We know that our staff have chosen to work with children because they are caring people. But these caring people are witnessing more disruptions to children’s mental well-being than ever before, and it’s taking a toll on us all. When asked about their most pressing challenges, school staff invariably talk about the growing numbers of students whose social-emotional struggles inhibit their ability to learn. No one can learn or interact meaningfully with others when they carry feelings like fear, guilt, anxiety or depression.
Focus on Mental Health and Well-Being
The Board recognized mental and well-being as critical to the success of our students. As a result, two of the division’s education plan priorities are directly related:
- Student – Teacher Relationships — Positive relationships between students and teachers are the foundation upon which we build students’ resilience, confidence and mental well-being.
- Support for Staff — A collaborative environment enables staff to teach a diverse student population through purposeful inclusion and supports the implementation of effective practices.
When something is important enough to be considered a priority, it is also important enough to take action. The Board of Trustees and the Local ATA have joined forces to bring Dr. Jody Carrington to present a keynote address to all Pembina Hills staff on Friday, August 30th at Barrhead Elementary School.
In the morning she will speak to all Pembina Hills staff — teachers, principals, program assistants, office staff, bus drivers, maintenance staff and technology staff — about how we play a role in creating a safe, welcoming, caring and respectful learning environment for ALL students. She will then continue to work throughout the day with classroom staff.
We are excited and honoured to have Dr. Carrington help us kick off the new school year.
Dr. Jody Carrington is a Clinical Psychologist who has spent most of her career working with children and families who have experienced trauma. Growing up on a farm in rural Alberta, and after 13 years (!) of post-secondary education, she took her first job on the Mental Health Inpatient Units of the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary.
It was during those 10 years that she learned the most about kids, families, relationships, and the vital importance of connection. Today, she is back living in a rural setting, managing a private practice, raising a family, speaking around the country about relationships, connection and her new book, “Kids These Days”.
Jody passionately believes in the power of the relationship with the people we love, lead, and teach. Her favourite thing on the planet to do is to speak with educators – they have the power to change the trajectory of a life every single day. It’s time, she believes, that we need to start focusing less on kids these days, and more on those of you who hold them every day. The core of everything she speaks and writes about comes down to this: we are wired to do hard things. We can do those hard things so much easier when we remember this: we are wired for connection.