CTR CATHOLIC BOARD HIGHLIGHTS
from Board Meeting held on October 30, 2021
ANDREA KEENAN (FOOTHILLS COUNTY) ACCLAIMED AS BOARD CHAIR
Following the provincial election, Trustees had their annual Organizational Meeting. Trustee Keenan (Foothills County) was acclaimed as Board Chair. Trustee Harry Salm (Strathmore) was acclaimed as Vice-Chair. The trustees also selected representatives for all Board Committees. Board Policy #07 outlines the terms of reference of the various committees, and can be found here: Board Policy 07: Board Committees. The Board welcomed new trustees including Mark MacDonald (High River), Channin Liedtke (Canmore), and Andrew Gustafson (Okotoks).
CONCERNS ABOUT THE ÉCOLE GOOD SHEPHERD SCHOOL GYMNASIUM PROJECT
The Board passed a motion to appeal to the Minister to alter her decision regarding the École Good Shepherd gymnasium. The Board does not think it is prudent to proceed with replacing the gymnasium for two reasons. First, the project is unreasonably expensive and will be highly disruptive to both student learning and the community. Second, if the project were to proceed, we still have no solution to the fact that the rest of the facility needs extensive renovations that are estimated to take over 7 years. The Board thinks the money for the gymnasium should be directed toward building a permanent new facility in the D’Arcy Ranch community. If the D’Arcy Ranch project proceeds, the École Good Shepherd students would move to that facility, and the province can then determine if is more economical to modernize or demolish the existing École Good Shepherd facility.
VACCINE OR TEST PROCEDURE
The Board passed a motion directing senior administration to develop a temporary vaccinate or test administrative procedure for staff members. The Board examined the issue extensively and determined it would continue to follow the advice of the Ministers of Health and Education as well as information from provincial Occupational Health and Safety. The Board’s decision was influenced by feedback from CTR Catholic staff and electors, as well as input from the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA). The Board also considered guidance from Bishop McGrattan, collaboration with neighboring school boards, legal counsel, and the information provided to teachers from the provincial ATA. Moving forward with a temporary administrative procedure will enhance safety for our schools.
This guideline will not apply to students or parents. The Board approved the motion with the understanding the administrative procedure will adhere to the following guidelines:
- the options of providing proof of vaccination or participation in regular testing;
- the provision of free rapid tests from Alberta Health Services at no cost to employees;
- training to allow staff to perform rapid tests at home; and
- addressing all privacy and legal considerations.
An administrative procedure that includes these key elements will uphold CTR Catholic’s pillar of safe and caring schools, strengthen the risk mitigation of COVID-19, and ensure that we maintain staffing stability in our school division.
ALBERTA EDUCATION RESULTS REPORT (AERR)
Superintendent Morrison shared a preliminary review of the AERR, which will be brought to the Board for approval in November 2021. In the absence of Diploma Exams and Provincial Achievement Tests last year, the AERR is based primarily on Alberta Assurance survey results from parents with students in Grades 4, 7, and 10, parents of students in Grades 4, 7, and 10, and all teachers. CTR Catholic’s stakeholder groups expressed higher levels of satisfaction than the provincial results in every reporting category. It is interesting to note that when comparing all the survey results of the three groups surveyed, it is student responses that separate CTR Catholic’s overall levels of satisfaction the most from other school divisions. Since they are our most critical audience, their satisfaction is reassuring. CTR Catholic’s annual AERR will be posted on the division’s website when it is officially adopted later in November.
WARD HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH
At each Board Meeting, the trustees select one highlight arising out of the eight Ward Committee meetings we have around the Division every three months. A Ward meeting is attended by trustees, the superintendent, principals, school council chairs, and parish priests. After hearing the report from the Okotoks Ward I meeting, the Board agreed to highlight unity in the community.
OKOTOKS WARD I HIGHLIGHT - UNITY
Okotoks Ward I met in October. A common theme among the five school reports centered on the unity of our Catholic community, the efforts to engage families, and the strategies to promote volunteerism. The schools were able to identify success in these efforts and spoke highly of their respective parent and student bodies. Most noteworthy, the School Council Chairs offered unsolicited praise for former Board Chair, Ron Schreiber (Okotoks). Tributes to Mr. Schreiber and his legacy in CTR Catholic were heartfelt and moving.
