Students Wellbeing and Social Connections Tom Strong, Michelle

Students Wellbeing and Social Connections Tom Strong, Michelle

Students Wellbeing and Social Connections Tom Strong, Michelle Drefs, Gabrielle Wilcox, Michael Zwiers & Michael Mu Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary Laureen Lailey, Alberta Education Presented at the Canadian Mental Health Association Nation-Wide Conference Calgary, Alberta Friday October 24, 2014 Overview

CORE Our Enthusiasm The Current State of Student Wellbeing in Schools Traditional School Responses to Student Wellbeing/Resiliency COREs Process Model to Support Student Wellbeing

How we Research CORE in Process/Outcome Ways? Discussion Enthusiasm for CORE? Our background as educators and psychologists Whole school cultural (caring) transformation

A focus on enhancing connections and resiliency Not a curriculum but a heuristic Done in school-decided problem-solving ways More enthusiasm Beginnings in Australia (the Gatehouse Project) and initial success in Alberta schools Mobilizes school communities to enhance social engagement and pursue wellness Gives us a chance to study to how school communities transform themselves, and what comes from these transformations.

The Current State of Students Well-Being In Schools Drs. Gabrielle Wilcox & Michelle Drefs Mental Health Academics Anxious Bullied Social Connection

LD Drop Out Child Microsystem Exosystem Macrosystem Teacher Burnout Diversity Less than 20 years, seniors will out number children under 15.

By 2017, our population will be approaching 40 million 22% will be immigrants and members of visible minorities Variety of immigrant groups is greater than any time in our history Increased political & public desire for inclusive practices Source: Andrews, J. J. W. & Lupart, J. (2015). Diversity education: Understanding and addressing student diversity. Toronto, ON: Nelson.

Child Microsystem Exosystem Macrosystem Traditional Responses Intervention Responses have been more reactive than proactive Wait-to-fail approach Only support those with highest needs Packaged intervention programs (some are researchbased) Pull-out service targeted to isolated problems (e.g., depression, reading)

Delivered either individually (e.g., mental health worker, reading specialist) or in groups (e.g., school psychologist, school counsellor) Pull-out individualized, highly specialized (e.g., Student Health Partnership) Does This Approach Work? Services are idiosyncratic and not coordinated The Senate report on Mental Health (2006) found that Business as Usual wasnt working for Canadas children and youth

The report recommended that mental health programs be coordinated and based in schools: That mental health services for children and youth be provided in the school setting by the school-based mental health teams (p. 140) That provincial and territorial governments encourage their health, education and justice institutions to work closely together in order to provide seamless access to mental health services for children and youth. (p. 152) Mental Health Commission of Canada Coordinated services Evidence-informed

practice Systematic professional learning Evaluation of untested approaches Utilization of communityschool partnerships Continuum of supports from Mental Health Promotion to Prevention to Intervention services Continuum of Supports

Evidence-based Effective Accessible Evidence-based Skill-based Effective screening for identification Evidence-based Educational Strength & Resilience model Prevention Programs

Examples Built into existing curriculum (often health and wellness curriculum) Limited content (1 to 6 lessons) Focus often on risk behaviour prevention, prosocial skills development & mental health literacy Limited grade span (often high school) Limited generalization

FRIENDS Anxiety prevention The Fourth R Bullying and Substance Use (Healthy, Safe, Connected) School Mental Health (Dr. Stan Kutcher) Mental Health awareness Gatehouse Project (Australia) Emotional Well-being Lions Quest School Climate Skills for Growing, Skills for Adolescence & Skills for Action Alberta Mental Health Capacity Building Project

Real-World: Funded ($3.6 + 25.8 million) for early intervention + prevention initiatives No coordinated follow-up either locally or provincially (not sustained) All 26 funded studies developed their own programs rather than using existing research-based programs. (haphazard; costly development; limited or study of effectiveness) Why did they not using research-based programs? Cost, limited scope of many programs, limited generalization Prepackaged programs dont often meet the unique local needs / needs of the local community.

They are rarely implemented with fidelity to the original design Population Health Approaches Comprehensive School Health Alberta Health Services A healthy school community is one that supports the wellness of all its members (students, teachers, staff, and parents) and strives to be a healthy setting for living, learning, and working. Community Development Process based on 4 Pillars of Comprehensive School Health Domains of Wellness Social Creative Physical

Child Spiritual Intellectual Emotional Building On Success Gatehouse Project Organizational Development years Entry Survey

Feedback Priority setting Actions Implementation Evaluation Action team (staff, students, parents) Part time facilitator Curriculum Professional learning relevant to the context over 2 The Gatehouse Project: changes in health risk

behaviour in grade 8 students after 2 years 120 % of group 100 80 Comparison schools Intervention 60 40 20

0 Smoking Regular smoking Binge drinking Cannabis Weekly Cannabis

All analyses adjusted for previous level of substance use in the school Components of CORE

Survey-feedback-action cycles Part time facilitator/change agent Organizational change/leadership coaching Teaching and learning (teachers/support staff) Parent education Review and improve existing SEL and mental health literacy interventions to evidence-based standards Continuous Improvement A Facilitated Whole School Change Process

A facilitator is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves. Lao Tzu OBJECTIVES Break down staff/teacher barriers STRATEGIES

Invite support staff to professional learning, staff meetings, equalize incentives for participation Increase familiarity with each Introduce small group work in other PD. Mix up groups Hold professional learning weekly (1hr sessions) instead of 8 full day sessions/year Have photo board Increase recognition for good Monday memo from Principal work done

