Are you familiar with Compassionate School Services?

Photo: Mark Brazeau
2022 | 03 | 2

In an effort to bring more exposure to the projects, achievements and passions of our staff, the editorial team decided to start a new story format: to write a short series of articles focused on a profession, a department or even a location so that our readers can develop a more in depth understanding of certain concepts.

This article is the first in a series on Compassionate School Services (CSS).


Compassionate School Services at a glance

Still largely unknown to the general public, Compassionate School Services (CSS) acts as a facilitator in the social, emotional and academic success of students and promotes the well-being of teachers.

More specifically, their approach focuses on “raising awareness of the impacts of trauma on learning and supporting the development of relationships between the schools and communities in ways that promote resilience, well-being and the success of students and staff.”

Alyssa Turpin Samson, Compassionate School Services Coordinator since 2021, discusses with passion this unique approach: “We are committed to meeting real needs, […] to provide ongoing training rooted in Inuit tradition.” From the outset, she also highlights the importance of collaborating with various school actors and customizing the services offered:

“You have to understand that we don’t want to add more work to the daily lives of our school administrators and teachers. We don’t want to give them more work or impose a certain way of doing things”, explains Alyssa Turpin-Samson on the phone.

We offer services, resources, to help with projects and to support our teachers who want to integrate new practices or certain intervention methods.

Alyssa Turpin-Samson Compassionate School Services Coordinator

The CSS team offers a variety of tools: regulation zones, Transformation Life Skills (TLS), sensory adaptation to the class environment, positive behaviour support and restorative practices, to name a few.

Putting the compassionate approach into practice

Although temporarily unable to travel to communities – due to COVID-19 – to give face-to-face training and support, the CSS team has adapted to maintain its service offering and respond to new challenges.

“Challenges? That’s just what we are working on. […] To make it useful for teachers [and] useful in context, […] we are adapting our approach to each school and each community,” explains Cheryl Saumure, educational consultant for CSS, with a smile.

In addition, working with the needs of the community – and in collaboration with CSS resource teachers, nurture class teachers and sometimes student support professionals (SSPs) – ensures a positive, safe, consistent, predictable and culturally relevant framework.

We come in and offer different lenses on what is trauma, what the approaches are, and different tools for incorporating changes in the classroom.

Cheryl Saumure CSS Pedagogical Counsellor

Many schools are already wearing these lenses and are developing various projects aimed at student success. In fact, we will soon be showcasing these various initiatives. Follow your community’s school Facebook page and keep an eye on our website for upcoming publications!

In the meantime, you can also visit the Compassionate School Services section on our website for more information: