What is KEYS?

Keys To Empowering Youth to Succeed (KEYS) operates with the understanding that Wellness is for everyone! KEYS is a Mental Health Capacity building project funded by Alberta Health Services.

KEYS works with junior high/middle schools and in collaboration with community partners support the wellness of students, parents, and school staff members. KEYS aims to build resiliency in students and families by promoting positive mental health, copying strategies, and healthy relationships through awareness, knowledge, and skill-building.

What we offer:

KEYS primarily operates within our three project schools in a three-year cycle. Currently, these schools are Clover Bar Jr High, F.R. Haythorne Jr High, and St. Theresa Middle School. We work closely with school staff, parents and students in these schools to shape cultures that support positive mental health and healthy relationships.

Contact:

You can always email the Clover Bar KEYS members,

German Villegas at german.villegas@strathcona.ca 

Erin Dawson-Meyers at erin.dawson-meyers@strathcona.ca

Or you can reach any one of our KEYS members at Strathcona Family and Community Service at Keys@strathcona.ca or (780)464-4044

"13 Reasons Why" -- Conversation about Suicide

There has been kind of an interesting conversation of the Netflix show "13 Reasons Why," which is based on the book of the same title. The show revolves around a student who completes suicide and leaves behind tapes which detail why she did the act. The book has been around for a while and it has more of a target towards young teens, but since the show has become kind of a hit for young adults, I think this would be a good time for an appropriate conversation around the show and it's depictions of suicide and mental health. 

Now,  the main concern around"13 Reasons Why" is that it almost glamorizes suicide, and uses it as a play for this student to get her revenge. This show is concerning, not just because it's graphic nature (although we know kids will watch things that may be a lot more graphic), but mostly because it deals with a topic that is almost unknown or secret (what causes suicide and how we deal with it), and it's main players are all young adults. Students might personalize with these characters, and might think that the show depicts the appropriate way in which we deal with the issue of suicide. The concern was so great that CMHA released it's own statement on it.

But, stigma and wrong information around suicide and mental health is not a new thing for Hollywood. In fact, last year saw the release of "Split" whose villain is someone who is suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder (commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder).  This was problematic because from statistics we know that people who suffer from mental disorders are the ones who are more likely victims of violence, not the perpetrators. And this is not restricted to the realm of mental health, do you remember all the times you see CPR being done on someone on TV? We know by taking First Aid, that CPR can look very traumatic, and not look like it does on TV. This is the same lens we should view shows like "13 Reasons Why" as a realm of fantasy and entertainment but not reality. Like all realms of media, something to critique and to evaluate.

These are some of the themes to critique and evaluate which the show dives into: 

- The role of adults in suicides -

When any show deals with tough topics such as bullying, self-harm, suicide or sexual violence it is important that youth have adults that they can talk to and debrief with about what they have seen and how it makes them feel. The series “13 Reasons Why” portrays very few supportive adults for the youth to reach out to after Hannah’s suicide, which leaves the youth to handle the emotional stress on their own. Being present and talking with your child about tough topics can be difficult, but it can also make them feel more connected to you, and make it easier for them to come to you for support

- The factors in which teens can have suicidal ideations -

Contrary to popular belief, talking about suicide with your teen cannot plant the idea of suiciding in their head.  Instead, it creates an opportunity to communicate honestly and openly about a topic that is often kept secret. However, as a sensitive and upsetting topic it is important to talk about suicide in a responsible and safe way. For example, the website ReportingOnSuicide.org – which is offered below in our resource guide - presents guidelines to the media about how to go about talking about suicide appropriately, which “13 Reasons Why” fails to model

- The role male students play in a young woman's life (the good and the bad) -

Consent is paramount to discuss after viewing “13 Reasons Why.” Empower your teens to know that no one has a right to their bodies in any way without their permission.  The show brings awareness to the harsh impact of sexual assault as it relates to the victim but fails to acknowledge the consequences of the perpetrators.

