Superintendent's Message - Education and Mental Health Awareness Week

Superintendent's Message - Education and Mental Health Awareness Week

May 2 – 6, 2016 is Education Week and Mental Health Awareness Week. This week is an opportunity to celebrate education and to recognize all the unique and interesting ways in which we learn and teach. It is also an opportunity to talk about mental health, acknowledge the importance of mental and emotional well-being and to bring attention to support that is available to those who may need it.

Peace River School Division (PRSD) is proud of the dynamic learning communities that can be found within our schools. We strive to support our students in any way that we possibly can and believe in teaching and nurturing the whole student. By incorporating wellness into classrooms and curriculum we acknowledge the link between education and mental health which better enables our students to reach their full potential.

The theme of Education Week for 2016 is Learning Together. This is not a new theme to PRSD and is quote fitting with our mission statement: Learning Together, Success for All. In our schools learning together means engaging students in classroom materials. It means providing opportunities for leadership and mentorship both within schools and through building positive relationships in the community. It means understanding individual students and their needs and learning how to support them and enable them to thrive and achieve their goals. In PRSD we are all always learning, improving and growing together.

Learning Together also means changing the way that we look at mental health. It’s important that we understand that mental health is not merely the absence of mental illness but the existence of a positive state of mind that enables adults and children alike to overcome challenges and to think and act in ways that promote happiness, enhance quality of life and allow healthy relationships to thrive.

By removing the stigma from the discussions we have about mental illness we can begin to take a proactive and preventative approach to mental health. Promoting positive mental, emotional and spiritual well-being is a shared responsibility between schools, parents and community partners such as Project PEACE Success Coaches and Youth Education Workers. The end result of this cooperative effort is students who are not only more likely to succeed in school and other endeavours but are more confident, engaged and capable of truly thriving.

We are committed to continuing to develop divisional wellness plans and initiatives that support mental and physical health for all students and staff in PRSD and we hope that you are able to join your community school to celebrate Education Week and Mental Health Awareness Week. A listing of events happening throughout the division during this week will be available at prsd.ab.ca.

Thank you to students, parents, staff, community members and organizations for your support - the work you do makes a difference and we appreciate you. 

Paul Bennett
Superintendent of Schools