Learning

collage-learningWhy is this important?

An educated labour force is more critical than ever as the labour market shifts to a focus on knowledge work. But learning is affected by many factors (poverty, mental and physical health, safety and the presence of necessary supports). Schools with librarians and daycares, arts programs, and robust physical education give children lifelong advantages.

 

What are the trends?

Toronto’s schools have an improving teacher/student ratio, but special education students are not always receiving the supports they need. Both the availability and affordability of childcare in Toronto are challenges.

 

 

Data refer to the city of Toronto unless otherwise noted 2012 2013 2014
1.    Percentage of Toronto labour force with post-secondary education 68.0% 67.3% 66.2%[1]
2.    Teacher/student ratio in public schools (Toronto Region) 67.8/1,000

(2011)[2]

87.7/1,000

(2012)[3]

91.2/1,000

(2013) [4]

3.    Percentage of Toronto public elementary schools with a health and physical education teacher

 

(Percentage of those schools that employ these teachers full-time)

80%

 

46%

86%

 

57%

82%[5]

 

63%[6]

4.    Children on the waiting list for a childcare subsidy (March of the year) 18,839 16,873[7] 12,792[8]
5.      Number of licensed childcare spaces  (in childcare centres and private homes managed by agencies) 59,000 (Winter 2013”)[9] 61,000 (January 2014)[10] 64,700 (January 2015)[11]

 

What’s new?

Now that full-day kindergarten is fully implemented, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is reporting a shortage in funding from the Province, and teachers are reporting challenges in the classroom. The TDSB is weighing what to do with “underutilized” schools, but a poll finds that over half of Torontonians support a property tax increase for the City to purchase and convert them into community centres. Schools’ reliance on fundraising is creating inequities, and a report on black educators shows that Toronto’s teachers are less diverse than the communities they teach in.

 

 

How are Toronto’s public schools faring, and how are “underutilized” schools affecting communities?

 

The number of Toronto students graduating is increasing each year:

  • The Toronto District School Board’s five-year graduation rate was 80% in 2014 (down from 83% in 2013).[12] Graduation rates have increased by 11 percentage points (from 69% of students) since the TDSB began tracking them in 2000.[13]
  • The Toronto Catholic District School Board’s four- and five-year graduation rates are 80% and 86% respectively.[14]
  • The number of Ontario’s students graduating in four, rather than five, years has increased slightly, to 76% in 2014, up from 75% in 2013 and 74% in 2012.[15] Ontario’s five-year graduation rates have remained stable in the last several years. In 2014 84% of students graduated in five years, up from 68% a decade earlier.[16]
  • It should be noted that school boards and the Ministry of Education use different methods to calculate graduation rates. According to the Ministry the TDSB’s published rates should be lower, while the Board disputes the accuracy of the Ministry’s method.[17]

 

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) presented a balanced 2015–16 operating budget in March 2015, its second since being created 17 years ago:

  • TDSB has an annual operating budget of approximately $3.0B,[18] $2.8B of which comes from Provincial Staff salaries and benefits represent approximately 83% of total expenses. TDSB’s capital budget totals $137M.[19]
  • There are a number of areas across the Board where significant gaps exist between actual costs and funding received from the Province. To help offset these, the Board uses revenues (like fees from international students and lease revenues) and funding sources (where there is flexibility in how they are spent).[20]
  • To help balance the 2015–16 budget and save an estimated $10.3M, the TDSB proposed options including establishing Toronto Parking Authority parking lots on school sites in key areas within the downtown core, a review of student transportation costs, and a Special Education staffing reduction (due to a reduction in funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education), among other measures.[21]
    • The TDSB notes that school-based staff allocation decisions were based primarily on enrollment, and that staff would not necessarily lose their jobs as efforts would be made to place them in positions opened by retirements or other resignations.[22]

 


snapshot

 

While there are disparities among funds raised by schools across Toronto, in 2012-2013, Northlea Public School (which raised $284.60 per student that year) donated $4,700 of its funds raised to support a snack program at nearby Thorncliffe Park Public School (Thorncliffe Park only raised $34.31 per student in 2012-2013).[23]

 


 

 

School principals are struggling to balance instructional leadership—to better the classroom learning experience—with challenging administrative duties:

  • In People for Education’s annual school survey of publicly funded elementary and secondary schools (including 244 participating Toronto Catholic, public, and French schools), Toronto principals reported spending most of their time managing employee and safety issues and responding to system or Ministry initiatives.[24]

 

The teacher/student ratio in the Toronto Region’s public schools continues to improve, and more schools have specialist teachers:

