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Principal's letter to Parents and Guardians - April 22, 2020

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April 22, 2020

Dear Eric Hamber Families,

Today's students face a myriad of social and emotional challenges as they transition through their developmental stages that are now made more complex in these unusual times.

At Eric Hamber Secondary, staff take time throughout the school day as they connect remotely to let their students know they are valued and not alone. Our school based mental health programs focus on prevention, wellness promotion, and early prevention.

In addition to the three curricular Core Competencies infused across all subjects areas – Communication, Thinking, and Personal and Social – the Physical and Health Education (PHE) curriculum has a specific focus on student well-being and the connections students learn to make about their physical, intellectual, mental, and social health development.

Our Grade 12 Peer Counsellors support positive transitions to high school for our Grade 8 students through their work across Grade 8 classes as well as at barbecues and an overnight camp. Our senior Peer Tutors support peers with their studies in one-to-one settings and small groups in our skills center. Many teachers use the Zones of Regulation to help students build their self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills.

Hamber's Here4Peers and Mental Health Awareness Club create compassion and connection through their workshops with our Grade 8 students and with Grade 6 and 7 students at our neighbouring Elementary Schools, Edith Cavell, Jamieson, and Emily Carr. Club members emphasize open dialogue and foster understanding and awareness about mental health issues that we all experience. The club works to reduce stigma and highlight resilience by emphasizing coping skills that help students get through difficult moments. The clubs are now beginning to move their work on-line though social media platforms such as Instagram to keep their conversations and school community strong.

Social and emotional learning at Eric Hamber has also taken place through grade-level assemblies with Mental Health and Well-Being guest presenters, such as the White Hatter and the Vancouver Crisis Center this past school year, as well as ongoing presentations by our school counsellors and our school's Supporting and Connecting Youth (SACY) prevention worker. This guidance is looking differently now.

With the temporary suspension of in-school instruction during the pandemic teachers and support staff continue to support our students' overall well-being. Staff are establishing group learning sessions linked by phone or computer technology. Staff are reaching out to individual students who may appear to be struggling. Parents and guardians are continuing to connect with their child's teachers and grade-level counsellors to let staff know how their children are feeling.

Helpful resources for parents and guardians to support student mental health:

Please stay tuned for further emails/website posts this week and next as Dale, Sonia, and I keep Hamber parents/guardians updated on:

  • Student access to the school to pick up their personal belongings from lockers,
  • District secondary school student attendance reporting procedures,
  • Marks, assessment, and graduation,
  • Information for Grade 12's on District Scholarships and School-Based Scholarships, and
  • Pending postponement and reimbursement of Prom (May 14) and Grad (June 2) and looking ahead to future dates for these two school events in either 2020 or 2021.

Stay safe and let us know how we can help,

Marea Jensen, Principal, Grade 12 Administrator – mpjensen@vsb.bc.ca

Dale Ambrose, Vice Principal, Grade 8 and 10 Administrator – dambrose@vsb.bc.ca

Sonia Blair, Vice Principal, Grade 9 and 11 Administrator – sblair@vsb.bc.ca

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