Student Strengths Initiative Project

In partnership with Lakehead Public Schools and  Children’s Centre Thunder Bay, the Centre implemented the “Student Strength Initiative Project (SSIP): A Collaborative Pilot Program Integrating School, Mental Health and Culturally Appropriate Services to Address Social, Emotional and Academic Disengagement in High School Students”, for students in a local high school struggling in the current curriculum with academic and social/emotional issues. The SSIP is a part of a larger provincial initiative in community programs to deal with outstanding issues in the school environment lead by the Student Support Leadership Initiative through the Lakehead Public School Board. This program is attempting to educate youth from a strength-based perspective while tailoring the curriculum to their individual strengths, by focusing on positive youth development and social-emotional learning. A teacher employed by the high school is working together with a clinical psychology Ph. D. candidate and a third year social work student from Lakehead University in the classroom. The team of educators facilitate two periods a day in which the students engage in a General Learning Skills course and an Independent Learning Course, that have been adapted to suit the needs of the students. This service is required in the school system due to the number of children dealing with mental health issues, and the lack of necessary programs targeting this population. The wrap around approach employed in this line of practical research includes a number of agencies (such as Children’s Centre Thunder Bay, Children’s Aid Society of Thunder Bay and Dilico Anishinabek Family Care)  working together to come up with the best plan for each student. This project is also providing a rich source of information and a database for future research and analysis, while providing more opportunities for study.