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News and Updates
June 6, 2018

June 21st Is National Indigenous Peoples Day

Celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in the classroom, school, and school community

 

June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day! Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day at your school by learning about Indigenous Peoples, becoming more involved in the Indigenous community, and incorporating Indigenous culture into the school environment.

Please see below to find out what other schools have done to achieve this:

  • Indigenous students at Lakeview Elementary School made a video on the Circle of Courage to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation for Indigenous culture among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students
  • Indigenous students at Parkland Secondary School and North Saanich Middle School shared their culture with non-Indigenous students to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation for Indigenous culture among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students
  • Wellington Secondary School created a lunch program featuring cultural foods to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation for Indigenous culture among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students
  • Ladysmith Secondary School created a space for Indigenous students that built connection, created a positive learning environment, and ensured students felt safe and supported at school
  • Trafalgar Middle School put on a youth conference for Indigenous students that highlighted the importance of creating connections with each other, with Elders, with role models, with their communities, with their cultures, and with the land
  • School District 68 created an outreach program that allowed Indigenous students to be part of a supportive environment that allowed them to foster self-esteem, confidence and success

Find information, resources and supports from the First Nations Schools Association of BC (FNSA) and the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC). Additionally, check out event ideas, information on activities, games and stories for children, youth and educators and promotional resources from the National Indigenous Peoples Day website.

Celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in the classroom, school, and school community! Learn more about National Indigenous Peoples Day here.

June 6, 2018

Get Ready to Walk and Wheel!

 The 2018 Walk and Wheel to School Week event is just around the corner!

 

DASH BC is excited to announce that our 11th annual Walk and Wheel to School Week (iWalk) will be held from October 1st to 5th, 2018, as part of International Walk to School Month. This weeklong provincial event, held every year in October, celebrates the many benefits of walking and wheeling to school, and involves students, staff, families and community members working together to create healthy and active school communities.

For more information and resources please visit DASH BC. 

Whether this is your first time participating, or you want to make this year’s event bigger and better, DASH BC is here to help! If you have questions or would like more information, please email iwalk@dashbc.ca

June 6, 2018

Update Regarding Action Schools! BC for the Upcoming School Year

Action Schools! BC supports and resources will not be offered during the 2018-19 year

 

Since 2005, Action Schools! BC has promoted healthy living to teachers and students across the province through evidence-based approaches to supporting healthy eating and physical activity. 

In the 2016-2017 school year, an updated model of Action Schools! BC was implemented that remained focused on physical activity and healthy eating, but also introduced an enhanced approach to supporting comprehensive school health and job-embedded professional development. While there were a number of successes associated with the updated model, there is an opportunity to continue to evolve the program to better meet the emerging priorities of both the education and health sectors. 

During the next school year, attention will turn to developing an enhanced approach that better reflects the broader health-related needs of BC’s children and youth, and that supports students to understand and experience the many aspects of well-being across physical, mental, and social health domains. Recognizing that school-health partners play a pivotal role in achieving this goal, educators, school districts, health authorities and NGOs will be engaged to help determine the path forward towards this goal. While this engagement and program redesign work occurs, Action Schools! BC supports and resources will not be offered during the 2018-2019 school year. 

The Ministry of Health would like to take this opportunity to thank DASH BC for its leadership related to Action Schools! BC, and to also thank the numerous individuals and organizations across the province whose hard work, dedication and enthusiasm supported the program. 

Please contact Christie Docking, Manager, Healthy Schools for the BC Ministry of Health (Christie.Docking@gov.bc.ca) with any questions.  

June 6, 2018

A Year in Review for Action Schools! BC

Highlights from the 2017-18 Action Schools! BC Program

 

It’s been an incredible year for Action Schools! BC. Check out some of the highlights from the 2017-18 Action Schools! BC Program:

Action Planning and Equipment Grants:

We are pleased to announce that every school district in BC has participated in completing Action Plans! This year, over 250 Action Plans have been completed and over 165 equipment grants have been awarded with more on the way. Please see below for success stories from participating schools:

  • False Creek Elementary School, School District 39: “The Action Schools! BC program has been a valuable partnership for our school.  The action plan has helped to focus our attention on the bigger picture of healthy living, through physical activity, healthy eating and through supporting student leadership initiatives.  On behalf of False Creek Elementary School, thank you for being a valuable part of our learning community!”
  • Chalo School, First Nations Schools Association, Fort Nelson: “We used the grant from Action Schools BC to purchase [a] garden tower. We are currently growing lettuce, arugula, bok choy, rainbow chard, kale, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. The students are super engaged because they have seen the seedlings come to fruition.”
  • Oweekeno Elementary School, School District 49: “[We] have spent the money on a variety of small foam balls. We have a lot of rainy days here on the coast. Having these balls make for a great game of paint ball around the school. [We] have also used the money on an outdoor volleyball net, footballs, and a set of hurdles. [We are] really looking forward to using these items for our spring PE units.”


Mentorships:

We are delighted to report that 344 educators have participated in our Food Literacy Mentorship Series. A further 145 educators have participated in our Physical Literacy Mentorship Series. Please see below for success stories from participating schools:

  • Az-Zahraa Islamic Academy, Independent School, Richmond: “It was perfect how the [Food Literacy Mentorship] session gave us ideas of tangible and achievable goals. We look forward to continuing to build our relationship with the mentor. We are grateful for the support received and continue to build upon the healthy initiatives we have started this school year.”
  • Royston Elementary School, School District 71: “[The Physical Literacy Mentorship was] wonderful! Having an expert come into work with my class as well as with me has boosted my students’ skill level and my confidence in teaching physical education/physical literacy.”

 

Workshops:

350 teachers from across the province participated in one of our Professional Development Workshops. Please see below for success stories from participating schools:

  • Lord Kelvin Elementary School, School District 40: “[The Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Combo Workshop] was highly engaging and powerful! I like the addition of nutrition since the last time we took the course. I am excited to tell my admin about the workshop.” 

Please email info@actionschoolsbc.ca if you have completed an Action Plan, mentorship or workshop this year and would like to share your story. We’d love to hear from you!

June 6, 2018

June 3rd to 9th Is Canadian Environment Week

Outdoor classrooms increase positive relationships, enhance social-emotional learning, and provide opportunities to engage in hands-on, experience-based learning

 

This June, in honour of Canadian Environment Week from June 3rd to 9th, celebrate the environment at school. Use outdoor classrooms to incorporate learning and exploring the outdoors, to increase connection to nature and to enable school connectedness.

Research has shown that outdoor classrooms increase positive relationships, enhance social-emotional learning, and provide opportunities to engage in hands-on, experience-based learning. Research has also found that outdoor classrooms help increase enthusiasm towards learning and creativity, concentration, and problem-solving skills. These efforts foster school connectedness and create a school community where everyone feels safe, seen, heard, supported, significant, and cared for. According to the Joint Consortium for School Health, students have an increased sense of belonging and self-esteem when they feel connected at school.

School communities can benefit from outdoor classrooms in many ways. According to Ophea, outdoor classrooms allow students to connect with nature, increase physical activity, and gain critical thinking skills. They also found that students who participate in outdoor classrooms grow up to have more confidence and self-esteem and can foster increased resiliency and self-regulation skills. According to the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program, the outdoor environment provides opportunities to increase physical activity and achieve healthier lifestyles. Additionally, they also found that being surrounded by nature can have a positive effect on mental well-being and social-emotional learning. Finally, they also found that outdoor classrooms provide hands-on learning, which can add variety to teaching and increase student engagement; it was also found that students who usually do poorly in the indoor academic environment can thrive in outdoor classrooms and ultimately can feel more connected to school.

Check out outdoor classroom ideas from Ophea and programs and supports on environmental health from Healthy Schools BC to help you in the creation of outdoor learning environments at your school. Additionally, you can find out more about programs and supports on school connectedness on the Healthy Schools BC website.

Learn more about Canadian Environment Week here.

June 6, 2018

Stigma-Free Zone School Program

Empower young people to create and sustain stigma-free environments in their schools that will instill awareness, understanding and acceptance

The Stigma-Free Zone School Program by the Stigma-Free Society offers students the opportunity to claim their school as a ‘Stigma-Free Zone’, an environment where youth refrain from actions that may cause harm to the emotional well-being and confidence of others and that provides a safe space where all people can exist free of ridicule, harassment and bullying.

This program has a focus on mental health and stigma and is engaging, entertaining and enlightening. Participant feedback reveals that the message is getting through, touching lives, and making an impact in many positive ways. The Stigma-Free Society hopes to open up the conversation about mental health and stigma and encourage everyone to support the Stigma-Free Zone movement. Throughout the duration of the program, youth are encouraged to celebrate their diversity and individuality while working to understand people’s differences. The goal of the program is to instill awareness, understanding, and acceptance in schools that can prompt youth to take action for the rest of their lives. 

The Stigma-Free Zone School Program is offered to schools throughout the Greater Vancouver Regional District and Vancouver Island. To schedule a presentation and start the Stigma-Free Zone School Program at your school, contact info@stigmafreezone.com

Learn more about the Stigma-Free Zone School Program here and about the Stigma-Free Society here.

June 6, 2018

Living Life to the Full for Youth

A course on mental health promotion and resilience by the Canadian Mental Health Association is available for youth at no extra cost

 

Living Life to the Full for Youth, an evidence-based resilience skills course from the Canadian Mental Health Association, will be delivered at select B.C. schools free of charge.

Adolescence is a high-risk time for mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress. The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Living Life to the Full course is a face-to-face course designed to help people deal with life’s everyday challenges by learning helpful skills using cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) principles. It was developed for adults by an international expert and adapted for Canadian youth by youth in 2014. 

The 8-week course, in weekly 1.5 hour sessions, covers topics such as problem-solving, healthy thinking, managing anger and anxiety, boosting self-esteem, and combatting low mood and isolation. This course is an example of the social-emotional learning curriculum and the group format teaches skills to help youth manage negative emotions, develop healthier coping techniques, and build social supports. 

The course has been proven to increase well-being and resilience to prevent mental health problems. Research trials with adults have shown participants show improved mood and anxiety months after the course is over. Additionally, the vast majority of B.C. youth who took part in the pilot reported favourable outcomes. Check out a video where youth, in their own words, explain why they like the course.

The Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division (CMHA BC) holds the exclusive license to the program in Canada and has recently received a grant to offer 18 courses for youth in six B.C. communities over three years. If you would like to bring the course to youth in your school community between Fall 2018 and Spring 2019, please fill out this form by June 30th.

Learn more about Living Life to the Full for Youth here.

June 6, 2018

Collaborative Action: A National Symposium for Child Well-Being in the Middle Years

Taking place from August 20th to 21st at UBC

 

The Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) is hosting Collaborative Action: A National Symposium for Child Well-Being in the Middle Years from August 20th to 21st at UBC. 

How are our children doing right now and how is this changing over time? The Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) tells us so much, but what else is there to learn? Who can we learn it from? How can we be more effective in our goals of enhancing children’s social and emotional well-being? Register for the symposium to help answer these questions.

This special, two-day event is designed to inspire, motivate and strengthen leadership skills by focusing on child well-being through a systems-thinking lens. Leaders in the field of child well-being from across Canada will gather together to share research and practice, to learn from each other, and to generate new ideas. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to enhance your effectiveness as a champion for child well-being and to network with colleagues from across Canada.

Learn more about Collaborative Action: A National Symposium for Child Well-being in the Middle Years here.

May 2, 2018

May 28th to June 1st Is Bike to School Week

Participating in Bike to School Week can have many benefits for students, staff, and families

 

May 28th to June 1st is Bike to School Week. This event encourages school communities to get excited about active transportation! Bike to School Week will be coordinated for schools located in the Metro Vancouver area by HUB Cycling and for schools located in other parts of B.C. by Bike to Work BC.

Participating in Bike to School Week can have many benefits for students, staff, and families, including:

  • Supporting daily physical activity and active transportation to school
  • Providing a foundation for healthy lifestyles and a lifelong love of biking
  • Empowering students to arrive at school energized and ready to learn
  • Enhancing connections between students, staff and families in a fun and engaging way
  • Allowing students to practice safe biking skills and identify safe routes to school
  • Encouraging independence and responsible decision making
  • Reducing school traffic congestion and vehicle emissions
  • Enhancing green initiatives at school

HUB Cycling has compiled a list of cycling safety tips and Bike to Work BC has compiled a list of safety resources to help schools ensure the safety of students, staff, and families during Bike to School Week.

Learn more about participating in Bike to School Week for schools located in the Metro Vancouver area and for schools located in other parts of B.C. Share in the excitement and get riding!

May 2, 2018

May 7th is Child and Youth Mental Health Day

Start a conversation in the classroom, school, or school community about the importance of taking care of ourselves

 

May 7th is Child and Youth Mental Health Day in B.C. and nationally. The national campaign theme, supported by the National Institute of Families for Child and Youth Mental Health, is “Taking Care of ME Matters”. According to FamilySmart, while some children and youth may have individuals in their lives that can provide care to them, it is important for all children and youth to learn ways to take care of themselves. This can foster resiliency skills that they are able to use for the rest of their lives.

There are many opportunities for schools to support students in learning to take care of themselves. Consider incorporating positive mental health programming into your classroom, school, or school community. The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre provides tools and curriculum guides to support school professionals in promoting positive mental health. The Joint Consortium for School Health Positive Mental Health Toolkit consists of 5 modules to promote positive mental health within the school environment. To find these resources and many other resources related to positive mental health, check out the Healthy Schools BC website.

This Child and Youth Mental Health Day, ask your school community to reflect on what “taking care of ME” looks like, sounds like, and feels like.

Learn more about Child and Youth Mental Health Day here.

May 2, 2018

Action Schools! BC Food Literacy Mentorship Series

Supporting healthy eating and a whole school approach to food literacy

 

Build your skills to support healthy eating and food literacy in your classroom and school by participating in the Action Schools! BC Food Literacy Mentorship Series. Led by nutrition professionals, the Food Literacy Mentorship Series offers practical, hands-on support to develop enhanced teaching and learning strategies and to promote healthy eating across your whole school.

Action Schools! BC offers mentorships to schools that have completed an Action Plan. During the Food Literacy Mentorship Series, Food Literacy Mentors provide educators with two hands-on sessions based on the goals and objectives identified through the Action Planning process. This could include developing a healthy celebrations school policy or exploring how to support healthy eating in the classroom and throughout the school. 

If you are interested in completing an Action Plan and getting connected with the Action Schools! BC Mentorship Series and other Action Schools! BC resources, please email info@actionschoolsbc.ca. The Action Schools! BC program will be wrapping up for the 2017-2018 school year at the end of June, so don’t delay!

Learn more about the Action Schools! BC Food Literacy Mentorship Series here.

May 2, 2018

Personal Strengths and Abilities

Consider the personal strengths and abilities of students and incorporate opportunities for them to shine and have their talents recognized

 

Within the school environment, when students believe that their personal strengths and abilities are being recognized and appreciated by others, they feel accepted, respected, included and supported by their school community, which helps increase school connectedness

According to the Positive Personal and Cultural Identity core competency from the BC Curriculum, if students are able to acknowledge their personal strengths and abilities, explicitly consider them to be assets, and explain how they can use them to achieve their goals, it can help them in all aspects of their lives.

In 2014, School District 67 (Okanagan Skaha) increased school connectedness through their Through a Different Lens project, which empowered students to link their strengths to the school curriculum. Their case study was of a student with little school connectedness who had an interest in making videos. His teachers found opportunities in the classroom and school that empowered him to use his creative and technological skills. Making a promotional video for a school trip allowed him to showcase his talents, bond with teachers, improve his self-esteem, and change perceptions of him among his peers. In a follow-up interview, the student reported that he became more focused, confident and engaged, and was able to cultivate a stronger sense of school connectedness through being given the opportunity to pursue his interests at school.

Learn more about the above approach to improving school connectedness by checking out the video by School District 67. Additionally, you can find school connectedness programs and supports on the Healthy Schools BC website.

May 2, 2018

The COMPASS Study Expands To B.C.!

Provincial project helping schools identify and address health concerns among students in Grades 9-12

 

The COMPASS study surveys students in Grades 9-12 to understand how changes in school environment characteristics are associated with various health outcomes among students. This information can be used to bring awareness to youth health concerns and to help inform school policies, programs and activities.  The COMPASS study is currently recruiting secondary schools in B.C.

The COMPASS study is a three-year project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Health Canada that examines health concerns among students in Grades 9-12, including physical activity; healthy eating; tobacco-, alcohol-, and drug-use; bullying; mental health; and sedentary behaviour. Following students as they progress through secondary school provides insight into how characteristics of the school they attend are associated with their behavioural development and academic achievement. Study results support the development and evaluation of school-based policies and programs aimed at improving student health. 

 

Youth are facing increased health challenges and the COMPASS study wants to identify health behaviors and influence positive outcomes. If you have any questions about the study or would like to participate, please email katie.weatherson@ubc.ca.

 

Learn more about the COMPASS study by following them on Twitter or visiting their website.

May 2, 2018

Build Your Best Day

ParticipACTION teaches children and youth about the balance of sweating, stepping, sleeping, and sitting they need each day to be healthy

 

In 2016, the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth were released to outline what a healthy 24-hour period looks like for children and youth aged 5-17. To bring the guidelines to life, ParticipACTION and their partners developed Build Your Best Day – a fun, interactive and educational tool to help children and youth and their parents learn in a fun way.

According to ParticipACTION, only 9% of Canadian children and youth get enough daily physical activity, only 24% meet guidelines for daily screen time, and 31% are sleep-deprived. Build Your Best Day breaks down the guidelines into four easy-to-remember categories, showing children and youth that for optimal health, they need to sweat, step, sleep, and sit the right amounts:

  • Sweat: 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity
  • Step: Several hours of light physical activity
  • Sleep: 9-11 hours of sleep per night (aged 5-13) and 8-10 hours of sleep per night (aged 14-17)
  • Sit: No more than two hours of recreational screen time and limited sitting for extended periods

The digital experience of Build Your Best Day allows children and youth to choose from over 200 real-life and imaginative activities to build their ideal day. It then shows if their choices provide enough physical activity and sleep or if it provides too much time being inactive. It also offers helpful resources and tips, such as letting children and youth know not to do screen-based activities too close to bedtime.

Check out the Build Your Best Day toolkit for posters, fact sheets, games, activities, certificates, and more.

Learn more about Build Your Best Day here

April 9, 2018

April 22nd Is Earth Day

Providing opportunities for outdoor play at school is an important part of healthy living and a great way to celebrate the Earth!


This April, in honour of Earth Day on April 22nd, celebrate the many benefits of outdoor play at your school, including its ability to build resilience, creativity, inclusion, and leadership in students. EarthPLAY, a project by Earth Day Canada aims to promote the above using outdoor play.

According to Earth Day Canada, spending regular time in nature contributes to increases in general health, mental well-being, and intellectual development; however, a majority of Canadian children currently spend an hour or less outdoors each day. As children and youth spend so much of their lives at school, increasing access to outdoor play at school is an easy way to increase time spent outdoors.

Research has shown that time spent outdoors in nature is essential for the healthy development of children, both physically and mentally. According to ParticipACTION, when children are engaged with the outdoors, they are able to learn more about the habitat they live in. These experiences lead to healthier children and have a positive effect on their attitudes towards the natural environment that they will carry into adulthood. Additionally, according to the BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA), spending regular time outdoors in nature helps students participate more successfully in academic learning indoors. Through outdoor play, children are able to exercise both their physical and mental capacities, increase their cognitive and emotional resources, and foster more positive attitudes towards school, furthering their overall development. Finally, according to Ophea, children who are introduced to outdoor environments in a variety of weather conditions grow up to have more confidence and self-esteem, fostering increased resiliency and self-regulation skills. Just remember to ensure that all students are wearing weather-appropriate clothing!

Providing children with opportunities to play outdoors during the school day is an important part of healthy living and a great way to celebrate the Earth! Learn more about the EarthPLAY program here and about Earth Day Canada here and have a great time celebrating Earth Day outdoors this year!

April 9, 2018

Sexual Health Education in Schools

Providing sexual health education to students gives them the tools and skills required to make informed choices and reduce risk

An empowered educator has tools at their disposal to enable their students to learn about sexual health. Resources are available for educators to increase their knowledge base on this subject.

Educators can gain credible information on sexual health from a number of avenues, including:


Additionally, please see below for other resources from the Healthy Schools BC website:


The above resources are made available to support educators. Students empowered with sexual health education have the tools and skills required to make informed choices and reduce risk. 

April 9, 2018

Action Schools! BC Workshops

Explore and experience instructional examples and activities that can be used in the classroom or the school

Build your skills and confidence in addressing healthy eating and/or physical activity in your classroom and school by participating in an Action Schools! BC workshop. Workshops are free and available to all B.C. K-7 schools. At 2-3 hours in length, these workshops are perfect for your Professional Development Day programming.

Action Schools! BC workshops provide hands-on, professional learning opportunities to explore instructional examples and activities to be used in your classroom and school.

Facilitated by skilled trainers and aligned with B.C.’s new curriculum, the workshops emphasize:

  • Flexibility in teaching and learning approaches,
  • Increased student engagement
  • The First Peoples Principles of Learning
  • A holistic view of health that includes connections to mental well-being


There are three different workshops available: 

  • Healthy Eating Workshop
  • Physical Activity Workshop
  • Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Combination Workshop


We Are Out There!:

Since the start of the 2017/2018 school year, Action Schools! BC has competed 11 workshops in 8 school districts throughout the province.

We are also pleased to announce that Action Schools! BC has been chosen to deliver two Healthy Eating Workshops at the First Nations Schools Association Conference in Vancouver and at the 2018 Educational Spring Fling in Prince George.

If you are interested in learning more about Action Schools! BC workshops, please email info@actionschoolsbc.ca  or click here to schedule a workshop today.

April 9, 2018

“Just One Thing”

What is one thing you can do to build school connectedness in your school community?

School connectedness creates a school community where everyone feels safe, seen, heard, supported, significant and cared for. Supporting school connectedness takes the efforts of many, but can be achieved by focusing on “just one thing”. 

In 2014, School District 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) increased school connectedness by focusing on a district-wide goal of belonging. Seeking inspiration from Dr. Martin Brokenleg’s work with the Circle of Courage, they learned that it is important for children to first develop a sense of belonging before they are able to move on to mastery and learning, independence of self and generosity of spirit. The school district came to the conclusion that if the entire school community felt a sense of belonging, they would be able to lay the groundwork for every student to be the best learners they could be.

School District 27 understood that focusing on “just one thing” (instead of many things or activities) made taking action feel more manageable and made the goal of school connectedness throughout the entire school community feel more achievable.

Schools throughout School District 27 focused on projects geared towards their diverse strengths and needs and the various goals they wished to achieve. 

Here are a few examples of completed projects:

  • A lunch program had high school students make and deliver school lunches to various elementary schools in the district. Students were able to enhance workplace skills, feel a sense of achievement, and interact with the wider school district community.
  • A breakfast program ensured that all students coming into school had their basic needs met so they were able to go into their classrooms and be ready to learn.
  • A positive action program, designed to reduce bullying and other conduct behaviours, also strengthened friendships and relationships within the school community.


While their goal may have seemed daunting at the start, by focusing on enhancing initiatives that were already in place, and doing “just one thing”, School District 27 was able to support belonging and school connectedness throughout every level of the school community, in classrooms, schools and district offices. Find out more about this approach to improving school connectedness by checking out the video by School District 27. Additionally, you can find programs and supports on school connectedness from the Healthy Schools BC website.

April 9, 2018

BC Dairy Association Nutrition Education Programs

Help make nutrition come alive in the classroom to make healthy eating achievable for all

Are you interested in teaching about healthy eating and nutrition but are unsure of where to start? The BC Dairy Association offers Nutrition Education Programs that provide a variety of lesson plans, workshops, and materials created by registered dietitians with an expertise in education.

 

Workshops offered include:

 

  • Food Explorers (Grades K-1) – Filled with opportunities for experiential learning and tasting, students have fun exploring a variety of foods and new food experiences.
  • Food For Us! (Grades 2-3) – What makes a meal healthy? Students investigate how they can make their own healthy food choices while learning about where food comes from.
  • Food Sense (Grades 4-6) – After exploring and reflecting on their daily eating and physical activity habits, students investigate ways to make sustainable healthy changes.
  • Passport to Healthy Living (Grades 4-7) – Students plan a healthy living activity integrating physical activity, nutrition and environmental awareness. What a perfect way to do place-based education!

 

To support educators in delivering B.C.’s new curriculum, the registered dietitians at the BC Dairy Association have identified cross-curricular connections for their workshops and programs. Check out the following:

 

Help make nutrition come alive in the classroom to make healthy eating achievable for all! Book a workshop today and get ready to teach in the classroom the next day! Learn more about the BC Dairy Association Nutrition Education Programs here.

April 9, 2018

April 21st-28th is National Immunization Awareness Week

Kids Boost Immunity is a free online resource that enables students to take action while learning about immunization

April 21st-28th is National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW), which highlights the importance of immunization and the success and impact that immunization has had in protecting health and saving lives. If you are interested in observing NIAW at your school, you can find a list of resources, some campaign ideas and a list of materials and can learn more about NIAW here.

Celebrate NIAW in your classroom or school with Kids Boost Immunity, a national education and advocacy initiative of the Public Health Association of British Columbia. This free online learning resource is a great and easy way to link to curriculum in science and social studies and allow students to learn about important issues in immunization and global health while helping others at the same time.

Through a series of articles, videos and online quizzes, Kids Boost Immunity enables students to take action by pairing learning about immunizations and global health with a reward: vaccines for children in other parts of the world through UNICEF. The more quizzes a student does, the more vaccines they can earn for children in other parts of the world through UNICEF.

If you would like to learn more, check out the Kids Boost Immunity website.

February 7, 2018

February 28th Is Pink Shirt Day

Join schools across BC in support of the anti-bullying movement

February 28th, 2018 is Pink Shirt Day. Wear pink on February 28th and join schools across BC in support of the anti-bullying movement! The theme for Pink Shirt Day this year is cyberbullying. You can learn more about cyberbullying on the Pink Shirt Day website, on the ERASE Bullying website, and on the MediaSmarts website.

There are many opportunities for schools to create positive learning environments for students. Consider incorporating anti-bullying and positive mental health programming into the formal and informal curriculum at your school or during extracurricular time. To support your participation in this important day, please see below for a list of anti-bullying and positive mental health resources for use in the school environment:

ERASE Bullying is a comprehensive and multipronged approach to promoting positive mental health and wellness, and to prevent bullying and violent behaviour in schools. The strategy includes a coordinated approach involving schools, families, and community partners. The website provides parents and students with helpful tips and advice on how to address bullying and includes a confidential online reporting tool for youth to report bullying.

The WITS Program brings schools, families and communities together to create responsive environments that help children deal with bullying and peer victimization. There are two components: the WITS Primary Program (Kindergarten to Grade 3) and the WITS LEADS Program (Grades 4 to 6).

The JCSH Positive Mental Health Toolkit is an online resource that promotes positive mental health practices and perspectives within a school environment. The toolkit is designed to help schools and communities apply their strengths to foster positive growth and development of children and youth.

RespectED: Beyond the Hurt is a Canadian Red Cross youth-facilitated program targeted at bullying and harassment prevention among children aged 11 and over.

Safeteen
 is an empowerment program where facilitators offer skills for choosing healthy relationships, strategies to prevent bullying and harassment and techniques for de-escalating verbal, physical and emotional violence. Most importantly, the program cultivates empowerment, self-determination, critical thinking and self-esteem in children and youth.

Additional anti-bullying and positive mental health resources are available on the Healthy Schools BC website.


Wear pink on February 28th and encourage your school community to do the same. Click here for information on ways you can participate in Pink Shirt Day. Follow Pink Shirt Day on Instagram, on Twitter, and on Facebook and use the #PinkShirtDay hashtag on social media to share your stories and photos if your classroom or school participates in Pink Shirt Day this year.

You can find out more about Pink Shirt Day here.

February 7, 2018

DASH BC Announcement

New Executive Director for DASH BC

The Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH BC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Faye Willick has accepted the position of Executive Director at DASH BC.

Faye will be leading the DASH BC team and actively engaging with funders and partners as she familiarizes herself with the work that DASH BC does across the province.

Faye comes to DASH BC with a wealth of knowledge and experience that spans various sectors, including education, health, and business. Her academic background consists of a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) along with a Master in Business Administration (MBA). The trajectory of her career path has taken her from being a secondary school physical education teacher focusing on lifelong health and well-being, to a college instructor, to management and administrative roles, to consultation roles, and finally to a business owner.

Through her various roles and careers, Faye has gained extensive experience with program planning, design, and implementation, strategic planning, policy development, financial management, human resource management, and board governance. Faye values relationships and collaboration and has had numerous opportunities to form partnerships with various stakeholders including the government, First Nations, non-profit organization, and many others. She has also had experience working within the health sector on various projects and initiatives, specifically with Northern Health and Interior Health.

Faye’s values, along with her passions for student success, health and well-being, and quality improvement align well with those of DASH BC.

As of February 6th, 2018, Faye can be reached at the DASH BC offices at 604-681-0600.

Please help us in welcoming Faye to the DASH BC in the role of Executive Director.

February 7, 2018

Action Schools! BC Physical Literacy Mentorship Program

Support for educators through coaching and collaboration and by providing job-embedded support, guidance, tools and resources

Build knowledge and skill sets to improve confidence to deliver quality physical literacy programming, a key component of the BC Physical and Health Education (PHE) curriculum. Educators will be supported by Action Schools! BC Physical Literacy Mentors, through job-embedded support, coaching, collaboration, guidance, tools and resources.

Physical literacy is defined by
Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) as the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities. Physically literate individuals are able to make healthy, active choices that are both beneficial to and respectful of their whole self, others, and their environment.


The Action Schools! BC Mentorship Program:

Educators know that skills are developed over time, with new skills building on existing ones. The Action Schools! BC Mentorship Program uses that approach to enhance the skills of educators, supporting them to confidently incorporate food literacy and physical literacy in their classrooms and schools.

These programs provide multiple sessions where experienced mentors work with educators in their classrooms and schools to strengthen their skills, using up-to-date materials that reflect the new BC curriculum. These programs are designed to enhance teachers’ content-specific instructional practices with the intent of improving student learning and health literacy.

The Physical Literacy Mentorship Program:

Action Schools! BC can connect your school with Physical Literacy Mentors who will provide educators with multi-session job-embedded training. The Physical Literacy Mentorship Program aims to build the capacity of elementary educators and schools by:

  • Building skills through coaching, facilitation, and job-embedded professional development;
  • Providing targeted support, guidance, and relevant tools/resources to implement the new Physical and Health Education curriculum;
  • Building confidence and capacity to deliver quality physical education classes which support the development of physical literacy; and
  • Contributing to the professional learning community of the school.


Physical Literacy Mentors meet face-to-face with individual educators for four 30-45 minute scheduled sessions: one planning session and three modeled learning experiences that develop fundamental movement skills, which form a foundation towards developing physical literacy.  

You can learn more about the Physical Literacy Mentorship Program here. If you are interested in signing up for a mentorship, please email info@actionschoolsbc.ca.

February 7, 2018

February 11th to 17th Is Real Acts of Caring Week

Classrooms and schools that support kindness-based approaches are able to improve feelings of school connectedness

Celebrate Real Acts of Caring Week at your school from February 11th to 17th, 2018. Real Acts of Caring (RAC) began at Central Community Elementary School in 2005 and has spread all over the Coquitlam School District, as well as to other school districts in BC.

RAC is focused on doing something kind for another person and expecting nothing in return. Using RAC in the classroom and participating in Real Acts of Caring Week will inspire and empower your students with kindness skills that prompt them to act kindly towards others and to share kindness around.

Students who are taught about RAC and other kindness-based approaches learn ways to make a positive difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. According to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, kindness-based approaches in the classroom have been shown to have a positive effect on social-emotional learning, attitudes towards self and others, social behaviours and academic performance while decreasing bullying, conduct problems and emotional distress. Classrooms and schools that support these kinds of approaches enable both academic and social-emotional learning and create kind, safe places where students are empowered to become compassionate and responsible citizens while improving feelings of school connectedness

Teaching about kindness and kindness-based approaches and celebrating Real Acts of Caring Week in your classrooms and schools is a great way to make a positive difference in the lives of students, staff, families and members of the wider community. Ideas for lessons on kindness can be accessed from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and from Edutopia. For additional information on RAC and its effects on school connectedness, check out this video by Maple Creek Middle School.

You can learn more about Real Acts of Caring Week here.

February 7, 2018

First Nations Parents Club

The key role of parents in ensuring the educational success of their children

February 12th, 2018 is Family Day, which provides an opportunity to recognize the importance of family in the academic and social-emotional success of students. The First Nations Parents Club is a resource created by the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), and the First Nations Schools Association (FNSA).

The First Nations Parents Club resource acknowledges the key role that parents play in ensuring the educational success of their children. It also supports parents in incorporating First Nations ways of knowing and First Nations languages, culture, history, experiences, values and beliefs into their child’s classroom and school environment.

The resource, in the form of a handbook, provides First Nations parents with the information, tools and resources required for supporting their children in their academic and social-emotional lives. The purpose of this resource is to provide an overview of educational terminology, the roles of various professionals who work within school communities and the rights of parents in the education system in order to support First Nations parents in taking an active role in their children's education.

Access the First Nations Parents Club resource here. While the resource uses the term “parents” for convenience and simplicity, the information included in the resource is applicable to grandparents, family members, Elders, guardians, caregivers and all other adults who contribute to the lives of First Nations Children.

February 7, 2018

Stress Lessons: Tools for Resiliency

A new resource by The Psychology Foundation of Canada for Grades 9-12

Stress can be our friend in moderation, but not if it’s more than we can manage. A certain amount of stress is useful and normal. It’s our body giving us the boost of energy we need to compete in a sport, do our best on an exam, or deal with a difficult task. We need a certain amount of stress to feel energized, alert, and engaged in life and its challenges. Be that as it may, our brains and bodies were not designed to be in stress mode all the time. When our stress systems get overworked, we are at increased risk for various mental and physical health problems in the long term and will have a hard time staying focused and doing our best in the short term.

