Mentoring Northern Ontario School Boards

The Northern Ontario Assessment and Resource (NOARC) research team will assist the Sudbury Catholic District school board with a process for determining the unique mental health needs of their students.

Project Category:
Building or extending networks for further research in priority areas
Topic Area:
Health, North, Science Education
Ministry Priority
(2011-2013):
Equity, Engagement
Project Lead(s):
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Brief Background:
The Northern Ontario Assessment and Resource (NOARC) research team will assist the Sudbury Catholic District school board with a process for determining the unique mental health needs of their students. In addition, the NOARC research team will assist with the selection of an evidence-based mental health program for delivery to their secondary schools using their current resources and staffing, and with assistance from community mental health service providers. NOARC will assess the effectiveness of both the brokering process and the mental health program.
Research Context:
Teachers in Ontario secondary schools can expect one in every five students in class to have mental health problems (Meldrum et al., 2009). Youth mental health problems can severely compromise student academic engagement and lead to a trajectory of academic underachievement and school dropout (Repie, 2005). Short, Ferguson, and Santor (2009) found that an impediment to fostering mental health programming in Ontario schools was the lack of capacity for school boards to conduct research to select and develop appropriate mental health interventions and the inability to comprehensively evaluate these programs for their effectiveness.
Knowledge Mobilization Activities:
This project mobilizes knowledge that is available within the mental health sector and bridges it into the school board sector . The bridging is not merely a directive toward useful knowledge, but a building of competency within the board of education in order that they may utilize and apply the knowledge on an ongoing basis. The school board will be mentored through the process of selecting, applying, and analyzing the mental health awareness program that best meets their individualized needs . Additionally, the school board will be requested to post this mental health initiative on their website , listing NOARC as a contact for consultation should other school boards wish to embark on the same collaborative process. A web based resource will be developed that will allow secondary schools throughout Northern Ontario to access the process for initiating similar programs in their schools to help students with mental health problems.
Outcomes:
The proposed design for this research project will highlight the salient mental health problems affecting Northern Ontario students and provide a template to direct future mental health initiatives in secondary schools, thus addressing the Ministry’s equity priority theme. The literature review, data -tracking, and proposed web based resource site will allow secondary schools throughout Northern Ontario to access research that can help students with mental health problems become more engaged and active learners.