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Toronto Schools Promote Multicultural Teaching and Learning

By Vincent Schilling

In 2006, the ambitious Model Schools for Inner Cities program (MSIC) was implemented by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). It provides supplemental funding in neighborhoods afflicted by higher rates of poverty, violence and other socioeconomic challenges, and has provided a big boost for that city’s First Nations students, who have benefited from community-oriented after-school events, Native language classes, health-and-wellness programs and multicultural instruction.

One of the city’s seven model schools is the Bala Avenue Community School, located in the community of Weston, in northwest Toronto, which currently has about 260 students, kindergarten to fifth grade, with 10 percent identifying as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit. Those 260 students collectively speak 20 languages, so it is appropriate that the school motto is, “Children, Our Future; Diversity, Our Strength.”

It’s also appropriate, then, that one standout feature of the school is its International Language Elementary Program, which gives students the opportunity to learn a language other than the standard (for Canada) English and French. The school’s Ojibwe language class has 50 students, and half are not aboriginal. Bala’s principal, Lisa Beischlag, says that many of the students who have been enlightened by the school’s efforts to introduce multiculturalism want to delve even further. “Some students have told me that they are also interested in learning about aboriginal traditions.”

Read the original article at: Indian Country Today

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