Niagara Catholic District School Board

November is shaping up to be a very busy month across Niagara Catholic! We hope you will enjoy reading about them on our Good News Blog and will join us for public events at our schools and in our communities. 



We begin November 2014 in prayer and reflection. All-Saints Day is November 1, and All-Souls Day is November 2.  Please pray for all of those who have gone before us.



Students learned about what their parents do here at the Catholic Education Centre during Take Our Kids to Work Day in 2013.

Students at the Catholic Education Centre during Take Our Kids to Work Day in 2013.

On November 5, our Grade 9 students will have the opportunity to explore future career pathways during Take Our Kids to Work Day. It’s an exciting time for these students, and we are grateful to the many community partners who make this such an insightful and safe event for our students.

While the Grade 9s are away, our Catholic secondary schools host Grade 8 Day. This annual event brings our senior Catholic elementary school students into their future Catholic secondary school. We invite all Grade 8s to participate in activities at their future Catholic high school. We also encourage you to share your experience on social media, using #NCSmartChoice to join the conversation.

Finally, members of the Special Education Advisory Committee will meet at the Catholic Education Centre on November 5.


Random Act of Kindness DayNovember 7 is Random Act of Kindness Day across Niagara. Last year, Niagara Catholic held a system-wide Oatmeal Day, in support of Mary’s Meals Canada. This event was incredibly successful, raising $30,000 to help fund a hot meal program for students in Malawi. Through the very generous support of students and staff, we were able to feed $3,000 students a hot meal at school every day for a full year.

In 2014, our schools have arranged their own Act of Kindness events, while staff at the Catholic Education Centre will hold a used clothing drive in partnership with the Canadian Diabetes Association.

A Canadian Diabetes Association Clothesline truck will be parked at the Catholic Education Centre from November 3-7, and you are invited to drop off gently used clothing during office hours (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.). The clothing will then be distributed to local Value Village stores for sale. Click here for a list of acceptable items for donation to this event.

The events of the past few weeks have served as an especially poignant reminder of the importance of our Canadian military.

On November 11, our students and staff will observe Remembrance Day in a variety of ways, including prayer services, visits to local cenotaphs, and inviting veterans of Canada’s wartime and peacekeeping service to share their stories.

Please wear your poppy proudly through Remembrance Day.

StudentVoiceOn November 12, Niagara Catholic will hold its first Student Voice Conference of the year.

This event brings together elementary and secondary students from across the system to discuss this year’s topic, Lead Out Loud – Learning the Stories of Our Community. 

On November 13, Niagara Catholic will host its second annual Culture of Life Conference. This focuses on the Catholic Social Teaching of the Dignity of the Human Person.

Don’t forget: November 14 is a Professional Activity Day for our Elementary and Secondary schools.

Elementary progress reports and secondary mid-term report cards will be sent home with students the week of November 17.

Elementary parent-student-teacher interviews will take place the following week.

November will conclude with our second annual Kids Lit Quiz on November 26. This fun and educational event challenges elementary students’ knowledge about their favourite books.


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.


Spotlight Goes Digital!

We’re excited to launch our new digital edition of Spotlight on Niagara Catholic.  Our digital edition of Spotlight  will be produced at the end of each month and will feature news from our Board meetings, as well as highlights of special events throughout Niagara Catholic. We hope you will enjoy this new format.


Table of Contents


 Board Room Highlights

September 2014 Niagara Catholic Capital Project Update

Students from St. James and Michael J.  Brennan Catholic Elementary in St.  Catharines came together in June, to celebrate  the amalgamate the two schools beginning in  September 2014. The Saint Michael Catholic  High School community will celebrate its  expansion and renovation with a Blessing and  Celebration on November 4, 2014.

Students from St. James and Michael J.
Brennan Catholic Elementary in St.
Catharines, Celebrate
the amalgamate the two schools beginning in
September 2014.

Throughout the summer, Niagara Catholic completed close to $33-million in renovations for schools, including major additions to St. James Catholic Elementary School in St. Catharines, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary School in Niagara Falls, and the expansion and renovation of Saint Michael Catholic High School in Niagara Falls.

During the Committee of the Whole Meeting September 9, Trustees were provided with an update on these capital projects by Senior Staff.

To view the Capital Projects Update, please visit the September 9 Committee of the Whole agenda.

 Schools, Board Receive $46,000 in Parents Reaching Out Grants

Events such as St. Martin Catholic Elementary  School’s Pajamarama literacy evening in 2011  are excellent examples of programs  funded by Parents Reaching Out Grants.

