This chapter focuses on Guided Entry into New Teaching and Learning Experiences (GENTLE), a reception centre designed to welcome student refugees and facilitate their early integration into schools in the Thames Valley District School Board in Ontario, Canada. Our examination focuses on the values and policies that guided leaders’ decision-making, the practices educators employed, as well as the allocation and use of resources to ensure Syrian refugee students were integrated successfully; each issue constitutes a noted gap in the related academic literature. This chapters draws from direct accounts of the eight education leaders, working at each level of Ontario’s educational governance structure, who played a role in the integration of Syrian student refugees in Ontario. The case underscores that fulfilling humanitarian visions, such as welcoming and integrating thousands of refugees, requires a nimble, well-coordinated, strategic and adequately resourced response; the response must be grounded in a wide range of evidence, including local/anecdotal insights, to achieve an inclusive vision for education. Aspirations to fulfil such a vision must be nurtured, learned, shared and collectively earned by educators operating at all levels of the system, which remains a perpetual work in progress. Implications for leader practitioners and researchers include the need to critically interrogate educational programming for refugees offered at all levels of the school system, inspire educators of varying perspectives to commit to a particular vision of inclusion for newcomers and manage resources morally, strategically, sustainably and flexibly.
Panel members included Janine Griffore (former assistant deputy minister of education) by level of governance, Ministry; Riley Culhane, superintendent of achievement of School board administration; Sue Bruyns, learning supervisor at the school board GENTLE centre; Emma Wilson, social worker; Denise Taylor-Edwards, learning coordinator for English second-language/English literacy development; Sharon Bryant, vice principal at school level; Ahmed Chams, teacher. Rifat Hussein, settlement manager at the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre of Community level. Without their contributions, the publication of this piece would not have been possible.
Faubert, B. and Tucker, B. (2019), "Leading K–12 Refugee Integration: A GENTLE Approach from Ontario, Canada", Arar, K., Brooks, J.S. and Bogotch, I. (Ed.) Education, Immigration and Migration (Studies in Educational Administration), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 53-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78756-044-420191005
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Copyright © Brenton Faubert and Bill Tucker, 2019