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The Characteristics of an effective policy dealing with immigrant student integration : a case study… Turnpenny, Casey Mar 31, 2013

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THE CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE POLICY DEALING WITH IMMIGRANT STUDENT INTEGRATION: A CASE STUDY OF THE TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD’S PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT POLICY by CASEY TURNPENNY BA, The University of Victoria, 2005 B.Ed, The University of British Columbia, 2006  A GRADUATING PAPER SUBM ITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF EDUCATION in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Educational Administration and Leadership)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA MARCH, 2013  © Casey Turnpenny, 2013  1  Abstract The object of this paper is to understand the extent to which the Toronto District School Board’s Parent and Community Involvement policy possesses what could be considered the main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with the integration of immigrant students. The research method used in this paper is a policy case study. Scholarly research on immigrant integration and models of school policy addressing the integration of immigrant students were reviewed to develop a conceptual model for analysis of the Parent and Community Involvement policy. The conceptual model represents school policy responses to issues of immigrant student integration, and aligns them with notions of immigrant integration (Economic, Linguistic, Social/Cultural and Political). Original TDSB policy documents were analyzed, and the findings compared to the conceptual model to highlight the similarities and differences between the conceptual model and the TDSB’s policy. By providing examples of successful school-wide policies, along with a conceptual model upon which to compare current school policy, this study could possibly inform policy revisions related to the integration of immigrant students in similar school districts.  2  TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES………….....………………………………………………….………………….4 CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION Introduction…………………..………………………………………………………………….5 My Motivation ………………………..…………………………………………………………7 Rationale…………..………………….…………………………………………………………7 Research Purpose....………….……………………………………………………………...11 Significance of this Research Study……………….………………………………………12 CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction……………..…………………………………………………….....…………….14 Immigrant Integration: Ideas and Obstacles…………………….……………………...15 The Characteristics and Effectiveness of Policy Responses by School Systems to the Issues and Challenges of Integration …………………………………...……….....25 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………..…....33 CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY Research Design: Overall Approach……………………………………………….…….35 Research Design: Site/Sample Selection and Data Collection Methods…………………………………………………………………..…………………….37 Research Procedures: Data Analysis Strategies………………………………………...38 Study Limitations……………………………………………………………………………....43 CHAPTER FOUR: ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION The Purpose………………………………………………………………………………….…45 The Features of the Policy and Operational Procedure: Policy……………………..47 The Features of the Policy and Operational Procedure: Operational Procedure……………………………………………………………………………………...49 Policy Origins…………………………………………………………………………………..51 Main Themes from the Analysis and Comparison……………………………………...61 Discussion…………………………………………………………………………………….…64 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………..65 CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………….....67 REFERENCES……………………………………………………………………………….……70 APPENDICES Appendix A: Parent and Community Involvement Policy……………………….…...82 Appendix B: Parent and Community Involvement Operational Procedure……………………………………………………………….……………………..84 Appendix C: Parent and Community Involvement Implementation Plan………..89  3  List of Tables Table 1- Adaptation of Johns’ (2001), The Comer Method………………....31 Table 2- Conceptual Model for the Policy Analysis of the TDSB’s Parent and Community Involvement Policy and Operational Procedure as it Relates to the Integration of Immigrant Students………………………………...…32, 41 Table 3 - Emergent Themes from the Literature………………………………..40 Table 4 – Codes Used for Analysis………………………………………………...42 Table 5 - Parent and Community Involvement Policy (2005)………………..48 Table 6 - Operational Procedure’s Summary of Main Features (2005)...….51 Table 7 - Issues and Questions Related to the Formulation of a Parent and Community Involvement Policy: Board Minutes, February 1998..................53 Table 8 - Board Community Advisory Committees (Subcommittees of the Board), February 1998……………………………………………………………….54 Table 9 - Development and Benefits of an Ad Hoc Parent and Community Reference Group, April 1998……………………………………………………...55 Table 10 – Common Reoccurring Themes within Policy Documents with Examples of Evidence……………………………………………………………….62 Table 11 - Conceptual Model Comparison with the Common Reoccurring Themes from Table 10……………………………………………………………….63  4  Chapter One: Introduction Introduction The object of my graduation paper is a policy analysis of the Toronto District School Board’s (herein referred to as the TDSB) policy and operational procedure on Parent and Community Involvement, which aims at providing participation opportunities to “all parents and members” of its “diverse communities,” to contribute to the success of their students. (Parent and Community Involvement Policy, 2005) The policy addresses issues of immigrant student integration by facilitating participation from parents and community members into committees that support the district’s focus on diversity. This paper answers the following question: to what extent does the TDSB’s policy reflect what is considered essential by scholars as main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with issues of immigrant integration in a school setting? In chapter two, I review current literature on the topic of immigrant integration. In my review, I seek to understand how notions of, and obstacles to, integration have been discussed in the literature. I also look at research on how schools have responded to this issue through policy initiatives. Next, I use this information to develop a conceptual model upon which to compare the TDSB’s policy and operational procedure on Parent and Community Involvement within the context of integration of 5  immigrant students in a public school setting. Both the policy and operational procedure were implemented in 2005, and provide a structure for the district that guides school and community involvement within the TDSB, including involvement in regards to the support of marginalized students. Then, I construct my analysis framework, so as to ensure that the reader has a clear understanding of how the policy will be analyzed in terms of its congruence with what would be considered essential as main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with issues of immigrant integration. In chapter three, I outline the methodology used in this study. I explain why a policy case study is the best qualitative research approach for the purposes of this investigation, my data collection and analysis methods, and the limitations to this type of case study. In chapter four, I discuss my findings, and will conclude by discussing the extent to which the TDSB’s policy does reflect characteristics of an effective policy dealing with the issues of immigrant integration, the potential implications of the latter, and recommendations for further research.  6  My Motivation My motivation for this study was sparked by my experience as a grade two classroom teacher at an independent school in Vancouver, British Columbia. I was frustrated by the fact that immigrant students were pulled-out of their regular classrooms strictly on the grounds of needing English as a Second Language (ESL) assistance, and that this was seen by the school as adequate support that would contribute to their academic success. I questioned how the experience of being an immigrant student in a school setting geared towards the needs of native-born Canadians may have impacted their life outside of school. What influence did this have on their integration into Canadian society? This prompted me to wonder what other schools were doing to respond to the integration of immigrant students, and to ask how school policies could possibly be improved to meet the needs of the whole immigrant student (academically, socially, emotionally), beyond the proverbial ESL class. Rationale Toronto, Ontario is a city in which close to 46% of the population living in the census metropolitan area is reported as immigrants. (Statistics Canada, 2010) The aim of public education in Ontario is to create “the foundation of a prosperous, caring and civil society.” To achieve this, the province focuses on offering a “strong public education system,” that 7  provides students “with the opportunity to realize their potential and develop into highly skilled, knowledgeable, caring citizens who contribute to their society”. (Ontario Education Act, 1990) The TDSB’s mission “is to enable all students to reach high levels of achievement and to acquire the knowledge, skills, and values they need to become responsible members of a democratic society”. (Mission Statement, 2012) According to data provided on the district’s website (Fact Sheet, 2012) the TDSB is the largest public district school board in Canada. 53% of its students primarily speak a language other than English at home, and approximately 26% of its students were born outside of Canada. As argued in the literature reviewed for this study, school policies that were meant to support the integration of immigrant students can have the reverse effect of marginalizing their needs, as the policies do not account for the complexity of the immigrant experience. (Ghosh, 2000; Gougeon, 1993; James & Sandra, 2000; Kaprielian-Churchill, 1996; Reitz & Somerville, 2007) When reviewing archival documents through the district’s website, I found evidence of an ongoing effort to raise awareness about the needs of immigrant students and their families, and a continuing dialogue regarding the ways in which immigrant needs might be accommodated within the district. (Regular Meeting, 2005; Urban Diversity Strategy, 2008; Annual Report, 2008-2009) Thus, the large immigrant population of Toronto, and of the Toronto District School Board, along with the latter’s  8  commitment to “enable all students” (this would include its large immigrant student body) to “reach high levels of achievement,” creates the perfect context within which to situate my study. (Mission Statement, 2012) The TDSB’s Parent and Community Involvement policy is an excellent educational research sample, because of its intention to “establish a framework for building and supporting parent and community involvement,” and to “contribute to the improvement of our schools and to the success of our students,” making it inclusive of immigrant students. (Parent and Community Involvement Policy, 2005) The following commitment outlines the intentions of the TDSB’s policy and operational procedure: The TDSB believes that education is a shared responsibility among parents, the community, students, staff and the Board. By working together we all contribute to the improvement of our schools and to the success of our students. The Board shall provide parents with the information they need to support their children’s education and shall involve them in decisions, which affect their children and their schools. The Board is committed to ensuring that all parents and members of our diverse communities have opportunities to participate in the school system, and shall provide the support  9  necessary to achieve that goal. (Parent and Community Involvement Policy, 2005) My own impression of this wording in relation to the purposes of my research is that to establish a framework that connects the involvement of the community with the success of their students, the policy would need to account for the needs of the significant immigrant student, parent and community body that would be part of the policy’s intended audience. Part of the policy involves the implementation of Community Advisory Committees, comprised of various members of the district’s community. These include the Inner City Advisory Committee and the Equity Policy Advisory Committee. (Equity Policy Advisory Committee; Inner City Advisory Committee, n.d) The policy also supports Newcomer Services, such as the Settlement Education Partnership. (Newcomer Services, n.d.) These initiatives address issues such as poverty or language barriers, human rights, and assisting newcomers to Canada with their child’s transition into school. This is one example of why I am led to believe that there is a link between the policy and the needs of immigrant students. Other features of the policy and operational procedure that link to immigrant student needs include: -  Directives on communication between the school, students, parents and the community (including the use of diverse methods of communication and translation, and the ethno-  10  cultural community media to provide board decisions to the school community). -  Opportunities for parent and community participation in decision making at the school (such as the implementation of a Parent Involvement Advisory Committee).  -  A commitment to supporting the involvement of marginalized parents and communities within the district (providing resources for the establishment of community outreach programs, for example).  Research Purpose The specific objectives of this research study are to: 1)  Review relevant literature on immigrant integration, in order to develop a conceptual framework for the analysis of the TDSB’s policy and operational procedure on Parent and Community Involvement;  2)  To understand the extent to which the TDSB’s policy reflects what could be considered the main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with immigrant integration and make suggestions for potential enhancement.  11  Significance of this Research Study The literature reviewed for this study outlined many reasons for investigating issues of immigrant integration within public schools, including: -  The academic success of immigrant students impacts their future employment opportunities. This, in turn, impacts their socioeconomic status, and their ability to achieve income parity (Economic Integration) with native-born Canadians. (Anisef et al., 2010; Hum and Simpson, 2004; Kazemipur and Halli, 2000; Li, 2003)  -  Poor school communication is linked to immigrant children experiencing difficulty achieving academic success. (Gougeon, 1993)  -  Racial, ethnic, religious and cultural discrimination experienced at school can create a barrier to integration for immigrant children, as it hampers their desire to interact socially and affects their emotional stability. (Ghosh, 2000; Kazemipur and Halli, 2000)  -  Teachers and administrators can breach the obstacles immigrant students face when attempting to integrate by committing to a whole-school policy that implements a culturally responsive learning environment, and facilitates minority group participation. (Johns, 2001; Johnson, 2003; Schoorman and Jean-Jacques, 2003)  12  Along these lines, this study is relevant as it could potentially help to inform revisions to existing school-community relation policies (either within the TDSB itself, or other similar public school districts with an immigrant student population) where the intention is to add initiatives that assist with the integration of immigrant students. My research can inform revisions by providing policy makers with examples of successful school-wide policies that have facilitated the integration of immigrant students in the past, and with a theoretical framework upon which they could possibly compare their own policies for characteristics that would be effective in dealing with the integration of their immigrant student population.  