Niagara Catholic District School Board

Another exciting school year is about to begin! Welcome back to our returning students, and a very special welcome to the new students to Niagara Catholic. Many are beginning school for the first time and look forward to 14 years of Catholic education, and others are joining at various points in your education. However you came to join us, we are pleased to have you join us as part of the Niagara Catholic family.


September is a busy month at Niagara Catholic, and we’re pleased to showcase a few of the events taking place in our system this month.


Our eight Niagara Catholic secondary schools will host Grade 9/new student Open Houses on September 2. If your son or daughter is a new student in one of our high schools, please visit their school’s website for the time of their event. Students in Grades 10-12 can visit the school on September 3 to make changes to their timetable.



first day


September 8 is the first day of school! Once again, our classrooms will be bustling with activity and the happy sounds of students learning. We’re excited about the prospects for learning, spiritual development and fun that a new year brings and we’re certain it’s going to be a fantastic 10 months!



The Niagara Foundation for Catholic Education’s 14th Annual Golf Tournament will take place at Legends on the Niagara on Wednesday, September 16, 2015. To enter a foursome, donate a prize or sponsor a hole, please contact:


Niagara Catholic Director of Education John Crocco, Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil and Bishop Bergie will join students and staff from Niagara Catholic on a trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 23-25, for the World Meeting of Families, led by Pope Francis. This will be a very exciting and dynamic event and we are confident that it will be a life-changing experience for all those who take part. We are excited to be a party of this very historic event, the Holy Father’s first official visit to North America.




The Niagara Grape and Wine Festival is one of the area’s biggest events, and we are excited to be one of the biggest parts of this celebration. On September 26, come out and see Niagara Catholic family together as one big group, walking, playing music and entertaining thousands of people on the streets of downtown St. Catharines in the Grande Parade.



Check back in early October for our big events in what is always a busy month, including the 40th anniversary of the Notre Dame Pilgrimage!


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.

logo-spotlightJune 16, 2015

Trustees Approve Policies

During the June 9, 2015 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Trustees approved the following revised policies: Progressive Student Discipline – Safe Schools Policy (302.6.9), Admission of Elementary and Secondary Students Policy (301.1), Safe Physical Intervention with Students Policy (301.8), Equity and Inclusive Education Policy (100.10), Purchasing/Supply Chain Management Policy (600.1) and Retirement and Service Recognition Policy (201.2).

Niagara Catholic regularly reviews Board policies to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of the system and comply with Ministry of Education requirements.

Trustees Recognize Student Medallists

During the June 16, 2015 Board Meeting, Trustees recognized a number of Niagara Catholic students who represented their schools and the Board at provincial and national competitions during the spring sports season.

Canadian Secondary School Rowing Championships:

Saint Michael Catholic High School Junior Women’s Double – Gold

Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School Senior Men’s Single – Gold

Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School Junior Men’s 65kg Four with coxswain – Bronze

Denis Morris Catholic High School Senior Men’s 72kg Single – Silver

Denis Morris Catholic High School 72kg Four with coxswain – Bronze

Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School Junior Women’s 63kg  – Silver

Saint Paul Catholic High School – Junior Women’s Single – Silver

Saint Paul Catholic High School – Senior Women’s Quad – Bronze

OFSAA Boys AA Soccer:

Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School – Silver

OFSAA Boys A/AA Lacrosse 

Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School – Bronze

2015 Lacrosse Boys AAA/AAAA

Denis Morris Catholic High School – Bronze

OFSAA Track and Field:

Saint Michael Catholic High School  Makiah Hunt – Gold

Several students were on hand for the presentations. Each was presented with a Niagara Catholic Excellence in Athletics Pin by Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil. Students who were unable to attend were presented with their pins by their school principals.

Kids Helping Kids


Niagara Catholic presented more than $36,000 to the Niagara Children’s Centre at the June 16 Board Meeting. From left are Director of Education John Crocco, Family of Schools Superintendent Yolanda Baldasaro, Lakeshore Catholic High School Student Ryan Boros, Niagara Children’s Centre Executive Director Oksana Fisher and Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil.


Since 1997, the week of Valentine’s Day has had a special place in the hearts of elementary students at Niagara Catholic. That’s the week when school communities have a series of fun-filled games, events and activities, all geared toward raising money for, and awareness of, the Niagara Children’s Centre.

During the June 16 Board Meeting, Niagara Catholic presented a cheque to the Centre for $36,803.09. Since 1997, Niagara Catholic has raised more than $675,000 for the Centre, to help provide programs and services for children with a number of special needs.

This year, Ryan Boros, a Grade 11 student at Lakeshore Catholic High School, joined Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil, Director of Education John Crocco and Superintendent of Education Yolanda Baldasaro in making the presentation to Children’s Centre Executive Director Oksana Fisher. Ryan spoke eloquently about how the Centre, and Niagara Catholic’s involvement with it, has impacted his life.

