Inside this Issue:

Your Local MPPs

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During this period of time when our schools are celebrating the season, Catholic school boards are encouraged to invite local MPPs to visit schools to observe the many  Christmas events that are occurring at this time.

Please note that MPPs will be on winter recess until after Family Day so it may be possible for them to accept invitations into the schools over this time period. There is  no better place to be than in a school during Advent!

For more information contact FACE Manager, Carole Allen – callen@ocsta.on.ca.

OCSTA Finance Brief Submitted to the Minister of Education

The OCSTA annual finance brief submission to the Minster of Education has been uploaded to the OCSTA website for viewing or for download, should you prefer to print and have access to a hard copy.

This brief was developed using the input from boards shared with OCSTA during our Annual General Meeting last spring and directly with Association Officers and staff throughout the year. The brief also reflects insight gained through research and analysis of current data and issues in Catholic education.

Download the OCSTA finance brief: Partners in “Achieving Excellence”.

For more information contact, Wally Easton, OCSTA Senior Policy Advisor – Finance, weaston@ocsta.on.ca.

2015 Pre-budget Consultations

The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs will travel throughout the province in January to hold public hearings for 2015 Pre-Budget Consultations. Identified locations include Sudbury, Fort Frances, Cornwall, Ottawa, Fort Erie, Toronto and London. Those interested in presenting in person are asked to contact the clerk by December 19, 2014. Written submissions can be sent to the clerk by January 30, 2015.

To contact the clerk for scheduling information, please click here.

Students and Staff Celebrate Advent

Celebrate the Advent season by viewing the outstanding short videos about Advent created by elementary and secondary students in Ontario’s Catholic schools.

OCSTA has sponsored this video contest as part of the Faith in Our Future campaign. Each video is approximately 2 minutes in length and addresses the unique experience of Advent from the perspective of our Catholic school students and staff.  The top three winners in the elementary and secondary categories will be announced at the January Catholic Trustees’ Professional Development Seminar (see event details in this issue of the Newswire).

All 45 submissions can be viewed by clicking on the video below:

Upcoming Events – January 15-17, 2015:

Ministry of Education Trustee Orientation Seminar

When: January 15, 2015 at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel and Conference Centre

Featured speakers include:

  • The Hon. Liz Sandals, Minister of Education
  • Dr. Jean Clinton, Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Member of Accepting Schools Expert Panel and Education Advisor to the Premier of Ontario
  • Marion Thomson Howell, Performance Management Consultant and Former Chair of the Waterloo Catholic DSB

NOTE: Complimentary registration for this orientation event as it is sponsored by Ministry of Education.

To register for the Ministry of Education sponsored orientation visit http://www.ocsta.on.ca/ministry-of-education-trustee-orientation-session/.

Catholic Trustees’ Professional Development Seminar

When: January 16 & 17, 2015 at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel and Conference Centre

Featured speakers include:

  • THE HONORABLE PETER D. LAUWERS, Judge, Court of Appeal for Ontario (and former OCSTA Counsel)
  • JAMES LOCHRIE, Certified Professional Parliamentarian and Instructor, Parliamentary Law
  • DR. MARK MCGOWAN, Professor of History, University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto
  • OCSTA President, KATHY BURTNIK and OCSTA Director, PATRICK J. DALY discussing the topic: “Overview of the Collective Bargaining Process and Role of the OCSTA Labour Relations Department

For event and hotel registration visit http://www.ocsta.on.ca/catholic-trustees-professional-development-seminar/.

 

A Message from OCSTA President, Kathy Burtnik

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As we wind down the calendar year and prepare to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, I know that each of you will join me in a moment of deep gratitude and reflection for the gift of Catholic education.

Every day in the news and in our communities we see people in need, and as a community of faith we put our faith into action by helping in whatever ways we can to address those needs and the issues of the world around us. As a trustee, a parent, and parishioner I can tell you that what is most inspiring is to witness the ways in which our youngest community members – the students in our Catholic schools – respond to the Gospel call to serve, to care, to love and to embrace life in the spirit of Christ.

Each of us has the privilege of being called to serve in the role of steward and guardian for Catholic education in this province, and it is a role that I know each of you hold close to your hearts. Even as we manage the current challenges and opportunities of our successful Catholic school system, we are at the same time looking to the future to ensure that generations to come will be able to enjoy publicly funded Catholic education in this province.

It has not been an easy task to protect our system, yet for almost two centuries that is exactly what we have done as a community of Catholic school supporters and leaders. In a society that has become increasingly secular, our schools offer a faith-focused alternative that is tuition-free, and accessible to all who embrace the Catholic faith. We offer an inclusive and compassionate place to learn the Gospel as part of an integrated provincial curriculum.

Our learning environments provide outstanding and measureable benefits to our students. Such success is not just good for those in the Catholic school system, it is good for Ontario.  Our province’s education system is recognized as one of the most successful school systems in the world and we must acknowledge and promote the fact that we contribute to the overall success of K-12 education in Ontario.

I share this not to boast about our system, but to urge you and your constituents at your respective boards to take pause during this Advent season to reflect on what we offer to the Catholic community and to Ontario as a whole. Our future is strong while we continue to learn from our past and to work with grace, focus and compassion on the groundwork for our future where we continue as an integral part of life in Ontario.

May God bless you and your families during this Advent season and may you experience the birth of Jesus anew this Christmas and throughout 2015!

Kathy Burtnik
President

 

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