Black Gold School Division


  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Wellbeing at Black Gold

    Posted on    Posted in BGSD, Black Gold School Division, Board, Featured, General, Trustee Column

    The Black Gold School Division’s Board of Trustees is proud of the rich diversity within our school communities, and we are committed to fostering educational environments where diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral to inspiring success in our schools. 

    “Diversity is what makes each of us unique,” said Board Chair Esther Eckert. “It’s an invitation to learn about one another. To echo Sir Winston Churchill’s quote: ‘Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common,’ so let’s celebrate it everyday.”

    “We believe that our differences are a source of creativity and strength, and we strive every day to embrace the diverse points of view within our Black Gold family to support students, staff, families and our community partners,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael Borgfjord. 

    To achieve this goal, the Board has directed the Administration to promote diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and wellness through individual, community, and systemic actions.

    Over the past few years, Black Gold has significantly increased its investment in supporting staff, continued funding for Wellness Instructional Teachers, and created a Division Lead Wellness Teacher position devoted solely to promoting staff wellness.

    The Division has also been offering professional development sessions with different DEI foci for teachers; created a “Be a Better Ally” professional book club; and brought in speakers to discuss various topics around inclusion and belonging.

    Employee Resource Groups have been formed, where members of underrepresented communities can come together in a safe space to connect, develop leadership skills, advocate for their needs, and educate others on their lived experiences. The groups are open to all employees.

    “We are working to amplify and elevate the voices of those who were traditionally underrepresented,” said the Division Lead Wellness Teacher Pam Verhoeff. “Our schools and facilities are filled with amazing people. By striving to create safe and inclusive spaces we not only support them to be their best and amplify their voices, but also attract others to the organization who embody our values.”

    Schools across the Division have gay-straight alliances and queer-straight alliances – peer support networks for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and their allies, which are run by students and supported by school staff. A requirement of the Education Act (Section 35.1), the groups help students overcome feelings of isolation and alienation that are a result of homophobic and transphobic bullying, and help them develop a sense of belonging in their schools.

    As well, school administrators are constantly striving to find ways to acknowledge, support and celebrate student and staff uniqueness through various cultural and social activities and events throughout the year.

    “An important priority of our school division is success for every student,” said Trustee Gary Hansen. “When students and school staff feel a sense of belonging, dignity and respect, students are more likely to achieve success.”

    “Black Gold is a place where you see students from all different backgrounds and walks of life, and all students are respected and valued for who they are,” said Vice Chair Angie Charpentier. “It is a wonderful feeling to be in a space where everyone is accepted and supported. This is what we all should see when walking into our diverse and inclusive schools.”

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