Across the Board – CDSB Highlights
Brant Haldimand Norfolk CDSB:
On November 26th, Minister of Education, The Hon. Stephen Lecce, joined Brant Haldimand Norfolk CDSB Chair Rick Petrella, Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma, the Most Reverend Wayne Lobsinger, Auxiliary Bishop of the Hamilton Diocese, staff, and representatives from YMCA and the City of Brantford to celebrate the blessing of a new child care addition to Our Lady of Providence Catholic Elementary School. The addition includes 49 new licensed child care spaces, 3 new child care rooms, and will open to families on December 13, 2021.
The province provided Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board $1.7 million to add a new, quality learning environment for the children of Brantford. This project was part of the province’s capital investment program to build more child care spaces for Ontario’s families.
Rick Petrella, Chair of the Board shared, “The additional space will provide our growing Catholic community the opportunity for more children to transition seamlessly from early years to kindergarten. It will help foster engagement and belonging in our students and families, and we are excited to work with our municipal and provincial stakeholders on this project that serves the needs of our community”.
The Ottawa Catholic School Parents Association has sponsored an information night for their constituents focused on coding, math tools and digital literacy platforms. This “evening of learning all about tech in education” is open to all ages.
Cathedral High School’s Senior Girls Basket Ball team made history this month capping an undefeated season and winning the OFSAA Gold . Congratulations to the coaches and players on this achievement.
The TCDSB OYAP department invited all Grade 7-12 classes to participate in a free and virtual Create the Future Conference, highlighting the voices and experiences of young skilled trades professionals, including a TCDSB Grad!
2022 Catholic Trustees Seminar
When: January 14 – 15, 2022
Where: Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto (655 Dixon Rd). A virtual option is available (see registration link below).
This annual event provides an opportunity for OCSTA members to:
- Network with peers from across the province in what promises to be an enriching
a timely event for Catholic school board leaders.
- Learn more about current and emerging issues in Catholic education.
- Engage subject experts in discussion on issues important to your role as a guardian and advocate for
- Gather in prayer and fellowship as a provincial community of Catholic school board
- Click Here to View the Program
- Register now for the 2022 Catholic Trustees Seminar.
Catholic Education Week – ADVANCE KIT
What is the Catholic Education Week Advance Kit?
In order to help all Catholic educational partners engage in prayer and dialogue in preparation for Catholic Education Week 2022, OCSTA has prepared an Advance Kit of prayer services and reflection activities. Unlike the Resource Kit that is designed for students, the Advance Kit, sent early in the school year, is designed to help adult groups (trustees, school board staff, school staff groups, parent groups, parish groups, associations, etc.) reflect on the theme of Catholic Education Week with prayer services and reflection activities beginning in Advent and concluding in the month before Catholic Education Week.
What are the sub-themes of Catholic Education Week?
The Advance Kit has five prayer and reflection activities for the five months preceding Catholic Education Week, each activity reflecting one of the five sub-themes of Catholic Education Week:
Advent: Rediscover … Redécouvrir
January: Rebuild … Rebâtir
February: Restore … Rétablir
March: Renew … Renouveler
April: Rejoice … Se réjouir
How can the Advance Kit be used in a local Catholic educational community?
Each service may be used to begin a meeting or gathering, or to provide an opportunity for the adult partners in a local Catholic education community to discuss the themes. The prayer services include:
- Prayers that reflect the theme
- A scripture reading that connects with the theme*
- A personal reflection related to the scripture reading
- A theme-related reading taken from the contemporary Catholic spiritual writings
- Questions for discussion or reflection based on that reading
Does the format of these prayer services always have to be followed?
The Advance Kit is a gift to be adapted and utilized in whatever way suits the needs of your local community. Feel free to use all, or any part of the kit, in the five months prior to Catholic Education Week 2022, beginning in Advent 2021.
What approach should be taken to the discussion?
The Advance Kit is designed in Catholic education to help adult groups to sit down together to pray and reflect. In discussing the reflection questions found in this Advance Kit, it is important to allow for the divergent views and experiences that may emerge. Reflection sharing or discussions should be conducted in a gospel atmosphere of respect. Conflicting points of view should be heard and accepted without feeling the need for them to be resolved.
How can we help prepare for future Catholic Education Week activities?
