• Mark John Stewart

HWDSB Completes Board of Trustees Governance Review and Approves New Policy Manual


PRESS RELEASE BELOW REPUBLISHED FROM HAMILTON-WENTWORTH DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD


As Wentworth Strategy Group continues to build out its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion consulting practice, we are proud to have helped HWDSB complete the important and complex undertaking of reviewing and updating its governance policies through an EDI lens.


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Hamilton, Ontario – June 27, 2022: At the Board Meeting on June 13, 2022, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) Trustees approved the Governance Review report conducted by Wentworth Strategy Group.


HWDSB Trustees accept the report and acknowledge the critical feedback provided through the consultation process. In response to the review, Dawn Danko, Chair of the Board, shared the following statement with a commitment to better serving students, families, staff and communities.


“As elected leaders, we must not be complacent to make change when our role in delivering public education requires us to evolve. We are committed to ensuring that our leadership and governance practices adhere to the high standards that our communities expect. We take our positions seriously and recognize the impact that our actions and decisions have on children, youth, staff and community.


Trustees look forward to continuing to build trust with families in the Hamilton community, to act as stewards of public resources, and to reform our policies and practices. Our students deserve an education, lead by good governance, that promotes equity, justice, and human rights for all.”


Wentworth Strategy Group was retained in June 2021 to undertake a comprehensive governance review through an EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion), and anti-racism, anti-oppression, and anti-colonial lens. The work was completed between June 2021 and June 2022 by Hamilton-based Project Consultants with a diverse set of relevant expertise, coordinated by Wentworth Strategy Group.


“Leading and governing through an EDI and anti-racism, anti-oppression and anti-colonial lens is not simply a static exercise that can be addressed through one particular point in time,” said Catherine Raso, Lead Project Consultant. “Rather, it is a journey that requires ongoing commitment, proactive review of policies, procedures, practices, and thoughtful and responsive actions and strategies in the face of our evolving world and society.”


Following the review process, changes to the HWDSB governance structure have been embedded in a new Policy Manual. The Manual is centred on a new framework for leadership and governance, which emphasizes roles, values, accountabilities, and principles. It clarifies the role of Student Trustees to ensure a safe and empowering environment for their participation and leadership development.


The Manual also includes a specific requirement of Trustees to create an equitable, diverse, and inclusive school board, reconsiders procedural activities to elevate marginalized voices, and commits Trustees to regular training and governance reviews.


As part of the Governance Review, Trustees completed training and professional development within the context of the new Policy Manual. Training sessions presented for Trustee development included: Understanding the Roots of Discrimination, Oppression and Inequality; Indigenous Cultural Competency; Unpacking Ableism; and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Literacy and Fluency for Governance.


“We thank Wentworth Strategy Group for their comprehensive report that will provide HWDSB Trustees with the guidance to improve our governance efforts,” said Danko. “This important work will motivate current and future Board members to strive for excellence and be more accountable for our actions on behalf of students and families in the Hamilton community.”