Youth tell us that they are experiencing a lot of stress, sometimes more than they know how to handle; according to Kids Help Phone, over 40% of teenagers in Canada report being stressed. Youth are also telling us they want to learn how to better manage their stress; according to the McCreary Centre Society, 40% of youth feel they manage their stress very poorly and only 3.5% of youth feel they manage their stress very well.

This shows how necessary it is to help youth to better manage life’s inevitable stressors. With the support of many, including school district leaders, teachers, psychologists and youth, The Psychology Foundation of Canada has heeded this call by developing a new Canadian resource for Grades 9-12 entitled “Stress Lessons: Tools for Resiliency” to support youth in managing stress.

This resource, full of psychologically-sound strategies and tools, is designed for education professionals and their partners, who want to help youth develop resilience – the ability to not just survive but thrive in our exciting and stress-filled world – and positive coping skills. With components for teachers, counsellors, administrators, parents and caregivers, it provides a comprehensive approach that will help youth:

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of stress;
  • Understand what stress “feels” like;
  • Identify stressors and their impact;
  • See the upside of stress;
  • Develop/implement coping and problem-solving strategies; and
  • Foster an increased sense of well-being. 


You can access “Stress Lessons: Tools for Resiliency” and other school related resources by The Psychology Foundation of Canada here.

February 7, 2018

Foundry BC Is Now Available

Support the mental health and well-being of young people aged 12-24 in BC

Foundry BC empowers young people to lead healthy lives by providing easy access to tools and strategies for wellness. Developed by BC Children’s Hospital, Foundry BC complements the growing provincial network of Foundry centres, which is supported by a team based at Providence Health Care. Foundry BC involves over 100 partnerships across the province of BC and works to bring together a variety of resources in one place to help BC’s young people and families find the support they need, when and where they need it.

Foundry BC provides a one-stop access point for mental health and well-being, substance use, social support services, navigation assistance and self-management.  Foundry BC contains health information, personal stories, self-assessments, online resources and connections to services to help young people aged 12-24 identify wellness challenges early and take action to improve outcomes.

The first phase of the new Foundry BC online platform, foundrybc.ca, is focused on mental health and substance use and integrates content from the youth mental health website, MindcheckThe content from Mindcheck – including self-checks, information, resources and links – will now be available at Foundry BC and visitors to the Mindcheck website will now be redirected to the Foundry BC website. Further information and resources will be added to the Foundry BC online platform to reflect the variety of health and social service supports offered in Foundry centres.

The Foundry BC online platform offers:

  • Self-checks 
  • Stories from young people across BC
  • Wellness tips and strategies
  • Apps and online tools
  • Connections to services, online and in the community
  • Strategies for supporting others


Online and in the community, Foundry BC makes it easy for young people to find tools, resources and skills for wellness. 
Follow Foundry BC on Twitter, on Instagram, and on FacebookTo help promote Foundry BC to young people in your community, click here.

You can learn more about Foundry BC here.

January 11, 2018

On January 31st, Let’s Talk

Use Bell Let’s Talk Day to support conversations about mental health with your students

 

According to the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, one in five Canadians will be affected by mental illness at some point in their lifetime, with approximately two-thirds of these individuals avoiding seeking help due to stigma. Since September 2010, the Bell Let’s Talk initiative has been dedicated towards moving mental health forward in Canada and reducing the stigma associated with mental health.

 

January 31st, 2018 is Bell Let’s Talk Day, where various social media will be used to spread awareness of mental health and raise funds to support mental health initiatives. Follow the Bell Let’s Talk initiative on Twitter here, Instagram here, and Facebook here. On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will contribute 5¢ for every text and call on the Bell network; for every use of the #BellLetsTalk hashtag in posts on social media; for every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook; and for every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Day geofilter on Snapchat.

In addition to raising funds, the Bell Let’s Talk initiative provides an opportunity to talk about mental health and its associated stigma with your students. Through a guided conversation, you can discuss and bring awareness to the importance of positive mental health. The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre provides supports, tools and curriculum guides to support school professionals in promoting positive mental health and is available here. The Positive Mental Health Toolkit from the Joint Consortium for School Health consists of 5 modules to promote positive mental health practices and perspectives within the school environment and is available here. To find other resources related to positive mental health, visit the Healthy Schools BC website here.

A toolkit and conversation guide and free downloadable resources from the Bell Let’s Talk website can be found here. The Bell Let’s Talk initiative has also suggested five simple ways to start a conversation to support ending the stigma around mental health, which can be accessed here.

You can find out more about Bell Let’s Talk Day here.

January 11, 2018

2017 Quality Daily Physical Education Conference

Having fun learning new skills to support students with their physical education and their health and wellness

 

In October, DASH attended the 2017 Quality Daily Physical Education Conference at Douglas College, hosted by the Douglas College Sports Institute and Physical Education British Columbia (PE-BC). At this conference, DASH staff took part in two sessions facilitated by Action Schools! BC that supported integrating creative physical activity and healthy eating activities into the classroom, school and school community.

The first session was the Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Combo Workshop. In this session, participants discussed the concept of school wellness and the different aspects of health – physical, social, emotional, mental, intellectual, spiritual, environmental and occupational – and the effect they have on school connectedness. Also discussed were the various ways that school wellness, physical activity, healthy eating and healthy lifestyles could be promoted to students, staff, families and the wider community. Finally, there was time allotted for dialogue, stories, tips and suggestions to be shared amongst educators participating in the session regarding school-based physical activity and healthy eating actions, which made for a very informative and engaging session.

The second session was the Physical Activity Workshop, which was designed to reflect the new BC curriculum. Various physical education activities were set up, including individual activities, activities with partners and activities with groups. These activities ranged from those using no equipment to those using school gym equipment such as beanbags, balls and hula hoops. Educators participating in the session had the chance to partake in these activities which were fun and provided a great workout. Educators were also supported to implement lessons focused on physical literacy skills, fundamental movement skills, social-emotional learning, teamwork skills and thinking skills, among others and were encouraged to use these activities in their own classrooms and schools.

DASH gained a wealth of knowledge regarding physical activity and healthy eating at this conference and encourages all efforts by teachers, educators and other school staff to promote health and well-being throughout their schools. For resources related to health and well-being for use in the school environment, visit the Healthy Schools BC website here and the Action Schools! BC website here.

You can learn more about the 2017 Quality Daily Physical Education Conference here.

January 11, 2018

Action Schools! BC Mentoring

Building skills to confidently incorporate physical literacy and food literacy into your classroom and school

 

Educators know that skills are developed over time, with new skills built on existing ones. The Action Schools! BC hands-on mentoring program uses that approach to build the skills of classroom educators, supporting them to confidently incorporate physical literacy and food literacy in their classrooms and schools. 

 

Flexible Mentorship Opportunities:

 

Available to teachers within schools that have completed an action plan, the physical literacy and food literacy mentorships bring in experienced mentors to work with teachers to identify specific learning priorities and provide multi-session job-embedded training. 

 

The Physical Literacy Mentoring program provides teachers with four sessions of hands-on training. It aims to build confidence by building skills through coaching and facilitation, and by providing targeted support, guidance, tools and resources to implement the new Physical and Health Education curriculum.  

 

The Food Literacy Mentoring program provides schools with two hands-on sessions. It supports school teams to take a whole school approach to food literacy within their school environment with an overall goal of supporting healthy eating. Sessions can be held within or outside of the school day. 

 

Please email info@actionschoolsbc.ca to find out how you can participate in the mentoring program. 
  

Host a Free Workshop on Your Professional Development Day:

 

Action Schools! BC workshops support building skill and confidence to support physical activity and healthy eating in your classroom and school. Aligned with BC’s new curriculum, they provide hands-on, interactive professional learning, and are facilitated by skilled trainers. Action Schools! BC instructional examples are used to support educators to confidently integrate physical activity and healthy eating into their practice. At 2-3 hours in length, the workshops are perfect for your Professional Development Day programming. Three workshops are currently being offered: 

  1. Healthy Eating Workshop
  2. Physical Activity Workshop
  3. Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Combination Workshop

 

Workshops are free and are available to all BC K-7 schools. Please email info@actionschoolsbc.ca for more information or click here to schedule a workshop today.

 

Help Students Learn to Stay Healthy!

 

Action Schools! BC promotes healthy living through supporting teachers and schools to engage more deeply in physical activity and healthy eating through multiple supports, including workshopsaction planningmentoring and free web-based resources. To learn how you can participate, or for more information, please email info@actionschoolsbc.ca or click here to learn more.

January 11, 2018

ArtStarts Artists in the Classroom Directory

Connect with professional artists to create memorable learning experiences for your students

 

The ArtStarts Artists in the Classroom Directory helps connect you with professional artists that can come into classrooms and schools across BC to work with students. These individuals work in a variety of artistic disciplines, are skilled in their craft and have a specific interest in working with children and youth. Collaborate with an artist today to create memorable learning experiences for you and your students.
 

The directory is easy to use and can be searched by the artist's name, the discipline they work in, the languages they speak or the region in which they live and/or work. Once you have found the artist that you wish to work with, you are able to contact them directly through the contact information provided on their website. If there is no contact information provided, email Laura Aliaga at laura@artstarts.com

The goal of the directory is to provide a comprehensive list of artists available to work in classrooms and schools in every region of BC for use by teachers, educators and other school staff. Access the ArtStarts Artists in the Classroom Directory here.

January 11, 2018

Shaping the Future 2018 and the Pan-Canadian School Health Summit

Taking place from January 30th – February 3rd, 2018

 

The Shaping the Future 2018 conference and the Pan-Canadian School Health Summit will be taking place in Lake Louise, AB from January 30th – February 3rd, 2018 and will be held at the Chateau Lake Louise.

Individuals from school communities and organizations in Alberta and from across Canada will come together to coordinate efforts to create healthy, innovative learning environments for students and to improve the health and well-being of students, staff, families and members of the wider community.

Leaders in education, health, active living, research, policy, recreation and the corporate sector in Alberta and from across Canada will share their work and research, and help build a network of support for healthy school communities. These leaders include DASH BC, Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada), Saskatchewan In Motion, Ophea, the Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health and many others.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to amplify the importance of wellness in schools across Canada, and coordinate action across provinces.

You can learn more about the Shaping the Future 2018 conference and the Pan-Canadian School Health Summit here.

December 6, 2017

Successes from the 10th Annual Walk and Wheel to School Week

Working together to create healthy and active school communities

DASH held a successful 10th annual Walk and Wheel to School Week from October 2nd to 6th, 2017, as part of International Walk to School Month (iWalk). This event celebrates the many benefits of walking and wheeling to school, and involves students, staff, families and community members working together to create healthy and active school communities.

We are pleased to announce that this year, we had participation in the event from 166 schools across the province. This is up from 104 schools participating in the event last year, which amounts to an almost 60% increase in participation rates!

To illustrate some of the impacts of this event, we have some stories to share from participating schools:

Queneesh Elementary School, School District 71:

  • Queneesh Elementary School had the highest overall percentage (81%) of class participants.


Ranch Park Elementary School, School District 43:

  • Ranch Park Elementary School had 70% of their students walk and wheel to school over the course of the week.


Kersley Elementary School, School District 28:

  • Kersley Elementary participated in the Walk and Wheel to School event this year by surveying each class for three days in a row.”
  • “The weather was a little chilly, but we still had as many as 38% of our students walking or wheeling to school!”
  • “We even had some [students] who drove part way and walked the rest.
  • “Thank you for encouraging healthy activity!”


South Rutland Elementary School, School District 23:

  • “[South Rutland Elementary School] had two classes that both had over 75% participation.”
  • “Thank you for the wonderful prizes!”


If you participated in this year’s event and would like to share your story, please contact us at iwalk@dashbc.ca.


To inquire about next year’s event or to learn more about iWalk, please contact us at iwalk@dashbc.ca.

December 6, 2017

Women Deliver 2019 Pre-Conference Event

Celebrating and preparing for the Women Deliver 2019 Conference in Vancouver

In November, DASH attended an event to celebrate and prepare for the upcoming Women Deliver 2019 Conference which will take place in Vancouver from June 3rd to June 6th, 2019. A number of individuals spoke at the pre-conference event, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau. They called upon people from all sectors, especially the younger generation, to take action, to shine a light on gender equality and to unite on behalf of girls and women.

The Women Deliver Conference, the world’s largest conference on gender equality, began in 2007 and has been hosted in England, the United States, Malaysia, and Denmark, with Canada soon to share that honour. This global conference focuses on the health, rights and well-being of girls and women around the world. When Vancouver serves as the host city for the Women Deliver 2019 conference, over 6000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists and journalists from more than 160 countries around the world will congregate in the city to generate action and create solutions for lasting change.

Throughout the pre-conference event, the many diverse speakers repeatedly brought up the importance and impact of the younger generation. Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau noted that change happens because people get engaged in the process. She advocated for everyone to get involved, with a particular focus on the younger generation, because there is such a vital need to listen to, turn to and call upon the voices, wisdom and insights of children and youth.

Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau then introduced Adina Williams, a young woman from the Squamish Nation, who reaffirmed the importance of the younger generation getting involved in the conversation, reminding us of the value of the thoughts and ideas of children and youth. She also brought up the need to listen to the usually silenced voices of Aboriginal peoples, particularly Aboriginal children and youth, as incorporating Aboriginal ways of knowing into our everyday lives is important in the creation of lasting change.

After this, Prime Minister Trudeau took to the stage. He remarked that gender equality is everyone’s business, mentioning that he and his wife were not only raising their daughter to be a feminist, but were also raising their sons to be feminists as well. He stated that children and youth have the unique ability to shape the future for the better and that we should be including them in the conversation. He also urged educators to teach students about the girls and women throughout history who were left out of the textbooks and to promote gender equality in the classroom, as he believes in girls and women as agents of change.

Next, Katja Iversen, the president and CEO of Women Deliver, reminded attendees of the importance of changing the narrative of girls and women from girls and women being seen as inferior to boys and men to girls and women being seen as equal to boys and men. She emphasized that, even today, girls and women are often still denied access to the same opportunities in society as boys and men. She then asked attendees to consider what each of them could do personally to encourage the integration of girls and women into the discussions that can help to shape their lives and livelihoods. BC Premier John Horgan also added that real, lasting change starts at the local level, in our homes, in our schools and in our communities. Finally, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau noted that it doesn’t matter if you are taking giant steps or baby steps, because even a small change can make a big difference.

In the words of Prime Minister Trudeau, “Women Deliver is a chance for all of us to come together, step up and do our part to make gender equality a reality.” DASH supports all efforts by teachers, educators and school staff to create an awareness of gender equality within the school environment, and encourages communicating the messages and opportunities connected to the Women Deliver 2019 Conference.

For ideas on how to teach gender equality in your classroom, check out a gender equality lesson planning guide hereteaching strategies to address gender equality hereand lesson plans and tool kits to promote gender equality here.

You can find out more about Women Deliver and the upcoming Women Deliver 2019 Conference here.

December 6, 2017

December 10th Is World Human Rights Day

Empower students with learning they can apply far beyond the school environment

December 10th is World Human Rights Day. For children and youth to understand how they should be treated and how they should treat others, they need to learn about equality and human rights. Teaching your students about these topics can also help to increase school connectedness.

When children and youth are exposed to lessons on equality and human rights, they gain an awareness and respect of their own rights and responsibilities and the rights and responsibilities of others; they develop understanding, respect and tolerance for differences and diversity; and they gain knowledge of how to tackle any prejudicial behaviours that they and others are faced with.

Lessons on equality and human rights help to establish a healthier, happier and fairer classroom and school culture. They can also lead to reductions in bullying and other negative behaviours, and improvements in academic achievement and in relationships between students and staff. These outcomes support the focus of school connectedness in creating a school community where everyone feels safe, seen, heard, supported, significant and cared for.

Educating students about equality and human rights empowers them with learning that they will use far beyond the classroom environment. In fact, they will take the lessons that they have learned with them as they venture onto the playground, to their extra-curricular activities, into their homes and into the wider community.

In our ever-changing and continuously diversifying society, it is now more important than ever to educate children and youth about equality and human rights, and to continue to empower them to foster positive and open-minded attitudes.

For lesson plan ideas on equality and human rights that can be utilized in the classroom, click here.

You can find out more about World Human Rights Day here.

December 6, 2017

Resources to Promote Belonging and Inclusion

Advice, tools, and insights to help fight hate and promote love in the classroom, school and school community

Resources to Promote Belonging and Inclusion is a guide created by the Afterschool AllianceEvery Hour Counts, and the National After School Association. Although the resources, advice, tools and insights provided in this guide are designed with afterschool program leaders and summer learning providers in mind, all teachers, educators and school staff are able to gain valuable insights from this guide.

Diversity – seen in many different aspects of life through culture, spoken language, religion, race, ethnic background, gender and sexual orientation to name a few – is something that should be celebrated in all areas of our lives.

Unfortunately, events happening across the country and around the world have young people witnessing and experiencing racism, bigotry and hate in their lives, in their communities and in all forms of media. For that reason, it is particularly important to celebrate diversity in the school community and to help create an environment where students feel safe, seen, heard, supported, significant and cared for.

This guide provides the information necessary to help fight hate and promote love in the classroom, school and school community, including discussion of the important role that current events play in the lives of children and youth, assistance with the navigation of difficult but necessary conversations with children and youth, and help to ensure that children and youth feel protected within the school environment.

Everyone has a role to play in promoting a sense of belonging and inclusion, including advocating for safety and security and supporting peaceful and prosperous places free from bigotry and hate.

You can access Resources to Promote Belonging and Inclusion here.

December 6, 2017

Shaping the Future 2018 and the Pan-Canadian School Health Summit

January 30th – February 3rd, 2018

The Shaping the Future 2018 conference and the Pan-Canadian School Health Summit will be taking place in Lake Louise, AB from January 30th – February 3rd, 2018, at the Chateau Lake Louise.

Individuals from school communities and organizations from Alberta and across Canada will come together to coordinate efforts to create healthy, innovative learning environments for students and to improve the health and well-being of students, staff, families and members of the community.

Leaders in education, health, active living, research, policy, recreation and the corporate sector from Alberta and across Canada will share their work and research, and help build a network of support for healthy school communities. These leaders include Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada), DASH BC, Saskatchewan In Motion, Ophea, the Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health and many others.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to amplify the importance of wellness in schools across Canada, and coordinate action across provinces.

For more information on the Shaping the Future 2018 conference and the Pan-Canadian School Health Summit, click here.

November 2, 2017

Healthy Habits in the Classroom, School and School Community
The importance of encouraging your students to reap the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle

With sedentary behaviour, unhealthy lifestyles and adverse health outcomes on the rise, it is now more important than ever to encourage children and youth to sit less and move more and to reap the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. Help your students achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles now and in the future by building strong healthy habits and fostering a holistic approach to health and well-being within your classroom, school and school community.

Here are some ways you can build and strengthen the healthy habits of your classroom, school and school community and increase the health and well-being of students, staff and families:

Physical Activity and Active Living:

  • Incorporate lessons on physical activity and active living into your teaching outside of regularly planned physical education classes.
  • Encourage your students to participate in 60 or more minutes of physical activity every day and promote active living to your students and their families.
  • Add regular physical activity breaks during the school day.
  • The ParticipACTION website helps people of all ages make sitting less and moving more a priority by providing national programs and the latest information in one place and is a great resource for the classroom and school environment.

Healthy Eating and Nutrition:

  • Incorporate lessons on healthy eating and nutrition into your teaching.
  • Use healthier food and beverage items for classroom and/or school events, fundraising and/or sponsorship activities, as incentives to reward students for good behaviour and for sale at school. The Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in B.C. Schools can help you identify what are healthier foods and beverages.
  • Provide information on healthy eating and nutrition to your students and their families through newsletters, classroom/school events, etc.
  • The blogs on HealthyFamilies BC are a great place to get information you can trust on topics that matter to staff, students and families for use in the classroom and school environment.

Stress Management and Mental Health and Well-Being:

  • Incorporate self-regulation and self-calming techniques, breathing exercises and mindfulness, yoga and meditation in the classroom and school environment to combat heightening stress levels.
  • Introduce students, staff and families to helpful apps such as Breathr, MindShift and others from recognized mental health and well-being organizations.
  • Promote mental well-being throughout the school community to promote student learning, health and success.

We know that adopting healthy habits in your classroom, school and school community might not be easy, but the good news is that even a small change can make a big difference in the overall health and well-being of your students.

November 2, 2017

Healthy Schools Network (HSN) School Grants Deadline Coming Soon
The last day to apply is November  10th, 2017

The deadline for Health Schools Network (HSN) School Grants is quickly approaching. The last day to apply for an HSN School Grant is November 10th, 2017 - don’t miss this amazing opportunity! These grants encompass a new overarching theme of mental well-being. The focus this year is on well-being in a real-world context

The HSN School Grant is a $750 grant opportunity that supports public, First Nations and independent schools to use inquiry-based, whole school approaches to address mental well-being priorities. It provides financial support for schools as they transform the way that they address mental well-being across various aspects of the school environment.

Successful applications will have an inquiry focus on the promotion of mental well-being as it relates to students’ learning, health and development, and will connect their work to two overarching questions:

  1. How is it feasible to promote mental well-being through all environments that promote student learning, health, and success?
  2. How does mental well-being impact the ‘whole child’?

Preference will be given to applications that address the whole school environment with actions across interrelated learning areas, or that link to community initiatives. Consideration will be given to equitable regional distribution of approved applications across the province.

Due to a finite amount of funding available for school grants, applications will only be accepted from October 9th to November 10th, 2017 through apply.dashbc.ca. Please note that you will need to set up a free account in order to submit an application.

For further information about the HSN School Grants, click here. If you have any questions about the HSN or the HSN School Grants, please contact Sonia at sali@dashbc.ca

If you have applied for an HSN School Grant in the past, we encourage you to apply again this year! Just remember that, before you can apply for this year’s grants, you must post your previous grant’s year-end story on the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map. If you need any support in sharing your story, please contact Sonia at sali@dashbc.ca

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Health.

November 2, 2017

Action Schools! BC Action Planning
Learn how action planning can enhance your school and school community

Action planning is a key way to purposefully enhance your school and school community in the areas of physical activity and healthy eating with connections to mental well-being and health literacy. Learn how you can easily access Action Schools! BC resources to support your school and school community.

Action Planning

An action plan is a road map towards a healthier school and healthier students. A short planning process can help educators make the most of their time and resources by ensuring discussion about a shared vision for the future, and agreement on the areas of health promotion that could be improved upon at your school and school community. Completing an action plan helps you build a shared understanding of health priorities, brainstorm actions that could be taken, choose a path forward, and evaluate progress over time.

The role of Action Schools! BC is to support your school and school community in achieving your goals and implementing your healthy living action plan. Based on the goals and actions you brainstorm, we will match you with the resources required to build capacity in those areas and to successfully achieve your goals. Together, we can take action across interrelated learning environments to encourage student engagement and health.

Action Schools! BC helps to start the conversation and provides on-going support in the form of:

  • Action Schools! BC physical activity and/or healthy eating workshops
  • Hands-on physical literacy and/or food literacy mentoring for classroom educators
  • Customized equipment grants
  • Downloadable resources including instructional examples and activities aligned with the new BC curriculum
  • Connections with community organizations and resources in your community

For a how-to guide for action planning that provides a step-by-step process to follow, click here. For a fillable action planning template, click here.

If you are interested in completing an action plan and gaining access to these valuable supports, please contact info@actionschoolsbc.ca.

Help Students Learn to Stay Healthy

Action Schools! BC will continue to serve the needs of individual classroom teachers with free web-based resources. These resources provide support for schools and school communities who wish to engage more deeply in physical activity and healthy eating actions with connections to mental well-being and health literacy across all aspects of the learning environment of their school and school community.

Register here for full access to over 100 physical activity and healthy eating resources with connections to mental well-being and health literacy. All resources are free and available for download. To begin your action planning process and gain access to these free supports, please contact info@actionschoolsbc.ca.

November 2, 2017

Children’s Rights in the Classroom
Using National Child Day to help foster school connectedness

National Child Day, held on November 20th of every year, is a chance to learn about the rights of children and youth to have a voice and participate in the community.

National Child Day has been celebrated every year since 1993, and is celebrated in commemoration of the United Nations (UN) adoption of two documents centred around children’s rights: the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

Following the example of many UN countries, Canada made a commitment to ensure that all children and youth are treated with dignity and respect and that they all have a voice, are protected from harm, are provided with basic needs and are given every opportunity to reach their full potential.

As children and youth spend so much of their lives at school, the school environment is considered an ideal place to start the discussion surrounding children’s rights, which can help students feel connected to the school environment.

When children and youth learn about the rights of themselves and others, they have been shown to have higher self-esteem and a greater acceptance of others who are different than themselves. They have also been found to be more likely to stand up for themselves and to stand up for other people. This positively impacts their ability to build relationships with their fellow classmates, teachers and other school staff and helps to make the school environment a place where students feel safe, seen, heard, supported, significant and cared for. This, in turn, has a positive effect on school connectedness.

For a child-friendly version of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for use in a classroom or school setting, click here.

For more information on how to incorporate information about National Child Day in your classroom, school and school community, check out the National Child Day Activity Kit and National Child Day Lesson Plans, Games and Activities.

It is important that we celebrate children and youth as active participants in their own lives and in their own communities, and as active citizens who can and should meaningfully contribute to decision making.

November 2, 2017

UBC Mental Health Resource Database
Learn about fostering mental well-being and supporting students who have mental health difficulties

The UBC Mental Health Resource Database provides a variety of resources that are able to aid adults in the creation of environments where children and youth feel safe seeking help when needed, where biases and stigmas are reduced, and where feelings of acceptance, belonging and well-being are increased.

The resource database is split into two sections, Learn and Support.

The Learn section contains resources that teach adults about promoting mental health literacy and fostering mental well-being in their classrooms and schools. It also assists with understanding why it is important for adults to provide accommodations so that students can get the most out of their educational experience.

The Support section contains resources that enable adults to find out what they can do to help students who experience mental health difficulties in order to promote mental well-being and reduce stigma. It also assists with understanding how to increase students’ willingness to ask for help when needed and how to create safe and accepting environments in which students can learn optimally.

Interested individuals can access the resource database here.

November 2, 2017

Canada’s Food Guide Revision
Communicating guidance in ways that better meet the needs of different users

Health Canada is in the process of revising Canada’s Food Guide with a goal of communicating guidance in ways that better meet the needs of different users. This is a key initiative of their healthy eating strategy.

To date, Health Canada has presented draft healthy eating recommendations.  Once finalized, these recommendations will inform the development of consumer messages, tools and resources.

In mid-2018, Health Canada will release new dietary guidance policy for health professionals and policy makers as well as supporting key messages and resources for Canadians. In mid-2019, Health Canada will release updated healthy eating patterns (recommended amounts and types of foods) and additional resources for Canadians.

During the revision process, the 2007 Canada’s Food Guide continues to be Health Canada’s guidance on healthy eating and can be used as a trusted source of information.

Registered dietitians at HealthLink BC can answer any healthy eating and nutrition questions. To speak with a registered dietitian, call 8-1-1 from 9am to 5pm Pacific Time Monday to Friday, or you can e-mail a HealthLink BC dietitian.

Interested individuals can find out more information about the revision process here.

November 2, 2017

Save the Date: Shaping the Future 2018 and the Pan-Canadian School Health Summit
January 30th – February 3rd, 2018

The Shaping the Future 2018 conference and the Pan-Canadian School Health Summit will be taking place in Lake Louise, AB from January 30th – February 3rd, 2018, at the Chateau Lake Louise.

Individuals from school communities and organizations from across Alberta and from across Canada will come together to coordinate their efforts to create healthy, innovative learning environments for students and to improve the health and well-being of students, staff, families and members of the community.

Leaders in education, health, active living, research, policy, recreation and the corporate sector from Alberta and across Canada will share their work and research, and help build a network of support for healthy school communities. These leaders include Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada), DASH BC, Saskatchewan In Motion, Ophea, the Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health and many others.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to amplify the importance of wellness in schools across Canada, and coordinate action across provinces.

Interested individuals can find out more about the Shaping the Future 2018 conference and the Pan-Canadian School Health Summit by clicking here.

October 4, 2017

Save the Date

2017 Healthy School Communities National Forum – November 2nd-3rd, 2017

The 2017 Healthy School Communities National Forum, held by Physical & Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) will be taking place in Ottawa from November 2nd-3rd, 2017 at The Brookstreet Hotel. Community leaders, decision makers and experts working in various sectors will work to improve the health and well-being and learning outcomes of students in schools and school communities.

Creating a healthy school community is a shared responsibility and requires a whole child approach which recognizes that when students are healthy, learning outcomes are positively affected.

At this forum you will be able to learn and work alongside students, teachers, administrators, parents, governments and community partners and explore collaborative approaches to school health and learn about various practices for achieving change in the school environment and in the wider community.

Join PHE Canada from November 2nd-3rd, 2017 at the 2017 Healthy School Communities National Forum and experience a community committed to improving student achievement and health and well-being. 

Learn more about the 2017 Healthy School Communities National Forum here.

October 4, 2017

Save the Date

Shaping the Future 2018 – January 30th-February 3rd, 2018

The Shaping the Future 2018 conference and the Pan Canadian School Health Summit will be taking place in Lake Louise from January 30th-February 3rd, 2018, at Chateau Lake Louise. Individuals from school communities and organizations from across Alberta and from across Canada will come together to work to create healthy and innovative learning environments for students and to improve the health and well-being of students, staff, families and members of the community.

Leaders in education, health, active living, research, policy, recreation and the corporate sector from Alberta and across Canada will gather to share their work and research and to build a network of support for healthy school communities. Partners coming together to share their research include Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada), DASH BC, Saskatchewan In Motion, Ophea, the Pan Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health and many others.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to amplify the importance of wellness in schools across Canada and coordinate action across provinces from January 30th-February 3rd, 2018.

For more information on Shaping the Future 2018, click here.

October 3, 2017

Healthy Schools Network Update

Reminder: HSN School Grants available October 9th, 2017

Applications for the Healthy Schools Network (HSN) School Grants will be accepted from October 9th-November 10th, 2017, with the grants focusing on a new overarching theme of mental well-being. The focus this year will be on Well-Being in a Real-World Context

The HSN School Grant is a $750 grant opportunity that supports public, First Nations and independent schools to use inquiry-based, whole school approaches to address mental well-being priorities. This grant provides financial support for schools as they transform the way they address mental well-being across various aspects of the school environment.

Successful applications will have an inquiry focus on the promotion of mental well-being as it relates to students’ learning, health and development and will connect their work to two overarching questions:

1.     How is it feasible to promote mental well-being through all environments that promote student learning, health, and success?

2.     How does mental well-being impact the ‘whole child’?

Preference will be given to applications that address the whole school environment with actions across interrelated learning areas or that link to community initiatives. Consideration will be given to equitable regional distribution of approved applications across the province.  Due to a finite amount of funding available for school grants, applications will only be accepted from October 9th-November 10th, 2017 through apply.dashbc.ca (please note that you will need to set up a free account in order to submit an application).

If you have applied for an HSN School Grant in the past, we encourage you to apply again this year! Just remember that in order to apply for a grant, you must post your previous grant’s year-end story on the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map. If you need any support in sharing your story, please contact us at sali@dashbc.ca

If you have any questions about the HSN or the HSN School Grants, please contact Sonia at 604-681-0600, ext. 250 or at sali@dashbc.ca

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Health.

October 3, 2017

Enhance Your School Community Today

Register for full access to Action Schools! BC free resources


Access healthy living action plans and free resources related to Physical Activity and Healthy Eating with connections to Mental Well-Being and Health Literacy. Find out how the enhanced Action Schools! BC program can support your school and school community. 

Last year, many schools around the province made a commitment to improve the health and well-being of their school and school community by creating a healthy living action plan. As part of our Action Planning process, elementary school educators identified school-wide priorities under the pillars of comprehensive school health, set specific healthy living goals for inspiration and agreed on specific actions to achieve their health goals.

It is our role to support your school and school community in achieving its goals and the implementation of your healthy living action plan. Together we can take action across interrelated learning environments to encourage student engagement and health.

Action Schools! BC helps to start the conversation and provide on-going support in the form of:

  • Action Schools! BC physical activity and/or healthy eating workshops
  • Hands-on physical literacy and/or food literacy mentoring for classroom educators
  • Customized equipment grants
  • Downloadable resources including instructional examples and activities, both aligned with the new BC curriculum
  • Connections with community organizations and resources in your community

Help Students Learn to Stay Healthy

Action Schools! BC will continue to serve the needs of individual classroom teachers with free web-based resources. These resources provide support for schools and school communities who wish to engage more deeply in physical activity and healthy eating actions with links to mental well-being across all aspects of the learning environment of their school and school community.

Register here for full access to over 100 Physical Activity and Healthy Eating with connections to Mental Well-Being resources. All resources are free and available for download. To begin your action planning process and gain access to these free supports, please contact us at info@actionschoolsbc.ca.

October 3, 2017

Staff Well-Being Benefits Everyone

Mental wellness in the workplace


October 10th, 2017
marks the 25th annual World Mental Health Day held by the World Federation of Mental Health. This year’s theme, Mental Health in the Workplace, reminds us of how our workplace and our work environment can affect our well-being. Caring for your own well-being and supporting the well-being of your colleagues contributes to making your school a positive environment in which to learn, work and play, and where staff and students alike feel connected to the school environment.

This World Mental Health Day, spend a little time thinking about your own well-being and that of your colleagues. Are there some things you can do to help your own well-being and support the well-being of your colleagues? Here are some ideas:

  • Ensure that you and your colleagues have access to social support systems both inside and outside the workplace
  • Post inspirational messages and quotes in classrooms, the cafeteria, hallways or frequently visited areas (like the staff room, main office, staff washrooms and photocopy room)
  • Promote a workplace which fosters positive mental health and does not tolerate stigmatization
  • Manage stress through activities such as mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises and yoga
  • Make time to exercise with your colleagues such as walking/running, hiking, cycling, Zumba, Pilates, swimming or going to the gym together
  • Bring in a healthy snack for staff meetings
  • Recognize your colleagues on their accomplishments
  • Undertake random acts of kindness for others
  • Plan regular activities outside the workplace to encourage staff to get to know each other on a personal level
  • Start a staff wellness team where you can create a vision, assess where you’re at, make a plan, execute it and then celebrate a job well done

When school staff focuses on their own well-being, there are benefits to productivity and overall engagement in work. This can have a positive impact on student engagement which can, in turn, increase school connectedness. Therefore, it is important for you to take care of yourself so that you can work to the best of your abilities within your healthy school community. When you take care of yourself, you are able to extend that support to others, which, in turn, creates an environment that supports the health and well-being of staff and students alike.

