A national education magazine is highlighting the partnership Prairie South School Division (PSSD) has with River Street Promotions (RSP) and their collective efforts to address students’ mental health and well-being.
Leaders & Learners, the official magazine of the Canadian Association of School System Administrators, produces a quarterly journal for educational leaders. It issued a call last year for articles about mental health and creative approaches school divisions have taken to address that area.
Prairie South’s Dustin Swanson, superintendent of school operations, saw the call and approached Amanda Olson, superintendent of learning, about putting together an article because she leads the division’s work around mental health.
The two then crafted an 800-word article about the partnership and submitted it.
“Hitting a Home Run: A Partnership to Support Mental Health in Southern Saskatchewan,” appeared in Leaders & Learners this past summer, while division administration highlighted it for trustees during the September board meeting.
Click here to read the article.
“It’s very unique partnership we have with River Street Promotions and what we’re doing. It’s unlike what’s happening, perhaps, in other areas of Canada … ,” said Swanson. “We thought, what a great way to showcase something creative in our education sector … .”
Besides being different, the relationship is also based on a unique event, specifically, the Homestand concert at the historic Ross Wells Ball Park, said Olson. RSP has hosted this multi-genre concert in the outfield since 2021 — when the partnership began.
The concert is a mental health and wellness event for the community since it brings together residents to enjoy each other, listen to music and share some laughs, she continued.
It also allows Prairie South and Holy Trinity Catholic School Division to speak to the crowd during intermissions about initiatives in schools and their effect on communities.
“Our mental health is just as important as our physical health,” Olson said, noting that the topic should be discussed regularly in Moose Jaw and area.
The partnership has positively affected students because the school division has formed new relationships with other like-minded agencies, said Swanson.
For example, there was a national concert at the Mae Wilson Theatre in March 2022 where musicians performed and discussed mental health topics with youths.
“And it was a very wonderful experience for all involved. And we look to enhance that from this relationship. It’s very impactful,” he added.
Another partnership has been with Burns & McDonnell — the contractor building the Great Plains Power Station — which has held several golf tournaments and donated money to the Homestand concerts.
RSP has donated $135,000 from the concerts to the school divisions — and other community charities — for mental health initiatives. PSSD used some money to host an April online mental health and wellness conference for students in grades 6 to 12 in both divisions.
The online event featured two speakers and breakout sessions where youths could discuss what they’d heard.
Prairie South also offers a grant-match program, which funds schools that raise money for similar initiatives. Schools such as Central Butte, Empire and William Grayson have brought in speakers, taught about digital citizenship, enhanced outdoor equipment and developed a “toolbox” with activities students can perform together.
The division has also brought in Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, a respected professor who speaks about resiliency and handling stress.
“We are so grateful that we have this partnership with River Street Promotions … . They give our schools the autonomy to do what is needed in their communities,” said Olson. “Not all schools have the exact same needs (and) not all students have the exact same needs.”
In response to some providers blocking access to Canadian news on their platforms, our website, MooseJawToday.com will continue to be your source for hyper-local Moose Jaw news. Bookmark MooseJawToday.com and sign up for our free online newsletter to read the latest local developments.