Spotlight February 14

logo-spotlightFebruary 14, 2017

Committee of the Whole Approves Policies

During the February 14 Committee of the Whole Meeting, trustees recommended three policies be sent to the Board for approval.

Assessment, Evaluation and Homework Policy (301.10), Student Suspension Policy – Safe Schools Policy ( 302.6.4) and Student Expulsion Policy – Safe Schools Policy (302.6.5) will be considered by the Board at the February 28 Board Meeting.

Capital Projects Progress Update

Each month during the Committee of the Whole Meeting, trustees are presented with an overview of capital projects in progress throughout the System.

Construction is near completion at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School in Smithville. The storm sewer work is complete, and water service has been installed. The electrical ducts are installed and roofing is nearing completion. The parking lot curbing and asphalt base coat is also in place. Students and staff are expected to make the move to the new $10-million St. Martin Catholic Elementary School this spring. A blessing and dedication will take place later this year.

Tender documents and drawings are being developed by Svedas Architects Inc. and engineers for a nine-room addition to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School in Grimsby. The $4.4-million project to add six classrooms and three child care rooms will provide room for an additional 138 students. The project is scheduled to be completed by December 2017, and an Official Blessing and Opening is scheduled for January 2018.

Renewed Math Strategy Shared with Trustees

Boys learning numbers in primary classNiagara Catholic is committed to improving student achievement in mathematics, through an emphasis on instructional and assessment practices that will impact student learning. Ontario’s Renewed Math Strategy highlights professional learning that allows teachers to deepen their content knowledge for teaching mathematics, and develop a comprehensive program which responds to the diverse learning styles and needs of students. A variety of professional learning opportunities focus on understanding on how children and adolescents learn mathematics, and include in-class coaching support, focused on learning sessions and joint Additional Qualification courses through Brock University.

The eight members of the Niagara Catholic Numeracy Team focus on promoting the well-being of students in the process of achieving student achievement; the adoption of a school or department-wide approach, where leaders build capacity, mobilize knowledge and build networks for learning within schools and across schools; the needs of the student, curriculum, learning and professional practice, networking between colleagues within schools and the System; providing access to knowledgeable expertise; promoting leadership for learning and monitoring results.

The Board focus for mathematics includes: Knowing and understanding your learner; using evidence to inform instructional decisions; and ongoing professional learning that impacts practice.

Elementary School Year Calendar 2017-2018

Niagara Catholic trustees have recommended that the Board approve Niagara Catholic’s proposed 2017-2018 School Year Calendar.

The draft calendar was presented to trustees during the February 14 Committee of the Whole Meeting. If approved by the Board, the calendar will be sent to the Ministry of Education for final approval.

Highlights of the draft 2017-2018 School Year Calendar include:

First day of School:

September 5, 2017

Christmas Break:

Monday, December 25, 2017 to Friday, January 8, 2018

March Break:

March 12-16, 2018

Good Friday and Easter Monday:

Friday, March 30 and Monday, April 2, 2018

Elementary Professional Activity Days:

October 6 and November 17, 2017; January 19, February 16, May 18, June 8 and June 29 2018.

Secondary Professional Activity Days:

October 6 and November 17, 2017

February 2, February 16, May 18, June 28 and June 29, 2018.

Secondary school examinations:

First semester: January 26-February 1, 2018

Second semester: June 21-June 27, 2018

Once approved, a draft version of Niagara Catholic’s 2017-2018 School Year Calendar will be posted on this website, updated with the final version, once it is approved by the Ministry of Education.

St. Charles/Monsignor Clancy Modified Pupil Accommodation Review

In keeping with the provincial trend, student enrollment is declining in schools across Niagara Catholic. This equates to a decline in funding, making it crucial for the Board to look at all possible ways to find efficiencies, including closing and consolidating schools.

The most recent school consolidations took place in 2014, when St. Thomas More Catholic Elementary School was closed and consolidated with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary School (with which it shared a property), and when Michael J. Brennan Catholic Elementary School closed and students were a renovated St. James Catholic Elementary School.

Niagara Catholic is currently in the early stages of an open and transparent process to provide the Board with background information regarding accommodation issues rising from current/projected enrolment versus capacity at both schools, and a recommended accommodation option to address issues at Monsignor Clancy and St. Charles Catholic Elementary Schools.

The complete report is available in section C3 of the February 14 Committee of the Whole Agenda.

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