What’s STRONG with Us in Mental Health and Well-Being?
Welcome to Flight 2022! We are taking off into this new year with our positive attitude and gratitude secured in the upright position. We have turned off and stowed away all self-destructive devices, like worry and negativity. Our leadership, activated by hope, connections, strategic planning, and grit, will be assisting other passengers in activating their leadership. We will celebrate our efforts and enjoy this flight!
Educational leaders are trying to refuel their well-being and mental health while in full flight. Part of the flight path for Saskatchewan is shared here.
The Ministry of Education in Saskatchewan has established a two-year plan to address mental health and well-being in K–12 education. Led by a committee of senior educational administrators in partnership with the provincial Ministry, the plan includes:
- An inter-ministerial working group to streamline provincial initiatives in mental health and well-being, for comprehensive awareness of offerings and grant opportunities.
- A well-being plan for staff and students constructed by each school division, with a provincial template available if needed.
- A regular provincial newsletter featuring activities and successful well-being practices of school division practitioners.
- An annual provincial symposium on mental health and well-being, bringing keynote speakers and school division presenters together to share initiatives.
- A database of mental health and well-being resources.
At the school division level, school leaders are working within their local context to support students and staff. School-based well-being plans include local committee initiatives, specific programs, surveys, and community partnerships. Schools are supported by system-level initiatives including professional development, speakers, strategic messaging, system need surveys, and various grants.
The EdCan Network, via its Well at Work staff well-being initiative, has come into Saskatchewan as a welcomed “objective, critical friend” to support our mental health and well-being efforts:
- EdCan designed and delivered a leadership well-being module and keynote at the Saskatchewan League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents AGM and Spring Conference.
- Well at Work Advisory Services are being provided in a few school divisions to help them identify workplace well-being issues and develop an actionable plan to strengthen staff mental health.
- EdCan Well at Work Design Team members will present at the provincial well-being symposium in May to an audience of senior and school-based leaders.
Educational leaders need to support each other to meet the challenges of staff and student well-being with wisdom, strength, and confidence. There is a hunger for economical and proactive supports that educational leaders can readily apply and share. Educational leaders also want to know if their pathways and initiatives are really positively impacting as intended. The exciting part is that there are “beacons of brilliance” that exist across schools, school divisions, and provinces.
The authentic, safe connections and networking of educational leaders onsite and in virtual ways to face these challenges together is a brilliant opportunity in 2022. Our leadership connections will inspire us and help us be that needed steady light for our students, staff, communities and for ourselves as we rebound in 2022–23.
Have a safe landing!
First published in Education Canada, March 2022