13  Chapter Two: Literature Review Introduction Because of the very large scale of immigrant settlement in Ontario, and the significance of immigration for labour market growth and the prospect for continued high levels of immigration into the foreseeable future, the successful integration of immigrants into society is one of the province’s most significant challenges. (Reitz, 2003, p.1) This review critically analyzes and synthesizes current literature concerning immigrant integration, and school policy responses to the issues and challenges of integrating immigrant students. The purpose of reviewing this literature is to add context to my policy analysis of the Toronto District School Board’s (herein referred to as the TDSB) policy and operational procedure on Parent and Community Involvement, as it relates to the integration of immigrant students within the district. I am seeking to understand whether or not the policy reflects what would be considered essential as main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with issues of immigrant integration. This review will provide me with examples of what could be considered exemplary policy models upon which to compare and help me to develop a conceptual framework that will allow me to describe the degree of congruency of the TDSB with what is being considered as exemplary models of policies in the field of integration of immigrant students. I conducted my search using Google Scholar and the University of British Columbia’s Library to search for citations and links  14  to relevant articles. My search terms were: integration, immigrant, education, policies, and educational policy analysis. The first part of this review serves to situate the reader contextually, by discussing how competing notions of immigrant integration have been represented in the literature, and subsequently, what the research addressed as the obstacles (economic, discriminatory, segregational) facing immigrants that present a challenge to integration. Understanding the challenges to integration was important for conducting my study when seeking to analyze school-wide policy initiatives geared at helping immigrant students integrate. The second part of this chapter examines policy responses that school systems made to meet the needs of immigrant students: facilitating a whole-school approach, building a culturally responsive learning environment, and facilitating minority group participation in the school setting. I will conclude with a summary of my review. Immigrant Integration: Ideas and Obstacles Different patterns of adaptation…characterize different immigrant groups. Some… follow the classical straight-line route to assimilation into the white middle class, while others fall into poverty and join the ranks of the underclass and still others will experience varying degrees of upward and downward mobility between generations. (Anisef et al., 2010, p.107) An analysis of the research suggested that the process of creating a policy geared towards facilitating the integration of immigrant students would be challenging, by nature of the fact that those involved in the 15  process would bring with them varying (perhaps conflicting) ideas of what integration “looks-like,” and how it is best achieved. The following articles highlighted competing notions of integration that surfaced in the literature. (Anisef et al., 2010; Dudley, 2007; Ghosh, 2000; Handy & Greenspan, 2009; Harles, 1997; Hou & Balakrishnan, 1996; Hum & Simpson, 2004; Li, 2003; Qadeer, 2004) The sources showed that integration can be understood within the following four fluid categories: 1) Economic Integration (income parity between immigrants and native-born Canadians), 2) Linguistic Integration (immigrants fluent in the host-country language), 3) Political Integration (the active political involvement of immigrants), and 4) Social/Cultural Integration (immigrants involved in the social activities of their host-country, within, and outside of, their ethnic community). Similarly, inherent throughout the discussion of competing notions of integration was the fact that many obstacles are faced by immigrants that present challenges to these forms of integration. Both the concepts and obstacles are discussed below. Economic Integration Li (2003), in his article that deconstructs different interpretations of immigrant integration expressed by policy-makers, immigration critics and academics , stated that in academic discourse, “…immigrants who can match or outperform native-born Canadians’ performance are viewed as well integrated.” (p. 325) This means that immigrants who enjoy the same  16  employment status and are paid the same, or higher, than native-born Canadians, are considered economically integrated. Anisef et al. (2010), in their investigation of immigrant student drop-out rates, stated that higher drop out rates were found in neighbourhoods where residents were living below the low-income cut off. This finding connected again to the idea that income parity was related to the academic success of immigrants. Academic success shaped future employment opportunities, which determined income and socioeconomic status, and ultimately impacted the immigrant’s integration into Canadian society. Hum and Simpson (2004) echo this sentiment in their article analyzing research done on the impact entry effects have on income earnings for immigrants (such as entering Canada at a younger age, or labour market issues at the time of their arrival), and on how long it takes for immigrants to achieve an earnings convergence with native-born Canadians. They argued that “earnings bear directly on the incidence of poverty, the receipt of governmental transfers, consumption, housing choice, welfare dependency and other social issues.” (p. 50) Hou and Balakrishnan (1996) take this argument further to suggest that visible-minority status contributes to further income inequality for immigrants, and stated that “[an] increase or decline in relative socioeconomic status over time indicates the extent of integration of minorities into the mainstream Canadian society.” (pp. 311-312) The literature suggested that to attain income parity, immigrants  17  would also have achieved the following: a high-level of employment consistent with Canadian born workers, recognition of education and qualifications obtained in the immigrant’s home country, or access to Canadian education and training. However, according to Kazemipur and Halli (2000), regardless of the city, immigrants still make up a high proportion of those living in poverty, in Canada. Specifically, Toronto has many more concentrated areas of poverty than in the past, as well as a higher proportion of immigrants living in these poor neighborhoods. (Anisef et al., 2010, p.108) Kazemipur and Halli argued that high levels of immigrant poverty can impact the integration of immigrants, because it effects the latter’s ability to experience economic success, poses a barrier to accessing quality social institutions, including educational and medical facilities, and can create a culture of poverty that hampers immigrant children’s ambitions. Anisef et al., furthers this discussion by stating that low family income also affects opportunities available to immigrant youth, impacting their academic success. Similarly, income parity became challenging when employment opportunities were bleak. Reitz (2003) argued that among all of the risks facing successful immigrant integration, employment is the most significant. He argued that racial minorities experience the worse employment situations, and that due to the trend towards a knowledgeeconomy, newly-arriving immigrants are facing a more difficult time  18  entering the workforce. This has an impact on the types of housing, health care and social programs immigrants have access to. Even the labour market experiences of second-generation racial-minorities still indicate a disparity between the latter and native born Canadians. (Reitz & Somerville, 2004) And, as argued by Hum and Simpson (2004), “evidence indicates that, on average, immigrants continue to experience an earnings disadvantage at entry [to Canada] with respect to their native born counterparts [and] most recent studies reject the idea these earnings eventually converge.” (p. 46) Linguistic Integration The ability to speak fluently in the host-country language was also seen as a sign of integration, or the catalyst for integration. Fluency in the host country language meant that immigrants were more likely to achieve employment and become involved socially with those outside of their ethnic/racial/religious group. Language barriers can present a challenge when attempting to socialize with those outside of one’s ethnic or cultural background, or when seeking assistance in the host country. Although there are programs available to help new immigrants socialize, or become more proficient in English, Simich et al., (2005) found that communication barriers make it so that many newcomers are not aware of the support services available to them from the government. Dudley’s (2007) research focused on the connection between the social contacts  19  made through immigrant volunteer activity and English language acquisition for English as a Second Language (ESL) immigrant adults. She wrote that “[the] ability to communicate effectively in the target culture is a key factor in the successful integration of immigrants within a host society.” (p. 540) She went on to further argue that this is due to the fact that “oral communication skills were enhanced by meaningful interactions within organizations where English was the main language spoken” (p. 553), and as a result, many social contacts were solidified while volunteering, which “expanded their integration into Canadian society.” (p. 554) The combination of learning the language and interacting with others from the host-society helped to facilitate immigrant integration: “[Volunteering] enhances the language learning process and the learner’s social integration.” (p. 553) Political Integration The active political involvement of immigrants was seen by some as an indication of integration, because it showed acceptance, respect and understanding of Canada’s democratic traditions. The latter was particularly true for Harles (1997), in his research of immigrants from Laos living in the Greater Toronto Area. He argued that a strong sense of belonging lead to a more active political life for the immigrants in his study, which, for Harles, was an indication of how integrated they had become. Similarly, Li’s (2003) personal definition of integration focuses on  20  immigrants having the same political rights and freedoms as any Canadian citizen: [Integration} is about giving newcomers the right of contestation, the legitimacy of dissent, and the entitlement to be different just as old-timers enjoy such legitimacy, rights, and entitlements…incorporating newcomers into a democratic process of participation and negotiation that shapes the future. (p. 330) Cultural and Social Integration Social activity, whether within their cultural group, or outside, created more connections within the community for immigrants, leading to employment opportunities, chances to improve language acquisition (both of which would impact economic integration), and emotional stability. Handy and Greenspan (2009), in their research on the volunteer experiences of immigrants, stated that creating social capital was an “important stepping stone toward immigrant integration.” (p. 979) Ghosh (2000) argued in her article on second-generation South Asian, female immigrants living in Canada, that identity construction is a fluid progression, shaped constantly by social processes. She wrote that for immigrants, many identity struggles are at play, beyond a racial “difference” from the majority; thus making integration a difficult process. Li’s (2003, 2004) interpretation of immigration critics’ perspective on integration, is that the latter’s discourse comes from an opinion that the extent to which traditional practices were left behind, for those considered “more Canadian,” signaled a more integrated immigrant, as 21  they appeared willing to participate in host-country activities, and less likely to practice traditions that were seen as unacceptable to Canadians. (Li, 2003, p. 324) In Li’s opinion, policy makers, when measuring the degree of integration, upheld “notions of conformity and compliance as yardsticks for evaluating immigrants and [expected] them to accept prevailing values and beliefs and to acquire living standards and behavioral patterns similar to those of the majority,” (pp. 319-320) Similarly, in academic discourse, the latter “…equated the extent of immigrants’ integration with the degree of compliance with the average Canadian standard.” (p. 324) Alternatively, it was argued that immigrants, who continued to participate in cultural activities from their home country or chose to live in ethnic enclaves, were more emotionally stable, which helped integration. Many immigrants live in neighbourhoods with those of similar racial, religious or cultural identities (regardless of economic status [Qadeer, 2004]). Qadeer wrote about how these ethnic enclaves can help immigrants gain social and economic capital within their communities, and that those living in ethnic enclaves can still be integrated into society, as long as society understands the nature of these enclaves. Although this can provide comfort and familiarity upon arrival to the host country, living in an ethnic enclave can also be isolating for new immigrants, presenting a challenge to integration. Qadeer argued that although those living in ethnic  22  enclaves can gain social and economic capital within their communities, this purposeful segregation can be limiting when looking to make connections outside of the enclave; affecting integration. Qadeer noted that there are many misconceptions about these neighbourhoods, and that those living outside of the latter, do not understand the nature of the enclaves, and how they can work as a positive force for integration. For social integration to occur for residents of ethnic enclaves, Qadeer argued for policies that encourage “equitable participation” of all residents from diverse communities within “school, workplaces,” and “recreation and sports facilities”. He stated that these policies are “more important for weaving communities together than are those which focus only on residential segregation,” because they “form the common ground for the social integration of diverse communities.” (p. 5) Differences in societal and cultural expectations can also present a barrier to integration for immigrants. Immigration critics, Li (2003) argued, suggest Canada’s policy of Multiculturalism allows immigrants to participate in questionable activities that are counterintuitive to their integration into Canadian society, as it separates them from others, making them different, strange, or intolerable due to “their ‘distasteful’ habits”. (p. 324) According to Li, these discourses stereotype and villainize behaviour that is considered “different” from that of Canadians. It exaggerates situations involving immigrants, or suggests that the behaviour of a specific person is  23  representative of the entire race, culture, or religion. (Li, 2003, 2004) This attitude can create tension between some native-born Canadians, and immigrants, making it more difficult for the latter to integrate