Caption: Students participate in skit demonstrating equity
What’s the difference between equality and equity? What does it mean to create a welcoming, inclusive environment that contributes to success for every student?
These might seem like complicated concepts for primary and junior students to consider, but a recent assembly at West Lynn Public School included a skit focused on bringing them to the fore in a meaningful and relatable way.
“The purpose of our character education assembly was to show students that not everyone needs the exact same resources to be successful and to feel supported,” said Rob Weber, principal at West Lynn Public School. “The important thing is that each unique student has what they need to learn and thrive, and that will look different for everyone.”
To illustrate these concepts, staff put together a simple skit that examined what would happen if everybody at school was treated the same way, with a “band-aid” solution to accommodate their needs:
“Oh, hello! Welcome to my classroom. I like to treat everyone exactly the same. That way, no one should have any complaints and everyone should have a great day,” an in-character teacher explains.
“You have a papercut? Here’s a band-aid! Now we can get back to work.”
“You can’t read the smart board because the words look blurry? Here’s a band-aid for that, too!”
“You didn’t have enough food at lunch today and you’re feeling really hungry? Here’s a band-aid!”
“‘Je parle francais seulement, Je ne comprend pas l’angalis’… Hmm, you’re speaking French! I have no idea what you are saying, but here’s a band-aid for you, too!”
“You’re finding it noisy in this assembly, and feel really stressed out by it? No problem! I’ve got another band-aid.”
“You studied really hard and know all the answers to the test, but are having trouble reading the questions? Band-aid!”
After presenting the humorous dialogue, students were asked if everyone got what they needed to have a successful day at school.
“Noooooooo!” came the response from students.
They agreed that the student with the papercut got what they needed to continue their day of learning. However, when it came to ensuring the other students had what they needed, it was clear that a one-size-fits-all approach didn’t work. They’d received equal – but not equitable – treatment, and that didn’t add up to an inclusive school environment.
Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan emphasizes Equity, and West Lynn Public School’s assembly vividly brings this concept to life. With a focus on promoting practices that help students, families, and staff feel safe, welcomed, and included, West Lynn’s approach allows students to be agents of change by empowering them with knowledge.
Following the assembly, students were invited to go back to their classrooms to talk about the kinds of help that could be provided to each of the other students whose situations weren’t helped by a band-aid.
Now that’s success for every student.