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Modern Learning Strategy
Modern Learning Strategy


The York Region District School Board (YRDSB) expects schools to provide learning environments which prepare students to adapt, achieve and excel in a world that is constantly changing. School engagement has far‐reaching societal implications; therefore, schools must be places where students are engaged deeply in learning and challenged to develop the skills and mindsets that are integral to modern learning. District data indicates that students feel that doing well in school is important; it also shows that both elementary and secondary students would like school to be more interesting. National and district data indicate a downward trend in students’ interest in school as they progress through the grades. To be more engaged, all students need to have input into their learning as well as opportunities to investigate and address real‐life issues.

The Modern Learning Strategy provides direction for actions in classrooms, schools and the system to engage students in authentic, relevant and deep learning that enables them to create, connect, communicate and share their learning with the world and to be future ready. 

To support understanding of a specific school context, visit YRDSB's Modern Learning targets.

Print Version of Strategy

Foundational Practices Thinking Prompts​

The following three thinking prompts are designed to assist in fostering an equity, innovation and leadership mindset.  While reviewing the contents of the Modern Learning Strategy, these questions provide a lens through which decisions should be filtered.

  1. How will we ensure that our diversity strengthens implementation of an action? How might we identify individual and community assets in order to address barriers, increase inclusion and foster equitable practices?
  2. Who might share leadership (formal leaders, informal leaders, student leaders, others) in implementing an action? How might implementing this action both engage and develop leadership skills more broadly?
  3. How might innovations in our practice (processes, technologies, resources) improve our implementation of an action? How might we consider local and global research in implementing this action?

Modern Learning Theory of Action  

If we: 
  • build knowledge and capacity;
  • foster deep learning, innovative teaching and sound assessment;
  • plan for sustainable and flexible environmental design; and
  • create collaborative learning communities, 

then students will be engaged in authentic, relevant and deep learning that enables them to create, connect, communicate and share their learning with the world and to be future ready.


Visit the actions in the pillars below organized by system, school and classroom. 



Professional Learning

Continuous professional learning is a crucial part of board and school improvement processes. The following principles have been identified to support planning for professional learning. 

Principles for Effective Professional Learning

​Professional learning is effective when it is:
  • responsive to students’ identities, thinking, learning, achievement and well-being as evidenced by a range of data gathered from and about students, including perceptual, demographic, program and achievement;
  • developed through inquiry, as educators, facilitators, researchers, and/or partners engage in co-learning;
  • based on high-quality, evidence-based research;
  • built upon a collaborative culture of curiosity and risk-taking;
  • differentiated by the educator’s readiness and needs, recognizing that different people learn in different ways (e.g., experiential, social, formal) and through different modalities;
  • an iterative approach, informed by ongoing analysis, reflection and feedback; and
  • focused on developing, deepening and connecting both content knowledge, pedagogy and pedagogical content knowledge.


Aligning resources effectively, purposefully and efficiently to focus on what matters most  is a key leadership function. Resources have been identified to support the implementation of the Modern Learning Strategy. 

They are organized into four categories:

  • Core Resources
  • Supporting Specialized Populations Resources
  • Parent/Guardian/Family Resources
  • Facilitation Resources


Monitoring is the ongoing gathering, reviewing and assessing of information to track and document progress towards goals. It is an integral part of board and school improvement processes. The following principles have been identified to support collective monitoring.

Principles of Effective Monitoring

Monitoring is effective when it is:
  • shared collaboratively by those who are implementing the improvement plan and who have agency to act upon the results;
  • reciprocal, involving a two-way flow of information across classroom, school and system to inform responsive action at all levels;
  • based on criteria against which evidence from multiple sources (e.g., conversations, observations, products) can be examined;
  • focused on the gathering and analysis of the evidence;
  • a continuous loop of action, analysis, reflection and response;
  • timely and ongoing while implementation is still in progress;
  • able to yield timely, precise and descriptive feedback to inform next steps; and
  • rooted in professional discourse in which questions are drivers for deeper understanding of what makes a difference for student achievement and well-being.


Targets support the evaluation process. Clear identification and communication of the targets is key to board and school improvement planning. The following principles have been identified to support effective target setting.

Principles of Effective Target Setting

Targets are effective when they:
  • are established through a collaborative process;
  • are specific and based on identified needs;
  • align with the collective and strategic efforts within the system, school and classrooms;
  • identify the progress expected at specific checkpoints;
  • are ambitious and attainable predictions of intended results;
  • are motivational for continuous improvement; and
  • evaluate the impact of strategic actions on student achievement and well-being.

Three Types of Targets: Implementation, Perception, Achievement

  • Implementation targets are established to measure whether strategic actions in the BIPSA are being implemented as intended.
  • Perception targets are established to measure the perceptions of students about their school environment with regard to their learning and well-being. Revised school climate survey questions will be implemented in 2017 to gather baseline data specific to the current BIPSA and to set targets for the mid-cycle and five-year checkpoints.
  • Achievement targets are established to measure whether desired results are being realized with regard to student achievement.
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