socially. For some second generation immigrant youth, socially integrating is challenging due to the liminal space they occupy between the traditional expectations of their parents (often not even in keeping with what is currently happening in their country of origin), and the social expectations of their Canadian experiences. (Ghosh, 2000) Ghosh wrote that identity is a complex space, constantly changing due to contextual influences of culture, religion, society, race and gender, and that identity influences integration. Having a negative self-image, due to discriminatory treatment, presents a huge barrier to the integration of immigrants. According to the research, immigrants of visible minority status have an even harder time integrating than those of European descent. (Reitz & Banerjee, 2007, pp. 38-39) Reitz et al. (2009) argued that visible minority status affects social integration for immigrants in Canada, and that visible minorities are often associated with specific religious organizations, possibly impacting discriminatory treatment and slowing down integration. Visible minority status also has an effect on income equality (Hou & Balakrishnan, 1996, p. 324). Despite often achieving a higher educational level, the latter still earn less than Canadian born workers of European descent. (p. 322) Again, Hum and Simpson’s (2004) research  24  shows that although immigrant earnings eventually converge with nativeborn earnings, it never occurs for those of visible minority status. Lastly, Berry et al., (2006) found that discrimination negatively affected how involved immigrant youth became within their host country, ultimately affecting their integration. In summary, immigrant integration has been understood in the following ways: 1) Economic Integration (income parity between immigrants and native-born Canadians, 2) Linguistic Integration (immigrants fluent in the host-country language), 3) Political Integration (the active political involvement of immigrants), and 4) Social/Cultural Integration (immigrants involved in the social activities of their host-country, within, and outside of, their ethnic community). A close look at the research showed inherent issues in Canadian society that presented numerous challenges to integration: 1) Ethnic Segregation, 2) Economic Inequalities and Levels of Employment, 3) Social /Cultural Differences, 4) Language Issues, and 5) Racial and Religious Discrimination. The Characteristics and Effectiveness of Policy Responses by School Systems to the Issues and Challenges of Integration Education for a diverse student population must address the systemic issues which operate to restrict the opportunities, possibilities and aspirations of marginalized students. (James & Sandra, 2000, p. 36) Within many educational settings, school policies that were meant to support the integration of immigrant students had the reverse effect of  25  marginalizing their needs, as the policies did not account for the complexity of the immigrant experience. Many immigrant students are refugees with traumatic pasts (Kaprielian-Churchill, 1996), many come from families with low socio-economic status, while others are secondgeneration immigrants, who may appear to not need assistance due to academic success, but whose visible minority status still makes them targets for discrimination (Ghosh, 2000; Reitz & Somerville, 2007). Gougeon (1993) argued that effective communication is a rare occurrence in schools, and with the growing number of immigrant students attending schools, this lack of communication is creating a further “barrier” between parents and schools. (p. 252) Notions of a multicultural approach to education also appeared problematic. Joppke (2004) argued that providing equal value to all cultures makes nothing valuable and all cultures become diluted. James and Sandra (2000) stated in regards to their American context, that “advocacy for a homogeneous pedagogy, represented in efforts to create a common national standard for academic performance … have reinscribed the notion that assimilation is necessary for successful participation.” (p. 35) They also stated that a multicultural approach to education is problematic: [It is] limited in capacity to speak to the needs, interests, and aspirations of marginalized students…not because these programmes are poorly conceptualized or administered, but  26  because, overwhelmingly, they are contained within a discourse about difference that does not consider sociohistorical factors and power relationships that have operated as barriers to effective education for all students. (p. 36) Gougeon (1993) reminded us that immigrants will integrate differently within society, based on the context in which they came to Canada (refugees vs. first or second generation immigrants, for example), and argued that when several minorities exist in one place (such as the school setting) one standard policy might not be enough to address their needs. Curriculum and practice need to be first, based on the context and location of the school, and second, more sensitive to the complexity of the immigrant, not attributing all difficulties to a lack of English. (KaprelianChurchill, 1996) Johns (2001) wrote from the point of view that schools must find a way to meet the needs of immigrant children, as “poor academic performance results in a loss of human potential, lessons economic growth, shrinks the overall tax base, and contributes to increased tax liability through welfare and legal system costs” (p. 268) The literature showed that schools have made some attempts to address the way the notions of integration have been understood by policy makers, and the obstacles facing immigrant students, affecting integration. Most successful were the school wide policies that were further reaching, beyond the walls of the classroom.  27  These policies facilitated a whole-school approach to issues of immigrant integration, aimed to build a culturally responsive learning environment, while facilitating minority group participation within the school setting. Johnson (2003) presented a “whole-school” framework to promote diversity in education that involved school management, the teaching faculty, curriculum and instruction, partnerships with parents, and student care and development. Johnson made a case for “site-based management” where “designated members of the school community come together as a planning and managerial body collaboratively to determine standard school operations and address special areas of concern.” This way, “all stakeholders are empowered to contribute to the school mission.” (p. 19) She argued that teachers need “professional development training aimed at helping them recognize their own biases and cultural assumptions…and learn specific strategies and approaches that are inclusive and pluralistic in orientation,” so to provide an “unbiased” classroom setting. (p. 22) Similarly, she stated that curriculum “underpins” a school’s ethos, and that “[culturally] responsive schools purposely incorporate and model social responsibility, pluralism and mutual understanding throughout classroom instruction.” (p.24) To achieve this, teachers must be provided with resources that “address diversity issues in the classroom.” (p. 24) Johnson found that through the involvement of ethnic minority parents, the latter will “develop a higher  28  level of ownership in and sense of belonging to the school community,” and that this involvement could look like volunteering on school trips, providing classroom assistance or acting as guest speakers. (p.26) Johnson’s over all perspective was that “the most constructive way to address diversity is by committing to a whole-school approach that is aimed at achieving a culture of tolerance, equity and interdependence in which all students can thrive.” (p. 19) Schoorman and Jean-Jacques (2003) argued that “the successful education and social integration” of immigrant students is a large factor in school accountability, and discussed another policy response that supported the integration of immigrant students in the United States: Community and Schools Accelerating Students (Project CASAS). (p. 308) CASAS was created to “develop and implement community and school collaboration in the education of immigrant students,” and was implemented by “six multilingual parent liaisons and three bilingual and bicultural counselors and [was] supervised by the project director.” (p.309) CASAS provided mentoring, after-school tutoring services, guidance counseling, home visitations, and student and multi-lingual family workshops. The program achieved many goals: by providing services in “diverse locations of the community,” they were able to provide a “safe place to go after school…a venue in which CASAS and community members could meet with students to discuss any difficulties that they  29  were experiencing.” The facilities also helped immigrant students develop “academically (by acquiring knowledge and internalizing good study habits), socially, and culturally (in terms of positive ethnic identity development).” Similarly, the parent workshops helped families act “on behalf of their children,” and “facilitated active engagement in schoolbased affairs” To help teachers “understand and appropriately respond to the cross-cultural dynamics of their classrooms,” the former were given materials, and offered workshops to “further enhance their own abilities”. “[Successful] cross cultural integration into a community is dependent not solely on the immigrant, but also on the responsiveness of the host community,” and this is exactly what CASAS attempted to achieve. (pp. 314-315) Finally, Johns (2001) in her article on the Comer Method, demonstrated another whole school policy response. The Comer Method of school improvement was a holistic approach, with a child-centered focus and a governance structure that included all of a school’s stakeholder groups. It was suited to meet the academic needs of immigrant students because it built positive relationships among all members of the school community, had a child-centered perspective and incorporated a developmental lens. (p. 269) The Comer Method had the following components, each with its own role in supporting immigrant students and families (pp. 269272):  30  The Parent Team  -Formed from parent reps of all student groups at a school, - Plans activities for increasing parent involvement, -Discusses student issues, - Has a participatory role in school governance.  The School Planning and Management Team - Formed from reps from all identified constituencies of the school community, including parents, - Plans programs and strategies aligned with the six developmental pathways (p.274), - Works to prepare students to be sensitive members of a multicultural community.  Table 1: Adaptation of Johns’ (2001), The Comer Method The School, The School Staff Assessment Staff, Support Improvement Development and Team Plan (SIP) Modification - Made up of the specialists who process teachers’ referrals regarding individual students, - Analyzes the needs of the referred students, to see if it is typical of other students at the school, or as endemic to the school, needing to be addressed by the whole school.  - Directs the work of the school in meeting developmental goals for children, - Through the Plan, teachers are encouraged to use cooperative groups, sharing time, journal writing, etc, to increase student achievement, - Highly suitable strategies for immigrant students, allowing for the opportunity to share unique perspectives.  - Must support the SIP, - Increase staff sensitivity to the cultures represented in the student population.  - Formal and informal assessment and evaluation of the SIP occurs regularly (portfolio assessment).  Guiding Principles: Collaboration, Consensus, and No Fault - Each stakeholder has a voice in decision making, - Consensus used to answer questions and reach general agreement on decisions that affect all, - No Fault means each stakeholder seeks answer through cooperation.  Johns’ found that the Comer Method promoted “positive relationships among all stakeholders at a school,” was “universally applicable” and helped “parents have a voice in meeting the education needs of their children.” (p. 273) The following chart synthesizes the main dimensions of programs and policies that were deemed effective in the integration of immigrant students by the literature, aligned with conceptions of integration that seem to be reflected in these components considered as being essential.  31  The purpose of this chart is to present a conceptual model upon which to compare the TDSB’s Parent and Community Involvement policy, in my proceeding analysis: Table 2: Conceptual Model for the Policy Analysis of the TDSB’s Parent and Community Involvement Policy and Operational Procedure as it Relates to the Integration of Immigrant Students ( * = The alignment of a characteristic with the conception of integration it reflects) Exemplary Policy Models Dealing with Issues of Immigrant Integration Whole School Approach (Staff, Parents and Administration Involved Collaboratively to Implement School Wide Initiatives) Volunteer Opportunities for Parents  Notions of Integration  Economic (Income Parity)  Linguistic (Fluent in Host Country Language) Social/ Cultural (Involved in Host Country Activities; Socializing Within, and Outside of, Ethnic Community)  Political (Active Political Participation)  Multilingual/ Multi-Ethnic Task Forces of Teachers, Administration and Parents  *  Mentoring, Tutoring, Counseling & Guidance Programs (Before, During, After School)  Facilitation of Minority Student Participation (An Environment Created through Programs and Teacher Role Models that Helps Immigrant Students Engage Socially)  Culturally Responsive Learning Environment (Teachers that are sensitive and aware of the diverse needs of immigrant students, helping them succeed academically)  Increase Ethnic Minority Representation of Teachers  Youth Programs Promoting Social Adjustment  Early Intervention for ESL Students  Flexibility for Learning Styles/Needs(Fi rst vs. Second generation students, Refugees)  Ongoing Assessment, Students in Need Identified Immediately  *  *  *  *  Student & Family Workshops  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  32  *  *  *  *  *  Curriculum Addressing Diversity, Stereotypes, & Cultural Maintenance  *  *  *  *  *  Conclusion In chapter two, the focus of this literature review was to develop a better understanding of the issues and policy discourses surrounding immigrant integration, the challenges that immigrants face that hinder integration, and to identify the characteristics of policies that were deemed successful in addressing the needs of immigrant students. Similarly, I sought to understand the influences at play in school programs developed within the context of a school-community relations policy geared towards facilitating the integration of immigrant students. Overall, my readings suggested that integration is an ongoing process for immigrants of becoming accepted members of the host society, of being considered economic equals, with their rights and freedoms respected as those of their native-born counterparts. The literature addressed how this process was made difficult by racial, religious and cultural prejudices, lower economic status and income inequalities, limited access to employment opportunities, due to neighbourhood poverty and their level of English language acquisition, and the marginalization of immigrant student needs within the school setting. Some schools supported the unique needs of immigrant students through policy initiatives that facilitated a whole-school approach to issues of immigrant integration,  33  aimed to build a culturally responsive learning environment, and facilitated minority group participation. The conceptual framework forming my model for analysis and discussion has been informed by what the literature represented as competing notions of integration that could possibly drive the policy, the characteristics of the school based policy models that facilitated immigrant integration, in response to the challenges facing immigrants and the barriers to integration (see Table 2).  