St. Martin Catholic Elementary School’s Pajamarama literacy evening was funded by Parents Reaching Out Grants.

Twenty-five Niagara Catholic elementary and secondary schools have been approved for Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Grants for the 2014-2015 academic year.

The grants, which will be used for a number of programs focused on literacy, numeracy, science, social media awareness, anti-bullying, raising resilient children and parent engagement, total nearly $25,000.
In addition, Niagara Catholic was granted $21,600 to host a “Family Night Out,” an event which will focus on parent engagement and communication.

 Niagara Catholic Teachers Teaching and Learning in China

Niagara Catholic teachers Krystin Lessard  (back left), Paulina Kociolek, Lena Miele and  Michael Goodwin are in China for a year,  teaching at the Country Garden School.

Krystin Lessard (back left), Paulina Kociolek, Lena Miele and Michael Goodwin.

In early September, four Niagara Catholic teachers travelled to Guangzhu, China, for the experience of a lifetime.

The teachers will spend a full academic year living in China, working at the Country Garden School, with which Niagara Catholic has a partnership.

During the September 23 Board Meeting, the teachers joined the Board via Skype to share their experiences thus far, and to participate in a partnership agreement signing.

2013-2014 Strategic Directions System Priorities Achievement Report

System Priorities - Achievement Report - September 12During the September 23 Board Meeting, Trustees were provided with the 2013-2014 Strategic Directions System Priorities Final Report.

This document, released publicly to Trustees and made available to all stakeholders in Niagara Catholic, provides a detailed review of the progress in achieving the System Priorities within each Strategic Direction and Enabling Strategy of the Board’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan.

Read the Niagara Catholic System Priorities 2013-2014 Achievement report.

Niagara Catholic Students Surpass Provincial Average on EQAO

Niagara Catholic students performed above the provincial average on EQAO  literacy and numeracy assessments.

Niagara Catholic students performed above the provincial average on EQAO literacy and numeracy assessments.

In May and June 2014, students in Grades 3 and 6 in Niagara Catholic elementary schools participated in the Educations Quality and Assessment Officer (EAQO) literacy and numeracy assessments.

On September 17, the results were released, and Niagara Catholic once again scored higher than the provincial average.

During the September 23 Board Meeting, Trustees were informed of the 2013-2014 results. Find the full report to the Board here.

Niagara Catholic K-12 Mathematics Strategy Shared with Trustees

Spotlight-September-2014-14Niagara Catholic continues to make student success in mathematics a priority.

In 2011, Niagara Catholic’s Program Department Numeracy Team began working in partnership with Brock University researchers to provide an outside analysis of the Board’s work.Based on those findings, in September 2013, the Board made K-2 classrooms a priority for mathematics learning.

Read Niagara Catholic’s Final Report to the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat here.

What’s New?

Welcome to What’s New?, the section of Spotlight on Niagara Catholic that catches you up on things you may have missed if you haven’t visited our Good News Blog regularly.


Gridiron Success for Gryphon Ryan Nieuwesteeg

Photo: Guelph Mercury

Photo: Guelph Mercury

Congratulations to Ryan Nieuwesteeg, a graduate of Saint Paul Catholic High School and a current student at the University of Guelph.

Ryan was recently named the Ontario University Athletics’ Football Special Teams Player of the Week. A punt and kick returner with the Guelph Gryphons, Ryan had a great week on the field, with 227 yards in kick returns, including a 62-yard touchdown on a punt return.

Ryan is the son of Niagara Catholic Trustee Ed Nieuwesteeg.

On Niagara Catholic TV

niagara-catholic-tvHave you checked out Niagara Catholic TV? If you haven’t visited that section of our website, you’re missing some pretty great videos created by our students and staff.

Be sure to check out the different channels, including our Director’s Video Channel and one filled with our students and staff participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of ALS Canada.

Remember to share the news about Niagara Catholic TV with family and friends! It’s a great way to see what’s happening in our schools.

Declare Your Support

Spotlight-September-2014-9Have you moved? Check your support so you can vote for an English Separate Trustee!

Your support of Catholic education is vitally important:

  • It is the basis of attendance rights for admission into Niagara Catholic elementary schools;
  • It is a public record of the extent of support for our Niagara Catholic schools, providing the government with an indication of the overall support and strength of a publicly funded Catholic school system.
  • It is used to determine the number of trustees to be elected to each board to represent the interests of parents and other ratepayers;
  • It supports board population projections, which affect funding for new pupil places.



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.