Can you believe the first month of the school year has come and gone already? We’re now officially into fall, and that means it’s time for some of our signature events and activities that support people here in our communities, and around the world. Read on for our events and activities for October, 2018.
The October SEAC Meeting will take place at the Catholic Education Centre on Wednesday, October 3.
Friday, October 5 is an elementary and secondary Professional Activity Day. Students, have a safe and fun extra-long weekend! All Niagara Catholic schools and sites will be closed on Monday, October 8 for Thanksgiving Day. Be sure to give thanks for the many blessings in your life on Thanksgiving, and always!
Niagara Catholic will host the 2018 Ontario Catholic Student Leadership Conference October 17-19 in Niagara Falls. Hundreds of secondary students from Catholic schools all over Ontario will travel to Niagara for this incredible three-day event, called Limitless. Be sure to watch for photos on on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages – if you haven’t followed us, do it now so you don’t miss a thing!
October 22 is Election Day in Ontario. If you are 18 or older and Roman Catholic, check to ensure that you can support Catholic education in the 2018 Municipal Election. You can check to see your status at your city or town hall. Being registered as an English-Separate supporter is a public support of Catholic education in Niagara, and also allows you to have your voice heard at election time by voting for your Niagara Catholic trustees.
While we give thanks for the many blessings in our lives in October, we also think of those less fortunate. Many schools will collect canned goods for families in need leading up to Thanksgiving, and students in our Catholic elementary schools will take part in Holy Childhood Walks throughout the month, in support of the Holy Childhood Association. Our big event will take place on Sunday, October 28, as thousands of Niagara Catholic students, staff, trustees, alumni and family members take to the streets in communities across the region in the Annual Pilgrimage, supporting organizations at home and around the globe. Be sure to look out for our Pilgrims on Pilgrimage Sunday, give them a smile, wave or friendly honk as you pass them by to show your support for their efforts to improve the lives of others around the world.
Halloween is Wednesday, October 31. Please check with your child’s school about celebration planned for that day.
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.
October 9, 2018
Policies Recommended to the Board
During the October Committee of the Whole Meeting, trustees approved four policies be sent to the Board for approval.
Electronic Communications Systems (Employees) Policy (201.12), Student Parenting Policy (302.5), Playground Equipment Policy (702.1) and Continuing Education Policy (400.1) will be considered at the October 23 Board Meeting.
Capital Projects Update
Trustees were provided with a progress update on current capital projects during the October 9 Committee of the Whole Meeting.
Design work is currently under way at Monsignor Clancy Catholic Elementary School, which will be consolidated with St. Charles Catholic Elementary School and will include a new child care.
The renovation will include space for 104 new pupil places and 49 new child care places for a total capacity of 677 students. The $5-million project is scheduled for completion in in time to open in Fall 2020.
Design work is also under way for the $1.5-million design and construction of a three child care room at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary School, which will provide 49 child care spaces by the fall of 2019.
Focusing on Math Fundamentals
In August, the Ministry of Education introduced new documents aimed to focus on the fundamentals of mathematics, in order to increase student achievement across the province. This new focus will assist students in developing the ability to think mathematically, understand mathematics concepts and relationships and to apply what they have learned in meaningful ways. This strong foundation will continue to support student learning and achievement in secondary school mathematics courses, their daily lives and future pathways.
In alignment with this provincial focus, Niagara Catholic will continue to support student learning through a focus on educators’ understanding of mathematics concepts and teaching, as well as knowing and understanding each learner, using evidence to inform instructional decisions and ongoing professional learning that impacts practice.
