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Nurturing Inclusive Communities

Edmonton Catholic Schools is committed to providing an inclusive, welcoming, caring, respectful, safe, and Catholic environment that promotes the well-being of all and fosters community support for achieving this goal. We acknowledge that everyone is responsible for creating and upholding an environment where all are welcome and where promoting the dignity and rights of each and every person is established. The following policy, administrative procedures and student code of conduct outline the expectations of all stakeholders in creating a place where everyone is welcomed and valued.

Visit your school’s website and click on the Inclusive Communities/School Conduct link to see their specific Student Code of Conduct.

Commitment to Inclusive Communities

In May 2014, our District established a committee to develop a policy that embraces diversity. The committee included representation from high school principals, students, representatives from our District’s Human Resource Services, Edmonton Catholic Teachers Local #54- Alberta Teachers’ Association, Religious education /theological consultants, legal counsel, and an Elder Council member. 

This group met to develop a policy that speaks to the broad concept of inclusion with the understanding that all of God’s creation is good and deserving of dignity and respect. Of great significance in this work was the Catholic understanding of working with the whole person.

After several meetings with stakeholders including this committee, the Board of Trustees, the Principal Group, District Strategic Leadership Council, the District Wide Student Advisory Council, and His Grace, Archbishop Smith, the ‘Commitment to Inclusive Communities’ policy was developed, ensuring that the Edmonton Catholic School District is an inclusive community where each person is welcomed, accepted, and supported as a child of God. Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. The overall theme of this policy is ‘Respect in Schools.’

A highlight of the ‘Commitment to Inclusive Communities Policy’ is that it encourages the formation of student groups in schools that address the broad spectrum of causes of inequality and exclusion within the framework of Catholic social teaching. Not only does this promote the dignity and rights of each and every person, it fosters the need for advocacy in our young people and honors our Catholic teachings. We have adopted the Lived Inclusion For Everyone (LIFE) Framework to guide the establishment of these valuable student groups.

Resources for Students and Staff Support

Edmonton Catholic Schools, with the help of various agencies and levels of government, provides numerous services for its students and staff. The following items are an indication of some of the resources that are available.

Assessment Support Intervention Success Team (ASIST)

ASIST, offers integrated interventions and supports to at-risk junior and senior high students in Edmonton Catholic Schools. The ASIST team provides short-term supports so that students can be successful in their learning environment and develop the attitudes and skills needed to become good citizens.

ASIST may involve many professionals and agencies such as YMCA Youth Worker, consultants, Council of Elders, social workers, Mental Health, School Resource Officers, School Team Advisors for Youth just to name a few. The target group primarily includes students from grades 8 to 12 who are engaging in at-risk behaviours and are or may be heading toward an expulsion. These at-risk behaviours may include the following: peer pressure, exposure to drugs & alcohol, bullying, or gang and criminal involvement.

School Resource Officer (SRO)

The SRO (School Resource Officer) program is alive and well. There is an SRO in 7 of our high schools. This program has had a tremendous pay-off for both the school system and for city police. Students develop a healthy respect for the police, the number of significant criminal events in schools is down (and when they do occur are dealt with far more efficiently), and SROs are able to head off potential situations which could explode in a community setting in the evenings or weekends. The SRO Program has also shown to be a good recruitment tool for Edmonton Police Services. Students have positive law enforcement role models to look up to and in many cases explore career-related opportunities in that area.

Family School Liaison Social Worker (FSLW)

The FSLW program provides on-going counselling support to student in accordance with Alberta Education. The range of social services supports the social, emotional and academic needs of students and families. Although far-reaching, the FSLWs primary responsibility is intervention and support to a determined caseload of high-risk youth and their families. All FSLWs are registered Social Workers. As such, schools benefit from their professional expertise and comprehensive approach to the multi-dimensional issues such as mental health, addictions, poverty, family dynamics and criminal issues.

Critical Response Team

Edmonton Catholic School District has created the means with which we may respond to a tragedy in order to offer optimal support to the school community. When a tragedy occurs, school administration may wish to involve one or several members of our Critical Response Team as well as other members of the school community.

It is also important to note that our District Chaplains, Fr. Dean Dowle and Fr. Julian Bilyj, are available to liaise between the home, school and the local parish and to offer spiritual guidance to families on behalf of the District.

Alberta Education Effective Behavioural Supports

Some of our schools are using and adapting this three-part resource in their schools. It provides information, strategies, stories from schools and sample tools for systematically teaching, supporting and reinforcing positive behaviour. This integrated system of school-wide, classroom management, and individual student support is designed to provide school staff with effective strategies to improve behavioural outcomes in their school.

Schools as Community Hubs

In partnership with Catholic Social Services, The City of Edmonton, Big Brothers Big Sisters Edmonton & Area, Boys & Girls Clubs of Edmonton, The Creating Hope Society, Our Nation on Mission Society, Action For Healthy Communities and Edmonton Public Library, we are able to offer after-school programming that includes individual and family counseling, sports, cultural activities, mentorship, recreation, life skills, cooking, literacy support and homework help to the students and families in the community surrounding St. Alphonsus Catholic School.

Kagan Cooperative Learning

Kagan Structures engage every student. The more they interact with their peers and with the curriculum, the more they'll learn. Kagan Structures require every student to participate frequently and equally. Kagan Structures close the achievement by creating dramatic gains for struggling students. As brain-research is proving, meaningful engagement is just a better way to reach and teach all students. When students are actively engaged on a daily basis, everything changes.

