Support for Student and
We know that when students and staff can be their full selves, they can do and be their best. Making this possible means supporting students and staff in every facet of their well-being - mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.
A student whose well-being is supported is one who can pay attention more closely in math, and one who can focus on what they’re reading for language arts. Ultimately, it allows them to unlock their full potential for academic achievement and success.
In 2022, we continued to build existing resources and new infrastructure that focuses on the well-being of students and staff. As we continue to work on having a system that supports the needs of all those we serve, we have explored ways to do this systemically with a focus on those who have been traditionally underserved and under-represented. This included the expansion of Affinity Groups for WRDSB staff - spaces to come together with facilitators who have a shared lived experience. These groups had a ripple effect, leading to the creation of new educational resources, videos and learning for the broader community.
As part of our work to better support the well-being of staff, in 2022 we launched the Indigenous, Black, and Racialized Employee Network (IBREN). This links each of the existing staff groups offering support and connection opportunities for Indigenous, Black, and racialized employees. These groups offer staff the opportunity to build relationships with one another across the district, and learn more about the resources, supports and groups available to them.
In June, we celebrated Pride Month with a campaign called 2SLGBTQIA+ and living in Waterloo Region. It featured profiles of 2SLGBTQIA+ community members, who partnered with us to create this series. They wrote about their identities, passions, and lived experiences. These profiles offered advice to students, hope for the future of education and thoughts about what it means to be queer.
For Sikh Heritage Month in April, the Sikh Affinity Group, along with staff from the Indigenous, Equity, and Human Rights Department (IEHR), created a variety of learning opportunities for students and staff. This work supports our commitment that every person who is part of the WRDSB feels that they belong, are included and celebrated for who they are, however they choose to show up. When this happens, it supports the well-being of all.
In May, for Asian Heritage Month, we saw another demonstration of this work in action. The Asian Affinity Group came together to help all in our community learn more about what it means to be Asian. In the video, “What is Asian?”, members of the Asian Affinity Group share what being Asian means to them. From the foods they love to enjoy with family and friends, to the strong bonds they feel to their families.
Students, too, played an active role in creating schools that better support the well-being of all. We saw this in action at Groh Public School, with a huge response of over 200 students, eager to take part in their new Kindness Club. The students involved took off with enthusiasm and are hard at work planning activities to engage the whole school and the surrounding community in spreading kindness. Together, hand-in-hand with the students we serve, we are building a public education system that truly supports the well-being of all.
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