Welcome to February! The shortest month on the calendar is one of the busiest for Niagara Catholic.
Our Catholic secondary school students have completed their Semester 1 exams, and will begin Semester 2 on February 8.
That is also the week that our annual Kids Helping Kids campaign will take place in our Catholic elementary schools. This initiative, which supports the Niagara Children’s Centre, began in 1998. To date, our students have raised more than $675,000 for programs and services for students with mobility and communicative challenges. Niagara Catholic’s 18th Annual Kids Helping Kids Week will take place February 8-12, 2016.
Ash Wednesday is the official start to Lent. Our schools will all participate in Ash Wednesday services on February 10.
A reminder that the Family Day holiday is February 15. We hope you enjoy the long weekend.
The deadline to nominate an individual or group for the Niagara Catholic Award of Distinction is February 26. The nomination form and criteria can be found through the Award of Distinction slide on the front page of this website.
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.
February 9, 2016
Niagara Catholic regularly reviews its policies, in order to ensure they continue to be in compliance with Ministry of Education requirements and meet the evolving needs of our System. New policies are also added when necessary. These policies are thoroughly vetted by stakeholders and then discussed at length by the Policy Committee.
During the February 9 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Trustees recommended five policies be brought forward to the February 23 Board Meeting for approval. The policies to be discussed at the Board Meeting are: Facility Partnerships Policy (800.6), Pupil Accommodation Review Policy (701.2), Dress Code – Secondary Uniform – Safe Schools (302.6.6), Elementary Standardized Dress Code Policy – Safe Schools (302.6.10) and a new French Immersion Policy.
Phase One of Long-Term Accommodation Planning Now Under Way
In March 2015, the Ministry of Education issued guidelines to school boards in Ontario, to support their efforts to effectively manage and the capital assets of school boards – our schools.
The Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) Guidelines attempt to streamline and clarify the process school boards follow in order to close underutilized schools. The Community Planning and Partnership Guidelines were introduced to ensure that school boards regularly consult with community agencies to facilitate partnerships in underutilized schools.
Niagara Catholic’s Pupil Accommodation Review Policy (701.2) and Community Planning and Partnerships Policy (800.6) were approved at the January 26, 2016, Board Meeting. These revised policies reflect the spirit of the new Ministry guidelines, and comply with their respective requirements.
During the February 9 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Trustees received a report from Superintendent of Education Ted Farrell, Controller of Facilities Services Scott Whitwell and Manager of Facilities Services Kathy Levinski, which outlines the Board’s recent actions in long-term accommodation planning. This report is available as part of the February 9 Committee of the Whole Agenda.
French Immersion Program Update
Niagara Catholic implemented French Immersion in five Catholic elementary schools in September 2013: St. Mark Catholic Elementary School in Beamsville, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School in St. Catharines, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Notre Dame Catholic Elementary Schools in Niagara Falls and Holy Name Catholic Elementary School in Welland.
French Immersion is the highest level of French instruction in English-language schools. Core French is taught 42 minutes a day to all students in Grades 1 through 8, students in Intensive/Extended French receive between 25 and 50 per cent of instruction in French during the school day, while 90 per cent of lessons taught to ELKP and Grade 1 students and 80 per cent of instruction for students in Grades 2-3 is taught in French to students in the French Immersion program.
The program begins in either ELKP or Grade 1, depending on the school site entry point. The program operates similarly to curriculum taught in English classrooms, with instructions provided in French.
A report reviewing Niagara Catholic’s French Immersion program recommends the status quo remain in schools in for 2016-2017, coming years, and changes made to others in the 2017-2018 school year.
The report is available in the February 9 Committee of the Whole Agenda.
2016-2017 Elementary and Secondary School Calendar
Niagara Catholic’s Superintendent of Human Resources presented Niagara Catholic’s proposed 2016-2017 school year calendar to Trustees during the February 9 Committee of the Whole Meeting.
The Ministry of Education requires 194 school days in an academic year. Within those days, seven days must be designated as Professional Activity Days and 10 days must be set aside for secondary examinations. The remaining days are instructional days.
The proposed 2016-2017 school year calendar was vetted through stakeholders in January 2016, and reviewed by Senior Staff. Trustees recommended bringing the proposed 2016-2017 school year calendar forward to the Board for approval at the February 23 Board Meeting. The Board-approved calendar will then be submitted to the Ministry of Education for approval.
Key dates in the proposed 2016-2017 calendar include the Christmas Break (December 26, 2015 – January 6, 2017 inclusive) and the March Break, which will take place from March 13-17, 2017.
The final, Ministry-approved 2016-2017 school year calendar will be posted in the calendar section of this website to assist parents with planning throughout the year. The proposed calendar is available in the February 9 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 in December, including some pretty impressive musical performances by our students.
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.
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.