September 12th, 2022
As we set out on the journey of creating our plan for the future of the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB), we grounded our focus in our role of educating and preparing students to excel on their chosen path in learning and life.
The Strategic Planning Process has been, by far, the most broad consultation we have ever engaged in. We know that shaping the future of education means making students active partners in directing their educational experience. We began by prioritizing their voices, which along with their success and well-being, are at the heart of our plan. This is truly the Students’ Strategic Plan.
The WRDSB Strategic Plan will guide us towards the creation of an educational system that prepares students for success as we move towards the 22nd century – one that provides educational experiences and opportunities for all students that shape who they become as human beings and contributing members within their communities and society. As well, one that offers them the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the classroom, and for their future.
Read more: Director’s Response on the Strategic Plan
Hearing From You
Our collaboration on the Strategic Plan began earlier this year. You told us what mattered to you most for the future of public education in the WRDSB. We heard from more than 10,000 students, community members and staff. Crucially, more than 5,000 of those were students.
I want to thank every one of you for taking the time to share your experiences, ideas and hopes for how public schools can better support all we serve. I was so happy to receive so many submissions from students across the WRDSB.
Our Strategic Plan was built using what we heard from students, staff, families and community members. It’s a plan for the WRDSB community based on what you told us.
To guide every part of our system, we have defined our vision, our mission and six strategic directions.
Celebrating the gifts of each and every student by creating limitless opportunities for them to flourish, grow and become their best selves.
Creating learning environments where all students excel as they become skilled, caring, and compassionate global citizens.
Read more about the Strategic Plan on the WRDSB website.
To begin, we spent time over the summer examining our current system structures. We have made some changes at the senior leadership level of the WRDSB to better support students and schools. This includes additional Student Support positions with a focus on student well-being and equity.
Together, they will work to support our six strategic directions:
- Centring students
- Support for student and staff well-being
- Equitable opportunities and outcomes
- Strengthen connections through family and community engagement
- Increase student learning through engagement
- Collaboration and compassion for transformation
Read more from Director chanicka on our Strategic Directions.
Preparing Students for the Future
Throughout the consultation process, you identified the skills and characteristics that WRDSB students need to have to be successful as we look toward the 22nd century. Based on the feedback we heard from students, families, communities and staff, this led us to the creation of a Learner Profile.
This Learner Profile focuses on who we want WRDSB students to become as they engage in learning experiences. They include being:
- Creative and Curious
- Change Makers
- Attentive to relationships
Read more from Director chanicka on the Learner Profile.
Moving to Action
We have gone from consultation, to planning and next we move to action. As a start, we have begun to bring our purpose into sharper focus, allowing us to see our core focus more clearly. Ultimately, to do this work, we have had to pause and ask ourselves if our current structures serve these strategic directions.
This summer we spent time rethinking our hierarchical organizational structures, and reshaping them to better achieve our goals. We want to be an organization that models the aspirations we hold, so that students succeed because of us, and not in spite of us.
Read more from Director chanicka on how we are Moving to Action.
Plan in Action
Each year the Strategic Plan is broken down into a yearly operational plan which is presented to Trustees and reported back on. This year the Board Improvement and Equity Plan (BIEP), previously known as our operational plan, will be shared with Trustees near the end of 2022 and will highlight what year one of this five year plan looks like.
As required by the Ministry of Education, the BIEP outlines our plans for the school year in four key areas:
- Human rights and equity
- Mental health, well-being and engagement
- Transitions and pathways
Tracking Our Progress
You are partners in public education, and in the success of WRDSB students. We are committed to keeping you informed about our progress towards reaching the goals set out in the Strategic Plan.
In December 2023 and each year thereafter, we will issue an annual report card based on the Strategic Plan. It will let you, families and community partners know what we have done. This will be an attempt to be transparent with the hope of working together to help find innovative solutions and opportunities for us to collectively do better.
There is a lot of work ahead of us, and no doubt we will face unexpected and expected challenges, too. With such an aspirational plan, we know at times we will not meet all expectations. There will be times we will miss the mark or make missteps. There are times we will deal with the realities of our limitations.
This work is hard, and necessary. I hope, though, that you will join us in the important and rewarding service of educating and preparing students for their futures. We all want to create a public education system where every student knows they belong, feels supported and is able to achieve their fullest potential in learning and in life.
Sincerely, your Partner in Education,
jeewan chanicka, director of education