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Centre for Urban Schooling

Past CUS Research Study


Putting Inner City Students First


Final Report on Putting Inner City Students First:  A School-University Partnership

Putting Inner City Students First (PICSF) is a research project connected to the Toronto District School Board’s “Model Schools for Inner Cities” program. This important initiative has designated seven model schools in each of the most economically marginalized and underserviced communities in Toronto; the purpose is to provide students in these schools with the supports necessary for academic and social success. These schools serve as hubs of learning for students, parents, community members, student teachers, and university faculty and researchers. Using multiple methods (e.g. interviews, digital photos and videos, observations, and document analysis), PICSF produced six case studies that examine the following features of the model schools:

1. Schooling, Student Engagement, and Academic Achievement

i) The Learner, the Teacher, and the Space In-between (K. Gallagher)
ii) Engaging Literacies: Identity Texts as Catalyst and Medium for Academic Performance (J. Cummins and S. Stille)

2. Schooling and Social Equity

i) Teachers' Perspectives on the Education of their Muslim Students in the GTA (S. Niyozov)
ii) Performing Policy: Critical Multicultural Education in a Diverse Classroom (D. Riviere)

3. Schooling and Community Connections

i) PLAY (Place, Activity, Youth): Geographies of a Model School (C. Fusco)
ii) Principals and Parents: Connections and Disjunctures (J. Flessa and R. Nicholls)

Significant findings include illustrations of the central role of teachers’ biographies and their conceptions of ‘community’ in their pedagogical imagination, the importance of culturally relevant pedagogy and the role of language and culture in students’ self-conceptions as learners, the necessity for school principals to find ways to combat deficit thinking about parents in urban communities, and the need for funding mechanisms such as the Model Schools initiative that can provide crucial resources for sustaining and developing programs to enhance the physical, social, and emotional health and culture of schools.


Click here to download the final PICSF report

Click here to download the PICSF handbook for urban educators

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