"The results show that the Connections Program is a leader in diversity education. High school students who completed the program demonstrated large, sustained improvements in anti-racist and anti-discrimination attitudes and, most importantly, behaviours three months after the core component of the program and compared to a comparison group of students. The success of the Connections Program may be unique among anti-racism and anti-discrimination programs and, on some measures, effect sizes were two to three times larger than those reported in evaluations of other, far less ambitious programs."
The CONNECTIONS High School Multicultural Environmental Leadership Program (“the Connections Program”) is a unique experiential education program that seeks to positively influence Alberta high school students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour with respect to racism and discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, and disability; environmental stewardship; and leadership. It is a priority of the Program to include at least 20% Indigenous participants and includes Indigenous teachings and cultural activities to increase understanding, decrease discrimination, and enhance relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth.
The program’s curriculum has evolved along with cultural and racial diversity in Alberta and explicitly includes and empowers participants from all diversity groups. It is grounded in research and has been thoughtfully refined and updated over 30 years as new knowledge has emerged. Strategies used in the program include several different theoretical foundations and include multiple, sequenced strategies and active learning activities to simultaneously increase knowledge and awareness and develop the skills and confidence required to put this knowledge into action. Learning strategies connect issues of discrimination and racism, leadership, and environmental stewardship.