With reports of rising levels of stress, anxiety and depression among students and within school communities, the Student Equity Committee at L’Amoreaux CI set a goal to raise awareness and provide students with strategies to address this growing concern. They began by asking one question: how do external stressors affect student engagement at L’Amoreaux? and the S.C.O.P.E. (Students Coping Openly in Positive Environments) project was born.
To better understand the problem, the school began with a survey of its student body. Two-thirds of both the junior and senior sample groups indicated that they experience feelings of nervousness and/or anxiety on a weekly basis, get an (inadequate) 3-6 hours of sleep each night and find that financial challenges, gender issues and bullying are currently a problem with the L’Amoreaux school community.
Based on these responses and suggestions, the Student Equity Committee created a series of activities and events to meet the needs of the student body, including games during lunch, outdoor activities, workshops/assemblies, a stress relief lounge and the introduction of therapy dog sessions. The supports introduced were so well-received and successful that the school plans to continue many as part of its ongoing stress-relief programming.
The S.C.O.P.E project at L’Amoreaux CI was one of 92 approved SpeakUp projects across the TDSB in 2013-14. Other projects covered such diverse topics such as Contemporary Aboriginal Identity, Girls Entrepreneur Club, Developing Digital Citizenship, Gay-Straight Alliance, Student-Centred Conflict Resolution, Mindfulness Club, and Boys to Men Mentoring.
Applications for SpeakUp project grants open in September and close at the beginning of November. Schools can apply for up to two SpeakUp project grants per year and each is valued at up to $1,000. Visit the Ministry’s Student Voice site for more information.