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Faculty of Education


Faculty of Education


COVID-19 significantly impacted the delivery of education with widespread disruptions, particularly disadvantaging racialized and low-income families. Our research project explored how community-based programming can be adapted and mobilized to mitigate opportunity and achievement gaps for Black, Indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC), and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The project as a case study examined an afternoon and weekend supplementary academic program called the Community School Initiative (CSI), offered from September 2020 to May 2021 to members of the Jane and Finch community in Toronto, Canada at a subsidized cost. CSI is a partnership between the non-profit organization Youth Association for Academics, Athletics, and Character Education (YAAACE) and the for-profit enterprise Spirit of Math. It delivers a structured math curriculum to students in grades two to eight aged 8 to 14 years, old supported by a team of caring adults including parents, coaches, and Ontario certified teachers. The efficacy and outcomes of the CSI was assessed through surveys with parents (n=33), students (n=33), and teachers (n=4), and a focus group with seven teachers delivering the curriculum in the CSI. We also discuss the significance of how the research was conducted in the wake of COVID-19. Hence, this article is about the findings from the data, but just as much about the community-driven approach to how the research was conducted, by the community and for the community.

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