With this framework in mind, I will address the following question in the next chapter: Does the TDSB’s Parent and Community Involvement policy and operational procedure reflect what could be considered essential as main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with issues of immigrant integration?  34  Chapter Three: Methodology Research Design: Overall Approach For the purposes of this inquiry, a policy case study is an appropriate method of research. It is suitable, because I am seeking to describe the TDSB’s policy and operational procedure in terms of its similarities and differences with the conceptual model of school policies, dealing with immigrant integration, that I have developed. According to Gay et al. (2009), case study research specifically “seeks to describe [a] unit in depth and detail, holistically, and in context.” (p. 428). It “is useful when describing the context of [a] study and the extent to which a particular program or innovation had a particular effect.” (p. 427) This means that case study research draws on the entire contextual picture surrounding the phenomena, helping the researcher develop a thorough understanding of what they seek to analyze. Gay et al. stated that case study research is appropriate when the researcher is seeking “to answer a descriptive…or an explanatory question.” (p. 427) A descriptive question seeks an answer that describes “what happened,” or what the nature of the phenomena being studied is, whereas an explanatory question explains “how or why something happened,” such as how a phenomena came to be. (p.427) Therefore, a case study is the best research design for this purpose, because the knowledge generated from this study will 35  describe the extent to which the policy and operational procedure reflect what would be considered essential as main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with issues of immigrant integration. With this research approach in mind, the theoretical framework presented by Levin (2001), combined with insights on educational policy research provided by both the latter, and Ball (1997), will inform my interpretation of the TDSB’s archival documents. Levin’s work directs my research by providing questions to guide my analysis. The questions focus on where the policy proposal may have come from, how it became a part of the agenda, and what role various interests play in the development. Ball’s work also helps to direct my study in terms of placing an emphasis on the importance of context in understanding the formulation of a policy. For example, using the Board minutes to piece together the formulation process will add depth to my understanding of the wording of the policy. The conceptual model I developed through a review of literature on immigrant integration and exemplary school policy responses to this phenomenon will guide my analysis of the documents. The conceptual model provides a framework upon which to compare the TDSB’s policy and operational procedure. It is designed to show three overarching school policy responses to issues of immigrant student integration (Whole School Approach, Facilitation of Minority Student Participation and Culturally Responsive Learning Environments). It further provides examples 36  of what the policy responses might look like when implemented, and compares them to four conceptions of integration (Economic, Linguistic, Social/Cultural and Political). The subsequent sections in this chapter will explain my data collection and analysis methods in detail, including how Levin (2001) and Ball (1997) will be used to inform my research, the way in which my conceptual model will be used to guide my analysis, and end by discussing the limitations to my study. Site/ Sample Selection and Data Collection Methods This study is conducted in policy environments consisting of the Toronto District School Board. I have relied on two data sources: 1) original archival TDSB documents (policy statements, policy papers, and committee meeting minutes); and 2) scholarly research literature on models of policy addressing the integration of immigrant students in terms of what constitutes an effective policy in that domain. All descriptive data sources pertaining to the TDSB’s archival documents, including the policy and operational procedure on Parent and Community Involvement, were located by retrieval from the district’s website (Toronto District School Board, http://www.tdsb.on.ca/). Similarly, the scholarly research literature was accessed through the use of Google Scholar and the University of British Columbia’s Library, using the following search terms:  37  integration, immigrant, education, policies, and educational policy analysis. Data Analysis Strategies In this section I will discuss my specific methods of analysis. I would like to turn first to the theory that will guide my interpretation of the data, by briefly highlighting the work of Levin (2001) and Ball (1997). As the latter states in regards to applying theory to educational policy research, using theories to help interpret “policy process,” is a way to “move beyond the obvious” and “[make] links, [envision] relationships” and “[thicken] up our descriptive registers”. (Ball, 1997, p. 286) This statement connects perfectly to the purpose of case study research, as it relates to theory helping the researcher develop a holistic understanding (considering all of the links and relationships), to add depth (thickening up) to an analysis. In his research on comparative work done on educational reform, Levin (2001) suggested a conceptual framework for studying the former that placed emphasis on “the historical and cultural” context, as well as the “intended and contingent” nature (what was initially intended in a policy might not necessarily be how it was understood or implemented) of policy reforms. (p. 4-5) Although the policy in question for this analysis is not a reform, Levin’s framework can still be applied when seeking to understand the formulation. Levin’s framework consisted of four components (p.3): 1) Origins, 2) Adoption, 3) Implementation, and 4) Outcomes. For the 38  purposes of this study, his first component of analysis, Origins, will inform my interpretation of the TDSB’s archival documents (especially those documents that pertain to committee meeting minutes, as they may be more representative of the process that led to the way in which the policy and operational procedure are formulated). The questions he poses for the analyst when thinking about Origins are paraphrased below to suit the context of this analysis (p.3): -  Where did the policy proposal come from?  -  How did it become a part of the agenda, when so many ideas do not?  -  What role did various actors or interests play in the development of the policy?  Levin also referred to the influence of Stephen J. Ball, and, wrote that Ball’s work “points out the important differences in thinking about reform from economic, political or ideological perspectives”. (p.2) I pursued this line of inquiry further by reviewing the work of Ball (1997). In his discussion of changes in public sector provisions, and the conceptions of and engagement with social policy by educational researchers in the United Kingdom (p. 257), similar to Levin, Ball reinforced the importance of narrative, context, interpretation, and political influences at a global and local level when seeking to understand a policy’s formulation.  39  Using Levin (2001) and Ball (1997) to inform the theory behind my analysis is appropriate for the purposes of my own research, because when seeking to interpret the formulation of the TDSB’s policy and operational procedure, understanding the contextual influences at play in its creation sheds light on how the documents have been organized and expressed in the wording. My method of data analysis first involved identifying common themes that emerged throughout a thorough reading of the scholarly literature. To achieve this, an Annotated Bibliography was created, and through a process of induction, similar data was narrowed into small important groups. The table below outlines the emergent themes: Table 3: Emergent Themes from the Literature Competing Notions of Obstacles to Integration School Policy Responses Integration Whole-school approach to Economic Ethnic Segregation issues of immigrant integration Building a culturally Economic Inequalities and Linguistic responsive learning Levels of Employment environment Facilitating minority group Political Social /Cultural Differences participation within the school setting Cultural/Social Language Issues Racial and Religious Discrimination Marginalization of Immigrant Students  40  Table 2: Conceptual Model for the Policy Analysis of the TDSB’s Parent and Community Involvement Policy and Operational Procedure as it Relates to the Integration of Immigrant Students ( * = The alignment of a characteristic with the conception of integration it reflects) Exemplary Policy Models Dealing with Issues of Immigrant Integration Whole School Approach (Staff, Parents and Administration Involved Collaboratively to Implement School Wide Initiatives)  Volunteer Opportunities for Parents  Notions of Integration  Economic (Income Parity)  Linguistic (Fluent in Host Country Language) Social/ Cultural (Involved in Host Country Activities; Socializing Within, and Outside of, Ethnic Community)  Political (Active Political Participation)  Multilingual/ Multi-Ethnic Task Forces of Teachers, Administration and Parents  *  Mentoring, Tutoring, Counseling & Guidance Programs (Before, During, After School)  Facilitation of Minority Student Participation (An Environment Created through Programs and Teacher Role Models that Helps Immigrant Students Engage Socially)  Increase Ethnic Minority Representation of Teachers  Student & Family Workshops  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  Culturally Responsive Learning Environment (Teachers that are sensitive and aware of the diverse needs of immigrant students, helping them succeed academically)  Youth Programs Promoting Social Adjustment  Early Intervention for ESL Students  Flexibility for Learning Styles/Needs(Fi rst vs. Second generation students, Refugees)  Ongoing Assessment, Students in Need Identified Immediately  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  Curriculum Addressing Diversity, Stereotypes, & Cultural Maintenance  *  *  *  *  *  Next, this data was synthesized into a matrix (Table 2, above) that has formed the conceptual model for this study. This model represents school policy responses to issues of immigrant integration, and aligns them with the notion of integration they most reflect. This model will be used to compare the coded data (discussed further below) from my examination of the TDSB’s archival documents to assist in my description of the policy  41  and operational procedure; specifically, to what extent it reflects main characteristics of a policy dealing with issues of immigrant student integration. Before I can use this conceptual model for comparison, the TDSB’s archival documents will be thoroughly reviewed, and with the assistance of qualitative data analysis software, ATLAS.ti 7, coded through the identification of patterns and themes that emerge in the wording of the documents. To code the documents, I used themes from my conceptual model to guide my analysis, along with new codes that emerged through my readings. The following table outlines the codes used for analysis: Code A B C A1 A2 A3 B1 B2 B3 C1 C2 C3 C4 ACC CTP EG IIH  Table 4: Codes Used for Analysis (CM = Conceptual Model) The “Whole School Approach” (CM) The “Facilitation of Minority Students” (CM) The “Culturally Responsive Learning Environment” (CM) Volunteer Opportunities for Parents (CM) Task Forces of Teachers, Administration and Parents (CM) Mentoring, Tutoring, Counseling and Guidance Programs (CM) Ethnic Minority Representation of Teachers (CM) Student and Family Workshops (CM) Youth Programs (CM) Early Intervention for ESL (CM) Flexibility for Learning Styles/Needs (CM) Ongoing Assessment of Students (CM) Curriculum Addressing Diversity (CM) Accountability to ensuring the effectiveness of the policy Communication to Parents regarding the policy, operational procedure, classroom information, committee membership, volunteer opportunities, or events within the school. Data segments that refer to educational goals. Internally, improving the help given by the Board to the committees through various resources (such as training or access to handbooks and guides)  42  These findings will also be represented in a separate matrix, which I will subsequently use to compare with my conceptual model, to describe to what extent the formulation of the TDSB documents reflect what has been constituted as effective policy dealing with the integration of immigrant students. The data from this analysis will be discussed in subsequent chapters. Study Limitations: Because this is a case study, the findings from my analysis are only relevant within the context of the TDSB, and are not necessarily transferable to circumstances outside of the unit studied. Therefore, generalizability (based on one’s study of a small group, a scholar attempts to predict that of a larger group) is not necessarily applicable to this research (Gay et al., p.378). Also, due to the fact that this study seeks only to describe the policy and operational procedure, it is a subjective description based on my own understanding and application of current research on school policy responses to immigrant integration. My research is further limited by the fact that no formal interviews will be conducted. Therefore, there are no data that could be ascertained beyond the documents that will be examined. This means that contextual information surrounding the policy making process, and any other subsequent information provided by individuals involved in the process,  43  potentially useful to the analysis of the policy documents, will not be considered.  44  Chapter Four: Analysis and Discussion In chapter four, I will provide a detailed description of the TDSB’s Parent and Community Involvement policy and operational procedure. I will discuss the purpose of the documents, their features and origins. Next, I will describe the main themes that emerged from my analysis, and compare these patterns with my Conceptual Model. I will end with a discussion of my findings.  