July 15, 2022 – Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: Empowerment Squared and Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB)
Throughout the 2021-22 school year, Empowerment Squared and HWDSB departments collaborated to gather insights and gain a deeper understanding of the various programs that Empowerment Squared offers to newcomer, racialized, and equity-deserving students and families in Hamilton. To gather direct feedback about needs from students and families in this demographic, as well as educational personnel and community leaders, the Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC) of Hamilton conducted community town hall meetings with parents, students, and educators, which resulted in a number of recommendations. A partnership agreement was then created between Empowerment Squared and HWDSB to demonstrate a commitment to collaborate and to support a relationship by outlining the rights, responsibilities and roles of both organizations.
The main objectives of the partnership are to take collective action to improve the educational outcomes and well-being for HWDSB students and families by providing culturally appropriate and relevant learning opportunities that foster equity, diversity, and inclusivity. The research has informed the development of the School Readiness Program, a system level innovation that will work to strengthen the education system and improve learning outcomes for Hamilton’s racialized and newcomer youth (aged twelve and older), who may be coping with issues of racial discrimination, culture differences, language barriers, pre- and post-migration trauma, inter-generational trauma, mental health difficulties and other hurdles that make graduating and proceeding forward in their education more challenging. The model will be tailored towards a holistic approach to student success that includes the development of self-identity, self-confidence, life skills, leadership development and mental health supports.
“Improving learning outcomes and educational attainment for newcomer and racialized children and youth cannot be the sole responsibility of the education system in isolation. Our partnership with HWDSB and SPRC, supported by Ontario Trillium Foundation, will enrich the education ecosystem in Hamilton. It will inform and complement the work of educators through culturally relevant interpretation of the education system and schools curriculum. It will also leverage the resilience and cultural experiences of newcomer families as a basis for supporting their children’s educational journey. The well-being of newcomer, racialized, and equity-deserving students must be our collective responsibility as a community. We will continue the approach of mobilizing partners and stakeholders to deliver on this commitment.”Leo Johnson, Executive Director, Empowerment Squared
About Empowerment Squared
Empowerment Squared is a registered Canadian charity building a world where everyone is empowered with the tools and opportunities to thrive and contribute to society. We do this by empowering newcomer and marginalized youth and communities in Canada and across the world to succeed through educational programming, sports and recreation, scholarship and awards, and thought leadership. In 2022, Empowerment Squared is celebrating 14 years of developing young leaders and building better communities, including assisting over 3,000 youth and families with settling in Canada. Internationally, Empowerment Squared is building the transformational Liberian Learning Center and supports communities and organizations in Ghana, Liberia, and South Africa.
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Manager, Community Development and Partnerships