DCDSB Black Excellence Newsletter (February 2024)

Posted On Friday February 09, 2024

Dear Parents, Guardians and Caregivers:

We are writing to you as you expressed interest in receiving communications for Black students and families on the student verification form this year. We are pleased to be sharing our second newsletter to Black families at the Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB), and look forward to providing information, resources, and upcoming events that may be of interest to you. 

Equity Invitational Learning Series
Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB), in partnership with its Anti-Black Racism and Black Excellence Advisory Committee, is pleased to continue the Equity Invitational Learning Series, focused on knowledge-sharing for identifying and removing barriers, and promoting improved student outcomes.

There are three sessions within the series, featuring guest speakers presenting on topics related to equity and achievement.

The third session is scheduled for Thursday, March 21, 2024, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. either in-person at the board office or online. The guest speakers are Siobhan Wright and Joel Chiutsi who will be presenting on “Educate Empower and Excel: The Impact of Black Leadership in Education”.

DCDSB families, staff, students, and community members are invited to attend this third session, which is being offered free of charge.

Click here to learn more and register for this session.

17th Annual Durham Black History Month Celebration
DCDSB partnered with Cultural Expressions Art Gallery Inc., to present the 17th Annual Durham Black History Month Celebration which was held on February 3-4, 2024. This celebration is Durham’s longest running and most extensive, free Black History Month event, celebrating the beauty of Black culture and the diversity of the Black experience in Durham Region. The event on Saturday, February 3 began with community networking at 4:00 p.m., followed by performances and an evening of celebration hosted by Sean Mauricette in the Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School/J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate auditorium.

Be You, Be Well: A Black Mental Health Day Event
Date: Monday, March 4, 2024
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. doors open at 6:00 with community partner information booths and food available to attendees. 
Location: Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School (1375 Harwood Ave N., Ajax)

Monday, March 4, 2024, marks the fifth annual Black Mental Health Day, recognized by communities across Ontario. On Black Mental Health Day, we are called to recognize the ongoing impact on mental health that results from experiences of anti-Black racism and to raise awareness of the specific mental health needs of Black communities across. Join us as we examine these impacts and needs and discuss ways in which members of the community can support their mental health.

This year DCDSB is proud to present Roxanne Francis, an award-winning psychotherapist, registered social worker, consultant, leadership coach and international speaker, who has been helping people access tools to change their lives for over 15 years. As well, we will host a panel discussion including Trudy Stone (Culinary Nutritionist), Joy Lapps (Musical Artist/Composer), and more!

This event is open to students, families, staff and community members. To register for this event, please click here.

Click here to view the poster.

Anti-Black Racism and Black Excellence Advisory Committee
The Anti-Black Racism and Black Excellence Advisory Committee was formed to provide a medium for effectively addressing and dismantling disadvantages and discrimination, historical or otherwise, experienced by Black students, staff and families in the board. The committee is comprised of community members and parents, guardians and caregivers of DCDSB students.

We invite you to meet our executive members:

  • Shauna Bookal - Chair
  • Jamaal Augustine - Vice-Chair
  • Anissa Voisin - Ajax Parent Area Representative
  • Miranda Hinsey - Oshawa Parent Area Representative
  • Zhora Adatia-McGlashen - Pickering Parent Area Representative
  • Nicole Emanuel - Whitby Parent Area Representative
  • Nicole Cyrus – Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge Area Representative

To learn more about the Anti-Black Racism and Black Excellence Advisory Committee, please visit our website.

Shauna Bookal Recognized as 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women
We want to extend our congratulations to Shauna Bookal, Chair of DCDSB’s Anti-Black Racism & Black Excellence Advisory Committee, who was recognized as 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women in 2024. Over the past few years, Shauna has been appointed to the following Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Committees within the sporting community: Canada Games Council, Canadian Women in Sports and Speed Skating Canada. Outside of sports, Shauna is very active in her community, sitting on the following Advisory Committees: Durham Region Anti-Racism Taskforce, DRPS Diversity Advisory Committee and DCDSB Anti-Black Racism and Black Excellence Advisory Committee.

Shauna was one of 10 Canadians selected to sit on the Federal Ministerial Advisory Committee on Sport from November 2022 to April 2023. The purpose of this Advisory Committee is to advise the Minister of Sport on a variety of sport-related topics including safe sport, governance and funding approaches. Through hard work and dedication to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Sport, especially at the amateur sport level, Shauna developed, implemented and executed the first ever Diversity in Sports Conference with a focus on amateur sport in June 2023.

We extend our congratulations to Shauna on this well-deserved recognition!

New DCDSB Coach/Advocate for Black Students
Within our Catholic learning environment, Coach/Advocates for Black Students (CABS) work within their assigned schools to support the implementation of programs, services and resources, in collaboration with school staff, to meet the needs of Black students and their families. CABS services and initiatives aim to promote positive school environments with a focus on student well-being and success. This role was established in 2021 as part of DCDSB’s commitment to recognizing and dismantling anti-Black racism and systemic barriers. 

We are excited to announce that a third Coach/Advocate for Black Students has been hired by DCDSB, and want to extend a warm welcome to Michael Mayers who joined the board in January 2024.

CABS March Break Sports Camp
DCDSB’s Coach/Advocates for Black Students (CABS) are excited to present a March Break Sports Camp!This half day camp is being offered daily over the March Break to a limited number of Grade 7 and Grade 8 DCDSB students. Students will participate in a variety of recreational activities aimed at building leadership skills, fitness skills, peer relationships skills and community building. Programming will involve a variety of sports and physical activity. Snacks will be provided.

March Break Sports Camp details:

  • Grades: Grade 7 & 8 students
  • Facilitated By: Morlan Washington, Chevoy Hickey and Michael Mayers, Coach/Advocates for Black Students (CABS)
  • Location: Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School (80 Mandrake Street, Ajax)
  • Date and Time: March 11, 2024 - March 15, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
  • Cost: Free!

Please click here to register for the March Break Sports Camp. Space is limited, and registration is required to attend.


DCDSB Equity Action Plan
Highlights of the Equity Action Plan for the 2023-2024 school year are available on our website. These goals are also articulated in the board’s 2023-2024 Budget and Priorities Report.

We have outlined the training and staff development planned for the year, along with highlights of community engagement initiatives.

Click here to learn more about our Equity Action Plan.

Please feel free to contact us at Equity@dcdsb.ca if you have any questions.



Katharine Stevenson                                                   Kayode Akomolafe
Superintendent of Education                                       Human Rights and Equity Advisor