The Policy: Purpose, Features and Origins The Purpose The purpose of the policy is to “establish a framework for building and supporting parent and community involvement in the Toronto District School Board”. (Parent and Community Involvement Policy, 2005) Its application to issues of immigrant student integration lay in the way in which it adds strength to the district’s focus on diversity. In their mission statement, the TDSB commits to creating “a partnership of students, schools, family and community,” that caters to the “uniqueness and diversity of [their] students and [their] community,” focusing on “equity, innovation, accountability, and accessibility,” and contributing to a learning environment that is “safe, nurturing, positive and respectful.” (Mission Statement, 2003) The Equitable and Inclusive Schools team is an example of the TDSB’s response to issues of diversity. The Equitable and 45  Inclusive Schools team works with administration, teachers, parents and community agencies to “provide leadership for developing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to challenge racism, religious discrimination, ethnocentrism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and ableism.” Some of the ways that this is achieved is through “the development of Inclusive Curriculum resources,” and “[providing] leadership for engaging parents and the community to participate in the life of the school.” (Equitable and Inclusive Schools, Students, Parent and Community, 2012) Similarly, the Parent and Community Involvement policy also addresses diversity through specific subcommittees established by the policy’s operational procedure, such as the Equity Programs Advisory Committee, the Early Years Advisory Committee and the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (described in further detail in the next section). The policy also presents a structure for involving and supporting Marginalized Communities, such as providing resource allocation for outreach programs to schools in low socioeconomic areas (where many immigrant students live). It is through these types of policy initiatives that the Parent and Community Involvement policy and operational procedure becomes applicable to the needs of immigrant students.  46  The Features of the Policy and Operational Procedure Policy The Parent and Community Involvement policy provides a structure for all members of the TDSB’s school community (parents, students, teachers and administration) to participate in decision making within the district. The policy exists because the “TDSB believes that education is a shared responsibility among parents, the community, students, staff and the Board.” “[By] working together we all contribute to the improvement of our schools and to the success of our students.” This objective is met by providing “parents with the information they need to support their children’s education,” and involving them in “decisions, which affect their children and their schools.” The board is “committed to ensuring that all parents and members of our diverse communities have opportunities to participate in the school system, and shall provide the support necessary to achieve that goal.” (Parent and Community Involvement Policy, 2005) It was formulated by the Board in 1998, and subsequently revised in 2005 (see “Origins” section below for more details regarding formulation) to support the establishment of a city wide parent group. The policy is two pages in length, and broken into six sections (copied below):  47  Table 5: Parent and Community Involvement Policy (2005) To establish a framework for building and supporting parent and community involvement in the Toronto District School Board. Parent Includes parent, guardian or any other caregiver legally 2.0 Definitions recognized as acting in place of the parent. 3.0 Responsibility Associate Director. 4.1. The TDSB believes that education is a shared responsibility among 4.0 Policy parents, the community, students, staff and the Board. By working together we all contribute to the improvement of our schools and to the success of our students. The Board shall provide parents with the information they need to support their children’s education and shall involve them in decisions, which affect their children and their schools. The Board is committed to ensuring that all parents and members of our diverse communities have opportunities to participate in the school system, and shall provide the support necessary to achieve that goal. 4.2. A variety of communication procedures shall be developed and maintained at the school and system levels to ensure access to educational information needed by diverse parents and communities, and to facilitate two-way communication between parents and schools, and among parent groups. 4.3. Support for community outreach programs shall be provided to school communities, which experience significant challenges in promoting and sustaining the involvement of parents in their children’s education and in their schools. 4.4. In accordance with O. Reg. 612/00 of the Education Act, every school shall establish a school council that shall be recognized as the official school community organization representing the interests of the parents and students of the school and that shall be provided with the information and support necessary for fulfilling its role. 4.5. Opportunities shall be made available to school council chairs and other local parent leaders to assist them in developing their school community leadership skills and to school administrators to assist them in enhancing their skills in building positive school community relations. 4.6. Parent forums at a ward, quadrant or regional level shall be supported in order to promote parent consultation and input on matters related to policy, program or operations of the school system. 4.7. Community advisory committees shall be established where necessary to provide the Board with ongoing community advice on specified areas of Board policy or program, as well as on educational issues of broad community interest; in addition, ad hoc advisory committees, task forces, or working groups with community representation shall be established where required, on the understanding that the input from all such advisory groups does not preclude the input of other stakeholders across the system. 4.8. Working relationships shall be supported with Community Liaison Groups who wish to work with the Board to address educational issues of concern to these groups, and who are formed in accordance with the criteria and procedures established for these groups. 5.0 Specific The Director is authorized to issue operational procedures to implement Directives this policy. 6.0 Reference Operational Procedure PR.558 SCS: Parent and Community Involvement Documents O. Reg. 612/00, School Councils 1.0 Objective  48  It emphasizes decentralized decision making (whole school, not top down) by the creation of school councils, ward forums, advisory committees and community liaison groups. All of these diverse groups can provide input to the Board on educational issues of concern (see Operational Procedure). The policy addresses potential competing interests of various groups (e.g. parent expectations vs. stakeholder interests) by continuing to bring the focus of the policy back to enriching the school experience for the students. The policy is long term, representing an ongoing commitment to diverse community involvement in education. The guidelines, and how they are to be achieved, are laid out in the operational procedure. Operational Procedure The objective of the Parent and Community involvement policy as it relates to diversity, and specifically, the immigrant student population, is achieved through the initiatives laid out in the operational procedure. As outlined in the chart below, many of the initiatives connect to accommodating the diverse needs of the district’s community. For example, translation services offered to facilitate communication with non-English speaking families, ethnocultural community media used to communicate information, outreach programs and resources allocated to marginalized communities within the district, volunteer opportunities for all members of the school community to participate in the school 49  improvement plan and with ward forums, and membership on advisory communities, such as the Equity Programs Advisory Committee. The procedure is five pages in length, and broken into four sections: -  1.0 = Objective  -  2.0 = Responsibility  -  3.0 = Procedures (1.0-8.0)  -  4.0 = Reference Documents  The document sets out a framework for the activities of various groups, their involvement in decision making at the school, and how their performance will be measured. The operational procedure is summarized in Table 6 below.  50  Table 6: Operational Procedure’s Summary of Main Features (2005) School Ward Community Advisory Committees Council/Enhancing Skills Forums  Objective and Procedures  Marginalized Communities  - Policy to be posted in visible locations in schools, administration buildings &other TDSB sites. Also available on the Board’s Web site, referenced in Board publications & made available in many languages. - To communicate to parents & the community, schools will establish plans for improving communication with parents, including the use of a variety of oral and written forms of communication. -The Board’s Web site developed as an interactive forum for the exchange of information & ideas by parents and communities, as well conveying of information about the school system. - Translation & interpreting services continue to be provided to facilitate communication with non Englishspeaking parents& communities. - Procedures established for reviewing documents for parents, prior to publication, to ensure that that they are written in plain language. - The local & ethnocultural community media will be expanded to provide Board information to diverse communities. - Parent-to-parent access facilitated by sharing lists of school council chairpersons & their contact information among school councils.  -Using Learning Opportunities Index data, school achievement results, School Improvement Plans & requests for assistance from principals, school councils & communities, reviewed in order to identify schools with significant need for support for outreach to marginalized parents & communities. - In consultation with superintendents of education &trustees, school communities to be allocated resources to implement outreach programs. - Board provided with progress reports on community outreach activities.  -Make a plan to encourage diverse participation in activities & establish procedures specifying how parents shall be consulted in decisions of the council, & publicize procedures. - Participate in the development of the School Improvement Plan; be informed of the progress & given an opportunity to provide implementation advice. - Superintendents of education responsible for monitoring school councils, provide support & problem-solving intervention. - Workshops provided for school council members on effective practices for school councils & effective leadership of school councils, using system & external community resources.  -Trustees, with superintendents of education, will convene parent meetings of school council members & other parents in their wards for the purpose of communication & consultation on educational matters. - Executive superintendents & superintendents of education, with involvement of trustees, will convene, to provide information& feedback on implementation of programs including parental role in such programs. - Public consultations on specific policies will be conducted through Board task forces, review teams, or working groups, existing ward forums, or special forums to receive parent &community input. - A parent conference convened every two years in each region to provide an opportunity for parents to discuss educational topics of current interest.  Equity Programs Advisory Committee -Established & maintained to provide advice to the Board on matters concerning the implementation of the Equity policy, & to identify issues of community interest regarding equity in education. Early Years Advisory Committee - Established & maintained to provide advice to the Board on matters concerning the implementation of the Early Years policy, & to identify issues of community interest concerning Early Years programs. - The current Child Care In Schools Advisory Committee becomes a subcommittee of the Early Years Advisory Committee & reports through it.  Community Liaison Groups - The majority of active membership must be parents of Board students. -Open to membership by any parent who supports its purpose & goals. - Purpose & goals are consistent with mission & policies of the Board. -Share minutes & reports with the Board.  Parent Involvement Advisory Committee - Established & maintained to provide advice to the Board on matters concerning the implementation of the Parent Community Involvement policy, & to identify educational issues of broad community interest.  Policy Origins The origins of the policy reflect an understanding by the Board that involving the district’s diverse parent community directly benefits student success. (Board Minutes, February, 1998, p. 136) From the literature  51  reviewed for this study, authors made similar arguments regarding the relationship between social interaction and its positive impact on all forms of immigrant integration (Economic, Social/Cultural, Linguistic and Political). For this reason, although not explicitly stated in the archival documents, a connection can be made between the origins of the policy and its relevance to the integration of immigrant students. Board meeting minutes (February 1998, April 1998, November 1998, January 2005 and July 2005) were read to render an understanding of the formulation of the policy. They were used to piece together the process of how the policy and operational procedure developed. The Board meeting minutes from 1998 illustrate the process of policy formulation for the Parent and Community Involvement Policy. Beginning in February, the Board discussed supporting the creation of a city wide parent group, and that resources be allocated to maintain its establishment. It was recommended that this group be a “grassroots organization”, from across the city to represent parents and children. Issues and questions were raised in relation to the establishment of this policy, creating a contextual picture of the circumstances (Board Minutes, February 1998):  52  Table 7: Issues and Questions Related to the Formulation of a Parent and Community Involvement Policy: Board Minutes, February 1998 1) Effective delivery of education is enhanced through the involvement of parents, students and communities. 2) Former area boards have facilitated this involvement using a variety of approaches. 3) There is a need to create a policy and procedure to support the involvement of students, parents and communities. 4) The involvement of school councils and student trustees is included in recent legislation. 5) What structures, if any, should be created beyond the individual school councils? 6) What parent, student and community involvement is appropriate in addition to the teacher-parent relationship and the individual school council?  