- The role of power in between the students, and how it shifts towards the person who has completed suicide -

Provide a safe space for your teen to process their emotions. Emotionally charged situations (even fictional ones) can bring up emotions in teens that they may not understand. Allowing youth to share how certain situations or experiences have affected them can help them to understand and cope with difficult emotions and process the emotions appropriately.

- The permanent nature of death -

Teens may identify with the characters and their struggles, discuss the reality of suicide and how it can be “sensationalized” by the media. It is important to address that in the show Hannah appears to live on and witness the impact her cassettes had on the people around her, the permanence of death is sometimes lost on teens.

The good thing is that shows like "13 Reasons Why," "Split," and countless others which show mental health in a stigmatized way, offer us a unique door in which we can discuss issues like teen suicide in a healthy way. Teen suicide is something that our community is facing every day, and there are many students who have been either directly or indirectly affected by suicide. It also important not skirt around or minimize the topic, students are watching this show so why not talk about it? I also don't subscribe that we should avoid the show altogether, or have it so people don't watch it. Banning something, or having students see adults use this show in an alarmist way, can lead to the Streisand Effect and also tell the students that adults are not able to handle these types of conversations and that they are left to their own to deal with. 

Discuss with your teen how they take care of their mental health, what coping strategies they have when they are upset, what they do when they are stressed. The show doesn’t offer a hopeful perspective on mental illness and doesn’t depict people taking care of their mental health in a positive way and could be used as a conversation starter about taking ownership of your own mental health. The goal for most parents is to have a happy and healthy teenager. Health, as we know, is not just physical, it is also mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. There are many resources about encouraging positive mental health in your teen.

Hopefully, you feel comfortable and knowledgeable to have these tough conversations with your kids, take a look at the websites below which may be able to help you, or give me a shout KEYS office and let's have a talk about how we can approach this with your kid. I would love to chat.

 

Additional Resources

 

The Support Network Distress Line

780 428 HELP

 

Canadian Mental Health Association: Suicide Information and Toolkits

http://us10.campaign-archive1.com/?e=4feac56d68&u=5d342e2b187f90072b609e4f6&id=a17fb50326

 

Mental Health and Teens

http://rightbyyou.ca

 

Mental Health Resources and Support

https://mindcheck.ca/

 

Tips for talking with teens about suicide

http://www.sptsusa.org/parents/talking-to-your-kid-about-suicide/

 

Common Sense Media: 5 Conversations to Have With Your Teen After 13 Reasons Why

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/5-conversations-to-have-with-your-teens-after-13-reasons-why?utm_source=popsugar&utm_medium=syndication&utm_campaign=advice

 

A Professional’s Perspective on 13 Reasons Why

http://www.foxlevineandassociates.com/blog/2017/4/19/13-reasons-why-and-its-unintended-consequences

 

Kids Help Phone: Resources

http://org.kidshelpphone.ca/resources/

 

Kids Help Phone

1 800 668 6868

 

Strathcona County Family and Community Services

780 464 4044

International Women's Day

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the achievements of women. The day has been observed since in the early 1900's and it’s a day of global celebration and a call for gender equality. It is a collective effort of many organizations to declare an annual IWD theme and goes on for the whole month of March. This year’s themes are Justice, Dignity, Hope, Equality, Collaboration, Appreciation, Respect, Empathy, and Forgiveness. There are many ways in which you can take action this month for yourself, your child, and your community:

How to combat bias and inequality:

  • Pull people up on Exclusive Language -
    • Remember that there can be more than just one target audience when you speak. Speak not only to the men in the group, but to everyone. Call out people when they use derogatory terms that put women down.
  • Challenge Stereotypes -
    • There are many ways in which women and girls don’t participate in something because they feel it’s not “feminine” enough. Either from an internal or external feeling of shame or fear. Encourage the men and women around you to challenge those stereotypes which restrict us.
  • Call it out when women are Excluded -
    • This may happen in the school, workplace, or in general life. Be an ally to women around you when you see them being excluded, demeaned, or belittled.


