On February 22, schools from across our District took part in Pink Shirt Day. For those who are unfamiliar with Pink Shirt Day, it started in Nova Scotia in 2007. After a student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt, two boys decided to support him by getting as many other boys to wear pinks shirts as they could. The effort was a huge success and the bullying stopped.
Since that day in 2007, the movement has spread across North America. Speaking out against bullying remains an important issue, and I’m happy to see so many students and staff members participate in Pink Shirt Day each year.
In a way, the anti-bullying message behind Pink Shirt Day is at the core of what we do in our schools. Public education is a reflection of the best principles of inclusion. We’re here for the children and families who need us, no matter who they are or where they come from. No matter their ability or their background, we have a place for them.
Whether a child is reading below their grade level, or at or above grade level, there’s a place for them in our classrooms. Whether a child is an elite athlete or has significant special needs and is supported by an educational assistant at all times, there’s a place for them in our classrooms. Whether a child has trouble staying focused or is a self-starter whose enthusiasm we can hardly contain, there’s a place for them in our classrooms.
No matter their race, religion (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, gender identity or family background, there’s a place for them with us. No matter who our students are or what they need, we’ll make sure they have supports in place to unleash their potential and help them succeed in school and beyond. That’s public education. That’s who we are. And that’s why I’m so proud to be a part of Edmonton Public Schools.
Speaking of a place for everyone, school open houses started recently. If you’re registering a child who is new to our District or if you have a child who will be making the transition from elementary to junior high or junior high to high school, open houses are a great way to learn about a school and see if it’s the right fit for your child.
Many of our schools host open houses between February and April each year. This is your chance to tour the school, get a feel for the school’s culture and atmosphere, and learn about the programs and activities available. Attending an open house is also an opportunity to speak to students, teachers, other school staff and parents. You may even hear from students about what it’s like to be a student at that school.
I can assure you that your child will receive an excellent education no matter what school you choose. Whether they walk to a neighbourhood school or travel to another area of the city to attend an alternative program, they’ll find a safe, welcoming place to grow and learn.