CTR CATHOLIC BOARD HIGHLIGHTS

from Board Meeting held on April 27, 2022

CATHOLIC EDUCATION REVIEW

The Board engaged an external consultant to review the Catholicity of Christ the Redeemer (CTR) as part of our annual cycle of program reviews. This review had originally been scheduled for this school year but has been postponed at the request of Bishop McGrattan. The intent of the delay is to involve more Catholic school divisions and to create a comprehensive resource that all provincial Catholic divisions can use to review the Catholicity of their divisions. The Board is happy to report that under the leadership of CTR, 10 of the 22 Catholic school divisions in the province and officials with Council of Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta have agreed to participate in this initiative.

FOUR-YEAR EDUCATION PLAN: INFLUENCER ENGAGEMENT

The Board of Trustees is engaging in a new endeavour to gain insight and potential direction from stakeholders. This is part of the Strategic Plan, and it will begin with the Council of School Councils on May 18. Trustees will be directly engaging with School Council members, who are the Board’s first target group. The engagement will explore School Council perspectives on CTR’s reputation, areas for improvement, and advocacy. This engagement with council representatives is the Board’s first foray into influencer engagement, and the intention is to follow up with engagements facilitated by each school.

INTERNATIONAL TRIPS HAVE POTENTIAL TO RUN AGAIN!

After a two-year hiatus, the world is opening up to renewed travel opportunities. To this end, the Trustees voted in favour of allowing three separate school representatives to begin planning for international trips during the Easter break of 2023. Trip supervisors from the Centre for Learning@Home and from Holy Cross Collegiate have been granted approval in principle to look at the possibility of trips to Europe, while a teacher from Holy Trinity Academy will be looking at a charitable service trip to Costa Rica at the same time.

LOCALLY DEVELOPED COURSES

Speech and Debate, Scientific Research, Competencies in Math, Media and Cinema, and Chemistry (Advanced) are five courses that CTR has been able to offer in recent years after borrowing them from other school divisions that had developed them independently. The Board voted to renew these courses as offerings in CTR schools.

OKOTOKS WARD I COMMITTEE HIGHLIGHT

After the March 31st Ward meeting, Trustee Gustafson (Okotoks) remarked that the themes of the meeting seemed to include energy, involvement, and activity. It was clear that School Councils are appreciating opportunities to once again be directly involved in schools. More than one Shrove Tuesday activity occurred in Okotoks on the day prior to Ash Wednesday, and there was a recognition that several School Councils seem to have experienced reactivation of faith activities in their own meetings. Given the opportunity, schools have also taken advantage of a lengthy list of activities that signal our schools’ desire to gather and share. In person parent-teacher interviews, student-teacher hockey games, assemblies, awards celebrations, band and drama activities, and the re-formation of various clubs highlighted the energetic meetings in the last month. Mr. Gustafson expressed his personal appreciation for the fact that teachers worked very hard during the pandemic to maintain excellent education, but he is further impressed by the dedication and hours that staff commit to reanimating our schools with sports, activities, clubs, and special events.

ÉCOLE GOOD SHEPHERD SCHOOL GYMNASIUM

The ambiguity around the future of the gymnasium at EGSS remains contentious for the Board, but a recent conversation between our Chief Superintendent and the Deputy Minister of Education has given some reason to hope that there may be some reconsideration of our request for a better solution.

BUDGET 2022-2023 PRELIMINARY REVIEW

The final budget for the 2022-2023 school year is due for submission to the province at the end of May. Prior to that, the Board’s Audit Committee will review the proposed budget in great detail before the Board takes a vote of approval at their meeting on May 26th. A preliminary overview suggests that CTR will be comfortable in submitting a deficit budget of less than one percent of the total operating budget. Once approved, a comprehensive budget report will be made available.

SUPPORTING FAMILIES OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL

Superintendent Morrison advised the Board that, in the interest of supporting families, including our staff members and their children, CTR is exploring options for Before and After School Care, as well as the possibility of a Pre-Kindergarten program for four-year-olds. As a new endeavor, the division will begin with one or two programs in select schools with the intent that it could be replicated and expanded to other schools and communities. Aside from the obvious advantage of relatively inexpensive childcare, the proposed programs will take students into an environment that will not be strictly educational but will definitely lend itself to supporting students in socialization and intellectual growth.

ROOKIES OF THE YEAR!

Trustees heard from Deputy Superintendent Behm that when staff feel that their efforts are appreciated, it can lead to greater job satisfaction and an enhanced state of personal well-being. One example of several efforts that the division employs to show appreciation includes formal awards to celebrate the excellence of our people. The Edwin Parr Award recognizes outstanding achievement and success by a teacher in their first year. The six nominees for the Edwin Parr Award for excellence in first year teaching marked their first year with various stages of lock-down and re-opening. This was a hardship even for experienced teachers, but these talented first year teachers met the challenges with fortitude and expertise. Administration and Trustees celebrated the Edwin Parr nominees (as below) in person at the Catholic Education Centre on April 25, 2022.

