Reconciliation and Anti-Black Racism

It is with great thanks for the knowledge, advocacy, and work of parents, students, educators, and members of the Black community that we can demonstrate our commitment to reconciliation and anti-Black racism in our school district and City! 

The following motion was unanimously passed by the Vancouver School Board: 


The rationale for this motions is as follow: 

We are still discussing the removal of the CRM that commemorates CR who said, and I quote, “the native should be treated as a child” referring to black indigenous people of Africa. CR influenced  Adolf Hitler in his implementation of one of the largest mass genocidal killings in modern history. The Guardian newspaper said that, “Rhodes was the quintessential racist, British supremacist and imperialist.” He wanted British territory to extend from tip to tip of Africa so that no British person would have to step on soil tarnished by black Africans. His private army was responsible for the murder of, 60,000 black people that we know of. He reintroduced torture as a form of punishment for untold black labourers. 

This plaque was put up at the school without board approval in the first place. The school PAC voted more than a year ago to have the plaque taken down. Recently, the local paper published an article with VSB personnel on record citing the plaque as neutral and educational. It is with great thanks to parents and many community members, especially the Black community for their education and analysis, for bringing this issue to our attention, thank you for your commitment to building community together.  

On Friday, National Indigenous Peoples Day, our district held a ceremony for the raising of three house poles, one of which we call the reconciliation pole. The phrase Truth and Reconciliation, one that we use quite often in our District, originated in South Africa as a result of a long and terrible history of Apartheid in that country. As Chief Robert Joseph reminded us on Friday, T&R belongs to each of us. 

There is no argument, no speech made at a committee meeting, no sense of “respecting alumni” or honouring the past, that would or should compel us to keep this plaque. We should be rushing to take it down, rushing to protect our students, staff and parents from the inevitable confusion when they realize their school has lionized this terrible man and obliged them to play in the shadow of his name. Most disappointingly, we obliged our black community members to sit through meetings where a plaque representing a racist imperialist bigot who would rather they be second class citizens, was debated. I wasn’t there, but I know from discussions with many who have approached me since, that it was truly painful.

What to do now? How do we move forward in a way that honours the lived experience of Black students, staff and community members and their allies. How do we, at the same time, help to acknowledge the past, both of Cecil Rhodes and the colonial past of our country as well as the wonderful experience many hundreds of students have had moving through that school over the years? How do we lead a just and equitable future? 

Well, I believe the answer is simple. 

Any further upholding of the CRM is upholding colonialism and white supremacy in direct conflict with a global movement and with our own commitment to Reconciliation and anti-Black Racism. Unless we pass this motion, we will continue to cause pain to students, parents, staff, and our community who have told us in no uncertain terms what their guidance on this issue is. Take the sign down. 

The following motion was also unanimously adopted by the Board: 

  1. That the VSB acknowledge the systems failure that have allowed this plaque to go debated by school staff and board members as neutral, historic, and educational; and 
  2. that the VSB report on how this monument was placed on the grounds of L’Ecole Billingue in 2017 including information about the decision-makers, full invoices and contractors; and
  3. the VSB present a plan for reconciliation with the BIPOC community, PAC, admin, educators, trustees, and students in order to take responsibility and reconcile; and 
  4. at our next meeting initiate the revision of our re-naming policy and to use a lens of Reconciliation and anti-racism to guide this work. 

Watch the news footage here: 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/cecil-rhodes-sign-removed-vancouver-elementary-1.5188635

 

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Kingsgate Mall and Schools

Why Selling Kingsgate Mall Would be Bad for Vancouver Schools, and the City

Read more HERE! 

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The Power of Parents and Guardians

T's story:

When I first started elementary school, I was very excited to be a student because it’s my first time to go to school. In elementary school, I started in grade 6 for three months then I went to grade 7. At that time I was not a shy person. I liked to learn and talk to other people which I did not do in English that much. Only words how to said "HI, How are you?" And "what’s your name?". It’s very hard for me to communicate with the teachers and the students that much. Learning all the new subjects was very hard for me. I could not read or write a single words even in my own language as well. The thing I worry about was learning how to write And speak, which I did not learn in the grade 1 but starting everything at grade 7 .

