Tuesday, February 9th, 2021
School District 8 – Kootenay Lake launches anti-racism website with resources for educators and parents
School District 8 – Kootenay Lake is dedicated to building awareness and changing attitudes about racism, both in the classroom and the workplace.
This past year, world events have rallied solidarity around exposing the painful reality of racial inequality and injustice that exists, and the importance for organizations to fully embrace anti-racist values, behaviors, and policies in order to change our cultures.
“We are proud of our commitment to inclusion and diversity in this district,” says Superintendent Dr. Christine Perkins, “but we need to do more to be actively anti-racist in our actions, not just in words.”
This month, School District 8 - Kootenay Lake is launching a new anti-racism website: https://antiracism.sd8.bc.ca/, an online resource that provides practical guidance to teachers and parents as they explore issues of race with students.
The site is divided into four sections, designed to support and align with School District 8 – Kootenay Lake’s strategic plan goals of learning, engagement and strengthening relationships.
- KNOW - increase our understanding of systemic racism and being an anti-racist.
- LEARN - provide resources for deepening understanding about racism and developing an anti-racist mindset.
- CONNECT – student and staff access to learning opportunities and local facilitators.
- ACT - offering ideas to be part of the anti-racism solution.
“Understanding racism and its roots, questioning our own privilege and biases, and slowly dismantling those systems and beliefs internally and in our schools… is the process we all need to engage in,” says Perkins.
From providing professional development opportunities for staff around racial justice (Pro-D - Desmond Cole), to advocating for the implementation of Black Canadian history into the provincial curriculum, to the integration of indigenous knowledge and perspectives in every area of learning, the district is committed to taking steps towards dismantling systemic racism.
“We must all actively work to dismantle racism. Whether we realize it or not, racism affects everyone,” says Jann Schmidt, District Principal of International Education.
A recent letter from a parent acknowledges the efforts being made: “As a white settler, I am still learning so much how to be an ally for my kids' BIPOC friends and parents and I look forward to that journey together with the school district. School District 8 – Kootenay Lake has so much potential to make a difference in the lives of the white kids' values and skills to speak up for justice, and for the empowerment of the BIPOC kids.”
School District 8 - Kootenay Lake recognizes their potential to make a difference and is committed to creating a lasting anti-racism action plan to ensure that all of its schools are safe and welcoming places where diversity is celebrated.
Upcoming initiatives will include a full professional development day on April 19th, that will focus on Indigenization of the curriculum with keynote speaker Chief Dr. Robert Joseph. Chief Joseph has dedicated his life to bridging the differences brought about by intolerance, lack of understanding and racism at home and abroad. In addition, plans are already in place for a new district scholarship for students that exemplify human rights action.
For more information:
Dr. Christine Perkins | Superintendent & Chief Executive Officer
School District 8 Kootenay Lake
811 Stanley Street, Nelson, B.C. V1L 1N8
About the Board of Education of School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake):
The Board of Education of School District No. 8 provides educational services to numerous diverse communities in the East & West Kootenays, including Crawford Bay, Creston, Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Nelson, Salmo, Slocan, South Slocan, Winlaw, Wynndel and Yahk. Its dedicated team focuses on providing the best possible educational opportunities for over 5,400 students and their families. Its mission is to focus on excellence for all learners in a nurturing environment.