  • There were 91.2 teachers for every 1,000 students in 2013[25], compared to 87.7 per 1,000 in 2012[26] and just 67.8 in 2011.[27]
  • The percentage of Toronto elementary schools with teacher-librarians increased to 87% in the 2014-15 school year, up from 80% the previous year (but still below the 98% in 2011-2012).
  • 17% of elementary schools employed a teacher-librarian full time, up from 15% the previous year but below the rates seen pre-recession (24% in 2008-09).
  • 66% of elementary schools reported having a music teacher in 2014-15 (up from 58% the previous year); 43% had a full-time music teacher (up from 37%).
  • 29% of elementary schools had a visual arts teacher, and 18% had a drama teacher.
  • 82% of elementary schools had a health and physical education teacher; 63% of those schools employed these teachers full time.[28]

 

Special education students, on the other hand, are not always receiving the supports they need:

  • 15% of Toronto’s elementary students and 23% of secondary school students receive special education services and supports, proportions that have increased steadily over the last decade.
    • Special education needs vary widely, from students who need only minor accommodations such as use of a laptop or additional time to take tests to those who need significant help to communicate or participate in school life.
  • Toronto schools are more likely to have special education teachers than schools in the rest of the province, but changes to funding for special education have meant reductions for some Toronto boards. According to People for Education’s annual school survey, 17% of elementary schools and 9% of secondary schools in Toronto report that not all special education students are receiving their recommended supports.
    • The average special education student to special education teacher ratio in Toronto’s elementary schools is 26:1. In secondary schools that average ratio jumps to 78:1.
  • On average, six elementary students and six secondary school students per school are waiting to be assessed for special education supports, but 29% of elementary schools and 44% of secondary schools report that there is a restriction on the number of students that can be assessed.[29]

 

TDSB suspensions and expulsions for drugs and illegal substances in the 2013-14 school year were slightly below the average of the previous six years:

  • An average of 557 students per year are expelled for incidents involving drugs and illegal substances. According to the most recent data available, between the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014 there were 552 suspensions and expulsions.
    • Three-quarters of these (76.5%) were for possessing alcohol or illegal drugs on school property (203 suspensions) and for being under the influence of illegal drugs while at school (224 suspensions).[30]
  • Between 2008 and 2014, 39.8% of suspensions were related to students possessing alcohol or illegal drugs, 36.7% were related to being under the influence of drugs, 13.8% were related to the possession/misuse of other substances, 7.3% were related to other drug-related acts against the TDSB code of conduct, and the remainder were related to trafficking or weapons or drugs.[31]

learning-suspension

Reason for Suspension or Expulsion from TDSB, 2008-2014[32]

 

Declining enrollment in TDSB schools continued in 2014. There were 246,000 students across 589 schools, compared to 248,000 students in 588 schools the previous year.[33]

  • While the 2014-15 school year saw 552 fewer elementary students than the previous year (a loss of 0.32%), TDSB has projected enrollment of 224 more elementary students for the 2015-2016 school year than in 2014-15 (up to 172,137 from 171,913) and another 675 in 2016-17, to reach a total of 172,812.
  • Secondary school enrollment continues to decline year-over-year, although the decline appears to be slowing and is projected to continue doing so. In the 2014-15 school year, secondary school enrollment fell 3.8% (from 78,019 in 2013-14 to 75,054) versus 4.53% the previous school year. The TDSB is projecting a 2.58% decrease for the 2015‑16 school year (to 73,119 students), and a 2.14% decrease for 2016-17 (to 71,557).[34]

 

projectinglearning-elementarysecondaryyear

TDSB Enrollment Trend Projections, 2009-2018[35]

 

The TDSB is weighing what to do with ”underutilized” schools:

  • projecting

    The TDSB needs $2B just to maintain a state of good repair, and this figure is estimated to reach $6B by 2019. Meanwhile, declining enrollment means 130 schools are “underutilized” (according to the TDSB, using less than 65% of their capacity).

  • The TDSB could sell some underused properties, but the Board and its trustees argue that the idea is short-sighted, and that Canada’s largest school board should not have to sell off schools to fill gaps in its operating and capital budgets—it should instead be given the funding it needs.
  • Nonetheless, up to nine of 60 “candidate schools” face closure and sale, and 68% of the 48 candidate elementary schools are located in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods.[36]

 

TDSB Secondary and Elementary Schools Under Review for Closure, 2015[37]

Map by Sean Marshall

  • School closures would affect not only students, but also those in surrounding communities that access various services offered at many of these school buildings and properties, including daycares and adult programs (such as English as a Second Language) and after-school uses by local community organizations and sports teams. None of these uses are factored into the Board’s calculation of a schools’ utilization.
  • Under Ontario law, if any TDSB properties do become available, other school boards serving Toronto would have the first opportunity to purchase them, followed by the City, then private investors. It is unlikely, however, that the City would be able to purchase them within the 90 days allowed.[38]
    • A February 2015 Mainstreet Technologies poll found that a majority of Torontonians (53%) approve of a dedicated property tax increase that would allow the City to purchase surplus TDSB properties and convert them into community centres and parks. 24% disapproved and another 22% were not sure.[39]

 

 

What successes and challenges has full-day kindergarten (FDK) brought?

