Spotlight December 8, 2016


December 6, 2016

Trustees MacNeil, Burtnik, Chair and Vice-Chair of Board for 2017

students-sing-2The Niagara Catholic District School Board held its Annual Organizational Meeting at the Catholic Education Centre on December 6, 2016, before the December Meeting of the Committee of the Whole.

During the meeting, Father Paul MacNeil was elected Chair for 2017, and Kathy Burtnik was elected as Vice-Chair. During his remarks at the closing of the Annual Organizational Meeting, Chair MacNeil remarked on what he has learned over his terms as a Trustee and Board Chair.

“I have learned first-hand of the value of a board of trustees working together to guide and protect our Board,” he said. “Now, more so than ever, we are a group of eight individuals with strong and passionate ideals, but we come together as one body, sharing a deep concern for the spiritual well-being of our children. Scott Peck, in his book “The Road Less Travelled,” had a name for this care for the spiritual well-being of another: He called it love. It is the foundation of our organization.”

Mrs. Burtnik’s comments focused on the incredible commitment to Catholic education by staff throughout the system, and challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the coming year, the Diocese and Catholic school supporters count on Niagara Catholic leaders to keep the gift of Catholic education alive and students who “count on us to be the hands, feet and heart of Christ.”

“We have a remarkable, dedicated staff, who constantly bring the light and life of Christ to our classrooms, our hallways, our offices, our communities,” she said. “This coming year … will be marked with challenges and opportunities, and we will only be able to meet those challenges and take the opportunities if we are committed as trustees, not to our own motives, but the collective mission of Catholic education here in Niagara.”

Director of Education John Crocco congratulated both Chair MacNeil and Vice-Chair Burtnik on their election. “I am confident that Chair MacNeil and Vice-Chair Burtnik will continue to be strong and vocal advocates for Niagara Catholic, and for Catholic education in Ontario, throughout the coming year, and I offer each my continued gratitude and heartfelt congratulations on their election,” said Director Crocco. “I also extend my gratitude to Bishop Gerard Bergie, Honourary Chair of the Board, who opened the Annual Organizational Meeting with a dedicated prayer and inspirational marks for all those who attended, and to the Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School Jazz Choir for their beautiful Advent songs.”

The full texts of the Chair and Vice-Chair’s statements are attached. You may also watch Chair MacNeil and Vice-Chair Burtnik deliver their remarks. You can also watch Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School’s stunning a capella rendition of the Carol of the Bells here.

Policies Recommended for Approval

During the December 6 Meeting of the Committee of the Whole, Trustees recommended the following policies be approved at the December 20 Board Meeting:

Administration of Oral Medication to Students Policy (302.2), Accessibility Customer Service Policy (800.8.1), Access to Board Premises Policy – Safe Schools (302.6.3) and Progressive Student Discipline Policy (302.6.9) will be considered by the Board later this month.

French Immersion is On the Grow

slide-french-immersion-2017-2018Niagara Catholic began offering French Immersion at five Catholic elementary schools in Niagara in September, 2013. Since then, the program has grown considerably, and Niagara Catholic now has 395 French Immersion students in Kindergarten through Grade 4, enrolled at five Catholic elementary schools: Holy Name Catholic, Notre Dame Catholic, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic and St. Mark Catholic.

Registration for siblings of students already enrolled in the program is now open, and closes January 9, 2017. Registration for students new to the French Immersion program opens on January 9 and closes on February 10 at 4 p.m.

Capital Projects Update

Turning the sod.

Turning the sod at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School in December 2015.

During the December 6 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Controller of Facilities Services Scott Whitwell presented a report outlining the status of capital projects currently under way across Niagara Catholic.

Ground was broken for a new St. Martin Catholic Elementary School on December 9, 2015, and a year later, the storm sewer and water service installation is complete, electrical ducts have been installed and the roof is being installed in sections. The curbs will be poured this month and masonry veneer is in progress.

Students are expected to begin attending class at the new $5.3-million St. Martin Catholic Elementary School in the spring. A date for the Official Blessing and Opening has yet to be determined.

Tender documents and drawings are currently being developed by Svedas Architects Inc. for the addition of six classrooms and three childcare rooms at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School in Grimsby. When finished, the $4.4-million addition will provide space for an extra 138 students, bringing the school’s capacity to 541 students in Kindergarten through Grade 8.

Lakeshore Catholic High School opened its doors to 303 Grade 9 and 10 students in September, 1988. Since then, the school has grown many times, and how has a student body of close to 1,000 students. A renovation and expansion updated much of the school in 2014, but repairs are now needed to some of the older sections of the school. On December 6, Trustees recommended a report to the Board which, if approved, will see Manorcore Group Inc. replace the exterior glass wall of the chapel with a curtain wall to match the new addition to address structural issues; replace aging skylights which leak and have caused water damage; re-flash the roof in various areas to prevent leaking and replace water-damaged areas of the school. The anticipated cost of this is $865,000 plus HST. Funding for this project is provided by the Ministry of Education’s School Condition Improvement Grant.

Good News!

Have you checked out the Good News section of the Board website lately? If not, you’re missing some great stories and photos about our students. Be sure to check it out often to keep up to date on the fantastic things happening in our schools and across the system. There’s also some great stories on the In the News section of our website, accessible through the home page. Once there, you’ll find great stories about the fantastic things happening in our schools, including St. Gabriel Lalemant Catholic Elementary School’s 12 Days of Caring and Niagara Catholic’s big wins in the Niagara Regional Police Service’s Student Video competition.

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