Ontario Ministry of Education
Flagship diversity training for school system leaders, 2006 to present
The province of Ontario has embarked on a bold plan to become the best publicly funded education system in the world, with inclusion as foundational to the delivery of high-quality instruction for all learners. Leadership and leaders with vision are critical to bringing the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy to life in schools and school boards.
Creating environments where all people feel they matter and belong, however, is a challenging task for organizations. All humans have unconscious bias that becomes magnified within organizations to create barriers that are often invisible. Furthermore, neuroscience research reveals that our day-to-day behaviour is dictated – contrary to popular belief – by how we feel rather than what we think. Emotions, invisible and controlling, are rooted in the unconscious mind and frequently impact our actions without our awareness, especially when dealing with issues of diversity.
Emotional intelligence and bias management skills are essential for system leaders to address diversity issues at this subtle, systemic level. Educators need competencies to navigate the thorny emotional terrain of difference.
The award-winning Deep Diversity Institute skillfully integrates emotional intelligence with bias management and leadership development to offer an experiential, holistic and non-dogmatic approach to issues of equity and inclusion. Developed by Anima Leadership, the institute has been offered across Canada to rave reviews by educators. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, the program been modified to support school system leaders—principals, vice-principals, superintendents and trustees—to deepen the understanding and skills needed to implement Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education strategy.
“The Deep Diversity session was excellent for my professional development as a leader. It provided me with an opportunity to examine my own biases and beliefs and to extend this understanding to gain a deeper understanding of equity and inclusivity, particularly in creating safe, respectful and supportive working and learning environments for all students and staff. I highly recommend this leadership institute for supervisory officers and principals/vice-principals in school districts.”
“The workshop provided a welcoming and safe environment for me to share my experiences, thoughts and concerns with my peers and proved to be a thought-provoking experience from beginning to end. I left the workshop feeling much more aware of the commonality of experiences, with a heightened awareness of some of the specific needs and concerns of others. Fantastic workshop!”
“The facilitator was open, accepting and sensitive. He took time to create a space that was safe and set a tone that was inviting… I am leaving this workshop with more understanding of equity, and with more energy and motivation to help make my school board a more inclusive, equitable place.”
“This is a huge undertaking… All senior level board administrators should have participated. They need to get the ball rolling.”