“I just cannot express in words the debt that I ow to the Niagara Children’s Centre and Niagara Catholic for making me who I am,” he said.

Following Ryan’s speech, Chair MacNeil called Ryan “an inspiration to all of us.”


On June 17, Niagara Catholic was presented with the Dr. William J. Orr Tribute Award of Distinction by the Centre. Read the media release here.


Six Straight Years of Perfect EcoSchools Certification

Niagara Catholic has participated in the Ontario EcoSchools program since 2007. This program incorporates environmental education as well as environmentally responsible action in a school or classroom setting, creating a culture of conservation that students bring into their home lives.

In 2010, Niagara Catholic became the first school board in the province to have every single school in its system to be certified as an Ontario EcoSchool. Since then, we have maintained that perfect record of full certification. This year represents our sixth straight year of EcoSchools certification, a record that is unparalled in Ontario.

This accomplishment has been made possible through the exceptional learning provided to students and the environmentally responsible practices incorporated into our schools.

This year, one Niagara Catholic school – St. Mary Catholic Elementary School in Niagara Falls – achieved Platinum status for its efforts. Thirty-nine schools achieved Gold EcoSchools status, 16 achieved Silver status and one school achieved Bronze status for 2014-2015.

Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil congratulated the students and staff for their commitment to environmental stewardship.

“It only takes a quick look around our schools to see that our students and staff are committed to preserving the world that God created for us,” said Father MacNeil. “When you speak to the students about the projects they are doing and the ways in which they are conserving energy and learning about nature, the students come to life and their enthusiasm spreads to everyone around them. Congratulations to all of our students and staff who worked so hard this year, and thank you to the parents and guardians who have supported them along the way.”

Director of Education John Crocco said this year’s outstanding result has been guided by the Green Niagara Catholic program, which promotes conservation and stewardship, and the Niagara Catholic’s Environmental Stewardship Policy.

“God created us with a world of beauty to enjoy, nature to explore and resources to share,” said Mr. Crocco. “In his encyclical on climate change released this week, Pope Francis reminds us that we can – and must – do better to protect our ‘common home, (that is) is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us,’ and called us to consider the ways in which our actions impact the planet and change our behaviour. We consider environmental stewardship as an extension of the culture of life present throughout Niagara Catholic, and I’m proud of the hard work our students and staff have put forward to continue to achieve 100 per cent EcoSchools certification again this year.” 

Find Niagara Catholic’s EcoSchools results here.

Larkin Estate Awards Recommended

The Larkin Estate Award was created out of a bequest from the estates of Maria Eveleen Larkin and Aimee Theresa Larkin. Beginning in 1969, Trustees in the former Lincoln County Roman Catholic Separate School Board administered the Larkin Estate Award to students registered in St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, or a school of nursing, social work or a college or university offering such a course.

During the June 16, 2015 Board Meeting, Trustees approved a recommendation granting seven graduating students a $225 Larkin Estate Award as they embark on their post-secondary educations: Kristen Anderson (Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School, Nursing); Ariel Michael Morales (Denis Morris Catholic High School, Nursing); Zoie Ward, Jennifer Korsmit and Marta Wasak (Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, Nursing); Michelle Desrosiers (Lakeshore Catholic High School, Women & Gender Studies) and Sean Michael Thompson (Notre Dame College School, Nursing).

Five alumni had their $125 Award repeated this year: Adriana Sansotta (Brock University from Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, Nursing); Aryn Richardon (McMaster University from Denis Morris Catholic High School, Bachelor of Science, Nursing); Bianca Benincasa (University of Toronto from Lakeshore Catholic High School, Criminology/Criminal Sciences); Denise Ehi (University of Windsor from Saint Michael Catholic High School, Nursing) and Melissa DellaSmirra (Brock University from Notre Dame College School, Nursing).

Captial Projects Submission 2015

Each year, the Ministry of Education invites school boards to submit their Capital Priorities for the coming year.

Submissions for the 2015-2016 school year are due on July 15, 2015.

Senior Staff reviewed a number of possible capital projects for funding, and created a list of those deemed most necessary.

During the June 16, 2015 Board Meeting, Trustees approved the following Capital Projects, in order of priority, be considered by the Board for submission to the Ministry:

  • An addition to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School in Grimsby to relieve accommodation pressure
  • An addition to St. Christopher Catholic Elementary School to relieve accommodation pressure (as a result of the Accommodation Review as approved on May 24, 2014)
  • Alterations to St. Theresa Catholic Elementary School – a proposed retrofit to conver an open-concept classroom to a regular classroom configuration (as a result of the Accommodation Review as approved on May 24, 2014)
  • An addition St. Michael Catholic Elementary School to relieve accommodation pressure


 This is the final Spotlight on Niagara Catholic until September. We wish everyone a very safe and enjoyable summer.

We will see you on September 8, 2015.


Niagara Region Public Health has issued an Excessive Heat Alert


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.