WARD COMMITTEE REPORTS
The community of Okotoks hosted a Ward meeting since the September 25th Board meeting. The minutes with more detail are attached to the Board Meeting agenda on our website. The meeting summary follows.
OKOTOKS WARD I:
This Ward includes École Good Shepherd School, St. Mary's School, St. John Paul II Collegiate, St. Francis of Assisi Academy, and Holy Trinity Academy in Okotoks and area.
Faith: Several schools have scheduled or observed faith tributes to School Chair Trustee, Ron Schreiber, who was deeply valued and respected by local School Councils.
Learning: There was strong support for school’s engagement in teacher-led team planning to improve both learning and mental health.
Safe and Caring: Elementary School Councils have done a great job in building community in new ways to accept the pandemic. École Good Shepherd School Council indicated that instead of focusing on community events, they are looking at doing classroom/in-school events for students. To start with instead of having their annual Halloween Dance they will be giving each class a box of odds and ends to create a fall scene or game and then they will be displayed in the front foyer for all to see and enjoy. This way the students still get to participate in activities in a safe environment. St. Mary’s School Council will not be able to run their Family Costume Dance again this year, but they will offer a Family Costume Scavenger Hunt. This time around they will be using an app called Goose Chase, and families that sign up will receive the code to join the hunt. Organizers can see progress of all teams as they post photos and check off tasks on the app. They will ask families to post photos to their school Facebook page to share the fun, and all teams will be entered to win one of three prize giveaways from Monkey Mountain.
Stewardship: School reports were focused on the slow return to normal within school learning, clubs, extra curricular activities, etc. Staff and community volunteerism has been inspirational.
STEVE ANGRISANO TO 'VISIT' CTR CATHOLIC VERY SOON
Associate Superintendent Moss announced an exciting opportunity for the Christ The Redeemer family. On November 28th, at 7 pm, which is the First Sunday of Advent, renowned Catholic speaker, singer, and storyteller, Steve Angrisano, will lead CTR Catholic’s community in An Evening of Hope and Joy. Mr. Angrisano had been described as, “One of the most effective and versatile ministry leaders in the Church today”. Stayed tuned for details on how our entire Catholic community can join us for this online event.
RESPONDING TO THE INTERNET BREACH
Chief Deputy Superintendent Behm, reported to the Board on how CTR Catholic has responded to the internet breach we experienced last year. He began with the topic of Phishing. Phishing is a type of online fraud, whereby a hacker attempts to gather personal information or credentials, often by impersonating a legitimate company or person. Mr. Behm identified various strategies that the criminals employ to commit their crimes. Mr. Behm shared recent efforts throughout the division, led by Vice Principals in each school, to continue to educate all CTR Catholic’s staff and to ensure that all are sufficiently prepared to avoid being scammed. Furthermore, in the near future, the division will go on phishing trips to test this knowledge. Staff who are deceived by these simulated scams will be given further information to avoid such attempts in the future. More generally, Mr. Behm reminded the Board of the steps CTR Catholic took after our internet breach last year, including the introduction of multi-factor authentication, enhanced hardware, the purchase of the very best virus detection and protection software, and the transition of our largest data platforms to cloud-based storage with industry leading data protection.
SUPPORTING TEACHERS . . . WHO ARE SUPPORTING STUDENTS
Superintendent Morrison recognized the desire of the division’s teachers to support student mental health, because it was mentioned in practically every Superchat last school year. He tasked the finance department with allocating funds, to ensure that each teacher could access up to $200 to provide classroom resources to enhance Universal Mental Supports. The possibilities are practically limitless and based on the professional judgment of our teachers. Some purchases that have been made include fidget toys, guest speakers, interactive games, resources to support physical activities, rosaries, recess equipment, and posters.
INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE RENEWAL (IMR) / AND CAPITAL MAINTENANCE RENEWAL (CMR)
CTR Catholic’s Director of Facilities, David Lunn, shared reports on the past, the present, and the future of maintenance plans at CTR Catholic. Each year, literally millions of dollars are spent to ensure that each facility across the division is well maintained, safe, and efficient. Director Lunn ran through an extensive list of improvements in every community, ranging from the installation of LED lights, flooring, furnaces, HVAC systems, security features, roofs, plumbing fixtures, parking lots, and flow meters. Currently, many of the division’s projects are driven by reducing insurance premiums, with a very intentional effort to mitigate both safety and financial risks. All of the projects specific to each school and community will be shared with schools through administrators, as well as on CTR Catholic’s website under IMR Report .
