Engaging Our Communities
The 2009-10 school year is well underway and I’m sure Catholic boards across the province are busy welcoming new and returning families and digging into the task of delivering quality Catholic education to the almost 600,000 students in our schools.
Your Association is currently focused on addressing the priorities and issues you have shared with us. One of the ways we amplify our voice around the issues that are important to you is through effective communications with the government and education partners at the provincial level. While that work is essential, local communications is just as important.
Last spring I encouraged each board to arrange meetings with their MPPs to ensure local politicians had an understanding and appreciation for the value and impact of Catholic education in their communities. Be sure to invite your MPPs to special events at your schools this fall in addition to following up with meetings planned.
MPPs are of course not the only target audience for our message about Catholic education. Our parish communities are another extremely important audience and are also key to the future strength of our Catholic schools.
Can your parishoners identify you as one of their region’s trustees? As representatives serving the needs of our constituents it behooves us to make ourselves visible and accessible to all parishioners in our community.
Here are some ideas that I suggest you incorporate into your fall plan to raise your profile and that of Catholic education in your parish:
One of the traditions at OCSTA that is appreciated by our members is the annual fall phone campaign that is carried out by the President and Vice President of the Association. This year Nancy Kirby and I contacted every school board and school authority in the province. Not only is this a great opportunity for direct, interactive dialogue between Boards and the Association, but it gave me an opportunity to gain insight into the current themes and issues that are weaving their way across the province. Those themese include:
Without question we have challenges and opportunities to address this year and we are ready to do so. I encourage each of you to attend one of our upcoming OCSTA Regional Meetings where we will be discussing many of these important issues (visit the OCSTA website for details:https://www.ocsta.on.ca/meetingsAndEvents.aspx).
I wish all of our Catholic school boards another successful, faith-filled year and may the peace and love of Christ be with each of you as you continue in your vocation as Advocates, Guardians & Stewards of Catholic Education.
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