International Pronouns Day is among the events being marked by School District 8. Illustration: Shutterstock

International Pronouns Day is among the events being marked by School District 8. Illustration: Shutterstock

School District 8 initiatives mark LGBTQ+ History Month

Pronouns and SOGI are among this year’s priorities

Submitted by School District 8

Celebrating and acknowledging diversity in our schools is now more important than ever before. The Kootenay Lake School District is committed to providing excellence for all learners in a nurturing environment, and one that respects each person’s unique identity, values, beliefs and traditions.

As a district we are committed to many initiatives to further support diversity in our schools. Did you know:

This October, as a district we are celebrating LGBTQ+ History month to help bring further awareness to gender diversity. Video content, biographies and other resource links are available on all school websites to learn more about the achievements of LGBTQ+ icons and their contributions throughout history. Learn more:

On Oct. 21st the District celebrated International Pronouns Day. Asking and correctly using someone’s pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity. District staff has begun to add personal pronouns to their email signatures to help further create awareness about why pronouns matter. Check out the video links and resources on our website:

Our teachers and staff at Kootenay Lake school district are learning about how to support diversity and inclusivity through professional development opportunities. The well-attended Pro-D workshop provided by the ARC Foundation, an innovator in SOGI inclusive education, was one such opportunity that was offered to staff this fall.

Scott Rothermel, manager of safe schools at SD8 commented, “It’s important we start with building awareness and increase education around sexual orientation and gender identity in order to make our school environments more inclusive and safe.”

Rothermel is working to establish a SOGI adult lead at all the schools in the school district. That individual’s role will be to be an ally to the student LGBTQ+ community and they will work with him to lead additional education pieces. “I am working towards having a SOGI lead summit, to bring these people together to help build further capacity in the district,” said Rothermel.

Developing policies and upholding them to these values is another way in which the district can support diversity and inclusivity. Read our Policy 330 – Sexual Orientation Gender Identity

In addition, more than a dozen bathrooms district wide are on track for new gender-neutral bathroom designation and signage. A rainbow tile project is well underway at Wildflower school in Nelson and other schools are looking into rainbow paint projects to help support diversity and inclusivity.

“Mostly, we want to create a safe place for our students, one that is without judgement,” said Rothermel.