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WCPS establishes partnerships in supporting student mental well-being

We are all aware of the growing concern and impact of mental health on our communities and especially in our youth. 

As the Board of Trustees for Wolf Creek Public Schools, we are pleased to see the progress being made in addressing the important issue of student mental health in our schools. With the support of a $300,000 grant from the Government of Alberta, Wolf Creek is strengthening social-emotional support programs.

To achieve this, WCPS has established partnerships with key stakeholders, including Wolf Creek Primary Care Network, Alberta Health Services, and Rural Mental Health. The goal is to empower students, staff, and families with the skills they need to cope and regulate, while also enhancing community awareness of available programs and services.

We recognize the importance of making these resources accessible to those who need them. As a Board, we are proud of our partnerships and the work being done at the Division level to ensure that students, staff, and families can find the support they require to thrive.

Implementing these programs is a continuous effort, and our schools are actively aligning their strategies with Alberta Education's assurance measures for creating welcoming, caring, respectful, and safe learning environments. We are utilizing Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) facilitators, tracking improvements in students' social-emotional well-being, reducing conduct issues, increasing parent participation in education sessions, and referring students to community agencies for additional support. The effectiveness of these programs are evaluated through pre and post surveys and evaluation forms.

I want to emphasize the significance of our ongoing parent education sessions. These sessions, offered in partnership with Triple P Parenting, have covered topics such as raising responsible teenagers, social media use, positive parenting, and forgiveness and gratitude. These sessions are free for parents and have been accessible virtually, with links shared in advance to families across Wolf Creek.

Additionally, at the school level we have recognized the importance of building staff capacity and establishing a common language surrounding mental health literacy. After program delivery, staff are provided with reminders and resources to ensure they can continue to support students effectively. The demand for the program's continuation, beyond the grant deadline of December 2024, highlights the ongoing need for mental health initiatives in our schools.

Looking ahead, Wolf Creek plans to have SEL facilitators working in schools for extended periods to provide consistent support. There will be a focus on data collection, gathering community and school feedback, and developing a program menu for the upcoming fall.

The Board is greatly appreciative of the $300,000 mental health grant, and the tireless work of Division and school staff to implement programming that can create a real and positive benefit to schools, students, staff and families, but ultimately communities as well. Through innovative approaches, community partnerships, and a commitment to increasing protective factors, Wolf Creek and its partners are empowering students, staff, and families with the skills they need to not just cope but to begin tackling and improving mental health.

Luci Henry, is the Board Chair for Wolf Creek Public Schools. Wolf Creek Public Schools Board is served by Trustees representing the communities and rural areas of Alix, Bentley, Blackfalds, Bluffton, Clive, Eckville, Lacombe, Ponoka, and Rimbey. Serving approximately 7,300 students, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, WCPS employs approximately 412 teachers and 350 support staff in 30 schools, including five colony schools, throughout the Division.


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