School spotlight and events

Student mental health and well-being


Students who have strong relationships and a positive sense of self are in a better position to reach their full potential. We believe it is essential to support all students to have a positive sense of well-being—the sense of self, identity, and belonging in the world that will help them to learn, grow and thrive—in order for students to be successful in school.

“Children who experience a greater sense of well-being are more able to learn and assimilate information in effective ways; more likely to engage in healthy and fulfilling social behaviours; more likely to invest in their own and others’ well-being and in the sustainability of the planet, as they take up their social, professional and leadership roles in adulthood.”
–Adapted from The Kindergarten Program, 2016, p. 58, citing Awartani, Whitman, and Gordon, 2008

Summer Mental Health Supports

Contact information

Toll-free: 1-800-267-4350

Phone: 613-966-1170 extension 62124/62108

Fax: 613-966-9322

Email: [email protected]

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Mental Health

Mental health and promoting well-being

Guidance about student mental health and well-being is provided by our Mental Health Leadership Team. They work with our Mental Health Advisory Committee to improve well-being for all. Overall, we strive to create welcoming, inclusive and safe learning environments that optimize students’ potential.

Schools are ideal places to help advance and support student mental health and well-being. They are also where we can identify the early signs of when students may be struggling with a mental health issue or with a mental illness.

Results from school climate surveys continue to indicate that anxiety, depression, aggression, substance use and social relationships are some of the primary mental health concerns for students.

Our Growing with Character approach to student social and emotional is another way we are building mentally healthy classrooms.

Our priorities

  • To enhance mental health awareness and mental health literacy throughout HPEDSB
  • To explore the implementation of evidence-based mental health promotion and mental health prevention programming
  • To continue the evolution of organizational conditions focusing on the development of standard processes and protocols that align our Mental Health Strategy with other HPEDSB initiatives, as well as promote accountability and define the pathway to care

Links and resources

Contact information

Toll-free: 1-800-267-4350

Phone: 613-966-1170 extension 62124/62108

Fax: 613-966-9322

Email: [email protected]

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Safe & Accepting Schools

Safe and accepting schools

A positive school climate exists when everyone in the school community feels safe, included and accepted.

Students, parents/guardians, school staff, community partners and visitors have the right to be safe, and to feel safe in their school community. With this right comes the responsibility to contribute to a positive school climate.

The promotion and use of various strategies and initiatives all help to create a positive school climate. Examples being used at HPEDSB schools are restorative practices, mental health promotion programs, character development and prevention and intervention strategies to address inappropriate behaviour.

The provincial and Board Codes of Conduct set clear standards of behaviour for a safe and positive school climate. Physical, verbal, written, sexual, or psychological abuse, bullying, discrimination and the willful damage of property are not tolerated. These standards of behaviour apply to students whether they are on school property, on school buses, at school-related events or activities, or in other circumstances that could have an impact on the school climate. They also apply to all individuals involved in the publicly-funded school system—principals, teachers, other school staff, parents, volunteers, and community groups.

Explore this section to learn more about fostering safe and healthy environments, restorative practices, progressive discipline, bullying awareness and prevention, community supports and safe schools legislation.

Links and resources

Contact information

Toll-free: 1-800-267-4350

Phone: 613-966-1170 extension 62124/62108

Fax: 613-966-9322

Email: [email protected]

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Equity & Inclusive Education

Equity and inclusive education

At HPEDSB we are committed to student achievement and well-being. Each student is an individual with unique interests, goals and strengths. All students have the opportunity to explore the possibilities for today and tomorrow, and move towards graduation from their chosen pathway.

We are further committed to the elimination of discrimination, as outlined in Ontario’s Ministry of Education Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy (Pdf), Equity Action Plan (2017) and the Human Rights Code for Ontario.

Equity of opportunity and equity of access to all programs, services and resources are critical to the well-being of those who serve our school system, and to the achievement of successful outcomes by all those whom we serve.

Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy

The Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy is designed to support a publicly funded education system that gives all students the opportunity to reach their highest potential.