October 3, 2017

October is Farm to School Month

Dig in at the garden, farm or classroom with hands on activities for your school!

Mark your calendars – the fourth annual Canadian National Farm to School Month kicks off in October 2017!

Farm to School Month is a celebration of all the great things happening across the country to connect children and youth to healthy, local and sustainably produced foods. It’s all about highlighting and celebrating successes and encouraging new activities. There are many ways to celebrate Farm to School month – what will your school do? Now is the time to plan! Fun ideas include:

  • Preparing a special local-food meal with students
  • Celebrating in the cafeteria with a local-meal plan for the month
  • Bringing in a special guest, like a local farmer or producer, to speak to students
  • Hosting a celebration in your school garden

Farm to School BC is also busy at work, celebrating its 10th anniversary by gearing up for an exciting year with new grants, events, workshops, and multiple opportunities to engage with the Farm to School BC community. To find out more, visit the website or sign up for the newsletter. If you live in or around the regional hubs (Kamloops, Victoria or Vancouver), sign up for the region-specific listervs through the Farm to School BC website.

For more information on how to get your hands dirty as you dig into Farm to School, contact Richard at prov.manager@farmtoschoolbc.ca

October 3, 2017

Free, Online and User-Friendly

Check out the updated Mental Health Toolkit from the Joint Consortium for School Health today!


The Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health has released an updated version of their Positive Mental Health Toolkit, which can help promote positive mental health practices and perspectives within the school environment. The toolkit is free and the online and user-friendly approach provides a variety of videos, downloadable checklists, presentations and other tools. You can also browse through it for ideas which can be useful if you are looking for guidance in the mental well-being work of your school.

The updated toolkit contains some new features, including a section on staff wellness and elements on diversity. Modules offered include:

  • Introduction to Positive Mental Health
  • School Connectedness
  • Resiliency in School Environments
  • School Team Relationships
  • Assessing Comprehensive School Health

The toolkit includes a self-assessment of positive mental health practices that was developed in conjunction with DASH and piloted in a number of BC schools.

The toolkit was created by Dr. Patricia Peterson and Dr. Bill Morrison of the University of New Brunswick with input from education and health professionals from BC and across Canada.

Interested individuals can access the toolkit here.

September 14, 2017


Get Your School Ready to Walk and Be Active

Register for the 10th annual Walk and Wheel to School Week

DASH BC is excited to present the 10th annual Walk and Wheel to School Week held from October 2-6, 2017, as part of the International Walk to School Month (iWalk). This week-long provincial event held every year in October encourages students, parents, staff, and community members to celebrate the many benefits of walking and wheeling to school.

Organize an event at your school, and you will be:

  • Celebrating active transportation and encouraging daily physical activity
  • Promoting opportunities to practice safe walking and biking skills and identifying safe routes to school
  • Enhancing the connection between students, parents, schools, and communities in a fun and interactive way
  • Reducing school traffic congestion and vehicle emissions

When you register your school, you will receive:

  • Resources and supports you know and love, such as posters and stickers
  • Classroom supports to help with planning and activities
  • Support in making community partnerships
  • Support for starting year-round walk to school events

Register online here by September 15, 2017 and receive the free Walk and Wheel package to help you organize the best event of the year!

Whether this is your first time signing up, or you want to make this year’s event bigger and better, DASH BC is here to help! Please contact us at info@dashbc.ca for questions or more information.

To give your school an extra boost, you can also choose to register your school in the Be Active Every Day initiative by Doctors of BC held from October 2-27, 2017. Be Active Every Day is an annual initiative that helps kids be more active and make healthy choices. In partnership with their local elementary school, doctors across BC coordinate a challenge to kids: be active for 60 minutes every day in October. Click here to learn more.

Creating a partnership with a local doctor is an excellent way to adopt a Comprehensive School Health approach to healthy schools in your own school community through creating community partnerships. To participate in this challenge please contact Patrick Higgins at 604-638-8744 or at phiggins@doctorsofbc.ca.

September 14, 2017

Looking for a fun back-to-school classroom activity?

Access BC Dairy Association’s nutrition resources today!

We know the first week back-to-school can be hectic. For K-1 teachers, the Mystery Food Activity can cover many subject areas with one simple activity. For teachers of Gr. 2 and up, get your students moving while exploring food groups with the Go Four It! Lesson plan. It’s also a great time to look at available nutrition workshops as you develop your professional education planning for the year.  For more information about BC Dairy Association’s nutrition resources, workshops, lesson plans and more check out nutritioneducationbc.ca.

September 14, 2017

Healthy Schools Network News

HSN School Grants available October 9, 2017

We are looking forward to the upcoming school year; it’s full of exciting possibilities to engage students in creating healthier school communities! We are pleased to announce that HSN School grants that support healthy living are returning for the 2017-18 school year. The grants this year have a new overarching theme: Well-Being in a Real-World Context. We know that BC schools understand the central role mental well-being plays in fostering optimal environments for learning and in engaging students as they develop their skills and explore their passions. Mental well-being is a key foundation for student health, well-being and success.

The Healthy Schools Network School Grant is a $750 grant opportunity that supports public, First Nations and independent schools to use inquiry-based, whole school approaches to address mental well-being priorities. It provides financial support for schools as they transform the way they address mental well-being across various aspects of the school environment.

Successful school-level applications will have an inquiry focus on the promotion of mental well-being as it relates to students’ learning, health and development, and will connect their work to  two overarching questions:

  1. How is it feasible to promote mental well-being through all environments that promote student learning, health, and success?
  2. How does mental well-being impact the ‘whole child’?


Preference will be given to applications that address the whole school environment with actions across interrelated learning areas or link to community initiatives. Consideration will be given to equitable regional distribution of approved applications across the province.  Due to a finite amount of funding available for school grants, applications will only be accepted from October 9-November 10, 2017 through apply.dashbc.ca (please note that you will need to set up a free account to submit an application).

The HSN School Grants assist school communities to ensure that all students are healthy, engaged and connected in a safe, supportive, caring and strong learning environment and to realize and practise the concept that healthy students are better learners. The grants aim to provide funding as a catalyst to support mental well-being initiatives that are relevant and meaningful to each applicant’s unique school context.

If you have applied for an HSN Grant in the past, we encourage you to apply again this year! Just remember that in order to apply for a grant, you must post your previous grant’s year-end story on the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map. If you need any support in sharing your story, please contact us at sali@dashbc.ca

If you have any questions about the HSN or the HSN School Grants, please contact Sonia at 604-681-0600, ext. 250 or at sali@dashbc.ca

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Health.
September 14, 2017

Enhance Your Healthy School Community

Register now for full access to the Action Schools! BC Website

Access practical, interactive professional development workshops and free resources related to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity. Find out how the enhanced Action Schools! BC program can support your school. 

The Action Schools! BC workshops have been updated to reflect the new BC curriculum and focus on physical activity and healthy eating with connections to mental wellbeing. Facilitated by skilled trainers, workshops provide educators and school staff with a practical, interactive professional development opportunity where they can learn about and try Action Schools! BC resources. Instructional examples are used to prepare educators to confidently integrate physical activity and healthy eating into their teaching practice, classrooms and schools. At 2-3 hours in length, our workshops are perfect for your Professional Development Day programming. We currently offer three workshops:

1) Healthy Eating Workshop

2) Physical Activity Workshop

3) Healthy Eating & Physical Activity Combination Workshop

Schools have already begun to register for workshops for the upcoming school year. Workshops are free and available to all BC K-7 schools. Send us an email at info@actionschoolsbc.ca for more information or click here to schedule a workshop.

Help Students Learn to Stay Healthy

Action Schools! BC will continue to serve the needs of individual classroom teachers with free web-based resources.  The resources provide support for schools who wish to engage more deeply in physical activity and healthy eating actions across all aspects of their school’s learning environments.

Register here for full access to over 100 Healthy Eating and Physical Activity resources. All resources are free and available for download.

September 14, 2017

Everybody’s In! A Guide to Promoting Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in After School Programs

Are you looking for ways to include children with disabilities in your after school program?

The After School Sport and Arts Initiative (ASSAI) resource, “Everybody’s In! A Guide to Promoting Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in After School Programs” is a supportive tool that can be used to accommodate children with a wide range of abilities in after school programs and provides a framework, tools and resources for taking action. Click here to learn more about ASSAI.

The “Everybody’s In! A Guide to Promoting Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in After School Programs” resource supports after school program coordinators to ensure that all children regardless of their ability are able to grow and thrive in after school programs.

10 important key components of the resource:

  • Top Ten Tips for Inclusion of Children with Disabilities (Page 6)
  • Ideas for Individuals and Organizations to Reach Out to as a Support Network (Page 7)
  • Ideas for Staff Development and Training (Pages 10-11)
  • Universal Design and Differentiation in Action (Page 23)
  • Ideas for Adaptation (Pages 24-25)
  • Links: Resources to Support Participants with Disabilities in After School Programming (Pages 36-41)
  • Words With Dignity (Appendix 1)
  • The Quick Look Inclusion Checklist (Appendix 2)
  • Universal Design for Learning Lesson Plan (Appendix 4)
  • Active Kids For All Inclusive PE Training Program (Appendix 7)

To learn more about how to make your programs more inclusive click here.

September 14, 2017

Aboriginal Communities: Active for Life

Help your community achieve a healthy and lifelong relationship with physical activity!

Communities are where physical activity, sports and active living are first experienced. “Aboriginal Communities: Active for Life” is a resource for individuals interested in developing physical activity programs and building collaborative relationships between members of the community while incorporating Aboriginal ways of knowing into their classroom, school and community environments.

Being involved in physical activity, sports and active living from a young age leads to gaining confidence and self-esteem, making lasting friendships and learning practical life skills while improving health and well-being. This document, produced by the Sport for Life Society and the Aboriginal Sport Circle, provides parents, Elders, educators, recreation leaders and coaches with a framework, tools, resources, action plans and real life stories from actual members of the community to help them in their quest to get their communities active and healthy.

“Aboriginal Communities: Active for Life” integrates Aboriginal experiences, values and beliefs into the classroom, school and community environment, with a respectful and holistic approach to teaching and learning. This resource is designed for people in the community who value being active as a vehicle to improving health and well-being, who understand the importance of physical literacy – which is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility to be active for life – and who want to help their communities become more active in their everyday lives.

Interested individuals can access the resource at this link.

July 10, 2017

DASH BC is excited to present our 10th annual Walk and Wheel to School Week as part of International Walk to School Month (iWalk) from October 2nd - 6th, 2017. A week-long provincial event held every year in October, iWalk encourages students, parents, staff, and community members to celebrate the many benefits of walking to school, such as:

  • Celebrating active transportation and encouraging daily physical activity
  • Promoting opportunities to practice safe walking and biking skills and identifying safe routes to school
  • Enhancing the connection between students, parents, schools, and communities in a fun and interactive way
  • Reducing school traffic congestion and vehicle emissions

Register your school and receive:

  • Resources and supports you know and love, such as posters and stickers
  • More classroom supports to help with planning and activities
  • Support in making community partnerships
  • Support on starting year-round walk to school events

Click here to register!


July 10, 2017
October 2nd - 6th, 2017  is Walk and Wheel to School Week! Celebrate with us! Register your school here.
June 14, 2017
Benefits of Nature

 

Providing children with opportunities to explore natural outdoor settings where they can play, explore and experience natural systems is a part of healthy living. When children are engaged with the outdoors, in various weather environments, they are able to learn more about the habitat they live in. These experiences lead to healthier children and have a profound positive effect on their attitudes towards the natural environment that get carried into adulthood.

The benefits of exploring nature are endless through the hands-on experience it provides. Research shows that children learn best when they are engaged and active during the learning process ; exploring natural outdoor settings through experiences with water, rain, wind, and the coming of spring allows children to develop an emotional and aesthetic engagement with their surroundings. It gives them the opportunity to exercise both their mental and physical capacities – furthering their overall development.

According to gathered evidences, nature plays a crucial role in our health and well-being. With access to parks and nature reserves, there are many ways to create positive experiences for children within our surroundings. It can be as simple as picking flowers or produce, planting trees and seeds, or taking a nature walk in the rain.

Research shows that children participate more successfully in indoor learning after time spent in nature using their minds and bodies. To read more on how schools are implementing positive interactions with nature, go to:

http://www.healthyschoolsbc.ca/story/1283/school-garden-gives-greens-to-community#.WTHmbuvyuJB
http://www.healthyschoolsbc.ca/story/2600/parkway-elementary-food-forest-garden-a-place-to-learn-eat-and-play#.WTHmb-vyuJB



June 14, 2017

The First Nations Schools Association of BC (FNSA) hosted its 21st annual conference and general Meeting from April 21-22, 2017 in Vancouver. This brought together school staff, students, educators, and other professionals to explore effective practices in classroom instruction, school administration and professional development.

Keynote speeches, workshops, and performances addressed issues and strategies central to the work of First Nations schools in BC and the FNSA.

DASH was fortunate to attend this conference to connect with educators and other school staff to share resources and supports available to them. DASH engaged with conference attendees to raise awareness of Healthy Schools BC (HSBC) resources(namely the HSBC Regional Grants), aimed at supporting collaborative action between the education and health sectors in the area of mental well-being. This was a great opportunity to build on DASH’s existing relationships with First Nations Schools and forge new ones. Many educators and school staff had previously been aware of, or involved with, Healthy Schools BC and were happy to hear of the new and updated supports available to them.

To learn more about the resources and supports that your school can make use of, visit the Healthy Schools BC website!


June 14, 2017
Join the wave!

More than four thousand people have connected with Action Schools! BC through our website. There you will find over 100 free resources related to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity.

All resources are free and available for download. Click here to access the Action Schools! BC website.

We are out there!

In May, two successful and well-attended Action Schools! BC workshops were held. Educators at Shortreed Community School learned about healthy eating activities and how to incorporate them into their classrooms. Educators in the Surrey school district had the opportunity to attend a healthy eating/physical activity combination workshop held at the Surrey Teachers’ Association Convention on May 5th.

Interested in a workshop for your school? Send us an email and we will make the necessary arrangements for you. Workshops are free and available to all BC K-7 schools – click here to connect with us!

There is more to it!

Resources and workshops are only the tip of the iceberg. Action Schools! BC also offers tailored mentorship for teachers on food literacy and physical literacy, as part of a broader school action plan, which we can support you to develop.

In the past two months, more than fifty mentoring sessions were held directly with teachers to build their confidence and capacities to incorporate healthy living in their classrooms.

Do you want to start a sustainable school garden? Or to offer your students more outdoor play opportunities? Mentoring sessions are available to support you with these goals and other activities identified as part of your action plan. There are a number of resources and supports available to your school and we at DASH are available to walk you through them. Click here to start your action planning and access mentorship.

June 14, 2017

Hello: while the word may conjure up thoughts of Adele’s powerful song, it may also make you think of a time when someone’s friendly “hello” put a smile on your face, reassured you during a challenging time, or made you feel welcomed in a new environment – like when you started at a new school, whether as a student, a teacher or an administrator!

Studies tell us that students who are well connected to teachers and peers within their learning environment are more likely to prosper. Many of us know this intuitively. It makes sense that young people who feel cared for and liked by others tend to experience better mental health, have reduced involvement in health risk behaviours (including but not limited to substance use), and are more motivated to learn and achieve higher academic performance.

The good news for school professionals and other adults is that supporting the academic and social development of young people doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, most schools’ informal curricula emphasize the school as community and presents abundant opportunities for fostering the connections kids need to thrive in today’s world. Here is a peek at a couple of connection-based efforts that have demonstrated benefits in individuals and in school communities in BC.

Cariboo-Chilcotin SD 27 – This district focuses on developing a sense of belonging as the foundation of everything they do with students, involving teachers as well as support staff, bus drivers, maintenance workers and parents. Their attitude that “belonging is the key” has changed the way that work is done in the District. Want to know more? Click here for this and other districts’ school connectedness efforts.

Inclusion clubs for LGBTQ and all – Creating gay-straight alliances in the school setting is one way to help all students feel safe, respected and valued as an important part of a community. According to a UBC study co-led by Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, “Schools with anti-homophobia policies and clubs are safer schools, and safer schools mean students are less likely to abuse alcohol, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Looking for ideas and resources?

Here are some excellent resources:
SOGI 1 2 3: provides evidence-based information on three types of resources to support SOGI-inclusive schools and educators.
LGBTQ resource from the BCTF
• Healthy Schools BC (including its section on school connectedness) offers everything from the research base on school connectedness to a wide array of practice-focused tips and approaches.
• The Centre for Addictions Research of BC at the University of Victoria has developed resources to support peer mentor programs. These include a short summary of the evidence for such programs, as well as practical resources to use in supporting peer mentors’ efforts to support their peers on substance use matters.

Don’t forget, while a kind “hello” is not enough on its own, it does have the potential to help us all – young and old alike – feel cared about, and it establishes an important foundation on which to build.



May 4, 2017

School toolkits available for an active celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, ParticipACTION has created the ultimate list of physical activities that define us as Canadian: the ParticipACTION 150 Play List. This active, once-in-a-150-year challenge is to try to knock off as many of the 150 Canadian activities on the list as possible, and schools across the nation are stepping up and having a blast bringing the 150 Play List to life for their students.

To help schools create their own action-packed 150th birthday bash, ParticipACTION has created a 150 Play List School Toolkit with great tools and ideas for how you can create a 150 Play List event to get students moving, all while learning about activities that reflect Canada’s different cultures, regions, and abilities.

Register your school’s 150 Play List event and apply for a Celebration Kit with banners, prizes and other materials that will be shipped right to your school. You can also download the digital150 Play List School Toolkit right from the ParticipACTION website. It’s that easy.

So get going, have fun, and see how your school can make celebrating Canada’s birthday an active affair.

May 4, 2017

Register now for full access to the Action Schools! BC website

100+ physical activity and healthy earing resources with connections to mental well-being are now available and downloadable for registered Action Schools! BC users. The Action Schools! BC website now houses over 100 new and enhanced Action Schools! BC resources that can be used by elementary educators as they work with students on learning to be healthy. The response received from users so far has been extremely positive! School staff and educators are excited to have the resources available online and to have them broken down into bite-sized activities. Register for the Action Schools! BC website here to get access to these downloadable resources.

The Action Schools! BC regional teams have been busy engaging schools and supporting them to develop and implement action plans. Those schools with completed action plans are now accessing Action Schools! BC resources and supports, including physical literacy and food literacy mentorship as well as equipment grants. Through the action planning process, schools are encouraged to think BIG and look at healthy living through a holistic and comprehensive lens to improve the education and well-being of their students. Making use of the Comprehensive School Health (CSH) Framework allows educators, health practitioners, school staff, students and others to work together to foster an environment that makes their school the best place to learn, work and play.

As they develop action plans, schools are able to identify tangible and realistic activities under each of the four pillars of the CSH Framework to help them achieve their healthy living goals and objectives. Examples of activities schools have put forward include, reducing student stress levels and increasing happiness in school, working with teachers to develop physical literacy plans for the year, reducing sugar intake and raising awareness of sugar content and many other inspiring ideas. Visit the Action Planning page on the Action Schools! BC website to learn more about action planning and contact your Regional Development Coordinator (RDC) to get your school started. 

May 4, 2017


Apply to increase youth participation and build leadership in priority sports

I·SPARC (The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council) invites First Nations, Métis Chartered Communities, Friendship Centres and other not-for-profit Indigenous organizations to apply to host a Youth Sport Development Camp, National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), and/or Officials Training Session in their community.

Each of the I·SPARC’s six Regional Committees have identified priority sports for their respective region.  These priority sports serve as the focal point for region-wide sport development in the areas of youth sport camps and coaching/officials development.  The Northeast Regional Committee has identified seven priority sports:

Soccer                  
Hockey
Volleyball
Softball
Basketball
Ski/Snowboard
Canoe/Kayak

These sports serve as the focal point for region-wide sport development programs including:

The Aboriginal Coaching Module                      
Run Jump Throw Wheel                   
SOAR (in-school delivery)                                                            
BCRPA High Five Program(s)
Steve Nash Youth Basketball
Jr. NBA Basketball Program
Spirit Lacrosse Program

Apply online here: https://aboriginalsportbc.wufoo.eu/forms/rrqn2pj1fwni3e/ or contact your Regional Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator through our website for more information or assistance.  Requests for activities outside of the priority list will be considered during the application review process.
May 4, 2017

School toolkits available for an active celebration of Canada’s 150th 

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, ParticipACTION has created the ultimate list of physical activities that define us as Canadian:
the ParticipACTION 150 Play List. This active, once-in-a-150-year challenge is to try to knock off as many of the 150 Canadian activities on the list as possible, and schools across the nation are stepping up and having a blast bringing the 150 Play List to life for their students.

To help schools create their own action-packed 150th birthday bash, ParticipACTION has created a 150 Play List School Toolkit with great tools and ideas for how you can create a 150 Play List event to get students moving, all while learning about activities that reflect Canada’s different cultures, regions, and abilities.

Register your school’s 150 Play List event and apply for a Celebration Kit with banners, prizes and other materials that will be shipped right to your school. You can also download the digital 150 Play List School Toolkit right from the ParticipACTION website. It’s that easy.

So get going, have fun, and see how your school can make celebrating Canada’s birthday an active affair.

March 30, 2017

What better way to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation than with the nation’s biggest dance celebration? One of 38 Canada 150 Signature Projects, Sharing Dance Canada 2017 (sharingdance.ca) has been launched by Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) to celebrate this milestone year for Canada by getting Canadians healthy, active, and artistically engaged through dance.

 “Dance plays an invaluable role in Canada; Sharing Dance is all about encouraging Canadians to celebrate Canada’s strength of diversity and cultural richness through embracing the benefits and joy of dance,” says Mavis Staines, Artistic Director and CEO of NBS.

 Sharing Dance, which is free and easy to access at sharingdance.ca, includes:

  • Unique choreography reflecting Canadian values of diversity and celebrating people’s stories
  • A series of step-by-step online rehearsal videos breaking down the 4½-minute choreography to enable all Canadians—the young and young-at-heart—to learn the dance moves
  • Toolkits and Resources to empower schools and community groups—such as seniors’ centres, youth-based organizations, newcomer centres, as well as dance groups, studios and more—to create their own rehearsal schedules and grassroots events
  • Open rehearsals in communities across the country
  • Community performances across the country at Sharing Dance Day events beginning June 2nd  

For the 2017 choreography, NBS brought together four Canadian choreographers—representing distinct styles of dance, cultural backgrounds and geographic locations in Canada—to give voice and movement to a unique work that embodies and celebrates Canada’s diversity and artistic identity. Led by NBS artistic staff, with Kevin Ormsby as collaborative lead, choreographers include:

  • Kimberley Cooper (Calgary)
  • Eugene Baffoe (Winnipeg)
  • Tracee Smith (Toronto)
  • Roger Sinha (Montreal)

The dance is set to a specially remixed piece of Canadian music by Laura Silberberg-Sgroi remixed by Skratch Bastid and performed by the Afiara Quartet featuring Inuit throat singer Tiffany Ayalik, who was born in the Northwest Territories.

Sharing Dance Canada 2017 is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Canada 150 Fund, and with Shaw Communications Inc. as a presenting partner. The program is made possible with the support of national partners including Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Physical and Health Education Canada, the Globe and Mail, and Scotiabank, as well as community partners across Canada. 

March 30, 2017

Last month I was lucky to have the opportunity to take part in the ArtStarts Showcase 2017, representing DASH.  I spent the morning engrossed in performances by professional artists showcasing what they can bring to schools across the province.  I went from being immersed in a storytelling soundscape to laughing at the antics of a clown, to marveling at the powerful sound of taiko drums.  Sitting around me, educators from districts across BC took notes about the performances, and kept track of those they would like to invite to present to students in their schools.  Also in the audience were children from a local elementary school who watched each act, and asked the performers questions afterwards. The most popular question from the young people was “How long did it take you to learn that?!”

ArtStarts in Schools is a provincial organization promoting art and creativity among young people in BC. The annual Showcase is one way they connect BC school districts to the arts.

Through my work at DASH in the After School Sport and Arts Initiative, I have seen how offering arts in after school programs can engage diverse learners and support children and youth to express themselves in new ways.  At the ArtStarts Showcase, I was able to learn more about how arts can be integrated into the school day.  ArtStarts’ network of artists offers performances and workshops. They also work with schools on projects that engage students in a creative process and integrate different curricular areas. 

I’ve often heard the phrase “everyone is creative.”  Having the tools to spark and nurture that creativity can help us to support every learner to discover their potential.

For more information on ArtStarts in Schools and their resources on arts in education, visit their website here.

For more information on the Creative Thinking core competency in BC’s new curriculum, click here.

To see DASH’s guide for after school sport and arts programming, click here.

 

-Rebecca Haber, Program Manager, DASH BC

March 30, 2017

Research and Action Schools! BC users have shown us that developing and implementing an action plan is worthwhile. Action planning establishes ownership by bringing different members of the school community together to develop a shared vision and spur them to action!

In response to feedback received from Action Schools! BC program users and staff last spring, the action planning process has been revamped into a streamlined and simplified guide. To access the Action Planning Guide, click here.

The updated action planning process is strongly aligned with the Comprehensive School Health (CSH) Framework, which is internationally recognized to help support improvements in students' educational outcomes while addressing school health in a planned, integrated and holistic way. CSH extends beyond what happens in the classroom. As such, action planning promotes a holistic and whole-school approach to student health by helping a school come together to find ways to incorporate the four inter-related areas which make up a CSH approach. These four areas include: 



Schools are encouraged to complete an Action Plan to identify a relevant and meaningful healthy living goal related to physical activity and/or healthy eating, and to identify specific activities that will help them achieve that goal. A school’s Action Plan is the gateway to a broad suite of resources and supports made available through Action Schools! BC. Action Plans can be submitted anytime during the school year.

Once a school develops and submits their Action Plan, they will become a member of the Actions Schools! BC network. The Regional Development Coordinator (RDC) will connect the school with the Action Schools! BC resources that can help them achieve the goal and objective they have identified. If your school is interested in developing an Action Plan and making use of the full suite of Action Schools! BC resources, contact your Regional Development Coordinator! For a full list of RDCs and the areas they cover, click here.   

March 30, 2017

When people talk about supporting and promoting mental well-being in schools, they usually discuss the practices they use in their environment. Some people are focused on school connectedness, others on social-emotional learning, resilience, mental fitness, or another approach.

While each of these approaches has its own flavour, they are all part of the larger family of positive mental health supportive practices. Some people may see them as competing approaches, but they are not. They overlap and work side-by-side, each strengthening the impact of the others. They all lead to the same place – improved well-being for children and youth. Think of the different approaches as smoothie flavours; they have a lot in common, but some people prefer one flavour over another.

Some of the themes shared by the various approaches include:

ü  Providing students with the emotional and social skills necessary to be actively engaged in school

ü  Creating caring relationships that promote trust and open communication, and make students feel supported and nurtured

ü  Providing professional learning and support for school staff so they can meet the diverse cognitive, emotional, and social needs of students

ü  Establishing structures and processes that enable, empower and engage students, families, staff and all school community members and support student achievement

ü  Providing opportunities for families to be involved in their children’s school lives, and inviting community organizations to partner with the school

ü  Using effective teaching and learning methods and classroom management techniques to foster positive learning environments


So go ahead, pick your favourite positive mental health approach, and also consider exploring some of the other “flavours” now and then. They might bring new insights, or reinvigorate your practice. Anyone for a banana-chocolate smoothie?

To learn more about the practices and approaches that support mental well-being, see Schools as a Setting for Positive Mental Health: Better Practices and Perspectives. The school connectedness area on the Healthy Schools BC website and the JCSH Positive Mental Health Toolkit can help you take action on positive mental health at your school. Search “mental well-beingon TeachBC to find classroom resources to support this work.

March 8, 2017

March is Nutrition Month across Canada and this year Registered Dietitians are encouraging Canadians to “Take the Fight Out of Food”. This year’s campaign theme from Dietitians of Canada  focuses on the enjoyment of food. Schools are an important place to support the joy of eating. 

While information about food is abundant, how do you know the information is credible?  Schools and educators now have the opportunity to get credible nutrition information and support for healthy eating in their school directly from Food Literacy Mentors with the Action Schools! BC program. Food Literacy Mentors are food experts who are passionate about promoting and supporting schools by providing practical, hands-on strategies to support food literacy teaching and learning.

“The ultimate goal is for students to develop food literacy, or the knowledge, skills and attitudes about food that will support their health” says Janelle Hatch, Lead Food Literacy Mentor with Action Schools! BC.  Food Literacy Mentoring is a new component of the Action Schools! BC program and is one way the program builds capacity of educators and schools to support students to learn to be healthy.

To access healthy eating information, activities, and instructional examples or to learn more about Food Literacy Mentoring and Action Schools! BC, visit the Action Schools! BC website.

Also, for school healthy eating opportunities, check out these resources:

These resources (and many more) can be found on the Healthy Schools BC website.

March 8, 2017


When it comes to being a good neighbour, one of DASH’s valued partners, Alberta’s Ever Active Schools, leads by example. On January 26 – 27th, 2017, they brought together passionate leaders from the education, active living, recreation, health and research sectors for their 9th annual conference, “Shaping the Future: To Be Wisely Aware.”  The conference focused on key messages that are promoted and nurtured by good neighbours:

  • honouring the experience of First Nations peoples;
  • fostering wisdom and awareness in youth; and
  • conveying a message of well-being, body, mind, and spirit.

DASH was fortunate to be a part of these conversations. With our partners, viaSport and PHE Canada, we shared our work and approach for updating the Action Schools! BC program, and highlighted the use of Action Planning, an evidence-based process and collective approach for supporting healthy living in schools.

As an additional development this year, we have been inspired to take our neighbourly approach to the next level. We are excited to be working with Alberta’s Ever Active Schools, Ontario’s OPHEA and the Joint Consortium for School Health to host a National School Health Summit that will take place from January 31st to February 4, 2018.

Save the date and consider joining in! Good neighbours await you. 


March 8, 2017

Schools across the province are addressing healthy eating by focusing on a variety of topics, as well as settings from the classroom to the community. For Nutrition Month, we are highlighting a few of the many inspiring stories from the Healthy Schools Network (HSN) that demonstrate the diverse ways schools are exploring healthy eating concepts.  

  • Click here to learn about how one school integrated food literacy and connections to Aboriginal Elders into their lunch hour programming.
  • Click here to learn about how one school linked literacy and math to food in their Cooking to Learn and Brain Food programs.
  • Click here to learn about how one school turned their school courtyard into a productive agricultural area.
  • Click here to learn about how one school integrated food literacy into their after school tutoring program. 
March 8, 2017

March is Nutrition Month! The 2017 campaign is dedicated to supporting solutions to some of the most common issues people have with healthy eating.

Order your 2017 Nutrition Month poster now! The poster, entitled Take the Fight out of Food!, features photos of happy-faced food, colourfully scattered over the poster. The poster is available in French and English. Check out the poster 
here. You may complete your order using the online ordering system at bcdairy.ca/store for orders of up to 10 posters. 

Visit 
nutritionmonth2017.ca to download resources that go along with the Nutrition Month theme. You can download a complete ambassador toolkit, as well as view a number of short videos. Some resources are also available in Chinese and French. 

February 20, 2017

Pink Shirt Day is on Wednesday, February 22nd. Join schools all over BC in support of the anti-bullying movement by wearing pink! This year, Shaw and Coast Capital Savings have teamed up with Pink Shirt Day BC and launched a social media campaign to raise funds and awareness for bullying prevention efforts across the province. Using #pinkshirtpromise between February 6th and 22nd can help make a difference across our province. To find out more, click here.   

 

There are many opportunities for schools to create positive learning environments for their students. Consider incorporating anti-bullying and positive mental health programming into your school’s curriculum and extracurricular activities. Here are some resources that can help you do this: 

 

Pink Shirt Day
This iconic day came to be when two high school students from Nova Scotia arranged for their classmates to wear pink shirts after witnessing a student getting bullied for wearing pink the day before. For more information on how to organize your own Pink Shirt Day, click here, and wear pink on February 22nd!

 

ERASE Bullying
The ERASE strategy is a comprehensive and multipronged approach to promoting positive mental health and wellness, and to prevent bullying and violent behaviour in schools. The strategy includes a coordinated approach involving schools, families and community partners. The ERASE Bullying website provides parents and students with helpful tips and advice on how to address bullying and includes a confidential online reporting tool for youth to report bullying.

 

WITS Programs
The WITS Programs bring schools, families and communities together to create responsive environments that help children deal with bullying and peer victimization. WITS has two components: the WITS Primary Program (Kindergarten to Grade 3) and the WITS LEADS Program (Grades 4 to 6).

 

JCSH Positive Mental Health Toolkit
The Positive Mental Health Toolkit is an online resource that promotes positive mental health practices and perspectives within a school environment. The toolkit is designed to help schools and communities apply their strengths to foster positive growth and development of children and youth.

 

RespectED: Beyond the Hurt
Beyond the Hurt is a Canadian Red Cross youth-facilitated program targeted at bullying and harassment prevention among children aged 11 and over.

 

SafeTeen
SafeTeen is an empowerment program where facilitators offer skills for choosing healthy relationships, strategies to prevent bullying and harassment and techniques for de-escalating verbal, physical and emotional violence. Most importantly, the program cultivates empowerment, self-determination, critical thinking and self-esteem in children and youth.

 

For more resources related to bullying prevention and positive mental health, visit the Healthy Schools BC website!

February 20, 2017

 

Regional Development Coordinators (RDCs) are key champions of Action Schools! BC. As the key support navigator and main “go-to” contact for schools, RDCs help each school embark on their unique journey to a healthier school community. To find the RDC responsible for your school district, click here.

