Our middle school team has embarked on a journey of learning, engaging in conversations and professional development centered on the relationship between faith, sexuality, and identity. We are seeking to understand together. We have some rich professional learning planned for the year ahead as we seek to find developmentally effective and healthy ways to teach the prescribed health education curriculum well and help emerging teens and young adults navigate the questions they have about faith, identity and sexuality.
Our draft welcome statement – designed to capture key themes of the Gospel and declare who we intentionally welcome and invite into our school community – highlights the importance of how we, as a Christian learning community, are attempting to take on the posture of Jesus in the work we do with the youth we’ve been entrusted to work with, and who in many cases are asking important questions about their future and who God created them to be. We know that the research is strong that students who are more vulnerable or marginalized in these years because of how they identify and see themselves, are at greater risk of self-harm, depression and illness if they are not welcomed, cared for and understood.
Welcome. We are a Christian teaching and learning community that celebrates the diversity of our students as part of God’s design and intention for the world. We aspire to be a place of belonging and connection, and a people who model our lives on Christ, seeking justice, reconciliation and restoration by learning from and welcoming the vulnerable and marginalized. We strive to be a place that educates and equips ourselves, students and families, to be understanding of difference and embody dignity, respect, grace and God’s unconditional love.(Draft Welcome Statement, June 2021)
The approach we are taking as a staff in our professional learning is to seek first to listen and understand, establish a high duty of care and love for all students, and to create a learning environment in which we can all find the first source of our identity in our shared faith. As a school whose mission it is to prepare students for impact in a changing world, understanding the complexity of diversity in our school and community is vitally important work for administrators, educators, board members and families.
We invite you to listen to this podcast from Berkley Glazer (Middle School Principal), Dave McVety (Middle/High Counsellor), and Kevin Mirchandani (K-12 Director of Instruction and Christian Foundations) as they explore how to approach this topic as a Christian school. They highlight some of their recent learning and what it means to be faithful and engaged in the topics our students are bringing into their relationships and classrooms.