Principles of equitable and inclusive education

Equitable and inclusive education is based upon the following:

  • It is a foundation of excellence, and is a fundamental requirement for educational excellence and high standards of student achievement
  • It meets individual needs by providing conditions and interventions needed to help every student succeed
  • It identifies and eliminates barriers
  • it promotes a sense of belonging which contributes to every student’s sense of well-being
  • It involves the broader community and recognizes that school-community partnerships are an essential component of an equitable and inclusive education system
  • It builds on and enhances previous and existing initiatives
  • It is demonstrated throughout the organization


  • Race & Racism: Igniting Student Voices by Harmony Movement

Harmony Movement provides interactive diversity and equity education programs that empower and inspire youth, educators and those in the social service sector. These programs, such as Igniting Student Voices, aim to inspire and provide youth with skills to create social change in schools and the community. Students develop critical thinking skills, learn to have courageous conversations and develop strategies to take action against stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, racism and other forms of oppression.

An Igniting Student Voice conference was organized to empower students to be leaders and advocates for change.  By creating a space for students to express their experiences of being racialized, the program aimed to increase knowledge, build skills and encourage students to express themselves.

The two-day program supported racialized students and their allies to:

    • Identify their strengths and reflect on their struggles
    • Enhance their knowledge of systemic racism and how to challenge it
    • Explore what it means to be an advocate or ally
    • Utilize different tools to analyze problems and create strategies for more inclusive learning environments

A wrap up forum was scheduled where students had the opportunity to share their change-making strategies.

  • Poverty Challenge

Students from our secondary schools participate in the annual Poverty Challenge at Loyalist College. It is a one-day event where students experience a ‘day in the life’ of someone who lives in poverty. Through this experience, students are introduced to the community/government programs in place to assist people in poverty. By the end of the day the goals is for students to become agents of social change in the struggle against poverty.

“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” – Nelson Mandela

  • Culturally Response and Relevant Practice

This professional learning collaboration presented by the Antiracist Multicultural Education Network of Ontario ameno.ca focused on capacity around equity and inclusive education through Culturally Responsive and Relevant Practice. Eighteen elementary and secondary teachers used a model that starts with Knowing Self and Knowing Students to work towards or deepen their understanding of what it means to be culturally responsive in our classrooms and schools. Through reflective activities, research and curriculum based frameworks, readings and video clips, educators were supported to bring the principles of equity and inclusive education to teaching and learning. The workshop challenged teachers to examine their assumptions, values and beliefs and how privilege and personal bias impacts on the design, delivery and assessment of the Ontario curriculum.

“When we lose the right to be different we lose the privilege to be free.” –Nelson Mandela

  • Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy

In partnership with the Ottawa Regional Equity & Inclusive Education Network, 32 teachers and administrators have been participating with our co-terminus boards in professional learning creating culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy. The interactive sessions provide the framework for teachers and administrators to understand the foundations of Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy within the Canadian context. Together, all participants begin to plan and act to implement equitable change in their schools and classrooms. The Equity continuum: action for critical transformation in schools and classrooms a tool created by the Centre for Urban Schooling/OISE University of Toronto is being explored.

” … a lot of educators are unclear of what ‘equity’ means. Also, conversations about equity are difficult, so the Equity Continuum was a nice entry for a lot of teachers.” – Community based youth organizer, Toronto

  • Student Equity Leadership Forum

Elementary and secondary students have participated in a student equity leadership forum facilitated by Harmony Movement, harmony.ca, leading diversity training organization in Ontario. This leadership opportunity aims to create more equitable and inclusive schools and communities. Using interactive games and activities, as well as examples from popular media, this training program introduces students to issues of equity, diversity and inclusion while developing their abilities to take leadership for social change.

“Privilege is invisible to those who have it.” – Michael Kimmel, sociologist and gender studied specialist

Various initiatives and program supports

  • Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day is an annual event that encourages the HPEDSB community to demonstrate our shared belief in the power of celebrating diversity and acceptance by wearing a pink shirt. By wearing pink, we also acknowledge and offer support for the ongoing efforts to increase awareness of bullying prevention initiatives, the work of school teams, and the role-modeling provided by all student leaders in our schools.

Pink Shirt Day also connects to our Say and Do Nice Things campaigns, which is our award-winning and research-based campaign about feeling welcome and included.

  • Ambassadors for Inclusion

Ambassadors for Inclusion is for secondary school students. It is offered through a partnership between HPEDSB and Community Living Prince Edward clpe.on.ca. This program originated at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute and is now being expanded across the district. Using a train-the-trainer approach, student ambassadors promote an inclusive education experience for students with disabilities. The Ambassadors for Inclusion Program, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation aligns with the Ministry of Education document Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario, as well as with the HPEDSB Well-Being priority.

