News & Musings
Catherine Rockandel and Richmond School District win IAP2 2017 Core Values Award for Respect for Diversity, Inclusion, and Culture
Catherine Rockandel and School District 38 (Richmond) accepted the International Association for Public Participation 2017 Core Values Award for Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture at the National Conference in Denver Colorado. The public engagement process "Our Schools, Our Students, Our Future - Lets Talk SD 38" included in person and online engagement through Engagement HQ.
A key strategy was to build the capacity of students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 to lead conversations in their schools and community. Students that spoke over 20 different languages in addition to English and representing schools and neighbourhoods throughout the School District participated in facilitation and communication workshops. These students continue to use these skills facilitating conversations amongst their peers, at University and in their community.
The engagement process also developed partnerships with immigrant and settlement services, public health, and community organizations to build awareness and understanding about the engagement process and provide workshops on how to participate in public engagement processes including providing input into online surveys and understanding complex issues.
In supporting the nomination Belinda Boyd, Leader, Community Engagement, Vancouver Coastal Health had this to say: “From the start of the engagement process School District No. 38 demonstrated their intent to engage openly and meaningfully with the community to seek input and inform difficult decisions. They demonstrated a commitment to accountability by informing the community of the challenges that they faced, related to budget constraints and pending school closures, and engaged the community in an inclusive process to seek solutions.
The engagement methodologies chosen for engagement were varied and innovative, facilitating access and drawing to the process a diverse constituency. Within a community that has over 60% of its population originating from Asian countries, and speaking mainly Cantonese and Mandarin, they were diligent in creating opportunities for multiple methods of engagement in multiple languages. This approach resulted in participation from a large number of impacted community members and ensured that all those who wanted to participate in the process, and have their voice heard, was able to do so.
They used a collaborative approach, reaching out to community partners and asked their support to spread awareness and ensure that knowledge of the process was widespread and inclusive.
Their efforts to provide multiple opportunities and methods for engagement, and their openness in sharing the challenges faced, resulted in fostering a trust relationship with the community and ensuring that those impacted would be prepared, informed and fully engaged in the decision making process.
In the field of education, where limited resources and growing demands are the norm, this process has had a profound influence on how School District No. 38 makes decisions in the future. They have benefitted from this dialogue and recognize how meaningful engagement has positively impacted the community and will engender further consultation and collaborative decision making.”