Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives: September 2020
During the first week of September, our Grade 10-12 students participated in a Diversity session. The goal of this session was to discuss how our older students can be leaders by setting the tone for a school year of empathy and allyship. They talked about the importance of Land Acknowledgments, what it means to be an ally and how to create a safe and equitable community at Greenwood.
In our first House meeting, Greenwood House Captains introduced themselves using their pronouns. This initiative was entirely led by a Grade 12 student who feels passionately about allyship.
On September 18, all Greenwood staff participated in a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workshop. They discussed DEI goals for the 2020-2021 school year, including a couple of goals that have already been put in place: Holidays for all religious groups have been added to our school calendar and we have removed the name ‘Chief’ from our Greenwood mascot.
Staff also went through an overview of inclusive language. They talked about using first-person language and avoiding stereotypes and generalizations. Staff also reviewed the meaning of BIPOC and intersectionality, and went through a variety of educational resources to help better understand these concepts. They then discussed conversational intervention and broke out into groups to go over scenarios and discuss how to approach students who are using harmful language.
During the last week of September, Greenwood hosted a Week of Reconciliation. Students participated in Adviser sessions where they discussed the history of residential schools and the importance of reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples.
We welcomed two guest speakers as part of this week: Alexandra Biron ‘11 and Margaret Froh. Alexandra, a Greenwood alumna, spoke to the students about her role as the Manager of Deloitte Indigenous and her focus on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Margaret is the current President of the Métis Nation of Ontario; she spoke about the history of Métis culture and how everyone needs to work together to reflect on the history of Canada in order to spark conversations that will lead to a better future.
On September 30, Greenwood also recognized Orange Shirt Day. Students and staff wore orange to spread awareness about the impacts of residential schools. The Outdoor Education committee also led a talking circle during lunch.
There are two Professional Learning Development teams at Greenwood and both groups are working throughout the year DEI meaningfully into the curriculum, gathering feedback and ensuring that there is accountability. Our Admissions department is also participating in a workshop series focusing on the importance of demographic diversity in schools and on mitigating stereotype threat for BIPOC applicants.