Mental health well-being and supports for students and teachers are being listed as a primary focus as the Saskatchewan government is extending its interim education plan for the new school year.
The plan which was started in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue and officials add a long-term provincial education plan is being worked on with an implementation date of fall 2023.
The plan highlights three priorities:
- The mental health aspect aims to create and refine mental health and well-being plans for each school system to address concerns and build upon best practices related to mental health and well-being. Officials note that there will be communication among school systems and government ministries to share knowledge of available supports, services and programming.
- The 2022-23 budget provides $603,000, an increase of $25,000, to support initiatives like bullying prevention, positive mental health and student safety. Also, the government is offering Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to school divisions, so that at least one staff member is trained in each school in Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions. As of June 2022, 926 staff received training and 733 out of 736 schools have at least one individual trained in MHFA, say government officials.
- Reading instruction and supports for students in grades 1 to 5: Reading strategies will be implemented to help all students and reading support plans will target students who require additional supports.
- Supportive learning opportunities: Schools will focus on engaging and welcoming students to school and on supporting students in literacy and math in grades 1 through 12.
Education officials say that using these priorities, school divisions will build their own plans to meet the unique needs of their students and schools.