Improving Our Schools

SHE Leadership (Support Her Efforts)

On November 30th, Canadian Safe Schools conducted its very first SHE (support her efforts) Leadership event. What is the event all about? Well, when we were first planning SHE, we envisioned an event where SHEs could get inspired in order to focus on their inner attributes and validations above outer expectations and demands. However, by the end of the event we realized it was something bigger than that; SHE became a platform where youth were able to feel connected to one another, inspired, and motivated. SHE had become a nexus where all the girls, speakers, and teachers were able to celebrate their SHE hood. It was beautiful to see girls of all ages, backgrounds, and dispositions come together to find common experiences, and through that related to each other. We realized that by providing these girls a non-judgmental, trusting, and supporting space, they were able to unfold their hopes, experiences, believes, attitudes, goals, and beauties in front of everyone. Also, by doing so, they were able to feel more confident, inspired, and connected.final-poster-01

There are many contributing elements that made SHE what it was: our sponsors, TD, our supporters, M.A.C cosmetics and Panago Pizza, our wonderful speakers, and SHE Shares.

Our speakers were absolutely inspiring, raw, and, altogether, so phenomenal. They were successful women from diverse backgrounds and careers. Their broad diversity allowed every SHE to resonate with at least one speaker, if not all! Moreover, all the speakers gave a unique insight to SHE-hood by sharing their authentic experiences with the world. They touched topics related to confidence, love, goals, beauty, authenticity, patience, hard work, and believing in yourself. They were supportive role models and, all together, great human beings. If you wish to know more about our speakers please  click here

Lastly, according to the students, “SHE Shares” was the biggest hit of the day. SHE Shares was the part of the event where the kids could go up on stage and share an accomplishment. Something they overcame because they decided to be authentically themselves and believe in their own potential and self-worth. It resulted in tears, laughter, strength, connection, support, and encouragement. We saw a sort of resilience that we didn’t expect, we saw their strength, heard their stories, and got inspired. They showed how brave they were; they showed us the beauty of vulnerability, and most of all they showed us that they just need a space to express themselves, and once they have that, they will shine.

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On the 6th of October, Business owners, School Administrators, Policy Advisers, Lawyers, Deputy Chief, OACP youth committee and Educators, came together to discuss the different perspectives on the legalization of Marijuana. In a short time, big chances are coming to Canada! We realized that the mainstream dialogue on legalization somehow has not deeply discussed how this step m
ay affect youth safety and progress. Therefore, Canadian Safe Schools Network dedicated a whole day investigating how these changes may affect educators, students, and safe schools. In addition, we also discussed what steps law makers and educators have to take in order to successfully and safely conduct this major change-

We would like to thank all our speakers and delegates for coming together!
In order to fully understand an issue, one has to look it from all sides in all perspectives. So, thanks to our diverse and well informed speakers, we were able to exchange knowledge and insight from all sides!
If you did not attend our conference, do not worry, you have not missed out!! Our speakers were kind enough to post their presentations and thoughts

 

The M-Word conference description

Cannimed- Brent-Zettl

Nazlee Maghsoudi

Stephanie Young

Rebecca Jesseman

Judith Renaud Speech

 

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Last Thursday, June 2, CSSN visited Mountain View Academy in Calgary Alberta to ask their grade 10 and 11 students for some help.

The Safe Schools Hackathon program uses a ground up approach to learn about social media and cyberbullying directly from those who know it best; students. The Hackathon program engages students in a discussion about cyberbullying, encouraging them to share their own insights based on what they’ve witnessed or experienced online.

We then invited students to pull out their phones. Although Mountain View Academy has a ‘no phones in class’ rule, we got an exemption for this unique learning opportunity. Students took a different look at the apps they used most, noticing commonly used features such as menus, buttons and icons. The program outlined the initial stages of app design and taught students how to develop wireframes and storyboards.  Teams of students were then given time to conceptualize their own apps that could help put an end to cyberbullying. At the end of the session 4 clever concepts were presented.

Each idea suggested offered educational tools and ways of coping with online bullying. A vote was had to determine the winning team, and we are proud to congratulate Emily, Taylor and Suweyda on their winning concept!

The curriculum for the Hackathon program was put together by safe school experts at CSSN and the team at Lighthouse Labs who provided valuable input on app design.

Over the summer CSSN will continue to develop the Safe Schools Hackathon program with the goal of visiting more cities across Canada next fall!

For more information on cyberbullying check out our resource:

https://canadiansafeschools.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Cyberbullying-resource-for-print.pdf

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What’s a parent to do when the hardships that we’re once restricted to the school yard such as bullying and name calling, come creeping into the house, scurry down the hall and are sitting next to your child on a screen while they try to do their homework?

The reality is, for most parents (and teachers), children are going to know more about smartphones and apps before you have a chance to learn how to pronounce them. This makes combatting issues like cyberbullying incredibly difficult.

In the last month, CSSN held the first two of our Bully Stop Hackathons, and we’re thrilled to say they were a great success!