My parents weren’t really involved in my school activities. They themselves also could not understand what is it like to be in school as a kids. Going to school without not knowing any background about school is difficult. I have no one to look up to during that time and also my parents as well. I didn’t give up on learning and I still like to learn more even though I am still behind all of the other students. It’s like I am in a cocoon that could not get out. I keep on trying to find my way and I learned that, everyone have their own time to find what they want to successfully become.

"A parent/guardian is entitled to be informed, in accordance with the orders of the minister, of the student's attendance, behaviour and progress in school, and...to belong to a parents' advisory council or PAC. For more information, check out this resource by clicking HERE."

I have learned so much about our city through parents and guardians - educational programming, childcare, out-of-school-care, equity, facilities, budget, process, transportation, food programs, and the list goes on. Parents and guardians play a special role in schools and I have been lucky to be a part of discussions such as how a PAC can help schools work towards equity for all students. I learned that parents and guardians are involved with PACs to varying degrees over the K-12 period of their children's lives. From events and fundraising to leading conversations on equity - these parents and guardians are committed.

Meeting so many dedicated parents and guardians over the last several months has reminded me of the children and youth whose parents/guardians, for a variety of reasons, aren't able to be involved as much. What happens to the experience and voice of those children, youth and their families?

PACs, the Board of School Trustees, are a representation of parents, adults, and community members, but are not representative of all parents, adults, and community members. conversations about an equity anywhere that they happen, are critical reminders of our role to support all children, educators, and parents While this is no small task, it helps to remember who is not at the tables we sit at and to do all we can to seek their input.

 

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Long Range Facilities Plan

YOU ASKED! 

So what is a LRFP? 

LRFP is a Long Range Facilities Plan - The goal of the LRFP is to, "provide a mechanism for districts to demonstrate they are managing facilities in an effective, economic and efficient way in support of educational goals." In Vancouver we provide an annual update to the LRFP due to our large-scale of seismic projects. So far we have

31 new schools
77 not upgraded yet for 41,500 seats 
62/77 are high risk 
15/77 are low to medium risk

What is the timeline? 

The first full draft of the LRFP can be found here. 

How do I share feedback? 

You can email: LRFP@vsb.bc.ca

Talk to your elected officials like Trustees, MLAs, Councillors, and others! 

Come to March 7th DPAC Session that is posted here: 

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/long-range-facilities-plan-qa-tickets-56364456607

Want to know more? 

Attend the upcoming Facilities Committee Meeting: 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Facilities Planning Committee

1580 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC, Canada

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Room 114 (Boardroom), Vancouver School Board Education Centre

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Seismic and Consultations

Guess What!

I want to hear from you! When you have ideas and initiatives to improve public education there are many ways to connect with others who care:

- attend meetings - if you can't join in-person, join online or stream later DETAILS HERE

- submit questions at meetings - be prepared as you are required to write your question, ask for help with writing your question if you need it! 

- be a delegation at meetings - submit your request HERE

- email your Trustees! jennifer.reddy@vsb.bc.ca 

- join a cool crew like OneCity 

Seismic - You Asked!

 

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Basic Safety Reminders

"...we need to lift each other up." - Teachers share their tips for helping students practice creating safe and inclusive learning spaces for each other - learn more here: 14 Teachers On How They Spread Love In The Classroom. 

Some quick safety tips from your schools as school starts up in 2019. Please share with your friends, siblings, parents, grand-parents, and caregivers - this is important: 

  1. Walk to and from school with your parent/ caregiver, friend, or a group of friends.
  2. Avoid talking with adults who are not known to you. 
  3. Always tell a trusted adult, such as a parent or member of the school staff, about any unusual or suspicious activities.

For further resources or information visit Canadian Center for Child Protection.

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Purpose Within the Origins of Education in Vancouver

Origins of Education in Vancouver  

Living in Vancouver, I have access to many things: education, literature, people from different social circles, and histories of the place in which I live. I’m revelling in my ability to access and read critical pieces of work like Journeys of Hope,

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Indigenous Education, School & Community Conversations, ELL, Anti-Racism

Indigenous Education - Process Matters 

My very first smudge with District Vice Principal Chas Desjarlais was grounding and thought-provoking. A strong case for the power of public education when considering the impact of 7 generations of residential schools and the role of public education today and into the future. As Trustees, we play a critical role in Kwayeskastasowin (Koy-As-Kas-Tah-Soh-Win), setting things right when there has been a break in relations. We must focus on the process as it is the key to how we move forward. 

