Sherwood Park, AB. — From February 5-9, Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Canadian School Counselling Week. “Counselling has given me the opportunity to help students and their families,” says Richard Curbelo, a counsellor at Rudolph Hennig Junior High. “From test anxiety to difficult family dynamics, my goal is to improve student well-being and bridge the gap between the school and community supports.”
Curbelo and the staff at Rudolph Hennig have made mental health and wellness a local endeavor. “Throughout the year, we have the Boys and Girls Club Fort Saskatchewan and The Bridge Wellness and Youth Hub come in to visit students. Their programming builds awareness of resources available to families—most of which are free and easily accessible,” says Curbelo. “Soon, we’ll be having the Fort Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Association in for sessions on important topics, such as Black History Month.”
The junior high features a Counsellor’s Corner on their website, which fosters the connection between Curbelo and the school community. In the Counsellor’s Corner, families have a list of student and parent resources from local, provincial and national organizations.
Rudolph Hennig is also part of the Reset Room pilot—an introduction of mental health support rooms in every EIPS junior high. “A Reset Room is a quiet place within a school where students can go when their stress level becomes too high to focus on their learning,” says Mardi Hardt, a Mental Health Advisor at EIPS. “These rooms feature supports, resources and EIPS teachers—trained in mental health literacy and supported by the Division’s counselling team. After taking some time to co-regulate using healthy steadying strategies, students reduce their stress level and are ready to return to class in a better mindset to learn.”
Reset Rooms are a part of the EIPS Mental Health Strategic Plan. “After our engagement, we found junior high students to be the most in distress, from higher numbers of absences to behaviour issues,” adds Hardt. “After implementing the Reset Rooms, we’ve seen an incredible difference. Within the first 90 days of launching, the Reset Rooms recorded more than 10,000 student visits. And, 82 per cent of students said they felt either a little or a lot better after spending time in a Reset Room.”
From community partnerships to Division initiatives, the Canadian School Counselling Week is a time to recognize the contributions of the school counselling profession to the personal, social, educational and career development of students at all grade levels.
Thank you to all the counsellors and mental health professionals throughout EIPS for all that you do!
Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,750 students in 42 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.
For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902