 

FDK has now been fully implemented across Ontario after a five year roll-out that began in 2010:

  • Ontario schools are required to have extended day programs (both before and after school and during school breaks) for students in FDK if there is sufficient demand. [40]
  • Research has demonstrated that children who attend Ontario’s FDK programs are better prepared for Grade 1, and exhibit higher outcomes in social competence, communication skills, and cognitive development. [41]
  • Yet with approximately 36,500 students in the FDK system, the TDSB is reporting an almost $15M shortage in funding from the Province.
    • The provincial government provides $1,669.96 per student, but the TDSB has reported that the program, taught by a teacher and early childhood educator, is costing 24% more than that to deliver—$2,066.97 per student. [42]
  • The implementation of FDK has also been challenging for elementary teachers. Teachers are reporting that more distracted classrooms, caused by larger class sizes, are affecting their ability to teach. As a result, more class time is being wasted as teachers are trying to control four- and five-year-old children who are fighting, running, and leaving the classroom.[43]

 

Toronto is falling behind in family support programs:

  • In addition to phasing in FDK, the Province allocates $90M per year to support Best Start Child and Family Centres.
  • However, only 27% of schools in Toronto report having family support programs, 13 percentage points below the provincial average.[44]

 

 

How do socio-economic inequities affect access to learning?

 

While the numbers of licensed childcare spaces are increasing, there are still not enough to meet the needs of families:

  • The number of licensed spaces located in childcare centres and private homes managed by home child care agencies reported by the City in January 2015 was 64,700.[45] In January 2013, the number was 61,000[46] and in winter 2013, it was 59,000. [47]
  • However, Toronto’s licensed and regulated childcare spaces can accommodate fewer than 20% of the newborn to 12‑year-old children in the city.[48]
  • The City recognizes this discrepancy and in 2016, the City will be undertaking a study to determine the demand. [49]

 

For preschool children, Toronto’s licensed childcare system, has only:

  • 1 space for every 13 infants  (newborn to 18 months)
  • 1 space for every 3 toddlers  (18 months to 2.5 years)
  • 1 space for every 2 preschoolers (2.5 years to entry into kindergarten). [50]

 

There aren’t enough licensed spaces to accommodate school-aged children either:

  • According to the City, there are 393 licensed kindergarten before- and after-school programs and 573 middle childhood Grades 1 to 6) before- and after-school programs.
    • Middle childhood programs include licensed childcare, Parks, Forestry and Recreation department programs, and community organization programs. Many are located in locals schools, and others in community facilities.
  • Of Toronto’s publicly funded elementary schools,
    • 43% have before- and after-school programs for both kindergarten and middle childhood children,
    • 27% have before- and after-school programs for only kindergarten or only middle childhood children, and
    • 30% have no before- and after-school programs at all. [51]

 

Even when space is available, childcare is unaffordable for many Toronto families:

  • The median yearly costs for a full day of childcare for a young child are:
    • $21,431 for an infant (newborn to 18 months),
    • $16,704 for a toddler (18 months to 2.5 years), and
    • $12,424 for a preschooler (2.5 to 4 years).
    • While the median cost of a licensed before- and after-school program for a school-aged child is less expensive (at $32 per day for kindergarten and $25 per day for a middle childhood program), it is still out of reach for many families.
  • The City added 184 new subsidized childcare spaces in its 2015 budget—increasing spaces from 24,932 to 25,116—but the parents of over 12,792 children are still waiting for a subsidy. The 2014 number includes 4,343 infants, 1,498 toddlers, 2,116 preschoolers, 1,939 kindergarten-aged children, and 2,896 school-aged children).
    • This is down almost 25% from last year (parents of 16,873 children were waiting for spaces in March 2014). With the introduction of Full-Day Kindergarten, the system of childcare has shifted towards more before and after school spaces, which are less expensive than a full day space, allowing the City to place more children within the same, council-approved budget. [52]
  • According to Toronto Children’s Services’ service plan for 2015-2019, there are 346,320 newborn to 12‑year-old children in the city.[53]

learning-childcarespacesneed


Childcare Spaces vs. Need[54]

