Welcome to May!
It’s hard to believe we’re already in the penultimate month of the 2015-2016 school year!
It’s been an outstanding year so far,and this month and next are shaping up to be awesome.
The month begins with Catholic Education Week, which takes place across Ontario May 1 – 6. This year’s theme is Opening Doors of Mercy. Niagara Catholic students and staff will be reading a special Catholic Education Week message in Mass services on the opening weekend, and we have many special events this week to celebrate the gift of Catholic education.
On May 1, celebrate 50 years of excellence in Catholic education at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School in Smithville. If you are a former student or staff member of St. Martin Catholic Elementary School, please join the current students and staff for this celebration.
On May 2, we will celebrate student excellence with the Catch the Spirit Student Awards of Excellence at Saint Michael Catholic High School. This award recognizes one student from each school who exemplify academic excellence, outstanding service to their school and community and Catholic faith. Congratulations to the students from our Catholic elementary schools, secondary schools and our recipient from the Continuing Education Centre.
Earth Day is Friday, April 22. Our students and staff will be out in their communities on Earth Day and throughout Earth Week participating in a variety of civic and schoolyard cleanup events. And don’t forget our Recycle Your Electronics event at the Catholic Education on April 18-22. If you have unwanted electronic items, drop them off in the large bin in front of the Catholic Education Centre at 427 Rice Road in Welland for safe disposal.
For the past year, Niagara Catholic staff and committed volunteers have been working on the first-ever Niagara Catholic Education Congress, which will focus on the topic of Catholic education in Niagara.
Our event at Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School took place in late April, and three more events are planned for Catholic Education Week: On May 3 at Denis Morris Catholic High School, on May 4 at Lakeshore Catholic High School, and on May 5 at Saint Michael Catholic High School. These events are open to all Catholic community stakeholders and are facilitated by Father Tom Rosica, CEO of Salt + Light Television. Register at bit.ly/congressRSVP.
This year-long conversation on Catholic education will continue throughout the year, and will culminate in a day-long event held during Catholic Education Week in 2017.
On May 4-5, Niagara Catholic will hold the annual Inspiring Thinkers Conference. Day One focuses on Numeracy, and Day 2 focuses on Literacy. This event, held at Brock University, brings together senior students from our eight Catholic secondary schools who are involved in math and Writer’s Craft classes.
On May 6, Niagara Catholic will turn its attention to celebrating alumni with our annual Distinguished Alumni Luncheon at the Catholic Education Centre. Now in its fourth year, the Distinguished Alumni Awards recognizes graduates of one of our Catholic high schools who are notable in their field and whose lives exemplify the Catholic Graduate Expectations. A media release announcing our nine 2016 recipients is available here. Congratulations to our recipients, and we look forward to celebrating with you.
That concludes Catholic Education Week activities in our schools. For a list of events and activities in your child’s school, or click here for our full list of Catholic Education Week events. Please check our Good News section of this website and our Facebook page for photos from these events.
On May 7, come out and enjoy storytime in the great outdoors with the Board’s first-ever Storywalk, which will take place at Heartland Forest in Niagara Falls from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This is a free event for families. In addition to reading Paul Showers’ The Listening Walk as you walk through the fully-accessible trail, there will be wagon rides, sing-a-long and bonfire. Pack a picnic and plan to spend the day!
On May 12, our Student Leadership Symposium will take place at Club Roma. During this event, our 2016-2017 Student Senate Co-Chairs and Student Trustees will be elected by their peers.
May 19 is a very exciting day at Niagara Catholic. In the morning, the 2,000 students in our Class of 2016 will come together for a special Graduation Celebration at the Gale Centre in Niagara Falls. This is an annual tradition at Niagara Catholic, one of the signature events in our school year and is certainly a highlight of students’ years at Niagara Catholic. This year’s guest speaker is Marcel LeJeune, one of the sought-after Catholic speakers for youth in North America. Mr. LeJeune will bring his dynamic message to members of Catholic School Councils during the annual Partners in Catholic Education event that evening.
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.
Elementary Itinerant Arts Curriculum Delivery and Support Update
Beginning in September 2015, all elementary students began receiving Arts instruction in their classrooms, led by a team of Itinerant Arts teachers.
Students in ELKP through Grade 4 receive dance/drama and vocal music instruction, while students in Grades 5-8 will have instrumental music instruction.
The Itinerant Arts teachers travel in teams of two, with one Dance/Drama/Vocal Music teacher and one Instrumental Music teacher visiting a school on a given day.
To better assist these specialized teachers in delivering engaging and creative instrumental lessons, new instruments were purchased at the start of the school year for schools across the system. Soprano, alto and tenor recorders, ukuleles, bucket drums and guitars are now used by teachers to enable the students to achieve the more complex expectations in the provincial Arts curriculum.
Teachers can then share locally developed lesson plans through Google Apps for Education, and accessed through Smartboard technology. Lesson plans include faith-based music and drama.
Read the complete report in section C3 of the April 12 Committee of the Whole Agenda.
Niagara Catholic 2016-2017 System Priorities
Beginning at the Committee of the Whole Meeting each January, the Director of Education and Senior Administrative Council began providing monthly information reports to Trustees on the Design of the System Priorities and Annual Budget for the upcoming year.
Niagara Catholic continues to build the 2016-2017 Budget to achieve the System Priorities defined for 2016-2017 and meet the legislated requirements of the Education Act, and the Ministry of Education’s Grants for Student Needs (GSN) funding allocations.
At the April 12 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Trustees voted to recommend the 2016-2017 System Priorities. These priorities include to continue to provide Catholic programs, supports and services to build strong Catholic identity and community, improving student achievement, expanding social justice, global citizenship and international education experiences, implementing the next phase of the Technology Blueprint 2016-2020, enriching the engagement of student leadership, designing and delivering a comprehensive multi-year Professional Development Plan, maintining fiscal stability and implementing the first phase of the Board’s Long-Term Accommodation Plan.
Read the full report in Appendix B of Report C6 of the April 12 Committee of the Whole Agenda.
Learn more about Niagara Catholic’s Long-Term Accommodation Plan below.
Phase 3 of Niagara Catholic’s Long-Term Accommodation Plan
Beginning in February, Niagara Catholic Trustees began looking at the Board’s Long-Term Accommodation Plan. Phase 1 was introduced at the February 9 Committee of the Whole Meeting, and approved at the Board Meeting on February 23.
Phase 2 was introduced at the Committee of the Whole Meeting on March 8, and the Board discussed the staffing and property implications associated with data in the report.
Updated information was provided to Trustees during the April 12 Committee of the Whole Meeting, along with the recommendations for schools over the short term (2016-2018), medium term (2018-2020) and long term (beyond 2020).
The report is available in section C5 of the April 12 Committee of the Whole Agenda.
Catch Up With Our Good News!
If you haven’t checked out our Good News section in a while, be sure to take a look at some of the great stories we’ve had to share, including photos from our Bishop’s Gala and Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Instagram and YouTube for more about life across Niagara Catholic
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.