The 2018-2019 school year was one of growth and learning for our entire system. We accomplished a great deal this year, and we should all be proud of how far we have progressed towards achieving our operational goals and implementing our strategic plan. We remain committed to reaching our ultimate goals and will remain laser-focused on our work to ensure our students are first – each and every one.

It has been an incredible year for our students thanks to the dedication of every staff member. Each day throughout the year, beautiful stories of progress, accomplishment and deeper learning were seen and felt in every classroom across our system. Our students enjoyed safe, clean and welcoming buildings where they felt supported to learn and grow. They had access to the latest technology, supports, and resources they needed to succeed. They were able to start each school day knowing they had a team of caring adults who would help them achieve their full potential. No matter what your role in this organization, now is the time to pause, reflect and celebrate those accomplishments and appreciate that it takes an amazing team of professionals to perform the complex work of ensuring each and every student is supported in their unique pathway to success and the future.

As a system, we continue to signal the importance of equity, inclusion, human rights and social justice. We were leaders in the Province as we reassured our community that our delivery of the Health and Physical Education curriculum would continue to honour and respect the lived experience of our students, staff and community. We hosted the Voices Conference which brought secondary students together to develop ideas to increase student engagement in schools. Students, representing every secondary school, attended the second annual Powwow event. We announced that free menstrual products will be available in the all-gender bathrooms at every education site. And as you know, this month is Pride Month, and schools across our system are flying the Pride Flag as a celebration of diversity and the inclusion of all our students.

Our commitment to equity, social justice, and anti-black racism was signalled through our first ever Black Brilliance conference for African, Carribean and Black identified students. This event brought students together for a full day of workshops and mentorship opportunities. System Leaders heard from several equity thought leaders throughout the year as we learned about White Privilege, Anti-Black Racism, Indigenous Consciousness and our individual social location and the impact this has on the decisions we make. We were proud to support the ninth annual Gay-Straight Alliance Conference, we continued our professional development in understanding and implementing Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy (CRRP) and held regular Indigenous Knowledge Learning Sessions for all staff.

As we head into the summer, I hope all of you have the chance to rest and recharge as we prepare for September and the start of another exciting school year. To the members of our staff who are retiring, I want to say thank you for all you have contributed to the WRDSB, public education and, most importantly, our students. Each of them is better off as a result of your efforts. To our students who are graduating and moving on to employment, university, college, travel, or beginning an apprenticeship, I wish you success as you step out into the world. To all of our students and staff returning this fall, I hope you take time over the summer to relax and recharge. And finally, to our staff working through the summer, thank you for your hard work to ensure our schools are ready to welcome back students and staff for a new school year.

To the families of our students, I want to say thank you for entrusting us with the education and wellbeing of your child this past school year – this is not a responsibility or privilege that we take lightly. Thank you for being the most important partner in your child’s learning journey, and joining us as we educate your child today, so that they may be the innovators of tomorrow. I know we all look forward with optimism and excitement to what we will achieve together as we head into the next school year.

John Bryant

Director of Education