Here we are, at the start of a whole new year! The first four months of the 2017-2018 school year have just flown by, but there is still so much learning, growing in faith and fun to be had through the end of June! Here’s what we have coming up in January 2018 for students, staff and families:

January 8: Welcome back! Classes resume at all Niagara Catholic schools and sites.

Members of the Special Education Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday, January 10. The Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee meets on Thursday, January 11. 

Niagara Catholic’s annual Baby Celebration will take place on Wednesday, January 17. This day is a favourite for everyone at the Catholic Education Centre, because there is so much cuteness in the building. It’s the day we celebrate all the new family members of our Niagara Catholic family – the children of our staff born in the prior year.

Friday, January 19 is an elementary Professional Activity Day. Check the eFlyer section of this website to see what PA Day events and activities are taking place in your community.

Semester One comes to an end in our secondary schools on January 25. Exams begin on Friday, January 26 and run through February 1. 

Weather watch: A quick reminder for all families that being sandwiched between two lakes can make winter unpredictable in Niagara – we can wake up to blue skies and be in a blizzard by noon, occasionally without warning. The temperature can also plummet from a seasonal norm to Arctic-like weather quickly, too. Parents and guardians should always have a “just in case” plan in place for times when bad weather strikes throughout the day, and transportation is cancelled or schools are closed early. Please also keep the following in mind:

  • Bus cancellation decisions are made by Niagara Student Transportation Services.
  • School closure decisions are made by the Director of Education.
  • We strive to have cancellation/closure information available to families by 6 a.m. on the day when a weather event is anticipated, and make decisions during the day when weather conditions deteriorate after school has started. Parents are notified by the School Connects system when transportation or classes are cancelled during the course of a school day. It is advisable to have child care on standby in case of these situations.
  • Parents and guardians should consider this website, our Board Facebook page or Twitter account as official sources of information about cancellations or closures, or get the news from local media outlets.
  • We regret we are unable to answer individual messages on social media. If there is no notification posted online or in the media about cancellations or closures, it’s a regular school day.
  • Please check the NSTS website for school bus delays through this link, or the the main page of this website. 
  • Schools are most often open when buses are cancelled. Parents and guardians have the final say on whether to send child(ren) to school during inclement weather days, but we remind you that you are required to report each child’s absence using the Safe Arrival System when keeping students home when school is open to avoid receiving automated calls from the system.
  • Families are notified by the School Connects system when schools are cancelled. There is no need to report an absence when schools are closed. 
  • Throughout the winter, students should come to school dressed appropriately for the weather, with waterproof winter coats, boots and mittens/gloves and snow pants, as well a warm hat and scarf. A change of clothes for soggy days is also recommended. 
  • Students learn best when they have the opportunity to get outside and enjoy fresh air, and are sent outside as often as possible during the winter. Students are kept inside when Niagara Region Public Health declares an Extreme Cold Alert, however Principals are responsible for the safety of their students and have the discretion to keep students indoors for all or part of a day if they feel the temperature or the conditions in their area warrants doing so. 
  • If you have additional questions, please refer to our Transportation and School Operations for Inclement Weather Policy

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The mission of the Diocese of St. Catharines is founded in the mission of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of St. John, Jesus states that He came down from heaven, "not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me." (Jn6:38) Jesus' mission is doing the will of his Father. This is the will of the Father, "that all who see the Son and believe in him will have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day". (Jn 6:40)

The Diocese of St. Catharines' mission is rooted in doing the Father's will by proclaiming His son to the world so that all can know, love and serve Him. This mission is lived out on a daily basis in our parishes, schools and Catholic institutions. We find clergy, religious and laity committed to proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ by witnessing to His truth, justice, love and mercy. St. Catharines Diocese is where faith lives.

Header for Spotlight

December 19, 2017

2017 Director’s Annual Report Shared with Trustees

Director of Education John Crocco shared the 2017 Director’s Annual Report with Trustees during the final Board meeting of the calendar year.

