CORE - Creating Opportunities for Resilience and Engagement

CORE Connections is a research project taking place in Southern Alberta schools. We are exploring the best ways for schools to help students feel safe, valued and connected.
By making schools more welcoming to all, we hope to decrease rates of childhood anxiety and depression and improve learning.  We expect to see more inclusiveness among students, more mutual caring and courtesy, more friendship, and improved self-esteem. The CORE pilot study has already shown promise in reducing tobacco, alcohol and drug use. It has also impacted on student’s confidence about their learning.
Whole-school health promotion
Students, parents, and teachers all work together to achieve CORE goals, using a survey-feedback-action style approach Students learn skills for dealing with life’s frustrations, like how to talk about feelings and how to get help when needed.
  • Teachers, staff, parents and students identify changes in policies and practices that will make the school better or more welcoming, and we support and guide these. 
  • Strategies are aimed at the curriculum, the classroom and the entire school community.
The project is tailored to meet each school’s specific interests and needs.  We make a part-time facilitator and other resources available to participating schools. These might be for professional development of teachers and staff, the purchase of specific programs and resources, or other materials to support CORE’s work.
CORE follows the model of Comprehensive School Health or Health Promoting Schools as it is also known. What makes CORE different however is the emphasis on school as a workplace (teacher and staff well being) and the amount of resources going into the evaluation so we can have unequivocal evidence about CORE’s effects. Plus CORE believes that creating positive environments at school is foundational to the success of other types of school interventions – say in physical activity and nutrition. So that is why the emphasis is on social well being first and foremost.  
While lots of projects around the world have shown that is possible to improve student well being, prevention of depression has proven elusive. That is why we are doing CORE. It seems to be one or two steps away from achieving the goal of reducing depression. But that is what we will find out for sure in a few years time.