Congratulations to Dominique Bautista

Please join us in congratulating Mercedes Dominique Bautista who successfully defended her M.A. Thesis on April 12 of 2024.

Investigating Vancouver School Board teachers’ capacity building experiences with anti-racism mentorship and learning support


The murder of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 spurred an increased commitment to combatting racism, particularly in schools. In Canada, despite the anti-racism education policies and initiatives taken up by local school districts and at a provincial level, including British Columbia’s Ministry of Education, there remains a lack of policies, programming, and research that support teachers’ abilities to respond to racist incidents in their classrooms and to teach using anti-racist pedagogy.

The purpose of this research was to attempt to fill this gap and to investigate the experiences of Vancouver School Board (VSB) teachers who participated in anti-racism mentorship and professional learning support offered by the VSB by working with the District Resource Teacher for Diversity and Anti-Racism. Grounded in a combined anti-racist and feminist theoretical framework, this study uses interviews to centre and amplify the voices of the educators themselves. Five VSB teachers who received mentorship and learning support from the District Resource Teacher for Anti-Racism and Diversity were interviewed about their experiences with this initiative. The research questions aimed to gain a greater understanding of the reasons for the participants’ involvement in the anti-racism mentorship program; the strengths, learnings and opportunities that emerged through their engagement, and finally their recommendations for change in the coming years. The participants’ responses revealed valuable insights about their complex anti-racism learning journeys — both personally and professionally. The findings of this study contribute to a deeper understanding of the value of anti-racism professional development and mentorship for educators, and how educational leaders can re-imagine their commitments and approaches to district-wide anti-racism professional development, mentorship, and capacity building.