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Got an opinion about anti-racism and equity in New West schools? Focus groups are coming in June

Focus groups follow a School District 40 survey that drew more than 1,200 responses
The New Westminster school district is continuing its work on an anti-racism action plan with focus groups set for June.

The New Westminster school district is forging ahead with its anti-racism efforts.

The district recently concluded a survey on issues surrounding anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion. Superintendent Karim Hachlaf said the district heard from more than 1,200 respondents, including parents, students and staff.

“It’s been a huge year. We have reached out to our community for engagement, and really a huge note of gratitude for the level of participation our community has provided us,” he said at the May 25 school board meeting.

The survey results will be analyzed by Bakau Consulting, the firm engaged by the school district to lead the creation of an anti-racism framework.

Bakau Consulting will now move on to hosting focus groups for district stakeholders, Hachlaf noted.

One-hour-long virtual sessions are coming in June to solicit input about what equity, diversity and inclusion looks like in New Westminster schools.

“It’s important that we hear from a wide range of voices that represent the whole community,” the district said in a call for participants. “All voices, opinions and experiences will be respected and valued for the contribution to our wider understanding.”

Sessions for parents and community members are set for Tuesday, June 8 and Wednesday, June 9.

The survey and focus groups are part of the first phase of the district’s plan to create an anti-racism framework. In that first phase, the consultants are also reviewing the district's policies and procedures and examining its approach to social media and communications.

The information gathered from all that work will be taken to the district’s anti-racism steering committee, which has been set up to guide the process. Ultimately, it will help to inform the creation of an anti-racism action plan – including curriculum for district schools and training for staff.

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