Ensuring Student Success Remains at the Forefront of Education

Posted On Tuesday May 05, 2020
A list of virtual tours of Ontario universities.

DDSB and Ontario school boards are collaborating to support students

As we navigate through a time of uncertainty in education due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting school closures, educators across the province are working to ensure students are still able to reach their full potential.

Here are just a couple of examples of how the Durham District School Board (DDSB), Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) are working together, pooling their knowledge, expertise and resources to assist students. The DDSB is also working with all Ontario school boards to coordinate and share best practices through our participation in various associations including the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA).

Virtual College and University Tours

Recently, Jennette Walton (Community Connected Experiential Learning Facilitator, DDSB) and Lee Ann Armstrong (Leader of Experiential Learning, HWDSB) teamed up to create a series of one-stop shop documents where students can access virtual tours of college, university, and apprenticeship program facilities in Ontario.

“Lee Ann and I have collaborated on a number of initiatives, and we regularly share resources with each other and many of the Experiential Learning Leads from across the province,” notes Walton.

Organized as spreadsheets, there is a separate document for each section (colleges, universities, and apprenticeship programs) which includes the name of the institution, a list of campuses, a link to the virtual tour(s), and a link to the school’s main website.

Walton says she has shared the resource with every DDSB Guidance Department Head, and it has also been sent to all 72 public school boards across the province.

She concludes, “We know that student transitions require opportunities for students to get comfortable in their new environment. Many of our students take advantage of spring campus tours to help reduce anxiety about the upcoming change as well as to support their decision-making process. With the recent campus closures, we wanted to make sure our students were aware that there are other ways to learn about and ‘experience’ their potential new surroundings.”

You can find PDF versions of the college, university, and apprenticeship program lists on the DDSB website here: https://www.ddsb.ca/en/programs-and-learning/post-secondary-virtual-tours.aspx.

Sharing Necessary Materials

The Toronto District School Board recently realized that they had a surplus of boxes and bubble wrap that had been purchased for packing when distributing Chromebooks to their students.

Upon hearing about this, Rosalind Anthony (Senior Procurement Officer of Purchasing, DDSB), knew any extra materials would be extremely helpful to DDSB’s IT Services team. “This opportunity was a way to assist the IT Services department in their role of getting the balance of the Chromebooks to students,” explains Anthony.

Anthony called up Doug McArthur (Material Management and Business Specialist, TDSB) and they struck a fair deal that allowed DDSB to purchase the extra materials at a discounted rate. A TDSB truck delivered a total of 1400 boxes and 1500 units of bubble wrap to the DDSB Education Centre.

These materials will assist the IT Services department in delivering Chromebooks to students.

Jeff Klock, Asset & Infrastructure Manager for DDSB says the IT Services department is beyond grateful for the TDSB’s generous deal, “This gesture from TDSB exemplifies the spirit of comradery and collaboration that exists across Ontario school districts. We are all part of a larger community and are there to support each other in times of need.”