The following summarizes the steps to implementation recommended in the meeting. First, it was suggested that a belief statement be accepted as the Board’s Philosophy Statement on parent, community and student involvement. Next, they recommended that “Guiding Principles” and “Operational Procedures” on School Councils be adopted. Then, that school communities in each ward establish a ward council to discuss the needs and issues of concern, and to inform the Board of these discussions. This was to act as a forum for local school community consultation, and for parents to have input on educational policies, programs and services. Membership of the ward council would be composed of parent representatives from local school councils. It could include representation from principals, teachers, support staff, students and other  53  community members. Parents would form a majority. The ward councils would be recognized as official structures for school community participation in the activities of the Board, and provided resources to support their operation. It was also recommended that the TDSB establish the position of student trustee as a full, non-voting member of the Board. The establishment of Board Community Advisory Committees, as subcommittees of the board, was suggested. Issues of diversity were to be addressed by the following subcommittees (Board Minutes, February 1998): Table 8: Board Community Advisory Committees (Subcommittees of the Board), February 1998 Advisory Committee Description  Parent Involvement  Equity  -School communities in each ward establish a ward council to discuss the needs and issues of common concern to them; to inform the local trustee, school board administrators and the local MPP of these needs and issues; and to act as a forum for local school community consultation and input on educational policies, programs and services (p. 125) -Representatives from each region be established to take responsibility for the consultation process regarding the development of a unitary policy and procedure on human rights, discrimination and harassment policy in schools and workplaces, and to monitor the harmonization, development and continued implementation of all equity policies, procedures, programs and resources (p. 122)  The Dir ect or of Ed uc  ation was to report back to the Board on an implementation plan for establishment of ward councils and Board Community Advisory Committees. The TDSB was to provide resources to support a city-wide Toronto Parent Council. This council was to have representation from ward councils, and other Toronto parent and community groups, whose role was to inform parents about critical issues affecting their children’s education. The council was also to 54  function as a place to advocate for the interests of students and schools. The TDSB was to ensure the equitable allocation of school-community liaison staff and other appropriate staff resources to help develop and sustain the structures. In April 1998, the development and benefits of an Ad Hoc Parent and Community Reference Group were addressed. The Board planned to establish the group, to advise on the following (Board Minutes, April 1998): Table 9: Development and Benefits of an Ad Hoc Parent and Community Reference Group, April 1998 - Information that communities and parents need concerning school operations, provisions of educational services and related matters. - Recommendations for possible action the Board might undertake concerning matters related to the implementation of the funding model. - That parent and community members of the dissolved Local Education Improvement Committee (LEIC) main subcommittees be invited to participate on the ad hoc reference group. - Interested trustees, including those trustees appointed by the Board to serve on the Policy and Procedures Project Team Task Group concerning Parent, Student and Community Involvement, be invited to participate on the ad hoc reference group. - The Director of Education requested to provide appropriate resources to support the ad hoc reference group. - The ad hoc reference group be dissolved once the Toronto District School Board’s city-wide group for community and parent involvement is established.  Finally in November, the Board received and reviewed a Draft Report of the Task Group on Parent, Community and Student Involvement. Consultation about the draft report occurred. School councils, along with other parent and community organizations were invited to respond in writing to the task group. Public forums 55  were held, and feedback provided to task group members. The task group met to review and discuss input from written responses and public forum consultation. A draft report was revised and converted to the approved format for Board policy and procedures. The report suggested that implementation of the policy and procedures begin as soon as possible. It stated that training sessions for school staff, parents and community members was an important component to establish ward and system-wide forums. The development of a Parent, Student and Community Involvement handbook was recommended to provide support and direction to school councils, ward forums, community liaison groups, and the Parent-Community Network. The published report included the following justification for the policy (Board Minutes, November 1998): While this report focuses on structures and forums for school community participation, it is important to note however, that this history of involvement includes a vast range of school community activities not covered in this report. For example, parents and community members participate in a variety of school volunteer projects such as: helping the teacher with reading groups and with students who need extra support, assisting with library activities and field trips…Parents and community members help staff to organize school support activities … they participate in parent-teacher conferences, meet-the-teacher evenings, curriculum nights and school open houses; they meet in groups or as individuals with the principal and vice-principal, … and other staff for information, advice, guidance, and sometimes to voice their concerns about things that they are not happy with. Likewise, students participate in a variety of school support and leadership activities with their peers and with teachers to build school spirit, to resolve 56  problems and to help create positive environments for learning. Beyond the school, parents, community members and students meet and/or communicate with trustees, school superintendents and other supervisory officers, and with the Director and senior administration to present their views, for advocacy and for problem-solving. The Toronto District School Board recognizes the importance of all these forms of participation and collaboration in fostering positive environments for learning. The Board will therefore continue to encourage and support the involvement of parents, communities and students with their classrooms, their schools and with the school system as a whole.  Further to this, they stated that: -  Due to the amalgamation of the former school boards of the TDSB, there was a need to achieve a common approach to parent, community and student involvement.  -  The Board’s commitment to parent, community, and student involvement should be an integral part of its philosophy and practice.  -  Parents, community and students show a willingness to play a meaningful role in the educational process.  The report’s recommendations included a policy statement to be adopted, details regarding the operation of the School Council, Ward Forums, Community Liaison Groups, the Parent-Community Network, Public Consultation Forums and Board Advisory Committees. (Board Minutes, November 1998) The final decision was that the Policies and Procedures for Parent, Community and Student Involvement, as reflected in the Task Group, and the next phase of  57  implementation of the recommendations found within the report, be approved. The Board officially endorsed the report of the task group. In January 2005, it was recommended that the policy be up for review, and that changes be made to the wording of certain statements. The policy statement itself was updated to the current version (see Appendix A). It was also recommended that statements be developed for the following areas: - Communication Procedures - Involving Marginalized Communities - School Council Role and Operations - Enhancing Skills for Participation - Ward and Regional Parent Forums - Community Advisory Committees - Community Liaison Groups In July 2005, a staff report was considered that presented a revision to the Parent and Community Involvement policy, and a statement of clarification of issues raised by trustees and parents concerning the implementation of the policy. Staff developed a draft action plan to focus on the issues for clarification, as well as to receive input on the plans for implementation. They met with and received feedback on the action plan from the Parent Community Network, Community Equity Reference Group, Childcare in Schools Advisory Committee, FSL Community Liaison Group, Ward Councils, the Working Group on Parent and Community Involvement, and from individual parents. Some of the policy 58  amendments included that the Community Advisory Committees of the Board should have the opportunity to comment on any educational topic of concern to parents and the community. Also, they stated that some of the procedures for implementation required clarification and further detail, and should specify the role of parents in the implementation. There were discussions among the Aboriginal/First Nations Community Committee, regarding a forthcoming request for the establishment of an Aboriginal/First Nations Advisory Committee. The status of existing community liaison groups was also discussed: a) Parents’ Environmental Network (active), b) FSL Community Liaison Group (active), c) Toronto Federation of Chinese Parents (active), d) Organization of Parents of Black Children (active), e) Somali Parents Liaison Committee (active), f) Portuguese Canadian Coalition For a Better Education(active), g) Toronto District Music Coalition (active), h) Toronto Vietnamese Canadian Parents’ Association (inactive). The following four groups had requested recognition by the Board as Community Liaison Groups, pending results of the Parent and Community Involvement Policy review: a) Anti-Homophobia Education Network (active), b) Alternative Schools Network (active), c) South Asian Origins Liaison Committee (inactive), 59  d) The Greek Community Education Liaison Group (active). The Board discussed a coalition of ethnocultural community group representatives that had met to talk about International Language and Black Cultural Heritage Programs, ESL programs, and newcomer concerns. They indicated interest in formally structuring as a Community Liaison Group. Separately, the board also decided that a research program be part of the implementation. The research program would identify effectiveness criteria to measure progress, a data gathering procedure including the use of focus groups, consultation with stakeholders, and an evaluation.  Main Themes from the Analysis and Comparison The Policy (Appendix A), Operational Procedure (Appendix B) and Implementation Plan (Appendix C) were thoroughly read and coded using the outline from chapter three. The following themes were found as reoccurring: Committees, Communication and Accountability. The subsequent matrix outlines the main themes that emerged in my analysis with evidence taken directly from the policy documents. For clarity, each theme is numbered, with the examples further numbered beneath:  60  Committees 1. School Council 1.1 The official school community organization representing the interests of the parents & students of the school. (P.4.4) 1.2 The school council will incorporate, within its goals, a plan to encourage diverse participation in its activities. (OP, 4.0, b) 1.3 Participate in the development of the School Improvement Plan, be informed of the progress of the plan at its meetings,& given an opportunity to provide advice to the school on its ongoing implementation. (OP, 4.0, d)  2. Community Advisory 2.1 Provide the Board with ongoing advice on areas of Board policy or program, educational issues of community interest. (P.4.7) 2.2 Equity Programs Advisory Committee established to provide advice to the Board on the implementation of the Equity policy, & to identify issues regarding equity in education, for the consideration of the Board. (OP.7.0.a) 2.3 Early Years Advisory Committee established to provide advice to the Board on matters concerning the implementation of the Early Years policy, and to identify issues concerning Early Years programs, for consideration of the Board. (OP.7.0.c) 2.4 Parent Involvement Advisory Committee established to provide advice to the Board on matters concerning the implementation of the Parent Community Involvement policy & to identify educational issues of broad community interest for the consideration of the Board and staff. (OP.7.0.e)  Table 10: Common Reoccurring Themes within Policy Documents with Examples of Evidence Communication Accountability 5. About the School (Classroom, Volunteer 3. Liaison Groups 4. About the Policy 6. Monitoring and Reporting 7. Forums Opportunities, Committees) 3.1 Working 4.1 Posted in a visible 5.1 Provide parents with information they need 6.1 Superintendents of education 7.1 Parent forums to promote relations supported location in all schools to support their children’s education. (P.4.1) will assume responsibility for parent consultation& input on with Community locations, administration monitoring the operation of policy, program or operations.(P. Liaison Groups, buildings & other 5.2 Procedures developed & maintained at school councils & provide 4.6) to work with the appropriate TDSB sites. school & system levels to ensure access to support & problem-solving Board to address (OP.1.0.a) educational information needed by diverse intervention to facilitate their 7.2 Trustees, with superintendents educational issues parents & communities, & to facilitate two-way effective operation. (OP, 4.0, f) of education, will convene parent of concern to 4.2 Made available on communication between parents and schools, meetings of school council & these groups, the Board’s Web site & & among parent groups. (P. 4.2) 6.2 A system survey of school other parents for communication (P.4.8) referenced in councils will be conducted and consultation on educational appropriate Board 5.3 Consult with school council to establish a periodically to assess matters. (OP.6.0.a) publications. (OP. 1.0.b) plan for improving two-way communication effectiveness & to determine with parents at classroom & school level, ways in which the system might 7.3 Executive superintendents & 4.3 Made available in including the use of a variety of oral & written provide further support. (OP, 4.0, superintendents of education, various languages.(OP. forms of communication. (OP.2.0.a) g) with trustees, will convene parent 1.0. c) forums to provide information & 5.4 Board’s Web site developed as an feedback on implementation of interactive forum for the exchange of programs including parental role information & ideas by parents & communities, in such programs. (OP.6.0.b) as well as for conveying information about the school system. (OP.2.0.b) 7.4 Public consultations on policies conducted. (OP.6.0.c) 5.5 Translation & interpreting services continue to be provided to facilitate communication 7.5 Parent conference convened with non English-speaking parents & every 2 years for parents to communities. (OP.2.0.c) discuss educational topics. (OP.6.0.d) 5.6 School-based & central procedures established for reviewing documents for 7.6 The schedule of meetings for parents, prior to publication, to ensure they are community advisory committees written in plain language. (OP.2.0.d) will be published. (OP.7.0.k) 5.7 Use of local & ethnocultural community media expanded to provide Board information to diverse communities. (OP.2.0.e) 5.8 Parent-to-parent access facilitated by sharing lists of school council chairpersons & their contact information. (OP.2.0.f) 5.9 School council will incorporate a plan to encourage participation & establish written procedures specifying how parents shall be consulted in decisions of the council & publicizes these procedures. (OP.4.0.b)  61  7.7 The minutes of community advisory committees will be formally recorded & made available. (OP.7.0.l)  Table 11: Conceptual Model Comparison with the Common Reoccurring Themes from Table 10 (* = The alignment of a program with the conception of integration it reflects) Exemplary Policy Models Dealing with Issues of Immigrant Integration Whole School Approach (Staff, Parents and Administration Involved Collaboratively to Implement School Wide Initiatives)  Volunteer Opportunities for Parents  Reoccurring Themes from Table10  Notions of Integration  Economic (Income Parity)  Linguistic (Fluent in Host Country Language) Social/ Cultural (Involved in Host Country Activities; Socializing Within, and Outside of, Ethnic Community)  Political (Active Political Participation)  1.1-3.1  Multilingual/ Multi-Ethnic Task Forces of Teachers, Administration and Parents  Mentoring, Tutoring, Counseling & Guidance Programs (Before, During, After School)  Facilitation of Minority Student Participation (An Environment Created through Programs and Teacher Role Models