Women’s day is not just to be viewed by women, it is to be viewed by everyone. Clover Bar and KEYS believe in an inclusive environment for women, and these themes are themes shared by both.

Pink Shirt Day 2017 - Beyond the Shirt

In September of 2007, two high school students, David Shepard and Travis Price decided to take a momentous, non-violent, and symbolic stand against bullying. They noticed a young grade 9 student being picked on for wearing a pink shirt, so a gesture of goodwill and connection they gathered the student body and encouraged them to wear pink shirts in solidarity for the young man wearing pink. The community embraced this effort and declared a stand against bullying behaviors, locally and nationally. Pink Shirt Day was born.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Pink Shirt Day by wearing pink shirts in solidarity of the young student being picked on in 2007, but also to show that bullying is not tolerated in our school. But beyond just wearing the pink shirt, the most important part is to acknowledge the true lessons of the action that Shepard and Price took. There are some themes to unpack which I hope you can think about.

 

Why was the student being picked on for wearing pink?

Beyond what he was wearing, we don't know anything else about this victim. Except that he was a guy wearing a pink shirt. But why is that action of wearing pink as a guy something to be made fun of. This is tied to themes of male identity, male machismo, and gender stereotypes (are only girls "allowed" to wear pink).

Ask your teen what their perceptions are on gender stereotyping? Or what kind of clothes "should" a man or woman wear?

 

Do people get made fun of what they are wearing?

Living in Sherwood Park comes with a lot of different expectations. The clothes you wear, the things you have, matter in the dynamics of teenage life. Students who live here for the most part come from middle to higher income families. So students who are wearing something that is not "cool" or "new" might be picked on.

How can teens and adults combat this negative perception? How can the school and Strathcona County encourage an inclusive community in regards to socioeconomic status (SES)

 

Wearing different clothes because of culture

You know now that students wear pink shirts all the time. But sometimes the problem comes from people wearing something that is culturally different and being labelled an outsider. This can as small as a different hairstyle, to a turban or a hijab. This is called ethnic bullying. So this is also a good time to address how we react to different cultures in a community which is less diverse than most.

How does your family react to cultures of different dress?

How does bullying affect people of different cultures because of their wear?

How do we as a community encourage inclusive cultures inside the school?

Anyways, these are just ideas I have gathered in the top of my head, but I would love to hear more. I would just like for you to think beyond the pink shirt, because the pink shirt is just the first step. Have fun! And wear pink!

Community Mental Health Education Session - For Parents and Guardians

KEYS is excited to present a free Community Education Session open to all parents and guardians of youth in Strathcona County.

Sessions will include:

1) Understanding Self Injury in Youth from 6:00 p.m.- 7:30 p.m.

2) Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Youth from 7:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.

This evening will be held at FR Haythorne Junior High School and is open to any parent or guardian of youth in the community who is interested in learning more about these topics. Parents and guardians are welcome to attend one or both sessions and there will be a short refreshment break in between sessions.

The night will be free to attend. To REGISTER, please click on this Eventbrite page and RSVP

For further information please contact Erin Dawson-Meyers, KEYS Success Coach at 587-337-7576 or erin.dawson-meyers@strathcona.ca.

Bell Let's Talk and Clover Bar

What is Bell Let’s Talk? (credit to Bell Let's Talk facilitator guide)

Bell Let’s Talk is a multi-year charitable program dedicated to the promotion and support of mental health across Canada. Since 2010, Bell has committed more than $100 million to support a wide range of mental health organizations, large and small, from coast to coast focusing on anti-stigma, care, and access, workplace mental health, and research.

On January 25th, Bell will start a national conversation surrounding Mental Health. There are important reasons to start talking about mental illness. Hard to see, mental illness is one of the most widespread health issues in the country, with consequences for everyone. While one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point in their life, most will be cautious about talking to a co-worker, friend or family member about the issue, let alone seek treatment. And while you may not experience mental illness first-hand, it is likely that you know someone who has or will have a mental illness.

Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5fK-BZNgho&index=18&list=PLo0H4jLotmp6nNO_NP1FeZzJVdTmUGeNl

For anyone facing mental illness, stigma is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. In fact, it is the leading reason why two-thirds of people living with a mental illness do not seek help.

How can you support Bell Let’s Talk?

There are two important parts of Bell Let’s Talk, the first one is the conversation, the second is the support for Bell to provide money to Mental Health research and support.

  • The Conversation is the most important piece because this will break down the stigma that affects people who suffer from mental illnesses. You don’t need to be an expert on mental health to talk about it. It’s often the everyday things that make a difference; For example, asking:
    1. “How are you?”
    2. “What can I do to help?”
    3. ”Let’s talk about some of the challenges that can arise when seeking help”
    4. “Let’s help our friends and families to strengthen our communities together”

Make sure you don’t provide medical expertise and to direct people to the right resources. Look up statistics through CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) or CAMH (Center for Addiction and Mental Health)

  • The support piece is easy. Do it by adding #BellLetsTalk as a hashtag on your tweets, and on Instagram; posting the Bell Let’s Talk video on Facebook, or adding your filter on Snapchat. Each time it happens, Bell donates 5cents per instance to Mental Health initiatives.

 

What is Clover Bar doing for this?

 The Clover Bar Knights of The Roundtable group has partnered with two local charities:

  • A Safe Place Shelter in Sherwood Park, which helps women and men escape family violence and get them back on their feet.
  • Jacob’s Wish, which helps support families who have a child in intensive care at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with a meal, gifts, and anything they might want.

The Roundtable has been raising funds for these two charities through draws, food at lunch, and fun events.

 On January 25th, KEYS and Clover Bar will have a game around mental health at the library at lunch time to test students about their mental health facts. For anyone who takes part in the quiz, they will be entered to win a special mental health-related prize. We will also make sure that they use that moment to use the hashtag on their social media feeds. For students without phones, they can still do the quiz by hand and still be able to enter a draw to win a prize. We will also have a school-wide conversation around mental health.

 What can I do as a parent?

Ask about what your community does around mental health. Ask your child about Mental Health and what he or she did surrounding Bell let’s Talk. Start a family dialog around emotions and mental health. These are great starter questions:

  • “What was the best part of your day today?”
  • “What was the worst part of your day?”
  • “Why do you think it’s hard to tell people how you feel on a daily basis?”
  • “Do you know what a negative mental health day looks like for you?”
  • “How do you feel when you’re doing something great” or “how does your body feel like when you’re not feeling your best?”

Don’t forget that positive mental health is tied directly to academic achievement, social belonging, and emotional wellbeing. So it is important that you and your teacher have a plan around mental health. Ask your teachers how they support your child’s mental health.

Contact KEYS if you would like more information about mental health at keys@strathcona.ca or email German or Erin directly at

German Villegas at german.villegas@strathcona.ca 

Erin Dawson-Meyers at erin.dawson-meyers@strathcona.ca

I hope everyone is healthy and happy this week.

Blue Monday - The Real

"Blue Monday" supposedly came and went, the most depressing day in the year. This, as the story goes, is taken from statistical data ranging from "weather," "likelihood of debt," "time away from Christmas"," among other things. In reality, Blue Monday was created by a travel company for people to get away during the winter, so like buying diamonds as engagement gifts, it was all a marketing ploy.

Just like all good myths though, Blue Monday has it's parts of truth. We know that people who have mental health problems find the winter months much harder. The lack of light, the cold snaps makes it much harder to take care of yourself or others. This can lead to depression, anxiety, or the very real condition of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). First of all, if you think yourself or someone else might be suffering from SAD or any other mental health concern, please contact a doctor or psychiatrist. 

Here are some symptoms (from CMHA.bc.ca):

Could I have SAD?