 

Once schools have connected with their RDC, they can start developing an action plan. The action plan is central to the enhanced Action Schools! BC program. It outlines the changes a school wants to make and lists how and when these changes will be made along the journey to achieving a specific healthy living goal. It is the road map for a school.

Research has shown that, in order to influence students’ health in schools, improve students’ health literacy, and shift a school’s culture in a positive direction, a holistic sustained approach is necessary[1]. This is exactly what the action planning process aims to achieve.

Many schools in BC have already started developing action plans with their local RDCs. According to Action Schools! BC users and trainers, developing and implementing an action plan is worthwhile when trying to achieve positive change. It brings people together to develop a shared vision of their ideal healthy school and spurs them to action. Action plans are also the gateway to accessing valuable resources, such as Physical and Food Literacy Mentorship, customized equipment and ongoing support.

Creating healthier school environments is an essential building block in enabling students to thrive as healthy learners.  It is also an important step in supporting the well-being of educators, school staff and the wider school community.

Visit the Action Schools! BC website to learn more about action planning and to get in touch with your Regional Development Coordinator!



[1] Storey, K. E., Montemurro, G., Flynn, J., Schwartz, M., Wright, E., Osler, J., . . . Roberts, E. (2016). Essential Conditions for the Implementation of Comprehensive School Health to Achieve Changes in School Culture and Improvements in Health Behaviours of Students. BMC Public Health, 16(1). doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3787-1

February 20, 2017

Have you ever thought about addressing vulnerability in your school through art? An inner city school in Prince George is doing just that. Ron Brent Elementary reaches a diverse range of students, including many who have histories of trauma, poverty and crisis. Their philosophy is that these students can learn better if they have assistance to first learn to self-regulate, and then develop stamina and a belief in themselves that they can be successful in spite of the circumstances that challenge them.

Always looking to find new strategies that support their philosophy, the school decided to bring more art into their school.  Some of their staff were already familiar with art’s ability to contribute to social emotional learning for students.

They called the project “Artists in the Classroom” and chose resiliency as a key learning outcome. In addition to teaching staff, they got an Art Gallery Community Coordinator, Art Therapist consultant, Administration and School Counsellor on board. They ordered art supplies to create two lessons for three Primary classes. Lessons were collaboratively designed to help children express feelings and gain a sense of belonging within their school community. Staff met and presented the lessons and mentored other teachers to use the materials and lessons with their students. The school counsellor demonstrated the use of art in counseling in SMARTIME [stress management art and relaxation] sessions. Art was posted throughout the school for parents and students to appreciate.

Since the start of the project, teachers have observed and noted students’ increased self-expression abilities, social skills and self-awareness. This unique collaborative initiative contributed to the school’s learning and reinforced their belief that vulnerability can be addressed by using art to enhance social emotional learning and sense of belonging.

Visit the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map to learn more about Artists in the Classroom!
February 20, 2017
The school day is over at Moberly Elementary in Vancouver, but activities are just beginning for a group of students heading to the gym for their after school program.  Using simple, colourful cones and balls, leaders from a community sport organization lead the children through games and activities that build fundamental movement skills and physical literacy.  A community-school facilitator is a co-leader of the program and takes time to bring the children together to discuss what they’re learning about: teamwork, respect, and leadership.

It’s clear at Moberly that learning is not limited to the school day.  A recent article in Edutopia highlights the strengths and opportunities that arise when there is collaboration and communication between those educators supporting students’ learning whether learning occurs during the school day or after.  

  • After school programs can help students complete homework and build on skills they learn in the classroom.

  • Family engagement can be encouraged through after school programs. Programs give parents and caregivers who may not be able to pick their children up right after school a unique opportunity to connect to the school community.

  • In school and after school staff build relationships with students. Caring adults are essential to positive child development for children.

  • Social emotional learning is a key component of after school programs, contributing to core competencies in BC’s new curriculum.

  • When efforts in the classroom and in after school programs align, they support the development of the whole child.

DASH supports high-quality after school programming through the After School Sport and Arts Initiative (ASSAI). In 17 school districts across the province, ASSAI programs provide sport and arts opportunities to children who otherwise might not take part.  Through ASSAI, DASH has seen firsthand the benefits of linking school and after school time, such as:  the development of positive school culture and school spirit, increased school connections with parents and caregivers, and meaningful student engagement.

As children at Moberly get ready to go home from their after school sport program, these benefits are evident in their high fives, laughter, and smiles.

For more information on the after school time in British Columbia, visit:

Association for Community Education in British Columbia (ACE BC) www.acebc.org 

The Lower Mainland Out of School Time Alliance (LMOST) www.lmost.org

The Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) earlylearning.ubc.ca/mdi

   

February 20, 2017

Action plans play an important role in Action Schools! BC. Your school’s action plan helps you and your Regional Development Coordinator match your elementary school with resources from Action Schools! BC, the community and others that can support your school in achieving its goals. These include:

  • Action Schools! BC healthy eating and/or physical activity workshops
  • Hands-on physical literacy and/or food literacy mentoring for classroom educators
  • Customized equipment
  • Downloadable resources including instructional examples and activities, both aligned with the new BC curriculum
  • Connections with other organizations and resources in your community

Need help getting started? Your Regional Development Coordinator can help your school develop its action plan. Contact them now – it’s a great way to get to know them, learn more about Action Schools! BC, and build a plan for a healthier future for your whole school.

To learn more and download an action planning guide visit here.

February 20, 2017

What are you doing to stretch your thinking? As the organizational leader of DASH, I aim to foster a continuous learning environment for myself, my employees, and our valued partners.

This year, I was pleased to attend the 30th International Congress on School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) that took place in Ottawa, Canada from January 7th - 10th, 2017.   ICSEI is a global network with an important purpose: to enhance the quality and equity of education for all students around the world. It brings together a wide range of expertise including researchers, policy makers and educators. Because of the diversity of its contributors, it creates a unique opportunity for sharing evidence-informed practice and being part of a collective responsibility for advancing students’ learning.

At DASH, our work would not be possible without our close working relationships with our Ministry colleagues, educators, health professionals and community partners. This is why this year’s conference theme, Collaborative Partnerships for System-Wide Educational Improvement, resonated with me. No matter where we work, we all have a valuable perspective to contribute. Through our collective wisdom, across all levels, we will continue to develop and apply innovative practices to shape our healthy school communities.

The conference made it clear that innovation is underway in BC’s system, where we have key thought leaders on system transformation. We can look to Drs. Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser to learn about how inquiry can lead to school and system transformation. To learn how a positive organizational perspective contributes to flourishing schools, we can gain inspiration from Sabre Cherkowski’s work. From Paige Fisher, Leyton Schnellert, Debbie Koehn, Mary Lynn Epps and Rachael Moll, we can learn how by embedding new teachers into the school environment vs a single classroom practicum, we cultivate and support our new professionals, the teachers of tomorrow.

From my experience, it is when we reach beyond our own work and seek out new perspectives that we are supported towards new ways of learning and adapting everyday practices.

How can you get engaged? Consider checking out the ICSEI website where you can find this year’s ICSEI conference presentations. Perhaps this will inspire you to add this robust learning network to your toolkit as a way for you to nurture your professional practice.

 

- Kathy Cassels, CEO, DASH BC

January 23, 2017

Article:

The Spiral Playbook is a new resource that provides a concise introduction to an evidence-based model of collaborative inquiry. It builds on the momentum that has been generated through the Spirals of Inquiry by the Networks of Inquiry and Innovation (NOII) to further promote an inquiry mindset in schools and school systems. 

The Spiral Playbook is supported by C21 Canada, a national, not-for-profit organization advocating for innovations in student learning. The organization brings together executive leaders of school districts and knowledge-sector businesses who share the belief in the importance of 21st century competencies and innovations in learning.

The Spiral Playbook: Leading with an Inquiring Mindset in School Systems and Schools points the way forward.  It describes a sustainable approach to professional inquiry that aims to transform how educators learn and lead – with teams and across networks.

To view the Spiral Playbook and order copies, click here.


January 23, 2017

Article:

During the busy of December, you may not have had a chance look at the new Action Schools! BC website. Now is a great time to visit the site and check out the Resources area.

 

We’ve been adding updated versions of the activities that you know and love as well as new instructional examples – and we’ll be adding more in the coming weeks.

 

Action Schools! BC activities are now updated and expanded to support the new curriculum. The basic activities remain the same with the same time-commitment in the classroom, but now have expanded support for educators. Icons have been added to highlight the content for each activity, and make it quick to navigate. Sections have been added to reflect and align with the new curriculum, including curriculum connections, First People’s Principles of Learning for All Students, and comprehensive school health connections. Safety considerations have also been teased out and/or added.

 

The instructional examples are new and meant to help educators to “connect the dots” as they implement the new Physical and Health Education curriculum. They provide rich and engaging learning opportunities for students, and can contribute to enhanced student health literacy, physical literacy, and food literacy, all of which are critical to student empowerment.

 

To help you find what you need quickly, we’ve added a powerful search engine that lets you select resources based on your criteria (grade level, topics, resource type, etc.) and then download them.

 

Visit us today at www.actionschoolsbc.ca to find the new resources, register for or request a workshop, and find the Regional Development Coordinator for your region.

January 23, 2017

Article:

If one of your New Year’s resolutions this year is to be a better teacher or administrator — one who makes a real difference in the lives of yours students — take a deep breath. You are already making a significant impact on the lives of your students. By increasing the level of connection that your students feel to school, you can make your impact even greater. Helping them to feel welcome, safe and cared about helps their learning blossom. We can all relate to how much easier it is to ask for help when we feel that the people around us care about us and want us to succeed.

 

So how do you help your students build strong connections to school? Well, there isn’t just one way to do it. Building school connectedness is as individual as you and your students are – one size definitely does not fit all. It is not something that you do once. It’s more about what you do every day and how you do it. The good news is you are probably already doing lots of things that support connectedness, and the new curriculum provides you with the flexibility to do those things that you know make a difference.

 

While we can’t tell you the specific actions that will make a difference in your school or classroom, we can point you in the right direction. The following six strategies have been found to foster connectedness in schools.

 

  1. Involve school leadership at all levels. Principals, teachers, and districts should all be involved in establishing structures and decision-making processes that facilitate student, family, and community engagement, as well as academic achievement and staff empowerment.

  2. Provide education and opportunities that enable families to be actively involved in their children’s academic and school life.

  3. Provide students with the emotional and social skills necessary to be actively engaged in school – learning is social.

  4. Foster a positive learning environment using effective teaching and learning methods and classroom management techniques.

  5. Create trusting and caring relationships that promote open communication among administrators, teachers, staff, students, families, and communities.

  6. Provide professional learning and support for teachers and other school staff to enable them to meet the diverse cognitive, emotional, and social needs of children and adolescents. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009)

 

So, reflect on the strategies, find one or two that you would like to explore, develop an inquiry question and try a few new things. For example, you might explore how intentionally engaging families affects school connectedness. You could provide opportunities for families to participate in your class/school activities. If you are already doing that, think about how you could increase family involvement by making it a regular event, or by refining your approach to reach more families.

You are the expert on what works in your classroom and your school. Start exploring some of the six strategies, and make them your own. It’s a new year – you can be that educator that makes a difference.


January 23, 2017

Article:

Each month, the Healthy Schools Network (HSN) highlights a story to demonstrate innovative healthy schools examples and practices in schools. This month, the HSN is featuring Kidston Elementary School in SD 22 and their story about a whole school approach to gardening, the environment and healthy eating.

 

Kidston Elementary is located in the community of Coldstream in an area surrounded by parks. The school started a garden project for learning opportunities about sustainability, self-reliance and our connection to nature and the importance of caring for our environment.

 

The school sought out partnerships to help reach learning goals. They partnered with Okanagan Science Centre Intergenerational Landed Learning School Garden Outreach Program with the intention to enhance all levels of learning and inquiry in Science and Health Education.

 

The school also led their learning through inquiry and posed the question, “Will the community partnership (local biologist) help children learn to love gardening and gain a sense of pride in producing their own plants and food?”

 

Learning activities that took place included:

  • Planting, maintaining, harvesting, and eating from a school garden

  • Participating in the Science Centre’s “Landed Learning Intergenerational” program

  • Learning about healthy eating and growing our own food

  • Participating in hands-on learning activities with a biologist from the Science Centre

  • Planting, watering, weeding, harvesting

  • Preparing two class salad bars from the harvest and contributing to a school salad bar and school smoothies

 

Through this project, students gained an appreciation for how delicious vegetables are, especially right out of the garden. Many children enjoyed eating vegetables they had never tried before. The teacher learned how to meet learning outcomes from many curricular areas through gardening. The garden club has also expanded as more teachers and parents support the garden and act as garden mentors to students. Overall, there was an increase in student knowledge and appreciation for sustainability and the ability to grow food.

 

Click here to read their entire story. You can also check out their website here.

January 23, 2017

Article:

Celebrate Canada’s 150th and build daily activity habits for Canadian kids!! Join thousands of elementary schools across Canada for the Canada Games Activity Challenge.

GETTING KIDS TO GREATNESS

The Canada Games is turning 50 this year so they created a free program to inspire dreams and build champions in playgrounds and classrooms across Canada. To participate in sports, develop confidence and do well in school, kids need fundamental movement skills, and teachers are the coaches who can help them get to greatness!

TEACHER BENEFITS

  • Activities complement or supplement the learning outcomes for your curriculum – they're not designed as a curriculum replacement.
  • Activities are delivered daily or weekly (your choice!) through the mobile site, and include demo videos, animations and a participation tracker.
  • Activity experience points are collected automatically by the tracker.
  • Activities are accessible, can be done with minimal equipment and in almost any environment with adaptations for various learning communities.
  • Activities are age and skill-appropriate, and are based on Canada's Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model.
  • To top it all off, you’ll receive regular updates on student progress and great articles on the benefits of physical activity to pass along to parents. Way to go, coach!

Sign up: canadagames.ca/activitychallenge

 

Questions? CGACinfo@canadagames2.ca

 

Follow CGAC on Twitter and use the hashtag: #CGAC150

January 23, 2017

Article:

Whether it’s our morning coffee, occasional antibiotic use, or weekly beer with a friend, drug use of different kinds has been part of human culture for many years – in fact, thousands of years.

Unfortunately, as humans, we sometimes get ourselves into trouble with the substances we use. As teachers and others who support young people’s development, we share a role in helping them develop the competencies they need to manage their use of substances in their lives.

 

The current focus on fentanyl is another opportunity to consider how we can best approach addressing substance use with young people.  Drug Education Is Conversation is a brief that reminds us that the principles of good education apply even in the context of a perceived crisis. Being reactive and retreating to a dissemination of “the facts” about fentanyl will not help.

 

So what does help?  

Research reminds us that facts, stats and fear-focused approaches to drug education are rarely effective when it comes to helping young people develop the competencies they need to navigate a world where substance use is common practice. What offers more promise is a truly educational approach – where teachers (not guest ‘experts’ and not just PHE teachers) create a context of inquiry across subject areas helping learners explore issues and build competencies in an open, honest way in a safe and caring class context and school community. Drug education can fit well in a variety of subject areas (e.g., English Language Arts, Social Studies, Arts Education, etc.) and it certainly fits well with PHE – especially when it can be addressed in a way that gets youth physically active. Sometimes our best learning is accomplished through a walk and talk with a friend – or in the case of a young people maybe with their PHE teacher who takes the class outside for a hike.

To find more examples or learn more about how PHE teachers can help young people learn to navigate this world of ours check out  www.helpingschools.ca for other iMinds learning activities that align with the revised curriculum – including, but not limited to, PHE.

CARBC continues to add new activities and welcomes your ideas for addressing drug literacy and building physical literacy at the same time! Send them to ciandrew@uvic.ca and let them know if they can support your efforts in other ways.

October 3, 2016
October 10th is World Mental Health Day. World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10th every year with the overall objectives of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. This year’s theme is “psychological first aid.” For more information, click here.

October 10th is also the day that Amanda Todd, a B.C. teen, took her own life after experiencing the effects of bullying and cyber-abuse. Join the Amanda Todd Legacy Society this World Mental Health Day by Lighting Up Purple. Cities, businesses, schools, landmarks and people will be Lighting Up Purple to promote more awareness about mental health. Click here to see a list of supporters who will be participating. You can Light Up Purple by wearing purple, hanging purple LED lights, putting up purple balloons and more. Click here to read more ways that you can Light Up Purple this year.

To learn more about responding to mental health problems and promoting positive mental health in your school community, check out the following programs and resources:

  • ERASE Bullying – A comprehensive and multi-pronged approach to promote positive mental health and wellness, and prevent bullying and violent behaviour in schools. Click here to visit the ERASE website, which includes helpful tips, advice and a confidential online reporting tool for bullying.
  • Mindcheck.ca – An interactive website to help young people identify and understand mental distress they may be experiencing, and to link them to sources of help that will teach them skills and strategies to manage these problems. To find out what resources they offer, click here.
  • F.O.R.C.E. Society – The F.O.R.C.E. Society provides families and professionals with information, tools, and tips on how to help children with mental health challenges. Click here to access their resources, such as a mental health guide for teachers.
  • Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre – B.C.'s information source for children, youth and families who have mental health and substance use concerns. Click here for B.C.’s support and treatment options, tips for self-help and prevention, and free educational monthly pinwheel series for families, educators and clinicians.

For additional resources and supports for positive mental health at school, click here.

October 3, 2016
October 3rd to 7th, 2016 is Walk and Wheel to School Week!  DASH and Doctors of BC are supporting schools to be active and walk and wheel to school this week and throughout the month of October.  We are cheering on participating schools and encourage all schools to promote active living this month.  Click here to check out active living programs and supports for schools. 
October 3, 2016
Here we are in October, with a month of the school year already behind us. It’s time to take a deep breath and spend a few minutes reflecting on how things have gone so far. Undoubtedly, many good things have happened.  Our schools and classrooms are gliding into a positive, regular rhythm, and we’ve gotten to know our students.

Upon reflection, are there students that you don’t know as well as you’d like to? Students that are introverted, challenging, or seem to require more support to connect with others?

Last year, as part of the WellAhead initiative, staff in the Esquimalt family of schools in SD61 decided to foster healthy and intentional relationships with students they were less connected to using a 2x10 practice.  With 2x10, school staff take the time to connect with a vulnerable or overlooked student for at least 2 minutes per interaction, for a minimum of 10 times to build a connection. This practice helps build a relationship based on the student’s interests and life outside of the classroom, rather than one limited to academics and/or behaviour.

As they discovered in the Esquimalt family of schools, different staff will approach relationship-building practices such as 2x10 in slightly different ways, and that’s a good thing. Tweaking the practice to suit your personality will make your efforts more comfortable for you and feel more authentic to the student. Some Esquimalt staff found that the initial student conversation might be only 30 seconds, and that it took time to work up to 2 minutes.

Taking relationship-building practices school-wide can be particularly rewarding. Enlisting all of the adults in a school – educators, administrators, educational assistants, custodians and other support staff – to ensure that every student has one or more adults at school who cares about them can make a positive difference for that child and the culture of the whole school. A recent UBC study found that, for Grade 4 students in Vancouver, school support was more important than family support as a predictor of their emotional well-being.(1) So, as Esquimalt high school counsellor and positive educator Lisa Baylis says, “A 2x10 is never just a 2x10; it is really a 2xforever.”

The 2x10 practice is one of many ways to build strong connections with students. The links below provide some other approaches to nurture positive relationships with your students.

(1). Oberle, E., Schonert-Reichl, K., Guhn, M., Zumbo, D., & Hertzman, C. (2014, June 22). The Role of Supportive Adults in Promoting Positive Development in Middle Childhood: A Population-Based Study. Canadian Journal of School Psychology.

 
October 3, 2016
The Healthy Schools Network (HSN) is highlighting previous year-end stories to ignite creativity and share ideas about curriculum-based approaches that are aligned with the redesigned curriculum and foster student health and learning.

These stories are shared as examples to demonstrate the innovative ways in which BC educators have been fostering student competency development, creating flexible learning environments, and focusing on student-centred approaches to health and learning, all while undergoing their own professional learning. These examples primarily align with the Physical and Health Education curriculum and also highlight cross-curricular learning opportunities that integrate health education into other subject areas. These examples focus on the core competencies.

This month we are featuring a story from Queen Elizabeth Secondary School in SD 36 and their inquiry about student engagement and First Nations traditional coastal foods. Below is an example based on their story. Click here to read their story in its entirety.

Example: Traditional First Nations Coastal Foods Pilot


Grade: 4-7

Learning area: Physical and Health Education

Big ideas: Understanding ourselves, and the various aspects of health, helps us develop a balanced lifestyle (Grade 5)

Curricular competencies: Describe the impacts of personal choices on health and well-being (Grade 5)  

Curricular content
:  Food choices to support active lifestyles and overall health (Grade 5)

Core Competencies:

Communication:   
  • Explain/recount and reflect on experiences and accomplishments: This facet is well-demonstrated within this project through the use of journaling.  Students were required to provide journals to recount and reflect on the experiences provided to them through the project.  The HSN Year-End Story report includes samples of these journals

Positive Personal and Cultural Identity:
  • Relationships and Cultural Contexts: This facet is developed through the hands-on experience of this project.  Students were provided with the opportunity to learn about the foods of different cultures but then had a ‘hands-on’ experience working with an Aboriginal chef from the Musqueam Nation to create a traditional meal.  

Social Responsibility:
  • Building Relationships:  Although not specifically identified, the idea of discussing the different traditional foods around the world offers the opportunity for students to improve their understanding of the many different cultures of the world.  This in turn, works towards building relationships with other members of the community.
Formative assessment strategies: Journaling

October 3, 2016
The start of a new school year is a great time to see if the healthy choice is the easy choice in your school food environment. One way to support healthy eating choices in your school is to ensure food and beverages sold align with the Guidelines for Food & Beverage Sales in BC Schools (the Guidelines).  

The Guidelines support healthy eating at school by increasing access to healthy food while limiting access to unhealthy food. They define the minimum nutrition standard that schools must apply to all food and beverages sold to students. Click here to access information, tools and fact sheets to support implementation. You can also call 8-1-1 to speak with a Registered Dietitian at HealthLink BC to support using the Guidelines at your school.  

Healthy school food policies like the Guidelines support healthy food environments, which in turn increase access to healthy food and support healthy eating and food literacy initiatives at schools.  These policies can be developed at the school or school district level, and in some cases at the provincial level.

Addressing the school food environment by looking at healthy eating policies aligns with a comprehensive school health (CSH) approach to have a greater impact on health and learning. Click here to read more about a comprehensive school health approach to healthy eating and food literacy.
October 3, 2016
HASTe is a hub for groups taking action on reducing school transportation emissions in British Columbia, Canada. It's a resource and networking center that helps students, teachers and schools improve the health of individuals, communities and the environment.  Groups can start or enhance initiatives to reduce the negative impacts of school-related transportation choices, and plan active and safe routes to school.

HASTe organizes the Walking School Bus and Bicycle Train Program. This BC program supports school communities to set up active transportation programs by providing a host of online resources, including “how-to” guides, safe route mapping tools, and road safety tips. This program promotes Walk and Wheel to School Week taking place this month. Click here to access the program and organize a Walking School Bus and Bicycle Train in your community.
October 3, 2016
BC’s redesigned curriculum now features a stronger connection to cultural learning opportunities, including curricular competencies relating to First Nation’s history. When implementing the new curriculum, resources such as those created by the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) can be very useful.

The Indian Residential Schools and Reconciliation Teacher Resource Guides for Grades 5, 10 and 11/12 were developed by the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the First Nations Schools Association. They are a response to the call by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for education bodies to develop age-appropriate educational materials about Indian Residential Schools.

The FNESC hopes that these resources will help students of all cultural backgrounds gain an understanding of the history of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people over Canada’s history, with a focus on the BC experience.  The materials are also designed to engage young people and draw them into this journey of reconciliation.

Access these resources and watch an informational video here
October 3, 2016
We have been working away with our partners and collaborators on the enhanced Action Schools! BC program updates. We are looking forward to sharing them with you and your colleagues across the province in the coming weeks and months.

Action Schools! BC workshops is one program component that will continue to support student learning about healthy eating and physical activity and have been updated to include:
  • links to the new BC curriculum;
  • alignment with the four inter-related pillars of comprehensive school health; and
  • a more holistic view of health including a focus on the connections between physical activity, healthy eating and mental well-being.

What to Expect at an Updated Workshop:
While it will be a few more weeks before we are offering the workshops, here is a heads-up of what you can expect for the updated workshop component of the program:

Workshop Length: 2-3 hours

Types of Workshops Offered:

  1. Physical Activity (PA)
  2. Healthy Eating (HE)
  3. Combination (PA & HE)
Focus: Each updated workshop offered will provide the following content and practice opportunities:
  • Snapshot of the enhanced Action Schools! BC program
  • Action Planning
  • Instructional Strategy Examples
  • Physical Activity and/or Healthy Eating Resources
  • Practical component
*Approximately 75% of each workshop will be spent on the focus (PA, HE, or Combination)

How to Book:
Are you finding it difficult to squeeze in an Action Schools! BC workshop on Pro-D days this year? We can work with you to find some alternative times/approaches that may work for your situation. You can book a workshop for your district or school through our website.  Send email to info@actionschoolsbc.ca

Find out More:
We will be sharing Action Schools! BC updates at the upcoming events:

  • BC School Centred Mental Health Coalition meeting on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 at BCTF, 6th Ave., Vancouver, BC
  • First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) and FNSA Principals Meeting on Monday & Tuesday, Oct 17-18, 2016 in Richmond
  • Annual QDPE Physical Education Pro-D Conference on Friday, Oct. 24th, 2016 at Douglas College, New Westminster, BC
  • School Nutrition Practice Meeting on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 (9:30–10:30am) via Webinar


September 12, 2016
DASH BC is excited to present the 9th annual Walk and Wheel to School Week from October 3rd - 7th, 2016, as part of International Walk to School Month (iWalk). This week-long provincial event held every year in October encourages students, parents, staff, and community members to celebrate the many benefits of walking and wheeling to school.

Organize an event at your school, and you will be:
  • celebrating active transportation and encouraging daily physical activity;
  • promoting opportunities to practise safe walking and biking skills and identifying safe routes to school;
  • enhancing the connection between students, parents, schools, and communities in a fun and interactive way; and
  • reducing school traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.

When you register your school, you will receive:
  • resources and supports you know and love, such as posters and stickers
  • classroom supports to help with planning and activities
  • support in making community partnerships
  • support for starting year-round walk to school events

Register online here and receive the free Walk and Wheel package to help you organize the best event of the year! Registration closes September 16th, 2016.

Whether this is your first time signing up, or you want to make this year’s event bigger and better, DASH BC is here to help! Please contact DASH BC here for questions or more information.

To give your school an extra boost, you can also register your school in the Be Active Every Day initiative held by Doctors of BC from October 3 – 28, 2016. Be Active Every Day is an annual initiative that helps kids be more active and make healthy choices. In partnership with their local elementary school, doctors across BC coordinate a challenge to kids: be active for 60 minutes every day in October. Register your school by September 12, 2016 to participate in this challenge. Creating a partnership with a local doctor is a great way to adopt a Comprehensive School Health approach to healthy schools through creating community partnerships.
September 12, 2016
Can after school programs support children and youth to prepare for the future? Based on the experience of the After School Sport and Arts Initiative (ASSAI), the answer is yes. ASSAI arts programs encourage children to discover arts and culture as a tool for creative expression and imaginative problem solving. The term “arts” is used broadly to encompass performance arts (theatre, music, dance, etc.), creative writing, visual arts (drawing, painting, photography, etc.), and decorative arts (pottery weaving, textiles, etc.)  

One key aspect of high quality arts programs is relationship-building – for children to learn how to express themselves creatively, it’s important that they feel valued and supported by caring adults who are interested in supporting their development.

If you are someone who has experience working with diverse groups of children, and a passion for sharing your artistic or creative passion, read on about an exciting opportunity:

DASH is working on a project that will make high quality training available to leaders of children’s arts programs. This work is being done in partnership with BC Recreation and Parks Association and HIGH FIVE®, a national standard committed to supporting children along the path of healthy development. The project involves modifying HIGH FIVE® Principles of Healthy Child Development training so that it can be adapted for training children's arts program leaders. Two consultation sessions will be held to support this – one on Vancouver Island, and one in Northern BC. They will include one full-day training session in HIGH FIVE® Principles of Healthy Child Development and then a half-day consultation.

Dates:
  • Prince George: Monday, October 17th, 8:30-5:00 and Tuesday, October 18th, 8:30-12:30
  • Victoria: Wednesday, October 19th, 8:30-5:00 and Thursday, October, 20th,  8:30-12:30
If you are interested in participating in one of these sessions, or if you have any questions, please contact Rebecca Gibbons at rgibbons@dashbc.ca for more information. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to contribute to a quality standard training program for arts leaders.  

We gratefully acknowledge financial support for the ASSAI by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

September 12, 2016
The wait is almost over! Your favourite physical activity and healthy eating program is coming back. Over the coming weeks, the revised Action Schools! BC program will be available to schools across BC.

We’ve Been Busy!
We’ve been updating Action Schools! BC to reflect the new BC curriculum, and to incorporate the feedback and best practices in school health that Action Schools! BC trainers, program users and experts from BC and across Canada gave us on how to better support schools as they help students learn how to be healthy.

Building on Existing Strengths
Action Schools! BC will continue to provide classroom activities and workshops that support student learning about healthy eating and physical activity.  These have been updated to include:
  • links to the new BC curriculum
  • alignment with the four inter-related pillars of comprehensive school health
  • a more holistic view of health, consistent with the new curriculum, focusing on the connections between physical activity, healthy eating and mental health
The Changes You Requested
Many of the changes to Action Schools! BC were recommended by current program participants and others involved in healthy schools initiatives. The changes include:
  • increased support for school-wide action using a comprehensive school health approach
  • streamlined resources and website that make it easier to find what you are looking for
  • a simplified and supported action planning process that helps your school achieve its well-being goals
  • ongoing support from Action Schools! BC regional staff to help your school take action on healthy eating and physical activity and tap into the resources in your community
  • multi-session hands-on mentoring in physical activity and healthy eating
  • customized equipment that meets the needs of your school

Increased Focus on a Whole School Approach
Action Schools! BC will continue to serve the needs of individual classroom teachers with free workshops and web-based resources. An addition to the updated Action Schools! BC program, there is support for schools who wish to engage more deeply in physical activity and healthy eating actions across all aspects of their school’s learning environments. To access this support or learn more about it, contact us at ActionSchools@dashbc.ca

Workshops Available Starting Mid-October
The updated Physical Activity workshop will be available starting in mid-October.  The updated Healthy Eating workshop will be available starting in early November.  Contact us at ActionSchools@dashbc.ca to book a workshop for your school or district, or to find a workshop near you.
September 12, 2016
The start of the school is always a time of promise and new beginnings. That sense of promise is heightened this year for teachers, students and their families as the new BC curriculum is implemented for Grades K-9.

At the recent Promoting Mental Wellness in BC School Communities Summer Institute, discussions about the new curriculum, and the changes it brings, filled the air. There was a sense of hope and excitement around the “invisible curriculum” – the social emotional skills, behaviours, attitudes and perspectives that educators have taught informally for years – becoming a visible and supported part of the curriculum. Keynote speaker Maureen Dockendorf, Superintendent of Early Years (BC Ministry of Education and Provincial Office of the Early Years) spoke about the importance of building relationships with students, and said, “The new curriculum gives teachers the time and space to do what they know is right for kids.”  For those of us who are passionate about the importance of school connectedness, mental well-being and all aspects of positive mental health, this is music to our ears.

Summer Institute speakers and participants spoke passionately about taking the time to uncover the gifts of each learner, moving conversations about mental well-being out of the counsellor’s office and into every classroom and creating a supportive school culture for both staff and students.
One of the exciting threads running through the conversations was the role of the educator in modelling social emotional skills – and not just the things we handle perfectly. Seeing the adults at school express their frustration or other emotions using the social-emotional skills and language taught in the classroom provides a powerful reinforcement of the learning for students.

As you start on your new adventure – learning the new curriculum – remind yourself that no one expects you (or anyone else) to know everything. It is a learning process for us all. Take time to care for yourself, and to get to know your students. Be confident and find the joy in what you are doing as an educator.

The presentations and handouts from the Summer Institute can be found here.
September 12, 2016
Mental health is an important aspect of a young person's life. Talking about mental health isn't always easy. Mindcheck can help.

Mindcheck.ca is pleased to offer Stop Wondering, Start Knowing: A Mental Health Video Resource for Schools. This resource includes a facilitation guide, video stories from youth with personal experience with mental health challenges, and links to additional resources and supports. It is designed for Grade 8 to 10, but can be for used for other groups at the discretion of the educator. The goals of the resource are:

  • to better understand and be more aware of mental health
  • to recognize the early signs of mental health challenges
  • to reflect and share ideas about mental health
  • to help decrease the stigma around mental health
  • to learn about resources available for support

Click here to access the Stop Wondering, Start Knowing resource. 
September 12, 2016
The First People’s Principles of Learning are an excellent resource to integrate Aboriginal ways of knowing into the classroom and school environment, as they reflect a respectful and holistic approach to teaching and learning. These learning principles were articulated by the BC Ministry of Education and the First Nations Education Steering Committee in 2007 in an effort to enable educators to focus more authentically on Aboriginal experiences, values, and beliefs.

In the redesigned BC curriculum, aboriginal content is embedded at every grade level in a number of subject matters. Educators can use the First Peoples Principles of Learning to address these aspects of the new curriculum as well as the core competencies, such as the Personal and Social core competency, and specifically the Positive Personal and Cultural Identity competency.

Click here to access the First People’s Principles of Learning and click here to access additional First People’s learning resources.

September 12, 2016
Health Canada is pleased to provide this free online resource to teach children from Kindergarten to Grade 3 about the health effects of air pollution.  To join Super Eddie and his friends on an interactive, environmental adventure, download the game here.

