School District 57 trustees and administrative spent the past weekend reviewing and replying to all forms of feedback they received after last week’s motion was carried to “engage in a process” to rename the newly-constructed Kelly Road Secondary School as Shas Ti, a Dakelh word meaning grizzly trail.
The motion has kicked off a firestorm of opposition in the community, which has included two rallies opposing the name … one by Kelly Road students on Wednesday and one by Hart community members on Saturday … and an online petition with more than 10,000 signatures.
“The board and administrative staff are committed to reading and responding to every call and email, and completed this over the weekend,” said Tim Bennett, board chair, in a news release. “We were informed by the comments, many of which came from students who were unhappy about the process to date, but already had creative suggestions for moving forward together.”
This week, the Schools Superintendent Anita Richardson and Deputy Superintendent Cindy Heitman will be visiting Kelly Road classrooms to “listen to students, acknowledge their voice and agency in the situation and upcoming participatory process.”
Richardson wants to meet with students who may not be opposed to the name change.
“Last week, some students felt compelled to choose protest to voice their feelings,” said Richardson. “We feel strongly that we need to give all students the ability to share their thoughts and feelings while we are here to listen. We will do that be making ourselves available to them in their classrooms.”
Richardson and Heitman will also be participating in a staff meeting for KRSS teachers this week where staff will be able to ask questions and “understand their role in the process moving forward.”
“For staff at Kelly Road, this motion was also a surprise,” said Richardson. “We’ve been told that the ambiguity of the motion has been the most difficult for people, because they are looking to see how they can engage in the process of providing feedback. We want to ensure they also feel supported and heard throughout this process. That’s why we’re working quickly to ensure purposeful opportunities are provided for students, staff, alumni and the public to participate.”
The school district has established a feedback email: firstname.lastname@example.org and has updated Q&A section on its website. More details on the engagement process and opportunities for participation will be announced before spring break.