Changes coming to increase support for students

New student well-being supports will be introduced and implemented over the next three years at Island schools.

Initiative will build on government's mental health strategy

Premier Wade MacLauchlan and Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Doug Currie addressed the recommendations from the school review process. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

New student well-being supports will be introduced and implemented over the next three years at Island schools, the P.E.I. government announced Tuesday.

The changes will begin with the Montague and Westisle family of schools this fall.

Core service delivery teams

​One element of these initiatives will be the construction of core service delivery teams in schools.

The teams will include mental health therapists, school nurses and youth workers. 

In some cases, alternative education programs and occupational therapy resources will be added to the support services available at a school.

"We agree that providing services where children and youth are — in schools — makes sense," said Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Doug Currie.

'Unprecedented level of engagement'

The province said the new supports came as a result of the school review process.

"Throughout this process we have heard from Islanders about the importance of supporting student well-being," said Premier Wade MacLauchlan.

"We've heeded these concerns and will act by introducing new supports for students."

Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Doug Currie thanked Islanders for participating in the review process with such enthusiasm. (Al MacCormick/CBC)

"Discussions and decisions about education must be focused on learning not just infrastructure," added Currie.

Improving student well-being

In addition to the core service delivery teams, the government wants to make accessing community services easier for families through better coordination. 

Addressing gaps in support services, a focus on prevention and early intervention and increased collaboration between schools and agencies that provide help to students are also part of the government's plans.

The size of the crowd at a Public Schools Branch meeting April 3, 2017, demonstrates the kind of action home and school associations took during the review. (CBC)

Currie credited the district advisory councils with highlighting the importance of measures like these. 

"They told us more supports are needed to help students with challenges that impact their academic achievement," he said.

"Now the decisions have been made and Islanders voices have been heard."