Engaging Students

Engagement is about creating authentic opportunities to develop and explore healthy relationships so students can make a difference in their schools and communities.

Toolkit: Teen Mentoring

The Teen Mentoring Toolkit is a no-cost resource that provides schools and community agencies with the opportunity to build or enhance quality mentoring programs. Teen mentoring engages junior and high school aged youth as mentors to younger students in creating a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe community through positive mentoring relationships.

Designed in collaboration between the Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities and the Alberta Mentoring Partnership, this toolkit identifies research-informed and evidence-based practices, strategies and tools for planning, implementing and evaluating a quality teen mentoring program. Read More...

Toolkit: Teen Mentoring  – Online Access

You can learn more about the toolkit on our one-page overview, or view and download the entire resource on the Alberta Mentoring Partnership website.


Evaluation: Teen Mentoring

Safe and Caring and the Alberta Mentoring Partnership conducted a one-year pilot project and evaluation of the Teen Mentoring Toolkit Resource. Feel free to review the two-page summary or the full evaluation report.


Toolkit: Youth Action Research Guides

The Youth Action projects provide an opportunity within the school for youth to identify and address specific issues or interests. Youth participants conduct research among their peers and then develop, undertake and evaluate projects that will address the issues/interests they uncover.

The Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities’ has prepared these youth action and youth engagement resources to provide support for students and their adult supervisors to carry out each step in the youth action process. Read More...

Student Guide: Violence & Bullying Prevention through Human Rights Education—Action Research

This guide walks students through the process of conducting secondary and focus group research.


Teacher Guide: Violence & Bullying Prevention through Human Rights Education—Action Research

This guide support students as they learn how to conduct secondary and focus group research.


Student Guide: Violence & Bullying Prevention through Human Rights Education—Next Steps

Once students have completed research, this guide walks them through the process of apply their findings to start a program or project that will benefit their community.


Teacher Guide: Violence & Bullying Prevention through Human Rights Education—Next Steps

Support students as they apply their research findings to start a program or project that will benefit their community.

Youth Action Projects

Through years of research, program development, implementation and evaluation, we know that the projects that have the greatest impact on young people are the ones that actively engage them in creating positive changes in their lives. This is particularly important when working with older youth. Youth Action projects help youth:
• decide what is important to them
• decide what impact they would like to have on their schools and communities
• take initiative to have a positive influence on their world.

Restorative Practices

What is it we want children and youth to learn through our discipline practices? How do we encourage the young people in our lives to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do? How do we teach children and youth to take responsibility and be accountable for their actions and their words? Read More...

Building a Restorative Culture
November 2013

About this Webinar:

Restorative practices in schools, group homes and other organizations move away from more traditional punishment models to focus on relationships and repairing harm.  This webinar introduces the idea of a restorative culture and looks at how adults working with groups of children and/or youth can use the principles of restorative practices to create and maintain environments that are welcoming, safe and caring.

Facilitator Bios:

Sue Hopgood:

Sue is experienced in both the correctional services field (youth, adult, community, and institutional corrections) as well as a victims services advocate for the Edmonton Police Service. She has worked with the Alberta Conflict Transformation Society since 1997, being trained as a facilitator in 1998 and as a trainer in 2000. Sue has been directly involved in over 500 conferences and 30 trainings. In April 2002 she resigned from the Edmonton Police Service to continue pursuing the goals of community conferencing. Since September 2002, Sue has been seconded to the Edmonton Public School Board to use the conferencing model to reduce suspension and expulsion rates in the district.

Caroline Missal:

Caroline has been a principal with Edmonton Public Schools for 15 years and prior to that was a teacher and consultant working with students who struggle with emotional and behavioural challenges. Caroline was trained as a Community Conferencing facilitator in 1998 and as a trainer in 2002. She has facilitated and participated in many conferences over the years both school – based and criminal. Caroline has used restorative practices in each of the “high needs” schools she has worked in as well as assisting other schools to shift their practices.

Brain Development and Healthy Relationships

Cognitive and neuroscientists agree – there is a link between threat and other forms of violence and impaired brain functioning. Strong emotions triggered by emotions, such as anxiety or fear, can create what educational researcher Daniel Goleman calls “neural static”, and can sabotage the functioning of the brain’s prefrontal lobes where reasoning and higher-level thinking take place. According to Goleman, “… continual emotional distress can create deficits in a child’s intellectual abilities, crippling the capacity to learn.” Read More...

Global Citizenship

Traditionally, education was seen as playing an important role in developing loyal and dutiful citizens. As our understanding of citizenship expands to address issues such as human rights, globalization, language, nationalism, equality, multiculturalism and pluralism, citizenship education is becoming more centred on the concept of inclusion and respect for diversity. This is an important element in creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. Read More...

Kindness to Animals

Animals play important roles in all our lives, and children especially seem to have a natural affinity for animals. The nature of their relationships with animals and the natural world are important in shaping their overall attitudes and beliefs. Encouraging positive relationships with other living beings and our common home—the Earth—is the aim of Humane Education.

Humane education is an approach to instruction that infuses the curriculum with concern for all living creatures. It is not limited to instruction on animal care (though that is included), nor is it a separate subject. It is taught when teachers model respect and reinforce knowledge, skills and attitudes that demonstrate responsibility, kindness and caring.

Humane Education values the inter-dependence of all living things. Respect, responsibility and compassion for both animals and people are at its heart. Humane educators do not regard animals as more important than people, but believe that showing kindness to animals and having empathy for people go hand-in-hand.

Childhood is a time when one’s character is being formed, and humane education can help students to do the following:

  • Consider the needs, feelings and suffering of all living things
  • Understand what it means to be human by examining out relationships to other creatures
  • Consider the effects of their own actions
  • Reflect on the world and their place within it.

Humane education is premised on the belief that children raised to be kind to animals will also show compassion to people. Research has shown that there is a demonstrated link between cruelty to animals and other violent behaviours.

Many adults who commit violent crimes have a history of childhood cruelty to animals, and many children who abuse animals have themselves been abused. Numerous studies show that there are correlations between animal cruelty and child abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse.

Teachers can become aware of warning signs of violence by paying attention to students’ behaviours in relation to animals. Discussions about pets or the presence of an animal in the classroom will occasionally prompt unsettling disclosures from students, who may find it easier to report abuse of an animal than abuse of a family member or themselves.

Not all actions against animals are intentionally abusive. Sometimes a student’s natural curiosity can unwittingly harm an animal. Regardless, any action that causes harm to an animal, whether intentional or unintentional, requires an appropriate response.

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