  • Gay/straight alliance (GSA)/diversity clubs

All employees and students have the right to a safe and healthy school environment. Many secondary schools have established GSAs within their school community. Our Equity and Inclusivity team is available to support schools in the creation of welcoming, safe, supportive and inclusive schools for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) community. The website, My GSA – Canada’s Safer Schools and Inclusive Education, mygsa.ca, provides support for the students for their gay-straight alliance or LGBTQ+ safer space group.

  • Say and Do Nice Things

The third week of November is recognized as Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week in Ontario. It is a time for students, employees, parents/guardians and community to learn more about bullying and its effect on student achievement and well-being. Every year we roll our Say and Do Nice Things campaign out as a way for positive comments or stories to be shared at schools, the Education Centre and through families and communities.

Links and resources

Contact information

Toll-free: 1-800-267-4350

Phone: 613-966-1170 extension 62308

Fax: 613-966-6023

Email: [email protected]

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Attendance at school is important

Every school day counts!

Some students and families face challenges that make it difficult for students to go to school on a daily basis. As a result of their circumstances, these students are regularly absent from school and/or may participate in worrisome behaviours at home, school or in the community

Being at school every day is essential for students to learn and be successful.

Links and resources

Contact information

Toll-free: 1-800-267-4350

Phone: 613-966-1170

Fax: 613-966-9322

Email: [email protected]

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Social work and child and youth worker services

Social workers are regulated mental health professionals.  Social workers provide support to students who are experiencing social, emotional, mental health and addictions concerns.

Child and youth workers work in the elementary schools supporting students who are experiencing social, emotional or behavioural problems.

What support is provided?

Social workers are school-based, regulated mental health professionals.  Social workers offer therapeutic counselling services, crisis response services, suicide intervention support and evidence based mental health programs and services.

Child and youth workers are a school-based resource in elementary schools. Child and youth workers assist students, their families and school personnel with school attendance, social, emotional or behavioural problems.

How do families access Social Workers and CYWs?

Referrals for social work and child and youth worker services may come from:

  • Community agency
  • Parents/guardians
  • Self referral
  • School personnel

For more information regarding the referral process, contact your child’s school principal.

Links and resources


The FRIENDS Programs are scientifically validated and are recognized by the World Health Organization as best practice for the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression in children.

MindUP is an evidence-informed Scholastic and Hawn Foundation program. It teaches social and emotional learning skills that link cognitive neuroscience, positive psychology and mindful awareness training utilizing a brain centric approach.

Second step is an evidence informed student success through prevention program that targets social-emotional learning.

The Fourth R: Skills for Youth Relationships is a curriculum for students in Grade 8-9. It promotes healthy and safe behaviour related to dating, bullying, sexuality and substance use.

Links and resources

Contact information

Toll-free: 1-800-267-4350

Phone: 613-966-1170 extension 62124/62108

Fax: 613-966-9322

Email: [email protected]

Follow on Twitter

Growing with Character

Growing with CharacterGrowing with Character (GWC) is our intentional approach to provide learning opportunities that promote social and emotional learning in children. We do this by modeling, teaching and expecting demonstrations of various character traits, such as: caring, cooperation, honesty, humour, integrity, respect, responsibility and trustworthiness.

Growing with Character is also an intentional focus on creating safe, caring, respectful and inclusive learning environments where students develop foundation for good character.

Eight Character Attributes

Caring Cooperation Honesty Humour
We demonstrate concern for self and others. We show empathy and express genuine concerns. We consider the long term effect of our actions. We work as a team for a common good. We value the opinions of others and show a willingness to work together towards a common goal. We choose to live truthfully. We communicate and act in a sincere and respectful way. We celebrate the fun in life. We lighten the emotions of others by interacting in a joyful manner.
Integrity Respect Reponsibility Trustworthiness
We do what is right for ourselves and others. We demonstrate values and ethics that are good for all. We speak directly, clearly, and respectfully. We value ourselves, others and our environment. We give consideration to the thoughts and actions of others. We treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves, with courtesy and dignity. We have a sense of duty to fulfill commitments. We take ownership for our own thoughts and actions. We are reliable and accountable in our words and actions. We can be counted on to do what is right. We instill confidence in one another through our actions.

Links and resources

Last updated: June 19, 2017 at 10:43 am
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