Conference Strands

All sessions are connected to our theme of Affirming, Belonging and Connecting.



There is a strong connection between affirming students’ and parent/caregiver identities and their academic achievement. Simply put, when students and parents/caregivers feel comfortable about who they are and are wholly accepted, they do better in school, have healthier relationships and are more resilient. We can support this by establishing safe spaces and healthy school environments, strengthening mental health literacy, furthering knowledge of identity and building relationships that enhance belonging.



A sense of belonging is strongly connected to students' feeling that they matter and are valued. This is especially important for students and parents/caregivers from historically underserved communities. Schools, communities, and School Councils can support a sense of belonging by understanding and celebrating students’ and parents/caregivers' identities, welcoming students, and parent/caregivers into all spaces, building asset-based strategic community partnerships, and providing wrap-around services that support students’ well-being in and out of school.



The pandemic has changed how we experience one another both in-person and online. As we rebuild our connections, it is an opportunity to reflect on our relationships, how we connect on a personal level, how we see and understand each other and relate to others’ lived experiences, and how we promote and prioritize mental health and well-being with ourselves and with others.