I’m not sure if this happens every year, but this year, Education Week and Mental Health Week coincide. At first glance you might not see a connection between the two. The Ministry of Education has stated that this year’s theme for Education Week is ‘Achieving Excellence in Education.’  How can we connect this to mental health?

The Ministry of Education recently released a vision document titled “Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario.” Consultations took place across Ontario last fall in schools and communities to provide the Ministry with feedback on how we can move our education system from good to “great.” This vision document has been developed from those conversations and it has resulted in the Ministry adding a fourth goal to their strategic plan: “Promoting Well-Being: All children and students will develop enhanced mental and physical health, a positive sense of self and belonging, and the skills to make positive choices.”

Promoting well-being provides us with a direct connection between Education Week and Mental Health Week. Our schools have been busy this week doing just that – and this week is no different than any other. We are well down the road of ensuring that our students’ well-being is taken into consideration to ensure success for all. Our community partnerships continue to strengthen, we have a focus on mental wellness in our schools, and healthy active living is encouraged at all grade levels.

As this week draws to a close, I know that support for the well-being of our students, our staff, our families, and partners will continue to be a priority. Our first step on this journey is to ensure that our schools are safe and welcoming for every single person who walks through our doors. I want to thank each and every one of you for all you do each day to exceed the expectations of our school communities by providing schools, classrooms, and offices that are healthy, safe, and caring.

Larry Hope
Director of Education