Red Deer Public Schools is hiring a new behavioural support team to help with mental health of students, staff and families.
The school division will receive a $706,000 grant through the Mental Health In Schools pilot program from Alberta Education – the funding is part of a $40 million grant program will support 60 mental health pilots across the province.
Red Deer Public is anticipating $210,000 in funding for this school year, $350,000 in the 2023/24 school year, and the remaining $140,000 in September of 2024, funding the pilot until December of 2024.
“Thanks to the funding, Red Deer Public has hired a registered psychiatric nurse, a teacher with 20 years of training in supporting mental health and behaviour, and a registered social worker who will all be readily available to classrooms throughout the Division,” said Nicola Golby, Red Deer Public’s associate superintendent of student services.
“The goal is to help children be successful in learning, and to work with our amazing school staff to ensure they receive the required mental health and behavioural strategies needed to support students.”
This team will travel to schools throughout the division to help support students, staff and families. One benefit for schools is that the centralized team can be at any Red Deer school in 10 minutes if needed.
“We want to ensure our schools are safe and caring spaces for all students and staff and this funding will help us support students with the highest level of complexity,” said Golby.
“This team will support students with complex mental health and behavioural needs by building the capacity staff who work with these students and following up with families, as well. They will also be available to assist on site during challenging situations.”
Additionally, Red Deer Public will partner with the Primary Care Network in providing a two-day training workshop called Youth Anxiety to Calm.
“We are grateful to the Primary Care Network for their partnership and providing some of our staff with this important training free of charge.”
Nicole Buchanan, RDPS board chair, said the funding is welcome news.
“We are very thankful to Alberta Education for this funding as it will help ensure we can support our students in the best way possible so that they can succeed in the classroom,” said Nicole Buchanan, Board Chair.
The behaviour support team will begin working in Red Deer Public on Dec. 1 with the grant funding in place through to December 2024.