SchoolsPlus Expansion Provides More Support for Students and Families

Another 24,000 students in 63 schools across Nova Scotia will have greater access to services, after-school programs and more mental health clinicians due to an expansion of the SchoolsPlus program.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Zach Churchill joined students and staff today, Dec. 12, at Brookside Junior High in Hatchet Lake, Halifax Regional Municipality, for the official opening of its new hub site, which will support 11 additional schools in the area.

“SchoolsPlus is for the whole school- meaning all students, extended families, and community partners,” said Mr. Churchill.

In the 2017-18 budget, government invested $1.8 million to expand existing hub sites and to create three new ones:
–Brookside Junior High School, Hatchet Lake, Halifax Regional School Board
–Glooscap Elementary School, Canning, Annapolis Valley Regional School Board
— Northumberland Regional High School, Alma, Chignecto-Central Regional School Board

“The school setting offers clinicians an opportunity for early identification and intervention when students are experiencing mental health and addictions difficulties and disorders,” said Jennifer McCarron, IWK clinical manager, mental health and addictions. “Overall, partnerships such as this strengthen supports for students, reduce barriers and improve access to needed care.”

This expansion means an additional three facilitators/social workers, 11 new community outreach workers and eight new mental health clinicians are being hired to support the expansion of SchoolsPlus during the 2017-18 school year.

These professionals work together to provide the best possible supports to students and their families. Services include providing information and resources for parents, supporting students to better engage in school, working with partners to create wraparound supports to help students overcome barriers, and connecting with mental health services in the community. SchoolsPlus is also about having fun, learning new skills and building networks.

SchoolsPlus now has 31 Hub Sites serving 273 schools with a total enrolment of 87,000, about 73 per cent of Nova Scotia’s students. The government has committed to making SchoolsPlus accessible to all students by 2019-20.