The following is part of a 90th Anniversary series that features Catholic trustees from across Ontario sharing insight on the experience of Catholic education at their boards.
What Good News and experiences as a Trustee at your CDSB can you share that can serve to illustrate the positive impact of Catholic Schools in our world?
The Ottawa Catholic School Board is a world leader in the practice of Deep Learning. Deep Learning activates the brain, engages the heart and compels the hands – or in this case, the feet.
Dance Showcase is held each year during Catholic Education Week. I schedule my week around this uplifting event. Dance Showcase features students from elementary and secondary schools. Rural, suburban and inner-city students come together in harmony. The stage comes alive with dancers of every age and ability.
Students create a community not only on the day of the performance but in the weeks and months; they spend together practicing the art of dance. On stage, they communicate without speaking. Yet as an audience member, you can feel the connection from the first dance step to the last.
As a School Board Trustee, one of my most important responsibilities is to ensure all students have equal opportunities to succeed regardless of background, identity or personal circumstances. Dance Showcase does that! It welcomes everyone and celebrates our commitment to support the whole person’s mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual growth.
Child labour happens in every country, including Canada. Grade 5/6 students at St. James Catholic School made it their mission to educate their fellow students, staff and the greater school community about what child labour is and how you can make a difference. Canadians can combat immoral child labour practices by being more mindful of the products they buy. Students used social media to deliver this message – if you purchase ethically sourced, ethically made and ethically distributed products – you are helping to eradicate child labour – one purchase at a time. The students published video blogs in an attempt to garner broader community interest in the plight of child labourers. They used social media to build a community of critical thinkers. These young people critically evaluated the information and constructed meaningful, user-friendly communication vehicles to spread the word – we can make a difference and it is as easy as investigating what goes in your shopping cart.
The students reached out to their local Member of Parliament to discuss their concerns. She was impressed with their knowledge and commitment to cultivating partnerships with the wider community. They visited a local business to learn about ethically sourcing cocoa, coffee and encouraged their friends and family to buy local. The students created connections, used their voice and worked to shape the community they want to live in based on Catholic social teachings.
Vice-Chair, Ottawa Catholic School Board