Canada’s largest school board has created the first Africentric curriculum to be used at schools across the city and trained more than 100 teachers to start using it this spring, some as early as this week.

The social studies lessons from kindergarten through Grade 8 are part of a bid by the Toronto District School Board to wrestle a 40 per cent dropout rate among black students down to 15 per cent in five years — and are designed for use at all schools, not just the Africentric school proposed for the fall.

“I want this to be in every single school, to be part of the curriculum for all of our students,” said Gerry Connelly, education director at the Toronto District School Board, at a recent all-day training session for about 120 teachers and principals.

Lessons in topics from the storytelling of Ghana to black pioneer towns in Ontario were presented to educators, many of them black Canadians, who came to learn how to stretch the curriculum beyond its traditional focus on Europe.

“When this many young people are disengaged and don’t feel the curriculum has anything to do with them, the question of urgency becomes critical,” said Ryerson University Prof.

Grace-Edward Galabuzi, part of an advisory committee that helped design the units of study.

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