True North Strong and Free – Spreading Healthy Schools knowledge and support in all parts of the province!

by Daniel Naiman

After a beautiful Canada Day weekend, my work day began on Tuesday July 2nd by boarding a plane to the northernmost destination I have ever traveled to: Dawson Creek BC (And no, this is not where the TV show Dawson’s Creek took place if that’s what you are thinking!). The purpose of this trip was to support a joint learning session between the South Peace School District (SD#59) and members of the Northern Health regional health authority as part of a regional consultation process (a component of the Healthy Schools BC initiative which aims to bring school districts and health authorities together to determine how they can best work together to jointly support student well being).

The joint learning session was a huge success. We opened the day by teaching the group (a total of about 45 administrators and heath authority staff) about the Comprehensive School Health Approach, with some examples and activities to solidify everyone’s knowledge on this whole-school approach. Everyone then broke-off into small groups to undertake an appreciative inquiry to look at what healthy schools activities were currently going on in their region.

For the second half of the day, DASH shared some of the tools, resources, and supports that are available to educators and health partners, such as the Healthy Schools BC Portal. One of our Healthy Schools Network leaders, Lynn Brown, then provided a real life example by presenting on her work creating a “Community of Learners” with her students, and how both school and health authority staff could benefit by using this same process. The day ended with small groups coming together again deciding next steps on how they could best move forward together.

Getting to attend these types of meetings is one of the great perks of being part of the DASH team. Seeing partners from different sectors (health and education in this case) come together for the sole purpose of creating healthy learners and healthy learning environments is an incredible process to be a part of. Also, I get to see such interesting and beautiful parts of this incredible province, like the Mile 0 marker for the Alaskan Highway which we went to go see while in Dawson Creek. Most importantly, I get to meet such special people from across the province and hear about the amazing work they are doing to create a healthy, educated, and engaged population of students across British Columbia.

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