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National Award for Communications on SOGI

The Burnaby School District has been recognized by the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education for a SOGI Awareness Campaign. The national awards program honours outstanding performance in school public relations, communications, marketing and engagement.

Communications Manager Dana Bales created the campaign to support and build awareness of the deliberate work the District is doing to make students of all sexual orientations and gender identities feel welcome at school, as well as to provide clarity around SOGI in Burnaby Schools. Creative and inviting supporting materials were designed by Communications Specialist Carrie Sera, and are proudly displayed in all of our schools.

The campaign was multi-pronged and intended to inform families and the community, as well as to celebrate the work and activities of staff and students. At the heart of it was a new web page and a downloadable Frequently Asked Questions document that provides clear information about what SOGI – Sexual Orientation Gender Identity – is and is not in Burnaby Schools. Other examples include:

  • bookmarks to every student K-12 (more than 24,000) that lead people to the website to learn more about the SOGI policy and related resources
  • rainbow posters and stickers for our schools that celebrate diversity as part of the fabric of who we are
  • an opinion editorial in The Georgia Straight where the Burnaby Board of Education Board Chair Gary Wong sets out what SOGI means in our schools

Burnaby has been a leader amongst districts in SOGI work. The Board was one of the first to enact a SOGI policy: a full five years before the Ministry of Education required all schools in BC to have SOGI and anti-bullying policies.

Two specialty teachers lead all of the SOGI work with students and staff in collaboration with a district SOGI Committee, which includes trustee and senior-level support. Together, they work to create inclusive learning environments where all students feel safe, supported and welcome.

Bales and Sera received the communications award in October at a ceremony that took place in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Read the story in the Burnaby Now.

Learn more.

Posted November 2019