Health and wellbeing were explored during the first meeting of PWSD's Jurisdictional Student Engagement Team (JSET) on December 6 at Sexsmith Secondary School. JSET is made up of three students and one teacher champion from each PWSD school. Sessions for students and staff reflected PWSD's Comprehensive School Health (CSH) focus, with attendees developing leadership skills to take action in creating healthy school communities. CSH is an internationally recognized approach to supporting improvements in students' educational outcomes while addressing school health in a planned, integrated and holistic manner.
Sessions were presented by Alberta Health Services (AHS), Be Fit for Life, Ever Active Schools, and the AB Healthy School Community Wellness Fund.
Following registration in the cafeteria, Grades 4-12 students and their teachers enjoyed fun icebreaker activities in the gym. Groups completed a range of physical activities as outlined along a path of instruction cards taped to the floor. At first, students naturally teamed up with peers from their school. To encourage sharing between schools, the second part of the activity required students to find a new partner from another school.
Back in the cafeteria, students jumped into an energetic 20-minute Healthy School Communities Networking session, complete with dancing and superhero poses as a warm-up. To help students learn more about each other and the wellness initiatives already in place at other schools throughout the district, pairs cycled through four wellness boards located around the room – Spiritual/Cultural Wellbeing, Active Living, Mental Wellbeing, and Healthy Living. Those who completed their handouts were entered in a draw for one of four gift cards.
Students separated into groups of Grades 4-6 and 7-12 to circulate through four break-out sessions: Students as Agents of Change and School Connectedness by Ever Active Schools, Kindness in the Classroom by AHS, and Rethinking Physical Activity in the Classroom by the Be Fit for Life Network. Teachers could also attend a separate session, Who's Who in the Zoo, presented by the Health and Physical Education Council.
At the end of the day, groups of two school teams worked together to delve deeper into the learning, creating action plans that were shared with attendees. As a wrap-up, Ever Active Schools and Assistant Superintendent Darren Young led a discussion on how to bring the plans to life.
JSET members will come together for their second annual meeting next semester.
1. Katelyn Theal of Ever Active Schools (left) and Jodi Minton of Be Fit for Life lead an icebreaker activity for students at the start of the JSET meeting on December 6, 2017 at Sexsmith Secondary School.
2. During the Healthy School Communities Networking session, student pairs cycled through four wellness boards.
3. Kaitlin Niksic, Alberta Health Services, leading a session for Grades 7-12 students on Kindness in the Classroom. The session challenged students to consider what a positive social environment looks like in a school, and to be kind to others. Ms. Niksic told the group, "In your schools, some students may not feel welcome…as leaders, you have the capacity to change that." She also advised students, "To be kind to others, you need to take care of yourselves." After participating in a fun activity to create a three-point handshake, the group provided examples of a positive social environment and completed a worksheet on self-care.
4. Grades 4-6 students brainstorm during the Ever Active Schools session entitled Students as Agents of Change.
5. In her Who's Who in the Zoo session for teachers, Laura Arsenault of Alberta Health Services said, "Children learn healthy eating from role models – parents, teachers and the people they look up to."
6. A selection of resources included in the registration package will assist school teams in bringing their action plans to life.
For additional photos, visit PWSD's Facebook page.