Head of School’s Weekly Message
September 29, 2022
Dear UA Parents,
I am delighted to be writing my first Weekly Update as UA’s Associate Principal! Urban Academy is a thriving community of enthusiastic learners, engaged and supportive families and dedicated staff and I feel privileged to be a part of it.
This week marked the beginning of Jewish New Year festivities. Happy Rosh Hashanah to those who celebrate this occasion!
As most of you know, this week we commemorated Truth and Reconciliation. Students have been encouraged to enhance their understanding of First Peoples Cultures and history, the relationship between Indigenous and settler communities, and the impacts of colonialism and systemic racism in a variety of age-appropriate learning engagements.
It was amazing to see so many students and staff wearing orange to demonstrate their allyship in our assemblies this morning. In our K-5 assembly, led by students, our Junior School students showcased their learning and reflection through stories, songs and works of art in each grade.
In our 10-12 assembly, Senior students explored the legacy of residential schools, the intergenerational trauma, the importance of courageously confronting the past and the meaning of healing. Senior students are invited to start their own reflective process of creating their land acknowledgement in a way that’s both meaningful to them and calls for action.
At UA we strive to create enduring understandings in all areas of the curriculum and therefore learning about First Peoples goes way beyond land acknowledgement and Orange Shirt Day; it is an integral part of our teaching and learning throughout the year. In line with one of our school’s core values, service, students are taking action through a bottle drive initiative in order to raise money to provide safe drinking water to indigenous communities.
Family Involvement: We would also like to invite all UA families to support this initiative. You can do this by collecting bottles, cans and cartons in a clear bag (no need to sort them) to any Return-it-Express, punch our school phone number 604-524-2211 and put the generated label on the bag. Return-it-Express will automatically forward the funds to the UA Account. As our Grade 4 class shared this morning in a video they created, all money raised from now until the winter break will go to a clean water for indigenous communities initiative.
As with many topics that we learn about at school, we invite the families to continue the discussion. These could potentially be hard but essential conversations if we as a nation are going to move towards reconciliation; seeking truth begins with educating ourselves. These videos – one from CBC K for younger students, and the Indigenous Stories Collection for older students – can also be watched as a family and can serve as a starting point for discussions. We hope our families can also take advantage of the many events taking place around our communities tomorrow.