How is the Continuum Intended to be Used?

The Equity Strategy is mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Education as an integral part of its Renewed Vision for Education.  As such, it is intended that the Continuum be used as a tool to assist in the alignment of school practices and Ontario’s Equity Strategy.

It is important to keep in mind that optimum use of the Continuum will be determined by both self-awareness and community awareness.  Administrators are encouraged to evaluate and reflect on their own values and their own leadership practices.  This approach would, in turn, encourage dialogue with staff, students and the community in order to develop practical strategies to progress in the Continuum.  Local conditions, such as the profile and experiences of the community, will also impact how the Continuum can be used in an optimal manner.

As a starting point in using the Continuum, administrators must ensure that  they do everything within their power to prevent discrimination against any individual or group as outlined in the list of Prohibited Grounds set out by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (www.ohrc.on.ca)  and that they have a process in place to effectively address any instance of discrimination that does occur.  The Prohibited Grounds that relate to education are as follows (at the time of printing) :

  • Age

  • Ancestry, colour, race

  • Citizenship

  • Ethnic origin

  • Place of origin

  • Creed

  • Disability

  • Family status

  • Marital status

  • Gender identity and gender expression

  • Sex

  • Sexual orientation


 

The task of ensuring the implementation of the EIEP is a sizeable one for a school administrator who must integrate the necessary elements of the EIEP while overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school.  The school administrator is not expected to work alone to implement the policy.  While the administrator includes elements of the EIEP in the school’s improvement plan, the Continuum plays a supporting role in his/her assessment of current practices and determination of future actions.  The administration must seek the support of other administrators, the school board and members of the school community it serves.  The administrator must initiate thought-provoking conversations with staff and students, the school board, professional learning communities as well as community partners, to stimulate a profound reflection on the current practices and bring about a real and lasting change.

The document or parts of it can be used at the school and board level in a variety of ways, including but not limited to use as a:

  • Reference tool for the Safe Schools Action Team, specialized staff (leadership teams, aspiring leaders, Department Heads, Curriculum Leaders, etc.)

  • Reflective tool when looking at data such as that gathered through the school climate survey

  • Resource in the development and revision of the School Improvement Plan, budget plan, special projects (e.g. social justice initiatives) and an individual’s Annual Learning Plan

  • Tool for discussions with students, staff, parents, community partners, and other administrators

  • Snapshot as part of school profile for leadership transition within a board.

This document has been revised in a specific moment in time, following changes directed by the Ontario Ministry of Education.  When administrators work with the Continuum, they will also be doing so at a specific moment in time.  Schools and the communities in which they are located, however, are dynamic, not static.  Since the composition of the community and the local conditions are constantly changing, administrators and members of the planning teams must be aware of and continually responding to the changes that are taking place.  Just as the climate of a school is regularly monitored through the use of surveys and other data collection instruments, the Continuum should be employed in an ongoing manner in order to evaluate the progress that is being made in a school in responding to issues of Equity and Inclusive Education.  

 

It is important for leaders and their teams to stay current in knowledge and practice.  It is also important for the community as a whole to be flexible in working collaboratively with the school team in implementing the practices of the Continuum.

 

It is unlikely that schools will find themselves at the same point on the Continuum in each of the eight areas of focus found in the document.  This is understandable, given the varied knowledge, experience and conditions that exist within a particular community.  Provided that the administrator is aware of the situation and is working with the community to move forward on the Continuum, the tool has served its purpose.


This document and the document on which it was based have been created for use with school communities composed of children and youth up to the age of majority.  While administrators of adult learning programs are encouraged to use the document with their students, it might be necessary to make slight modifications to the approach that is used in these instances, especially in aspects concerning parental and community involvement.

© 2017 CRRIDEC