January 16, 2020

Student Support Services making a difference in Sun West

On January 14 at the most recent Sun West School Division Board of Education meeting in Rosetown, the Board heard about the continuing success of its Student Support Services programming.

At the meeting, the Board received an in depth report from Carole Butcher, the Superintendent of Student Support Services. Among the areas Ms. Butcher outlined included updates on Educational Assistants as well as on mental health and well-being.

Sun West uses a needs-based model for determining the placement of Educational Assistants and in the 2019-20 school year identified 198 Sun West students who would benefit from support from an Educational Assistant. Ms. Butcher highlighted examples where students also received support from Sun West Student Support Consultants, Psychologists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Counselors.

“We have a strong team in place to help students who for a variety of reasons may need some extra help,” explained Sun West Board Chair Karen Itterman, “and the Board is pleased that they are making a difference in the educational outcomes being realized by many students.”

Another area of major focus in Sun West is the overall mental health and well-being of staff and students and in that regard Ms. Butcher described the work of Allison Bokitch, the Supervisor of Health and Well-being. This position has proven very valuable as Ms. Bokitch has been working with Sun West leadership, staff and when invited, School Community Councils, to identify opportunities to increase the capacity of schools to address issues such as suicide risk, student behavior and helping families find the support they need. A division-wide Well-being Committee has also been resurrected and is planning a wellness professional development (PD) day in collaboration with the local Sun West Teachers’ Association for all teaching staff on March 30.

“The Wellness PD day is an important initiative,” stated Ms. Itterman. “The Board is excited to see the leadership being demonstrated through collaboration on this project.”

(Above picture left) Allison Bokitch, Sun West Supervisor of Mental Health and Well-being (who also trains Golden Retrievers as support animals) and (right) Carole Butcher, Sun West Superintendent of Student Support Services.