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York Region teacher Carlos Ponce Tovar wins ETFO Anti-Racist and Equity Activism Award

August 13, 2019

TORONTO - The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has presented York Region teacher Carlos Ponce Tovar with its 2019 Anti-Racist and Equity Activism Award.

The award recognizes a member of ETFO or group of members who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to anti-racist and equity activism in the classroom or community.

As a French teacher at Barbara Reid Public School, Carlos organized a Girls' Studies Club facilitated by a female colleague and started a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) with intermediate students named "Pride Pack".  He conducts an annual survey among students asking if they see their identities reflected at the school in order to help support underserved students including Indigenous students and those with special education needs. Carlos also has students undertake a Compassion Project where they identify a marginalized group in their community and think of a way to make a positive change for this group.

Carlos works hard to educate and involve his colleagues in anti-racism and equity initiatives. He holds bi-weekly equity meetings with fellow teachers to plan assemblies, mark special days and hold foyer displays and workshops for students that relate to equity and inclusion. He runs an Educators' Equity Book Club meeting on a bi-weekly basis to discuss possible implications of issues derived from the readings for their school community. Carlos won ETFO's 2016 Rainbow Visions Award for his work in creating a positive space for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students while a teacher at Castlemore Public School.

"Carlos has done an enormous amount of work to ensure that staff receive professional learning on equity issues and that students have a much deeper understanding of what inclusion looks like," said ETFO President Sam Hammond. "Carlos' work embodies ETFO's equity and social justice principles to ensure that public elementary students value inclusive and supportive classrooms and communities."

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. ETFO's Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at www.buildingbetterschools.ca.