In our scanning work with our students in early 2023, we discovered that this richness of diversity has had some accompanying growing pains including:
- New students and their families coming with languages that many are not familiar with
- These same students coming with traditions/cultures/beliefs that are also new
- A variety of students who are coming with varying degrees of wealth.
- An increase in the number of instances where students have been subjected to language and behaviours that run counter to our District’s Code of Conduct
- An unfamiliarity at all levels (students, staff, parents) of the barriers that exist for every member of our community to see themselves represented, to have equal access and to belong
In response, our staff has embarked on a quest to help educate and change our community by taking a deep dive into Diversity / Equity / Inclusion (DEI). We are fortunate to have a staff who recognize the importance of this work, especially given the global landscape in which we find ourselves and that our children will inherit. In addition, we are also fortunate to be working with Baren Tsui, District Consultant who is a pioneer and well-respected educator in DEI.
As we embark, there are a couple of very important things for us to consider. These things include:
- Go slow – change is challenging and the work we will undertake cannot be completed in a week, month, or even a year.
- Listen – what are our kids saying? What is the community saying?
- Work to understand before being understood
- Meet people where they are. We may not agree, but with open minds, we may see each other’s point of view
- Bring others into the discussion and be transparent. Transparency helps to build trust and acceptance
- Celebrate the successes – no matter how big / how small