BC Anti-racism K-12 Educator Network Summit

Posted On Thursday November 02, 2023

As outlined in the District Strategic Plan 2022-2027, School District No. 73 (SD73) is committed to removing barriers and creating environments that provide accessible and empowering opportunities for all students and staff to thrive.

Over the last two years, SD73 has actively participated in a provincial working group to develop an anti-racism plan at the provincial level. Last spring, District Principal Bowden and Assistant Superintendent Mochikas presented on the anti-racism work they have been doing in SD73. They highlighted their efforts which included developing and purchasing resources, developing lessons, promoting student voice, reporting acts of racism, helping school teams respond to acts of racism, and developing videos to help educators understand components of discrimination and racism.

District Principal Bowden and Assistant Superintendent Mochikas undertook several key initiatives within SD73. They established an Aboriginal Student Leadership Council, and Student Equity Committee to provide a platform for students to share their experiences and perspectives, particularly focusing on those who also participated in the Student Diversity Summit, where 168 students in grades 6-12 convened to discuss their lived experiences with discrimination and racism.

“Student voice is an essential component of anti-racism as it empowers students to drive change, challenge institutional biases, and foster inclusive and equitable educational environments,” shared Director Bowden. “Nothing about us without us.”

They actively participated in coordinating an Indigenous Summit that brought together students from twelve different districts (SD73, SD53, SD19, SD67, SD22, SD23, SD74, SD58, SD83, SD73, SD8, SD93). The purpose of this gathering was to engage in discussions about racism, student mental health, and culture in schools and to collaborate on strategies for addressing this while empowering one another. They developed two videos, Aboriginal Leadership Council and Aboriginal Student Leadership Summit, geared towards educators. These videos stressed the importance of creating safe and inclusive spaces for Aboriginal students, allowing them to see themselves represented in their learning, and educating non-Aboriginal students about the true history of Canada.

The Aboriginal Student Leadership Council contributed to the planning of the Aboriginal/SOGI Mental Health Summit, an event that focused on the well-being and support of Aboriginal students, 2SLGBTQIA+ students, and their allies.

“I’m proud of the leadership SD73 students are providing to peers, educators and support staff. These students are helping District staff create more inclusive spaces where every student knows they are valued and can be proud of their identity,” said Assistant Superintendent Mochikas.

Educators and students from school districts across the province came together for the BC Anti-racism K-12 Educator Network Summit held on October 26-27, 2023. District Principal Bowden, along with Coordinator of Aboriginal Education Chelcy Ross and students Elli Ross, Mikey Friesen, and Dakoda Kelm, participated in this provincial event where they not only had the chance to listen to speakers and representatives from a few districts but also had the opportunity to make presentations themselves. They shared the two videos, talked about their experiences, and answered questions. All summit participants provided feedback after each session and this information will help shape the Ministry of Education and Child Care’s Anti-Racism Action Plan.

“The summit was very important to me as I knew it would make a difference despite how it was only two days. I'm glad I was given the chance to be there along with others who were passionate about anti-racism,” shared Elli Ross, Grade 9, School District No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson).

Thank you to Assistant Superintendent Mochikas and District Principal Bowden for creating an equitable and inclusive environment that prioritizes student well-being, providing a space for students to feel safe, have a voice, and be heard.

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