Spotlight February 9


 February, 2016

Student Trustee and Student Senat Co-Chair Aidan Harold Wins Prestigious National Loran Award

Aidan Big

Congratulations to Aidan Harold, a Grade 12 student at Notre Dame College School in Welland, and one of 30 students from across Canada to receive the Loran Scholars Award. Aidan’s scholarship is valued at up to $100,000, which includes covering his undergraduate degree and many internship, mentoring and summer learning opportunities.

Aidan is Co-Chair of the Niagara Catholic Student Senate, and is one of our two Student Trustees.

Niagara Catholic Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil congratulated Aidan on being named a Loran Scholar.

“On behalf of the Niagara Catholic community, I congratulate Aidan Harold on this outstanding accomplishment,” said Chair MacNeil. “Niagara Catholic’s Senior Administrative Staff and the entire Board of Trustees values the tremendous importance of the student voice, and Aidan has been an outstanding representative for the students we serve. He has been a strong voice not only at Notre Dame College School and in the Father Burns csc Board Room, but in meetings throughout the province.Aidan is respectful, confident and positive in all that he does; attributes which will serve him well.  I am proud of the hard work and commitment he has shown to his own academic pursuits and to serving Catholic education in Niagara and in Ontario. It has been my privilege to work with Aidan on the Niagara Catholic Board of Trustees this year, and I am certain that a very bright future lies ahead of him, and for him.”

Director of Education John Crocco also offered high praise for Aidan.

“To simply define Aidan as a ‘fine young man with a tremendous future’ would be an understatement,” said Director Crocco. “Aidan exemplifies each one of the qualities the Loran Scholars Foundation seeks, and much more. I was immediately impressed with Aidan when he first joined Niagara Catholic Student Senate, and I am immensely proud of his hard work, focus and commitment he consistently exhibits to his own academic achievements  combined with his dedicated, active and focused leadership to serving Catholic education in Niagara Catholic and throughout the Province of Ontario. 

“Being a Loran Scholar puts Aidan in the elite group of the brightest minds in this country, and will afford him with multiple opportunities far beyond the financial benefit he will receive. The personal mentorship from business, industry, private and non-profit leaders, the internship and retreat opportunities and the network of individuals he will join as a Loran Scholar will be a significant benefit on his life and career journey.

As an upcoming Catholic graduate of the Notre Dame College and Niagara Catholic Class of 2016, I am absolutely confident in Aidan’s future achievements and that he will make a significant and lasting impact on our society, communities and nation in whatever and wherever his life and career journey takes this exceptional young man.”

Check out the wonderful story about Aidan Harold in the newspaper last week here.

Director of Education Recognized at U.S. National Education Conference


Director of Education, Mr. Crocco was recognized among 50 peers from the United States at the AASA Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in February. The AASA is the School Superintendents Association in the United States – the counterpart to the Canadian Association of School System Administrators (CASSA), which selected Director Crocco as the top school administrator in the country in July 2015.

Phoenix close

More than 8,000 educators participated in the AASA Conference, and Director Crocco was fortunate to be joined by members of his Senior Administrative Team Yolanda Baldasaro, Ted Farrell, Lee Ann Forsyth-Sells, Frank Iannantuono and Giancarlo Vetrone and representatives from CASSA for the presentation.

Director of Education John Crocco said the honour is truly a reflection of the quality of the entire Senior Administrative Team.

“It may have been my name that was announced, but this honour recognizes the outstanding efforts of Niagara Catholic’s exceptional Senior Administrative Team, who work tirelessly to support the school administrators and staff each and every day,” said Mr. Crocco. “I share this honour with them, with the Board and all staff who serve the vocation of Catholic education for the students of today, and the future. As I have said before, they are a platinum medal team of leadership, knowledge, talent and friendship and represent the very best in Catholic educational leadership in Ontario.”

Policies Reviewed

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.

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