Hamilton school board eyes poverty curriculum for civics classes

News Apr 22, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is considering teaching Grade 10 students about the city’s high poverty rates in civics classes to get them thinking about how it affects people and what they can do about it.

Trustees unanimously agreed on Monday to refer course materials developed by the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction to their program committee, with some suggesting the initiative should extend to other grades as well.

Nearly one in five people in Hamilton – including 25,000 children – live below the poverty line, resulting in a lower life expectancy of up to 21 years in some neighbourhoods, according to the materials.

“We know income disparity and poverty has a great impact on a person’s education, acceptance in schools, their lifestyle and their overall health and well-being,” said Jo Ann Salci, a public health nurse and the project’s leader.

Developed in partnership with the public and Catholic school boards, McMaster University and the city, the course materials offer six 75-minute lessons that begin by addressing myths around poverty before moving to potential solutions.

East Mountain trustee Kathy Archer suggested students should begin learning about the issue in grades 6 or 7.

“That’s when the students would need the help, the guidance and information,” she said.

Salci said the project team geared lessons for Grade 10 civics classes for the public board because they are compulsory courses.

For the same reason, lessons for the Catholic board were developed for Grade 9 religion classes.

“We had to start somewhere,” Salci said. “(We) wanted to reach most students early on in their high school career to give them time to then use their volunteer hours in a meaningful way.”

While voting to refer the materials to the program committee, Ward 4 trustee Ray Mulholland said his colleagues should be cautious about taking on another initiative when others are still awaiting action.

He said he’s “very upset” that nothing’s been done on his board-approved motion last fall to seek provincial funding to help turn schools in the city’s poorest neighbourhoods into community hubs for health and social services.

“If you’re really serious about doing something, then do it,” Mulholland said.

Interim education director Pam Reinholdt said afterwards the course materials will likely go to the program committee in the fall because agendas before then are already full.

She said she hasn’t had time to review them but they offer a way to engage students on an issue close to home.

“I think it’s got some good potential to it. We just need to have a closer look at it through the program committee.”

Hamilton school board eyes poverty curriculum for civics classes

News Apr 22, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is considering teaching Grade 10 students about the city’s high poverty rates in civics classes to get them thinking about how it affects people and what they can do about it.

Trustees unanimously agreed on Monday to refer course materials developed by the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction to their program committee, with some suggesting the initiative should extend to other grades as well.

Nearly one in five people in Hamilton – including 25,000 children – live below the poverty line, resulting in a lower life expectancy of up to 21 years in some neighbourhoods, according to the materials.

“We know income disparity and poverty has a great impact on a person’s education, acceptance in schools, their lifestyle and their overall health and well-being,” said Jo Ann Salci, a public health nurse and the project’s leader.

“We know income disparity and poverty has a great impact on a person’s education, acceptance in schools, their lifestyle and their overall health and well-being.”

Developed in partnership with the public and Catholic school boards, McMaster University and the city, the course materials offer six 75-minute lessons that begin by addressing myths around poverty before moving to potential solutions.

East Mountain trustee Kathy Archer suggested students should begin learning about the issue in grades 6 or 7.

“That’s when the students would need the help, the guidance and information,” she said.

Salci said the project team geared lessons for Grade 10 civics classes for the public board because they are compulsory courses.

For the same reason, lessons for the Catholic board were developed for Grade 9 religion classes.

“We had to start somewhere,” Salci said. “(We) wanted to reach most students early on in their high school career to give them time to then use their volunteer hours in a meaningful way.”

While voting to refer the materials to the program committee, Ward 4 trustee Ray Mulholland said his colleagues should be cautious about taking on another initiative when others are still awaiting action.

He said he’s “very upset” that nothing’s been done on his board-approved motion last fall to seek provincial funding to help turn schools in the city’s poorest neighbourhoods into community hubs for health and social services.

“If you’re really serious about doing something, then do it,” Mulholland said.

Interim education director Pam Reinholdt said afterwards the course materials will likely go to the program committee in the fall because agendas before then are already full.

She said she hasn’t had time to review them but they offer a way to engage students on an issue close to home.

“I think it’s got some good potential to it. We just need to have a closer look at it through the program committee.”

Hamilton school board eyes poverty curriculum for civics classes

News Apr 22, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is considering teaching Grade 10 students about the city’s high poverty rates in civics classes to get them thinking about how it affects people and what they can do about it.

Trustees unanimously agreed on Monday to refer course materials developed by the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction to their program committee, with some suggesting the initiative should extend to other grades as well.

Nearly one in five people in Hamilton – including 25,000 children – live below the poverty line, resulting in a lower life expectancy of up to 21 years in some neighbourhoods, according to the materials.

“We know income disparity and poverty has a great impact on a person’s education, acceptance in schools, their lifestyle and their overall health and well-being,” said Jo Ann Salci, a public health nurse and the project’s leader.

“We know income disparity and poverty has a great impact on a person’s education, acceptance in schools, their lifestyle and their overall health and well-being.”

Developed in partnership with the public and Catholic school boards, McMaster University and the city, the course materials offer six 75-minute lessons that begin by addressing myths around poverty before moving to potential solutions.

East Mountain trustee Kathy Archer suggested students should begin learning about the issue in grades 6 or 7.

“That’s when the students would need the help, the guidance and information,” she said.

Salci said the project team geared lessons for Grade 10 civics classes for the public board because they are compulsory courses.

For the same reason, lessons for the Catholic board were developed for Grade 9 religion classes.

“We had to start somewhere,” Salci said. “(We) wanted to reach most students early on in their high school career to give them time to then use their volunteer hours in a meaningful way.”

While voting to refer the materials to the program committee, Ward 4 trustee Ray Mulholland said his colleagues should be cautious about taking on another initiative when others are still awaiting action.

He said he’s “very upset” that nothing’s been done on his board-approved motion last fall to seek provincial funding to help turn schools in the city’s poorest neighbourhoods into community hubs for health and social services.

“If you’re really serious about doing something, then do it,” Mulholland said.

Interim education director Pam Reinholdt said afterwards the course materials will likely go to the program committee in the fall because agendas before then are already full.

She said she hasn’t had time to review them but they offer a way to engage students on an issue close to home.

“I think it’s got some good potential to it. We just need to have a closer look at it through the program committee.”