Celebrating Uniqueness Throughout the District: Diversity and Respect
February 27, 2023
Hearing different languages, learning about new cultures, and tasting food from around the world, were some of the activities in Langley schools as part of the District’s Diversity and Respect Week.
The annual initiative was established by the Board of Education in 2017 as a means “to coincide with Pink Shirt Day in February to promote awareness, acceptance, Reconciliation, and inclusion for all members of the school community.”
Jessica Bain, Co-Chair of the District’s 2SLGBTQ+ Committee, said this initiative is about celebrating our differences and who we are as individuals.
“This week is a way to celebrate all of our uniqueness, our 2SLGBTQ students, our Indigenous learners, our Diverse learners, and it’s just a way to celebrate and be proud of our uniqueness.”
To celebrate, the District, alongside the Langley School District Foundation, embarked on a few strategies to help foster an inclusive and nurturing culture in our community.
Blue diversity and respect themed T-shirts were provided to all SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) reps, GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) leaders, administrators, counsellors, and anyone that was on the 2SLGBTQ+ committee. Large maps of the world were created and sent to all schools with instructions to encourage students and staff to use pins or stickers to indicate where they or their family is from. Two packages of “World of Colour” crayons which contain colours of various skin shades, were also sent to Kindergarten classes to help them feel like they belong.
“This is a huge part of Langley School District: inclusion. So, we want our students to feel loved, and celebrated and cared for every day, not just Diversity and Respect Week,” added Bain.
Schools took on their own activities to celebrate the week. West Langley Elementary students took part in a read aloud of diversity themed books. Langley Meadows Community School invited students who speak different languages at home, to share some non-English words, in a school-wide assembly.
Students at Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary created ‘Heart of Hands’ posters containing individually coloured and decorated hands of every student in the school. A class of students at Willoughby Elementary learned a song in sign-language and performed for other classes during the week, as a show of support for inclusion.
Schools all over the District wore pink to highlight Pink Shirt Day, a day promoting anti-bullying and replacing it with kindness, empathy, and understanding for one another. Some schools such as Parkside Centennial Elementary held a pink T-shirt design contest to engage students.
With February being Black History Month, many schools also engaged in learning opportunities to celebrate the achievements and contribution of Black Canadians as well.
Please enjoy this slideshow and join us in celebrating Diversity and Respect Week: