Equity and Inclusion
Our Commitment to Equity and Inclusion
Montcrest School is an independent JK to Grade 8 school in the heart of Toronto. It is situated on the traditional territories of the Wendat, Anishinabeg, Chippewa, Haudenosaunee Confederacy and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations. Everyday, our dedicated teachers challenge students to discover and value their unique voices and perspectives; to understand how they fit into the world around them; and to be confident to move on from Montcrest with an awareness of what it means to be part of a global community.
Montcrest’s core values are Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Courage, and Compassion. These values inform our teaching and our relationships within and outside the Montcrest community; they also guide our commitment to our students to ensure that they feel safe and seen. Montcrest’s values are integral in fostering an environment where everyone feels a deep sense of belonging.
Montcrest is committed to equity* and inclusion*. We are working to dismantle inequitable systems and to establish a community where all diversity is a source of strength and creativity*. We, the Montcrest staff and faculty, commit to being personally and collectively accountable for engendering action that creates real change. We are committed to the success of each individual in the Montcrest community.
We acknowledge there are inherent privileges and biases within the independent school sector. We also acknowledge the experience of Indigenous, Black, and racialized peoples have faced within the education system and within this country, we now call Canada. We recognize we each bring our own biases shaped through all different forms of oppression, and are therefore responsible for unlearning the behaviours and beliefs that have upheld an inequitable education system. We are committed to understanding our individual and collective privileges and how they impact and harm those around us. We understand that we have work to do. We bring introspection and humility to this work.
We remain committed to strengthening our understanding of neurodiversity* and the success of every member of the Montcrest community. We recognize each of us has different ways of expressing, perceiving and learning. We aim to create an inclusive and intellectually rewarding learning experience that meets the needs of each student. These aspirations are met through learning, conscious collaboration, hard work and dialogue amongst students, parents, teachers, learning experts, staff and leaders.
Montcrest is committed to seeking advice from external experts, to acting based on our learning and to allocating adequate resources to facilitate the work ahead. We acknowledge that progress may be slow, and that we will make mistakes along the way. We will model behaviours important for our students to witness: accepting critical feedback with grace, taking ownership of our errors as opportunities for learning and growth, and apologizing.
Each of us at Montcrest is committed to embarking on this journey to create a better version of our school community where everyone feels a sense of belonging and to become better versions of ourselves. We understand this statement of commitment will continually evolve as our understanding of equity and inclusion grows.
Equity: Fairness, impartiality, even-handedness. A distinct process of recognizing differences within groups of individuals, and using this understanding to achieve substantive equality in all aspects of a person’s life. (OHRC) Equity does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences. (Ministry of Education, Policy/Program Memorandum No. 119, issued on April 22, 2013)
Inclusion: Appreciating and using our unique differences – strengths, talents, weaknesses and frailties – in a way that shows respect for the individual and ultimately creates a dynamic multi-dimensional organization. (OHRC)
Montcrest School Diversity Principle: We have a responsibility to adapt and ensure that diversity is a source of strength and creativity in our school. We are committed to anti-oppression and to dismantling inequitable systems.
Neurodiversity: An umbrella term for the many different ways we all think, act, process information and communicate.
Other Key Terms
Anti-oppression: an active and consistent process of change to eliminate individual, institutional and systemic racism as well as the oppression and injustice racism causes. (OHRC)
Inclusive Education: Education that is based on principles of acceptance and inclusion of all students. Students see themselves reflected in their curriculum, their physical surroundings, and the broader environment, in which diversity is honoured and all individuals are respected. (Ministry of Education, Policy/Program Memorandum No. 119, issued on April 22, 2013)
Intersectional: The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, ability and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. (OED)
Pluralism: a state in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain and develop their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common system. (adapted from Merriam-Webster) Pluralism challenges our thinking and actions to uncover bias and oppression and to take action to change both personal and systemic practices.
Social Justice: the notion that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social opportunities irrespective of race, gender, or religion. (https://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/glossary/justice)