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Catholic education in Canada

  • students AGMThis year’s CCSTA Annual General Meeting and Convention integrated a never-before-done partnership: a French and English school board came together to co-host the three-day event.

    With the AFOCSC, CSC Mon Avenir and NCDSB coming together, the hundreds of delegates attending the meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario experienced the energy behind collaboration.

    “The AGM was an overwhelming success. The speakers and workshops were excellent and the social activities, which are a great way to network, were enjoyed by all. A huge thank to the organizing committee,” says CCSTA Executive Director Julian Hanlon.

    The AGM saw delegates arrive from across the country, and the dialogue surrounding cross-Canada relations amongst the trustees remained a key focus, particularly in relation to the Theodore Case.

    “The 2017 AGM and Conference was a true gathering of Catholic Trustees and administrators coming together to learn from each other,” says CCSTA President Marino Gazzola. “We share the common goal of protecting and promoting Catholic education in Canada. The AGM provided enthusiastic and passionate thought provoking speakers, informative workshops as well as enjoyable and entertaining events. “

    A number of bishops were present and four past CCSTA presidents attended the gala: Mike St. Amand, Shirley McParland, Bon Fagan and Gerald Bernakevitch.


    students AGM

    Le congrès / assemblée générale annuelle de l’ACCEC de cette année a vu le jour grâce à un partenariat inédit entre deux conseils francophone et un anglophone.

    L’énergie générée par la collaboration entre l’AFOSCSC, le CSC Mon Avenir et le NCDSB a attiré des centaines de participants à Niagara Falls, en Ontario.

    «  L’AGA a connu un succès retentissant. Les conférenciers et les ateliers étaient excellents, et tous ont profité des  activités sociales, un excellent moyen  de faire du réseautage, » dit Julian Hanlon, directeur général.

    Le congrès a réuni des participants de partout au pays, et les conversations sur les liens pan-canadiens sont restées à l’avant-plan, surtout dans le contexte de l’affaire Theodore.

    « Le congrès / AGA 2017 était une véritable réunion de conseillers scolaires catholiques et d’administrateurs venus pour apprendre les uns des autres, » dit Marino Gazola, président de l’ACCEC.  « Nous partageons le but commun de protéger et promouvoir l’éducation catholique au Canada. Le congrès  nous a présenté des conférenciers qui ont suscité la réflexion, des ateliers instructifs et des activités fort divertissantes. »

    Plusieurs evêques étaient sur place et quatre anciens présidents ont assisté au gala : Mike St. Amand, Shirley McParland, Bon Fagan et Gerald Bernakevitch.

  • Teresa Forcades 5A faith-based professional development workshop once launched in the 1970s has transformed into a widely popular annual conference that welcomes attendees from across the country.

    The Canadian Forum on Theology and Education is set to take place from March 31 to April 1, 2017 in Oakville, Ontario. Last year, more than 450 people attended the conference, and it’s expected to bring in large numbers again this year.

    CCSTA chatted with organizer, John Quinn, who gave us a history lesson behind the forum as well as what it offers to its participants today.


  • ACSTA 50Years logo CMYKThe Alberta Catholic Schools Trustees’ Association recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and hosted an evening gala to honour the milestone anniversary.

    The gala took place in November in conjunction with ACSTA’s AGM and Convention, and the guest list itself was remarkable as clergy, trustees, educators and children came together for the celebratory event.  “All the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories were in attendance as was the Minster of Education, David Eggen, who addressed the Gala attendees with a positive note on the great work of Catholic schools in Alberta,” says ACSTA President Adriana LaGrange.

    During the course of the evening, ACSTA honoured Trustees and friends of Catholic Education with ACSTA Awards for their dedication and commitment to Catholic education.

  • Tim UhlDr. Tim Uhl has a tradition when he drives to and from work – he listens to podcasts.

    One day, when the Montana Catholic Schools Superintendent listened to one of his former high school student’s podcast, he had a realization.

    “Why not me?” he asked himself. “I knew a few people and also knew that no one seemed to be doing this. So I thought this would be a great way to spotlight innovation and best practices and have conversations with smart people about the best path forward. This sounds like jargon but it's really true. I like thinking, I like talking to smart people, and I like trying new things.”

    And so, this past September Dr. Uhl released his own podcast, Catholic Education Matters. Each week, he interviews thought leaders in Catholic education and discusses the future of Catholic schools in America.

    Dr. Uhl hopes to reach emerging leaders, including those who want to be Catholic school principals, current principals who want to improve, aspiring superintendents, or current superintendents searching for better ways. 

    He says he wanted to focus on Catholic education for a variety of reasons.

  • NicholsonRob CPCCCSTA applauds the federal government’s plan to keep Section 176 of the Criminal Code in place, as it ensures the protection of religious officials and the freedom to worship peacefully without disturbance.

    This decision comes after the Liberal Government introduced Bill C-51, which would clean up wording or any redundant content existing within the Code. For instance, they plan to remove the provisions of setting off a stink bomb or duelling.

    Though, a widespread backlash arose when the government decided to repeal section 176 of the Criminal Code, which includes “obstructing or violence to or arrest of officiating clergyman disturbing religious worship or certain meetings.”

    This section protects religious freedoms and was used as a grounds to charge a woman earlier this year after she allegedly entered a Church in Ottawa screaming and damaged a statue.

    Last week, MPs voted to save the section, though with updated language so it more clearly captures all forms of religious and spiritual services.

    Last month, CCSTA Board of Directors met with Conservative Justice Shadow Minister and MP for Niagara Falls Rob Nicholson. He made a statement on Nov. 8 regarding the decision to keep it in place. He received hundreds of emails from Canadians pushing to keep it.

