Wowza, have we had a wild ride throughout February, so it sure is nice to say welcome to March!

I think it’s fair to say everyone is looking forward to the March Break whether they are going away or staying at home. Hopefully by the time we all return after that, the weather will be on our side and we’ll be into a more steady routine.

But March is a BUSY month with a lot of great things happenings, so let’s dive right in!

Niagara Catholic’s Special Education Advisory Committee will meet on Monday, March 4. 

The Niagara Catholic Dance Festival will take place during the day on March 5, and our Speak Out! Showcase will take place at the Catholic Education Centre immediately before the Committee of the Whole Meeting that evening. 

March 5 is also Shrove Tuesday, the day when Catholics indulge ourselves in the treats we will abstain from throughout Lent. Pancakes will be available in schools on March 5 – check your child’s school calendar or newsletter for details.

March 6 is Ash Wednesday. Students will receive ashes at school or at the parish church that day. The ashes are a visible reminder that we will all return to dust.

Niagara Catholic’s Technology Skills Competition will take place at the Scotiabank Centre in Niagara Falls on March 7 and 8. Students will compete throughout the day on the 7th, and awards will be handed out on the 8th. We expect approximately 300 students to participate this year in 30 different events ranging from 3D Animation to welding. Good luck to everyone competing.

The March Break is March 11-15. We hope everyone has a wonderful break and comes back refreshed.

The Niagara Foundation for Catholic Education’s annual Benefit Gala will take place at Club Roma in St. Catharines on Saturday, March 30. Tickets are available through March 22. Check the main page of this website for the link to purchase your ticket online and support students throughout Niagara Catholic.

The mission of the Diocese of St. Catharines is founded in the mission of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of St. John, Jesus states that He came down from heaven, "not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me." (Jn6:38) Jesus' mission is doing the will of his Father. This is the will of the Father, "that all who see the Son and believe in him will have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day". (Jn 6:40)

The Diocese of St. Catharines' mission is rooted in doing the Father's will by proclaiming His son to the world so that all can know, love and serve Him. This mission is lived out on a daily basis in our parishes, schools and Catholic institutions. We find clergy, religious and laity committed to proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ by witnessing to His truth, justice, love and mercy. St. Catharines Diocese is where faith lives.

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March 5, 2019

Trustees Recommend Policies

Trustees recommended four policies be considered by the Board for approval during the March 5 Committee of the Whole Meeting.

Progressive Student Discipline – Safe Schools Policy (302.6.9), Death Benefit Policy (201.5), Deferred Salary Plan (X/Y) Policy (201.10) and Employee Leaves of Absence Policy (201.1) will be considered by the Board March 26.

Capital Projects Update

Niagara Catholic currently has two capital projects in development – a $5-million project to renovate and expand Monsignor Clancy Catholic Elementary School to facilitate the consolidation of St. Charles Catholic Elementary School with Monsignor Clancy, and a $1.5-million renovation to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary School to include three child care rooms.

The renovation of Monsignor Clancy Catholic Elementary School remains in the design stage. Niagara Catholic has submitted a request to the Ministry of Education to proceed to tender request stage.

SpeakOut! Showcase

Every year, Niagara Catholic elementary students spend weeks researching, writing and rehearsing their SpeakOut! speeches, on a wide range of topics. Prior to the March 5 Committee of the Whole Meeting, the top two recipients and the Catholic Messenger Award recipients from each area, delivered their SpeakOut! speeches.

Congratulations to Ciara Wood (Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School Grimsby, Aung San Suu Ki), Zia Amlani (Mary Ward Catholic Elementary School, Why We Shouldn’t Waste Time on Complaining) and Allyson Coholan (St. Philomena Catholic Elementary School, Poverty in Canada) for their first place finishes. They delivered their speeches during the Committee of the Whole Meeting for trustees.

Second place finishes went to Avery Norman (St. Martin Catholic Elementary School, Disney’s Misrepresentation of Girls), Kelly Dela Rosa (St. Mary Catholic Elementary School NF, Sea Pollution) and Daniel Langelaan (St. Alexander Catholic Elementary School, American Sign Language). The 2019 Catholic Messenger Award recipients were Mateo Rego (St. Ann Catholic Elementary School SC, Why People Want to Wear Brand Names), Lola Incaviglia (Assumption Catholic Elementary School, Water) and Ella Schuchard, The Importance of Having a Good Mindset).

Mental Health and Addictions

During the March 5 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Andrea Bozza, the Board’s Mental Health Lead, and Superintendent of Education Lee Ann Forsyth-Sells, provided trustees with an overview of the mental health supports available to students.

The presentation touched on a wide range of ways in which Niagara Catholic strives to promote mental wellness within the school community, including utilizing the SMH (School Mental Health) ASIST program, which supports interventions for students with identified mental health problems. It focuses on three priority areas: Suicide prevention/pathways to care/Implementation of the Suicide Protocol; capacity building, and mental health workers in schools.

It also discussed the expected outcome of additional mental health workers recently hired by Niagara Catholic.

Read the complete report in section C2 of the March 5 Committee of the Whole agenda.

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The Niagara Catholic District School Board, through the charisms of faith, social justice, support and leadership, nurtures an enriching Catholic learning community for all to reach their full potential and become living witnesses of Christ.