This resource is available to everyone and may be particularly applicable to the following sections of the BC Ministry of Education curriculum:
  • Social Studies 1 - Relationships between a community and its environment
  • Social Studies 2 - Types of environmental challenges faced in different communities
  • Science K and 1 - Experience and interpret the local environment


August 4, 2016
Save the Date for the 2016 PHABC Conference on December 11th and 12th in Richmond, BC.

The 2016 PHABC Conference will focus on Strengthening Healthy Development: Education and Public Health in Partnership. Registration opens September 1st at www.phabc.org.

Questions? Contact coordinator@phabc.org.
June 15, 2016
Registration now open for Kelty Mental Health's Summer Institute on August 25th and 26th!

The 7th annual Summer Institute is a two-day event that will bring together teachers, school counsellors, school support staff, school administrators, district staff, health professionals, parents, students and school community partners from across BC to exchange knowledge and ideas about improving mental wellness in school communities.

Key areas of focus for this year's event include:
  • Supporting implementation of the new BC school curriculum, as it relates to mental health and wellbeing
  • Fostering school connectedness in classrooms and school communities
  • Supporting students experiencing mental health and substance use challenges in classrooms or schools
  • Creating school-community partnerships to support student mental health and wellbeing

Click here for more information.


June 6, 2016
DASH BC is excited to present our 9th annual Walk and Wheel to School event as part of International Walk to School Week (iWalk). This year’s event will take place during the week of October 3rd - 7th, 2016. Join students, teachers, parents, and community members across BC and celebrate the many benefits of walking or biking to school. Register your school today!

Some of the benefits of a Walk and Wheel to School event at your school include:
•    Celebrating active transportation and encouraging daily physical activity
•    Promoting opportunities to practice safe walking and biking skills and identifying safe routes to school
•    Enhancing the connection between students, parents, schools, and communities in a fun and interactive way
•    Reducing morning school traffic and vehicle emissions

Why should you register your school? You’ll receive:
•    Resources and supports you know and love, such as banners, posters, and stickers
•    Classroom supports to help with planning and activities
•    Support making community partnerships
•    Information on how to start year-round walk to school events

Register online here to receive your free Walk and Wheel package, full of exciting posters, stickers, and practical planning resources to help you organize the best event of the year!

Whether this is your first time signing up, or you want to make this year’s event even bigger and better, DASH BC is here to help! Please contact DASH BC here for more information.
May 26, 2016
In a lively community centre in Vancouver, ideas flowed, connections were made, and laughter filled the air. Rebecca Haber, DASH BC’s community engagement liaison for the After School Sport and Arts Initiative (ASSAI), wearing a brightly-coloured name tag she crafted herself, kicked off the two-day gathering by explaining DASH’s gratitude for the unique role it plays in ASSAI.

“DASH is proud to be part of ASSAI, to work with all of you to connect to resources and partners, and to learn from each other,” she said. She emphasized the importance of the ASSAI in creating “supportive environments for children across the province who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in sport and arts programs.”

The ASSAI Community Forum was first launched in 2012 as a way to bring together representatives from school districts across the province delivering ASSAI after school programs. It is intended to create a space for them to share their learnings and build relationships. These connections are invaluable – each year new ideas are sparked that help strengthen programs in ASSAI communities.

This year, the forum created a particularly stimulating and challenging environment for the 33 participants that attended from 17 school districts. Session leaders encouraged hard work with the intention of “stretching” participants.

“Stretch” is one of the 7 Principles of Learning, aimed at guiding learning environments for the 21st century. It acknowledges that effective learning involves high expectations as well as learning strategies and experiences that push and stretch all learners, including students, teachers, program leaders or coordinators. Pushing learning beyond one’s comfort zone calls for endurance and persistence, and is much better done collectively than in isolation.

In one session, participants collectively stretched their minds reflecting on the meaning of “inclusive.” They came up with a vision for an after school program where barriers for children were eliminated.

Throughout the forum, participants appreciated the opportunity to discuss their challenges. According to one participant, “It was really interesting to learn some of the similar struggles we share between programs, regardless of how differently they've been set up.”

Participants brainstormed together and explored strategies to improve their after school programs. One participant remarked, “It was great to hear a variety of ideas and solutions to bring back with us and try in the future.”

The ideas shared at the forum will certainly open up new doors and possibilities for ASSAI communities.  What have you learned recently that might open a new door?

“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”  
– Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.


We gratefully acknowledge financial support for the ASSAI by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.
May 26, 2016
DASH BC is pleased to announce that the Action Schools! BC program will be available to schools in the 2016-2017 school year!

DASH will be managing and administering the Action Schools! BC program in partnership with viaSport and PHE Canada.  The Action Schools! BC program is made possible due to funding support from the Ministry of Health.

We are currently undertaking a comprehensive review on which aspects of the Action Schools! BC program best support schools to enable students to learn about healthy living, be physically active and make healthy eating choices at school. A huge thank you to everyone who filled out a survey or participated in a focus group to support us in this process – your input is greatly valued!

Throughout the summer we will be updating the Action Schools! BC program based on what is learned through the review process, and are excited to be re-launching the program for the 2016-2017 school year!

If you are interested in staying up to date throughout the summer, or in participating in the program next year, please let us know at info@actionschoolsbc.ca. Updates will also be posted on the Action Schools! BC website at www.actionschoolsbc.ca.
May 26, 2016
Since 2014, our Healthy Schools BC Francophone initiative has provided resources and support to Francophone and French immersion schools throughout BC. We are currently undergoing an evaluation of this initiative so that we can continue to strengthen our efforts in supporting these Francophone and French immersion school communities.

If you are an educator or administrator in a Francophone or French immersion school, we are looking for your feedback on healthy living tools, resources and supports, as well as suggestions for what else is needed to help you create healthier school communities.

By completing the survey, you will be entered in a draw for a chance to win a $50 Chapters Indigo Gift Card for your school. The survey is available in both English and French. Please take 10-15 minutes to provide your input on the survey here.

May 26, 2016
To understand the benefits of fostering caring environments, it's helpful to take an ecological view.  Our colleague, Dan Reist of CARBC uses a simple analogy of frogs in a pond to help us understand a whole school approach, or what we term comprehensive school health. As he says, “If some of the frogs in the pond started behaving strangely, our first reaction would not be to intervene by providing a fix or treatment for the frogs. Instead, we'd wonder what was going on in the pond environment.”

Just like the frogs in the pond, students are more likely to thrive when they feel safe in their environment. Making our classrooms and schools safe and accepting places can support students to stretch in their learning – to try new things and risk failing – because they know you, their classmates, and other school staff are there to support them. For children and youth who have challenges outside of school, a supportive school environment can be a safe haven.  This isn`t news though. Educators and others who work with children and youth have known and acted on this for a long time.

As the school year winds down, it`s the perfect time to reflect on the great work that you have done to make your classroom and school environment a welcoming and caring for place for all. There are many ways to foster caring environments at school. Pat yourself on the back as you check off some of the many approaches below that you and your colleagues have used to foster your students’ sense of emotional and physical safety this year:
  • School staff know students’ names and greet them each day.
  • There is open, frequent and positive communication among students and school staff.
  • School staff teach, model and reinforce respectful behaviour towards students and their families and each other.
  • The classroom is an inviting space with regular opportunities for dialogue among students, family members and community members.
  • Learning activities are designed to draw on students’ learning styles or preferences.
  • At-risk students have a staff member assigned to them who will take additional initiative and make a positive connection.
  • Behavioural expectations are reviewed with students and are clear.
  • There are opportunities for all students to participate in academic and non-academic activities.
  • Classroom discussions are organized to encourage students to share and convey respect for diverse perspectives.
  • Reports of harassment, name-calling, bullying and cyber-bullying are responded to in a timely fashion.
  • Emergency procedures are posted in hallways and reviewed on a regular basis with students.
  • All staff and students have a clear understanding regarding behaviour expectations in the classroom, halls, lunch area and during special events.
  • Educational staff are assigned positions to monitor student movement at doors and hallways during times of arrival, departure and class transitions.
  • School meeting areas are well maintained, free from litter and clutter, and facilitate movement and interactions among students and school staff.
  • Spaces are designed for use by individuals with a wide range of physical abilities and characteristics.
  • Processes are in place to address accommodation requests by individuals for whom the design of the space does not automatically provide access.
  • School rules and policies are fair and equitable.
  • Students and teachers collaboratively develop classroom rules and expectations.
  • The school identifies practices for ensuring welcoming, accessible and inclusive experiences for everyone using the space.
  • Opportunities are available:
    • to learn about, appreciate and celebrate differences among people;
    • to develop social skills like sharing, cooperating, communicating and resolving conflict constructively; and
    • for students to participate fully in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities that will  enhance their overall development.

Adapted with permission from JCSH Positive Mental Health Toolkit.

May 26, 2016
Summer is coming, and we are all looking forward to spending lots of time outside! Refresh your sun and water smarts to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday.

Did you know? Swimming skills alone aren't always enough to prevent water-related accidents. It is swimming abilities combined with safety knowledge that helps save lives. In particular, one of the most important safety skills recommended by the Canadian Red Cross is the active supervision of children around water. Always watch children attentively (no matter how well they can swim), whether they’re at the pool, the beach, on a boat, or in the bathtub.
 
You can click here to learn more about preventing water-related accidents from the Canadian Red Cross. Topics include active supervision, backyard pools, bathing children, diving, open water, and more.
 
Did you know? Research suggests we need only about 15 minutes of sun exposure to get our daily dose of vitamin D.

Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays can not only lead to the visible consequences of skin damage—spots, wrinkles, sagging skin, and other signs of aging that can make you look much older than your years—but can also lead to skin cancers such as melanoma. British Columbia’s rates of melanoma are the highest in Canada and, sometimes, even very young people can get melanoma. The best way to minimize your risk of skin cancer is to protect yourself from the sun. That means wearing long sleeves and a hat, finding shade (especially during the hottest part of the day from 11 am to 3 pm), and wearing SPF 30+ sunscreen.
 
To support your knowledge about sun protection, check out these sun safety tips and resources  from the BC Cancer Agency.

Have a safe and happy summer!
May 26, 2016
PreparedBC recently released learning resources to help educators across BC teach their students about the risks in their region and how to take a proactive approach to preparing for disasters and emergencies. PreparedBC’s Master of Disaster learning resources consist of three core modules, each with supporting resources and interactive components that teachers can use to enhance in-class delivery. The modules teach students about the importance of knowing the risks, having a kit and having a plan. Upon completion of the Master of Disaster program, teachers may print their students a certificate of completion stating they are now officially a “Master of Disaster”!

Be a part of the pilot project!
This project is currently in a pilot phase. Resources went live during the kick-off to Emergency Preparedness Week on April 29, 2016. PreparedBC is requesting teacher expertise in piloting the resources for the remainder of the 2016 school year and providing their feedback. Over the summer, the PreparedBC team (along with a stakeholder working group comprised of teachers, administrators and emergency management professionals from across the province) will work to incorporate the feedback and suggestions to improve the program. Following this stage of revision, PreparedBC will launch the resources more formally in the fall.

Modules
The program is made up of three core modules that have been designed for Grade 6 students. All modules build upon the prior module, but can be used on their own and are designed to be flexible to suit the needs of the teachers, students, classrooms and regions. Grade 6 was identified by the Ministry of Education as the best age to take the information learned in the classroom and translate it into their home environment. Modules touch on Big Ideas as outlined in BC curriculum guidelines, which are clearly outlined within each module.

Module 1 focuses on personal preparedness and knowing the hazards in your region, what their warning signs are and what you should have in your emergency kit. Module 2 explains household preparedness and the importance of considering your family’s unique needs in preparing your kit and your plan. Module 3 teaches the importance of working together with classmates, neighbours and the greater community to identify strengths in yourselves and others. Historical events have shown that when disaster strikes, the most immediate help will come from those around you – your neighbours; therefore, knowing how to work together will mean a better response and faster recovery.

Why teach about disasters and emergency planning?
Many natural hazards are recurring, cyclical events in BC. Each year, different regions of the province face the very real threat of evacuation alerts and orders, often requiring residents to be able to flee with little to no time to prepare. Other hazards occur rarely, and science has no way of predicting them. It is this reality that highlights the importance of teaching students about the risks in their region, as well as the importance of preparing in advance. Together, we can contribute to the shared responsibility to prepare for emergencies and create healthier, more resilient communities across BC.

Become a Master of Disaster!
To browse PreparedBC’s Master of Disaster learning resources and learn more about the pilot project or the program itself, visit www.gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC/learningresources.

To learn about hazards in your region and to access resources to help you prepare, visit www.gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC.
May 26, 2016
With a student population of 34 from Kindergarten through Grade 12, Captain Meares Elementary Secondary School in Tahsis is one of the smallest schools in BC. You wouldn’t know that, however, by the size and diversity of their Farm to School program. It has been thriving since 2011 and is a great example of community and school collaboration. The program has strong initiatives around reducing food waste and even put together a cookbook to raise funds for the program. The program coordinator gets hands-on support from the school staff, community groups and others which makes the program a beacon of success. You can read the full story here
April 28, 2016
National Child and Youth Mental Health Day is about connecting with children and youth. On May 7th, all Canadians are encouraged to get involved and help connect children and youth with parents and caring adults. Caring, connected relationships are a big deal to young people, and impact their mental health.

School connectedness, which is a key focus area of Healthy Schools BC, focuses on building strong, positive relationships—among students, between students and school staff, and between school staff, families and the larger community. The presence of caring relationships in schools, the heart of school connectedness, is increasingly recognized as a vital component of successful schools. The research is strong and consistent; students who feel connected to school do better academically and are healthier.

On May 7th, positive mental health events will be happening all over BC. Check out the Institute of Families website for information about activities in your area, and ideas for planning your own event. You can also “Share the Care” by wearing green on May 7th and showing your support on Facebook or Twitter.

There are also many programs and organizations that support positive mental health in BC. The resources shared below, and many more, can be found on the Healthy Schools BC website.
  • The FRIENDS Program: The FRIENDS program is a 10-12 week classroom-based, anxiety prevention and resiliency program, delivered by teachers for students in kindergarten to Grade 7. The FRIENDS Program also has a parent component whereby parents and caregivers are taught ways they can reinforce the FRIENDS program skills at home.
  • iMinds: iMinds is a collection of health education resources that address multiple areas of BC's new curriculum.  The resources seek to maximize young people's drug literacy—the knowledge and skills they need to survive and thrive in a world where caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and other drug use is common. Resources are available for elementary, middle and secondary school students in English and French.
  • F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids' Mental Health: F.O.R.C.E. is a provincial organization that provides families with an opportunity to connect with other families who understand and may be able to offer support or advice on what has worked for them. The organization works to support and empower families and work collaboratively with professionals in order to meet the mental health needs of families.
  • Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre offers options for support and treatment in BC, tips for self-help and prevention, as well as a free monthly educational pinwheel series for families, educators and clinicians. Visit their website for resources and events. 
  • Mindcheck.ca is a young adult-focused, interactive website where visitors can check out how they’re feeling and connect to support early and quickly. Support includes education, self-help tools, website links, and assistance in connecting to local professional resources.
  • HeretoHelp: HeretoHelp is the website of a group of seven of BC’s leading mental health non-profit agencies working together to help people of all ages better prevent and manage mental health and substance use problems. Their website contains dozens of useful resources for educators.
  • JCSH Positive Mental Health Toolkit: This is an online resource that promotes positive mental health practices and perspectives within a school environment.
April 28, 2016
DASH BC has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development to improve after school programming throughout BC since 2010 through the After School Sport and Arts Initiative. Over the years, community partners have expressed a desire to have a flexible guide, filled with tips and tricks, to support the start-up and ongoing delivery of high-quality after school programs that reduce barriers to children’s participation and are meaningful to each unique community.

If you are interested in, or already involved in, the development and/or delivery of after school programming for students, DASH would greatly appreciate your input. Please click here to answer a few quick questions that will be used to shape the creation of a new after school program guide. It will only take 5 minutes! After participating, you will have the chance to be entered in a draw to win a $100 gift certificate to Wintergreen for supplies for your school or after school program. Thank you in advance for your support!
April 28, 2016
Many BC schools undertake activities that support the mental wellbeing of students and build their connection to school. While some of the work is visible, like peer mentoring and social emotional learning programs, much of it is less visible and obvious. You have to really look for it and in some instances, search outside of the box.

For example, when you look at a picture of a school garden, what do you see? Do you see a place that teaches students about growing things and encourages healthy eating, or do you see it as a way to support students’ mental wellbeing and school connectedness?

Applying a mental fitness lens can help you more clearly “see” the school connectedness and mental wellbeing aspects of your everyday practice.  Mental fitness is one of the family of practices that helps us understand mental wellbeing.

Mental fitness is a state of mental wellness that is based on our perception of how our needs are being met in three psychological areas:
  • relatedness
  • competency
  • autonomy
Relatedness is our sense of belonging; it involves our need for connection or closeness to family, peers, and other significant individuals. Fulfillment of this need requires interaction with others, membership in groups, and support and encouragement.  When a child’s relatedness needs are met, their self-perceptions might include:
  • I belong.
  • I am part of the group or community.
  • I feel encouraged and supported by others.
Opportunities to work together with other students, or side-by-side with caring adults, help students practice their social emotional skills as well as fulfilling their relatedness needs. Opportunities to participate in clubs or other structured groups with peers that share an interest also supports a sense of belonging. GSAs (gay/straight alliances or gender/sexuality alliances) are a good example of such a structure, and have demonstrated positive benefits for both gay and straight students.

Competency is the need for recognition and for using personal gifts and strengths in achieving goals. Fulfillment of this need provides students with a sense of personal achievement and accomplishment.  When competency needs are met, a child’s self-perceptions may include:
  • I have strengths and gifts that are recognized by others.
  • When I use my strengths and gifts to meet goals, I feel a sense of worth and accomplishment.
By considering the individual strengths of your students, you can incorporate opportunities for them to shine and have their talents recognized.  See Okanagan-Skaha SD’s work in this area for some ideas.

Autonomy is the need for personal freedom to make choices or decisions. When this need is satisfied in conjunction with other need areas, freedom and choice are expressed in ways in which respect is demonstrated for self and others. When autonomy needs are met, children’s self-perceptions may include:
  • I am able to make decisions about things that are important to me and others.
  • I feel hopeful because others support my participation in decision-making.
Personalized learning approaches can provide students with more opportunities for autonomy by allowing them to choose their areas of exploration. By simply allowing students to choose how to provide their response for an assignment–whether it be a traditional written response, a drawing or piece of artwork, a video, a poem or rap or something else– teachers support both autonomy (students choose) and competency (students use their strengths).

So take a few minutes, put on your mental fitness “lenses”, and find the strengths in your own practice. For more information on mental fitness and other members of the mental wellbeing family of practices, see the JCSH Positive Mental Health Toolkit.

The explanation of mental fitness has been adapted from the JCSH Positive Mental Health Toolkit, 2nd Ed.
April 28, 2016
MindShift is an app designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety. It can help change how youth may think about anxiety. Rather than trying to avoid anxiety, MindShift can make an important shift and help youth face it.

MindShift will help youth learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking, and identify active steps that will help take charge of their anxiety. This app includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to tackle:
  • Test Anxiety
  • Perfectionism
  • Social Anxiety
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Worry
  • Panic
  • Conflict
Think of MindShift as a portable coach that helps youth face challenging situations and take charge of their life.

MindShift is the work of a joint collaboration between AnxietyBC, a non-profit organization devoted to increasing the public’s awareness and access to evidence-based resources on anxiety disorders, and BC Children’s Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority. Funding for MindShift enhancements was made possible by the RBC Children’s Mental Health Project.
April 28, 2016
Are you looking to enhance your professional development this summer? There are a variety of exciting professional development opportunities through summer institutes, workshops and conferences. Below are some highlights of opportunities, and links to access additional offerings:

Developing Self-Regulating Learners in Inclusive Classrooms
July 4-6, 2016

Ecology of Food Studies Summer Institute
July 4-8, 2016

Outdoor Environmental Education Leadership Summer Institute
July 5-22, 2016

Inquiry and Innovation Summer Institute
July 8-9, 2016

Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Institute

July 18-22, 2016

Theories and Dimensions of Place-based Learning Summer Institute
July 25-August 5, 2016

Kelty Mental Health Summer Institute
August 25-26, 2016

Full list of UBC Summer Institutes and Workshops

BC Teachers’ Federation Professional Development Calendar
April 28, 2016
Better Together BC is pleased to announce the seventh annual Hands-on Cook-off contest with a special category for Youth.

Anyone in BC can enter until noon on May 20th, 2016.

Here is how it works:

Cook. Simply team up with friends aged 18 and under and create a short, punchy video that shows the world in 3 minutes or less how to make one of your favourite recipes (breakfast, BBQ, pizza, salad, dinner, snack, dessert or other tasty items).   

Film. There are no tech skills required—videos can even be made using phone video cameras. Check out these tips for making and editing videos.

Win. A panel of judges will select winners for the Youth Category.

The Grand Prize is $500 cash for your team plus $500 cash to donate to your school or youth program.

The Runner Up Prize is $250 cash for the winning team plus $250 cash to donate to your school or youth program.

Friends and family can also vote for your video for a chance to win the People’s Choice award in the Youth Category. The prize is $150 cash for your team and $150 cash to donate to your school or youth program.  

Full contest details, including sample videos, can be found here.

Get your video ideas ready now and enter this contest before 12pm on May 20th, 2016!
April 28, 2016
Chocolate, cherry, menthol and strawberry. Sound appealing? You’re not the only one who thinks so. Many youth prefer fruit, candy and menthol flavours and tobacco companies know this. In fact, tobacco companies add fruit, candy and menthol flavours to products to make them more appealing and palatable to youth. This marketing ploy, coupled with the fact that flavoured tobacco products are affordable to youth and falsely assumed to be healthier than conventional tobacco, make them a threat to the health of young people.

Effective December 2015, advocacy efforts saw most categories of flavoured cigarillos taken off Canadian shelves.  Unfortunately, flavoured water pipe, roll-your-own, and chewing tobacco, rolling papers and menthol cigarillos that are marketed to youth are still available in BC. Flavours in tobacco reduce the harsh effects of cigarette smoke for people experimenting with smoking, making it easier for new users to become addicted. In BC, almost half of young tobacco users report using flavoured tobacco products. Click here to learn more about what you can do to help stop this.

The Canadian Cancer Society is concerned with the increasing popularity of flavoured tobacco product use among youth. As a strategy to help address this issue, the cancer prevention team at the Society has created a flavoured tobacco teaching kit for teachers and health educators.

This learning tool is designed for youth by youth to teach about the harms of flavoured tobacco, including menthol. The resource consists of a presentation, visual images and hands-on activity that teachers and health educators can use to start a conversation with students about the risks of using tobacco and the marketing ploys used by tobacco companies to hook youth on nicotine.

Put this toolkit to use in your classroom and teach students about the harms of all forms of tobacco. Click here to access the toolkit.
April 28, 2016
The soil is softening, trees and plants are in bloom – it’s the season for planning, preparing and planting. This lovely season means that it is time to get school and home gardens underway. There is a lot of great information in the Farm to School Spring Newsletter and on their website. In the current issue, you can read about one of their Start-up Grant recipient schools, Logan Lake Secondary. They produced a video showcasing the school's journey from planning a school garden, to using the produce in food classes, to creating healthy meals for students. There is also information about the Regional Hub spring events – they would love to see you there! 
April 18, 2016
DASH BC is pleased to announce it will be managing and administering the Action Schools! BC program in partnership with viaSport and PHE Canada.

In the coming months, DASH BC will explore which aspects of the Action Schools! BC program best support schools to enable students to learn about healthy living, and to be physically active and make healthy eating choices at school.

We feel it’s important that user feedback is incorporated into this review ensuring the Action Schools! BC program and materials match the classroom of 2016. There are three surveys below; one is intended for those who previously participated in or feel familiar with the components of the Action Schools! BC program (e.g. attended workshops, received/used Action Schools! BC resources or equipment), and one is intended for those who did not participate.  The third survey is intended for parents or caregivers of children who were in classes or schools that were using Action Schools! BC resources and/or supports; we would appreciate if you could share this survey link with parents that fit this description (or you can fill it out if you are a parent of a child in an Action Schools! BC school).   Upon completion you will be entered into a draw to win one of four iPad Minis for your school.

We will also be conducting a focus group to learn more about educators’ and administrators’ experiences with the program, as well as recommendations for what to retain, revise, or remove from the program moving forward.   The focus group will be held over teleconference during the week of April 25-29 and be about 1 hour, and all participants will receive a $25 gift card to Chapters.  There is limited space available, so if you are interested in participating please respond to info@actionschoolsbc.ca with your interest as soon as possible (please include your role and school district as well).

Your participation is greatly appreciated!

Surveys:
(NOTE: Surveys will be closing on Wednesday April 27 at 11:59pm)

I have participated in Action Schools! BC

I have not participated in Action Schools! BC or don’t remember if I have

Link to parent/caregiver survey – please share:  https://bit.ly/1NxY7kA
March 30, 2016
How do environments influence learning? How do our environments influence our wellbeing? How does the school environment influence the health of our students? What does redesigning schools and schooling through innovation mean in practice?

There is no doubt that learning is complex and influenced by a number of factors, including contextual factors such as physical surroundings and social environment (a pillar of comprehensive school health). School environments influence the wellbeing of students and school staff through social, emotional and physical aspects of health. Innovative learning environments affect the holistic wellbeing of students. Establishing positive and healthy learning environments is essential for creating teaching and learning opportunities and enabling students to thrive at school and beyond.

The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice is a book from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), written by leading researchers from North America and Europe. It explores the nature of learning from the perspectives of cognition, emotion and biology, and utilizes current research in its discussion of how to optimize learning environments at school. To inform practice, it summarizes seven key principles of learning (outlined below). They serve as a guide in everyday experiences in current classrooms, as well as future educational programs and systems.

The OECD has also recently released a report about innovative learning environments: Schooling Redesigned – Towards Innovative Learning Systems.  The report draws on initiatives from around the world and describes common strengths around a series of Cs: Culture change, Clarifying focus, Capacity creation, Collaboration and co-operation, Communication technologies and platforms, and Change agents. It suggests that, to grow, innovative learning needs approaches rooted in the complexity of 21st century society.

Check Out the Practitioners’ Guide!

A 12-page summary version of the Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice, called the Practitioners’ Guide, is also available. The Practitioners’ Guide highlights the core messages and principles from the full report, and explores how the learning sciences inform the design of 21st century learning environments. The guide reviews the fundamentals of learning, including how people learn, the influence of context in shaping learning, the collaborative and social nature of learning, and the role of emotions and motivation in learning. It also reviews the seven principles of learning discussed above, key shifts for learning in the 21st century, and building blocks for innovative learning environments.

What Are the Seven Principles of Learning?

  1. Learners are at the centre. The learning environment recognizes the learners as its core participants, encourages their active engagement, and develops in them an understanding of their own activity as learners.
  2. The social nature of learning. The learning environment is founded on the social nature of learning and actively encourages well-organized co-operative learning.
  3. Emotions are integral to learning. The learning professionals within the learning environment are highly attuned to the learners’ motivations and the key role of emotions in achievement.
  4. Recognizing individual differences. The learning environment is acutely sensitive to the individual differences among the learners in it, including their prior knowledge.
  5. Stretching all students. The learning environment devises programs that demand hard work and challenge from all but without excessive overload.
  6. Assessment for learning. The learning environment operates with clarity of expectations using assessment strategies consistent with these expectations; there is a strong emphasis on formative feedback to support learning.
  7. Building horizontal connections. The learning environment strongly promotes horizontal connectedness across areas of knowledge and subjects as well as to the community and the wider world.
The seven principles align with the First Peoples Principles of Learning as presented by the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC).
March 30, 2016
The “Caravane Santé” project aims to build capacity within the Conseil scolaire francophone (CSF) and French immersion schools to promote healthy living in students. This is done through training champions in schools on the Healthy Schools BC Learning Framework and creating a learning community around healthy habits in students and staff. Check out the promotional video here.

The “Caravane Santé” project builds on both the Healthy Schools BC Learning Framework and the learning communities approach to help sustain healthy school projects in schools, connecting schools with health partners in their communities and embody the idea that healthy living is fun for students.

During the Caravane Santé, specialists visited selected schools to spend a day with the students and to identify school champions. Check out the exciting videos from each of the BC communities that were visited by Caravane Santé:
The Caravane Santé project is a partnership between Healthy Schools BC and RésoSanté.


March 30, 2016
When people talk about supporting and promoting mental wellbeing in schools, they usually discuss the practices they use in their environment. Some people are focused on school connectedness, others on social-emotional learning, yet others on resilience, mental fitness, or another approach.

While each of these approaches has its own flavour, they are all part of the larger family of positive mental health-supportive practices. Some people may see them as competing approaches but they are not. They overlap and work side-by-side, each strengthening the impact of the others. They all lead to the same place – improved wellbeing for children and youth. Think of the different approaches as smoothie flavours; they have much in common, but some people prefer one flavour over another.

As you would expect, the various approaches share many of the same themes. These include:
  • Providing students with the emotional and social skills necessary to be actively engaged in school
  • Creating caring relationships that promote trust and open communication, and make students feel supported and nurtured
  • Providing professional learning and support for school staff so they can meet the diverse cognitive, emotional, and social needs of students
  • Establishing structures and processes that enable, empower and engage students, families, staff and all school community members and support student achievement
  • Providing opportunities for families to be involved in their children’s school lives, and inviting community organizations to partner with the school
  • Using effective teaching and learning methods and classroom management techniques to foster positive learning environments
So go ahead, pick your favourite positive mental health approach.  And consider exploring some of the other “flavours” now and then. They might bring new insights, or reinvigorate your practice. Anyone for a banana-chocolate smoothie?

To learn more about the practices and approaches that support mental wellbeing, see Schools as a Setting for Positive Mental Health: Better Practices and Perspectives. The school connectedness area on the Healthy Schools BC website and the JCSH Positive Mental Health Toolkit can help you take action on positive mental health at your school.
March 30, 2016
SAVE THE DATE – THURSDAY AND FRIDAY AUGUST 25 – 26, 2016!

The 7th Annual Summer Institute is a two-day event that will bring together school professionals, parents, youth and school community partners from across BC to exchange knowledge and ideas about improving mental wellness in school communities.

New this year, we will be taking applications for breakout session presentations. If you are interested in hosting a session at the Summer Institute, please complete the Session Presenter Application Form. The deadline to apply is April 15th.

Key Areas of Focus:
  • Fostering school connectedness in classrooms and school communities
  • Supporting implementation of the new BC school curriculum, as it relates to mental health and wellbeing
  • Supporting students experiencing mental health and substance use challenges in classrooms or schools
  • Creating school-community partnerships to support student mental health and wellbeing
Click here for more information.
March 30, 2016
Part of our job as educators is to help kids navigate the twists and turns in life, including those related to alcohol and other psychoactive substances. Researchers say one of the best ways to help is to engage kids in honest, open conversations. More useful than telling them what to think, encouraging kids to explore, discuss and question their own ideas about drugs—and those of others—can go a long way toward helping them develop important life skills.

Open conversations about drugs may seem intimidating to some educators, but the fact is that drugs touch almost every aspect of human life—the economy, our social lives, our physical and mental health, our spiritual wellbeing—and have done so since the beginning of human history. It only makes sense for us to be discussing drugs in a way that promotes drug literacy—the knowledge and skills students need to survive and thrive in a society where drug use is common.
 
So how can we do it?
Exploring the role and meaning of drugs, not simply learning facts and statistics, is at the heart of a set of cross-curriculum drug education resources known as iMinds, created by the Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) at the University of Victoria. Featuring drug literacy modules designed for Grade 4-10 classrooms, the iMinds collection now also includes drug-related conversation starters and adaptable learning activities that match BC’s new curriculum competencies in Grade 8-12 Language Arts, Social Studies, and Physical and Health Education courses. (Drug-related lesson activities for Science, Mathematics and other key secondary-school courses are currently in the works.)
 
CARBC also offers support for educators interested in implementing iMinds resources or learning more about the philosophical inquiry approach that forms the foundation of all the conversation-based drug education materials. These materials and approaches support young people in becoming ‘professional human beings.’
 
So far the response from BC educators using iMinds materials has been positive, with many teachers expressing appreciation for resources that speak to humankind’s diverse and complex relationship with drugs, and the factors that contribute to both positive and negative drug-related outcomes in individuals and communities.
 
 “What I am noticing and really liking about Lunch with Lenin [a short-story collection for the Grade 9 iMinds module] is it is getting kids to break out of that paradigm of ‘everything about drugs is automatically bad’ mindset and they are thinking about the layers of the drug story.”
– Trent, teacher.

To access these learning resources and learn more about how CARBC can support your efforts, visit www.helpingschools.ca or touch base via helpingschools@carbc.ca.
March 30, 2016
Yarrow Community School applied for a Farm to School BC Start-up Grant in the winter of 2014 and, after less than one year, the fulsome program already includes a garden, smoothies, connecting with local farmers and communities and local food meals. The entire school student population—all 307 students, plus the on-site preschool and daycare programs—participate in the program in one way or another.

Smoothie Tuesday is one of the most engaging components of Yarrow’s Farm to School program. Every classroom in the school rotates through being in charge of Smoothie Tuesday. The class makes smoothies, with grown, donated and gleaned ingredients, and delivers samples to the entire school population. They bring knowledge along with their tasty treats, entreating kids to "Guess what's in it?” and “Guess which healthy ingredients were grown right here in Chilliwack?" Students then share their recipe. To read more about this inspirational group, click here to read this “Story from the Field”.
February 24, 2016
Nutrition Month, presented by the Dietitians of Canada, is being celebrated all across the country in March. This year, the theme for the campaign is dedication to making a small change and making it stick! The slogan for the campaign is Take a 100 meal journey. Make small changes one meal at a time.

Order your 2016 Nutrition Poster here and learn more about the poster and supportive resources for your students here.

All across British Columbia, many schools are already engaging in activities that promote healthy eating, and there are numerous programs and resources available to help you encourage nutritious choices in your school community. Promoting healthy eating can involve healthy eating education, food skills development, improved access to healthy food while at school, and school policies that support positive nutrition habits.

