In February our board’s focus is on inclusion. Inclusion means being and feeling accepted. It means ensuring equal access, resources and opportunities to those that might otherwise not be able to participate due to a variety of barriers. In education this is often understood as those students with unique behavioural, mental or physical needs. However, inclusion is more expansive than ability. I think of a variety of ways that provide opportunities for inclusion: gender, sexual orientation, economic status, race and language.
February is Black History Month. This has caused me to think of the history of exclusion black members of our schools have experienced. I believe that it is important that each year we pause to reflect on our growth towards inclusion, to spend some time learning about the experiences and histories of Canada’s black people and to take a step towards making a change. Being curious and open will help us move forward and make meaningful changes as a district. I hope all staff, students and teachers have some time to pause, reflect, learn and make a small change that will help us move towards inclusion of our black students and staff.
I am honoured to be a part of a board that responded to the need to address racial discrimination and I am equally pleased to know that our student trustee was part of creating this policy with a student’s perspective in mind. Our anti-racist policy cannot stand in isolation; it is simply one of our steps toward racial inclusion and making our learning environments safer and more welcoming to students who are racially diverse. I hope to report on our continued work next year after we have had the opportunity to see how our policy gets enacted with both administrative and operational initiatives.
As a board we having been busy and working hard. I am especially proud of how each trustee has engaged with our work and have taken on extra responsibilities. We have three ad hoc committees on the go as well as the superintendent hiring committee that includes all trustees. We look forward to reporting out on our meetings and receiving public feedback.
Lastly, special congratulations to our Secretary -Treasurer Nicolas Weswick who became a parent last week!