DM Blog

Segregated Schools — Part 2

Sheppard Public School – Toronto
Sheppard Public School

In a previous article, I wrote:

On , Toronto District School Board Trustees voted 11 to 9 in favor of an Afrocentric school to open in , amongst three other "recommendations for improving success for Black students". You can imagine the amount of controversy that’s been created…

And now, The Toronto Star reports that the site for Canada’s first Afrocentric school has been selected. The school is scheduled to open in .

Here are some excerpts from the article:

[…] The board voted in January to try an Africentric alternative school with high expectations, high parent involvement and a curriculum that focuses on black history, literature and study of the black experience wherever possible, as one way to engage more black students, whose 40 per cent dropout rate is among the highest in the city. […]

[…] While the original proposal from parents was for a free-standing Africentric alternative school like those in the United States, this school-within-a-school is a "made-in-Toronto solution," said Lloyd McKell, the board’s executive officer of student and community equity. […]

[…] While most agree more needs to be done to engage disaffected black students, many feel an Africentric program smacks of segregation. […]

Q: Will the school be open only to black students?
A: No. As with any public school, children of any background will be able to attend, although the majority of students who wish to enrol are expected to be black.

Q: Will the school have only black teachers and support staff?
A: No. The school will be open to all qualified staff, although it is expected to become a magnet for black educators wishing to serve as role models, and those with a background in Africentric curriculum.

Update –

From a Toronto Star Article on May, 21, 2008:

After years of debate that has divided communities of every colour, Toronto’s public school board voted tonight to open an Africentric alternative school in September 2009. The junior kindergarten to Grade 5 school – believed to be a first in Canada – is expected to help tackle a 40 per cent dropout rate among black students.

Approved by a 13-8 vote after a heated debate in which one trustee called another a racist, the school will be located in an empty wing of Sheppard Public School on Sheppard Ave. W. near Keele St.


The Africentric grade school will seek to hire a number of black teachers and use a more global, less Europe-focused curriculum to engage more students of colour. It will be open to children of all backgrounds from anywhere in the city.


Trustees agreed that the school will need at least enough students for two classes of consecutive grades, with about 22 students each, in order to be viable. The board will start taking applications this fall.