Welcome back to a brand new year. It’s hard to believe that we are nearly at the end of the second decade of this century, and that we’re into the second part of our school year. We hope everyone had a relaxing time off for the Christmas break, and is back at school and work, ready for the exciting learning and faith opportunities that lie ahead.
January is another busy month, so let’s get started!
On January 16, Niagara Catholic will host our annual Baby Celebration at the Catholic Education Centre. This very special event brings together staff who have had babies in the past year – and their new additions – for a morning of fun and friendship. This year we’ll be celebrating the Class of 2036. Baby day is a favourite day in the calendar for CEC staff, and we look forward to welcoming the mums (and dads), babies and siblings to the Catholic Education Centre on January 16.
January 18 is an elementary PA Day. Please check the eFlyer section of our website to find activities for your children that day.
French Immersion registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, January 21. Registration will take place online and spaces are limited, so if you are interested in registering your child for French Immersion for September 2019, plan to be ready at your computer January 21. Families may also pre-register children for our English-language elementary or secondary programs online at any time by clicking the link on the main page of this website.
Semester 1 exams begin in our secondary schools on January 25. Good luck to everyone writing exams – study your notes, get plenty of rest and relax! Secondary exams end on January 31.
January 25 is also the day Niagara Catholic will observe Family Literacy Day – with a twist. Our Catholic elementary schools will host Literacy and Numeracy activities throughout the day.
We’ve been spared a lot of snow and cold so far this season, but sooner or later winter will make an appearance in Niagara. Please ensure your child is dressed for the weather on wintry days, as students will go outside unless a weather advisory has been issued by Niagara Region Public Health, or your child’s principal determines the conditions at the school are hazardous.
We also remind you of the procedure followed to cancel transportation or close schools. Any cancellations or closures are posted on the Board website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, and on the Niagara Student Transportation Services Twitter feed. NSTS also shares transportation cancellations with local media, and bulletins will be posted on their websites and social media channels. Radio and TV stations will also announce any cancellations or closures on the air. No news is good news, so if nothing is posted online by 6:30 a.m., it’s a normal school day. Parents, as always, have the final say on whether to send a child to school on inclement weather days, but we remind you that all absences must be reported using the Safe Arrival System if you choose to keep your child at home.
And finally, a reminder that stomach bugs, colds and flu sweep through classrooms and schools quickly. While we encourage students to share in class, this is one time we hope that they don’t. Please keep children home when they are unwell to prevent the spread of illness and be sure to report their absence.
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.
Holy Childhood Association
Niagara Catholic has had a relationship with the Holy Childhood Association since 1984.
In the 34 years since elementary student first walked to support children in parts of the developing world such as Uganda, Nigeria, Haiti, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the Board has raised more than 688,000 for the Association.
In October and November, 39 Catholic elementary schools participated in Holy Childhood Association walks, raising nearly $12,100 for programs run by the Association.
2018-2019 Parents Reaching Out Grants
Twenty-two Niagara Catholic schools have been award Parents Reaching Out (PRO) grants to support parent engagement as partners in their child’s education, strengthening their connection with the school, the Board and their parish.
In addition, the Ministry of Education approved $9,500 for a Niagara Catholic PRO grant project, Learning Together – a Shared Responsibility, to facilitate increased participation by First Nation, Metis and Inuit parents in the education of their children.
Capital Projects – Progress Update
Progress continues on Niagara Catholic’s two capital projects – a three-room childcare addition to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary School, and the consolidation of St. Charles and Monsignor Clancy Catholic Elementary Schools at the Monsignor Clancy site.
Design work is under way for the $1.5 million 5,317 square-foot addition to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which will provide 49 childcare spaces at the school when construction is completed in the fall of 2019.
Design work is also in progress for the $5-million project to consolidate St. Charles and Monsignor Clancy Catholic Elementary Schools, which also includes a 49-place childcare centre. When the addition is completed, there will be space for 677 students, an increase of 104 students over current capacity.
Students are expected to begin classes at the consolidated school in the fall of 2020.
Trustees Receive an Overview on Niagara Catholic International Education Program
During the January 15 Committee of the Whole Meeting, trustees were given an overview of the importance of the Board’s International Education program.
Niagara Catholic’s first international students arrived in the area from Valencia, Venezuela in 2001. The presence of international students in our schools brings immeasurable benefits to our learning community, contributes to our own learning community, and to the promotional of global competencies in our elementary and secondary students and staff.
Since that first group arrived nearly 18 years ago, Niagara Catholic has hosted nearly 5,000 students from Colombia, Peru, Panama, Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, China, Thailand and South Korea. These self-sustaining programs have generated approximately $11 million in revenue, with about 35 per cent of this being surplus fund which support other programs.
In December, Niagara Catholic signed a new partnership with the Suzhou Education Group’s Soochow Foreign Language School outside Shanghai, and other partnerships are in the works in Brazil, Colombia and France. The complete report is available in Section C2 of the January 15 Committee of the Whole agenda.
Trustees Recommend a Joint-Use School with DSBN in Wainfleet to Board
A joint-use school elementary school in Wainfleet is one step closer to reality.
At the January 15 Committee of the Whole Meeting, trustees recommended the Board approve a joint-use school in the southwestern Niagara rural community, replacing St. Elizabeth Catholic Elementary School, and two elementary schools run by the District School Board of Niagara.
The recommendation followed a lengthy public consultation process and discussions with our stakeholders, including our co-terminus board.
The complete report can be found in section C3 of the January 15 Committee of the Whole agenda.
Student Trustees Share Ontario Catholic Student Leadership Success with New Board
The Ontario Catholic Leadership Conference, Limitless, which brought together more than 300 Catholic secondary school leaders to Niagara for a three-day event focused on the message from the Gospel of John the notion of living abundantly (John 10:10).
During the January 15 Committee of the Whole Meeting, student trustees Jade Bilodeau and Madison McKinney shared a recap of the event with the Board, many of whom had not yet been elected when the conference took place.
A committee of Niagara Catholic staff, including the Board Chaplaincy leader, Notre Dame College School Principal Ken Griepsma, Diocesan representatives and current and former student trustees, organized the event. It featured keynote speaker and performer Joe Melendrez, a Catholic teacher, hip-hop artist and rapper, whose high-energy speeches and performances were the highlight of the conference.
Students participated in a number of sessions focused on mental health, Taize prayer, leading humbly and awakening Indigenous culture with art. The conference concluded with a Mass at St. Thomas More Parish for a Mass with Bishop Bergie, which included members of our Elementary Student Senate as they began their Lead Out Loud student conference.
Keep up with Niagara Catholic
Have you checked our Good News page lately? If you’re not, you could be missing some great stories. Hop on over to see what’s new at Niagara Catholic, including photos from our annual Baby Day celebration, and good news about two of our schools in the OCSTA’s annual short video competition.
To ensure you stay connected with Niagara Catholic news and events, please be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and check our website often for updates and breaking news. It’s the best way to stay in the know.
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.