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Powell River Board of Education chairperson provides update on district activities and events

Dale Lawson outlines busy month of January
OUTLINES HIGHLIGHTS: Powell River Board of Education chairperson Dale Lawson covered district activities and accomplishments during her address to the school board.

In her monthly remarks, Powell River Board of Education chairperson Dale Lawson highlighted a number of School District 47 activities during the month of January.

Lawson, at the January 19 board of education meeting, said this year, January 14 marked the inaugural Black Excellence Day in BC.

“Black excellence, a term born out of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, a tribute now to the birthdate in 1929 of the great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, is a day to demonstrate our commitment to learning about black history, black art and black people,” said Lawson.

On January 14, premier John Horgan, parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives Rachna Singh, and minister of education Jennifer Whiteside released a joint statement on Black Excellence Day, noting education as one of the most powerful tools to achieve racial equity and equality.

“The joint statement goes on to say, ‘by learning to identify language, acts of racism and oppression, as well as understand diverse cultural histories and experience, we can better address discrimination in our communities and celebrate the contributions of all British Columbians,’” said Lawson.

There were many black shirts throughout School District 47 on January 14, demonstrating a stand in solidarity with black Canadians, she added. She said the school district purchased seats for all students to take part in the black excellence virtual event.

“We’re proud of our students and staff who recognize the critical role each of us has in demonstrating our ongoing commitment to moving forward together in a society that is grounded in equity, is curious, knowledgeable and appreciative of diversity and culture throughout our community,” added Lawson.

Literacy week

She said that each January, communities across the province celebrate family literacy week, and this year the celebration is from January 23 to 30. Decoda, the province-wide literacy organization, has announced this year’s theme title as “Let’s Connect! Care, Play,  Listen,” she added.

“Connection is not just an important element in supporting the social, emotional and physical health of our children, it is also an important element in maintaining good overall health and well-being for each of us,” said Lawson. “As we enter the third pandemic-affected year, it’s understandable that connecting with each other can feel challenging. School District 47 is creating an opportunity to help families connect through school communities, while focusing some family time on literacy by creating a story stroll.

“During literacy week, everyone is welcome to visit any elementary school ground, outside of school hours, to participate in reading the thoughtfully selected picture book stories included in the story stroll. Each school will feature a different story and each story will be carefully prepared, weatherproofed and mounted outdoors for its respective school ground space.”

For more information about this and other literacy initiatives in the school district, go to

Lawson said is hosting a let’s connect theme photo contest.

“If you’re out and about at one or all of our elementary schools, connecting through our district’s story stroll, think about taking a photo and submitting it for your chance to win some prizes,” said Lawson. “More importantly, have fun and help start some new literacy-centered conversations while you connect with your friends and family during Literacy Week 2022.”

Policies and procedures

Lawson said January is often seen as the perfect time to discover new things or to dust off something old and infuse it with new energy. She said policy work isn’t often viewed as an exciting topic to kick off a new year, but the district is proud of the thoughtful, important work that its team has put in over the last few months to review and update all School District 47 policies and procedures.

“We’re looking forward to showcasing that work in 2022,” said Lawson.

She said December felt like a corner had been turned with COVID-19 as people started to return to some of the activities they enjoyed before the onset of this pandemic.

“Although the situation this January feels like a setback in some ways, it also feels to me like a more positive position to start the year than it was last January,” said Lawson. “We are lucky to have not had any spikes in illness and absenteeism for our students and staff to date. Regardless of what the future looks like, we will adapt, support each other, and strive for the best success possible for students in our district.”