The Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) values the assets and gifts of all students, and believes that every student is competent, capable and curious. Our newcomer students arrive with many assets and talents, and learn the English language at the same time as the Ontario curriculum. Their cultures and languages are welcomed and valued in classrooms while, at the same time, educators maintain high expectations for all students. During my educational career as an English as a Second Language/English Literacy Development (ESL/ELD) Teacher Consultant, a grade 8 teacher, and Junior and Intermediate ESL/ELD teacher, I experienced that having an asset lens achieves equity in the classroom. An asset-based approach values the diverse thinking, culture and traits that every student brings into the classroom, rather than what they need help with or lack.

I am very excited to be a member on the WE VALUE Steering Committee, as its proposed asset based assessment process aligns with the GECDSB vision of our newcomer students. Another focus is to coordinate our intake assessment, and the best way to accomplish this would be to centralize this task, with input from and regular reporting to all community newcomer agencies. Having one location for intake assessments would ensure that all newcomer families that are welcomed in our schools are supported and aware of the programs and services available to them.
Academic success of newcomer students hinges on the success of their families’ settlement into their new community. Having a centralized, asset- based assessment approach for our newcomers will not only better support our newcomers but also help all of us to build practices that are culturally responsive and respectful of everyone. This innovative committee is a venue to collaborate with all community agencies to adopt a uniform set of standards and values as we more effectively serve our newcomer families with our respective strengths.


Jan Foy