CTR CATHOLIC BOARD HIGHLIGHTS
from Board Meeting held on January 21, 2023
STUDENTS PHOTOBOMB BOARD PHOTO
St. Luke’s students, whose school is right across the hall from the Catholic Education Centre in Okotoks, photobombed the annual CTR Board of Trustees’ group photo! The students' friendliness with our Board is apparent here as everyone shared laughter and smiles. This is why we do what we do at the Catholic Education Centre!
CTR PRESENTED WITH TWO QUEEN ELIZABETH II PLATINUM JUBILEE MEDALS
On January 24th Board Vice Chair Harry Salm was presented with the prestigious Alberta’s Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. Commemorating the Queen’s 70th anniversary, this medal is being awarded to Albertans who have made a significant contribution to their community. Superintendent Dr. Scott Morrison also received the medal.
FUNDING REQUESTED FOR STRATHMORE SCHOOL UPGRADES
The Board will request ministerial approval to spend $1.8 million of CTR's capital reserves on the modernization of Sacred Heart Academy and Holy Cross Collegiate. If approved, CTR will consult perspective stakeholders regarding improvements to the Sacred Heart gymnasium and the Holy Cross band room in advance of proceeding.
CODING PROGRAM TO BE LAUNCHED ACROSS CTR
Twenty-five teachers recently gathered to discuss the launch of a new Coding initiative. CTR has budgeted $250,000 to this program, primarily for the purchase of robotics resources for coding. The program will be added to the new science curriculum (Kindergarten to Grade 6) with a division-wide rollout in 2023.
IBM Canada has been selected as the consultant for CTR's Technology Review. The review will be led by Grant Gay, who will take on the dual role of Director of Technology and Director of Catholic Education. Consultations with focus groups of teachers, support staff, librarians, and administrative assistants are being scheduled.
CATHOLIC EDUCATION PROGRAM REVIEW HAS BEGUN
Associate Superintendent MacDonald advised the Board that the Catholic Education Program Review began last Friday with herself, Grant Gay (Director of Catholic Education) and Jennifer Woo (consultant) visiting St. Anthony’s School. A total of 10 school visits will occur utilizing the provincial assessment tool developed. The review results will be shared with the Board in March.
SACRED HEART SHARES HISTORY OF ITS FAITH DAYS
Administration from Sacred Heart Academy presented the history of its local Faith Days to the Board. Throughout the week, students are immersed in the tenants of the Catholic faith through sessions led by teachers and community members. The history of Faith Days, which began in 2009, is now rooted in the culture of Sacred Heart.
COMMUNICATIONS LEAD INITIATIVE COMMENDED
Director of Communications, Cindy Nickerson, was commended for her work with the Communication Leads at each school. Through this initiative and recent training, schools have seen a marked increase in the service level on each of the social media pages. There has also been an increase in exposure in local newspapers. In addition, teachers have noticed that students are following our schools on social media more closely now.
NON-CERTIFIED STAFF VITAL TO SCHOOLS
Non-certified Classroom Supervisors (NCCS) continue to provide much-needed coverage for absent teachers when subs cannot be found, significantly reducing the amount of internal teacher coverage needed. The Board thanks the NCCSs who have to date covered 260 days of absences in CTR Catholic!
IMPROVING NUMBER SENSE ACROSS THE DIVISION
Math instruction/development was significantly impacted by Covid. To assist with recovery, Associate Superintendent MacDonald and Director of Learning Cheryl Kuemper will be working with Kindergarten to Grade 6 teachers on number sense routines. These are 5-10 minute warm-up routines completed daily which develop familiarity with numbers and basic number sense.
ST. LUKE'S IN HIGH RIVER MOVE TO NEW LOCATION
Students and staff at St. Luke’s Outreach Centre in High River will move to their new location at the Highwood Centre in February. The new space is centrally located and ideal for the needs of the school and its students. It is vastly superior to the current facility which was sold to a new owner.
OKOTOKS WARD II
The Center for Learning@Home has 84 students in the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) and Work Experience. RAP allows students to learn the skills of a trade while they are still in high school, earning both a wage and school credits. The high number is likely due to the flexibility of CFL programming, allowing students to work around employers' schedules rather than vice versa.
HIGH RIVER WARD
Notre Dame Collegiate students have been very visible earning community service hours, and their contributions are being recognized by the community at events such as the Santa Claus Parade, assisting at the public golf course, the Christmas Kettle drive (Salvation Army), and the Holy Spirit family dance. Kudos to these students for their efforts!
Holy Family has two teachers presenting on their conversion to Catholicism at Faith Days this February. This topic helps cradle Catholics rediscover what is intriguing about our faith to those who have recently been evangelized. St. Joseph's administration will also present at Faith Days on alternatives to silent adoration and parent-child reunification as it pertains to faith.
