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how do we teach students to critically think about their own ethics?

Last January, I wrote about ethics in education – how do we teach students to critically think about their own ethics? Providing them with approaches to confronting issues of values and ethics that transcend specific rights and wrongs in today’s changing political, social and economic environment.
One way we can do this is by modelling an ethical culture in our organizations.
Given the current political and societal challenges we are facing, overtly demonstrating the importance of ethics could be the most important thing we do in 2021.
And what are the core characteristics of an ethical organization? Here are my top four:
1. Strong values statements. Deeply ingrained principles that serve as guideposts for the organization’s decisions and actions. Integration of these values into each sector and employee group of the district clearly demonstrating how they impact our decisions.
2. District leadership modelling ethical ways of being. Openly talking about ethical dilemmas and how decisions are made through a values and ethics lens.
3. Effective Governance. School boards play a key role in establishing and maintaining a district’s ethical compass. The development of policies based on values is an effective way to keep ethics at the heart of the organization.
4. Periodic review of the district’s policies. Reviews ensure policies continue to meet the organization’s ethical standards and give us the opportunity to reflect on new issues that are emerging.
This kind of regular review is important to the current board of SD46. We recently created a new anti-racism policy and have convened an ad hoc committee to consider how a policy might reflect an ethical approach to the inequities created by poverty in our community.
Having in-depth conversations about these issues around the board table is what keeps our work juicy and alive.

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