A key focus area for Healthy Schools BC is food literacy. Food literacy is having the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to choose, grow, prepare and enjoy food to support one’s health, community, and the environment. Twenty schools and school districts have received food literacy grants to support food literacy in their communities. Stay tuned as these schools and school districts share their stories! In the Healthy Schools Network, schools are addressing healthy eating through asking questions such as, “How can the building and maintaining of the school garden allow students to actually learn about the fruit and vegetable preparation in the kitchen?” Schools are also engaging community members, such as Elders, to share knowledge of local food, and supporting students to develop skills needed to prepare healthy foods.

Read about other schools’ healthy eating experiences on the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map.

Also, for school healthy eating opportunities, check out these resources:
These resources (and many more) can be found on the Healthy Schools BC website.
February 24, 2016
The School Food Literacy Capacity Building Initiative currently underway is supporting schools and districts to adopt a comprehensive school health approach to food literacy. This approach has been shown to have a significant impact on students’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours around nutrition and healthy eating.  

Research has shown that enhanced teaching and learning practices involving cross-curricular approaches (e.g., physical and health education, science, social studies) along with experiential learning (e.g., gardening, cooking/food preparation activities) have the greatest impact on increasing students’ fruit and vegetable consumption and improving overall healthy habits. Students’ learning is enhanced when experiences are hands-on and extend beyond the classroom throughout the school, schoolyard and community. Community partners often provide critical support through programs and resources that encourage and support these enhanced teaching and learning practices.

Research has also shown that the greatest impact on student learning and healthy eating practices is achieved when action related to health and food literacy is taken across the whole school, addressing all four pillars of the CSH approach: teaching and learning, relationships and environments, school policies, and community partnerships. Intentional use of a CSH approach is especially critical in healthy eating and food literacy to ensure the informal learning in the school environment is addressed so as to not undermine classroom teaching and learning activities. Lessons from the School Food Literacy Capacity Building Initiative currently underway will provide direction on how to support schools and districts to adopt a CSH approach to healthy eating and food literacy.

Stay tuned for updates and stories from the 20 schools and school districts that received food literacy grants. To learn more about a whole school approach to food literacy, click here.
February 24, 2016
In January, DASH staff travelled to Kananaskis Village, Alberta for Ever Active Schools’ Shaping the Future 2016 conference. We received a warm welcome – both from the healthy schools champions in attendance and the Chinook wind blowing through the area!  DASH gave a presentation on the After School Sport and Arts Initiative (ASSAI), sharing what we have learned in BC about offering engaging after school programs to children facing barriers to participation.  We were encouraged to find that some of ASSAI’s key outcomes, including positive relationships and confidence-building, aligned with the conference’s message of strengthening children’s developmental assets and resilience as a path to health and learning.

Here are a couple of highlights from what we learned at the conference:

Resilience – This ability to bounce back from challenging life events, impacts the long-term health of children. Dr. Martin Brokenleg introduced the Circle of Courage, a model of positive youth development fostering resilience. The Circle of Courage is based on traditional Aboriginal ways of knowing and follows the principle that in order for to be healthy, youth need a sense of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. Schools are a key component of a child’s ecology; supportive educators, positive relationships, and successes at school all contribute to positive youth development.  Dr. Alan Warner broadened the perspective of the child’s ecology to include the planet, and presented the importance of experiences in nature in building children’s competence and wellbeing.  Both Dr. Brokenleg and Dr. Warner reminded us that feelings and values are the starting point for education.

“If we care for it, we will want to understand it, and if we understand it, we will want to do something about it” – Dr. Alan Warner

“We have to teach the heart, not the head. We never forget what we learn in the heart” – Dr. Martin Brokenleg

Healthy schools across Canada – The DASH team connected with Ever Active Schools (the conference host) and Ophea, our sister organizations in Alberta and Ontario. We talked about focus areas for schools across the country, including positive mental health, daily physical activity, school connectedness, and aboriginal perspectives and knowledge. We are excited to continue our national dialogue on healthy schools.

Further reading:
  • Click here for a video on the science of resilience from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
  • Read more about developmental assets from the Search Institute
  • Learn more about healthy school activities in other jurisdictions from the Joint Consortium for School Health 
  • Check out the Shaping the Future Twitter feed at #STF2016
February 24, 2016
It’s almost Spring Break — a perfect time to “recharge our batteries” and focus on our wellbeing as we head into the homestretch of the school year.

While making your own wellbeing a priority may feel indulgent, it’s not – it’s a gift to you and to the students that you care so much about.  Research confirms that improved wellbeing among teachers is linked to enhanced academic achievement and reduces risk and problem behaviour in the students they teach (Sisask, 2014). As self-care guru Jennifer Louden says, “We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our own needs first, then we can give from our own surplus, our abundance.” 

So take time during Spring Break to do things that contribute to your sense of wellbeing – spend time with family and friends, curl up with a good book, play outdoors, or whatever else works for you – but don’t let it end there. Including wellbeing-focused activities in your regular routine will keep you feeling good and provide a positive example to the children and youth in your life.

Here are some quick tips to help you reduce your stress and nurture your wellbeing. Your students will thank you!

  • Make physical activity a priority – It’s a proven stress reducer. Go for a walk, run, dance, ski or whatever else you like to do.
  • Be grateful – Research has shown that gratitude helps your brain produce chemicals that can lower your stress levels. Stop for a moment each day and think of three positive things you’re thankful for. They don’t have to be major events, just moments when you felt content. 
  • Laugh – Laughing increases blood flow by more than 20%, about the same amount as aerobic activity. This lowers the effects of stress and raises levels of endorphins, which have pain-relieving properties. 
  • Express yourself – Keep a journal or write poems, stories or songs. Expressing yourself can help you organize your thoughts and feelings, gain perspective and release tension. 
  • Take a break – Use quiet time to slow down your body and mind. Try things like mindful breathing, visualization exercises, going for a walk, taking a bath or listening to calm music.
February 24, 2016
Many schools from across the province are addressing healthy eating by focusing on a variety of topics as well as varying scopes, from the classroom to the community. For Nutrition Month, we are highlighting a few of the many inspiring stories from the Healthy Schools Network (HSN) that demonstrate the diverse ways schools are exploring healthy eating concepts.  

  • Click here to learn about how a school community garden transformed the way students think about food and their food choices.
  • Click here to learn how food was used as a means to explore Indigenous culture. 
  • Click here to learn a school’s experience with asking, “What is the relationship between cooking skill/knowledge and healthy eating?  How does eating together change our thinking about food?” 
  • Click here to learn about how students are discovering that sugar isn’t so sweet.
February 24, 2016
March is Nutrition Month! The 2016 campaign is dedicated to supporting Canadians to make small changes in their eating habits – one meal at a time.

Order your 2016 Nutrition Month poster now! The poster, entitled, Make Small Changes One Meal at a Time —Take a 100 Meal Journey, features a chalkboard menu with full colour food photography illustrating simple changes, such as beans added to a rice bowl with vegetables, or berries added to yogurt. A “100 meal journey” adds up to about a month’s worth of small changes such as these.

The poster is available in French and English. Check out the poster here. You may complete your order using the online ordering system at bcdairy.ca/store for orders of up to 10 posters.

Visit nutritionmonth.ca to download resources that go along with the Nutrition Month theme. You can download educational sheets for teens and adults, as well as your own copy of the Nutrition Month 2016 poster. Some resources are available in Chinese, French, and English.
February 24, 2016
In the spirit of Nutrition Month, Farm to School BC would like to share a new Story from the Field from Grandview Elementary School in Vancouver. Grandview’s Farm to School program is substantial and growing. A large focus for their program involves educating students on how to prepare fresh, local food and incorporate it into daily living – and it is working! Students at this urban school are engaged, passionate and increasingly well informed about healthy eating habits and local food. Grandview has 15 active garden plots. The school’s goal is to grow as much food as possible for their twice-weekly salad bar. The school even grows indoors during the winter months.

Read the whole story here then, in the spirit of sharing great visuals, follow our new Farm to School BC Instagram stream using the #farmtoschoolbc hashtag and post all of your Farm to School related images there. 
February 22, 2016
The CATT for School Professionals is now available online at: www.cattonline.com.

CATT for School Professionals, developed in partnership with the BC Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, provides educators and school administrators the necessary resources for supporting a concussed student in his/her integration back to school:

•    RECOGNIZE the signs and symptoms of a concussion
•    RESPOND to a concussion event
•    Understand what a student needs to RECOVER from a concussion
•    PREPARE for a student’s return to school
•    Support a student’s RETURN to learn and activities
•    PREVENT and support PRACTICE through strategies and POLICIES

January 27, 2016
This year, Pink Shirt Day is on Wednesday, February 24th. Join schools all over BC in support of the anti-bullying movement by wearing pink! This year, the theme for Pink Shirt Day is kindness. Many schools in BC are working to foster healthy relationships through promoting kindness. Last month, Harriette Chang from Maple Creek Middle School, SD 43 Coquitlam shared her school community’s story of Real Acts of Caring (RAC) – doing something caring and kind for another and not expecting anything in return. SD 43 is hosting a RAC week from February 14 – 20, 2016. Click here to learn more about RAC week and how you can get involved. Schools in Penticton have also focused on kindness through participating in random acts of kindness in the school community that included shoveling driveways and thank you notes. Click here to read their story. Even a simple and kind “hello” can help to promote kindness in your school.

Anti-bullying, school connectedness, and positive mental health programming can be incorporated into your school’s curriculum and extracurricular activities, and the resources below can help you make it happen.

Pink Shirt Day
This iconic day came to be when two high school students from Nova Scotia arranged for their classmates to wear pink shirts after witnessing a student getting bullied for wearing pink the day before. For more information on how to organize your own Pink Shirt Day, click here, and wear pink on February 24th!

School Connectedness
Strong scientific evidence demonstrates that increased student connection to school decreases bullying and other negative behaviours while promoting educational motivation, classroom engagement, academic performance, school attendance and completion rates1. Learn how BC schools and districts are helping students feel more connected to their school. Find resources and tips on making your own school or district more caring and welcoming. Click here to learn more about Maple Creek Middle‘s approach to school connectedness, including their RAC program.

ERASE Bullying
The ERASE strategy is a comprehensive and multipronged approach to promote positive mental health and wellness, and to prevent bullying and violent behaviour in schools. The strategy includes a coordinated approach involving schools, families and community partners. The ERASE Bullying website provides parents and students with helpful tips and advice on how to address bullying, and includes a confidential online reporting tool for youth to report bullying.

WITS Programs
The WITS Programs bring schools, families and communities together to create responsive environments that help children deal with bullying and peer victimization. WITS has two components: the WITS Primary Program (Kindergarten to Grade 3), and the WITS LEADS Program (Grades 4 to 6).

JCSH Positive Mental Health Toolkit
The Positive Mental Health Toolkit is an online resource that promotes positive mental health practices and perspectives within a school environment. The toolkit is designed to help schools and communities apply their strengths to foster positive growth and development of children and youth.

RespectED: Beyond the Hurt
Beyond the Hurt is a Canadian Red Cross youth-facilitated program targeted at bullying and harassment prevention among children aged 11 and over.

SafeTeen
SafeTeen is an empowerment program where facilitators offer skills for choosing healthy relationships, strategies to prevent bullying and harassment, and techniques for de-escalating verbal, physical and emotional violence. Most importantly, the program cultivates empowerment, self-determination, critical thinking and self-esteem in children and youth.

For more resources related to anti-bullying, school connectedness, and positive mental health, visit the Healthy Schools BC website!


1Blum, Robert. School Connectedness: Improving the Lives of Students. 2005.
January 27, 2016
While the title may conjure up thoughts of Adele’s powerful new song, give it a bit more thought and it will likely make you think about a time when someone’s friendly “hello” put a smile on your face, reassured you during a challenging time or perhaps made you feel welcomed in a new environment – like when you started at a new school (whether as a student, a teacher or an administrator!)

Studies tell us that students who are well connected to teachers and peers within their learning environment are more likely to prosper. Most of us even know this intuitively. It makes sense that young people who feel cared for and liked by others tend to experience  better mental health, have reduced involvement in health risk behaviours (including but not limited to substance use), and are more motivated to learn and achieve higher academic performance.

The good news for school professionals and other adults is that supporting the academic and social development of young people need not be complicated. In fact, most schools’ informal curricula emphasize school as community and present abundant opportunities for fostering the connections most  kids need to survive and thrive in today’s world. Here is a peek at a couple of connection-based efforts that have demonstrated benefits in both individuals and school communities in BC.

Cariboo-Chilcotin SD 27’s focus on developing a sense of belonging forms the foundation of everything they do with students, involving teachers as well as support staff, bus drivers, maintenance workers and parents. Their shift to the attitude that “belonging is the key” has changed the way that they work in the District. Want to know more? Click here for this and other districts’ school connectedness efforts.

Inclusion clubs for LGBTQ and all - Creating gay-straight alliances in the school setting is one way to help all students feel safe, respected and valued as an important part of a community. According to a UBC study co-led by Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, “schools with anti-homophobia policies and clubs are safer schools, and safer schools mean students are less likely to abuse alcohol, regardless of their sexual orientation”.  Looking for ideas and resources? Check out LGBTQ Resources from BCTF.
 
Here are a few other excellent resources that may help:
  • Healthy Schools BC (including its section on school connectedness) offers everything from the research base on school connectedness to a wide array of practice focused tips and approaches.  
  • The Centre for Addictions Research of BC at UVic has developed resources to support peer mentor programs. These include a short summary of the evidence for such programs, and practical resources to use in supporting peer mentors’ efforts to support their peers on substance use matters.
While a kind “hello” is not completely sufficient on its own, it does have the potential to help us all – young and old alike – feel cared about, and it represents an important foundation on which to build.
January 27, 2016
Begin the year with the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s newly REFRESHED & FREE comprehensive curriculum-aligned resources. The response since the 20th Anniversary launch this past September has been outstanding and they would like you to join them in educating children and youth in heart health!

The new resources include activities exploring nutrition, physical activity, living smoke-free, marketing to kids, sugary drinks, healthy transportation and communities, traditional Aboriginal-health concepts, mental health and wellness, HeartSmart™ recipes and more. Included are activities for the classroom as well as for families, to ensure that heart-healthy themes are touched on throughout the year and in multiple settings.

Visit the brand new interactive online tool for educators at www.hskids.ca and each individual educator must register and order separately. If you’re new to the program please complete the training and receive your dated certificate.

For more information or to organize an in-person workshop, call 778-372-8032 or 1-888-473-4636 ext. 8032, or email mhealthpromotion@hsf.bc.ca.
January 27, 2016
Farm to School BC has two new resources to share that were developed by the Farm to School Vancouver Area Regional Hub: a new Farm to School Guide for the Vancouver Area, and a powerful video about Vancouver-based Farm to School programs. These resources, while regional, are highly useful for any individual or groups interested in sourcing local food for their school. Both of these projects are great examples of how the work of one hub supports the growth and sustainability of Farm to School programs in the region, and beyond. The Farm to School Guide offers suggestions on where to find local foods, networks to tap into, recipes and other useful information. It can be accessed and downloaded from the Farm to School BC website. The inspiring Farm to School Vancouver Area Hub video offers insight and personal perspectives from local schools and can be found here. Please share both resources freely!
January 27, 2016
February is anti-bullying awareness month but, when it comes down to it, every month offers opportunities to broach this important topic with our students.  Sparking dialogue through stories, videos and exercises throughout each month of the school year (while still aligning with curriculum standards) is possible. Whether teaching social studies, language, or even fine arts – there are ample opportunities for teachers to focus on how people treat one another. With the help of the free, ERAC approved online resource Voices into Action (in particular, the cyberbullying chapter), teachers can use thought-provoking lessons that ask questions based on real world events to foster compassion and, thus, to fight bullying.

Voices into Action is current and topical. It is comprised of primary and secondary resources, as well as first person accounts, in original short films which are compelling and eye opening.  The intention is to support teachers as they present topics of oppression, hatred, racism, and bullying to their students in order to fuel conscious dialogue. Let’s face it, in today’s tumultuous political climate, teachers often feel challenged. When topics like immigration, islamophobia, aboriginal and LGBTQ rights come up in humanities classes, they may spark student discussions riddled with prejudice and personal biases. Safely facilitating discussions to help students adopt more educated (and open) viewpoints can be challenging.  Ensuring that these discussions will lead to students adopting more inclusive perspectives so that they treat one another better is even more difficult. While there are no guarantees, discussions focused on the marginalization of certain individuals or groups throughout history (especially regarding past atrocities), can inspire more anti-bullying behavior in the school and online.

Another challenge for teachers is to facilitate dialogue when the information students are filling their minds with is often one-sided and/or incorrect (especially when their sources can be questionable).  Fully researching each topic may exceed the time teachers actually have to plan lessons. Voices into Action’s curriculum team at OISE has already done extensive research on each unit topic, which can certainly help teachers provide information with more veracity.  The facts are shared and then thought-provoking questions are posed. Examples include:
  • “Can Canada be proud of its human rights record?”
  • “Should we continue to search for leaders involved in past crimes against humanity?” 
  • "Are there children elsewhere in the world whose lives are at risk not because of what they’ve done, but because of who or what they are?”
Profound dialogue can come out of some heavily debated questions like those about Canada’s treatment of our Aboriginal peoples. Consider, “To what extent has Canada, as a nation, fulfilled our human rights obligations to our Aboriginal peoples?” and regarding stereotypes, “What impact do these stereotypes have on the creation of policies involving Aboriginal people?” When we view each topic through a bullying lens, we can see where it all started – that there was an imbalance of power and people wound up as victims, victimizers, and bystanders. There’s bullying throughout our collective histories, and during February you can certainly make good use of Voices into Action’s chapter on cyberbullying.

The cyberbullying chapter offers teachers a host of invaluable information, including:
  • Explanations of different forms of cyberbullying
  • Statistics 
    • In Canada, for instance, 34% of students in Grades 7-11 have been cyberbullied 
  • Discussion prompts 
    • Imagine coming home from school, grabbing a snack, turning on your computer only to discover numerous hurtful comments and several pictures of you at awkward moments during the last few days. You are crushed, sad and angry because you thought you had lots of friends. Why would they do this to me? What's wrong with me?
  • Engaging lessons broken down into a series of actions
    • Creating an online survey
    • Designing a Venn diagram to determine the differences between traditional bullying and cyberbullying
    • Listing practical strategies for protecting online identity
    • Creating a mock trial on the laws surrounding cyberbullying
    • Analyzing real scenarios to determine fault and punishment
    • Developing an online code of behavior
    • Watching retired police sergeant Brian Trainor share true stories of people he’s encountered who were victims of online harassment
When we really think about it, we can see that bullying is prevalent in the Komagata Maru, Japanese Internment Camps, Chinese Head Tax and many more historical events.  When we broach these topics with sensitivity and with this kind of focus, we are honouring the curriculum while keeping the bullying subject open for discussion.  This is one way to extend anti-bullying month to each and every month of the school year. Teachers are welcome to use www.voicesintoaction.ca to explore history and modern issues to raise social consciousness and inspire positive change.  Have an inspiring Anti-Bullying Awareness month!  

Feel free to contact Jodi at jderkson@fastcyv.ca with any comments or for a cost-free teacher or student workshop, or to inquire about additional anti-bullying workshops & SEL for students and educators.
January 27, 2016
Dr. Shelina Babul at the University of British Columbia, Department of Paediatrics is leading an evaluation of the new On-line Concussion Awareness Training Toolkit for School Professionals (CATT School Professionals). CATT provides up-to-date education, tools and resources to effectively recognize, respond and help support a student’s return to school following a concussion. This research study seeks to evaluate this new resource.

The study consist of two on-line surveys, as well as access to CATT School Professionals, with a total time commitment of approximately 40-60 minutes (10 min pre-survey, 20-40 min Toolkit, 10 min post-survey). Your participation in this study is voluntary.

All participants who complete the study will be entered into a draw for an iPad Mini for their school.

Please follow this link to FluidSurveys for the Online Consent Form & Registration Page and the Pre Intervention Survey.

If you have any questions about this study please contact the project co-ordinator Kate Turcotte at kturcotte@cw.bc.ca.
January 7, 2016
Food literacy is having the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to choose, grow, prepare and enjoy food to support one’s health, community, and the environment. Beyond healthy eating, food literacy is also connected to competencies and concepts in the draft Physical and Health Education curriculum as well as other curriculum areas.

A comprehensive school health (CSH) approach, which is a whole school approach, coordinates actions across all areas of the school in a planned, integrated and holistic way. This is so effective because learning is enhanced when learning experiences extend beyond the classroom, throughout the school and into the community. There are four distinct, yet interrelated pillars of CSH: Teaching and Learning, Relationships and Environments, Community Partnerships and School Policies. Incorporating all four pillars supports the development of food literate students in healthy school communities.

There are many possible ways to engage your students and community to foster food literacy. It will look different in each school depending on your unique context and surrounding community. You may begin work by focusing on any one of the pillars. Click here to find programs and resources to support each pillar and help foster healthy eating and food literacy.

In November 2015, 20 schools from across the province were awarded School Food Literacy Grants through the School Food Literacy Capacity Building Initiative. The vision of the School Food Literacy Capacity Building Initiative is for students in BC to be food literate now and as they grow, with schools and school districts adopting a comprehensive school health approach to food literacy. The grants are intended to support schools to explore a CSH approach to food literacy through action and reflection on the linkages between ‘Teaching and Learning’ (one pillar of a CSH approach to food literacy) and at least one other pillar.

The projects that the schools and districts are going to be working on are as diverse as the many communities in which they exist. They cover the broad range of activities that are part of a whole school approach and the many different components of food literacy. From gardens and greenhouses to healthy snack policies and traditional Indigenous foods, these projects are taking innovative approaches to connecting teaching and learning activities and the others pillars of a CSH approach to food literacy. There are plans underway to share the lessons learned from the efforts of these schools and districts during this school year, so please stay tuned.

To learn more about food literacy, visit the Healthy Schools BC website here, and to learn more about the School Food Literacy Capacity Building Initiative read more here or contact Brent Mansfield, Project Lead, Food Literacy in Schools with DASH, at bmansfield@dashbc.ca.

January 7, 2016
Healthy Schools BC resources are now available in French for Francophone and French Immersion schools!

The new resources are part of a three year partnership project designed to address a gap in French language healthy living resources and services for BC schools, and support the Conseil scolaire francophone (SD 93) with their five-year strategic plan that identifies helping students develop in a healthy way as a priority, including the adoption of healthy and active lifestyles.

These new resources have been developed through a partnership between DASH BC, RésoSanté Colombie-Britannique (RésoSanté), Conseil scolaire francophone (SD 93), and the BC Ministry of Health, with additional support from the Francophone Affairs Program.

Resources that are now available in French include:
• The Knowledge Guide for Comprehensive School Health
• The Resource Guide for Teaching and Learning
• The Comprehensive School Health Resource for Health Professionals
Assessment Tools
• Action Guides (coming soon!)

The Healthy Schools BC website is also now available in French! Highlights of the French website include:
• The Healthy Schools BC Stories Map where French Immersion and Francophone schools can share their healthy school stories in French and learn about healthy school initiatives in other French schools
• Information regarding the grants, including grant applications offered in French (coming soon!)
• A comprehensive list of programs and supports in French

Stephanie Palisse is the Outreach Coordinator for Francophone and French Immersion Schools at DASH BC. She can support schools in starting an initiative, assist with accessing and utilizing resources, support connections between schools and health professionals, and help schools with sharing their stories in French. You can connect with Stephanie at spalisse@dashbc.ca or 604-681-0600, ext. 260.
January 7, 2016
This month we are highlighting an inspiring story about how Coquitlam School District’s acts of caring have fostered school connectedness. School connectedness is about creating a school community where everyone feels safe, seen, heard, supported, significant and cared for. Harriette Chang, School Counsellor at Maple Creek Middle School in Coquitlam (SD 43), wanted to share how Real Acts of Caring (RAC) began in SD 43, how it has evolved and how it has benefited their school community.

Here is Harriette’s story:

Real Acts of Caring (RAC) is doing something kind and caring for another and not expecting anything in return. RAC builds self-esteem and confidence, empowers students to make a positive difference in their lives and in the lives of others, and creates a sense of belonging and community connectedness.

Our journey of RAC began in 2005 in the Coquitlam School District. I was the school counsellor at Central Community School and taught a class of Grade 4 and 5 students. I read the students a story about spreading kindness and the students decided to promote this idea. They lobbied the local mayor in Port Coquitlam, and a proclamation was passed which recognized a special kindness week for Port Coquitlam in February 2006. Since then, RAC has spread throughout the Coquitlam School District and to other parts of BC and is celebrated each year during RAC Week (February 14-20, 2016).

I am now a school counsellor at Maple Creek Middle School and, throughout the year, we provide our students with opportunities to experience how good it feels to be kind. This year, we have 164 students involved in our RAC Club. A big focus at our school is to teach bullying prevention and problem solving skills, which we teach in conjunction with RAC. RAC builds strong connections between students which helps to protect kids from being on their own and potentially becoming a target. Students who are seeking power and attention through bullying are being redirected to get involved in modeling and spreading kindness instead. Several of our former bullies are now some of our keenest “RACers”.

We have been gathering evidence to understand the effect of RAC. If we look at qualitative measurements, we see that our parent community is extremely supportive of RAC and many parents help out with RAC activities on a regular basis. Quantitatively speaking, the MDI (Middle years Development Instrument) has indicated that, in the last five years since we have implemented RAC, there has been a steady and significant improvement in areas including students:
• feeling safer;
• feeling more welcome;
• liking school;
• feeling that adults care about them; and
• experiencing less bullying.

Today, thousands of students have now become involved in RAC. Students are lobbying the local governments again in Coquitlam, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam AND the provincial government in the hopes of having both a municipal and a provincial proclamation passed which recognizes RAC Week. Students have also been giving presentations about RAC to schools, the Coquitlam School Board Office, the Safe Schools Coordinators in both Richmond and Vernon this fall, and students in Prince George last year. Over the years, students have been featured in the media including Global News and Canada AM.

The goal this year is to promote RAC to every school district in BC. Students are sending out 6000 RAC posters to spread awareness to all districts in January 2016 with the goal of taking RAC to a higher level.

Click here to learn more about RAC at Maple Creek Middle School, check out their school connectedness video and learn about tips, approaches, strategies and resources for school connectedness.

January 7, 2016
Healthy eating in BC schools will get a jumpstart this year thanks to BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation’s (BCAITC) Fresh to You Fundraiser. Partnering with the BC Ministry of Health, BCAITC is offering Fresh to You as a way for schools to have greater access to BC-grown fruits and vegetables.

Fresh to You was created as a healthy fundraising alternative for those schools that are currently participating in the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program (BCSFVNP), another BCAITC initiative. The objective of the program is to sell locally grown produce to family and friends in order to assist with schools’ fundraising initiatives. Schools can make a 40% profit by selling bundles of healthy BC grown vegetables such as potatoes, peppers and butternut squash.

The program includes both an autumn and a spring session during the school year and will help support the BC Ministry of Health’s Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools. According to the Guidelines, “offering healthy food choices in the cafeteria, at school events, in vending machines and for fundraising contributes to a school environment that consistently supports students to develop the knowledge, skills and habits needed for lifelong wellbeing.” The guidelines are one part of a broader healthy schools approach that promotes healthy choices both in and out of the classroom.

Fresh to You enjoyed success this fall, with 80 schools participating and selling a total of 60 325 kg of produce and raising an average of $743 per school. Enthusiastic reports from parents and volunteers have been coming in citing a successful spring session. “What a successful fundraiser for us,” said Jennifer Lindberg from Lord Selkirk Elementary in Vancouver. “Not only was it a great return financially for the school, but knowing these are BC products and ones we all need and love makes 'selling' a no brainer. Thank you!”

Fresh to You will continue with a spring session in 2016. Applications will be accepted in January.

The Fresh to You Fundraiser is one of the programs managed by the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation (BCAITC), a non-profit foundation working with educators through various programs to bring BC’s agriculture to their students. For more information visit www.aitc.ca/bc, or contact Emma Sweeney, Communications Coordinator for BCAITC by email or at 604-556-3094.
January 7, 2016
The Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) Campaign is pleased to share a number of upcoming events aimed at promoting positive body image and raising awareness of eating disorders.

Upcoming events include:

Interrupting the Stigma: Putting an End to Size-Shaming

Where: UBC Robson Square, Main Lecture Hall, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver
When: January 30, 2016, 12:00-1:30pm
Description: Free panel discussion in recognition of Eating Disorder Awareness Week (Feb. 1-7, 2016) presented by the Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) campaign. Panelists bring professional and personal expertise in the areas of weight stigma, body image, and eating disorders. Come for a rich dialogue and discussion and leave with ideas how to put an end to size-shaming. Panel members: Kristi Gordon, Tyson Busby, Caitlin O’Reilly, Ali Eberhardt Moderator: Chiara Fero
• Registration link: pedawpanel.eventbrite.ca

#Purple4PEDAW
Where: Online and at various landmarks in BC
When: February 5, 2016
Description: Presented by the Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) campaign, #Purple4PEDAW is a day designed to bring awareness to eating disorders. Various landmarks in BC will be turning #Purple4PEDAW in support. Wear purple and send photos of yourself and purple landmarks to our Facebook and Twitter (@loveourbodies) accounts.
Event page: http://bit.ly/Purple4PEDAW2016

The Hunt to Love Our Bodies, Love Ourselves!
Where: Online
When: February 1-29, 2016
Description: Want to win prizes? Using your Android, iPhone or tablet device, complete missions for points using a free app called "Goosechase," all in the name of Eating Disorders Awareness! Grand prize is an iPad Mini! Presented by the Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) campaign.
Event page: Learn more about the hunt here. Order your FREE wrist band here.

Want to learn more about the PEDAW Campaign? Check out their website and their social media channels:

• Facebook: www.facebook.com/loveourbodiesloveourselves
• Twitter: @loveourbodies
• Blog: jessieslegacy.com/love-our-bodies-love-ourselves/our-blog/
• Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/loveourbodies

December 7, 2015
A whole school approach is grounded in holistic concepts for creating healthier school communities. Recently, DASH has focused on bridging holistic concepts, such as comprehensive school health, which is a whole school approach, and physical literacy to broaden the understanding of how school health can be supported across the whole school environment. 

Physical literacy is defined as “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” (International Physical Literacy Association, May, 2014)

On the October 23rd provincial professional development day, DASH attended the 29th annual QPDE (Quality Physical Daily Education) conference at Douglas College to present on how to build physical literacy with a whole school approach using the Comprehensive School Health framework. In this session, we explored how physical literacy can be enhanced by shifting the focus from individual students to the school as a whole.  

Using the Comprehensive School Health (CSH) Framework, physical literacy can be coordinated and promoted through each of the four pillars of CSH: teaching and learning, relationships and environments, healthy school policy and community partnerships. A whole school approach provides opportunities to extend physical literacy beyond P.E. class into all areas of the school environment, having a great impact on building physical literacy for students. 

If you are interested in learning more about building physical literacy through a whole school approach or having this presented in your school district, please contact us at info@dashbc.ca

For more information, check out these websites:
www.healthyschoolsbc.ca
www.dashbc.ca
www.phecanada.ca/programs/physical-literacy
www.physical-literacy.org.uk 
http://canadiansportforlife.ca/

December 7, 2015
Representatives of the After School Sport and Arts Initiative (ASSAI) were in Vernon, BC on November 12th and 13th for the bi-annual Cities Fit for Children Provincial Summit. This summit brings together policy makers, First Nations, and health, education, child and youth development practitioners to strengthen the community capacity to build cities, towns, and villages where children thrive. While DASH’s work focuses on the school, we know that each child learns, plays, and thrives within a whole school, which exists within a whole community. So we take a holistic approach and look beyond the school to include community partners as essential stakeholders in creating healthy schools. 

In Vernon, ASSAI representatives teamed up with the Surrey Schools Community-Schools Partnership initiative to talk about our experience in community-school (or C-S) partnerships, why they are important, and how to get the most out of them. Much of what we have learned about C-S partnerships stems from our experience in ASSAI. This Initiative provides safe, accessible, and high-quality after school programming for students across BC, and partnerships are key to its success.  The structure of the ASSAI also supports the notion of schools as community hubs, and using the school as the setting for after school programming so coordinators of the Initiative can leverage existing community partnerships as well as foster new ones.  

Schools as Community Hubs

There are a number of reasons why schools are a key setting for actions to support children and youth:

Most children attend school, and those that do spend the majority of their waking hours there
Families often place trust in schools, so they tend to be supportive of programs that the school is involved with
School staff can serve as a resource or as collaborators in projects
Schools can provide facilities for activities
Positive experiences in the school setting contribute to greater school connectedness

While many groups use schools as a setting, they may not always be working together with the school to leverage their assets. Our experience has shown that, while developing meaningful C-S partnerships takes time and effort, the benefits are significant. C-S partnerships can bring in expertise in specific topic areas, help to build broad community support around a cause, and coordinate efforts so that resources can be used more effectively.

Schools as Partners

There are unique considerations for community groups when working with schools. A school or district may have a key contact identified for partnership. This could be a Community School Coordinator or a Community School Association. Schools and school districts frequently have policies that guide how they work with partners (e.g., requirements for partnership agreements, liability insurance, and protection of student information). When fostering a C-S partnership, consider how your program, organization, or specific expertise can contribute to the core business of school: student learning and success. This exercise will help to facilitate early conversations, and also ensure shared goals are being met. 

At Cities Fit for Children, DASH and Surrey Schools highlighted four success factors for C-S partnerships:
  1. Define roles and responsibilities, and be flexible to adapt if the situation changes. It’s important for all partners to be clear on what they are accountable for. Written partnership agreements are a tool to support this.
  2. Have a clear focus or framework to bring partners together around. A project plan or mission helps partners to define what they are working towards. What topic can partners in your community come together around (e.g., physical literacy, healthy eating, or positive mental health)?
  3. Draw on the strengths of each partner and work to build the skills of all partners. Each partner can offer their particular expertise and share it with others.
  4. Keep the end goal in mind: supporting children. Partnerships are not just for the sake of partnership, but for the sake of supporting children.

Interested in reflecting on a partnership you’re involved with? Have a look at the Cross-Sector Engagement Rubric to check in on where your partnership is at and how it can be further developed. 

