Healthy Schools Network
Established in 2006/2007, the HSN is an open learning community of educators, students, and community members across the province who are working together to optimize health and learning, meet healthy living goals, and improve overall well-being in students and the broader school community. HSN participants lead inquiry and sustainable project-based learning initiatives in their school communities, and share their stories to support and inspire others. There is no membership required to join the HSN.
The vision of the HSN is for every student in British Columbia to be part of a healthy school community, and to feel supported and engaged in their health and learning. The essence of the HSN community is one of curiosity, support, and contribution.
To learn more about this year's HSN projects, check out the 2014-15 HSN Mid-Year Summary Report. You can also read a list of inquiry questions and summaries of activity projects.
The HSN aims to be inclusive by:
- Supporting all K-12 school communities
- Addressing health holistically to include social, emotional and physical wellness
- Integrating within and across various areas of the curriculum and learning environments
- Supporting improvements in health and learning
The HSN is intended to be a community in the truest sense – where different members of the school community are participating in different ways. For example, a school community member may be:
- Curious; and are looking for tools, resources, stories, or examples that could help them address healthy living in their school environment
- Engaged; actively working on healthy living goals and seeking funding to support innovative student-centered healthy living actions in their school
- Leaders; initiating student-centered projects using an inquiry-based approach to empower students to take ownership of their own health and learning
- A Student Leader: students themselves initiating student-centered projects using an inquiry-based approach with support from educators and other adults in the school community.
Engaging students in healthy living and putting them at the center of their learning is a key component of the HSN. Students are the most important participant in the creation of a healthy school, and providing students with the opportunities to take greater ownership over their health and learning will have the greatest impacts on the school community and on the students themselves.
Student engagement "recognizes young people's right to participate in decisions that impact them and acknowledges the great skills and strengths they bring to the table." (JCSH Youth Engagement Toolkit)
The figure above illustrates the ladder of student engagement; A few key things to note:
- The most meaningful engagement is facilitated by youth-adult partnerships supporting youth driven ideas.
- To facilitate true student engagement, adults must treat students as equals within a learning partnership. Creating this adult-student partnership also helps to build school connectedness and support the emotional well-being of students.[UBC, 2014]
- If you know students who would be interested in applying (with support from an adult) for a student inquiry grant with a focus on healthy living, encourage them to apply for an HSN Grant
There are several benefits to being involved in the HSN, from grants and partnership opportunities, to enhancing your own professional and personal development, to supporting students' health and learning.
Some of the benefits:
- HSN Grants help to create greater opportunities to integrate healthy living into the school environment
- Enhanced networking opportunities and access to a broad range of cross-sector partners working toward a shared vision of healthy learners in BC schools
- Building connections and partnerships – being a part of a unique community of learners
- Enhancing one's own professional development and teaching practice
- Supporting improvements in students' health and learning
HSN Leaders are members of the school community who are committed to engaging students in the creation of healthier schools, and who have been experienced leaders in this work across BC. HSN leaders are located in regions throughout the province, and are committed to: promoting the HSN, supporting learning opportunities for students and colleagues, helping schools with HSN grant applications, and building capacity within the HSN through fostering partnerships, offering mentorship, and sharing tools, resources and stories.
HSN Leaders are a highly valued component of the HSN as Leaders contribute to the growth and sustainability of the Network. HSN Leaders offer a wealth of knowledge and experience in healthy schools and inquiry-based learning.
Specifically, HSN Leaders:
Are you passionate about student health and learning opportunities in your area, have experience in leading healthy living actions, and want to support others in your school community to become a part of a growing network of healthy schools? Click here to learn more about becoming an HSN Leader, including getting more info on the role of an HSN Leader and the available supports such as Leaders meetings, TTOC time and more!
The HSN is grounded in working towards improvements in both health and learning. There are several opportunities to address and integrate healthy living within the curricular core competencies: thinking, personal and social, and communication. For more support on integrating healthy living across curricular areas and using inquiry based learning to engage students in the process, check out the Resource Guide for Teaching and Learning.