The Ministry of Education requires all school boards to forward a Director’s Annual Report to the Ministry, highlighting the action taken during the prior 12 months. Copies of the report are then distributed to our schools, Catholic School Councils, the Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee, parish priests and community leaders for information. Electronic versions are also sent to Directors of Education throughout the province.

The finalized Director’s Annual Report will be submitted to the Ministry by January 31, 2018, and posted on the Board website.

Shining the Spotlight on Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School

ChoirEvery month, one Niagara Catholic school is showcased in a display at the Catholic Education Centre, as part of the School Excellence Program. That school also gives a short presentation to the Board during the month their display is highlighted, sharing the things that make their school special.

In December, the spotlight was on Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School. Principal Jim Whittard was joined by Vice-Principal Tony Della Ventura, teachers Micheline Hauber and Lisa Fazzalari, and students Maddie Maheu, Lucas Ferrante, Michael Setrak and Maceo Tripodi.

Principal Whittard held the floor first, talking about the academic and athletic successes Saint Francis students have achieved since the school year began, including sports wins at Zone and SOSSA, and the high marks on standardized testing results.

Lucas and Maddie then shared information about the school’s very successful Pilgrimage.

With a student population of fewer than 600 students, an impressive 308 people took part in the Pilgrimage, raising an incredible $31,000 for its current project, the Marie Immaculee school and its adjoining orphanage in Haiti. Prior to that, Saint Francis students and staff supported Regina Assumpta school in Cap Hatien, and another school in St. Marc. Michael and Maceo also spoke about the Pilgrimage, explaining how they came to choose their theme based on music, and how they motivate and inspire students to get involved.

During the presentation, the Saint Francis students performed two songs – O Holy Night and Where is the Love?.

Above, Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School students perform a song during the December 19 Board meeting. 

Policies Approved

Trustees approved the updated Trustee Expenses and Reimbursement Policy (100.13) during the December 19 Board meeting. It is now available on the Board website.

Christmas Card Designers Recognized

Card designers

Every year, elementary and secondary school students across Niagara Catholic are invited to submit their designs for Christmas cards that are used by Senior Staff, Trustees and are distributed to Bishop Bergie and parish priests.

During the December 19 Board Meeting, the 10 designers were recognized by the Board, and each received a plaqued version of their design. This year’s recipients were: Alyssa Avolio (Grade 8, St. Alexander Catholic Elementary School), Dana Borowitz (Grade 12, Saint Paul Catholic High School), Devin Brzozowski-Greenwood (Grade 11, Saint Michael Catholic High School), Cassie Corbett (Grade 7, St. Mark Catholic Elementary School), Alessandria DiMaria (Grade 8, Loretto Catholic Elementary School), Gabrielle Gaitan-Caballero (Grade 4, Holy Name Catholic Elementary School), Julia Kozlowski (Grade 9, Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School), Lucky Lou Delotta (Grade 8, St. Nicholas Catholic Elementary School), Eli Rigby (Grade 7, St. Peter Catholic Elementary School) and Nicholas Woodruff (Grade 9, Notre Dame College School).

Above, Director of Education John Crocco, Vice-Chair of the Board Pat Vernal and Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil stand with students who designed the 2017 Christmas cards. 

Good News!

We’ve had an incredible first four months of the school year! If you haven’t done it yet, be sure to check our Good News section of this website to see great stories on the programs and events taking place in our schools. Then check out the In the News section for media coverage of many of these stories, which is accessed through the main page.

Follow us!

To ensure you stay connected with Niagara Catholic news and events, please be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and check our website often for updates and breaking news. It’s the best way to stay in the know, especially now that winter is here!




The Niagara Catholic District School Board, through the charisms of faith, social justice, support and leadership, nurtures an enriching Catholic learning community for all to reach their full potential and become living witnesses of Christ.