OCSTA encourages all its partners to let us know about your group’s use of this Advance Kit by sending an email to OCSTA at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Catholic Education Week Committee would also be pleased to receive your feedback on this Advance Kit as well as suggestions to improve its value to our partners in Catholic education. These and all other Catholic Education Week materials are available on the OCSTA website at: www.goodnewsforall.ca.
OCSTA GSN Submission
The OCSTA Grants for Student Needs brief was submitted to the Ministry of Education on November 25th. The OCSTA submission represents the input and priorities of Ontario’s 29 Catholic District School Boards. This brief continues to highlight the need for long term and adequate funding in support of student and staff mental health/well-being and the closing of learning gaps exacerbated throughout the pandemic. Consistent with previous GSN consultation submissions, OCSTA strongly advocated for increased flexibility and autonomy in the regulations, policies and funding model enveloping affecting Catholic school boards so as to ensure they may continue to effectively realize their distinct Christ centred missions.
Click here to view the submission.
OCSTA in the News
Ontario school boards start returning to a normal high school semester model next week
By Kristin Rushowy and Isabel Teotonio
November 23, 2021
Ontario school boards are wasting little time getting back to a normal semester model, with some resuming a regular class schedule starting next week.
Beginning Monday, both the Halton District School Board and the District School Board of Niagara will return to a traditional semester model for high school students, which means they will take four courses a day.
They are the first boards to ditch the modified semester adopted this academic year, which resulted in teens taking two courses a day on alternate weeks. Other boards have signalled they also intend to return to a normal semester.
“We’ve been speaking with students since the start of school in September 2021 to ensure their learning and well-being are supported during COVID,” said Kim Sweeney, spokesperson for the Niagara board.
“The feedback from students is that they prefer a four-period per day regular semester model where they are taking the same classes continuously, without interruptions. Scheduling classes on alternate weeks meant that students were not having the benefit of building on their learning from week to week.”
Last week, the province gave school boards the green light to return to a normal semester, so long as the local medical officer of health is not concerned about COVID infection rates. Returning to a regular timetable is something many boards have been pushing for in light of growing fears that students and teachers are feeling stressed and burned out.
Back in September, most school boards in Ontario adopted the modified semester model to help curb the spread of COVID by limiting contact between cohorts of students. That means students take four courses a semester, with a daily schedule of two classes for one week, then switch to the other two courses the following week. And classes that were normally about 75 minutes long are now two and a half hours long.
The Toronto District School Board says it is consulting Toronto Public Health on next steps with regard to semesters. Meanwhile, the city’s Catholic board is aiming to return to a regular timetable in February.
Reintroducing four periods a day will provide “the opportunity for a more focused approach on academics and an improved in-person learning experience,” said Brendan Browne, director of the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
“We also recognize how critical a return to normal will be for a student’s mental health.”
Patrick Daly, head of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, said making the switch at the typical start of second semester in February seems like more of a natural transition, while giving boards the opportunity to work out the details with their local public health units.
“I know the boards I’ve spoken to, that’s what they are looking at, to give staff the time,” he said. “I’m not aware of any that have decided to move right away” because of a combination of logistics and conversations with public health.
“Any way you look at it, it’s extremely good news,” Daly also said, adding Catholic boards had been advocating for it.
“As much as possible, we’d like to bring whatever degree of normalcy possible to young people’s and staff’s lives … to provide students with hope of a back-to-normal school year, what they are accustomed to.”
Sharlene Hunter, spokesperson for the Ottawa Catholic School Board, said it is awaiting permission from the local public health unit to proceed with a normal, four-course semester in February.
It is currently using a “quadmester” approach and can’t switch any sooner “because our students have already concluded two courses and are now starting the next” quadmester, she said.
“We are very hopeful to be moving back to a four-course semester … we believe it will happen, and we are hopeful it will happen.”
Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy
Isabel Teotonio is a Toronto-based reporter covering education for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @Izzy74
[image]Starting Monday, high school students in the Halton District School Board will take four courses a day.
Recent Goverment of Ontario News Releases
- November 22, 2021 News Release: COVID-19 Bookings to open for All Children Aged 5-11
- November 18, 2021 News Release: Ontario Enhancing COVID-19 Winter Testing