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Health Promoting Schools Program

Posted on Dec 16, 2013 in Comprehensive School and Community Health

By Amanda Clarke

The Saskatoon Health Region (SHR), [Vancouver] Island Health, respective school boards and Government of Saskatchewan’s Ministries of Health and Education, have entered into an exciting partnership to plan, implement and evaluate a Health Promoting Schools (HPS) Program funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Innovation Strategy for Achieving Healthier Weights. The purpose of HPS is to improve learning and health outcomes of students and co-create conditions that support healthy school environments.

In SHR, there are 20 complex need schools involved; six in rural and fourteen in urban schools ranging from grades K-12. Schools were invited to participate in the program based on the complexity of students’ needs and the submission of a letter of commitment to the program. Schools select a priority issue for the school year and then complete an Action Plan covering goals, activities and timelines. Each school has comprehensive support to achieve the Action Plan with the assistance of a student team, an adult ally team (principal, teachers, and parents), a public health nurse, an engagement facilitator, community partners, and a population and public health team.  A Site Coordinator oversees the project.

Health Promoting Schools is an approach advocated by the World Health Organization and is being adopted in school communities across Canada. In each school, students, teachers, parents, school staff, community agencies, and institutions work together on one of three key priorities: healthy eating, mental health or physical activity.

For more information, please contact:

Amanda Clarke Project and K* Coordinator Health Promoting Schools Program aclarke.hps@gmail.com

The Important Role of Educators in the HPS Program

Teachers and school administrators are vital to this project, for a number of reasons. Teachers engage students in the classroom and have the opportunity to integrate HPS strategies in this setting. Teachers are well respected mentors and role models in the school community. They can demonstrate positive health behaviours, as well as influence school health policy and practice within their respective school. Teachers are well connected. During the course of the school year, teachers may engage with parents and community partners bringing more attention to school health and developing relationships and partnerships to enhance the school community. Teachers are lifelong learners. Professional development and teacher release time is encouraged through the HPS program. HPS training provides teachers with skills, knowledge, and resources to share with their colleagues and adopt in their classrooms (e.g. Yoga 4 Classrooms).

In the words of one teacher, “The Health Promoting Schools program has helped not only my students to become better leaders, but it has also helped me to further develop my own skills as a leader within my school.”

List of Participating Schools

Saskatoon Public School Division
Confederation Park (K-8)
King George (K-8)
Lester B. Pearson (K-8)
Mayfair (K-8)
Pleasant Hill (K-8)
Princess Alexandra (K-8)
Vincent Massey (K-8)
W.P. Bate (K-8)
Westmount (K-8)

Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools
Bishop Klein (K-8)
St. Edward (K-8)
St. Maria Goretti (K-8)
St. Mary (K-8)
St. Michael (K-8)

Prairie Spirit School Division
Clavet Composite (K-12)
Delisle Composite (7-12)
Lord Asquith (K-12)
Stobart (K-12)
Vanscoy (K-8)

Horizon School Division
Wadena Composite (7-12)

Resources
Saskatoon Health Region
Government of Saskatchewan, Comprehensive School Community Health
Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health
Public Health Agency of Canada, Innovation Strategy

Attachments

HPS Highlights 2012-2013 [PDF 235 KB]

Saskatoon and Area Health Promoting Schools, update September 2014 [PDF 3.7 MB]