#7, #10 and #62 Calls to Action are a great place to align any of our actions and plans. I look forward to exercising this responsibility as a part of the Indigenous Education work at the VSB. 

Warm Welcomes at Templeton 

I was invited to Templeton Secondary (one of my liaison schools) and was greeted by a caring and creative school of administrators, teachers, support workers, and students from a variety of backgrounds. A library bustling with spaces for everyone including a Makers Studio for students to work on any projects, 33% female-identifying students in STEM programming, and a lunch-hour student forum on safe use of technology - this school is inspiring and I am proud to be a part of the community. 

ELL Consortium 

ELL stands for English Language Learning. Due to the passion and interest of ELL educators in Metro Vancouver, this Consortium gathers to share challenges and solutions to meeting the complex needs and strengths of ELL students. What kind of support is available in K-12 and later in Adult Education? What support is needed? Schools are sometimes the only connection point for newcomers, how are we welcoming and settling newcomers? ELL learners have similar needs to children their age including a desire to feel safe, belong, connect, play, develop skills, however, some ELL learners face unique challenges as well. 

Contact Your Trustees!

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your hopes and challenges within public education. The plate of public education is full and the good news is that you have a highly capable team of educators that are creative and thoughtful.

Because you reached out, we were able to discuss the VSB's anti-racism policy at the last Student Learning & Well-Being Committee. It was decided that stakeholders including union representatives engage their members in a discussion about what we want to know more about when it comes to anti-racism resources in the district. Stay tuned for more details! You can see the discussion by CLICKING HERE

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Committee Assignments, Internal and External Liaison Assignments, Policies

POLICIES

YOU ASKED - What is the role of the Trustee? 

The role of the Trustee is to contribute to the Board as it carries out its legislated mandate. The oath of
office taken by each Trustee when he or she assumes office binds that person to work diligently and
faithfully in the cause of public education. A Trustee must first and foremost be concerned with the
interests of the school Board. Read More HERE

The mission of the Vancouver School Board is:

To enable students to reach their intellectual, social, aesthetic and physical potential in challenging and stimulating settings which reflect the worth of each individual and promote mutual respect, cooperation and social responsibility.

YOU ASKED - What is the District's Anti-Racism Policy? 

The District has a Non-Discrimination Policy which can be found HERE

YOU ASKED - What is with all the acronyms? 

Yes, I will work on using plain language, thank you for the reminder. 

 

COMMITTEES

I am pleased to be your Chair of the: 

STUDENT LEARNING AND WELL-BEING COMMITTEE

The purpose of the Student Learning and Well-Being Committee is to review student learning and well-being indicators, and where warranted, provide recommendations to the Board. The four trustee members of the Committee and stakeholder representatives work together to review key documents supporting the Education agenda including the Strategic Planning Accountability Report, the Student Learning Accountability Report and the Student Well-Being Accountability Report.

In addition, I am pleased to be  your Trustee Liaison for:

University Hill Secondary and University Hill and Norma Rose Point Elementary Schools

and

Templeton Secondary and Franklin, Garibaldi, Hastings, Lord, Xpey’, Nelson, and Tillicum Elementary Schools

Find out who your Trustee is HERE

Finally, I will be your Trustee Liaison for the following: 

Indigenous Education Committee (AEEAI&M)

Children, Youth and Families Advisory Committee

The English Language Learning (ELL) Consortium is an advocacy group of Trustees and staff from a variety of districts who work in the area of ELL. The group aims to bring attention and support to immigrant and refuge students and their families including the protection of Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS), Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC), and the varied levels of support for newcomers such as those in the Skilled Labour class.

Find out who your Trustee Liaison for Administrative and External Committees is HERE

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Seismic Upgrades, Facilities and Planning, and Orientation

  1. This week, we started to learn about a) seismic upgrades, b) committees, and c) policy manuals.
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