The Supporting Every Student Learning Series is intended to support professional learning opportunities for school and school authority leaders around creating or enhancing welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments that support student success and wellbeing. The series provides access to information on research and evidence-based practices through recorded “TedTalk” style presentations and conversation guides, with links for further information.
Brain Development with Dr. Nicole Sherren, Scientific Director and Program Officer, Palix Foundation
Understanding how children’s brains develop has important implications for creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. Understanding that children who are exposed to toxic stress have more negative outcomes in learning and health across the lifespan also creates a convincing imperative for creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments.
The Effects of Bullying on Children with Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt, Professor and Canada Research Chair,
Children’s Mental Health and Violence Prevention, University of Ottawa
Reducing the incidence of bullying behaviour decreases risk factors which may reduce the incidence of mental health issues for children, now and over the long-term. Some children and youth seem to be adversely affected by bullying while others seem to cope better. Physical pain is often short lived, whereas social pain can last a lifetime. A positive classroom environment and nurturing school climate can reduce or prevent bullying behaviour.
Supporting Refugee Students with Roxanne Felix-Mah, PolicyWise for Children & Families, Christine Oliver, Calgary Board of Education, and Kathleen Jensen, Grasslands Public Schools
Understanding the rationale and theory that underpins restorative practices can contribute to the creation of welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. The goal of integration is that students from refugee backgrounds gain a sense of belonging, make friends, and participate fully in the life of the school.
Trauma-Informed Practice with Margaret Casey, Calgary Board of Education and Mardi Bernard, Edmonton Public School Board
Understanding the effects of trauma in childhood is essential for creating welcoming, caring, respectful, and safe learning environments. Creating a safe and supportive learning environment for all students, including students who have experienced trauma, takes an intentional, coordinated, whole-school approach. Safe and supportive learning environments can help students overcome some of the adverse effects of trauma.
Restorative Practices with Dr. Brenda Morrison, Simon Fraser University and MJ Nam,Fultonview Elementary/Junior High
Understanding the rationale and theory that underpins restorative practices and restorative practices can contribute to the creation of welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. The story of one K-9 school that introduced restorative practices to students, staff and parents is shared and how these practices resulted in a more welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment.
Whole School Approach with Jon McGavock, University of Manitoba and
Mavis Averill and Huiy Tang, Boyle Street Education Centre
Using a whole school approach to create a welcoming, caring, safe and respectful learning environment promotes resiliency and leads to healthier, positive outcomes for students. Boyle Street Education Centre, a charter school in Edmonton, offers examples of how a whole school approach to engaging and supporting students can make a positive difference, especially for students who have experienced serious interruptions in their learning.
Social Emotional Learning with Deinera Exner-Cortens, University of Calgary, Christina Rinaldi, University of Alberta, and Wanda Christensen, Chinook’s Edge School Division
Social-emotional learning can reduce bullying behaviour, which in turn can contribute to the creation of welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. Social-emotional learning has important benefits for students, families and communities, and contributes to the creation of welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. Chinook’s Edge School Division, a large rural school authority of 43 schools and 11,000 students, share their lessons learned through a multi-year district-wide approach to social-emotional learning.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Canadian Schools, with Dr. Kristopher Wells, University of Alberta, Marni Panas, Marni Panas Consulting, Michael Hauptman, Elk Island Catholic Schools, and; Bryan Evans and Marlene Hanson, Edmonton Public School Board
Anticipating and embracing diversity in the learning environment is key to ensuring LGBTQ students feel safe, cared for and valued and makes it less likely that they will experience bullying and discrimination. Embracing diversity by making it safe for students, staff and families of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions to be themselves is an essential component of creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. Elk Island Catholic School Division shares lessons learned in their four-year journey to develop a new policy for safe and caring schools that considered what it means for LGBTQ students to truly be included. And, Edmonton Public Schools, the first school board in western Canada to develop a comprehensive policy to support sexual and gender minority students, staff and families, shares lessons learned in their journey.