Well, we’re a full month into 2017. January flew by and we have another great month ahead for February. Here’s a taste of what’s in store:
Semester Two in our Catholic Secondary Schools begins on Monday, February 6.
Beginning on Monday, February 13, students across Niagara Catholic will participate in our Kids Helping Kids campaign, raising funds for the Niagara Children’s Centre. This is the 19th year for the event. Last year, students raised more than 35,000, and over 18 years, Niagara Catholic has raised more than $710,000 for programs and services for students with physical and communicative challenges. Kids Helping Kids Week concludes on Thursday, February 16. Click here for a list of events that have been reported to us. If your school is not included, please check your child’s school calendar or newsletter for details.
Friday, February 17 is a Professional Activity Day for our students and staff. Monday, February 20 is the Family Day holiday. Enjoy your time off with family and friends!
A reminder that the final day to nominate a Distinguished Alumni for a Distinguished Alumni Award is Friday, February 17. Click here for nomination criteria and a link to the nomination form.
Tickets are now available for the Bishop’s Gala! Click on the Bishop’s Gala flyer on the main page for ticket information. This year, we’re excited to have The Madhatters perform live for guests. The evening will also include a fabulous antipasto bar and meal at Club Roma, a silent auction and the Niagara Catholic Education Award of Distinction. Nominations for the Award of Distinction close on February 24. Click here for the nomination criteria and a link to the nomination form.
We’d like to remind families who have not yet chosen a school for their child for September 2017 that registration is available throughout the school year at all Catholic elementary and secondary schools. If you’re not sure which school your child will attend, click here and enter your address to find out about your home school and transportation availability.
Parents interested in registering their child for Kindergarten or any grade in a Catholic elementary school can click here for information about our Catholic elementary schools, the registration process and the documents required to complete registration. Families interested in registering a child in one of our Catholic secondary schools can find information about the registration process here. If you have specific questions, please call your neighbourhood Catholic elementary school or secondary school for assistance, or call 905.735.0240 ext. 297.
Finally, we’d like to remind parents and guardians that even though this has been a mild winter with relatively little snow, the weather can change in Niagara very quickly. Parents should ensure that students are dressed for the elements when they come to school, with warm tuques, gloves, boots, coats and snow pants. Gloves, coats and boots should be waterproof, and a change of clothes should be available just in case. Students are sent outside most days, unless Niagara Region Public Health issues an Extreme Cold Weather Alert. Given the diverse nature of Niagara’s climate, some schools may experience inclement weather while others do not, so outdoor recesses and lunches are at the discretion of the principal on days when an Extreme Cold Weather Alert is not in effect.
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.
Committee of the Whole Approves Policies
During the February 14 Committee of the Whole Meeting, trustees recommended three policies be sent to the Board for approval.
Assessment, Evaluation and Homework Policy (301.10), Student Suspension Policy – Safe Schools Policy ( 302.6.4) and Student Expulsion Policy – Safe Schools Policy (302.6.5) will be considered by the Board at the February 28 Board Meeting.
Capital Projects Progress Update
Each month during the Committee of the Whole Meeting, trustees are presented with an overview of capital projects in progress throughout the System.
Construction is near completion at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School in Smithville. The storm sewer work is complete, and water service has been installed. The electrical ducts are installed and roofing is nearing completion. The parking lot curbing and asphalt base coat is also in place. Students and staff are expected to make the move to the new $10-million St. Martin Catholic Elementary School this spring. A blessing and dedication will take place later this year.
Tender documents and drawings are being developed by Svedas Architects Inc. and engineers for a nine-room addition to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School in Grimsby. The $4.4-million project to add six classrooms and three child care rooms will provide room for an additional 138 students. The project is scheduled to be completed by December 2017, and an Official Blessing and Opening is scheduled for January 2018.
Renewed Math Strategy Shared with Trustees
Niagara Catholic is committed to improving student achievement in mathematics, through an emphasis on instructional and assessment practices that will impact student learning. Ontario’s Renewed Math Strategy highlights professional learning that allows teachers to deepen their content knowledge for teaching mathematics, and develop a comprehensive program which responds to the diverse learning styles and needs of students. A variety of professional learning opportunities focus on understanding on how children and adolescents learn mathematics, and include in-class coaching support, focused on learning sessions and joint Additional Qualification courses through Brock University.
The eight members of the Niagara Catholic Numeracy Team focus on promoting the well-being of students in the process of achieving student achievement; the adoption of a school or department-wide approach, where leaders build capacity, mobilize knowledge and build networks for learning within schools and across schools; the needs of the student, curriculum, learning and professional practice, networking between colleagues within schools and the System; providing access to knowledgeable expertise; promoting leadership for learning and monitoring results.
The Board focus for mathematics includes: Knowing and understanding your learner; using evidence to inform instructional decisions; and ongoing professional learning that impacts practice.
Elementary School Year Calendar 2017-2018
Niagara Catholic trustees have recommended that the Board approve Niagara Catholic’s proposed 2017-2018 School Year Calendar.
The draft calendar was presented to trustees during the February 14 Committee of the Whole Meeting. If approved by the Board, the calendar will be sent to the Ministry of Education for final approval.
Highlights of the draft 2017-2018 School Year Calendar include:
First day of School:
September 5, 2017
Monday, December 25, 2017 to Friday, January 8, 2018
March 12-16, 2018
Good Friday and Easter Monday:
Friday, March 30 and Monday, April 2, 2018
Elementary Professional Activity Days:
October 6 and November 17, 2017; January 19, February 16, May 18, June 8 and June 29 2018.
Secondary Professional Activity Days:
October 6 and November 17, 2017
February 2, February 16, May 18, June 28 and June 29, 2018.
Secondary school examinations:
First semester: January 26-February 1, 2018
Second semester: June 21-June 27, 2018
Once approved, a draft version of Niagara Catholic’s 2017-2018 School Year Calendar will be posted on this website, updated with the final version, once it is approved by the Ministry of Education.
St. Charles/Monsignor Clancy Modified Pupil Accommodation Review
In keeping with the provincial trend, student enrollment is declining in schools across Niagara Catholic. This equates to a decline in funding, making it crucial for the Board to look at all possible ways to find efficiencies, including closing and consolidating schools.
The most recent school consolidations took place in 2014, when St. Thomas More Catholic Elementary School was closed and consolidated with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary School (with which it shared a property), and when Michael J. Brennan Catholic Elementary School closed and students were a renovated St. James Catholic Elementary School.
Niagara Catholic is currently in the early stages of an open and transparent process to provide the Board with background information regarding accommodation issues rising from current/projected enrolment versus capacity at both schools, and a recommended accommodation option to address issues at Monsignor Clancy and St. Charles Catholic Elementary Schools.
The complete report is available in section C3 of the February 14 Committee of the Whole Agenda.
Stay up to date with our Good News!
Have you checked out the Good News section of the Board website lately? If not, you’re missing some great stories and photos about our students. Be sure to check it out often to keep up to date on the fantastic things happening in our schools and across the system. There’s also some great stories on the In the News section of our website, accessible through the home page. Don’t forget our monthly Director’s Video is also available on the main page of this website.
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.
We continue to experience some instability of our network centre at the Catholic Education Centre. If your matter is urgent and requires an immediate response from someone at the CEC, please continue to use the Bell landline system.
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.