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Powell River Board of Education outlines anti-racism learning

School District 47 educating in multiculturalism, diversity, sexual orientation and gender identity
TEACHING RESPECT: School District 47 has several initiatives underway that address racism in schools, including a new course at Brooks Secondary School for grade eight students called honouring diversity.

Racism in school initiatives were detailed to School Distrcit 47 (SD47) school trustees at their February Powell River Board of Education meeting, February 16.

Superintendent of schools Dr. Jay Yule said the school district has adopted policies around multiculturalism, diversity, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).

“We’ve done a lot of work around what we expect in schools,” said Yule.

Director of instruction Allison Burt said the school district has the provincial ministry of education’s direction around the anti-racism framework.

“We’re looking at anti-racism, we’re looking at SOGI, we’re looking at indigenous education and how those all fit together in terms of inclusivity, privilege and maintaining opportunities for people’s identities to be respected throughout our entire district,” said Burt. “That includes things like our SOGI leadership team, our indigenous leadership team and we do have some anti-racism pieces on the go.”

Burt said the district is working with more indigenous content, culture and language in kindergarten to grade 12 at all schools. She said a new course is being offered in grade eight called honouring diversity.

“That’s looking at cross-curricular approaches,” said Burt. “That’s where it will find a home to eventually spread out throughout the rest of the school district.

“We are also working with another staff member and we’ll be doing some focus group work at grade eight tied to honouring diversity.”

Burt said that work is being done to see how quickly it will fit into the grade eight schedule.

“We have a couple of different ideas and we’re really excited because all of the grade eight teachers will be involved,” she added. “I think that collaboration and that approach will spread in terms of the school culture, starting right when they get into grade eight.”