Volunteers with ECSD

All non-school based adults working as volunteers in schools are required to complete a one-page volunteer document. For those volunteers involved in one-on-one assistance with students, coaching and overnight activities, the following two verifications are required:

· Police Information Check
· Intervention Record Check

Despite the hundreds of applications every year, ECSD ensures due diligence in guaranteeing that its volunteers have been appropriately screened to work with all students.

AMA School Patrol Program

Our elementary schools participate in the `School Patrol’ program. This is supported by The City of Edmonton and Edmonton Police Services. Crosswalks are patrolled before and after school and for special events.

Outside Agencies and Supports for Students and Staff
Urban Aboriginal Family Resource Centre

Edmonton Catholic Schools First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students who are in need of further supports are referred to Urban Aboriginal Family Resource Centre - a program of Native Counseling Services of Alberta. The Centre offers both group counseling and one-on-one sessions.

Alberta Education

School administrators, teachers, school staff, students and community members are all partners in creating a welcoming learning environment. Strategies focused on awareness, communication, prevention and intervention are used to help build caring, respectful and safe schools that support healthy relationships and facilitate student learning. The following link will bring you to information for creating, maintaining and enhancing caring and safe learning environments.

Alberta Ministry of Human Services

Human Services offers a range of services and programs for children and families. They strive to break the cycles of family violence, abuse and poverty that prevent some children from becoming strong, sound individuals. By following the link, you will find information on adoption, child care, foster care, family violence prevention, child welfare, supports for children with disabilities and many other programs that support families and communities, enabling them to provide nurturing, safe environments for their children.

YMCA Alternative Suspension Program

Alternative Suspension is an out-of-school intervention program that provides a constructive learning environment for suspended students as well as students at risk of being suspended. With the goal of reintegrating students back into school, Alternative Suspension helps students address the causes leading up to their time in the program.

YMCA Youth Transitions Program (YTP)

The YTP is a complimentary service focused on providing support to youth (aged 13 - 19) who are facing barriers in their life. These barriers may be related to school, employment, peers, family, housing, addictions, and pregnancy.

REACH Edmonton Council for Safe Communities

REACH is not an acronym. The name was chosen to reflect reaching out to help and include all Edmontonians. The role of REACH is to initiate, coordinate and integrate, not duplicate what already exists. REACH, together with our partners, believes that safety and crime prevention solutions come from within the community. REACH engages with organizations, police, agencies, government, communities and individuals to realize innovative safety and crime prevention solutions.

The Leader in Me

The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model that acts like the operating system of a computer — it improves performance of all other programs. Based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, The Leader in Me produces transformational results such as higher academic achievement, fewer discipline problems, and increased engagement among teachers and parents. Better yet, The Leader in Me equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century economy.

Safe & Caring Schools

The Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities (Safe and Caring) is a not-for-profit organization which builds community capacity to prevent bullying, violence and exploitation of children and youth through the promotion of healthy relationships.

Safe and Caring’s Board of Directors includes representation from the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Alberta School Boards Association, the College of Alberta School Superintendents and other community organizations and individuals committed to the children and youth of Alberta.

Expecting Respect Workshop

Using peer education as a learning strategy, the program provides education about healthy decision making to junior and senior high school students. Students are trained as peer educators on violence prevention and health topics. When students return to school, the peer educators present the lessons they have learned to their schoolmates.

Students on Stage Youth Action Conference

Using peer education as a learning strategy, the program provides education about healthy decision making to junior and senior high school students. Students are trained as peer educators on violence prevention and health topics. When students return to school, the peer educators present the lessons they have learned to their schoolmates.

Students on Stage Youth Action Conference

Sponsored by Stop Abuse in Families Society, the message is to stop bullying at home, in schools and in the community. Through a series of workshops in music, dance, poetry and theatre, an expected 180 junior high students will be doing just that – standing up to bullying.

Through the different art mediums the students express their thoughts, ideas, and experiences on ways to stop bullying.

Free 2 Be Youth

The uniqueness of this program rests with youth from diverse backgrounds spearheading meaningful activities within their schools and communities. Youth will collaborate to raise awareness in their school and greater community regarding the issues faced by specific marginalized student groups with the goal of increasing understanding and eliminating the barriers that keep students from experiencing inclusion. Collectively, staff, students and other individuals in the school community will become exposed to resources and training (in the forms of workshops, written and digital media) that focus on these marginalized student populations within the entire student body.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

The book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, discusses how teenagers can become more independent and effective by following seven basic habits. The habits range from being proactive in every aspect of your life to planning and prioritizing your daily life and responsibilities. Schools use the book as a basis to help students become leaders and have positive peer interactions.

Bucket Fillers

Based on a series of books written by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer, children learn about how being kind not only helps others, it helps them, too. One of the most powerful messages — that the way we relate to others has a profound effect on every aspect of our lives.

2Learn Education Society

A comprehensive website supported by the ATA, the College of Alberta School Superintendents, the University of Alberta and the Government of Alberta

Roots of Empathy

Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. This program has been successfully used in Edmonton Catholic Schools. 

Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY Program)

A number of gr. 9 classes in Edmonton Catholic Schools take part in the P.A.R.T.Y. Program. Students are taken on a tour of a hospital ward where victims of drunk-driving or other risk-related events are recovering or are given a high-impact presentation at the school.

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