Source of Vigour: Peter Krahn and the Unite to Change Initiative in the 7 Oaks School Division

The 7Oaks’ ‘Unite to Change’ initiative is lead by West Kildonan Collegiate Vice-Principal Peter Krahn. I initially met Peter Krahn during my first year teaching at Maples Collegiate. He was passionate about social equity and sustainability and we immediately connected while sharing our passion for these topics. At that time, Unite to Change was in it’s second year of existence and Peter was organizing his second conference for the students and staff in 7 Oaks. Following his time at Maples, he went on to be the director of the 7 Oaks Wayfinders program, and then to another vice-principal role at West Kildonan Collegiate. All the while, Peter was still actively engaged in sustainability initiatives throughout the division, but most notably with ‘Unite to Change’.

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What is Unite to Change?

  • Unite to change brings people, teachers and students alike, together to address issues and imagine possibilities for a sustainable future.
  • Teacher participants are individuals that are passionate about ESD and are encouraged to take part in the annual conferences, in professional development and collaborate with like minded teachers, and assist in creating engaging conferences for 7Oaks students.
  • 7Oaks Unite to Change looks to promote:
    • Environmental Responsibility
    • Cultural Awareness and Collaboration
    • Social Justice Initiatives
    • Health and Well-Being
  • Students and teachers take part in annual conferences that are meant to increase consciousness and celebrate ongoing efforts in the area of sustainability education.

 

Beginning’s and drive for Unite to Change:

“To increase consciousness and celebrate ongoing efforts in the area of sustainability education, a group consisting of two trustees and two school leaders attended a major provincial conference at Hecla Island in the fall of 2008.

From that conference, a committee was formed that coined the name, SEVEN OAKS UNITE TO CHANGE. From this small beginning, students, teachers, school leaders, superintendents and trustees gathered periodically to plan division wide conferences. The idea was to hear the voices of folks in many different roles and ages from throughout Seven Oaks. The planning committee is open to all.

Past Conference Topics include:

October 2009… Cultural Awareness and Understanding our Urban Core

Spring 2010… Earth Day summits at three high schools.

Fall 2010… Fort Gibraltar/The Forks… Global Perspectives on Education for Sustainable Development

Fall 2011… University of Winnipeg…Institutions and Sustainability

Fall 2012… ”Veggin in the Country”… Providence College.

Fall 2013… Food Focus… Northern Sun Cooperative Farm

Fall 2014… “Veggin in the City: No Child Left Inside”… Morning: Wawiyia’ kiti’ gahn, the 7 Oaks Wayfinders Circle Garden. The afternoon groups of 15-20 went on tours of seven oaks schools featuring local efforts connected to sustainable living education.

Fall 2015… “Celebrating Diversity within our City!”

The Interview

Below is the interview that took place with Peter Krahn. Throughout this interview Peter discusses a bit about who he is personally, the beginnings of Unite to Change, descriptions of what Unite to Change is, goals of the program, accomplishments, challenges, barriers, future directions, key challenges and successes, and strategic plans going forward.

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