Strengths in Education
Courses & Programs
Courses & Programs
While Strength-Based Education should permeate every class within a school, there are some courses and programs that have been developed or modified to specifically support a school's Strength initiatives...
One Hour Strengths Workshop for Staff:
Take a look through a quick workshop to introduce or foster the reflection of strengths:
Consider whether to have participants complete a personal strengths inventory prior to attending the workshop or to ask them to complete it after the workshop.
Prayer (5 minutes)
Participants complete: "K, W columns of a KWLAQ Chart (Know, Want to Know, Learned, Actions, Questions)" available for download to the right.
Group Discussion (10 minutes)
Video: "Encourage Strengths: Ted Talk" available at
Explain, review and research on 8 strengths that most closely link to positive school achievement (Love of Learning, Gratitude, Perseverance, Social Intelligence, Curiosity, Optimism, and Self Regulation) - Wellington Catholic also includes the strengths Faith and Kindness.
Divide whole group into equal groupies and assign each group a strength. Ask the group to prepare a "Looks Like, Feels like, Sounds Like" chart available for download to the right for their assigned strength (20 minutes). Pose the question "How do we grow these strengths in our students currency?" Share ideas and ask participants to consider adding something discussed into the "Action" section of the KWLAQ chart (10 minutes)
End with Ted Talk: "Key to Success" by Angela Lee Duckworth at
Download the KWLAW Chart below:
Download the Looks, Feels, Sounds Like Chart below
Leadership and Peer Support (GPP3O1):
The Leadership and Peer Support course prepares students to act in leadership and peer support roles. The course motto is “Students helping Students Succeed.”
Using strength based approach students will design and implement a plan for contributing to their school community. Through various service learning activities, assignments and reflections students will gain a deeper understanding of what their gifts are and how to use their talents and skills necessary to be effective leaders. Leadership development is at the heart of this course. Leadership has many different characteristics and styles. Students will use their own strengths to develop their concepts of what is means to be a leader. As the students gain further understanding of their strengths and qualities necessary to be effective leaders the students will also gain insight into his or her relationship with self and others.
Humane Society (BTA3O course):
The Grade 11 Information and Communication Technology: The Digital Environment (BTA 30) course provides students with the opportunity to foster their communication skills through software in collaboration with the Guelph Humane Society. The course was developed in partnership between the St. John Bosco business/co-operative learning teacher and social worker. The goal of the course was not only to meet curriculum expectations in concern to communication, information technology and software application but to create a parallel processing of emotions. A long-term goal of the course was to foster student’s ability to process and understand their emotional connection to the animals which was incorporated through the adoption program at Guelph Humane Society.
Students demonstrated their knowledge and skills of software application and communication by creating adoption postings for animals at the Guelph Humane Society as part of their culminating task. Students demonstrated their course knowledge and understanding through the application of various software programming.
Julien Project provides students the opportunity to participate in social and therapeutic gardening. Students participate in kinesthetic activities which focus on all steps in growing, cultivating and preserving their own food which is used for our school food program. Students are able to directly see the result of their nurturing. Students engage in the vision of the project which fosters their role and capacity of being an active as well as responsible citizen in our school community, region, and globally.
The opportunity which has been created in collaboration Julien Project and St. John Bosco has allowed students to complete Ontario curriculum expectations in Civics, Science, Environmental Science, Careers, English, Food and Nutrition as well as Leadership. Students are able to create independent studies, journaling, track the growth of their crops, learn to preserve fruits and vegetables as well as track weather and environmental effects to complete curriculum based assignments which are products of their strengths in the Julien Project collaborated into their learning.
Civil K9 with Tom Abraham has collaborated with St. John Bosco to provide a male mentorship program through canine training. The youth engaged in the program are young men who possess many skills and talents that are revealed through the practical, physical, spiritual, psychological, academic and mentoring process implemented throughout the Civil K9 Program. Male students work with Civil K9 to expand their self- esteem, learn to be a member of a team, lead healthy lifestyles, gain employability skills, and promote emotional and physical health. Students are given the opportunity to foster their strengths to successfully train dogs for military and police services.
Currently as part of our programming at St. John Bosco, Tom works with a small group of male students twice per week. Through the weekly opportunity, the male students are able to work inside our school, various community settings and experiential opportunities to fulfil curriculum expectations. Students fulfil a variety of Ontario curriculum expectations for course such as Guidance, Healthy Active Living, Business, Careers, and non-compulsory credits which can be used towards the completion for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
In collaboration with
Parent Action on Drugs
the ‘Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth’ is a program for parents and other significant caring adults and their children, ages 12-16. The program is to help parents and their teens learn skills to improve their relationship. Parents and teens follow set curriculum which covers topics such as communication, praise, anger, stress and other issues that affect relationships. Families and participants are able to expand their strengths and share experiences with one another to gain new skills, strengths and move through their barriers.
The program is run out of the St. John Bosco community on a weekly basis over 9 weeks. The program begins with a meal and provides an opportunity for families to build communication and comfort within the program. The program allows participants to recognize their strengths as individuals and as a family unit, and to gain new essential skills which will allow them to reach their goals.
Passport to Success:
In collaboration with Family and Children Services of Guelph-Wellington, The Passport to Success program at St. John Bosco
fosters the development of essential life skills in conjunction with curriculum expectations. On a weekly basis over one semester, selected students attend sessions within our school. The program is a collaboration between staff at both St. John Bosco and Family and Children Services to build student’s life skills. Students are able to gain knowledge, practice and realize their strengths they have as they mature into adulthood. Students gain insight into valuable financial and living skills such as banking, budgeting and housing. Students are able to gain, expand, and discover their knowledge in areas they may have no experience with. Students are able to foster the learning of others and create open discussions of life situations.