Staff post-it appreciation board OBJECTIVES Increase socialising STRATEGIES Hold more events, different formats and occasions. Encourage more people to take lead roles Increase problem solving

Create new task groups with high levels of responsibility (workload group to examine structural ways to reduce stress) Increase student voice in the Monthly mtg with Teacher school Advisor student reps and Administration. Photo voice project Intentional Change

What is Social Network Analysis? Social network analysis is the study of social structure. It maps relations among people (or organisations) It quantifies position e.g., density, centrality, 2-step reach A persons position in a structure determines the opportunities or

constraints that the person will encounter -information, - help -viewpoints -approval/disapproval - affirmation of worth - material resources Social Network Analysis Students. The talk-to-when-upset network at Time 1 One elementary classroom

Take a Moment Who in the network could potentially be at risk socially? Why do you believe this to be true? Students. The talk-to-when-upset network at Time 2, same class Using Networks Theory/Thinking in Our Classrooms! Every Friday afternoon Chases teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down

the names of four children with whom theyd like to sit the following week CORE Research Who did CORE study? Participants Six elementary and junior high schools 1904 students Grade 5-9 9-16 years old CORE Research What did CORE study? Key Components of CORE Data

Social Network Analysis (SNA) Cortisol Level Health, Behaviour, and Wellness (HBW) Survey Survey for Elementary School Students (76 questions) Survey for Junior High School Students (99 questions) Demographics Dietary questions for saliva screening Social support from family, friends, and important adults School connections and neighbourhood connections

Family worries, family affluence, and family time School safety, bullying, and delinquency Depression, anxiety, and self-esteem Substance use, delinquency, and risk behaviours Physical activity, screen time, weight concern and weight behaviours CORE Research Preliminary findings (relationship between wellbeing and social connections) Social connections Within the school boundary: staff support and peer relations Beyond the school boundary: neighbourhood connections

Wellbeing Anxiety Depression Self-esteem Academic engagement CORE Research

Correlation matrix Anxiety Depression Self-esteem Academic engagement Staff support r=-.18, p<.001

r=.01, p=.838 r=-.07, p=.018 r=.38, p<.001 Peer relations r=-.30, p<.001 r=-.03, p=.279 r=.01, p=.850 r=.29, p<.001

Neighbourhood connections r=-.24, p<.001 r=-.33, p<.001 r=.33, p<.001 r=-.04, p=.253 Stronger staff support and peer relations in school tend to be associated with lower level of anxiety and higher level of academic engagement. Stronger neighbourhood connections tend to be associated with lower levels and anxiety and depression, and higher level and self-esteem.

Resiliency? Character traits (e.g., hardiness) / fund of wellbeing? Stress adaptive coping? Purpose? Sense of self? Social connections (support, responsiveness) Resilient school cultures/resilient communities? Resiliency self-reflection? Think back on an occasion when you were flourishing in terms of your own resiliency Describe that time in terms of what made it stand out with respect to your (a) physical wellbeing,(b) your emotional wellbeing, (c) your sense of purpose and self, and (d) your

sense of social and community engagement (e) other relevant details? How do we help others be resilient? CORE future research directions Resilient kids and schools post-disaster Working with schools to identify best practices that facilitate social connection and resilience CORE as part of a continuum of care in resilient schools, while maintaining normal mental health services for kids needing extra assistance Resilient school-communities? (teachers, parents, others?)

Its your turn to talk Contact us! Dr. Tom Strong: [email protected] Dr. Michael Mu: [email protected] Dr. Gabrielle Wilcox: [email protected] Laureen Lailey:

[email protected] Dr. Michael Zwiers: [email protected] Dr. Michelle Drefs: [email protected] References Alberta Health & Wellness. (2006). Positive futures Optimizing mental health for Albertas children & youth: A framework for action (2006-2016). Author: Edmonton, AB. Andrews, J. J. W. & Lupart, J. (2015). Diversity education: Understanding and

addressing student diversity. Toronto, ON: Nelson. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as context for human development: Research perspectives. Developmental Psychology, 22(6). 723-742 Canadian Institutes of Health Research. (nd). Canadian Bullying Statistics. Retrieved October 20, 2104 from: Clandinin, D. J., Schaefer, L., Long, J. S., Steeves, P., McKenzie-Robblee, S., Pinnegar, E., . . . & Downey, C. A. (2012). Early career teacher attrition: Problems, possibilities, potentials. Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta. Goldring, R. Taie, S., & Riddles, M. (2014). Teacher attrition and mobility: Results from the survey (NCES 2014-077). U. S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved October 20 from Leitch, K. K. (2008). Reaching for the top: A report by the advisor on healthy children

& youth. Health Canada, Ottawa, ON. References Martin, R. R., Dolmage, R., & Sharpe. D. (2012). Seeking wellness: Descriptive findings from the survey of the work life and health of teachers in Regina and Saskatoon. Saskatoon, SK: Saskatchewan Teachers Federation. OECD (2014a). Science performance (PISA) (indicator). Doi: 10.1787/91952204en OECD (2014b). Mathematics performance (PISA) (indicator). Doi: 10.1787/04711c74OECD (2014c). Reading performance (PISA) (indicator). OECD (2014d). Canada- Country Note - Education at a glance 2014. Reichel, J. (2013, February 19). Overwhelmed Canadian teachers quitting in droves. Epoch Times. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from rs-quitting-in-droves-350533.html Statistics Canada (2013). Annual demographic estimates: Canada, provinces and territories. Section 2: Population by age and sex. Ottawa: Minister of Industry. Retrieved from

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