Chinook - Focusing on Staff Health and Wellness
Chinook’s Edge School Division (CESD) is striving to enhance health and wellness of all staff.
This priority emerged from efforts to develop and implement a Social Emotional Framework for students. In this process, it became apparent that staff need to be healthy and well to be impactful in their work with students. A genuine safe and caring culture in the division includes the provision of clear staff wellness structures and supports.
The Superintendent and recently retired Associate Superintendent launched the Staff Health and Wellness Initiative in the spring of 2016 with full endorsement from the CESD Board of Education. This project is supported by the CESD Staff Wellness Worker, Alberta Health Services Health Promotion Facilitator, Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan, and a team of Health Champions from every school. The Associate Superintendent of People Services provides leadership and the initiative is backed by the Central Office Leadership Team (COLT).
The Staff Health and Wellness Team (SHW Team) developed a clear vision then developed a comprehensive assessment tool to garner feedback from all employees groups across the division. With a 71% response rate, and feedback from 860 staff members, high engagement from all corners provided the SHW Team with a clear mandate to guide them in moving forward.
The SHW Team reviewed, discussed and synthesized qualitative and quantitative data from all 860 survey responses. They identified staff wellness priorities, consulted best practices, and developed appropriate strategies and actions to continue to bring the project alive across the 14 different communities that are part of this school division.
COLT has spent considerable time considering the feedback and determining how to move ahead in addressing the priorities identified in three categories of response in the survey results:
- Individual (What is your wellness plan for yourself?)
- Workplace (Wellness plan for your staff?)
- Division (What standards and boundaries could COLT set across Chinook’s Edge?)
COLT determined the following five action items, as a place to start:
- Staff will be provided with access to local fitness opportunities and discounts.
- Individual Program Plan (student IPP) processes will be clarified and streamlined to reduce unnecessary staff time.
- Field Trip forms will be completed entirely online, reducing communication timelines and eliminating the need for staff time managing, monitoring and collecting forms.
- The Staff Health and Wellness Worker position will be expanded to 0.5 FTE, to continue to support staff across the division.
- CESD is taking a bold approach to staff wellness! “Weekdays ‘Til 6:00 in CESD” is a simple, but powerful new practice that is being trialed across the division to reduce the distraction from text and emails that staff are engaged in around the clock. This new standard of practice is being supported across the division as staff no longer email/text on weekends or after 6:00 p.m. on weekdays.
CESD is dedicated to making their essence statement a reality as they continue “to embrace environments that support health and wellness, empowering all staff to thrive as compassionate, healthy and well balanced individuals”. Structures and processes are now embedded within the division to ensure that this important work continues with the support of strong leadership support. The ultimate goal being to create an authentic culture of caring, where all staff feel validated and supported in the work they do for students.