Centre of Excellence ‘a blessing’ for TDSB students

by Lincoln Depradine
0 comment
Karen Murray

The Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement founded four years ago has been “a blessing” for students across the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), a senior official has told Share.
Karen Murray, System Superintendent for Equity, Anti-racism and Anti-oppression, with responsibility for the Centre of Excellence, says she’s “very happy” with the results of the programs at the school on Lawrence Avenue East in Scarborough.
“We have touched thousands of students across the entire district,” she said, highlighting both the academic courses offered and also the Centre of Excellence’s partnership relationship with mainstream institutions such as corporate businesses, colleges and hospitals.
“We have brought opportunities for so many Black students that they never had prior. At Sunnybrook Hospital, for example, our kids get to do programs,” Murray said in an interview at an event in which a corporate donation of technology equipment, valued at more than $30,000, was handed over for the Centre’s “Collaborative Inquiry Room”.
The school also has a summer program, with more applicants than could be accommodated.
“We have an amazing program that runs in the summertime, where 100 Black students get to be in companies of their passion across the GTA. It’s a seven-week program,” Murray said.
“The program started with 10 students. This year, 400 students signed up to be part of the program and we only have funding for 100, so that tells you.”
The Centre of Excellence, approved by TDSB trustees in June 2020, offers a variety of programs and engagement opportunities “focused on honouring Black students’ experiences and strengths, and ensuring their needs are met”.
According to the Centre, it’s “dedicated to improving the experiences and outcomes for Black students and aims to be responsive to the voices of Black communities who continue to advocate for systemic change within educational institutions and for dismantling anti-Black racism at the TDSB”.
The March 27 donation of a suite of innovative technology from Compugen to the Centre of Excellence was combined with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for what the school called a celebration of the “grand opening of a technological creative space”.
Among those representing the technology company were CEO of Compugen, Harry Zarek, and Joe Simms, senior sales director.
“The opportunity to explore technology at a young age was transformative for me. It’s thrilling to think that the students at the Centre will have similar opportunities to discover their passions and potentially shape the future of technology,” said Zarek.
The technology tools “can ignite a passion for IT among Black students”, Simms added. “Our goal is to help amplify the Centre’s efforts in shaping the future of education and encouraging students to become not just consumers of technology but also its creators.”
The Centre of Excellence is “fortune” to receive the Compugen donation of equipment that includes various pods and tools for design and virtual creation, Murray said.
“This room has the most recent state-of-the-art technology equipment that students and community and staff will be able to utilize.
“Access to cutting-edge technology is pivotal in leveling the playing field for Black students. This donation from Compugen not only enhances their learning experience, but also opens up a world of possibilities in various tech-related fields.
“We’re really excited for the donation and how it’s going to support Black students and their families in the district.”
The Centre of Excellence has been sending teachers to other schools to share the use of the technology available at its “Collaborative Inquiry Room”, said Murray.
The Centre has also been bringing to the room students from other schools and plans on a technological outreach to the community by year-end or early next year, she said.
“We bus students in from across the district for programs. The area that we’re next focusing on is the community. We’re looking to see how we can open the space for community,” Murray added.
“The hope is that the community, the families – and not just the students – get an opportunity now to access a space where they can engage in creating things as well.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment


Soledad is the Best Newspaper and Magazine WordPress Theme with tons of options and demos ready to import. This theme is perfect for blogs and excellent for online stores, news, magazine or review sites. Buy Soledad now!

© 2009 Sharenews. All rights reserved.
All company names, product names and logos included in this site may be registered trademarks or servicemarks of their respective owners