in Chatsworth, Grey Highlands, Southgate, West Grey
May 04, 2023
“To provide a quality education for every student in a safe, accepting, and caring environment.”
This is Bluewater District School Board’s mission statement, which sets the tone and direction for the decisions made at all levels of the organization, in delivering programs and fostering a positive school and work culture.
Among many other board policies and procedures, a steadfast commitment to the mission’s purpose is exemplified in BP 6303-D and AP 6303-D, Equity and Inclusive Education.
As defined in the policy:
Equity: A condition or state of fair, inclusive, and respectful treatment of all people. Equity does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences.
Inclusive Education: Education that is based on the principles of acceptance and inclusion of all students. Students see themselves reflected in their curriculum, their physical surroundings, and the broader environment, in which diversity is honoured and all individuals are respected.
It was in this spirit that 10 schools in Bluewater District School Board were recently provided with a unique opportunity to participate in workshops focusing on inclusivity and kindness. Facilitating the events was Get REAL, a Canadian non-profit organization that works to combat 2SLGBTQ+ discrimination, racism, and bullying in schools, summer camps, and workplaces. With a well-established track record that includes school visits from coast to coast, Get REAL’s programming strives to “break down prejudice, promote unity, and foster compassion in our world.” (Source: https://www.thegetrealmovement.com)
The workshops in Bluewater schools were led by presenters with ‘lived’ experience from diverse backgrounds, and taught students how everyone encounters different life struggles, and ways to build our compassion, empathy, and peer support. An area of focus was the importance of changing, and in some cases, unlearning our language and attitudes around homophobia, racism, and sexism. This was achieved through interactive activities and personal stories delivered in an age-appropriate format for both elementary and secondary students.
Schools reported back extremely positive feedback regarding the safe space and relatable conversations that the Get REAL presenters initiated with the students.
In alignment with the important work occurring board wide around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and Ontario curriculum expectations, Bluewater District School Board will continue to proactively pursue opportunities that support safety, acceptance, and well-being for ALL students and staff.
To learn more about Get REAL, visit their website.
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