Spotlight September 25

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September 25, 2018

Shining the Spotlight on St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School, Port Colborne


St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School student Payton Fraser (at podium with Principal Mark Venzon and a fellow Saint), demonstrates to trustees what she has learned using a Chromebook at school.

Students and staff from St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School in Port Colborne attended the first Board Meeting of the 2018-2019 school year to present the School Excellence Program.

Principal Mark Venzon was joined by students Payton Foster (Grade 2), Jayla Eaton (Grade 7) and Maisie Gervais (Grade 8), who shared what a special place St. Patrick is for students.

They began the presentation by leading trustees and senior staff in the St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School prayer, and then spoke about the history of the school, which first opened in Port Colborne in 1959. Today, there are 193 “Saints” at the school – 172 students in Kindergarten through Grade 8, and 21 staff.

They spoke about their Catholic journey at St. Patrick, where they focus on the concept that faith is meant to be put into action, and spoke about the ways in which their days are infused with faith, from Mass and liturgies and Catholic Choir, to the Rosary Club and Stations of the Cross.

They also spoke about the strong connection between the home and school, including an annual Thanksgiving Luncheon, Faith Day school gardens, a family literacy day and family fun fair. Equally strong is their relationship with Lakeshore Catholic High School, where Saints grow into Gators.

MathUp will be the foundation for the School Improvement cycle, helping strengthen student mathematics learning. Continuing in the area of advancing student achievement, students also spoke about using technology as learning tools, and Peyton gave a demonstration of what she has learned using Chromebooks, which led to student engagement and creative learning.


 Trustees Receive 2017-2018 System Priorities Achievement ReportDuring the September 26 Board Meeting, trustees were provided with a copy of the 2017-2018 System Priorities Achievement Report, which indicates the progress made on the designated System Priorities throughout the previous school year.

Click here to read the report on the Board website.

Niagara Catholic 2017-2018 EQAO Results Released


On September 19, the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released the Board and provincial results of the primary and junior division assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics, and the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) written by Niagara Catholic students in 2017-2018.


Niagara Catholic Grade 3 and 6 students continue to exceed the provincial results in primary and junior Reading and Writing Assessments.


Results for Grade 9 academic and applied mathematics assessments exceeded Provincial results. The results for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test equaled the province.


Seventy-nine per cent of Grade 3 students in Niagara Catholic schools achieved or exceeded the provincial standard in reading, compared to 75 per cent of the province-wide cohort.  Seventy-eight per cent of Grade 3 students achieved Level 3 or higher in writing, compared to 72 per cent across Ontario. Sixty-one per cent of students obtained a Level 3 or 4 in mathematics, equal to the provincial results.


The junior division, 83 per cent of Niagara Catholic Grade 6 students achieved Level 3 or higher in reading, one per cent higher than the provincial results. In writing, 81 per cent of Grade 6 students obtained a Level 3 or 4, compared to 80 per cent in Ontario. Forty-seven per cent of Niagara Catholic Grade 6 students achieved the provincial standard in mathematics.

Eighty-five per cent of Niagara Catholic students in Grade 9 academic mathematics were successful, one per cent above the provincial results. Forty-nine per cent of students enrolled in Grade 9 applied mathematics met or exceeded the provincial standard, four per cent higher than the provincial figure. Seventy-nine per cent of Niagara Catholic students were successful on the OSSLT, which is equal to the province.

The Niagara Catholic District School Board administration and staff will analyze EQAO results, along with other data supporting Ministry of Education initiatives such as Focusing on the Fundamentals of Math, to improve student achievement and inform school improvement planning.

“Niagara Catholic has an outstanding network of partners in Catholic education – parents, administrators, teachers and support staff – who continue to guide students to achieve their personal best,” said Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil. “Students work exceptionally hard throughout the school year to master new concepts, and parents and guardians support this learning at home. We recognize the EQAO assessment as one of many tools used to measure student achievement, but we believe that student success means much more than an academic score. We will continue to balance student achievement as we guide students into confident and creative learners throughout their years at Niagara Catholic.”

Director of Education John Crocco reiterated the belief that students who are nurtured and supported in their education journeys become confident learners.

“Our Niagara Catholic team of educators have a singular focus, which is to support the diverse needs of our students throughout their Catholic educational journey,” he said. “The EQAO assessment is one of many tools used to measure student success. School-level assessments, experiential learning opportunities group and individual projects and in-class participation are also key indicators of student is doing. These learning tools, along with conversations that take place among staff and with parents and guardians throughout the school year, provide the information required to deliver the relevant programs and services to meet a diverse group of learners to succeed. As teaching and learning adapts, our talented team of staff continues to meet the needs of all of our students with Niagara Catholic’s fully inclusive learning environments.”

Budget Booklet Presented

During the September 26 Board Meeting, Superintendent of Business and Financial Services Giancarlo Vetrone provided trustees with a copy of the 2018-2019 Annual Budget book.

A PDF version of the book will be placed online shortly. For those who want to review it earlier, please check section 3.2 of the September 25 Board Meeting Agenda to read it now.

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.


Good News!

In case you missed it, we have some pretty cool photos from the Toronto Maple Leafs visit to Mary Ward Catholic Elementary School on our Good News page; an awesome story about a Senior’s Day Care inside St. Mary Catholic Elementary School in Welland