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Message from the Director
Message from the Director

J. Parappally - Director of EducationMarch 24, 2017

Welcoming Refugee Students

“He’s going to make Canada a better place,” a YRDSB teacher said about a Syrian refugee student in his class.
These comments were shared with attendees at the National Metropolis Conference last week. The theme for this year was: Looking Forward: Migration and Mobility in 2017 and Beyond.
The conference brings together researchers, policy makers and community organization representatives to talk about immigration and settlement in Canada. We were invited to participate in a multi-organizational workshop sharing experiences in supporting refugee resettlement, along with Regional Municipality of York, Ryerson University, Human Endeavour and Canadian Arab Institute.
Since last July, we have welcomed over 150 refugee students into our school system. I want to acknowledge the important work done by our Inclusive School and Community Services team, including the Reception Centre staff members, Community Resource Facilitator and Teacher Liaison teams to welcome and support the ongoing success of our refugee students. These teams are working closely with departments, including Curriculum and Instructional Services, and our staff members across the system to provide supports and resources.
Last year, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario - York Region, in partnership with the Board held a workshop for elementary teachers to assist them in meeting the needs of Syrian and other children arriving from refugee situations. Our system also put calls out for staff members who could speak Arabic to ensure we were prepared to support students arriving from Syria.
There are examples across our system of what can happen for our refugee students when we have the right people, processes and structures in place. Thank you to all of our students, staff members, partners and families who are helping to ensure our refugee students feel welcome and supported.
Barbara McDonald
We were saddened last week at the passing of Barbara McDonald, known to many as “Auntie Barb,” a teacher at the Waabgon Gamig First Nation School and an Elder in her community. She also worked closely with our Board, particularly in supporting Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway)
language programming and our First Nation, Métis and Inuit education programs. Our thoughts and condolences are with the Georgina Island community, her friends and her family.
Markham Gateway P.S. Youth for Human Rights Event
Do you know how many human rights we have? Thirty, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
That was one of the facts and inspiring messages shared last night at a wonderful event hosted yesterday by the Markham Gateway P.S. community to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The event brought together representatives from a number of community partners and Milliken Mills P.S., Edward T. Crowle P.S. and Cedarwood P.S. Thank you to our student performers and all of the presenters who shared their messages about the importance of advocating for and protecting human rights.


J. Philip Parappally
Director of Education 












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