Students are expected to attend a minimum number of sessions over the duration of the program in order to meet Ontario curriculum expectations. Students have completed expectations in Careers, Civics, Learning Strategies, Mathematics, Co-operative Education, Family Studies and Personal Life Management.
The Link Crew Program:
Link Crew is a program developed by the Boomerang Project that is one of the main anchors to the Strength Based initiatives at Bishop Macdonell. At the basic level, it is a transition program for students who are entering Grade 9. The program links Grade 9 students with senior students who act as mentors throughout the Grade 9 year.
To ease the transition and support the comfort level of the Grade 9 students, a high energy orientation session is held a week before school starts that moves from a full cohort, low risk assembly to small group activities that slowly scaffold risk led by senior students. The program continues through the year with small group and large group social and academic activities.
The Link Crew program is intended to develop a change in the culture of a school in regards to welcoming new Grade 9 students to a school, as well as mentoring the Grade 9 students throughout their first year at high school. Grade 9 students who feel welcome and safe in a school environment are less likely to act out, whether it is with their own behaviours or by missing school. For the Grade 9 students, the program helps with confidence and, through various sessions held throughout the year, helps with a wide array of social and academic issues, such as teamwork, organization, and making choices, just to name a few. For the senior students who are the Link Crew leaders, the Link program develops leadership and mentoring skills through instruction from the Link Coordinators and through the practice of mentoring Grade 9 students.
Jeff Warner, a teacher from Bishop Macdonell, discusses the Link Crew Program:
Link Crew Video:
Catch a glimpse of the Link program in action at Bishop Macdonell:
Food & Friends Program:
St John Bosco offers a breakfast, lunch and snack
Food and Friends
This program ensures that all of our students are provided with nutritious meals that complement their ability to learn and engage in school activities. The program has been linked to a credit bearing course Grade 10 Nutrition (HFN20). This gives opportunity for students to showcase their strengths within course materials and the practical kitchen work.
This program also offers occasion for nurturing relationships within our community. Students and staff cook, eat and clean up together, demonstrating the function of healthy family relationship. This compliments the student’s overall wellness physically and emotionally, allowing them to feel connected to the school environment. We often hear students call our school community a ‘family’ and the Food and Friends program plays a major role in the feeling. Food and
Friends feed their bellies, so St. John Bosco can feed their minds.
"St. John Bosco Recognizes that partnership with community agencies is necessary to support and facilitate student learning and growth through a strength-based approach. The larger community responds to research indicating that: for youth who have experienced trauma, significant crisis and/or familial instability, learning is best supported through relationships in which they are valued and able to experience a sense of strength, courage and hope."
For further details and a list of community partners, click on the link in the resource column located to the right.
: Staff come together on a weekly basis to discuss student progress. At this time, staff have the opportunity to report on any student. When a student is highlighted, all staff connected to this particular student will give a status update on how the he/she is doing. The goal of these consultations are to work as a staff to share ideas and suggest ways to assist each student both in their academics, but often with life outside school. By regularly having the opportunity as a staff to come together to discuss students, we hope to better meet the needs of each student through adapting the way we teach course content and by connecting students to outside agencies if needed. The end goal of these meetings is to provide each student with supports so they can feel safe at school so they can focus on demonstrating their knowledge and skills to the best of their ability.
To view a mock a collaborative consultation, clink on the link in the resource column located to the right.
Students are encouraged to take responsibility over their academics. This is achieved by students
Advanced Learning Strategies (GLS4O)
Learn more about St. John Bosco's Learning Strategies course, along with unit descriptions in the
For a list of St John Bosco's community partners, click to download:
Also check out a link to:
Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week:
Holy Rosary Catholic School Student Council Presented a week of being your best self and choosing kindness week for the Ministry of Educations Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week. Here is a peak of what Holy Rosary students and staff participated in for a full week.
Monday: Woven Quilt of Strengths and Be Your Best Poster Contest
Woven Quilt of Strengths:
Grade 7 students worked with younger grades to complete a quilt of student strengths in each of the classroom.
Choosing Kindness and being our best Poster Contest:
Students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 had the opportunity to complete an 81/2 x 11 poster by Thursday. Members of the Student Council picked a winner on the Monday following the Thursday of poster submission. Junior and Intermediate Divisions and all posters were displayed in the school. Winners received a Chapter's Gift Card.
Tuesday: Positive Post-It Note Day
Students were reminded of the gifts and talents they bring to Holy Rosary Catholic School each day.
Wednesday: Wear Pink Day
Students were encouraged to wear pink to symbolize standing up against bullying and violence in the community and society.
Thursday: Be Your Best ... Choose Kindness Day
Students from the "Best Poster
Contest" submitted their posters.
Staff caught students during acts of kindness. Students caught showing kindness received tickets and tickets were submitted to the Office at the end of the day. Names of students were drawn for chance to win a prize.
Students also wore "Choose Kindness t-shirts" to school this day.
Friday: Professional Development Day for Staff
Grade 12 Retreat:
Grade 12 is the last year before students begin a new chapter in their lives! A retreat is a chance for students to reflect on their character, their growth and plans for the future. To the right you can find an outline for the retreat, along with a detailed lesson plans and associated materials to help with the retreat. Make sure to check out some inspirational quotes from our senior students below!