The Grande Prairie Public School Division Education Foundation is grateful to have received a generous grant of $34,150 from the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta from the Government of Canada's Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) to support student health and wellness.
The Executive Director of the GPPSD Education Foundation, Shaundra Siebert, says, "This school year has presented significant challenges for educators, parents, and students alike. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended normalcy, and students and educators returned to schools with a myriad of new procedures implemented for their health and safety. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are wide-ranging, and dealing with trauma may be one of the experiences of 2020. Surveys conducted by the Grande Prairie Public School Division in August of 2020 suggested that for many GPPSD families, mental health has been negatively impacted by COVID-19."
The ECSF funding will provide multi-layered training and professional development for teachers and school administrators to support the social, emotional, and mental well-being of the students. Placing emphasis on positive mental health and wellness through a school focus on social-emotional learning can mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Director of Inclusive Learning at the Grande Prairie Public School Division, Nancy Gorgichuk, added, "Creating a sense of belonging is a priority in our school division. Increasing capabilities to support students at the universal (classroom) level as they cope during the pandemic is critical. The ECSF funding enables us to support our school leaders in building and implementing a comprehensive social-emotional learning plan at every school. Further developing our school leader's social-emotional competency and knowledge, their preparation of trauma-based approaches in unprecedented times, and their standards with the implementation of these practices will effect their own successful outcomes and well-being, as well as that of their staff and their students. We are very grateful for this generous support."
"When students are able to recognize that what they are feeling and have strategies they can use to help themselves, they will be better able to focus on their learning. This is why now more than ever, educators recognize the need to expand social-emotional learning throughout the Division. Focusing on social-emotional learning is not new in GPPSD schools, but this ECSF funding from the Government of Canada, Community Foundation of Canada, and the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta will provide additional training to help make it common instructional practice across the Division," said, Angus Sutherland, Board Chair of the GPPSD Education Foundation.
About the Education Foundation of the Grande Prairie Public School Division:
The Education Foundation was founded in 1991 to enhance educational opportunities for students in the Grande Prairie Public School Division. It was designed to complement basic education services in the city's public schools. Foundation members work towards providing resources in areas that are not funded through government allocations to school boards. The Board of Directors, together with the many contributors, has been able to enhance the educational experience for students. To learn more, follow GPPSDEdFoundation on Facebook and Twitter and visit https://www.gppsd.ab.ca/Program/EducationFoundation.
The Grande Prairie Public School Division Education Foundation is supported by the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund and the Community Foundation of Northwest Alberta.
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