  • I feel like sleeping all the time, or I’m having trouble getting a good night’s sleep
  • I’m tired all the time, it makes it hard for me to carry out daily tasks
  • My appetite has changed, particularly more cravings for sugary and starchy foods
  • I’m gaining weight
  • I feel sad, guilty and down on myself
  • I feel hopeless
  • I’m irritable
  • I’m avoiding people or activities I used to enjoy
  • I feel tense and stressed

But there are definitely some tips that can help you get through these winter months: 

1) Check in with yourself to find out how you're really feeling, are you really feeling "fine?" And if not see if doing little things like changing your diet, getting more exercise, or just being kind to yourself can work. 

2) Try taking a walk at lunchtime when the sun is high.

3) Be outdoors as often as you can. 

4) Keep warm and enjoy the fun aspects of winter - such as wood fires, books, music.

5) Check in with someone else - You might feel fantastic, but there might be others who are not. You don’t have to be a specialist to ask someone how they are doing, be present, and listen to their response. For more on supporting people in your life check out these tips.

6) Stand up to Stigma - Showing empathy and making sure you use appropriate language when talking about mental health you can play your part in changing behaviors. 


Here are some resources that can help you with mental health, especially during these months:  A lot of pamphlets around mental health in the Mental Health UK website


More information around SAD from the Mayo Clinic

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts

Anxiety is one of the most requested mental health concern from parents, and the most common one students identify. So while doing some research on this topic and I landed on a website called GoZen.com. It deals specifically with anxiety with teens and youth.  I wanted to highlight one of the blog posts that deals specifically with negative thoughts. It mentions the 8 common thought holes:

It mentions that teens and youth run through 8 common negative thought holes when they are feeling anxious:

  • Jumping to conclusions: judging a situation based on assumptions as opposed to definitive facts
  • Mental filtering: paying attention to the negative details in a situation while ignoring the positive
  • Magnifying: magnifying negative aspects in a situation
  • Minimizing: minimizing positive aspects in a situation
  • Personalizing: assuming the blame for problems even when you are not primarily responsible
  • Externalizing: pushing the blame for problems onto others even when you are primarily responsible
  • Overgeneralizing: concluding that one bad incident will lead to a repeated pattern of defeat
  • Emotional reasoning: assuming your negative emotions translate into reality or confusing feelings with facts

The blog mentions how we can combat that by applying the Three C’s:

  • Check for common thought holes
  • Collect evidence to paint an accurate picture
  • Challenge the original thoughts

Your goal for the child is to give a more accurate view of the situation and to find out strategies for coping with those negative thoughts. Even by laying out why teens fall through those holes can help a lot. Read more about it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-stop-automatic-negative-thoughts_us_58330f18e4b0eaa5f14d4833?

And you can see more tips and tricks to help youth deal with anxiety, which includes videos, resources, and a blog with ideas (including test anxiety) at gozen.com http://www.gozen.com/blog/

As always, you can email us at keys@strathcona.ca for more information or resources.

White Ribbon (November 2016)

The White Ribbon campaign is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.

Starting in 1991, the White Ribbon foundation (whiteribbon.ca) asked men to wear white ribbons as a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. The White Ribbon works to examine the root causes of gender-based violence and create a cultural shift that helps bring us to a future without violence.

The White Ribbon, Clover Bar Jr High, KEYS, and Strathcona County believe that men are part of the solution and part of a future that is safe and equitable for all people. This is why Clover Bar Jr High is excited to have a message for the school population about the White Ribbon campaign and encourages all members to wear white ribbons in November, and for people to take the pledge to never remain silent about violence against women.

Strathcona County has also established a campaign called “Reach Out. Speak Out” to promote the Family Violence awareness. Our team has established a website dedicated to help and inform people about family violence. You can reach the website by going to strathcona.ca/SCspeakout.  If you would like more information about White Ribbon, “Reach Out. Speak Out.”, or what the school’s is doing for the boys inside Clover Bar Junior High, please email german.villegas@strathcona.ca

Remember, in November, wear your white ribbon. Reach out, and speak out against family violence.

Developmental Assets for Teens: What are they? And how to use them!

