Frank Spragins High School Where Everyone Belongs

News Release: Frank Spragins Becomes the First and Only McMurray School to Achieve Rainbow Space Designation

News Release: Frank Spragins Becomes the First and Only McMurray School to Achieve Rainbow Space Designation

Principal James Hayward (centre) with Pride YMM's Tammy Lockyer (left) and Kelli StewartPrincipal James Hayward (centre) with Pride YMM's Tammy Lockyer (left) and Kelli Stewart

(Fort McMurray, AB, October 28, 2021) Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD) is proud to announce Frank Spragins Public High School has become the first and only school in Fort McMurray to achieve Rainbow Space designation. The announcement was made on October 26, 2021 by Pride YMM during a ceremony at the school.

“Pride YMM’s Rainbow Spaces initiative promotes and fosters safer and more inclusive spaces, organizations, and businesses. Organizations and businesses which have taken specific steps outlined by the initiative receive Rainbow Spaces designation and receive public recognition for their commitment to LGBTQ2S+ inclusion.”

                                                    

 

The school began the process last May when Principal James Hayward was inspired by a virtual panel discussion on LGBTQ2S+ Inclusion for Teachers hosted by ATA Local 48. 

“At that event, one of the panelists discussed the Rainbow Spaces initiative from Pride YMM. As soon as I heard about it, I knew that as a staff we needed to strive to make Frank Spragins a Rainbow Space, because it completely aligns with our mission as an outreach school. We have many LGBTQ2S+ students, and many who have endured great hardship as a result of this. Many have come to Frank Spragins for that reason specifically - they felt that Frank Spragins would be a safe space for them to complete their public education and be a valued part of a school community,” notes Hayward.

“Becoming a Rainbow Space is a way for us to fill this need in a more formalized fashion so that it is known ALL students are welcome at Frank Spragins. We are so proud to be able to say that we are the first and only school in Fort McMurray to be given the Rainbow Space designation! It is our hope that this announcement inspires other schools in the Municipality to begin their journey towards becoming a Rainbow Space as well,” he added. 

Brooke McMillan, Pride YMM Vice Chair & Training Director worked with the school staff for the designation. She shares:

“Frank Spragins has been awarded the Rainbow Space designation for their commitment to creating a safe, inclusive, and welcoming school for 2SLGBTQIA+ students, staff and families. They have worked closely with us at Pride YMM to ensure that school forms, policies and procedures are inclusive of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, as well ensuring that the physical school environment is accessible with amenities such as gender neutral washrooms. All of the staff completed our Inclusivity Training at the start of this school year.”

“Principal Hayward and the staff at Frank Spragins have made it a key priority to work towards receiving the Rainbow Space designation, and they have demonstrated that 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusivity, representation, and pride is part of their school culture. We are proud to recognize them as our first Rainbow Space school and look forward to continued collaboration! Becoming a Rainbow Space is making a commitment to being an active ally to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community year round, not just celebrating during Pride month. It is especially significant to see a school become a Rainbow Space so that 2SLGBTQIA+ youth see themselves represented in the curriculum, and that all 2SLGBTQIA+ members of the school community feel safe and proud to be their authentic selves, and know explicitly that they are valued.”

Jennifer Turner, Superintendent, FMPSD applauded the achievement. 

“Inclusion and equity require thoughtful, intentional practice over time, and this is what Frank Spragins High School has done. We commend James and his team on being proactive and taking pride in championing their students. Congratulations and thank you for becoming a Rainbow Space, as well as the first school to achieve this. Frank Spragins is a trailblazer for the Division and the region.”

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan

Communications Consultant         

Fort McMurray Public School Division

kiran.malikkhan@fmpsd.ab.ca

780-880-7666