The theme of Diversity and Belonging has long been a topic of conversation among the Lycée’s Board of Directors. After ongoing discussion, the Board has decided to create a committee dedicated to these critical efforts. The goal of this committee is to support the Board (and Lycée as a whole) with matters of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion/Inclusivity, Anti-racism, Indigeneity, Social Justice, and Human Rights.
The Diversity and Belonging committee aims to help all Lycée community members develop a deep appreciation for diversity and to celebrate differences. While these initiatives place students at the forefront, they also consider the experiences and learning of teachers, administrators, school staff, parents, community members, and other key educational stakeholders. To achieve this goal, we believe it is important to cherish similarities and purposefully make space for multiple perspectives. This means nurturing and promoting a culture of mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation of diversity through learning about varied worldviews, so that every student at the school can have an advocate who sees them for who they truly are.
As part of our mission, we believe that students (and the broader Lycée community) can collectively work toward creating a more equitable and just society that fully respects the human rights of diverse individuals and communities. In this sense, we see the work of Diversity and Belonging at the Lycée as an individual and shared responsibility. We also believe that fostering a community that is inclusive, where all Lycée students feel a sense of belonging, will help them thrive in their academic journey and personal growth.
Indeed, students who are in a position to preserve their distinct identities function with greater peace and productivity.
Our committee’s work includes a multiple-pronged approach, centered on a) an appreciation for the French language and its associated culture, b) an understanding of diversity that prioritizes inclusivity and ways in which it can foster belonging, and c) a commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.
At the Lycée, the French language is valued as a means of expression and communication. It represents a common experience among students, educators, and families within the Lycée community, since about 70% of our students’ learning happens in French with French teachers certified by the French government. Our students do not only speak the language, but also take part in the French culture.
We recognize that diversity is broad, complex, and multi-faceted. As such, we see diversity as inclusive, where each student is in a position to decide what factors are most salient to them at any given point in time, as they progress through childhood and adolescence. Aspects of identity include, but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, spirituality, language, ability, body size, nationality, Indigenous ancestry, immigration status, social class, and the manner in which these factors are interrelated. We see diversity as an opportunity for increased learning and broader perspectives in our global community.
By promoting diversity in this inclusive manner, we hope to create environments, structures, and programs where educators, learners, and their families feel like they belong and are welcomed. This sense of belonging is an essential step towards ensuring that the Lycée is responsive to the rich diversity in terms of ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc. that is represented at the school, among families, and within the broader community.
Given the importance of Indigenous peoples – their histories, values, and worldviews in Canada – the Lycée supports implementing the Calls to Action put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which are applicable to schools. This includes teaching about residential schools and their lasting legacy, as well as Indigenous ways of knowing and relating. We strive to work toward this goal in a way that is sustainable, personalized, and meaningful to our diverse student body, and the broader Lycée community.