The Developmental Assets (http://www.search-institute.org/content/40-developmental-assets-adolescents-ages-12-18) are 40 positive experiences and qualities that influence young people’s development, helping them become caring, responsible, and productive adults. This has been proven useful for educators, parents, and any adult mentor for teens, to understand and help develop what they might be missing.

The more assets that young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive. When they have higher levels of assets, they are more likely to do well in school, be engaged, and value diversity. However, not everyone has all 40 assets, in fact you’d be hard pressed to find them anywhere. The goal is to gain as many as possible but not all 40. The Assets are just a tool to help you understand something they might need developing if they lack it somewhere else. The average young person experiences fewer than half of the 40 assets.

KEYS has used this tool, along with many others, to inform us in the way we approach mental health and healthy relationships. Through the activities we do, the messages we give, and the presentations we deliver.

For your family, ask yourself these questions about your teen:

  1. Do they feel surrounded by people who love, care for, appreciate, and accept them?
  2. Do they feel valued, valuable, and safe?
  3. Do they feel that they have been provided with clear rules, consistent consequences for breaking rules, and encouragement to always do their best?
  4. Do they have opportunities outside of school to learn and develop new skills and interests with other youth and adults?
  5. Do they understand the lasting importance of learning and believe in their own abilities?
  6. Are they developing strong guiding values that will help them make healthy life choices, including responsibility, empathy, and self-control?
  7. Do they have the skills to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions, and to cope with new situations?
  8. Do they believe in their own self-worth and feel that they have control over the things that happen to them?

Better yet, open up a conversation on any of these questions, and see what happens! If you want more information on how to use these Assets, visit Parent Further: http://www.parentfurther.com/ or you can always email Keys@strathcona.ca and we can send you more information.

 

 

Mental Health Awareness Week

KEYS with the coordination with the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Clover Bar Members of the Roundtable are celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week from May 2-6th. CMHA’s Mental Health Week is an annual national event that takes place during the first week in May to encourage people from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health. Visit www.mentalhealthweek.ca for more information.

We encourage all students, parents, and the community at large to wear green or to display green ribbons. 

Green Ribbons

The purpose of this week is to promote awareness of mental health in the community, celebrate mentally healthy lifestyles, and build support. This week, wear your green ribbon to raise awareness for positive mental health, let it be a reminder to learn, talk, reflect, and engage others on issues related to mental health. Why green?In the 1800s, the color green was used to brand people who were labeled “insane”. The children’s mental health community decided to continue using the color green, but with a completely different focus.Green signifies new life, new growth and new beginningsTherefore, we wear green ribbons to raise public awareness and support the mental health of all children, youth and their families

Clover Bar will have activities promoting mental health and to encourage education and conversation. 

Wednesday May 4 - Hats On for Mental Health

This is a coordinated awareness day to raise awareness and increase dialogue around issues related to mental health. School staff and students around Strathcona County are encouraged to wear hats and make a donation to the Canadian Mental Health Association. Strathcona County Family and Community Services is joining in to help raise awareness, please feel free to make a donation and don a charming chapeaux, fancy fedora, or snazzy snapback on Wednesday May 4.  

#RealTalk - The Impact of Social Media and Youth. Registration Now Open!

Do you want to know more about how to help your teen guide through the web of social media? This talk will give you an idea about the legalities and the realities of social media from the experts. Join us for a spirited discussion about a subject we can all get “real” about.

All parents and guardians are welcome to this FREE panel conversation about how social media affects our youth, what apps are being used today, a teen's perspective on social media, and preventative measures. This will be held on Thursday May 5th at the Council Chambers in the Community Center (501 Festival Ave)

To register please call (780)464-4044 by May 3rd. 

Clover Bar is starting it's very first GSA

What is a GSA?

From the Alberta Teacher's Association website:

"A GSA is a school-based group run by students and supported by teachers that works to create safe, caring and inclusive spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirit, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students and their allies in schools. Typically, GSAs are designed to provide a safe space for students to meet, socialize and support one another as they discuss their feelings and experiences related to sexual orientation and gender identity issues."