that Helps Immigrant Students Engage Socially) Increase Ethnic Minority Represent ation of Teachers  1.1, 1.3, 2.1-2.4, 3.1, 5.3, 5.8, 5.9, 7.1-7.6  *  Student & Family Workshops  Youth Programs Promoting Social Adjustment  5.1  2.2—2.4  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  Culturally Responsive Learning Environment (Teachers that are sensitive and aware of the diverse needs of immigrant students, helping them succeed academically)  Early Intervention for ESL Students  Flexibility for Learning Styles/Needs(First vs. Second generation students, Refugees)  Ongoing Assessment, Students in Need Identified Immediately  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  Curriculum Addressing Diversity, Stereotypes, & Cultural Maintenance  *  *  *  *  *  Next, my conceptual model was used as the base template for comparison (Table 11, above). Numbered examples from Table 10 were matched with the type of essential policy characteristics that they represented. This process highlights areas of the policy and conceptual model that are similar. Underneath these numbers, we can further see which notions of integration are met through the examples from the policy and operational procedure,  62  as compared to the characteristics from the conceptual model. Descriptors that were left blank, and numbered examples from Table 10 that were not used, highlighted the differences. Discussion Using Table 11 as an analytic tool, I was able to see how the policy and operational procedure were similar to, and differed from, my conceptual model. Examples from Table 10 under the theme of Committees (School Council, Community Advisory Committees and Liaison Groups) corresponded consistently with the characteristics of “Multilingual/MultiEthnic Task Forces of Teachers, Administrators and Parents” and “Volunteer Opportunities for Parents” on the conceptual model, under Whole School Approach. Similarities also arose with “Student and Family Workshops” (from the Communication theme), and “Youth Programs Supporting Social Adjustment,” (from the Committees theme), both under the heading of Facilitation of Minority Student Participation from Table 11. None of the descriptors from Table 11’s Culturally Responsive Learning Environment, or the characteristics of “Increase Ethnic Minority Representation of Teachers” or “Mentoring, Tutoring, Counseling & Guidance Programs” were represented by examples from Table 10. Conversely, the theme of Accountability from Table 10 was not represented in my conceptual model. The differences highlighted in my comparison do not necessary mean that these issues are not addressed 63  by the Board. For example, guidelines surrounding the creation of a culturally responsive learning environment might be outlined in separate policies. However, as illustrated by the Conceptual Model, this absence does not necessarily make the policy wording appear less effective for the integration of immigrant students. A further analysis of other TDSB policies (such as those mentioned in the operational procedure; The Equity Policy and The Early Years Policy) might also be useful in adding further context to this absence. Conclusion Despite the differences, the conceptual model demonstrates that each notion of integration is still be met by the examples from Table 10, meaning that the Parent and Community Involvement policy does feature what could be considered main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with immigrant integration. When the themes were matched to the characteristics, all notions of immigrant integration were reflected more than once. Social/Cultural integration (immigrants involved in the social activities of their host-country, within, and outside of, their ethnic community) appears to be the notion most reflected by the policy and operational procedure, followed by Linguistic (immigrants fluent in the host-country language), and evenly for both Economic (income parity between immigrants and native-born Canadians), and Political (the active political involvement of immigrants). Therefore, using 64  the information taken from my comparison, the policy and operational procedure do feature the characteristics of what could be considered an effective policy dealing with the integration of immigrant students.  65  Chapter Five: Conclusion In this study, I sought to understand the extent to which the Toronto District School Board’s policy and operational procedure on Parent and Community Involvement reflected what was considered essential by scholars as main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with issues of immigrant integration in a school setting. Using current literature on notions of immigrant integration, I created a conceptual model upon which to compare the TDSB’s policy and operational procedure, looking for similarities and differences. Through my analysis, I found that the TDSB’s policy does posses the main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with issues of immigrant integration in a school setting. This is due to the similarities that were highlighted through the comparison process of reoccurring themes in the wording of the TDSB’s policy documents and my conceptual model. These similarities appeared under Whole School Approach and Facilitation of Minority Student Participation. This comparison further illustrated that all notions of immigrant integration (Economic, Linguistic, Social/Cultural and Political) were met by the policy. Despite the differences that also emerged during analysis, the value of the policy does not diminish in terms of being an effective tool in assisting with immigrant student integration; it just means that it is likely that these areas are addressed separately by other policies within the district. 66  The Parent and Community Involvement policy could be improved upon by including details in the wording of the operational procedure regarding how community involvement will be facilitated in the classroom specifically, and the role in which teachers and curriculum will play. As previously mentioned, this issue might be addressed in separate TDSB policies that were beyond the scope of this study. Taking what this analysis has shown to be as the main characteristics of an effective policy dealing with issues of immigrant integration, and continuing to use the TDSB as an example, it would be interesting to examine the kind of long term impact that policy might have on immigrant student integration in the district. What, if at all, has this impact meant for these students in terms of their integration? This could be done by conducting a longitudinal study using a sample group of immigrant students. It could also be done by conducting interviews with students, parents, teachers, and administrators on their understanding of the policy, of issues of integration, and how they believe the former might facilitate the latter. For the purposes of comparison, another direction for further research could be to investigate other school districts from across Canada, seeking to understand how immigrant student integration is facilitated through policies similar to the TDSB’s Parent and Community Involvement policy. Do policy makers in Canadian school districts have  67  an understanding of issues surrounding immigrant integration? Are these issues considered when policies are being created or revised?  68  References Anisef, P., Brown, R. S., Phythian, K., Sweet, R., & Walters, D. (2010). Early school leaving among immigrants in Toronto secondary schools. Canadian Review of Sociology , 47(2), 104-128.  Ball, S. J. (1997, June, a). Policy sociology and critical social research: A personal review of recent education policy and policy research. British Educational Research Journal, 23(3), 257-274.  Ball, S. J. (1998, June, b). 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Retrieved from http://www.tdsb.on.ca/_site/ViewItem.asp?siteid=171&menuid=668 &pageid=534  Toronto District School Board. (2008) TDSB Urban Diversity Strategy. Retrieved from http://www.tdsb.on.ca/boardroom/bd_agenda/uploads/generalin fo/080620%20URBAN.PDF  80  Appendix A: Parent and Community Involvement Policy  81  82  Appendix B: Parent and Community Involvement Policy Operational Procedure  83  84  85  86  87  Appendix C: Parent and Community Involvement Implementation Plan  PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT POLICY (P.023 SCS)  ACTION PLAN June 2005 – June 2006  88  Policy 1.Adopt the following Policy Statement: “The TDSB believes that education is a shared responsibility among parents, the community, students, staff and the Board. By working together we all contribute to the improvement of our schools and to the success of our students. The Board shall provide parents with the information they need to support their children’s education and shall involve them in decisions, which affect their children and their schools. The Board is committed to ensuring that all parents and members of our diverse communities have opportunities to participate in the school system, and shall provide the support necessary to achieve that goal.”  Procedure  Actions  Responsibility  Timelines  Manager, Communications Office/ Central Coordinator, Community Services  Fall 2005    Post policy statement in a visible location in all schools locations, administration buildings and other appropriate TDSB sites; include policy statement on Board’s website and appropriate Board publications; provide translations of policy statement;      Provide resource materials on parent and community involvement to schools and parents to support implementation of the policy.    Establish a Best Practices Resource Team to gather materials on good ideas and exemplary practices in parent involvement and provide these in user friendly formats to schools and school councils.  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services  Fall 2005    Conduct a research program, with a data gathering and consultation procedure, to evaluate the progress made in the implementation of the policy in order to identify future changes to policy, procedures, and practices    Engage the Board’s Research Services to develop the research program; Establish a Research and Evaluation Resource Team of parents and staff provide input in to the research program  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services, Senior Manager, Research Services  Winter Spring 2006  Provide an annual update to the Board on the implementation of the policy, and a policy review report every three years based on the results of a formal research program.    Prepare annual report in conjunction with Parent Involvement Advisory Committee Conduct a policy review every three years through a research program and a consultation process with stakeholders.  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services, Senior Manager, Research Services  First annual report June 2006; first policy review 2007-08        Arrange production of policy statement posters and distribute to schools and administration buildings; include policy statement on parent involvement section of TDSB website; provide translations in several languages and post on TDSB website  89  Policy 2.A variety of communication procedures shall be developed and maintained at the school and system levels to ensure access to educational information needed by diverse parents and communities, and to facilitate two-way communication between parents and schools, and among parent groups.      Procedure Establish in each school, in consultation with the school council, a plan for improving two-way communication with parents at the classroom and school level; Develop the TDSB website as an interactive forum for the exchange of information and ideas by parents and communities, as well as for the conveying of information about the school system;  Actions Principal and school council develop a communications plan in consultation with parents and as part of school council planning and priority setting.  Responsibility Principal/School Council Chair  Timelines Fall 2005    Establish a Parent Communications Resource Team of parents and staff to provide direction for use of TDSB website, and other communication strategies  Manager, Communications Office  Fall 2005      Establish central procedures for reviewing documents intended for parents, prior to final publication, to ensure that that they are written in plain language;    The Parent Communication Resource Team (as above) will develop guidelines for reviewing materials and distribute guidelines to schools and departments  Manager, Communications Office  Fall 2005    Continue to provide translation and interpreting services to facilitate communication with non English-speaking parents and communities;    Manage and co-ordinate translation and interpreting service as per existing procedures  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services  Ongoing    Expand the use of local and ethnocultural community media to provide Board information to diverse communities; and    Update list of local and community media and use list for media advisories, announcements, information  Manager, Communications Office  Fall 2005    Facilitate parent-to-parent access by sharing lists of school council chairpersons and their contact information among school councils within each Family of School or ward after following the appropriate procedures for consent.    Compile updated lists of school council chairs by family of school or ward and share within each family of school or ward.  Superintendents of Education, Trustees  Fall 2005 Winter 2006  90  Policy 3. Support for community outreach programs shall be provided to school communities, which experience significant challenges in promoting and sustaining the involvement of parents in their children’s education and in their schools.  Procedure  Review, every two (2) years, the Learning Opportunities Index data, school achievement results, School Improvement Plans and requests for assistance from principals, school councils and communities, in order to identify schools with significant need for support for outreach to parents and communities;  Actions  School Services staff reviews data and to identify school communities/Families of Schools where community outreach is most needed  Responsibility Senior Manager, Research Services/ Central co-ordinator, Community Services  Timelines August 2005      Undertake consultation and establish priorities for allocation of community support staff  Executive Superintendents and Central Co-ordinator Community Services  Fall 2005    Hire and allocate community support staff to designated school communities, and supervise and co-ordinate the work of these staff  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services  October 2005 – June 2006    Continue to supervise and support the community component of the Building Bridges for At-Risk Youth Project in the eight (8) designated high need communities  Central C-ordinator, Community Services  Sept 2005 June 2006  Determine, in consultation with Superintendents of Education and Trustees, those school communities to be allocated resources required to implement community outreach programs, and provide an appropriate allocation to those school communities for that purpose; and  91  Policy 4.In accordance with O. Reg. 612/00 of the Education Act, every school shall establish a school council that shall be recognized as the official school community organization representing the interests of the parents and students of the school, and that shall be provided with the information and support necessary for fulfilling its role.    