On September 24, 2010 Social Planning Toronto brought together on “common ground” over 250 participants from a broad range of sectors, including education, health, social services, labour, academia and community to explore a widely debated and timely concept of Schools as Community Hubs. This symposium event, COMMON GROUND Schools as Community Hubs: The Vision, The Challenge, The Opportunity was a follow-up of a conference, Schools@theCentre, hosted by SPT three years ago and featured thirteen distinguished speakers, who shared their experience, expertise, visions and wide range of perspectives on three themes:
- Exploring Visions, What’s on the Table,
- If Hubs are the Solution – What’s the Problem?
- Barriers and Opportunities
COMMON GROUND - Schools as Community Hubs: The Vision, The Challenge, The Opportunity
Dr. David Clandfield, one of the authors of the recently published book, ‘The School as Community Hub: Beyond Education’s Iron Gate’, opened the day with a vision that would see schools, our public assets, envisioned as a space that would not only meet the literacy and numeracy needs of Ontario’s students, but would create a welcoming place where community services, from settlement services, to mental health supports, to community gardens, are housed. His presentation also demonstrated how theses community hubs could provide an opportunity to revision our education system as a whole – enshrining lifelong learning for all residents into a more holistic education paradigm.
The Symposium culminated in all participants engaging in the “Creating Realities” Session where, in small groups, they actively shared their thoughts and reflections on the day’s proceedings and formulated recommendations on the next steps toward a reality in which schools are at the heart of their communities.
The discussion at this Symposium was framed against the backdrop of the upcoming municipal and trustee elections and the provincial elections a year away – with a sentiment that now is the time to have this conversation and to see change occur.
To see the complete DRAFT Proceedings from the event please CLICK HERE.