We gratefully acknowledge financial support for the After School Sport and Arts Initiative by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

December 7, 2015
The Healthy Schools Network (HSN) is an open learning community of educators, students, and community members across the province who are working together to optimize health and learning, meet healthy living goals, and improve overall wellbeing in students and the broader school community. HSN participants lead inquiry and sustainable project-based learning initiatives in their school communities, and share their stories to support and inspire others.

The importance of a living a healthy lifestyle is significant to the wellbeing of students. This month, we are sharing an inspiring story from Fairview Elementary School in Nanaimo, BC. Their healthy living inquiry took place from October 2014 until March 2015, and the main purpose of this project was to develop a healthy living mindset within a group of Grade 6/7 learners. Their classroom teacher, Gary Chantrell, a Vancouver Island University instructor, Mary-Lynn Epps, a Healthy Schools Network Leader and a group of student teachers from Vancouver Island University collaborated to co-plan and co-teach learning opportunities through inquiry that primarily supported learners in developing healthy relationships through active living and story. They used the motto, “We are all teachers, we are all learners,” as a foundation for learning partnerships and formation of a community of learners.

At the conclusion of this project there was an abundance of positive feedback. The unit was innovative and stepped away from the traditional pen and paper worksheets. Students engaged in co-creating criteria, small to whole group discussions, and self-reflection. As the student teacher candidates became more confident with their teaching practices, they began to take on more responsibilities in the planning and instruction. Likewise, the learners in the Grade 6/7 class became school-wide leaders in healthy living by acting as peer coaches in healthy living for the younger students. Through the process they designed and implemented their own fitness activities. As a result, the Grade 6/7 students felt valued and stated they learned a lot by having the student teachers support their learning. This experience proved to be a rich learning opportunity for everyone.  View other HSN stories on the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map. 

December 7, 2015
If your  back-to-school plans to focus on school connectedness have been long forgotten or derailed by other priorities, get back on track by spending  10 minutes a day trying out a few quick and low-effort ideas to foster connectedness.  With all of the distractions this month, it might be the perfect time to try something new! Here are few ideas to try.

  • Mindful Breathing: Adding mindful breathing or other mindfulness practice to your classroom routine can help improve focus and reduce stress levels. These quick resources will help you start tomorrow: How to breathe mindfully (Heart-Mind Online); Breathing Balloon (Kids Help Phone) and 4-7-8 Breathing (GoZen).
  • Sharing Circle: Sharing Circles can provide opportunities for students to practice their social-emotional skills build community and learn more about Aboriginal culture. SD 48 Sea to Sky identified circles as an everyday practice that supports mental and emotional wellbeing in a recent WellAhead ideation session. Here’s what they said. See how a school in California uses circles here.
  • Kindness: During this time of year when many students are focused on what they are going to receive, shift the focus to giving and acts of kindness. After an initial discussion on kindness, you might ask students to talk or write about a time when someone showed them kindness; the next day they might share a time when they were kind to someone else. For inspiration for you and your students, see Maple Creek Middle School`s Real Acts of Caring website and student-made videos here and here
  • 2 by 10: Focus on building stronger, more positive relationships with your most challenging student(s) using a simple 2 by 10 approach. Have a two minute personal conversation with the student 10 times over a pre-determined period of time on topics that she/he is interested in.  At a November WellAhead ideation session, SD 61 (Victoria) identified 2 by 10 as one of the everyday wellbeing practices that they were interested in exploring.
For more ideas on building school connectedness and mental wellbeing into your schools, see the Resources and Programs section of our School Connectedness page.  See all of the ideas generated at the WellAhead ideation sessions here

December 7, 2015
This month we are featuring a story from the social media contest winner of the October Healthy Schools Week, Kulvir Mann from North Vancouver. Kulvir is a proud parent and PAC member from Canyon Heights Elementary School and is also a North Shore Safe Routes Advocates (SRA) Co-Chair.

Kulvir shares a motivating story about how a school community can come together to make a positive change in their community! 

Here is Kulvir’s story:

“We love living in North Vancouver because of its beautiful nature, amazing hiking trails, walking on the beach, the sense of community and the many activities you can do by walking or biking all year. My kids and I walk everywhere and love being outdoors. In the summer months, we try to find a new place to explore every day and take transit as there are no schedules just having fun. It gets harder when school starts due to different activities after school, homework, birthday parties and play dates. The best part of my day is walking my kids to and from school every day - the excitement of starting their day and hearing about what they did at pickup time is very special to me.

At my children’s school, Canyon Heights Elementary, there are many initiatives that students take part in during the school year – morning fitness, zen zone, track & field, cross country, volleyball, basketball, tennis, badminton, soccer, sports day, walking field trips (e.g. walking within our community) and Think Globally Walk Locally Day.  

A few parents and I formed a group called North Shore Safe Routes Advocates almost 2 years ago. We wanted to promote a safe and healthy environment for all the children in our family of schools. Our goal was to get kids out of the car and get them walking, biking, using their scooters and taking transit. We encourage parents that have to drive to the school to park 5 minutes away and walk their child to school, or “Drive to 5”. Our school did a month-long “Walk & Roll Event” in May 2015. Every student that participated got a ticket if they walked, biked, took a scooter or the bus. Each week prizes were given out to students in all the classes. At the end of the month, one lucky student won a “bike” as a grand prize. There was a lot of positive energy and the whole school environment was full of happy and excited kids. 

As North Shore SRA, we collaborate with our municipality and other peer groups to make our neighborhood school communities safer for everyone. We have been successful in getting quite a lot of improvements implemented from our suggestions.  We are also helping other schools set up these initiatives at their schools. Our hope is to get more parents and community members involved to help and motivate change to drive less and be more active. There has to be a shift in attitude for change to happen. 

This year we will be starting a program called “Freedom Fridays”. Every Friday there will be party atmosphere setup at the school – decorations, DJ music, coffee for parents, special guests, stickers, etc. Every child that participates will get a ticket and there will be lots of prizes. We are also making tags for each child to record data and see how behaviour and culture changes during the course of the year. In the spring, we will be doing the Walk & Roll event again. We will have parent volunteers start “walking school buses” from different areas and then meet up at the school every day which will create a community feel for the students and allow them to meet and make new friends from their neighborhoods which otherwise they might not have had the opportunity to do. 

We want children to feel safe and be more aware of their surroundings. It is being said that kids are being driven everywhere, causing them to have no sense of where they are going or even in some cases their own home address. There are lots of studies that show walking to school is healthier for children, they are more alert and ready to learn once they arrive at school. Their bodies are rejuvenated which also makes it easier for the teachers to get more done in class. Our wish would be that it became second nature to walk, bike, take a scooter or the bus to school as we did when we went to school.

One of my fondest memories as a child is of walking to school every day with my friends and more kids joining in as we passed their houses. We used to discuss all sorts of things and it was the best way to start the school day. We made new friends from other classes and there was a sense of safety and independence we all felt. I think that is missing today as parents are more protective, not allowing kids to explore, more rules and everyone is in such a rush to get somewhere that you are really missing out on spending time with your child. The connection you can establish with your child gives them the security and self-confidence to become anything they strive to be. Every parent’s wish is for their child to be happy, enjoy going to school and playing with their friends, and have a wonderful learning environment.”

- Kulvir Mann @BeingKulvir 

Canyon Heights Parent & PAC Safety Committee
North Shore Safe Routes Advocates (SRA) Co-Chair 
Twitter @northshoreSRA 
Facebook.com/northshoresra 

December 7, 2015
The Seventh Generation Club is an initiative for BC First Nations students. Through fun contests and activities, and with the help of the Club Captain, the Vancouver Canucks, the club encourages students to make healthy choices, participate in sports in their community, and stay in school.

The mission of the Seventh Generation Club is to create a club where First Nations youth can envision their future by recognizing their own energy, the culture of their people, and the teamwork needed to succeed, and by giving them opportunities to make healthy life choices, participate in community, and meet the challenges of life.

The club is coordinated by the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) and partners with the First Nations Schools Association (FNSA), First Nations Health Council, and the Vancouver Canucks.

Some of the Seventh Generation Club initiatives include:
  • Newsletters: Five issues are distributed throughout the school year to all club members. The newsletter features fun facts, the Canucks Corner, contests, and contest winning entries.
  • Day-timers: Club members receive a day-timer at the beginning of each school year full of school tips, cool facts, fun games and pictures of what other kids are up to.
  • Science Day: The club sponsors an annual Science Day to educate students about the exciting world of science. To assist teachers, the club has developed a booklet that highlights science experiments for teachers and support workers to conduct in their classrooms.
  • Sports Day: The club organizes an annual Sports Day to promote healthy living, teamwork and fun. All participating schools receive ribbons and buttons for participants.
  • Contests: Club contests are featured in each of the newsletters and only members of the club can win. Some of the great prizes given out are books, Seventh Generation Club t-shirts, hats, backpacks and various Canucks items. The winning entries are published in the newsletter and will soon be displayed on the club website.
  • Attendance Incentives: All students who have attended 95% or more of their classes throughout the school year will receive a prize. Students achieving 100% attendance will be entered into a draw to win autographed Canucks memorabilia.
To learn more about the club and how you can join, click here
December 7, 2015
ArtStarts in Schools provides innovative arts programs for young people, practical resources for teachers and artists, and leadership in advocacy for arts in education.

Founded in 1996, ArtStarts is a unique not-for-profit organization that brings professional artists into BC schools for performances, workshops, residencies and exhibitions.

ArtStarts envisions a society where the arts are regarded as an essential part of educating young people and a catalyst for creating innovative, engaged and contributing members of society. ArtStarts in Schools has a leadership role in transforming the way children and youth are engaged, in and through the arts, and in promoting the value of the arts in young lives. Click here to learn more about this program. 

ArtStarts and DASH have worked together to strengthen arts opportunities for children and youth through the BC After School Sport and Arts Initiative, a partnership for after school programming funded by the Province of BC and managed by DASH. Click here to learn more. 

November 17, 2015
WellAhead is a collaborative initiative aimed at integrating social and emotional wellbeing into school communities. Working in partnership with six school districts in British Columbia, SD 43, SD 48, SD 61, SD 67, SD 70  and SD 92, WellAhead is helping build local capacity to innovate within school communities. In Year 1, WellAhead is focusing on 'everyday practices that make a difference': sustainable, scaleable, approachers to advancing student wellbeing that don't require major resources to implement; that fit naturally within the role and skill set of educators and school partners; and that build upon existing assets and capabilities. 

WellAhead has been active in these six school districts since August 2015. All of the ideas on the WellAhead website have been co-designed by various members of the communities. To date, students, parents, teachers, school administrators and community partners have been consulted in each of the school districts. 

From now until November, 23rd, WellAhead is looking for your input, insights and feedback on the idea to help give us a sense of which of these ideas would be the best choice for districts to prototype, iterate, evaluate, and learn from starting in January 2016. You are encouraged to share your experience with these ideas. Have you tried them? What worked? What didn't? How could we make these ideas better? Your input and feedback directly informs WellAhead's processes to create change in the six school communities. Click here to share your input! 
November 16, 2015
School connectedness is about creating a school community where everyone feels safe, seen, heard, supported, significant and cared for (BC School Based Mental Health Coalition, 2013). The focus in school connectedness is on building strong, positive relationships: among students, between students and school staff, and between school staff, families and the larger community.

In June 2014, four schools and two school districts were awarded school connectedness grants. The purpose of the school connectedness grants was to allow schools and districts from across BC to learn from and be inspired by the experience of these leaders in school connectedness. In the past year, the selected schools and school districts reflected on their school connectedness practice and developed a video to help share their experience with other school communities. Their inspiring videos are now available on the Healthy Schools BC website. Click here to watch the videos and learn more about school connectedness! 
November 16, 2015
From October 5th to 9th, DASH BC kicked off the first annual Healthy Schools Week by inviting school communities to take action to ensure all students are healthy, engaged, and connected at school. Each day during the week, we focused on a different aspect of healthy living by sharing resources, stories, grant opportunities, and more! 

Recap of the week with Tweets from each day:

Monday, Oct. 5th – We kicked off the week by addressing the benefits of healthy living in school communities.

@bctf: Celebrating #worldteachersday & great work of #BCed teachers! See how SD67 teachers reach students https://youtu.be/bSyodWC5cWc #HSW15 #bcedchat

Tuesday, Oct. 6th – Healthy School Network Grant applications opened! 

@ERASEbullyingBC: Today Healthy Schools Network grant opportunities become available http://ow.ly/SXqdU #HSW15 @DASHBC

Wednesday, Oct. 7th – We focused on the importance of physical activity and the many benefits of active transportation. Read about School District 44’s active transportation efforts and partnerships in the Healthy Schools Stories section of this newsletter.  

@DASHBC: There are so many benefits of walking to school! @travelsmart #HSW15 #WalkToSchoolDay 

Thursday, Oct. 8th – New Key Focus Areas section went up on the Healthy Schools BC website, to include School Connectedness and Food Literacy!

@WeatherbyKim: Looking 4 school connectedness tips? Make ur 1st stop Resources & Stories @ http://healthyschoolsbc.ca/key-focus-areas/school-connectedness/#bcedchat #HSW15

Friday, Oct. 9th – To celebrate World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10th, Friday’s focus was positive mental health. 

@DASHBC: Looking for mental health resources? @KeltyCentre has resources for health professionals, educators & youth! http://ow.ly/TbVb0  #HSW15

Throughout the week, we also showcased a different school connectedness grantee video each day as part of a School Connectedness Film Festival. Watch all of the videos here

Thank you to everyone that participated in Healthy Schools Week, which included schools, PAC members, health professionals, and community organizations. We hope that the week inspired school communities to join the healthy schools movement by connecting with others in your community, accessing resources and programs, reading stories and applying for grants. 

Congratulations to the #HSW15 social media contest grand prize winner @Kulvir, look for her featured article in the December edition of the Healthy Schools BC newsletter! 

We look forward to next year’s Healthy Schools Week!



November 16, 2015
We all know the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”, but are we making the most of what our village has to offer? How might our village participate in fostering connectedness in our classrooms and schools?  

In reflecting on school connectedness practices in SD 67, teacher Jeff Fitton said that, “In addition to providing opportunities for the students to use their strengths and passions, we found that facilitating a connection with an adult at school who shares their passion can make a real difference for some students.”  (Learn more here.) By enlisting the help of your community, you can provide more opportunities for the meaningful student-adult relationships that are the backbone of school connectedness. After all, not every school has a staff member who shares your student’s passion for YouTube, cooking, robotics or weaving.

One-on-one relationships are not the only way your community can help you foster school connectedness. While it may take time and effort to put things in place, building connections to your community can have a lasting effect for your students and your school. Here are some ideas to consider.
  • Invite the neighbourhood in. Actively inviting your neighbourhood and community to school events can open the door to unexpected partnerships and supports. Perhaps that person who lives around the corner could be the perfect person to mentor a student you’re concerned about.
  • Move beyond the obvious. Visiting a seniors’ home is worthwhile. Having seniors or other community members cook with your students or teach them how to knit provides a richer bonding experience – particularly if the relationships are sustained over time. 
  • Aboriginal elders and cultural organizations can foster a sense of belonging in students and their families by helping to explore diversity and their cultural heritage. See how bringing Aboriginal culture into the school  has enriched Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary in SD 82.
  • Contact your local government to explore opportunities to build connections between your school and the larger community. Many local governments are working on connectedness.
  • Approach your local service club to see how they would like to be involved in your school. Simple funding can be helpful, but building real connections between club members and students can be meaningful for everyone. Students benefit from relationships with caring adults, and club members become invested in the success of the school and its students.
  • Invite a local technology company or community college to lead an Hour of Code event at your school. Don’t think of it as a one-off event; think of it as the beginning of an ongoing relationship between your students and the company’s employees and/or community college students.
  • Build a school garden. Ask your local garden centre or gardening club to mentor students as they build it. A School Food Literacy grant could provide some of the start-up costs.
  • Work with your local YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, neighbourhood house or other community organization to offer after-school programs in your school. While it may take time and effort to get in programs in place, ASSAI schools have found it to be worth the challenge, especially as it helps them build connections with harder-to-reach students. 
  • Bring a local artist into your classroom or school to help students explore their emotions and their creativity.  An Artists in the Classroom Grant  could provide funding to help grow your idea.


November 16, 2015
On the North Shore, there is a united effort to increase the use active transportation. In January 2015, HASTe facilitated a workshop on Active and Safe Routes to School for stakeholders from all 3 municipalities; City of North Vancouver, North Vancouver District and West Vancouver District. The City of North Vancouver is funding the HASTe’s School Travel Planning program for all their schools, West Vancouver District works closely with the key stakeholders at the school board and enforcement to keep school zones safe and along with the North Vancouver District are taking advantage of a Heart & Stroke grant funded in kind by the Bullitt Foundation to launch Walking to Schools Programs.

This year, 12 North Vancouver schools from School District 44 participated in DASH BC’s Walk and Wheel to School Week on October 5th to 9th, up from four schools in 2014. Three of these schools took the event to a full on extravaganza; Ridgeway, Larson and Montroyal. Each day the schools had music, skipping, hula hooping, street hockey and special guests; including the Fire Department, RCMP, Elmer the Safety Elephant, the Mayors, Councillors, School Board Trustees, City employees, Parks Commission staff, and instructors from North Vancouver Recreation Commission putting on fitness classes before school. These fun events help families see that they CAN wake up earlier and walk or cycle to school. They have the students requesting to walk or cycle to be able to get prizes for using active transportation. Participating in the 5 day event, starts the process of making active transportation a habit. STUDENTS are the key; today’s parents want to make their kids happy. Having students wanting to walk or cycle, loving the feeling of independence, self-confidence, the chance to socialize and the improvement in their ability to concentrate in school eases the reluctance of the parents.

Children are not just our future, they are our present. They very influential in making walk and cycling the “Cool Routes” to school, hence through our Youth Engagements Program we provide students in Grade 5 to 7 the information about how their actions impact their health, mind and their world.  They then share their knowledge with their peers during an assembly, lead the Walk & Wheel Week events and walk to school programs. They become the leaders; leading by example, becoming a role model, and each year new Grade 5 students join the team to keep the roaster full.

The first week of school with the assistance of ICBC, we held a Safety Blitz to educate parents about safe driving and how to teach their children to be safe pedestrians and cyclists. The understanding that law enforcement, bylaw officers, school administration and municipal employees are all are focused on safe school zones ease parents concern about safety while understanding they are part of the solution.

Lastly, the schools and school board’s back to school communication this year focused their messaging on making activate transportation the primary mode of travel, before where to park or how to drop off students. This subliminal messaging will change the behaviours of new families and hopefully shift the current chauffeuring trend.

We on the North Shore hope that working together will create healthy, active and safe schools.


November 16, 2015
In collaboration with a dynamic team of certified teachers, Be the Change Earth Alliance (BTCEA) has co-created middle and secondary school curriculum materials called SLS: Student Leadership in Sustainability. This inquiry-based program helps students develop core competencies of critical/creative thinking, communication skills, and personal/social responsibility regarding 21st century global sustainability issues. This program also supports students to be engaged in their health and the health of those around them, including the planet to address healthy students, healthy community, and healthy planet.

SLS helps students connect global issues to local behaviours and ways to participate in positive change, as well as support students in be engaged in their own health and the health of their community and planet.  The curriculum materials focus on five ‘healthy person – healthy planet’ values including Health, Conscious Consumption, Conservation, Connection & Justice with 44 unique “Action Packs” that lead students through a structured inquiry into local/global sustainability issues.  

Student Action Pack’s include:
  • Learning Goals that are directly connected to BC Ministry of Education’s Core Competencies
  • An online ‘Library of Links’ for students to answer key questions that is updated semi-annually
  • Experiential local activities
  • Critical thinking questions that address stakeholders and a holistic cost and benefits analysis
  • A list of ways students can take action 
  • A presentation outline that aligns with the goals 
  • Questions about current events listed on the website
  • Materials that connect students to alternative career paths and educational pathways 
Contact BTCEA directly for more info: sls@bethechangeearthalliance.org or 604-269-9874.

November 16, 2015
2015 is Canada’s “Year of Sport” and a great way to celebrate is to get your school involved in RBC’s Sports Day in Canada! This national celebration of sport is an opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate the power of sport and build community and school spirit! 

Presented by ParticipACTION, CBC and True Sport and supported in BC by Healthy Families BC, RBC Sports Day in Canada will be held on November 21st, 2015 in communities across the country.

From November 16th-21st, schools across Canada will host local events that showcase their school’s character. Join hundreds by celebrating with a sports day or by wearing your school colours or favourite team jersey on Jersey Day, November 20th!  Available free resources include a school event manual and promotional tools (posters, social media kit, and media kit). For more information, and to register your school’s participation, visit sportsday.cbc.ca/howtogetinvolved.

November 5, 2015

The Inaugural Annual

Physical Activity and Health Summit
Friday Nov. 20, 2015
8am to 4:30 pmPrince George Civic Centre
Room 208

How healthy are we?
What is the role of physical activity and inactivity?
Canada's Physical Activity Report Card: D minus - What does this mean?
A Provincial Strategy for Physical Activity
What is Physical Literacy and its role across the life course? 
What does Active and Safe Transportation to School look like?
Active Outdoor Play – Risk versus Health Enhancement

What:  Presentations will cover current knowledge and promising practices, and workshops will engage in translating knowledge and opportunities for northern contexts.

Who should attend:  Stakeholders in physical activity and health, School district and Educators, Health services, Municipal planners, Community Rec, Not for profit, Parents, Community leaders - all who have an interest in enabling health enhancing physical activity in any age group or setting in communities.

Poster/Display Gallery:  Do you have an innovative, successful or promising school, municipal or community physical activity project to share?  
Please submit your proposal by November 5th to:  executivedirectorwinbc@gmail.com

We will endeavor to provide space to all contributors, but if there are more proposals than space, selections will be made that provide a variety of approaches.  Responses to poster proposals will be sent November 8th.

Registration fee:  $55.00 per person includes lunch and nutrition breaks
A limited number of bursaries are available to ensure that cost is not a barrier to participation.  Detailed program will be available and distributed on November 6th. 

Register at:    

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/physical-activity-and-health-summit-tickets-19143040349
You will need to type or cut and paste the above link into your browser.

For alternative payment options and bursary inquiries please contact the Event Organizers at: executivedirectorwinbc@gmail.com 

                                  

October 13, 2015
The Healthy Schools BC (HSBC) Year Two Evaluation Progress Report has been completed, and is available online. This report showcases progress of the HSBC initiative across the four key action areas (cross-sector partnerships, coordination of healthy living programs and schools, capacity building and student engagement & leadership), and knowledge and application of the Comprehensive School Health approach among key stakeholders. Thank you again to those members of the committee who facilitated dissemination of the surveys to educators and school administrators that helped to inform the evaluation of this initiative.

October 13, 2015
Dr. Shelina Babul at the University of British Columbia, Department of Paediatrics is leading an evaluation of the new On-line Concussion Awareness Training Toolkit for School Professionals (CATT School Professionals). CATT provides up-to-date education, tools and resources to effectively recognize, respond and help support a student’s return to school following a concussion. This research study seeks to evaluate this new resource.

The study consist of two on-line surveys, as well as access to CATT School Professionals, with a total time commitment of approximately 40-60 minutes (10 min pre-survey, 20-40 min Toolkit, 10 min post-survey). Your participation in this study is voluntary. All participants who complete the study will be entered into a draw for an iPad Mini. Please follow this link to the FluidSurveys for the Online Consent Form & Registration Page and the Pre Intervention Survey. If you have any questions about this study please contact the project co-ordinator Kate Turcotte at kturcotte@cw.bc.ca.
October 1, 2015
It`s been an exciting year since the school connectedness grants were awarded. We’ve been inspired by the school connectedness work in many BC schools and districts, we`ve developed new professional relationships, and we`ve learned so much – about school connectedness, about working collaboratively, and about the value of relationships. 

Later this week, as part of Healthy Schools Week, we’re releasing an expanded website with lots of school connectedness resources as well as the school connectedness videos. These videos were conceived and developed by the grantee schools/districts and provide a window into some of the strong and diverse approaches to school connectedness across our province.  The website resources reflect what you – educators, administrators, counsellors and health partners – told us you wanted to see.

Last May, the school connectedness project team and grantees met to reflect on what we had learned together and individually. The school connectedness grants have provided a rich and meaningful learning opportunity for all of us.  This quote captures the spirit of our work together.

I come to you humbly not to tell you what to do on your journey
but to share with you what I have learned on mine.
 Here are our key learnings:

Invest in relationships 
  • With students, parents, colleagues and the community; the trust you build will enrich your work and life as well as theirs. We’re more able to stretch ourselves when we know that others have our back.
  • Finding colleagues to work with on school connectedness can help deepen and expand your practice. They can act as a sounding board, a cheerleader, an inquiry partner and be another pair of hands.
 We are all learners  
  • This, our project mantra, has contributed to building a safe space for exploring challenges as well as successes. It has kept us curious, flexible and in a growth mindset.
  • This perspective can help set the stage to positively change relationships with students, peers and families.
  • Seeing more and more new school connectedness research reminds us that we are in a time of great learning and that we all have things to learn and things to contribute.
The social nature of learning goes hand in hand with mental wellbeing
  • School connectedness and learning are linked, mutually reinforcing ideas, not competing ones. The school connectedness grantees consistently confirmed this, as you will see in their videos.
  • Connectedness is attuned to motivation, engagement and the key principles of learning.
  • Thoughtful construction of learning environments fosters connections across activities inside and outside of the school building.
Fostering school connectedness and wellbeing is an ongoing process 
  • Working on school connectedness doesn’t have to be a massive project, nor does it have to be done all at once. Observe what is going well, try some new things, find some success and build on it.
  • This work is never done. It’s not a rote activity or a project to be completed, so make manageable changes that you can maintain for the long-term.
  • Think about how you might make your school/class meet the needs of students, not how students can fit into the system.
Draw on research, data and your own experience
  • Reflect on research and information about strong practice as you consider how to foster connectedness in your environment.
  • There is not just one way to address school connectedness. Your knowledge of your students and the school/district will help you find good approaches for your situation.
  • Use data available (Satisfaction Survey, Climate Survey, MDI, etc.) to help hone in on areas for action. For example, Centennial Secondary noticed that their new Canadian and foreign students were feeling less connected, and took action to try and change that.
Enjoy the videos and the expanded website. If you have feedback, or would like additional information, contact schoolconnectedness@dashbc.ca.

October 1, 2015
The Indian Residential Schools and Reconciliation Teacher Resource Guides, developed by the First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) and the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), were inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation that departments of education develop age-appropriate educational materials about residential schools for use in public education.

These unique, BC-specific, resources for Grades 5, 10, 11 and 12 use age-appropriate literature, archival resources and videos to increase students’ understanding of the historical context of residential schools and to develop students’ awareness about the reconciliation process as a way to move us all forward. The materials are also designed to engage young people to take part in the journey of reconciliation.

Importantly, these resources are not just for First Nations students, but are intended for students of all cultural backgrounds.

The instructional materials include a wealth of lesson plans, suggestions for student activities, reproducible blackline masters, videos and archival materials. The units and lessons support the BC Ministry of Education curriculum learning standards. In addition, due to the nature of the subject matter, the resources contain suggestions for how to deal sensitively with the topic of residential schools.

The development of these resource guides included input from an advisory committee of FNESC, FNSA, Ministry of Education, and BC Teachers’ Federation representatives, as well as over 30 pilot schools. Hear stories from some of the pilot school participants here.

FNSA and FNESC would like to recognize the invaluable role that the Vancouver Foundation has played in its support of this project.

The Grade 5, 10 and 11/12 resources are available free online.  To enquire about hard copies, please visit www.fnesc.ca/ordering/

October 1, 2015
Recent research identifies several recommendations a nutrition education program must meet in order to make an impact on students’ choices. The BC Dairy Association’s nutrition education programs meet these recommendations. To learn how to teach these nutrition programs, simply book a workshop. The workshop will provide you with all the necessary resources and knowledge to teach the program in your classroom the very next day!

Key recommendations from nutrition education research state that the best nutrition education(1):
  • focuses on specific behaviours rather than just general knowledge;
  • considers the multiple factors that influence food choices, such as food availability, food accessibility and the social environment;
  • engages parents through sharing of the program’s key messages and tips to support their child in adopting healthier habits (particularly important for elementary school children); 
  • allows students to self-assess so they can plan for improvements;
  • is taught intensively (in multiple sessions) and sequentially over a sufficient period of time; and
  • is tailored to the students’ developmental stage and includes grade appropriate learning activities. 
Why teach one of the BC Dairy Association’s nutrition education programs*?

They meet all of these recommendations:
  • They consist of six to ten lessons designed to be taught sequentially over three to four weeks with extension activities for follow-up and review throughout the school year.
  • They guide students through a self-assessment process to identify areas for improvement and develop grade-appropriate specific plans for making changes.
  • They help students problem-solve when implementing plans: students identify factors that may prevent them from changing their behaviour and brainstorm strategies for overcoming these challenges.
  • They include a parent communication piece (letter or guide) that informs parents about the program’s objectives and provides strategies for supporting change at home. They also encourage students to share with their family key concepts and skills they learn throughout the program.
  • They lead to behaviour change, with students reporting results such as eating more balanced meals, choosing healthier snacks and making plans to meet Canada’s Food Guide recommendations for their age.  
As for teaching strategies and approaches, a recently published systematic review2 reported that enhanced curriculum approaches (such as specialty nutrition education programs), cross-curricular approaches, parental involvement and experiential learning were the top four strategies shown to promote healthy eating. Experiential learning was associated with the largest effect on positive changes such as increasing fruit and vegetable consumption or preference(2). BCDA programs link to many BC curriculum areas and encourage experiential learning.

Would you like to use one of BC Dairy’s nutrition education programs*? Book a workshop at your school to learn about a nutrition program. The workshops help you to get prepared to teach the nutrition program as soon as the next day in your classroom! Help your students start this school year right!
 

*Programs are only available to teachers who attend a workshop. Workshops are free. Programs can be purchased at a one-time cost of $15 to $20. Student materials and program updates are then re-supplied annually free of charge. 

References
  1. Roseman MG, Riddell MC, Haynes JN. (2011). A content analysis of kindergarten-12th grade school-based nutrition interventions: taking advantage of past learning. Journal of Nutrition Education Behavior. 43(1):2-18.  
  2. Dudley DA, Cotton WG, Peralta LR. (2015). Teaching approaches and strategies that promote healthy eating in primary school children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavior of Nutrition and Physical Activity. 12:28. 

October 1, 2015
Mark your calendars, Farm to School Month Canada kicks off in October!  Farm to School Month is a celebration of all that is happening to get more healthy, local and sustainable foods into the minds and onto the plates of students in Canada.  F2SBC is supporting this national campaign and we encourage schools to participate. Farm to School Month is all about highlighting and celebrating successes, and encouraging new Farm to School activities.
 
Fun ways to engage your school in Farm to School month include:
  • Heading to a local farm for a field trip
  • Preparing a special local meal with students
  • Celebrating in the cafeteria with a special local meal plan for the month
  • Kicking things off in the classroom with a special guest or project
  • Celebrating in the garden, or even online 
We’d love to hear about your festivities and what you plan to do. If you need inspiration, check out the amazing gallery from last year, posted on Farm to Cafeteria’s website here

Your Time to Shine
While running Farm to School Month activities, why not connect with your local media for some coverage? Check out farmtoschoolbc.ca for a sample press release to help you craft your pitch.
 
Great Prizes This Year
This year, Farm to Cafeteria Canada invites students to submit artwork, poetry or a recipe, for a chance to win a $2000 school garden grant or other great prizes.
 
To register your school, download the registration form here.

October 1, 2015
October is Health Literacy Month. Health literacy is the ability to access, understand, evaluate and communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a variety of settings across a lifetime. Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information. The theme for Health Literacy Month 2015 is “Be a Health Literacy Hero.” It’s about taking action and finding ways to improve health communication. Health Literacy Heroes are individuals, teams, or organizations who not only identify health literacy problems but also act to solve them.

There are many ways to be a health literacy hero. For example, in past years, health literacy heroes have raised awareness of why health literacy matters, have created materials that are easy to read, understand and use, and have partnered with communities to advance health literacy. Read more about these examples here

To learn more about health literacy, read about the various levels of the Health Literacy Framework below. This framework is supported by the Healthy Living Performance Standards and aligns with the comprehensive school health approach.

The Health Literacy Framework includes:
  • Functional health literacy: basic communication of health information, involving accessing, understanding and evaluating information about health 
  • Interactive health literacy: development of personal skills regarding health issues, involving decision-making, goal-setting and practices to enhance health 
  • Critical health literacy: respecting different cultural, family and religious beliefs in respect to health, and advocating for personal, family and community change that enhances health
For example, a student that is functionally health literate would understand that smoking is bad for them. A student that is interactively health literate would understand that smoking is addictive, and that there are complex factors at play that impact people’s ability to quit.  Finally, a student that is critically health literate might create a campaign or club at school that acknowledges the challenges in quitting smoking, but supports students to do so.  

Read more about health literacy here

October 1, 2015
We are excited to kick off this school year with the first annual Healthy Schools Week! From October 5th – 9th, 2015, we will be celebrating Healthy Schools Week with HSN Grants, Walk and Wheel to School, Healthy Schools BC resources and World Mental Health Day! 

Celebrate throughout the week:
  • Monday, Oct. 5th - Kick-off day! Host an event, access resources, connect with others in the school community or develop your healthy schools plan
  • Tuesday, Oct. 6th - HSN Grants are live
  • Wednesday, Oct. 7th - Walk and Wheel to School (International Walk to School Day)
  • Thursday, Oct. 8th - Learn more about school connectedness and food literacy
  • Friday, Oct. 9th - Share resources and stories to promote World Mental Health day, which takes place October 10th
  • A week-long school connectedness film festival highlighting some of the great work in BC schools and districts
We encourage you to join the kick-off and celebration by hosting an event at your school; accessing resources; connecting with colleagues, partners and students to develop a healthy schools plan for the year; and raising awareness of the importance of healthy schools. 

How can you join DASH in the celebration?