Schools’ reliance on fundraising is causing inequities, with some able to accumulate huge amounts and others “looking for handouts for breakfast programs”:

  • Data obtained by the Toronto Star through a Freedom of Information request show a widening disparity in the amount of money that public schools across Toronto are fundraising.
  • The 475 elementary and middle schools in the TDSB raised $19.2M in 2012-13 (counting both fundraising and revenues generated from fees), an average of $118 per student. But an increasing percentage of elementary schools—58% in 2012, up from 47% in 2008—are able to raise less than $100 per student while some institutions in wealthier areas continue to raise huge sums.
    • The top 20 elementary schools (mostly in wealthier neighbourhoods) raised a total of $3.9M in 2012-13, compared to just $43,249 for the bottom 20 schools.[55]

 


The Widening Fundraising Gap in TDSB Elementary Schools, 2008 vs. 2012[56]

 

*Includes only schools still open in 2012-13

 

  • The fundraising ability of some communities means that some schools are able to fund things like school trips and improvements to libraries and playgrounds, freeing up the funds received from the Province for more basic educational needs. Students from neighbourhoods comprised of families without the financial base, skillset or time for fundraising, on the other hand, face a more stark educational experience.
  • A map comparing average neighbourhood incomes with average funds raised per student is telling, and mirrors the divided city documented by the “Three Cities“ research based at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.[57]

 

 

learning-fundraising

Fundraising in TDSB Elementary Schools[58]

Source: Toronto Star. © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap

 

  • The pattern is also reflected in TDSB’s Learning Opportunities Index (LOI) for elementary schools in 2014.
    • The LOI ranks each TDSB school from “most needy” to “least needy,” based on external challenge indicators including income (median income, proportion of low-income families, and proportion of families receiving social assistance) as well as education of adults and proportion of one-parent families.[59]

 

 

learning-tdsblearningop

TDSB’s Learning Opportunities Index, Elementary Schools, 2014[60]

 

 

High school “streaming” may be exacerbating achievement gaps in secondary schools, and there is a strong relationship between the courses students choose and their socio-economic status:

  • Requiring Grade 8 students to choose between taking applied and academic courses in their first two years of high school impacts students’ chances for success throughout high school and influences their post-secondary options and career opportunities. There is also evidence that the system itself may perpetuate current economic and educational disparities.
    • In 2013 the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) reported a 40% gap in test performance between students in academic and applied courses. The percentage of students in applied English who passed the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test has declined from 62% to 51% over the past five years.
    • A TDSB study found that only 40% of students who took applied courses in Grade 9 had graduated after five years, compared to 86% of those who took academic courses.
  • The income polarization among Toronto neighbourhoods that has created “Three Cities“ (documented by research based at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work) is reflected in students’ course choices.
    • Demographic data from EQAO and 2006 Census data show that schools with higher percentages of students from low-income families have higher proportions of students in applied mathematics.
    • The TDSB study found a number of racial categories over-represented in the applied program of study. Most significantly, while (self-identified) black students represent approximately 13% of the student population in Grades 9 and 10, they comprise 23% of students in the applied program.
    • Another TDSB study found that in the highest-income neighbourhoods, 92% of students took the majority of their courses in the academic stream, compared to only 56% of students from the lowest-income neighborhoods.
      • Only 6% of students in the highest-income neighbourhoods took the majority of their courses in the applied stream, while 33% of students in the lowest-income neighbourhoods did.
  • People for Education’s annual school survey shows that students rarely transfer from the applied to academic stream, and that they may not receive sufficient support when initially making the choice between the two.
    • 30% of Toronto’s secondary schools report that students “never” or do “not often” transfer from applied to academic courses.
    • While 85% of schools offering Grade 8 report having a guidance counsellor, only 10% of schools use one-on-one counselling as a main source of information for students and parents regarding course choices.
  • Applied and academic courses were introduced in 1999 when the Ministry of Education implemented the Ontario Secondary Schools policy, which was intended to end streaming and create a system that kept options open for students. In most cases, however, students in applied courses are in different classrooms, have different teachers, and follow a different curriculum.[61]

Almost 60% of the Region’s population over the age of 15 has completed post-secondary education, but some Toronto neighbourhoods are falling behind:

  • In 2014, 56.7% of the population in the Toronto Region aged 15 and older had a post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate, the same as in 2013 and up slightly from 2012 (56.3%). It is greater than both the provincial (54.1%) and national (54.2%) averages. The Toronto Region figure represents an increase of 10.7 percentage points since 2000.[62]
  • In the city of Toronto in 2014, 66.2% of the labour force had a post-secondary diploma or degree.[63]

