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Centre for Urban Schooling

TDSB Boys Education Strategy

CUS Facilitator: Dr. Lance McCready
CUS Student Assistant(s): Rachael Nicholls
Co-Investigator: Carl James, York Centre for Education and Community, York University

The purpose of the TDSB Boys Education Strategy (BES) is to improve boys’ academic achievement. TDSB student achievement indicators show that over many years, there has been a persistent achievement gap between girls and boys. To address this, the TDSB convened a BES Committee to provide leadership and supports to deepen our focus on gender-specific strategies that target improved achievement for boys. The BES focuses on gender-informed, high yield instructional practices for all boys, with the goal of helping all schools serve boys’ needs better, through various interventions and programs, including a proposed Boy’s Leadership Academy and Boys to Men mentoring program. During the winter and spring months of 2011 Dr. McCready and Dr. Carl James, Director of the York Centre for Education and Community, assisted by Ramon San Vicente, Rachael Nicholls and Raymond Peart, are conducting a multi-case study of school- and community-based interventions for at-risk boys in TDSB middle schools. For this study, the researchers will analyze administrative data to identify at-risk boys in middle schools, pinpoint where they go to school, and then conduct case studies of existing interventions (programs and services) in those school communities that aim to improve their academic achievement and engagement.

The study is significant in at least two ways. First it provides members of the BES committee with program-level data that is unavailable in existing administrative databases. The findings from this study provide educators and school- and community-level administrators with important information on which interventions for at-risk boys are effective, and why. The findings from this study also provides district-level administrators and trustees with information that can be used to determine how best to mobilize financial resources towards the improvement of existing interventions and the development of new ones. Second, following from the concerns of critical scholars of boys’ education, the proposed study provides educators and policymakers with a more nuanced picture of the ways social, cultural, economic contexts can both facilitate and impede the effectiveness of interventions for at-risk boys.

Funding: Toronto District School Board

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