Students Help Us to Embrace Diversity in our Schools

Diversity is looking a little different at our schools thanks to the first ever Celebrating Diversity Conference.The conference, which included student-led break-out sessions and guest speakers, was held on May 9th at the London Convention Centre.

Diversity in education is important. Research shows that a school's environment and culture can have a major impact on a student's success.

"We knew that if we wanted to create better learning environments for our racially diverse students, then we needed to collect the perspectives of these students to inform our next steps," says Karen Edgar, superintendent at Thames Valley. "We felt the best way to do this was to hold a conferences where students could share their experiences."

The planning team consisted of 10 staff and 20 students. By engaging the students in the organization and implementation of the conference, the students were able to gain valuable leadership experience and have a real impact in the materials and design of the conference.

In total, 462 students and 51 staff representing 22 different schools participated in the day. The feedback will be used to design an action plan that will be rolled out in all schools. "This has the ability to greatly improve the learning cultures of schools, as the strategies that will be implemented are the direct result of students' desires and wishes, making them very authentic," states Karen.

The conference was an incredible opportunity to bring students and staff together in order to celebrate the rich diversity that exists in our schools. "It was inspiring to listen to students talk about how to encourage equity throughout Thames Valley," said Matt Serada, Learning Coordinator for Culture for Learning and Safe Schools. "The conference was a great reminder that differences should be celebrated and that the entire Thames Valley community is stronger when everyone is included and embraced."

To create a positive environment where students and teachers are respectful of different backgrounds, schools have to be proactive. It is hoped that the findings from the Celebrating Diversity Conference will help move Thames Valley toward a place where students of racialized identifies see themselves better reflected in the day to day culture of our schools.

Contact Us