 

 learning-labourforce

Percentage of Labour Force with Post-Secondary Education, Toronto, 1990-2013[64]

 

  • In one-third (32.9%) of Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods, however, 61% or fewer residents between 25 and 64 have completed post-secondary education.[65]
  • In 2014, the average cost of undergraduate tuition in the Toronto Region was $7,880 for Canadian students and $20,231 for international students.[66]
    • In 2014, 160,450 full-time students and 33,930 part-time students were enrolled in the Region’s post-secondary schools.[67]

 

How diverse are Toronto schools, and is diversity reflected in curricula and teacher staffing?

 

All students in Canada would benefit from a deeper understanding of the history of the many nations that have influenced and comprise this country and a better understanding of aboriginal cultures, perspectives, and experiences. Despite this, only 26% of secondary schools and 11% of Toronto’s elementary schools offer relevant professional development opportunities for teachers, and just 19% of secondary schools and 4% of elementary schools courses in Native Studies:

  • Ninety-six per cent of secondary schools and 92% of elementary schools in Ontario have at least some aboriginal students enrolled, yet the majority do not offer aboriginal education opportunities.
  • While proportions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) students are higher in schools in Northern Ontario, most schools in Toronto have FNMI students. The vast majority of them (82%) attend provincially funded schools. People for Education’s annual school survey shows that in Toronto 21% of provincially funded secondary schools report that students transfer from on-reserve schools.
  • 81% of elementary schools and 53% of secondary schools do not offer any aboriginal education opportunities, despite the fact that most have aboriginal students.[68]
  • In 2011, 80.9% of Toronto’s aboriginal population aged 25 to 64 years had at least one certificate, diploma or degree, an increase of 10.7 percentage points from 2001, 3.4 percentage points higher than the provincial average, and 9.8 percentage points higher than the national average for the same population group.[69]

 

Although three-quarters of students in the TDSB are Canadian born, they represent a remarkable diversity of ethno-racial backgrounds and regions of birth:

  • The 2013-2014 Environmental Scan of the Toronto District School Board (based on data from its 2011-2012 Student and Parent Census) finds that the four largest ethno-racial backgrounds of the student population (as self-identified by students) are “White” (29%), “South Asian” (24%), “East Asian” (15%), and “Black” (12%).
  • 76% (190,647 students in 2014, an increase of 2,734 since 2007) are Canadian-born.
    • The only other regions of birth showing large increases between 2007 and 2014 were the US with 4,152 students (up from 2,918 in 2007) and Southeast Asia with 3,385 students (up from 2,649).
  • For 67% of TDSB students, both parents were born outside of Canada; for 21% both were born in Canada; and for 11% one parent was born in Canada and the other outside.
  • The ratio of male to female students has not changed since statistics were first collected in 1859: 52% male and 48% female (128,755 and 120,795 students respectively).[70]

 

learning-origins
Most Common Region of Birth for TDSB Students Born Outside Canada, 2007 and 2014[71]

 

Parents of TDSB Students’ Place of Birth, 2011-2012[72]

 

Teachers in the Toronto Region are far less diverse than the communities they teach in:

  • A report on the experiences of black educators in Ontario from the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators shows a diversity gap between the percentage of teachers who are racialized and the percentage of the population that is racialized.
  • In the Region, where the majority of the province’s racialized population lives, racialized people represented 47% of the population in 2011 but made up only 25% of its secondary school teachers and 24% of its elementary school and kindergarten teachers.
  • The Region fares better than Ontario as a whole, however. Ontario has a “Teacher Diversity Gap” of .50, meaning that there is a large divide between racialized teachers and the racialized population.
    • In 2011, while racialized people represented 26% of Ontario’s population, they made up only 13% of the province’s 76,030 secondary school teachers and 129,105 elementary school and kindergarten teachers.[73]

learning-teacherdiversity

Teacher Diversity Gap, Toronto Region (CMA) vs. Ontario and the US[74]

 

 

How well are Toronto’s post-secondary institutions preparing students for the future?