Holy Cross Collegiate recently celebrated a “Week for Life” as a prolife initiative which is not a common occurrence in high schools these days.
Trustee Rude-Volk (Oyen) presented, and the Board accepted, the recommendations of the Awards Committee for this year's recipients of the St. John the Apostle Honorary Life Membership Award. The recipients will be announced at this year's Faith Days in February.
BOARD POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND REVIEW
Trustee Gustafson (Okotoks) advised that the committee had recently reviewed the following Board Policies: #06 – Board Operations, #07 – Board Committees, #08 - Board Representation, #09 – Policy Development, and #10 – Delegation of Authority to Superintendent. Recommended amendments were reviewed and approved by the Board. Board policies can be viewed here.
CTR GrACE COMMITTEE (Grateful Advocates for Catholic Education)
Trustee MacDonald (High River) reported that the committee is working on initiatives to promote Catholic education, including school visits with parents, a panel discussion this spring for staff, students and parents, and possible activities for Catholic Education Week. Activities for the week will incorporate GrACE’s provincial theme of “Walking Together in Catholic Education”.
ALBERTA CATHOLIC SCHOOLS TRUSTEES' ASSOCIATION (ACSTA)
Trustee Gustafson (Okotoks) advised that ACSTA has posted the administration position as approved in their budget. Once this position is filled, it will allow the ACSTA Executive to do more governance work. ACSTA is gathering information from provincial Boards in the areas of advocacy, communication, governance, Catholic education, and local challenges and successes.
TEACHERS' EMPLOYER BARGAINING ASSOCIATION (TEBA)
Associate Superintendent Kilcommons reported that TEBA has received six ATA ingoing proposals from local tables. The proposals indicate that the ATA proposals are largely consistent across the province with some small variations that address local interests. Negotiations with CTR's local ATA are expected to begin this spring.
ALBERTA RURAL CAUCUS
Trustee Rude-Volk (Oyen) and Chair Keenan (Foothills County) attended a meeting of the Alberta Rural Caucus. Common concerns among rural schools were identified including transportation (ride times and finding drivers), teacher hiring and retention, urban expansion and having special services return to schools given that Alberta Health Services is no longer attending at schools.
By Andrew Gustafson (Okotoks)
In this first month of 2023, you’ve likely found yourself, similar to me, reflecting back on 2022 and the good and bad, as well as successes and challenges. I give gratitude for the many blessings and people who’ve made my days and year truly fulfilling. I also reflect on the lessons of 2022 that can help make 2023 even better. It’s in these natural moments of resolution, like a New Year, that we find ourselves setting goals and making new commitments, and it’s in those moments that we might find ourselves looking for inspiration and renewal. As with many others, I also find myself making New Year’s resolutions and seeking guidance.
Our heavenly Father makes all things new, including this year, and as I asked him in prayer to guide me in my goals and aspirations for 2023, I’ve been led to the uplifting examples of the Patron Saints of our school division. And so, as another new year begins, we must allow the Holy Spirit to be a continual source of revelation, wisdom, and power. We must remain open to the call of the Lord and, as St. Mary shows us, be always prepared to say yes to the Lord. I ask the Lord to help us follow the example of St. Joseph; to be obedient and selfless servants to His will, wherever and whenever we’re called. St. Anthony teaches us that actions speak louder than words, and St. Francis of Assisi reminds us, ‘The deeds we do may be the only sermon some people hear today.’ In 2023, we must let our words teach and our actions speak. As St. Paul tells us, ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ Similarly, St. John Paul II inspires us to, 'Never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged.' We must ‘Be not afraid!’ And finally, St. Luke, in a most fitting thought for a New Year, reminds us to, ‘Remember the past, plan for the future, but live for today, because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.’
So with this inspiration from our Patron Saints, I invite you all to have great hope for 2023! Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI taught us, ‘To have Christian hope means to know about evil and yet to go meet the future with confidence. The core of faith rests upon accepting being loved by God, and therefore to believe is to say yes, not only to Him, but to creation, to creatures, above all, to men, to try to see the image of God in each person.’ We also learn from the late Pope that every single person, student and colleague alike, whom we encounter, is the result of the thought of God. I pray that you remain courageous and resolute in your devotion to our students and to your incredible opportunity as Catholic educators to bring each student closer to God and to eternal life with Him. May your year be filled with peace, prosperity, and love. May God's blessings be upon you for a bright, healthy, and peaceful new year.
NEXT BOARD MEETING DATE
The next Board meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at 9:00 a.m., at the Catholic Education Centre, #301 - 23 Riverside Drive, Okotoks, AB.