The most recent Faith Committee Meeting was held on September 20th. A significant highlight was the sharing of the Redeemer Revelations newsletter which focuses on CTR Catholic’s faith life. It was shared that Grade 3 and 4 professional development supports are available for Religion resources. The Bishop’s luncheon on September 18th was a tremendous success. Although Faith Days is still in the planning stages, keynote speakers have been identified, and it is CTR Catholic's intention to have everyone attend in person, if health rules will allow. CTR Catholic is proceeding with faith that an in-person meeting can be a reality, but contingency plans will be in place if AHS rules prohibit large gatherings.
Every year, CTR Catholic is obligated to undergo a third-party audit of all of their financial practices. The audit, conducted by Baker Tilly Catalyst, is very thorough, and provides access to the auditors to all the division’s financial records. In September, Baker Tilly Catalyst provided a letter of intent, identifying to the committee the rigours that CTR Catholic could expect to endure. A final report will be shared with the Audit Committee in late November, before being presented at the November Board meeting, and then being posted on CTR Catholic's website.
ALBERTA CATHOLIC SCHOOL TRUSTEES' ASSOCIATION (ACSTA) DIRECTOR'S REPORT
Trustee Chung (Drumheller) shared that the provincial group is working on their draft Reimagine Charter, which he expects will be discussed at the Annual General Meeting in November. Trustee de Jong (Brooks) asked for prayers for the ACSTA.
ALBERTA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION (ASBA) ZONE 5 REPORT
Chair Keenan (Foothills County) reported that the most recent meeting was conducted just prior to the election, and it appears there will be some turnover. The best of luck was offered to all candidates who were running again, and there was some conversation around potential resolutions for the Annual General Meeting to be held in mid-November.
By Harry Salm, Vice Chair and Trustee for Strathmore and Area
The elections are past. It is truly a privilege and an honour to represent Strathmore, Rockyford and the western area of Wheatland County as your Catholic School Trustee once again. Thank you very much for your prayers, your support, your conversations and the wisdom you bring regarding your family and your children.
At our Board table at Christ The Redeemer Catholic Schools, we welcome three new trustees: Channin Liedtke in Canmore, Mark MacDonald in High River and Andrew Gustafson in Okotoks. I look forward to conversations and building relationships with each of them.
Our relationships form the basis for our ability to grow, work and love within our family, our place of work and our faith. As a Catholic School Board, we answer to both the Bishop of our Diocese as we are agents of the Catholic Church and also to the Minister of Education of the Province of Alberta. If our relationships fail and we lose the support of either one, we do not exist as a Catholic School Division.
Our relationships will take us and carry us to places, events and heights we could not achieve on our own. I am a cradle Catholic but it was my relationship with Gorete (we have been married for 35 years) that brought me to places where we were tested physically beyond what we believed our limitations to be. Over the years we hiked the West Coast Trail twice and the final 320 km of the Camino de Santiago. Our faith in Jesus Christ carried us when we believed we had hit the proverbial wall. Our relationship with God and with each other, gave us the opportunity to recognize God’s presence much more deeply in our lives and in our marriage.
Relationships within our Board at Christ The Redeemer continue to develop and with the change of three Trustees, I look forward to developing that trust and comradery to support Catholic Education. The relationship we have with Bishop McGrattan in Calgary and Education Minister Adrianna LaGrange begins with our Board of Trustees and our capacity to ensure our faith permeates throughout our schools and to provide governance over the activities directed by the Education Act. Through changes in government and Education Ministers, our ability to recognize everyone as being created in the image and likeness of God and see perspectives from both sides, we hope, will guide us through discussions and directions to benefit all involved.
It is a blessing to continue to be your Catholic School Trustee. I thank you once again for your support and look forward to having conversations and building relationships about our schools and the visible presence of the Catholic faith within them.
God bless you.
Trustee biographies can be viewed by clicking the button below.
NEXT BOARD MEETING DATE
The next Board meeting will take place on Thursday, November 25, 2021, at The Catholic Education Centre, Okotoks, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Board of Trustees