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Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:19

Holy Trinity Catholic School Division initiative to improve staff wellness

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The Holy Trinity Catholic School Division is implementing an initiative to develop a better understanding of teacher time and workload as a means to create a positive work-life balance for staff.


The school division established the professional capital goal as a local priority area to implement as part of its overall strategic direction.
Dave DePape, the superintendent of human resources and operations for Holy Trinity Catholic School Division, said the purpose of the professional capital goal is to provide better support for teachers and other staff in their work environment.
“We want to concentrate on staff wellness,” he explained. “We know that there are higher rates of anxiety and depression and stress that lead to lost time at work. We want to be able to support them so that it’s a happy place that people come to work, that it’s a productive place for them, and the least stressful environment that we can create.”
The intention is to identify potential causes of stress and to develop strategies to create a less stressful and more productive work environment. The school division established a professional capital advisory committee to address issues.
“Often times, we’ll ask people what are the problems, what are the issues, what are the challenges, but then you don’t have the capacity to do that,” he said. “By creating this professional capital advisory committee we hope to build capacity so that we can actually successfully address some of the issues with our staff so that they come to work, they’re productive, they’re happy and enjoy being members of Holy Trinity.”
The committee is currently looking at the results of a survey that was completed in January and the findings will be presented in a report to the board.
“Then we’re going to go to each of the schools to talk about the results of the survey and again more importantly, what we’re going to do with the results of the survey to support them,” he said. “What we’re finding is the biggest issue is the workload intensification, which means teachers are getting more on their plates. So we are hoping to develop plans to support them at school with the number of things that are expected from them and just the intensification that they’re experiencing.”
The intention is also to look at ways to provide staff with support beyond the work environment because the school division has a large number of young staff members with small children and a busy family life.
“They don’t go home from work and just sit on the couch,” he said. “They have a whole life beyond that and so we want to think — are there things that we can do as a school division to support the work-life balance?”
The Holy Trinity Catholic School Division established the professional capital goal in response to the findings of the Joint Committee on Student and Teacher Time. The committee had representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Saskatchewan School Boards Association and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation.
The report made recommendations to address teacher time and workload intensification.
“There are certain recommendations that school divisions can affect,” DePape said. “So we looked at that report and all school divisions are looking at that report and in some way are expected to do something with that report. So we’ve taken the information in that report and created this professional capital goal, focusing on that staff wellness.”
Holy Trinity Catholic School Division is taking the lead in this regard to address the recommendations of the joint committee on workload intensification.
“I believe we are the first school division to formalize the process,” he said. “I know provincially my colleagues had certain meetings with their board or with the teachers just to see where they’re at, but I think we’re probably a little further ahead or further along in formalizing the processes that we’re using to accomplish some of those recommendations in that report.”

Read 1265 times Last modified on Wednesday, 29 March 2017 14:41
Matthew Liebenberg

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