The BullyStop Hackathon is a new Safe Schools initiative developed to help combat cyberbullying.

Bullying is one of the most prevalent and harmful issues facing youth today. Not only does bullying make children feel unsafe, but it puts their mental, social, and physical well-being at risk. With the rise of social media, the problem has only become more severe. Bullying, harassment and intimidation have become an inescapable, 24/7 problem for many Canadian children. The effects of bullying can be devastating and in the most severe of cases can lead to suicide.

Despite the issues, the reality is that communication technology has carved a lasting place in society. We live in digital times, and our capacity for online communication is only growing. In fact, computer coding is being introduced into provincial school curriculum and will likely continue to be integrated across the nation. As the space for online social networks continues to grow, more is needed to combat negative peer interactions and to promote safety, resilience, and positive mental health. We don’t believe that social technology is inherently the problem. In fact, we believe that it may be the solution.

 

This event, held in Vancouver and Toronto in Lighthouse Labs offices (and soon to be Calgary and Halifax) invited high school and university students to take part in a friendly competition to build mobile apps that can help put an end to cyberbullying.

The events saw students:

Discuss the issues and explore perspectives

– What are the problems and who is impacted?

Learn about app technology and development.

– Students learned about computer coding for iOS, how to storyboard their ideas, and how to develop a concept ready for market.

Collaborate and create ways to put a stop to cyberbullying.

-Students worked alongside safe school facilitators, law enforcement officials, and tech experts to brainstorm ideas for digital solutions.

-They competed in a creative competition to design iOS apps that could help eliminate cyberbullying.

-Teams pitched their ideas to the one another and to the adult experts.  The room voted on the winning app in each city!

We’ve heard excellent ideas all around! The events have allowed us to hear directly from youth on the most pertinent issues they face in the online world, which in turn allows us to develop solutions that are effective. We’re proud to have met and worked with such engaged and inspiring young individuals thus far, and can’t wait to hear more fantastic ideas as we head to Calgary and Halifax.

The program came to life with help from our generous sponsors Lighthouse Labs, and Telus WISE who seek to make the online world safer for everyone using it.

To check out CTV coverage of this event click here.

Stay tuned for more information on the BullyStop Hackathon as we look to develop a program that will bring the initiative to schools across the country! If you’d like to know more, get in touch!

 

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INBETWEEN Magazine helps parents navigate the often tumultuous teen and young adult years. Most recently they’ve published a detailed piece about the on-going issue of bullying and cybebullying, titled ” High School Horror.”

“Some teens cannot find solace away from bullying. It follows them everywhere from the halls of high school to their online activity at home. Here’s how you can step in and keep your child safe,” the article began.

While writting this piece INBETWEEN spoke with CSSN president Stu Auty for information about the causes and effects of bullying and cyberbullying.

Take a look at their full article here:

 INBETWEEN

 

CSSN has spent 20 years creating schools that are safe and welcoming for all students in Canada. In 2016 there will be new students in class that need our help.

Before our holiday break, we sat down to discuss our next move in creating safe and inclusive school environments. It occurred to us that with the new year, came new students, and a second ‘Back to School’ season. As Canada accepts 25,000 Syrian refugees by February 2016, it is worth noting that many of them are families with school-aged children. This means that this week, and in weeks to come, refugee children will be stepping into new Canadian classrooms for the first time.

For years we have helped address issues that cause stress and anxiety in children including, starting a new school, learning a new curriculum, being included, and making friends. The reality is a refugee child will face each of these issues upon entering their new classroom.

There is no doubt that this transitional period will be a difficult one. CSSN is proud to announce our newest initiative to help refugee children feel safe and included in their new schools.

Our new Back to School Support Package Initiative will send packages of school supplies, technology, and tutoring services to refugee children across Canada. Our goal is to provide them with all the same supplies their peers will have, as well as offer tutoring to help with language barriers that may affect their studies.

Along with this program we will soon be delivering a number of strategies for teachers, to help create a welcoming environment for their new students.

Learn more about this initiative or purchase a Back to School Support Package here:

https://canadiansafeschools.com/sendsupport

A new school, new friend, a new classroom can be a stressful experience for any child. Imagine not knowing the language, culture and curriculum.

If you are a teacher in Canada who is accepting a new refugee student in your classroom, please get in touch with us to arrange a support package.

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“Children must feel safe in order to be freed up to learn. ” – Mary Gordon, Founder of Roots of Empathy.

This year we are pleased to welcome Mary Gordon, founder of Roots of Empathy as our Keynote speaker at the 18th Annual Safe Schools Conference coming up February 24th.

Roots of Empathy is a charitable organization that originated in Toronto in 1996. There mission: to build caring, peaceful, and civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults. They believe by focusing on empathy, creating respectful relationships, we are able to reduce levels of bullying and aggression in children. 

