Clearview focuses on student wellness with Alberta Education grant

With the Clearview Wellness Initiative funded by a grant from the Alberta Education, all schools under the division are taking steps...

With the Clearview Wellness Initiative funded by a grant from the Alberta Education, all schools under the division are taking steps to help and guide students towards better health in the new school year.

The funds provided by Alberta Education are geared towards developing healthy school communities in Alberta and to progress the comprehensive school health initiative, according to Brenda MacDonald, deputy superintendent, Clearview Public Schools.

The Clearview team of health experts include MacDonald, wellness coordinator Barb Gano and school health facilitator Stacie Pederson.

“Barb and Stacie conducted student focus groups in each school to determine the students’ perspective of wellness in their schools,” said MacDonald. “The student feedback is beneficial to assist staff and student wellness forward.”

Students were asked to rank their school based on the definition of school wellness 0–10 and discuss the wellness initiative and their involvement in the school.

“Getting students involved in the school wellness plan empowers students to take ownership in their school wellness,” added MacDonald. “The overall response from students has been extremely positive. The students appreciated the many activities that they are involved in and felt that their teachers did a great job in developing healthy school communities.”

Students spoke volumes about the benefits of small schools and appreciated how well they knew and supported each other, according to MacDonald.

The committee is working collaboratively with the school board and division.

“The division team will be working with the School Wellness Champions and students to develop a wellness plan for each school,” explained MacDonald. “Students will be working with Barb and Stacie to develop a division school student wellness day on Dec. 1.”

The wellness day will include developing a plan for their school, spending time on how to move their plan forward and participating in wellness activities that they can take back to their schools to implement.

Clearview staff to benefit from wellness account

The Clearview Board of Trustees established a wellness account earlier this year on April 14, 2016 for all regular employees.

An amount of $300 per person for the 2015-16 school year was available to regular staff with funds being distributed on a first-come cost share, with half being paid by Clearview and the other half by employee.

With a cap of $50k, Clearview was able to utilize $30k towards helping their staff for various categories of wellness initiatives, ranging from weight management and fitness classes to bicycles and professional development in areas of health and wellness.

“Clearview has supported school-based wellness initiatives by funding site projects, and has been promoting healthy living by thank-you items provided directly to staff, such as water bottles and gratitude cards,” added MacDonald. “The feedback and participation have been very positive. Staff are overwhelmingly appreciative that they are being valued and that Clearview cares about their health and mental wellness.”

The funds for this initiative came from unused health spending account monies as well as unused dollars from prior years that were unspent.

“We are proud of Clearview’s staff as they have jumped on board,” added MacDonald. “Whether it’s physical or mental health, we at Clearview are encouraging staff to take care of themselves.”

Information on the program was communicated to all employees by email. Staff was encouraged to participate in the programme “PEOPLEview”, which highlights the various human resource/payroll/safety information on a regular basis.

In addition, schools could apply to share a total of $20,000 to promote school wellness.

To encourage the message of wellness division the Clearview wellness team has been promoting small monthly initiatives and awareness.

The health and wellness committee at Clearview is working collaboratively with Alberta Health, Student Wellness Team and community members to promote wellness.

MacDonald said that Clearview is a first choice employer for our communities, and seeks to find and retain the best quality staff so that the students receive the best in learning and support.

“This helps to create the highest opportunities for our students to succeed,” stated MacDonald.

MacDonald added that Clearview’s health and wellness team has worked with Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP) to do some long-term planning.

“The committee has decided to have relationships as their focus and goal for the 2016-17 school year,” said MacDonald. “We look forward to promoting wellness with our staff.”