 

Toronto is home to one of the world’s top universities according to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2014-2015:

  • globalThe University of Toronto (U of T) ranks 20th of 400 global universities, with a score of 79.3/100 based on 13 performance indicators across teaching (scoring 74.4 here), international outlook (71.2), industry income (46.1), research (85.1), and citations (83.0).
    • The top 20 is dominated by the United States. U of T is the sole representative from Canada, and only four European universities are represented.
  • Three other Canadian universities made the top 100: McGill ranked 39th (down from 35th last year) with a score of 69.6, University of British Columbia 32nd (down from 31st) with 71.8, and McMaster 94th (down from 92nd) with 55.3. Toronto’s York University ranked between 226th and 250th (the ranking was not broken down further), up from between 276th and 300th last year. Ryerson University did not make the list.
  • Within just North America, U of T ranks 16th and is still the only Canadian university in the top 20.[75]

 

U of T grads are the 13th most employable in the world:

  • globalThe Global Employability University Ranking is a survey of 4,500 international recruiters in 20 countries conducted by French human resources group Emerging Associates and a German research group called Trendence. U of T grads were rated the 13th most employable in the world in 2014, up from 14th in 2013.
    • Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale grads ranked first, second, and third respectively.
  • Other Canadian universities on the list are McGill (28th, up from 30th last year), Université de Montréal (47, up from 59), University of British Columbia (55, down from 51), McMaster (80, down from 73), and Waterloo (119, down from 114). [76]

 

Compared to other global cities, Toronto’s population is highly educated:

  • With a rate of 45,875.02 per 100,000 population (as reported to the World Council on City Data or WCCD in 2014), Torontonians possess more higher education degrees per 100,000 population than residents of LA (24,100.00), London (31,698.00), Boston (34,544.23), and Amsterdam (42,030.13).
  • Melbourne is ahead of Toronto with a rate of 46,628.94.[77]

 


 

Number of Higher Education Degrees per 100,000 Population, as Reported to WCCD in 2014[78]

 

GTHA universities are not only preparing students for career and life success, but also teaching them how to be responsible citizens:

  • From innovations that solve global issues, to free medical services for at-risk populations, to culturally sensitive health outreach, a Council of Ontario Universities report demonstrates how university students, faculty, and staff are “change agents” improving their communities and people’s lives.
  • The University of Toronto, for example, contributes $15.7B to the Canadian economy every year through its research and innovation.
    • U of T attracts $1.1B in research funding each year and generates $83M in research and development through industry collaborations.
    • It has produced 152 research institutes and centres and 252 licensed inventions.
  • Ideas-and-InnovationsFor almost 10 years the IMANI Academic Mentorship Program at the University of Toronto Scarborough has reached out to black youth in east Scarborough to offer academic and social support to middle- and high-school students.
    • A partnership between the university’s Black Students’ Alliance and the Boys & Girls Club of East Scarborough, the program pairs university student mentors with youth participants for weekly tutoring, post-secondary preparation, and leadership development.
      • 83% of high-school students who participated in the program reported having higher expectations for themselves and saw more options for their futures.
  • 92% said they are interested in pursuing post-secondary education.
    • Ideas-and-InnovationsIMAGINE (Interprofessional Medical and Allied Groups for Improving Neighbourhood Environments) is a U of T student-led, weekly clinic that since 2010 has been offering free and anonymous treatment to homeless and disadvantaged Toronto residents.
    • IMAGINE offers treatment by doctors, pharmacists, social workers, physiotherapists and nurses, and by students who are fully supervised by these professionals.
    • Every year, IMAGINE treats over 200 of our city’s most vulnerable community members.Ideas-and-Innovations
  • Ryerson University’s new Mattamy Athletic Centre is benefitting more than just varsity athletes. It houses a free learning program for Regent Park youth (grades seven to 10).
    • Rams-in-Training fosters relationships between university athletes and the younger students by teaching them how to play hockey and about post-secondary options in sessions led by student athletes, police officers, and nutrition students.
    • The program, a partnership between the university, Toronto Police Services, Loblaws and Regent Park’s Pathways to Education program, is meant to give youth from the social housing neighbourhood a competitive edge.

Ideas-and-InnovationsA student initiative at McMaster University is bringing culturally sensitive health information to Muslim organizations from Hamilton to Toronto.

  • The Healthy Active Living group’s outreach to audiences of new Canadians educates them of their options for treatment in a context that is comfortable to them. The newcomers also learn about nutrition, fitness, and mental health from people who understand their cultural and religious circumstances.[79]

The following groups are addressing issues relating to learning through their innovative community-based programs.

 

Click on the name of the group to be directed to their profile on the Community Knowledge Centre to learn more about how.