There is no doubt that a safe and caring classroom will benefit learning. This practice extends across all areas of safe school issues, whether it be mental health, LGBTQ, special education, or any other area. Creating environments that are inclusive, and based on positive relationship practices will benefit all. The key to Roots of Empathy’s philosophy is to engage all students. We cannot label and target the “troubled” child or the “bully”. Instead, it is teaching all students how to act with empathy that will build a positive culture all around.

As Mary Gordon states in her presentation description, many children cannot find unconditional comfort and support at home. This is when school becomes a safe-haven, and teachers play an even more influential role. To help students overcome any of the challenges they may be facing in their crucial developmental years we must foster empathy and positive relationships.

We are excited to have Mary Gordon join us in Toronto on the 24th. Click here to read her full presentation description.

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Votes are in! We are so excited to announce the winner of the first ever Safe Schools Story Contest! Congratulations to the first place winner:

Title: Who Belongs

Author: Alexis C.

 

And with so many entries we have chosen 2 second place winners to be published in the safe schools story book! Congratulations to:

Rebecca W.  and Saheb T.

Our winners have now been contacted, and the story publishing process will begin soon!

Thank you to all of the student authors who sent entries. We received many more stories than anticipated and we had a great time reading them all! Also, a big thank you to the teachers who implemented our story contest into their curriculum and sent us a classroom worth of stories!

The Safe Schools Story book will be published later this year, and made available on our website and at our conferences and events. It will feature the 3 winning stories, as well as resources and questions on safe school issues for educators to use in their classrooms.

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This past week yet another fatal shooting has occurred in Toronto. Stu Auty appeared on National television Tuesday morning to discuss lockdowns and crisis situations in schools.

Stu Auty on Canada AM

In face of these recent tragic events and many others that have occurred across the country, CSSN offers some insight into WHY such things are occurring and HOW they can be stopped.

The big question that many authorities, parents, and communities are asking is WHY? Why do kids carry weapons? Why do they use them? The answer is twofold. Generally speaking it is because of 1. Fear and 2. Power. In this case, it is important to remember that many students, even those carrying weapons, are victims. Victims of their society. Many students carry weapons out of fear. Fear for their safety, fear of the unknown, fear of not belonging. They also carry weapons as a form of power. They view a weapon as a way to combat the fear, and gain power.

For this reason, we believe in early intervention. Early intervention involves educating students while they are young to make educated and safe decisions, before they reach for a weapon or use violence as a form of power. If a child learns pro-social skills, learns right from wrong, values, honesty, caring, then it is highly unlikely they will reach for a weapon to solve a problem.

How to put an end to youth violence?

This is an even bigger questions. One that has no precise solution. But, there are strategies.

Parents should speak with their children. Use recent events as an opportunity to discuss and learn about lockdowns, and a hold & secure. Discuss the events with your child with the goal of reducing anxiety.

Most importantly, be aware of your child and their behaviour. Know your children’s friends, because often children become their friends. Assure that they choose their friends carefully. Notice warning signs in your children, change in attitude, not interested in attending school, change in appetite and clothing, are all indicators of a change in their environment and could mean they are putting themselves in dangerous situations.

As for educators, they should be able to share the same messages that parents are sharing. Cohesive communication from the different adults in a child’s life is essential. After an emergency situation or crisis event, stress the importance of what has occurred, and what can be learned. Often, students do not fully understand what might happen if they are carrying a weapon. Stress the impact of their actions.

Finally, we believe in preventative strategies not responsive ones. Police presence in schools and metal detectors are not concrete solutions to the problem. It is through education, and spreading positive values to young people that we will be able to make a difference, and reduce youth violence all together.

If you have questions about youth violence and what we can do to stop it. Please get in touch.
info@canadiansafeschools.com
@CndnSafeSchools

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As part of our goal to help create safe and caring school spaces for all students, we’re re-introducing our resources section!

It’s a big job creating safe schools across Canada, so we appreciate all the help we can get! At CSSN, we felt a real need to offer more support to students, teachers and parents who are looking to maintain and create safe schools in their own communities. To do this, we’re introducing a fresh new resources section on our website!

The new section is broken down into 3 parts; Teachers, Students, & Parents. Each section offers specific information and support about a variety of different issues. Our student section focuses on helping students overcoming certain challenges they are facing at school, in the playground or on the way home. It helps students understand what bullying looks like, and all the different types of bullying that might exist. It offers them practical tips on how to get help, and overcome bullying.

Our parents and teachers section provides even more detail on how to support children who may be facing challenges at school. In addition to detailed advice on bullying, both sections offer parents and teachers respective explanations and examples of how to help a child deal with…

Cyber-Safety  
Taking A Stand  
Loneliness  
Recess Troubles  
Ratting vs. Reporting  
Staying Safe On The Way Home
Accepting Differences
Respect and Kindness
Feelings
The New School Year

and much more!

Have a look at the resources section of our website and let us know what you think! We would love to hear what you like, and what needs work. The more we know, the more we can help!
We hope you find our new resources section valuable! And thank you for helping us create safe and caring schools!

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