The North Vancouver School District is pleased to continue to share ways in which our school communities are recognizing Black History Month:
Photo submitted by Ridgeway Elementary.
At Ridgeway Elementary, students and staff are celebrating Black History Month by raising awareness, celebrating the contributions of Black British Columbians, and sharing story together.
Throughout the month, upper intermediate students will be raising awareness and educating the school community about Black History Month over the announcements each morning.
Along with teaching about the month itself, students will be sharing stories about the contributions of famous Black British Columbians such as Harry Jerome, a former Ridgeway student and Olympic runner, and William Allen Jones, B.C.'s first registered dentist.
They have also created bulletin boards throughout the two school buildings that highlight the powerful contributions of Black Canadians, including the work of Black authors.
Teacher-Librarian Mrs. Gallilee will be hosting virtual “read alouds" for both primary and intermediate students to share the work of Black authors and spark conversations about the importance of recognizing the contributions and struggles of Black Canadians.
At Argyle Secondary, students in Tiffany Drew's Life Skills Class collaborated to create a rap, which captured their learning on Martin Luther King Jr.
According to Ms. Drew, the students love to rap...and are very good at it. Students began their collaboration on Black Shirt Day, first researching Martin Luther King Jr., and then learning about flow, rhythm and rhyme.
The students really drove the project and in the process of collaboratively writing the rap, learned to use new technology, such as SoundCloud, and built layers of skills, including writing, collaboration and teamwork.
Photo submitted by Queen Mary Community Elementary.
Queen Mary Community Elementary
In their journey to better understand the contributions and struggles of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) Canadians, Queen Mary students have engaged in an abundance of learning opportunities and reflection this month, including taking part in virtual sessions with authors and community members.
Many classes have had the opportunity to take part in the “Black History Matters" sessions led by Giselle Clarke-Trenaman, production coordinator of Presentation House Theatre.
In addition to learning about Black history in Canada, students have had the opportunity to see representations of Black people through different media (books, toys, film, music, art etc.), and learn about modern Black community leaders on the North Shore and Greater Vancouver.
North Vancouver Administrators (NoVA)
As part of their professional growth, a group of NVSD administrators has committed to meeting regularly on Microsoft Teams and participating in open and honest dialogue around the book, How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi's.
Anti-racism is a process of identifying and actively opposing racism. It is about taking steps at the personal, community, and systemic level to eliminate racism. Anti-racism requires the ability to reflect on one's own bias and to think critically about what one sees around them. This group of NoVA members feel this is critical professional development for everyone within the school system.
How to be an Anti-Racist is both a memoir of Kendi's experiences and an examination of racism and its opposite, anti-racism. How to Be an Antiracist helps readers move from an awareness of the issues to the next step of creating and contributing to a just and equitable society.
Through its book club, NoVA members hope to develop a deeper understanding of racism and anti-racism, identify their own biases, and take meaningful action towards an antiracist future for students, staff, and communities.
As Kendi explains, "The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it — and then dismantle it."