Two middle school students holding paper, smiling. Chief Dan George - Superintendent Newsletter MAR 2024

Cultivating Caring Citizens at Chief Dan George

March 15, 2024

Why do people hate? Because they’ve been hated? Or are they hurt? These are some of the important questions students at Chief Dan George Middle are trying to answer, digest and unpack as they explore anti-racism, equity and diversity. This school year, our focus has been on accepting and understanding each other’s cultures and diverse backgrounds by building community in our classrooms. Students have had many opportunities to engage in reflection and action in social-emotional learning to be better citizens.

We began the year with a bingo challenge for our staff. Each row of our bingo represents one of the 5 CASEL competencies:  self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships and responsible decision-making. We’ve included lessons from “Ensouling our Schools,” the BC Anti-Racism Guide for Teachers and activities from our district’s equity framework. As teachers completed the lesson or activity, they could earn a star on the bingo and eventually win a prize for their classroom. Our most successful activities included creating a classroom charter with students, breathing exercises, and learning about the brain and spirit buddies (2 minutes of connection). Some of our more complex bingo boxes included lessons about anti-racism.

Mrs. Boon’s class just completed their second module on anti-racism, which was all about hate. What is it? Is it the opposite of love? Students learned where hate stems from, like feelings of jealousy and frustration and how this can have an impact on those around us. The students walked into their classroom to find different quotes about hate, tolerance and racism on the walls. They took the time to circulate and read them all and then chose the quote that impacted them the most. They had to answer four questions in response to the quote, which led to rich discussions. One student realized that “it’s more important for me to spend time with people that I love and that love me for who I am,” and another expressed, “It’s not good to hate people because it could lead you to do bad things.” Anti-racism (un-hating) is as easy as smiling at someone in the hallway as you pass them by; easy enough?

Mrs. Boon creates our anti-racism modules with the help of Mrs. Tang and Mrs. Ofeimu. They constructed three units for our staff, and we were able to pepper some of their lessons into our bingo. Mrs. Boon feels that there are so many resources on this topic, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. “My hope in creating this is to remove that barrier and provide staff with detailed lesson plans (that are adaptable based on your students) that allow for choice and tackle this topic with sensitivity and respect.” We appreciate their work and are fortunate to have a great resource for our students now. How are you tackling these sensitive topics?

Chief Dan George Middle School