Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Toronto’s Africentric high school has modest start

Chris Spence

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Ontario's first public Africentric high school is off to a modest start, with just six students enrolled for this fall.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) will be making a push to boost enrollment for the school, which is being housed at Winston Churchill Collegiate in Scarborough, and has reassigned two of the three teaching staff originally assigned to the controversial program.

"We're not giving up on the program, we believe in it," said Director of Education Chris Spence.

Story continues below advertisement

Despite an similarly rough start and disagreements amongst parents and educators over how to run the school, the TDSB's elementary Africentric school has generally been considered a success. It opened in 2009 as a way to create a culturally relevant and engaging school for black youth, who are more likely to drop out of high school than almost any other group.

The oldest cohort at the elementary school is now in Grade 8, and the original plan was to open an Africentric high school in 2013 so that those children could continue on within the program.

At the last minute, in late spring, the board decided to try to run a pilot program for this fall, leaving little time for recruitment.

"Things just happened late," said Dr. Spence. "We wanted to have a pilot program so that we could have the curriculum ready."

The concept of an Africentric high school caused an uproar when it was first proposed for Oakwood Collegiate nearly one year ago. School and community members said it amounted to segregation. The Winston Churchill community have been much more welcoming to the idea.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Education reporter

Kate Hammer started her journalism career in New York, chasing crime and breaking news for The New York Times. She came to the Globe and Mail in 2008 to do much of the same and ended up investigating allegations of animal cruelty and mismanagement at the Toronto Humane Society. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