ACCES Employment – Assisting job seekers from diverse background to integrate into the Canadian job market

Agincourt Community Services Association – Multi-service agency addressing needs and empowering under-served

Applegrove Community Complex –Fostering community through neighbourhood partnerships

Alliance for South Asian Aids Prevention (ASAAP) – Providing HIV/Aids sexual health and support services

Art City in St. James Town – Providing free and accessible multidisciplinary arts programming

Art Gallery of Ontario – Bringing people together with art to experience and understand the world in new ways

Art Starts – Creating social change through community art projects

Arthritis Research Foundation – Working to beat arthritis and autoimmune diseases

ArtReach Toronto – Giving young artists access to resources, mentorship and skill building opportunities

Arts Etobicoke – Creating space for the arts through a community arts council located in a beautiful storefront gallery

Arts for Children and Youth – Offering hands on, community and school based arts education

Ashoka Canada – Fostering powerful emergent ideas led by social entrepreneurs

Bata Shoe Museum – Sharing compelling cultural stories by using footwear as the point of entry to cultures of the world

Boundless Adventures Association – Improving the lives of underserved youth through outdoor leadership

Broad Reach Foundation for Youth Leaders – Increasing leadership skills for underserved teens through sailing

Camp Oochigeas – Providing kids with cancer a unique, enriching and magical experience

Canadian Diabetes Association – Fighting diabetes by helping people live healthy lives while finding a cure

Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund – Improving the mental, physical and emotional health of Canadians

Canadian Urban Institute – Building wisdom and inspiring leadership for healthy urban development

Centennial Infant and Child Centre Foundation – Educating young children with developmental challenges

Child Development Institute – Leading children’s mental health programming in Toronto

The Children’s Book Bank – Providing free books and literacy support to children in priority neighbourhoods

Clean Air Partnership – Running the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, working for a better cycling and pedestrian environment

Common Ground Co-operative – Supporting people with developmental disabilities

Community Association for Riding for the Disabled (CARD) – Improving lives through quality therapeutic riding programs

Community Bicycle Network – Providing access, training, and support for all cyclists

Community Matters Toronto – Supporting newcomers living in St. James Town

Community MicroSkills Development Centre – Assisting the unemployed, with priority to women, racial minorities, immigrants and youth

Connect Legal  – Promoting entrepreneurship in immigrant communities

CultureLink Settlement Services – Developing and delivering settlement services to meet the needs of diverse communities

Delta Family Resource Centre – Enhancing the potential of families and children

Dixon Hall – Creating opportunities for people of all ages to dream

Dovercourt Boys & Girls Club – Providing a safe, supportive place for children and youth

East Scarborough Storefront – Building community through collaborations and shared spaces

East York East Toronto Family Resources Organization – Increasing the well-being of individuals and families

Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre – Serving a low-income, ethnically and socially diverse community

Ecologos – Networking volunteers to inspire others for a more sustainable society

EcoSpark Environmental Organization – Giving communities the tools for influencing positive environmental change

Environmental Defence – Challenging and inspiring change in all sectors to ensure a greener life for all

Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth – Working locally and nationally to prevent, reduce, and end youth homelessness

Findhelp Information Services – Providing information and referral services in Ontario and across Canada

Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) Canada – Safeguarding migratory birds in the urban environment

FIT Community Services – Friends In Trouble – Bridging the income inequality gap

FoodShare – Working towards a sustainable and accessible food system

For Youth Initiative (FYI) – Creating healthy communities by increasing life-chances of underserved youth

Framework – Delivering high-quality volunteer engagement events (Timeraiser)

Frontier College – Elevating literacy through a wide range of programming

Future Possibilities Canada Inc. – Empowering children from diverse Canadian communities

Geneva Centre for Autism – Empowering and supporting individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

The George Hull Centre for Children and Families – Serving children and youth by providing mental health services

Harbourfront Centre – Nurturing the growth of new cultural expression and artistic cultural exchange

Harmony Movement / Harmony Education Foundation – Promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in Canada

High Park Nature Centre – Promoting awareness and respect for nature through outdoor education

Hot Docs – Advancing the creative imprint of documentary film

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival – Celebrating the latest works by Indigenous peoples

Inner City Angels – Bringing imaginative interdisciplinary arts programs to children in Toronto

Inside Out LGBT Film Festival – Changing lives through the promotion, production and exhibition of film by and about LGBT people

Interval House – Enabling abused women and children to have access to safe shelter and responsive services

Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre – Gathering community together in a place focused on social justice

JUMP Math – Encouraging an understanding and a love of math in students and educators

Junior Achievement of Central Ontario – Educating young Canadians to understand business and economics

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper – Working to restore swimmability, drinkability and fishability to Lake Ontario

Lakeshore Area Multi-Service Project (LAMP) – Partnering with the community to address emerging needs

Law In Action Within Schools – Engaging youth in legal education and the justice system

Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF) – Providing holistic and integrated services in York Region

Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) – Promoting, through education, the practices essential to sustainability

LGBT Youth Line – Providing anonymous peer support for youth in a queer-positive context

Licensed to Learn Inc. – Empowering children to reach their potential through peer-led tutoring

Literature for Life – Helping marginalized young moms develop a practice of reading

Lost Lyrics – Providing alternative education through arts to racialized youth in ‘priority neighbourhoods’

Macaulay Child Development Centre – Helping all children thrive in caring, responsive families

Manifesto Community Projects – Uniting and empowering diverse young people through hip-hop culture

The Massey Centre for Women – Striving to achieve healthy outcomes for all young mothers and families

Mentoring Junior Kids Organization (MJKO) – Promoting healthy and active lifestyles for youth

Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation – Enabling financially disadvantaged students to achieve their academic pursuits

Moorelands Community Services – Providing youth affected by poverty fun experiences to strengthen their confidence

Mosaic Institute – Harnessing the diversity of Canada’s people to build a stronger, more inclusive nation

Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto – Delivering educational and employment opportunities for immigrant women and their children

New Circles Community Services – Offering volunteer driven services in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park and Victoria Village

North York Community House – Enhancing the strength and resilience of their neighbourhood

North York Women’s Centre (NYWC) – Supporting and empowering women and effect positive change

Ontario Justice Education Network – Promoting public understanding to support a responsive and inclusive justice system

Outward Bound Canada – Cultivating resilience and compassion through challenging journeys in nature

The PACT Urban Peace Program – Empowering underserved youth and youth already in conflict with the law

Pathways to Education Canada – Helping underserved youth graduate from high school and transition to further education

PEACH: Promoting Education and Community Health – Transforming the lives of young people through youth-centred, social and educational programs

Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario – Championing childhood cancer care

The Peer Project – Youth Assisting Youth – Promoting the healthy growth and development of young people

People for Education – Engaging parents to become active participants in their children’s education

The Pollution Probe Foundation – Improving the well-being of Canadians by advancing environmental change

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery – Offering professional support to diverse living artists

Regent Park School of Music – Providing quality, affordable music education to underprivileged youth

Right To Play – Using the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity

Roots of Empathy – Reducing bullying among school children while raising emotional competence

Regent Park Focus – Bringing best practices in training and mentorship of youth to broadcasting and digital arts

The Redwood – Supporting women and their children to live free from domestic abuse

The Remix Project – Levelling the playing field in creative industries for youth from marginalized and under-served communities

Second Harvest – Feeding hungry people by picking up, preparing and delivering excess fresh food to social agencies

Seed to Table – Cultivating the conditions for community change by building local capacity

Shakespeare in Action – Enhancing arts and education through exploring and performing Shakespeare

Sheena’s Place – Supporting individuals, families and friends affected by eating disorders

SKETCH Working Arts – Creating a safe space for arts and creativity for young, marginalized people

Skills for Change of Metro Toronto – Creating learning and training opportunities for immigrants and refugees

Social Planning Toronto – Building a civic society by mobilizing community organizations around specific local issues

Springboard – Helping people develop the skills they need to overcome barriers and achieve their full potential

St. Stephen’s Community House – Programming for newcomer and low-income residents

Story Planet – Encouraging young people to tell their stories through workshops at a story making centre

Success Beyond Limits Education Program – Improving educational outcomes and providing support to youth in Jane and Finch

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir – Preserving and performing period music for generations to come

TIFF – Bringing the power of film to life by providing arts education for all ages and running the world’s largest public film festival

Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development – Creating a strong culture of community engagement

Toronto City Mission – Creating lasting change through preventative and transformational programs

Toronto Foundation for Student Success – Initiating innovative anti-poverty programs for students

Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Clubs – Providing a safe, supportive place for the young people of Regent Park, Cabbagetown, and Trinity-Bellwoods

Toronto Public Library Foundation – Providing essential resources for the enhancement of the Toronto Public Library

Toronto Youth Development – Assisting and fostering underprivileged youth in Toronto

UrbanArts – Engaging youth in community development through the arts

Variety Village – Promoting appreciation, interaction, empowerment and inclusion

Vermont Square Parent-Child Mother Goose Program – Fostering parent-child bonding and literacy through a rich oral language experience

WoodGreen – Enhancing self-sufficiency, promoting well-being and reducing poverty

Words In Motion – Using the arts to help children and their families achieve their full potential

Working Skills Centre– Empowering immigrants by providing skills training and orientation to Canada

Youth Empowering Parents (YEP) – Empowering youth to become leaders within their own community


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