Procedure Each year, subsequent to the election of members, the school council, in conjunction with the principal, reviews the regulation regarding the role of school councils and the role of the principal (Reg. 612/00) and establishes a plan of activities consistent with that role;    Actions Undertake follow-up with principals within Family of Schools to promote implementation of this procedure  Responsibility Superintendents of Education/Principals  Timelines Fall annually    The school council incorporates, within its goals, a plan to encourage diverse participation in its activities and establishes written procedures specifying how parents shall be consulted in decisions of the school council, and publicizes these procedures to all parents;    Undertake follow-up with principals within Family of Schools to promote implementation of this procedure  Superintendents of Education/Principals  Fall 2005    The principal provides to the school council, as fully and as timely as possible, all relevant information about the school, its programs, its priorities and plans, to support its role;    Undertake follow-up with principals within Family of Schools to promote implementation of this procedure  Superintendents of Education/Principals  Ongoing    The school council participates in the development of the School Improvement Plan; is informed of the progress of the plan at its meetings; and is given an opportunity to provide advice to the school on its on-going implementation;    Undertake follow-up with principals within Family of Schools to promote implementation of this procedure  Superintendents of Education/Principals  Ongoing    Superintendents of Education assume responsibility for monitoring the operation of school councils in their respective Families of Schools, and provide support and problem-solving intervention as required, to facilitate their effective operation; and    Undertake follow-up with Superintendents of Education to promote implementation of this procedure  Executive Superintendents/Supe rintendents of Education  Ongoing    Provide parent to parent support for school councils who need information and advice regarding role and responsibilities, and strategies for improving their operations    Establish a School Council Resource Team who will receive intensive training in school council operations and strategies in order to provide assistance to school councils  Central Co-ordinator Community Services  Winter – Spring 2006  92  Policy 5.Opportunities shall be made available to school council chairs and other local parent leaders to assist them in developing their school community leadership skills and to school administrators to assist them in enhancing their skills in building positive school community relations. 6.Parent forums at a ward, quadrant or regional level shall be supported in order to promote parent consultation and input on matters related to policy, program or operations of the school system.    Procedure Provide workshops annually for school council members on effective practices for school councils using system and external community resources;      Actions Organize Spring workshops and advertise them to all school council chairs  Responsibility Central Co-ordinator, Community Services/ Staff Development  Timelines April 2005 - May 2006  Organize workshops including joint workshops for principals and their school council chairs, and advertise them to all school council chairs and principals  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services/ Staff Development  November 2005 May 2006  Organize in conjunction with community resources, parent education seminars in designated communities for newcomer parents and other parents who need more information about schools and school involvement  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services/ Staff Development  Winter Spring 2006    Provide workshops annually for principals and vice-principals on building community relations and school council operations, using system and external community resources;    Provide information and skill building seminars for parents to assist them in enhancing their capacity to become more effectively involved in their schools and in their children’s education (parent education seminars)    Trustees, with involvement of Superintendents of Education, convene parent meetings of school council members and other parents in their wards for the purpose of communication and consultation on educational matters of concern to parents and the Board;    Each trustee establishes a schedule of meetings for the year in consultation with ward parents and advertises this schedule in advance to school councils and other appropriate parties in the ward. A minimum of 4 meeting per year is recommended  Trustees  Ongoing    Executive Superintendents and Superintendents of Education, with involvement of trustees, convene, where necessary, quadrant or regional parent forums to provide information and feedback on implementation of programs including parental role in such programs;    Convene quadrant or regional parent forums as required  Executive Superintendents/ Superintendent of Education  Ongoing    A parent conference is convened every two (2) years in each region to provide an opportunity for parents to discuss a range of educational topics of current interest to parents and the Board.    Parent/Staff/Trustee Conference Committee formed to plan regional conferences in the spring  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services/Executive Superintendents  Spring 2006    93  Policy   7.Community advisory committees shall be established where necessary, to provide the Board with ongoing community advice on specified areas of Board policy or program as well as on educational issues of broad community interest; in addition, ad hoc advisory committees, task forces or working groups with community representation shall be established where required, on the understanding that the input of all such advisory groups does not preclude the input of other stakeholders across the system.  Procedure Public consultations on specific policies conducted through Board Task Forces, Review Teams, or Working Groups use existing ward forums, or special forums by quadrant or region, to receive parent and community input; and    Actions Convene public consultations as required to ensure input from diverse stakeholders  Responsibility Trustees/Supervisory Officers  Timelines Ongoing    Establish and maintain an Equity Policy Advisory Committee (replacing the Community Equity Reference Group) to provide advice to the Board on matters concerning the implementation of the Equity Policy, and to identify and provide advocacy on issues of broad community interest regarding equity in education, for the consideration of the Board and staff;    Consult with Community Equity Reference Group members and other groups on plan for establishing the Equity Policy Advisory Committee  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services; Central Principal, Equity  Spring 2005    Establish the membership of the Equity Policy Advisory Committee to include representatives of current recognized equity-seeking groups with an interest in public education, and parents at large from the quadrants who are interested contributing to the Board’s work on equity issues, and designated staff;    Identify relevant equity seeking groups in Toronto and request appointment of representatives for the committee Request parent representatives at large through communication with school councils, with final selection to reflect equitable quadrant representation Implement and complete procedure for election or appointment of new membership Convene the first meeting of the new committee Elect community co-chair Establish operating guidelines Set annual schedule of meetings  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services; Central Principal, Equity  Fall 2005          94  Policy 7. (continued)  Procedure   Responsibility  Timelines  Consult with the Child Care Advisory Committee, the Early Years Steering Committee and other groups on a plan for establishing the Early Years Advisory Committee.  The current Child Care In Schools Advisory Committee becomes a Working Group on Child Care Programs which links to the Early Years Advisory Committee and the Early Years Steering Committee.  Superintendent of Education, Early Years Portfolio, Managers, Early Years programs  Spring 2005  Establish the membership of the Early Years Advisory Committee to include representation from the related early years areas of interest across the TDSB (child care, parenting/family literacy, First Duty projects, family resource centres, Ontario Early Years Centres and other programs for children 0 - 6 years old), and designated staff representation;    Identify appropriate groups for representation on the Early Years Advisory Committee Implement and complete procedure for election or appointment of new membership Convene the first meeting of the new committee Elect community co-chair Establish operating guidelines Set annual schedule of meetings  Superintendent of Education, Early Years Portfolio, Managers, Early Years Programs  Fall 2005  Establish and maintain a Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (replacing the Parent Community Network) to provide advice to the Board on matters concerning the implementation of the Parent Community Involvement Policy, and to identify and provide advocacy on educational issues of broad community interest for the consideration of the Board and staff;    Consult with trustees, Parent Community Network, and other parent groups on the plan for establishing the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services  Spring 2005    Establish and maintain an Early Years Advisory Committee to provide advice to the Board on matters concerning the implementation of the Early Years Policy, and to identify and provide advocacy on issues of broad community interest concerning Early Years programs, for the consideration of the Board and staff.      Actions        95    Establish a membership for the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee to include one parent and an alternate for each ward through a nomination and selection process overseen by each trustee, and to include representation by recognized Community Liaison Groups through a nomination and selection process supervised by the Central Coordinator, Community Services, and designated staff representation;         Each trustee arranges for the election of a ward representative and alternate to this committee Invite each community liaison group to appoint a community rep and alternate to this committee. Convene the first meeting of the new committee Elect community co-chair Establish operating guidelines Set annual schedule of meetings  96  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services  Fall 2005  Policy 7.(continued)    Procedure The term of office for community members of these community advisory committees is two (2) years. Any member is free to resign at any time and be replaced by the constituent group through a formal process;    Actions Specify term of office requirement to potential members  Responsibility Central Coordinator, Community Services  Timelines Fall 2005    Appoint trustee co-chairs to the Equity Policy Advisory Committee, the Early Years Advisory Committee and the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee;    Board appoints co-chairs through existing procedure.  Board Chair  Fall 2005    Designate specific staff as non-voting resource persons to community advisory committees;    Director/ Associate Director designates staff as required  Director/Associate Director  Fall 2005    TDSB employee groups may be invited to appoint representatives to a community advisory committees at the discretion of the Board;    Board Chair/ Director/ Associate Director  On-going    The schedule of meetings for each community advisory committee is established in advance and published on the TDSB website;  Board determines which community advisory groups will include employee group representation and invitations are sent accordingly.  Implement as required  Central Coordinator, Community Services;  On-going    Minutes of community advisory committees are formally recorded and made available on the TDSB website;    Central Coordinator, Community Services  On-going    Establish ad hoc advisory committees, task forces or working groups as needed, which may include parent or community members, to address time-limited issues under consideration by the Board; and    Trustees, Director  On-going  Implement as required  Groups are established as required arising from Board decisions  97    The Board or its Standing Committees may refer any matter on its agenda to community advisory committees for comment.    Community Advisory Committees are reviewed every three years to determine whether their mandate remains viable for a future term    Matters are referred as decided by the Board or Standing Committees    A committee review template with review criteria is developed to assist community advisory committees to conduct an internal committee review, ending with a report to the Board with a recommendation for continuance or termination of mandate.  98  Trustees, Director  On-going  As required Director/ Associate Director  Policy 8.Working relationships shall be supported with Community Liaison Groups who wish to work with the Board to address educational issues of concern to these groups, and who are formed in accordance with the criteria and procedures established for these groups.    Procedure The following criteria for Community Liaison Groups will continue: majority of active membership (i.e. who attends meetings of the group) must be parents of TDSB students; open to membership by any TDSB parent who supports its purpose and goals; establishment of a formally elected or appointed leadership; democratic operating group practices; purpose and goals are consistent with mission and policies of the TDSB; and sharing of minutes and reports with the TDSB;      Actions Prepare Community Liaison Group Information Sheet, with criteria and procedures and send to existing Community Liaison Groups  Responsibility Central Co-ordinator, Community Services  Timelines August 2005  Convene meeting of Chairs of existing community Liaison Groups to discuss operational issues and how they wish to work with the Board  Central Co-ordinator, Community services  Fall 2005    Groups wishing to be recognized by the Board under the established criteria must submit a formal application with appropriate supporting documentation to the Central Co-ordinator, Community Services who considers the request in consultation with the Associate Director prior to registering the group as a Community Liaison Group;    Implement application review procedure as they are received from groups  Provide report with staff recommendation to the Board through Program and Services Committee on any group applying for consideration as a Community Liaison Group of the TDSB.  Associate Director/Central Coordinator, Community Services  As required    The Associate Director assigns central staff to liaise with Community Liaison Groups;    Associate Director assigns staff as needed to liaise with the Community Liaison Group  Associate Director / Central Co-ordinator, Community Services  As required    Community Liaison Groups provide accessibility to their operations by making notices of meetings available through appropriate TDSB communication systems where feasible; and    Facilitate communication of this information  Central Co-ordinator, Community Services  As required    Staff provides a report to the Board every three years on the status of Community Liaison Groups.    Staff prepares a status report on each Community Liaison group which will include a statement concerning continuing or amending the procedures for the working relationship between each group and the Board.  Associate Director, Central Co-ordinator, Comm. Services  June 2006  99  100  101  102  103  104  

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