Niagara Catholic’s Board and School Improvement Plans for Student Achievement and Well-Being (SIPSAW) for this school year include goals to support this focus on the fundamentals of math, and strategies to build capacity in teaching and learning mathematics in order to increase student achievement. This includes a wide range of professional development for teachers including:
- Job-embedded learning through in-classroom coaches by Numeracy Coaches;
- After-school workshops and self-directed learning modules focused on teaching math;
- The joint Niagara Catholic-Brock University Additional Qualifications (AQ) in Mathematics;
- In collaboration with Brock, engagement in the Mathematics Knowledge Network: Coding and Computational Thinking Community of Practice;
- Eight Catholic elementary learning teams, led by the school principal, involved in a special initiative using the MathUP program to supported targeted school improvement planning in the area of mathematics;
- Ongoing math support for all school leaders to implement and monitor through their SIPSAW provided throughout the school year; and
- A range of professional learning resources made available to staff to support Professional Catholic Learning communities and self-directed learning in each school during the November 16 Professional Activity Day, dedicated to mathematics.
Niagara Catholic Celebrates Stellar 2017 Graduation Rates
The Ontario Ministry of Education has released the 2017 graduation rates for all publicly funded schools in Ontario. For the fourth consecutive year, Niagara Catholic’s four-year graduation rate of 91.3 per cent has placed second among the 57 English-language school boards in Ontario. Niagara Catholic was sixth out of all 72 Ontario school boards.
Niagara Catholic’s five-year graduation rate of 93.2 per cent places the Board third among all English-language District School Boards, and sixth among all 72 Ontario school boards.
The Board’s four-year graduation rate is the 13.3 per cent above provincial averages of 79.8 per cent, and 4.8 per cent above the provincial rate of 86.3 per cent for students who took five years to complete the required number of credits to receive their Ontario Secondary School Graduation Diploma.
Niagara Catholic’s outstanding graduation rates fulfill a strategy laid out in the Board’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan to consistently exceed the Ministry of Education’s goal of a province-wide graduation rate of 85 per cent. This multi-year trend of top-percentile performance is evidence of the leadership, support and contributions of our Board, staff and partners in Catholic education, which we celebrate every day.
Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil said the results reflect the commitment Niagara Catholic has to student success from a student’s earliest years in school, noting that commitment extends beyond the classroom.
“Once again, I am honoured to comment on such outstanding graduation rates for Niagara Catholic” said Chair MacNeil. “Student success is the result of ongoing commitment not only by the students, but also by parents, staff and parish priests, each of whom strives to positively influence students to strive for their personal bests. This is a good-news story for Niagara Catholic, but it certainly comes as no surprise to all of those who played a hand in guiding students throughout their Catholic educations.”
Director of Education John Crocco described the Board’s 2017 graduation rates as evidence of Niagara Catholic’s continued focus on and commitment to academic achievement and success for all students.
“Parents who choose a Niagara Catholic education for their child have a high expectation that their child will be provided with an exemplary Catholic education, through programs, services, supports and experiences throughout their 14 years of formal education, and that their children will graduate and become successful, contributing members of society wherever their life journey takes them,” said Mr. Crocco. “Graduation rates are a key indicator of student success, and our consistently outstanding graduation rates in the province reflect our commitment to the students and families we serve.
“We will continue to provide a diverse range of innovative pathways, courses, programs, supports and services for all students throughout Niagara Catholic, designed to increase student engagement and voice, enhance student experience and continually improve success for all students who are nurtured in a Catholic learning environment led by our dedicated, knowledgeable and talented staff, to ensure they graduate from our schools fully prepared for the next stage of their lives, whether it is apprenticeship, college, university or the world of work. We are very proud of our students as they become active citizens in our world.”
Have Your Say at Election Time – Check Your Assessment Today
Don’t wait until right before the October 22 Municipal Election to check your assessment – if you have moved any time in the past four years, now is a great time to ensure that you are eligible to vote for English-Separate trustees.
Assessment is assigned to the property, not the homeowner, so it’s important to check with your local Clerk’s Office to ensure that the assessment is designated English-Separate. Designating your support not only makes you eligible to vote for your Niagara Catholic trustee(s), it is also a very visible support for Catholic education in Niagara.
Have you checked our Good News page lately? If you haven’t, be sure to jump over there to read about the new community collaboration with a new senior’s day care at St. Mary Catholic Elementary School in Welland, and this fantastic story about Notre Dame College School alumnus Michael Jacques, who wrote a book about living with autism.
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.