North Vancouver School District
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Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health in NVSD

February 28, 2019

Social Emotional Learning

District Priority: Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

In the North Vancouver School District, we believe that the Social Emotional Learning Continuum is central to student development and the educated global citizen. In addition, we believe that intentionally enhancing a student's sense of belonging while teaching social emotional skills and positive mental health enables student engagement and enhanced learning. In partnership with parents and community, we share the role in the intentional development of students.

A joint committee of district leadership, principals, classroom teachers, counsellors, specialist teachers, and support staff are helping to set future direction as a school district related to SEL. We recognize that social and emotional skills can be taught and are increasingly important in today's world. Presently, we are extremely proud of the work of Mountainside Secondary School, Choices, District Resource Team, Social Responsibility Support Program, School Based Resource Teams, and our relationship with Foundry in supporting our students. In addition, we have been national leaders in the implementation of a Positive Mental Health Curriculum for all grade 9 students. 

As part of this work, we are happy to launch the SEL Continuum Video that provides a context to what SEL and positive mental health are, and to signal how we will be focusing this work in the coming years.


How is NVSD supporting SEL?



All schools in NVSD have access to trained clinical counsellors. These counsellors work to support the Social Emotional and Mental Health of all students connected to our schools. In elementary schools, Elementary Counsellors, together with school and district based administrators, support all students universally by collaborating with teachers in implementing programs around self-regulation, self-awareness, social awareness, relationships skills, and decision making. They also support areas of online safety, cultural awareness, anti-bullying, and others, often by connecting with local partner agencies and experts in those areas. Elementary Counsellors also support students who are in need of more targeted and intensive supports, and those people who care for them at home, through clinical strategies and supports with the student at school, as well as through strong connections and relationships with our local partner agencies, such as Vancouver Coastal Health, Hollyburn Family Services, and the Child and Youth Mental Health Team.


At the secondary level, Secondary Counsellors continue to support students in the areas of focus from elementary school, but begin to address more specific mental health promotion, and target any concerns regarding mental illness. As students continue to age and develop, so too does their focus shift from secondary school to the transition to adulthood and post-secondary. Our Secondary Counsellors work with all students, particularly those who need more support, in navigating this process, including both the pragmatics and emotions that can accompany this time of transition. Secondary Counsellors also work closely with both Foundry (Vancouver Coastal Health) and the Child and Youth Mental Health team at MCFD (Ministry of Children and Family Development) to ensure that youth, and their caregivers, are able to access supports beyond the walls of school as they need to, in as seamless a fashion as possible.


Choices Program

Choices is currently in place in all six mainstream secondary schools in North Vancouver. The purpose of Choices is to support students with social/emotional and behavioural struggles. Staff in these programs work with students to recognize, understand and create strategies to overcome challenges that have created barriers to learning. With support, these students are able to remain within their school community, and engage in academic and social activities that fit their learning needs. Students also have the opportunity to connect to teachers, support workers and counsellors who are able to adapt programming without having to refer students to an alternate program. The Choices classroom is a place to facilitate connection and belonging to the school community. The ultimate goal is to have students maintain their educational experience at their regular mainstream high school. Students who are involved in Choices may simply be connected to a support worker on a regular basis, may come to the Choices classroom for assistance for part of a regularly scheduled class, or have a scheduled Choices block where staff work with them to intentionally build social, emotional, and behavioural skills.


Mountainside Secondary School

Mountainside Secondary School is NVSD's smallest secondary school, meeting the Ministry of Education requirements for funding as an Alternative School. The school functions as part of the continuum of social/emotional/behavioural supports that are available to all students at all secondary schools in the NVSD, and targets students in Grades 9-12 (ages 14-19). Students from throughout NVSD, and beyond, can be referred to Mountainside Secondary. The school aims to allow for varied and alternate pathways to graduation or school completion, and beyond. With the help of strong community partnerships, Mountainside Secondary works to ensure that each student has the best possible supports and opportunities for success.


District Resource Team (DRT)

The DRT is a problem-solving team comprised of Directors of Learning Services, District Administrators, the Principal of Mountainside Secondary School, and the Counsellors assigned to Mountainside Secondary School. The DRT meets monthly and provides recommendations to support students in their mainstream school through Choices, Learning Assistance and through the help of community partnerships. The DRT also provides recommendations for students transitioning to Mountainside Secondary School, and assists in the placement of at-risk youth from out of district to a mainstream secondary school or Mountainside Secondary School. The main purpose of this teams is to ensure the successful transition and right placement of students within schools, between schools, as well as in/out of the school district.


Social Responsibility Support Program (SRSP)

The SRSP is a North Vancouver School District program that offers a multidisciplinary service for elementary school students with social, emotional, behavioural and mental health challenges. The purpose of this service is to provide consultation, treatment, and support that is short-term (12 to 20 weeks), intensive, has parent engagement, and involves community agencies. Students attend SRSP for four half-days Monday through Thursday and attend their

home school at other times. The aim is to provide a structured therapeutic environment where students are taught strategies for self-regulation, social skills and self-advocacy that they can generalize back to their home school classroom. The SRSP program provides support for students who are experiencing moderate to severe challenges that impede their ability to function successfully in their home school. Students are referred to SRSP from the School Based Resource Team at their home school. 


School Based Resource Team (SBRT)

The SBRT is a school-based multidisciplinary team comprised of Learning Services Teachers, counsellors, school principals/vice-principals, and classroom teachers. The team may also include a school psychologist, speech and language pathologist, other district specialists and Learning Services administrators. At times this team may also include personnel from other agencies, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and youth outreach workers. The SBRT develops and implements instructional strategies and coordinates support for students. It is through this collaborative problem-solving process that educators and parents ensure students have equitable access to learning in all aspects of their education – including SEL and mental health.


Foundry North Shore

Foundry North Shore is a one-stop shop where young people can find hope, help and support on the North Shore. NVSD has a strong partnership with Foundry. Services include:

  • Mental Health Support and Counselling
  • Substance Use Counselling
  • Drop in Counselling
  • Medical and Sexual Health Clinics
  • Intensive Youth Outreach Services
  • Peer and Parent Support, and Service Navigation
  • Housing Support (19+)
  • Life Skills and Employment Support
  • Family Counselling
  • Eating Disorders (12-18 yrs)
  • Groups for Youth and Parents
  • Prevention Education
  • Opiate Agonist Services
  • Intensive Case Management (ICM)


Foundry North Shore is located at 211 W. 1st Street, North Vancouver. For more information, visit their website.