Today we're starting our first GSA meeting in Clover Bar and to prepare, we have provided a primer for all things GSA.

Why are we making one?

Every school can always be made safer. By taking in initiative to start a GSA, Clover Bar is making clear that we care about equity, diversity and the safety and well-being of all our students

GSA's have numerous proven benefits, some of which include:

- Minimize the negative effect of homophobic and/or transphobic bullying

- Help to ensure school culture is welcoming, inclusive, and safe for all students

- Students are more likely to feel safe and comfortable being open about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

- Students struggling with sexual orientation/gender identity are more likely to reach out.

There are also specific benefits for students which can include: 

- Higher self-esteem

- Greater school attachment 

- Improved attendance 

- Better work ethic

- Increased sense of empowerment and hope

- New friendships

- Improved home and school relationships

- Reduction of stress

- Increased Confidence

- Lower depression/anxiety

What will the Clover Bar GSA function as?

The GSA will depend on the students and what they identify as their individual needs and the needs of the larger school community. 

Some potential deliverables include: 

- A support space

- A safe space for students

- Increased visibility and awareness

- Educational and social change (eg. anti-bullying awareness days)

For more information: 

- Alberta Teachers' Association website on GSA's

- Institute of Sexual Minority Studies and Services

- The AltView Foundation

If you have any questions please contact Karen Ramsey, assistant principal at 780-467-2295 

Pink Shirt Day is February 24th

Pink Shirt Day is a day of celebrating kindness throughout our students and through the school. It all started when a school rallied around a student who was bullied because he was wearing a pink shirt. So in a sign of solidarity his classmates decided to all wear pink shirts. It became a national phenomenon, and now is a universal sign of anti-bullying. 

Clover Bar's students are gearing up with some great activities throughout the week in concurrence with Random Acts of Kindness week, including a pink cupcake sale. Not only that, Strathcona County is getting involved as well, by supporting KEYS in this initiative they are wearing their pinkness loud and proud. Join us with your pink shirts that day and make sure you use the hashtag #PinkShirtDay and #StandUp on social media. 

Check out the links below:

Strathcona County Release

Pink Shirt Day Website Release

5 Myths and Truths About Kids' Internet Safety

Continuing on the trend of social media literacy, here's a great simple guide for parents in what works and what doesn't to keeping your kids safe online. You can also check the Common Sense media website for more tips and resources about online literacy and safety. 

5 Myths and Truths About Kids' Internet Safety

What is my Child doing with that App?

What is my child doing with that app? | Blog | Community Matters Have you heard the phrase, “There’s an app for that?” Chances are that you have muttered the words yourself or overheard someone mentioning it in passing. Honestly, there are times when it feels like apps have overtaken our children’s technology.

They download amazing formula calculators for trigonometry, they use messaging services to save their phone’s data, they find cool photography apps to make gorgeous snapshots, and they order pizza or movie tickets with a tap of the screen. The trend for downloading apps isn’t new, but our parental awareness is evolving to include these new threats.

Two-thirds of all parents are expressing worries about potential negative effects of the programs our children are downloading. Too make matters worse, a recent study estimates that 70% of our teens take some precautions and measures to hide their online activity from their parents. This secrecy and the prevalence of cyberbullying, identity theft, and sexting have parents raising questions about what children are doing with app technology. -

http://community-matters.org/blog/post/what-is-my-child-doing-with-that-app

A Story on Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a great tool to combat anxiety, and the study to be present is something that is continuing and evolving. I found online a good video explaining how and why mindfulness can be useful through a story and animation. I hope you like it. Let me know if you have shared this video to anyone else, I would love to hear the response about it.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzKryaN44ss&sns=fb

 

My Child's Learning: A Parent Resource

My Child's Learning

My Child's Learning

My Child's Learning: A Parent Resource 
  
http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/mychildslearning/

This is an excellent resource that contains information on curriculum/subject content and student assessment.  There are suggestions on how parents can help their children and there is information regarding educational choices that are available for students.  This is a K to Grade12 resource and includes a Q and A section.
(Available in English and French)