A Community Where Every Spirit Soars. Those are the words that make up our beautiful Southridge vision statement. It is a lofty goal, rooted deep in our 27-year history. Creating and sustaining an environment where every spirit soars does not happen by chance. It requires continuous organizational commitment and leadership through annual strategic planning and action. This ambitious aim of inclusion and belonging requires buy-in and support from the entire community. Resources need to be properly allocated to ensure that everyone feels safe, connected, and cared for. And even with all these things in place, we may never truly get there. Will every spirit always be soaring? The idealist in me says yes, but the realist in me says, probably not. Vision statements are designed to be aspirational. If they were easily achievable, they would not be worth pursuing. Our vision statement keeps us focused and moving forward, constantly striving to improve so that spirits can soar academically, athletically, artistically, and socially!
In the relentless pursuit of our vision, I am happy to highlight that Southridge is embarking down a path of Pluralism. Supported by the Board of Governors and embedded in our strategic plan, Pluralism at its core is the belief that there is value in recognizing, valuing, and respecting our differences. How we do those things as an organization is what this focus is all about.
Here is a partial explanation from the Global Centre for Pluralism (pluralism.ca) that I often come back to.
I like to swap the word society with the word school when I read this statement:
In an ongoing commitment to become a better organization, Southridge is embracing Pluralism in a number of ways. As I have already mentioned, we are supporting this work with the support of the Board of Governors and with appropriate resources as identified in our annual strategic action plan. Also, a number of our school based teams have worked with diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice professionals over the past couple of years to improve our individual and collective understanding about some of the issues that students and school communities are wrestling with today. We have focused on intercultural fluency and have offered active bystander training to many of our students and staff. We have partnered with Ms. Rosetta Lee, a Pluralism educator and consultant from Seattle, Washington. She helped us with the formation of our school’s first Pluralism Standing Committee. Our Pluralism committee met for the first time in September 2021 and will be undertaking everything from Pluralism Statement development to policy review in our inaugural year.
Over the coming years, our school will commit more of our time, our resources, and our strategic attention towards Pluralism. We will continue to leverage the strength of our diversity and become the community where every spirit soars. That is what Southridge is all about.
Contributed by Darren Jones, Assistant Head of School
Originally published in Spirit Magazine - Fall 2021
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post which includes some student committee members' reflections...