria is currently employed at the Norfolk Help Centre, where she works as a facilitator, helping people with translation, as well as accessing health care.

Happy “new year”! I hope everyone had a pleasant summer holiday. It’s been nice to talk to students and parents this week about all the things you’ve done over the past two months. I’ve heard lots of stories of fun trips and relaxation. I’ve also heard a few about some more stressful experiences that life seems to always present. Whatever the past 2 months brought for you, I’m looking forward to working together again as a Boston School Family to support each other. September brings the opportunity for fresh starts and lots of reason for optimism. Each and every student is full of potential, and on a pathway that is their own unique success story (always in progress)!

This year you’ll notice that the staff is mostly the same with a few exceptions. Mrs. Huffman is off this year with her new baby. We would like to welcome Ms. Agius, who has joined us to teach the 3/4 class. We are excited to have her back as part of the Boston team! We would also like to welcome Mrs. Trembley as our new custodian. We are all in good hands with her making sure the building is in good shape!

On the first day, we had a Welcome-Back Assembly in which we committed to two very simple things this year: 1) We will always do our best

2) We will always be kind

I believe those two simple statements can guide every decision we make every day, and I’ve asked every Blazer to consider them when they are making choices.

Once again, welcome to a new school year. It’s good to be back!