Join us in celebrating Healthy Schools Week by:
  • Sharing pictures of your students being active or engaging in healthy living activities 
  • Reviewing the resources, HSN Grants and stories that we share
  • Watch a video from the School Connectedness Film Festival with a colleague
  • Taking part in Walk and Wheel to School on International Walk to School Day, October 7th, 2015 
  • Following us on our social media channels and sharing our posts and tweets
  • Talking to your students and colleagues about ideas for healthy school initiatives for the year and making a plan
Social Media Contest – #HSW15

For every re-tweet, share, or use of our hashtag #HSW15 on social media, you will be entered into a daily draw for fun prizes as well as the grand prize draw to be featured in an upcoming edition of the Healthy Schools BC Newsletter and receive free registration to our 2016 Healthy Schools Leadership Symposium

Questions about Healthy Schools Week? Contact us at info@dashbc.ca

October 1, 2015
The Healthy Schools Network (HSN) is an open learning community of educators, students, and community members across the province, who are working together to optimize health and learning, meet healthy living goals, and improve students’ overall wellbeing. HSN participants lead sustainable project-based learning initiatives in their school communities, and share their stories to support and inspire others.

There are two HSN Grants available this year:
  • Activity Grant ($500)
  • Inquiry Grant ($750)
The HSN Grants are intended to provide financial support for educators and school community members as they transform the way in which they address health living in their classroom and across all aspects of school environment.  The HSN Grants assist school communities to ensure all students are healthy, engaged and connected in a safe, supported, caring and strong learning environment, and to realize and practice the concept that healthy students are better learners. The grants aim to provide funding as a catalyst and to support healthy living initiatives that are relevant and meaningful to each applicant’s unique school context.

Read more about these grants here. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis from October 6th, 2015 until March 1st, 2016; however, grant funding often runs out before the closing date, so don’t wait to apply! 

If you applied for an HSN Grant last school year, we encourage you to apply again this year! Just remember that, in order to apply for a grant, you must post your year-end story on the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map. If you need any support in sharing your story, please contact us at hsn@dashbc.ca

If you have any questions about the HSN or the available grants, please contact Kari at 604-681-0600, ext. 240 or hsn@dashbc.ca
September 10, 2015
The start of the school year brims with possibilities and exciting challenges -  what can we accomplish? How can we support the wellbeing and learning of the children and youth in our care? This sense of optimism was in abundance at the recent Promoting Mental Wellness in BC School Communities Summer Institute, where two topics resonated with the 250 educators, administrators, counsellors, youth workers, public health professionals, students and families attending:
  • Everyday practices:  The actions and interactions that take place day-to-day in our schools; and 
  • Self-care and staff wellbeing:  Student wellbeing starts with the wellbeing of the adults in the schools. 
Everyday Practices
There was much discussion about the “little things” that make a big difference in the mental wellbeing of students. Sometime these practices are intentional; sometimes they are just part of what we do as humans.  Here are some of the everyday practices that have been successful in other schools.

Greetings
Some schools have all staff welcoming their students at the door every morning. In others, principals and staff focus on knowing and greeting every student by name. Yet other schools make a point of warmly greeting latecomers, ensuring that the student knows that the staff is glad – and not in a sarcastic way – that the student is there.

Welcoming school /classroom environments
Some schools have replaced the usual trophies and awards at the entrance with a gratitude tree, bucket filling or other interactive display focused on kindness. These can have different themes for the tree/bucket by month or even by week.

Schools also found that giving students a say in decorating the classroom and/or developing classroom expectations contributes to their school connectedness. It’s not too late to try this in your classroom. Just use the existing classroom rules/setup as the starting point for their input.

Start-of-day routines
Many people talked about how a start-of-day routine could positively change the dynamics of a class. Recommended routines included:
  • Mindfulness moment 
  • Morning check-in to see how everyone is doing (thumbs up/neutral/thumbs down) 
  • Allowing teachers to assign a buddy or keep an eye on students who may need additional support
  • A “soft launch” to the day allowing time to make connections and informally check in
Agenda/plan for the day
Older students in particular valued the sharing of class agenda in advance.  Allowing students to prepare for, and have a say in, what the day or week will look like is an important step in their development.

Self-care and Staff Wellness: Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First
As one Summer Institute participant said, “We know from the safety card on airplanes that adults need to take care of themselves before they can help a child”. When our own mental wellbeing needs are met, we can be our “best self” — caring, patient, passionate and perceptive — and effectively support the wellbeing of the children and youth in our care. Here are some tips for maintaining your mental wellbeing so you can be at your best for the entire year.

Participate in student wellbeing activities
Activities that support the mental wellbeing of students work for adults too. So, don’t be tempted to make “To Do” lists in your head while your students are practicing mindful breathing. Participate fully, and reap the rewards.

Connect with others
Just as our students need strong connections to thrive, we need the positive support that we get from authentic relationships with fellow staff members. Our colleagues can provide encouragement on a tough day, and share the joy of our breakthroughs. To get started, at the next staff meeting propose adopting an old African tradition — that all staff greet each other every day.

Honour your breaks
Avoid the temptation to work through lunch. Instead, do something positive to recharge your batteries.  Enjoy a healthy lunch and then go for a walk and/or have a great conversation with a colleague. Whatever you do, make sure it’s enjoyable and refreshing.

Care for yourself
Get enough sleep. Eat well. Stay active. Make time to play with family and friends. Be kind to yourself.  All of the common-sense advice you give to your students and family applies to you too! 

More tips:

September 10, 2015
Terry Fox often said that it was the youth of Canada who would carry forth his efforts and work towards a world without cancer. Help make his vision a reality by getting your students involved in Terry Fox National School Run Day on September 30th, 2015!  You can register your school’s event with the Terry Fox Foundation here

The Terry Fox Foundation website is full of tools and resources to support the Terry Fox Run at your school. Students can make personalized fundraising pages to raise pledges online, and teachers can register their school, order materials, as well as download lesson plans. Check it out here!

If your school is registered in the run, you can take it a step farther by taking the Terry Fox Challenge!  Issue a challenge to your students, and if the objective is met, then a fun promise is kept! This is a great way to raise more funds, and bring the school community together in a fun atmosphere.  You can register for the Terry Fox Challenge here.

“Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.” 
                                                                                                                                                         - Terry Fox
Learn more at www.terryfox.org.

September 10, 2015
The Healthy Schools BC website is a fantastic resource to help you support the health and wellbeing of your students. It contains three main areas of support: 
 
Programs
Under the Programs and Supports tab, you’ll find hundreds of healthy school related programs you can use in your classroom.  Looking to start a school garden?  How about anti-bullying and positive mental health resources? Maybe even healthy vending machine guidelines?  Searching for what you need is made easy by keyword and search options.

Resources
The Healthy Schools BC Resources page offers custom-made resources designed to support multiple aspects of health and wellness promotion in BC classrooms and school communities. Check out the Healthy Schools BC Newsletter archives, apply for a Healthy Living Grant, and use the Resource Guide for Teaching and Learning to help make your ideas become reality. 

Stories
Have you ever wondered what healthy activities are happening in BC schools? Maybe even in your own neighborhood? The Healthy Schools Stories Map is a collection of healthy stories from schools around the province brought together in an interactive map.  Have a story to share?  It’s as easy as becoming a member of the site.  Sign up here to get started and to get inspired.

Also, we will be updating the website throughout September. Keep an eye out for new sections on Food Literacy and School Connectedness, and check out the Healthy Living Grants page for new information!
September 10, 2015
Each year, BC Dairy Association (BCDA) awards Mini Food Grants to teachers using one of the BC Dairy nutrition education programs. The grant is intended to support purchases of ingredients for use in the classroom. In the 2014-15 school year, BCDA awarded a record 150 grants to teachers across BC!

Applications for 2015-16 are now open. Teachers instructing at any grade level (K–12) can apply, as long as they are teaching one of the BCDA nutrition education programs. The deadline to apply this year is September 30th, 2015. Check out the BCDA website for information, frequently asked questions, and the grant application form. 

September 9, 2015

The 9th annual Walk and Wheel to School event is coming up fast! It will take place during the week of October 5th-9th, 2015. 

Some of the benefits of a Walk and Wheel to School event at your school include:

  • Celebrating active transportation and encouraging daily physical activity
  • Promoting opportunities to practice safe walking and biking skills and identifying safe routes to school
  • Enhancing the connection between students, parents, schools, and communities in a fun and interactive way
  • Reducing morning school traffic and vehicle emissions

Why should you register your school? You’ll receive:

  • Resources and supports you know and love, such as posters and stickers
  • More classroom supports to help with planning and activities
  • Support making community partnerships
  • Information on how to start year-round walk to school events

Register online here to receive your free Walk and Wheel package, full of exciting posters, stickers, and practical planning resources to help you organize the best event of the year! 

Whether this is your first time signing up, or you want to make this year’s event even bigger and better, DASH BC is here to help! Please contact DASH BC here  for more information. 

 

August 6, 2015
On November 16 and 17, 2015 Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) will host a Healthy School Communities National Forum in Ottawa/Gatineau. This national event will bring together professionals from the health, education, active living and research sector to connect with, celebrate, and learn from school communities working collaboratively to make healthy schools a priority goal of Canadian schools.

The Experience
The 2015 Healthy School Communities National Forum will provide delegates with the tools, skills, network, and motivation to successfully implement comprehensive school health approaches in schools or school jurisdictions. Through keynotes, plenaries and breakout sessions, delegates will discover strategies for fostering healthy school communities, hear and share stories of success, better understand the evidence in support of healthy school community approaches, and be motivated to affect positive change in the lives of students, school staff, parents and other community members. 

Value of Healthy School Community approaches
A healthy school community increases student well-being and learning by promoting a culture of wellness for all members of the community. Students, teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and community partners all have a role to play in creating an environment that supports healthy choices among its members. A whole-child approach recognizes the relationship between health and learning and when students are healthy, learning outcomes are positively affected.

Registration is now open.

Join us November 16 and 17, 2015 to make a positive change in your school community. Find out more here!

July 27, 2015
The BC Sport Conference is a leadership event designed specifically for coaches, to learn new perspectives on some of the most pressing and personal challenges we come across in our coaching practice.
  • Learn about fostering leadership and growth within your athletes and yourself
  • Hear perspectives on how to mentor athletes’ personal development
  • Discover easy to implement mental training techniques
  • Meet coaches from across BC who share your love of sport
  • Earn 3 NCCP professional development credits
  • Lunch and are refreshments included
The conference will be held at the Michael J. Fox Theatre in Burnaby, BC on Saturday, January 16, 2016.

Are you ready to become the best coach you can be? Register now.
June 25, 2015

Dr Shelina Babul at the University of British Columbia's Department of Pediatrics is leading an evaluation of the new online Concussion Awareness Training Toolkit for School Professionals (CATT School Professionals). CATT provides up-to-date education, tools and resources to effectively recognize, respond and help support a student’s return to school following a concussion. This research study seeks to evaluate this new resource.

The study consists of two online surveys, as well as access to CATT School Professionals, with a total time commitment of approximately 40-60 minutes (10 min pre-survey, 20-40 min Toolkit, 10 min post-survey). Your participation in this study is voluntary.

All participants who complete the study will be entered into a draw for an iPad Mini!

Please follow this link to the survey.

If you have any questions about this study, please contact the project co-ordinator Kate Turcotte at kturcotte@cw.bc.ca

Thank you very much! We value your feedback.

June 10, 2015

The 2015 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth stresses that the biggest risk is keeping kids indoors.

The ParticipACTION Report Card (formerly the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card) provides a comprehensive assessment of the current state of physical activity for children and youth in Canada. For the first time, the Report Card takes a stand on play in nature and the outdoors—with its risks—and includes a Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play developed by the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (HALO-CHEO), ParticipACTION, and a group of 12 other organizations.

The following materials are available on the ParticipACTION  website:

  • A Highlight Report which summarizes the 2015 cover story, indicators and grades.
  • A Full Report which includes background on the report's methodology and process, in-depth analyses, summaries of key research, charts and figures and complete references.
  • Communication tools to support the dissemination of the Report Card findings in presentations, social media, on websites and in newsletters.
Read the report card here... and let's get kids outside!


June 1, 2015
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation recently announced a new initiative to support child and youth wellbeing in the K-12 school setting. WellAhead is not a new program or organization; rather, it is a process that brings together people from multiple perspectives – educators, students and parents, alongside policy-makers, academics, practitioners and community partners – to collectively advance integrated approaches to social-emotional wellbeing in schools. BC will be the first province to participate in WellAhead with activities starting in the new school year. 

WellAhead is seeking BC school districts that have a passion at the board, school and community level to advance students’ social-emotional wellbeing. They are looking for communities that want to move beyond traditional silos and see value in drawing upon multiple perspectives to surface ideas. Ideal pilot districts will be interested in learning about what strategies are most effective and why, and using this to inform their work.  Learn more here.

Click here for more information on what it means to be a Pilot District.  Informational webinars are also being held at several different times to provide more information:
Wednesday, May 27th from 4-5pm PST
Monday, June 1st from 12-1pm PST (new date)
Wednesday, June 3rd from 7:30-8:30am PST
Thursday, June 4th from 3-4pm PST
Tuesday, June 9th from 6-7pm PST

Click here to sign up for a webinar.

In addition, WellAhead will be launched at the Kelty Mental Health Summer Institute 2015: Promoting Mental Wellness in BC School Communities on August 20-21. As a gathering of educators, community partners, parents and youth, this event is a great opportunity to both learn about wellbeing in schools and directly contribute to the development of solutions. Click here to learn more or register for this event.
May 27, 2015
The 60 Minute Kids Club empowers kids, parents, teachers, coaches and communities to be physically literate. It's about giving elementary school aged children the opportunities, competence and confidence to succeed to live a happy, healthy, long life. 

So JOIN the 60 Minute Kids Club program for your 2015-2016 school year! Spots are limited, and the deadline is June 30th, 2015

You can join as an entire school or as one class. It is free and flexible, and as  Val Gordon (two year 60MKC Champion) says, "it supports curriculum outcomes perfectly. It leads to good discussions around health, and the goal setting and action plan is great!" 

Become a Champion in activating kids' fundamental movement skills! Your students can measure their physical literacy improvements with tools such as the healthy habit tracker and the fundamental movement skills tracker. These tools can teach, assess and instruct fundamental movement skills that can continue to be tracked throughout the elementary school years. 

We look forward to seeing you as a 60MKC school soon!
May 27, 2015

Enhance your professional development this summer! Take a look at these summer institutes, workshops and conferences:

UBC & BC AITC  Integrating Agricultural Themes Across the Curriculum
July 20-24. Register before June 8.

UBC 2015 Home Economics Summer Institute
July 13-17. Register before June 8.

UBCO Faculty of Education Summer Institute: Transformative Teaching and Learning
July 6-10, July 13-17, July 20-24, July 27-31, Aug. 3-7, Aug. 10-14. Registration open.

SFU 2015 Summer Institute: Equity and Excellence
July 10-11. No registration required.

Canadian Wildlife Federation - BC Summer Institute 2015
July 31-Aug. 9. Registration open.

Kelty Mental Health Summer Institute: Promoting Mental Wellness in BC School Communities
Aug. 20-21. Registration open.

SD 23 Early Childhood Education Summer Institute
Aug. 24. Register before August 20.

Full list of UBC Summer Institutes and Workshops.

BC Teachers’ Federation Professional Development Calendar
May 27, 2015

On May 4th and 5th, DASH and Healthy Schools BC welcomed over 140 healthy school partners from across the province (and the country!) to our 9th annual Healthy Schools Leadership Symposium in Richmond, BC. This year’s event focused on topics such as the importance of school connectedness; using food literacy and food systems to foster healthier school communities; scaling our work up, out, and deep through the lens of social innovation; and the incredible impact that cross-sector collaboration can have on the health and learning outcomes of students in a variety of communities across the province.

The Symposium also featured a wide range of presentations from healthy school organizations and partners, including:

This year’s Symposium also featured an engaging poster session that showcased creative projects from schools across the province, including celebrating indigenous culture, exploring social-emotional wellbeing by teaching students to care for animals, and learning about the connections between physical literacy and the arts, among many others.

Take a minute to check out our Symposium Experience Video! As well, DASH will be sharing more updates (including some videos of presentations from the Symposium) in the coming weeks—so stay tuned!
May 27, 2015

It can be challenging to get the professional learning that will enable you to strengthen school connectedness and confidently meet the diverse cognitive, emotional, and social needs of your students. Budgets, time, and conflicting priorities can all stand in the way.  And when you have finally taken that long-awaited workshop, how many times have the course materials sat in your reading basket unopened for months? We’ve all been there.

Maybe it’s time to take a fresh look at how to make the most of learning opportunities to build your school connectedness practice. Professional learning doesn’t only happen in workshops, lectures and symposiums. It can be as simple as finding a learning buddy or two, and embarking on a learning journey together.

This year, the six BC schools and districts who were awarded school connectedness grants have been reflecting on their school connectedness practice, and creating videos so other BC school communities can learn from their experiences. Although each of the grantee schools/districts is working independently, they have intentionally formed a learning community to explore their shared work together. They’ve had two in-person meetings and half a dozen conference calls so far. Through these meetings, they’ve seen how good it feels to connect – even over the phone – with kindred spirits who share a passion for school connectedness, and who are also striving to expand their practice. As they’ve gotten to know each other better, they’re able to bring new perspectives and ideas to each other’s work. Seeing how others are approaching their practice — the resources they use, and what has and hasn’t worked for them — has sparked their learning. They’ve encouraged and supported each other when the challenges seemed insurmountable, they’ve applauded each other’s successes, and they’ve learned so much. Each member now has colleagues that he/she can call on when advice, or a boost up, is needed.

 What the School Connectedness Group Has Learned

Participating in this learning community has been a rich and rewarding experience for each member. Here are some of the things they’ve learned:

  • Get off on the right foot

Deciding up-front what kind of community you want simplifies things. The group wanted a supportive, safe space for learning about school connectedness where members were encouraged to try new things. That made the focus clear –the discussions would be structured in a way that invited participation and discouraged judgment. 

  • Relationships matter

To foster an environment where members truly invest themselves in learning together, you need trusting relationships. Include activities at your first meeting that foster positive relationships. Thoughtful questions like, “On a personal level, what draws you to this work?” or “What role did school connectedness play in your school experience?” can open the door to deeper discussions and establish trust.

  • Technology is great but…

Using conference calls or web-based collaborative platforms can allow people in different schools/cities to participate in the same learning community. Nevertheless, while the geographically-dispersed school connectedness group has been able to maintain relationships through conference calls, it wouldn’t have formed such warm, trusting relationships without face-to-face meetings. Getting to know each other as individuals has been critical to building relationships where members can be more open and feel supported.

  • A little preparation goes a long way

The learning community most often met for one hour after school by phone. After a busy day, it can be difficult to transition to thoughtful discussion. Sharing a discussion topic and a reflective question or two before the meeting helped the group quickly dive into the conversation. Exploring an inquiry question for over a series of meetings would be another good approach.

  • A work in progress

In a successful learning community, members feel they get more out of the experience than they contribute. A quick check-in from time to time can ensure that everyone’s needs are met.

Being part of this learning community has been a rewarding experience for the grant recipients. It has fuelled their passion, while also expanding both their knowledge and their confidence in their ability to make a difference. The group’s diverse perspectives, knowledge, and life experience have helped each individual member see their own challenges in a different light, and identify strategies that they might not have seen on their own. Their work together on the school connectedness grants is coming to an end, but they’re looking to the future and how they might continue the journey.

What’s Next for You?

What does this mean for you? Your self-styled professional learning journey can start today.

  • Look around – Find others in your school, your district or your community who are interested in school connectedness or other positive mental health concepts. Talk about what you might do or learn together. 
  • Build on what you already know – Use your knowledge of student buddy programs, inquiry and other strong approaches to build your own learning community.
  • Pick a focus – Attend this year’s Promoting Mental Wellness in BC School Communities Summer Institute or another workshop with your “learning buddies” to get ideas. Hint: watch past Summer Institutes here.
  • Get support – Look for things that can support your learning, like an experienced school connectedness practitioner or funding to support collaboration time. HintBCTF’s Teacher Inquiry program provides grants that would be a good match for a school connectedness learning community.

Enjoy your school connectedness learning journey. Bon voyage!

May 27, 2015

Summer is coming, and we are all looking forward to spending lots of time outside! Refresh your sun and water smarts to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday.

Did you know? Swimming skills alone aren't always enough to prevent a water-related accidents. It is swimming abilities combined with safety knowledge which helps save lives. In particular, one of the most important safety skills recommended by the Canadian Red Cross is the active supervision of children around water. Always watch children attentively (no matter how well they can swim), whether they’re at the pool, the beach, on a boat, or in the bathtub. 
 
You can click here to learn more about preventing water-related accidents from the Canadian Red Cross. Topics include active supervision, backyard pools, bathing children, diving, open water, and more.
 
Also, did you know that research suggests we need only about 15 minutes of sun exposure to get our daily dose of vitamin D?

Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays can not only lead to the visible consequences of skin damage—spots, wrinkles, sagging skin, and other signs of aging that can make you look much older than your years—but can also lead to skin cancers such as melanoma. British Columbia’s rates of melanoma are the highest in Canada and, sometimes, even very young people can get melanoma. The best way to minimize your risk of skin cancer is to protect yourself from the sun. That means wearing long sleeves and a hat, finding shade (especially during the hottest part of the day from 11 am to 3 pm), and wearing SPF 30+ sunscreen.
 
To support your knowledge about sun protection, check out these Sun Safety tips and resources from the BC Cancer Agency.

Have a safe and happy summer!

May 27, 2015

Mark your calendars—the second annual Canadian National Farm to School Month is kicking off in October 2015!  Farm to School month is a celebration of all the great things happening across our country to connect children and youth to healthy, local and sustainably produced foods. It’s all about highlighting and celebrating successes and encouraging new activities.

There are many ways to celebrate Farm to School Month—what will your school do? Now is the time to plan! Fun ideas include:

  • getting out on the farm to dig;
  • preparing a special meal with the kids;
  • celebrating in the cafeteria with a special meal plan for the month;
  • kicking things off in the classroom with a special guest or project; or
  • celebrating in the garden or on social media.

Watch for more details about Farm to School Month 2015 coming in the fall! In the meantime, if you are looking for some inspiration, check out this amazing gallery of activities from last year, posted on Farm to Cafeteria Canada’s website.

May 26, 2015
REGISTRATION FOR THE 2015 SUMMER INSTITUTE CLOSES TUESDAY, JUNE 30TH!

On August 20-21, 2015, meet with BC school community members @ the University of British Columbia to:

• Exchange knowledge and practical strategies on how to foster school connectedness in
classrooms and school communities;
• Hear from youth and families about collaborating and creating strong networks
to actively support children and youth;
• Improve awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use challenges;
• Network with colleagues and partners in mental health and education.

FEATURING:

Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology,
and Special Education, Faculty of Education, UBC; Interim Director, Human Early Learning Partnership,
School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, UBC

Vani Jain, Associate Program Director, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

AND

Dan Reist, Assistant Director at the Centre for Addictions Research of BC, University of Victoria

• Registration fee: $70 (lunch will be provided)
• Space is limited! Register by June 30th (deadline extended)

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS AND REGISTRATION!

A limited number of travel reimbursement opportunities are available.

We would like to encourage youth and parents/caregivers to attend this event, and so a limited number of subsidized registrations for parents are available. 

In addition, a limited number of complimentary registrations are available for high school age youth to attend the Summer Institute. If you are 13-19 years old and you would like to attend, please email Paul Irving at paulirvingys@gmail.com. 


April 30, 2015

 National Child and Youth Mental Health Day is about connecting with kids. This May 7th, all Canadians are encouraged to get involved and help connect children and youth with parents and caring adults. Positive mental health events will be happening all over BC; check out the Institute of Families website for information about activities in your area, and ideas for planning your own event. You can also “Share the Care” by wearing green on May 7th and showing your support on Facebook or Twitter.

In addition, there are many programs & organizations that support positive mental health in BC. Check them out!

  • Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre offers options for support and treatment in BC, tips for self-help and prevention, as well as free educational monthly pinwheel series for families, educators and clinicians. Click here to learn about May 7th activities happening at the Kelty Centre.

  • Mindcheck.ca is a young adult-focused, interactive website where visitors can check out how they’re feeling and connect to support early and quickly. Support includes education, self-help tools, website links, and assistance in connecting to local professional resources.

  • HeretoHelp: HeretoHelp is the website of group of seven of BC’s leading mental health non-profit agencies working together to help people of all ages better prevent and manage mental health and substance use problems. Their website contains dozens of useful resources for educators.

  • F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids' Mental Health: F.O.R.C.E. is a provincial organization that provides families with an opportunity to connect with other families who understand and may be able to offer support or advice on what has worked for them. The organization works to support and empower families and work collaboratively with professionals in order to meet the mental health needs of families.

  • JCSH Positive Mental Health Toolkit: This is an online resource that promotes positive mental health practices and perspectives within a school environment.
Visit the Healthy Schools BC website for more programs and supports
April 30, 2015

*NOTE:  This list is no longer current. Check out the updated June version here.


Enhance your professional development this summer through a variety of summer institutes, workshops and conferences. Check out these learning opportunities!

UBC Inquiry and Innovation for System Leaders, led by Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert
July 7-8. Register before May 26.

UBC Self-Regulated Learning Inquiry Hub Summer Institute
July 2-4. Register before May 21.

UBC Health Literacy for Children and Youth
July 6-24. Register before May 25.

UBC Health Education: Curriculum and Pedagogy
July 27-Aug 14. Register before June 15.

UBC Physical Education Summer Institute
July 6-24. Register before May 25.

UBCO Faculty of Education Summer Institute: Transformative Teaching and Learning
July 6-10, July 13-17, July 20-24, July 27-31, Aug. 3-7,  Aug. 10-14. Register now.

SFU 2015 Summer Institute: Equity and Excellence
July 10-11. No registration required.

Canadian Wildlife Federation - BC Summer Institute 2015
July 31-Aug. 9. Register now.

UBC & BCAITC  Integrating Agricultural Themes Across the Curriculum
July 20-24. Register before June 8.

SD 23 Early Childhood Education Summer Institute
Aug. 24. Registration available soon.

Kelty Mental Health Summer Institute: Promoting Mental Wellness in BC School Communities
Aug. 20-21. Registration available soon.

Full list of UBC Summer Institutes and Workshops.

BC Teachers’ Federation Professional Development Calendar.

April 30, 2015

With the end of the year approaching, participants of the Healthy Schools Network will be sharing their stories on the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map.

Sharing stories is about highlighting the successes of your activity, reflecting on improvements, and examining what you learned. By sharing your story, you will contribute to the learning of others throughout the province; it may generate further support for your next inquiry question, and will help inspire others!

HSN Participants/Grant Recipients:

  • We have a story template. Please email us if you need another copy.
  • Please submit your story by the end of the school year. In order to apply for a grant next year, you must submit your story from this year.  If you received multiple grants, then you need to submit one story for each.
  • For support in sharing your story, please contact us at hsn@dashbc.ca.
  • New feature: you can now share your story in either English OR French!

For everyone else:

  • Check out the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map to see what is happening in the HSN this year. New stories are added every week! Here are a few to get you started:

-      Nala'atsi Alternate Program Healthy Living Fair

-      Student Health Helpers at Columbia Elementary School

-      Creating Calm, Focused Learners at Trout Creek Elementary

We look forward to reading about your experiences this year!

April 30, 2015

Changes are being made in classrooms across BC to better support learning, and these changes are also helping build stronger connections to school. As brain research provides us with a deeper understanding of how children learn, it’s becoming clear that approaches that offer the best learning outcomes also support high levels of school connectedness—this is the best kind of two-for-one deal! You can deepen your students’ engagement in their learning while strengthening their connection to school by incorporating learner-centered approaches that:

  • acknowledge individual and group differences;
  • promote inclusive and collaborative learning;
  • harness students’ passions and interests; and
  • deliver tailored feedback and coaching.

This year in the Okanagan Skaha School District (SD 67), some educators have been exploring this. As part of their School Connectedness Grant and the Through a Different Lens project, educators have been using active lessons and assignments to help make students excited about coming to school every day. The educators are working in inquiry groups, doing collaborative unit planning, and using innovative assessment and instructional strategies to develop the lessons. In many cases, they are researching best practices as well as interviewing students to identify their strengths and talents. The result has been a myriad of dynamic, creative lessons that use dance, scavenger hunts, music, geocaching, and many different creative activities to engage students at all grade levels.

Providing opportunities for less connected students to link their strengths and talents to the curriculum has been an important learning experience for the SD 67 team. In a case study, they focused on a less connected student who was sometimes bullied. His teachers identified his interest in YouTube/videos and looked for opportunities for him to use his technical and creative skills. Making a promotional video for a school trip allowed him to showcase his skills, and bond with another teacher. His excellent video has improved his self-esteem, and has started to change other students’ perceptions of him. His teachers see a real change: they find him more focused, confident and engaged in school. His parents also see a difference, and the student himself has reported that he feels more connected to school than he did before. When asked how he felt when his video was shown to his whole class, he replied “I felt like doing backflips!” Evidently, what helped this student cultivate a stronger sense of school connectedness was both the positive relationship he formed with his teacher, and the opportunity he was given to pursue his learning interests. Learn more about Through a Different Lens here.

The following are some tips for strengthening connections to school through effective teaching and learning practices. Congratulate yourself on how many you are already using!

  1. Communicate clear, developmentally appropriate expectations for learning and behaviour that apply to all students.
  2. Use interactive and experiential activities, such as group discussions, problem solving, and role playing, to engage students in learning and help them personalize the information.
  3. Clearly describe lesson goals and how the information relates to students and the real world.
  4. Use a variety of teaching methods such as discussion questions, extra readings, and group projects to foster critical and reflective thinking, problem-solving skills, and the capacity to work effectively with others.
  5. Engage students in leadership positions and provide avenues for their voices and opinions to be heard. For example, include students in the decision-making process for setting classroom rules and consequences for breaking the rules.
  6. Encourage the intrinsic rewards of learning by displaying student work and accomplishments to peers, parents, teachers, and members of the community.
  7. Provide diverse opportunities for students to be meaningfully involved, learn, and be recognized (through service learning, extracurricular activities, or creative projects, for example).
  8. Encourage open, respectful communication about differing viewpoints. Creating opportunities for students to challenge and debate can teach respect for diverse opinions and perspectives.

Adapted from School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors among Youth

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009)

Get some fresh ideas for innovative approaches and/or lesson plans at:

  • TeachBC: BCTF’s go-to site for BC teaching resources  
  • Educational Technology and Mobile Learning: A resource of educational web tools and mobile apps for teachers and educators, operated by a group of Canadian teachers  
  • Edudemic: Dedicated to connecting education and technology in an accessible way   
  • Mind/Shift: Exploring learning in all its dimensions  


This article is part of our series on
the six strategies for fostering school connectedness. Click here to learn more about the six strategies!

April 30, 2015

There will be many exciting celebrations of First Nations culture happening this spring for Aboriginal Awareness Week (May 19th-22nd) and National Aboriginal Day (June 21st). Educators can join in by implementing the First Peoples Principles of Learning in the classroom. These learning principles were articulated by The BC Ministry of Education and the First Nations Education Steering Committee in 2007, in an effort to enable educators to focus more authentically on Aboriginal experiences, values, and beliefs. Educators can use the First Peoples Principles of Learning to help foster an inclusive learning environment, and to help make students more aware of First Nations issues and realities.

Click here to read the First People Principles of Learning, and here for even more Aboriginal education resources.

April 30, 2015

Healthy in Nature is a cohesive movement that explores the relationship between human health and nature.

The website was developed by the BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) to support parks and recreation professionals, as well as other community leaders, in connecting people to the outdoors. The site offers resources and materials to support healthy outdoor activities, and it also provides a platform for individuals to collaborate online with others involved in outdoor initiatives.

The site includes resources on topics such as:

  • the health benefits of getting outside
  • public planning
  • programming
  • promoting the Healthy in Nature movement


Click
here to check it out!

April 30, 2015

It is becoming increasingly evident that physical activity supports positive mental health as well as good physical health. Encourage students’ awareness of self-regulation with these Action Schools! BC Resources and Supports:

DPA Pages!: Self-Regulationa quick overview of self-regulation strategies for students. It provides implementation ideas for classrooms and alternative spaces, action tips, and recommended resources.

Enhancing Learning and Self-Regulation through Physical Activity a complimentary workshop for K to 7 and middle school teachers.

Action Pages! – a listing of health promoting school resources and organizations, including a section about Personal and Social Development.

Healthy Together – family newsletters, designed to be sent home with school’s newsletters, including one on Self-Regulation and Mindful Eating.

“I am really impressed that Action Schools! BC looked at brain research and found ways to help kids develop their brains through activity. The kids are having lots of fun while doing it, and so am I!”

     – Action Schools! BC Workshop Participant, Provincial Intermediate Teachers’ Association Conference
April 27, 2015
Healthy Families BC is excited to announce the launch of a new, comprehensive health resource: Alcohol Sense. This resource has been designed to help BC parents in their important role in raising healthy children to adulthood, and to support them in having conversations with their children about alcohol. 
 
AlcoholSenseBC.ca was launched on April 1, 2015.  The website is full of resources such as an Alcohol Sense quiz and a Blood Alcohol Calculator, along with articles on Low-Risk Drinking, Alcohol and Aging, and many more topics.

Alcohol Sense is a resource for everyone. Check it out here
April 9, 2015

Share or retweet information about the DASH BC Healthy Schools Leadership Symposium on Facebook or Twitter, and you will be entered to win a prize at the event!

Contests are rarely as easy as this! Simply retweet or share one of our Symposium-related posts on Twitter or Facebook, or tag us in a Symposium post of your own devising, and you’ll be entered to win a draw prize at the event!

Just remember:
- Be sure to tag DASH BC in your post, or use the handle #dashbc, to ensure that we see your post.
- You must be in attendance at the Healthy Schools Leadership Symposium (May 4-5) to claim your prize.

Information about how to register for the Symposium is available here, as well as through our daily Twitter and Facebook updates.

Simply share & win—it’s as easy as that!