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Schools to Watch

This section of the Belonging, Learning and Growing website profiles school programs, educators, and promising models from Manitoba, Canada, and internationally.

Dufferin School: Centennial Project

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Dufferin School was at the center of an innovative 5-year community development initiative that sought to revitalize and improve one of Winnipeg’s most challenged neighbourhoods, Centennial. The Winnipeg Foundation launched the Centennial Neighbourhood Project in late 2003, on the premise that “education is the ticket out of poverty” and aspired to improve the educational, social, and economic life of the community. Transforming Dufferin School into a vibrant and successful community school was a crucial element of the initiative. Suni Mathews a long time advocate for educational equity and antiracist education, played a major role in launching the program as principal of the school.

Although the project ended in 2008, the impact of the project and the initiatives and developments that were undertaken at Dufferin have had a lasting effect and helped define a pathway for the school and community for a better future. . The school’s objectives were:

  • improve prospects of students in the Centennial neighbourhood through family literacy, pre-school, in-school and community support programs
  • assist Dufferin School to enhance programming for students and families
  • support local residents and service agencies to influence quality of life in the neighbourhood
  • identify best practices that could be extended through public policy to other inner city neighbourhoods

Programs launched at the school included:

  • Community Family Resource Centre
  • Early Years Literacy Intervention Program
  • Anti-Racist Education Professional Staff Development
  • Integration of the Arts
  • Career Exposure Project
  • Teacher Assistant Internship Program

To read a report on the centennial Project and the initiatives and their impact click on One Neighbourhood, Five Years, Lots of Heart: The Centennial Neighbourhood Project

Community School Investigators (CSI)

One of the programs that emerged from the Centennial Project and Dufferin School was the Community School Investigators (CSI) summer enrichment program, which was launched at Dufferin School in 2005. The initiative was led by two well-known educators, Karen Botting and Strini Reddy. The program is truly a collaborative community effort and is supported and operates under the auspices of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, in partnership with a number of organizations, including the Winnipeg School Division, the University of Winnipeg, the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development, the Centennial Project, Community Education Development Agency, Graffiti Gallery and the Winnipeg Boys’ and Girls’ Club. The program has grown rapidly since 2005 and has made significant contribution to improving educational opportunities for children of diverse backgrounds in many of Winnipeg’s inner city schools.

The goals of the CSI program are:

  • To engage children, considered at risk of summer learning loss, in enriching learning opportunities throughout the summer
  • To improve educational outcomes for children living in poverty
  • To enhance the skills and employment experiences of local youth
  • To provide opportunities for university education students to work in the inner city

Learners in the CSI five-week summer program focus on literacy, mathematics, and science as well as many other fun events. They reflect a diverse tapestry of cultures and languages. Many are of Aboriginal origins and others are ofrecent immigrant and refugee backgrounds from around the world.

In 2009, over 480 learners participated in the program at the six Inner-city school sites, and had a 70 % attendance rate. In 2010, the CSI program completed its fifth year of operation with over 600 learners participating from ten schools. To see a two-part video on the CSI Summer Learning Enrichment Program please clicks here CSI video and to read a recent article on CSI clicks here Narrowing the Learning Gap.

Celebration of Excellence in Teaching Awards

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The awards aim to recognize the work of Manitoba’s outstanding educators whose exemplary contributions enhance student learning and achievement. Many of these educators have been recognized for their excellence in working with diverse students and inclusive education. For information on recipients of the awards see Manitoba's Celebration of Excellence in Teaching

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