Spotlight May 10


May 10, 2016


Niagara Catholic’s Graduation Rate Second in Ontario Among English School Boards

A+Ontario Ministry of Education released the 2015 graduation rate for all publicly funded high schools in Ontario on May 3.

Director of Education John Crocco was pleased to announce that once again, Niagara Catholic continues to provide a variety of programs and services designed for students in all four career pathways (apprenticeships, college, university and direct entry into the work world), which has resulted in a graduation rate of 91.3 per cent, second among the province’s 57 publicly funded English-language school boards for four-year graduation rates.

That figure is 13 per cent higher than the provincial average, and a 2.3 per cent increase over Niagara Catholic’s graduation rate in 2014, the first year the Ministry of Education released the provincial results. We are also proud of the fact that 93.5 per cent of all secondary school students completed their OSSGD requirements within five years of beginning high school, eight (8) per cent higher than the provincial average.

Niagara Catholic’s figures exceed the Ministry of Education’s goal of an 85 per cent five-year graduation rate, and fulfill a strategy laid out in the Board’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan to exceed the Provincial target rate.

Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil said the results reflect the commitment Niagara Catholic has to student success.

“This is truly wonderful news, and I can think of no better time than during Catholic Education Week in Ontario to celebrate the excellence in Catholic education here at Niagara Catholic,” said Chair MacNeil. “Parents, staff and our parish priests play a significant role in influencing students to strive for their personal best. This outstanding result is a fantastic good news story, but is certainly no surprise to those of us who see first-hand the commitment to student success by all those involved in our Catholic schools.”

Director of Education John Crocco called the 2015 graduation result evidence of the Board’s commitment to academic achievement.

“The graduation rate of students is a key indicator of student success completing an Ontario Secondary School Diploma,” said Mr. Crocco. “We believe our graduation rate is a clear indication of our Board’s commitment to student success. We provide a range of pathways, programs, options and supports for all students, including Specialist High Skills Major, Dual Credit/Connecting College programs and a number of innovative strategies designed to increase student engagement and programs to enhance student experiences for all students throughout Niagara Catholic. While we are very proud of the success of all of our students, who are nurtured by our dedicated and talented staff, we will continue to strive to exceed our own excellent standard to ensure our students graduate from high school fully prepared for the next stage of their lives, whether it is apprenticeship, college, university or the world of work.”


Vision 2020 Strategic Plan Check-In

Vision 2020 - Strategic Plan-page-001Earlier this year, students, staff, parents, guardians, clergy and partners in Catholic education were invited to provide feedback on Niagara Catholic’s multi-year Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, which is now at its halfway point.

Vision 2020 focuses on two Strategic Directions: Build Strong Catholic Identity and Community to Nurture the Distinctiveness of Catholic Education, and Advance Student Achievement for All.

The Check-in questions focused on the two Strategic Directions, and also the seven enabling strategies found in the Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, all of which align with the Board’s Mission, Vision and Values and clearly articulate Niagara Catholic’s direct focus. Respondents provided feedback on the seven Enabling Strategies: Provide Supports for Success; Enhance Technology for Optimal Learning; Building Partnerships and Schools as Hubs; Strengthen Human Resource Practices and Develop Transformational Leadership; Create Equity and Accessibility of Resources; Ensure Responsible Fiscal and Operational Management and Address Changing Demographics.

The feedback will be reviewed to support the collaborative design of the Board’s annual System Priorities for 2017 through 2020.



2016-2017 Annual Budget

After months of working diligently to ensure Niagara Catholic’s cost structure is aligned with the Board’s estimated 2016-2017 Ministry revenue, during the May 10 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Trustees were presented with a projected balanced 2016-2017 budget. This balanced budget will be achieved without the use of prior year surplus funds.

The 2016-2017 Annual Budget is set at $254,053,854, an increase of $211,000 over 2015-2016.

In March, the Ministry of Education announced funding for the 2016-2017 school year. This includes a 1.25 per cent increase for salaries, a result of the central labour agreements within the province.

Keeping this, an estimated decline in enrollment of 426 students for 2016-2017, and the two per cent benchmark for School Operations Allocation in mind, Senior Administrative Council presented a budget which addresses these issues and accomplishes the expectations of the Vision 2020 Strategic Plan.

The Report on the 2016-2017 Balanced Board Budget is available in the May 10 Committee of the Whole agenda.


Phase Three of Long-Term Accommodation Plan Approved

At the April 26 Board Meeting, Trustees approved the third phase of the Board’s Long-Range Accommodations Plan for Niagara Catholic’s 57 Catholic elementary and secondary schools. This phase focused on potential boundary changes, closings, amalgamations and potential space-sharing with outside agencies.

During the May 10 Committee of the whole Meeting, Trustees reviewed the complete Long-Term Accommodations Plan, which included a number of updates. Among the options being discussed is examining the potential of a joint venture with the French Catholic District School Board to build a new joint-use Catholic elementary school in downtown St. Catharines that would be occupied by St. Nicholas Catholic Elementary School and Ecole Immaculee Conception.

Read the complete report here.


Policies Approved

During the May 10 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Trustees recommended three policies be sent to the Board for consideration.

 Access to Board Premises – Safe Schools Policy (302.6.3); Reimbursement of Travel Expenses Policy (201.4) and Establishment and Cyclical Review of Policies Policy (100.5) will be considered at the May 24 Board Meeting.


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 shared in April and Catholic Education Week, including our Distinguished Alumni Celebration, our students bound for the Skills Canada competition and our Catholic Education Congress. Check out the In The News section found on the front page of our website for some great coverage from our schools, including Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School’s Art Auction and our Inspiring Thinkers Conference.


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