SUPPORTING ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS AND CONSULTING REGARDING GR. 4-6 MATH

The Board learned that Senior Administration is consulting with administrators regarding the efficacy of implementing the new Grade 4-6 mathematics curriculum in our schools in 2022-2023, one year prior to the mandatory implementation. Several Grades 4-6 math teachers are already piloting this new curriculum and have expressed a desire to continue. Additionally, CTR Curriculum Support Documents will be finalized in June 2022 and available for teacher use. Implementing the new math curriculum for the 2022-2023 school year will help balance teacher workload in 2023-2024 when implementation of new curriculum for English Language Arts and Literature is also anticipated. The next phase of making this decision involves consulting the teachers in question.

DEDICATING FUNDS TO SUPPORT STRATHMORE

Trustees learned that Corporate Services has petitioned the province to access approximately $700,000 to support Sacred Heart Academy and Holy Cross Collegiate in Strathmore. The funds are in surplus of funds originally received by CTR for three capital investments projects that have since been brought to successful closure. Given the initiatives were supported by government funds, the province has oversight in how the funds can be utilized for future projects. If permission to utilize these funds is received, they could be used to address the shared challenge of a very small elementary gymnasium and a secondary music room that is less than ideal for these two schools.

CALENDAR IN OYEN IS FINALIZED

The Board approved an alternate calendar for Assumption Catholic School in Oyen. Because CTR shares bussing with Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD) there were small adjustments that needed to be made to accommodate both school systems. Deputy Superintendent Behm collaborated with his PRSD counterpart to ensure students will have transportation on the two days that PRSD is not open.

BILL 15 – THE EDUCATION AMENDMENT ACT

Senior Administration apprised the Trustees on recent developments around a Bill that will impact some operations of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA). The most noteworthy development is that in matters of potential teacher misconduct, the investigation and possible consequences meted out to an individual will be managed by a third party committee appointed by the Minister. In the past, the ATA managed such events internally. This new direction is consistent with other groups that are under the oversight of the Education Ministry, including the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS).

TWO IMPORTANT APPOINTMENTS FOLLOW RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

In motions supported unanimously by the Board, the appointment of new Associate Superintendent Patricia MacDonald will be effective May 02, 2022, and the appointment of new Director of Human Resources Carmen Ostafichuk will be effective May 16, 2022. The Board also expressed appreciation for their retiring predecessors, Mariette Moss (Associate Superintendent) and Dawn Quinlan (Director of Human Resources).

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ACSTA – ALBERTA CATHOLIC SCHOOLS TRUSTEES' ASSOCIATION

Trustee Chung (Drumheller) shared six strategic initiatives which the ACSTA is considering and gathering feedback on. Some challenges have been identified, but CTR remains entirely invested in the value of ACSTA, and its opportunities to lead us as a collective of Catholic school divisions.

ASBA – ALBERTA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION

Vice Chair Salm (Strathmore) advised that the most recent ASBA meeting was highlighted by budget conversations and committee recommendations prior to their next AGM. There was also some particularly effective professional development recently, focused on Indigenous foundational knowledge.

TEBA – TEACHERS' EMPLOYER BARGAINING ASSOCIATION

Central Table negotiations continue between the provincial government and the Alberta Teachers’ Association. They are hopeful to resolve their deliberations this school year, but it is unlikely that school divisions will be ready for local bargaining prior to this fall.

TRUSTEE'S CORNER

By Michelle Rude-Volk (Oyen)

I love spring….the days get longer and warmer, trees start budding and flowers start blooming. After being inside for the last few months and bundled up against the cold, I am thrilled to go outside and enjoy what the new season has to offer. To me, spring brings a new sense of hope, renewal and inspiration. Spring rains wash away the dirt and expose all the new wonders and beauty hidden underneath. It’s a time where we can begin again and start fresh. Just as Jesus showed us when he made the ultimate sacrifice for us. He died and rose from the dead to show his love for us and give us eternal life. His resurrection is a reason to live not only for today, but to sustain hope for our future, no matter how difficult the circumstances we face. We can find relief from the burdens as well as see great joy in the blessings of everyday life.


These days a person can get overwhelmed by everything around us, our days are full and hectic. Our minds busy with our next task to complete, and these next few months, as the school year comes to a close, are going to be no different. It’s a busy time with field trips, graduations, and final exams. My hope for you is that with this new season upon us, you take time to grow, explore, make changes, reflect, and just be. While some opportunities may be temporary, take them in, honor them, and own them, and let yourself bloom in the grace of God’s Garden!


Be joyful, be happy, and be loving!


Blessings,

Michelle

NEXT BOARD MEETING DATE

The next Board meeting will take place on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at 9:00 a.m., at the Catholic Education Centre, #301 - 23 Riverside Drive, Okotoks, AB

For any information on items in this publication, please contact Michael Kilcommons, Associate Superintendent, at mkilcommons@redeemer.ab.ca or at 403-938-2659.

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