February 1, 2019 Message to Members

Healthy Thoughts

It’s February 1 and we’ve had a very vital and busy start to 2019, although many of us are looking back and wondering how January slipped away so quickly. I have just re-emerged from the thick of an east coast snowstorm: I was fortunate to attend the workshop Introduction to Compassionate Systems Framework in Schools at MIT, and my few days in Boston were profoundly illuminating. The workshop attendance was diverse, not limited to educators and including attendees from more than a dozen countries. This experiential workshop explored the concept of the interconnectedness of global systemic challenges, and the call to refocus on “international mindedness” and to cultivate a “compassionate systems” framework. There’s a lot to unpack, and I was fortunate to attend with a small cohort of local sector colleagues: we will continue to work together in a mutual-support team to bring the vision and learning to our BC teams and schools.

Spending time in deep discussions about behavioral awareness and a compassionate system fuels my belief that we are witnessing systemic mindfulness when it comes to wellness in the education sector. The Ministry of Education will hold their 2nd annual School Community Mental Health Conference – Leading Mentally Healthy Schools in BC on February 4 and 5, an event that brings together Ministry and education sector partners with health authorities and district representation. The purpose of the conference is to build the capacity of school-community teams to support student mental wellness through a systems leadership approach that focuses on mental health promotion. The Fall 2018 BC School Superintendents Association (BCSSA) Conference took as its focus Transforming Education: Well-being in Schools, and the BCPVPA’s own capacity as an association has continued to grow with the development of the Work Intensification and Well-being Advisory Committee (WIWAC), and our Early Intervention Program (EIP) through humanworks.

Our February 22 BCPVPA Issues Forum will feature a keynote with international speaker and author Alan Mallory themed around “Controlling Our External and Internal Focus & Improving Mental Healthand will also offer breakout sessions that include Schools and the Changing Landscape of Youth Substance Abuse: Cannabis Legalization and Vaping and Suicidal Behaviours and Self-Harm at School. The available resources and sense of awareness are both on the rise.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll share more about the workshop in Boston, and learning from the Ministry’s upcoming conference. In the meantime, I hope the start of the month is a good reset for you, and that you will enjoy the weekend ahead whether it’s in snow, rain, or the advent of cherry blossoms.

Take Care,

David