OASW and the School Social Work Advisory Group are pleased to present the 34th Annual School Social Work Symposium, Decolonizing Education: Engage, Dismantle & Change, happening Tuesday, November 16, 2021  from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET online.

We Gon’ Be Alright, But That Ain’t Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and Anti-Racism Social Work
Keynote Address by Dr. Bettina Love

The 34th annual Symposium will explore the theme of de-colonizing education, with a keynote address from Dr. Bettina Love, an award-winning author, sought-after speaker and co-founder of the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN).

Dr. Love’s talk will discuss the struggles and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, as opposed to reform, and moving beyond what she calls the educational survival complex. Abolitionist Teaching is built on the creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists to demand and fight for an educational system and social work practices where all students and everyone we serve are thriving, not simply surviving.

Dr. Love’s writing, research, teaching, and advocacy work meet at the intersection of education reform, anti-racism, carceral studies, abolition, and Black joy. She has worked with activists, communities, youth, families, and school districts to build communal, civically-engaged schools rooted in the aspirations of abolitionist strategies, and to advance how the field of education understands and critiques the systemic and structural racism of public education.

9:00 to 9:30 a.m.
Opening Ceremony and Remarks from OASW and the School Social Work Advisory Group (SSWAG)

  • Tracey Grose, SSWAG Chair
  • Deepy Sur, OASW CEO

9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
KEYNOTE: We Gon’ Be Alright, But That Ain’t Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and Anti-Racism Social Work
Dr. Bettina Love, Co-founder of the Abolitionist Teaching Network 


10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
PANEL: Exploring Intersectional Experiences

  • Dr. Gillian Parekh, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Disability Studies and Education, Faculty of Education, York University
  • Dr. Ann Lopez, Professor of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, University of Toronto

Additional panelists to be confirmed.


12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Lunch & Artistic Presentation


1:00 to 1:15 p.m.
Award Presentation and Remarks: 2021 School Social Work Achievement Award


1:15 to 3:00 p.m.
Interactive Breakout Sessions

  • A: Constructing and Responding to Disability, Facilitated discussion led by Dr. Gillian Parekh, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Disability Studies and Education, Faculty of Education, York University
  • B: Anti- Racism and Socially Just Leadership, Facilitated discussion led by Dr. Ann Lopez, Professor of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, University of Toronto
  • C: Indigenizing Approaches, Facilitator TBC

3:00 to 3:45 p.m.
Moving Forward Together: Q&A and Discussion

3:45 to 4:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks

Note: Program is subject to change. Additional program details will be added as they are confirmed. 

  • Members: $75.00+HST
  • Student Members: $50.00+HST
  • Non-Members: $125.00+HST
  • Student Non-Members: $75.00+HST
  • Join & Learn Bundle (new members only): $325.00+HST

OASW and its School Social Work Advisory Group are inviting nominations for the 2021 School Social Work Achievement Award. Consider nominating an OASW Member and School Social Worker who has exceeded your expectations by September 30, 2021.

More Information | Submit a Nomination

Your support of this critical inter-professional event will help ensure our students have the equity-informed supports they need, by mobilizing decolonizing approaches that affirm student excellence, and foster greater inclusion and well being. Consider supporting the Symposium by helping us reach as many school social workers and allied education professionals as possible. 

Spread the Word

Thank you to all members of our School Social Work Advisory Committee for sharing your expertise and insights to help make this critical event a success:

  • Chair: Tracey Grose, School Mental Health Ontario
  • Vice-Chair: Kristi Gordon, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board
  • OASW Board Liaison: Candace Hanna
  • Alexandra Dean, Peel District School Board
  • Andréanne Fleck Saito, School Mental Health Ontario
  • Dominique Doyle, Conseil scolaire catholique mon avenir
  • Gabriella D’Ambrosio, Halton District School Board
  • Geer Harvey, Upper Grand District School Board
  • Jessica Martin, Simcoe County District School Board
  • Jessie Grosz, Waterloo Catholic District School Board
  • Maria Peixoto, Toronto Catholic School Board
  • Miguel Guayasamin, Halton Catholic District School Board
  • Patricia Codner, Halton Catholic District School Board
  • Sara Mclean, District School Board of Niagara
  • Sarah Kirby, Hamilton Wentworth Catholic School Board
  • Shenelle Bernier, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
  • Stefanie Burosch, Trillium Lakelands District School Board
  • Toni Lauzon, Greater Essex County District School Board

Questions can be directed to [email protected].