September 15, 2014


Eleanor McIntosh, Administrative Officer, Ajax and Pickering Schools, Chair – Durham Black Educators’ Network
Cheryl Rock, Equity, Diversity and Race Relations Facilitator, Vice-Chair – Durham Black Educators’ Network

The purpose of this report is to highlight the role of the Durham Black Educators’ Network (DBEN) in supporting the Durham District School Board’s goals for continuous improvement, student achievement and well-being.

DBEN is a grassroots organization with a mandate to optimize the educational experiences for educators, students, and parents of the Black diaspora. The organization works in tandem with the DDSB to ensure that families of diverse backgrounds feel connected to our schools and their communities. In 2004, the organization began as a small group of educators with the interest of creating an interdisciplinary high school course with an Afrocentric curriculum focus. Research evidence at that time revealed extremely low student achievement rates for Black students across the province. This data provided the fuel to create a space that was relevant, engaging and responsive to students’ needs. Over the past ten years, the network has evolved into an organization with over one hundred professionals. The network engages students and their families through various initiatives and programming, and builds capacity across the system through leadership and professional development opportunities.

Executive Members:
Chair, Eleanor McIntosh
Vice Chair, Cheryl Rock
Past Chair, Margaret Lazarus
Treasurer, Claudette McDonald
Fundraising/Social Coordinator, Tracey Grose
Secretary, Tanya Salmon
Media Coordinators, Andrea Walters and Matthew Sinclair
Members-at-large, Nyla John, Janet Robinson, Shaundell Parris, Sharon Knights

Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators (ONABSE)
African Heritage Network (AHEN)
National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE)
African Canadian Services, Nova Scotia
Alliance of Educators for Black Students (AEBS)


  • Successfully monitored two regional Parent Reaching Out grants to engage parent stakeholder group
  • Building leadership capacity amongst educators and administrators through professional development workshops, guest speakers, presentations, conference participation (i.e. Courageous Conversations, Differentiated Instruction, Black studies course development and implementation)
  • Presentations during the DDSB’s annual Equity Institute to support system learning
  • Annual ‘And Still We Rise’ elementary and secondary leadership programs, empowering students in Grades 5-12
  • Annual ‘Activating Success’ student awards acknowledges and recognizes school and community leadership of Black students
  • ‘Future Leaders Symposium’ focused on educational and financial literacy
  • Co-host DSAA’s annual fall conference (Nov 2014) with PD committee. Workshops and guest speaker presentations to support CRRP awareness in the secondary panel
  • Half day, system-wide, culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy workshops for elementary and secondary teachers and administrators

Inspire. Motivate. Empower…Infinite Possibilities


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