    “I am pleased that the Government has heard the calls of Canadians from across our nation and has agreed to keep section 176 in place,” Minister Nicholson said. “The disruption of a religious service is serious and should not be treated as a mere mischief charge. It is a fundamental right that greatly affects all Canadians regardless of whether or not you attend religious services. Today is a victory for all faith communities in Canada.”

    CCSTA also supports the government’s decision to maintain Section 176.

    “To give a judge the ability to refer to a section of the Criminal Code that allows for the protection of clergy is an important element to religious freedom in Canada,” says CCSTA Executive Director Julian Hanlon. “We applaud the government for ensuring the protective rights of Canadians.”

  • sask logoBack in June, CCSTA President Marino Gazzola and Executive Director Julian Hanlon travelled from Ontario to Saskatchewan to meet with federal politicians to discuss one thing: the Theodore Case.

    This comes after the Court ruled that the government must stop funding non-minority faith students to attend separate schools (read: CCSTA's Statement on the Ruling).

    As such, CCSTA wanted to demonstrate its support to the Saskatchewan Catholic School Board Association.

    So, they arranged to get in front of politicians to talk about the situation and what it means – and could mean – for Catholic education opportunities in the province.

    Working alongside Matt Triemstra from Ensight Canada, Mr. Gazzola and Mr. Hanlon had many meetings with individual MPs and caucus members from Saskatchewan.

    “We first provided them with information about CCSTA in general, and more specifically to inform them of the background and current status of the Theodore matter,” explains Mr. Gazzola. “We were successful on both counts.”

  • Lobby Day 2After meeting with MPs from around the country across the span of two days, CCSTA is confident in its support from political representatives at the federal level.

    On Oct. 30 and 31, CCSTA Board of Directors scheduled meetings with MPs to discuss Catholic education in Canada and its long-serving role since the country’s earliest days.

    They met on Parliament Hill, followed by an open reception for networking.

    “In my view, overall, the day was a huge success,” says CCSTA President Marino Gazzola. “We were very well received and had many very positive comments.”

    The first meeting included a sit down with the Leader of the Opposition Party, Andrew Scheer. Scheer – who is a Catholic school graduate – reiterated his support to the system.

    “Mr. Scheer was unequivocal in his support,” says CCSTA Executive Director Julian Hanlon. “He said if we ever need his backing, don’t hesitate to call.”

    The following day, CCSTA hosted several meetings individually with MPs including Charlie Angus, Earl Dreeshen and Peter Fonseca.

  • Adriana LaGrangeAlberta’s Adriana LaGrange has been elected as the CCSTA Vice President and it couldn’t be a more fitting role.

    Following the passing of Vice President Tony Sykora in January, the CCSTA felt the void of Tony’s passion for education. Sykora, who hailed from Alberta, played a big role in Alberta’s Catholic education platform – as does LaGrange.

    “It’s such a meaningful fit to have Adriana accept the Vice President role to fill Tony’s spot,” says CCSTA Executive Director Julian Hanlon.

    Adriana LaGrange was first elected to the Board of Trustees of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools in 2007 and has spent three of those years as Board Chair and Vice Chair for another two. She has long been involved in Catholic education and her community taking on numerous volunteer and committee opportunities. Adriana currently lives in rural Red Deer with her husband of 32+ years, is a mother of seven children and a grandmother of three. She holds an honours diploma in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies and also owns and operates a family farm in addition to managing the trucking of a large hog partnership.

    Adriana was elected to be the President of the Alberta Catholic Trustees' Association (ACSTA) in November 2015 and re-elected to the president's position in November 2016. This put her in to serve as the Alberta representative for the CCSTA Board of Directors.

  • 2018 WFMP eposter 004 page 001

    Le congrès annuel  When Faith Meets Pedagogy 2018 de la Catholic Curriculum Corporation se déroulera du jeudi 25 octobre au samedi 27 octobre, au Delta Marriott près de l’aéroport de Toronto. Ce congrès rassemble des intervenants de tous les niveaux en éducation catholique.

    Selon Michael Bator, directeur général de la Catholic Curriculum Corporation (CCC) depuis les derniers 9 ans, cet évènement a été mis sur pied afin de contribuer à la création de ressources pédagogiques distinctement catholiques.

    « Cela nous aide à faire en sorte que les enseignants des écoles catholiques subventionnées bénéficient d’un apprentissage professionnel qui appuie les ressources développées par les différents conseils et/ou par la CCC elle-même, » dit-il.

    Le congrès s’amorcera jeudi soir avec la conférence du Dr Nuala Kenny. Elle est médecin, membre des Soeurs de la Charité d’Halifax, professeure émérite en bioéthique à l’Université Dalhousie, et conseillère en matière de politiques à l’Alliance catholique canadienne de la santé.

  • Oscar Tango ClothingSept élèves d’une école secondaire catholique d’Ottawa attirent l’atttention nationale grâce au lancement de leur propre ligne de vêtements.

    Ils incorporent à leur collection un message d’inspiration pour la diversité et l’égalité.

    Sous la griffe Oscar Tango, le code militaire pour les lettres O et T, ces élèves du St. Joseph High School proposent un message issu de leurs origines de partout au monde. Leurs noms?  Jay Mills, Justin Park, Hassan Hamed, Kristian Toscano, Eric Batali, Melanie Ni-Lan et Kallel Coltess.

    Jay dit que l’idée de démarrer une nouvelle ligne de vêtements leur est venue lors d’ une visite chez un ami.

    « Nous aimons tous la mode, mais nous avons réalisé que les marques de vêtements que nous portons ne représentent rien de spécial, » explique-t-il. « Nous voulions d’une marque qui transmette un

    message inspirant, qui représente chacun de nous et qui illustre nos origines comme nos racines. »

    C’est là qu’Oscar Tango est né et que le slogan Diversity Through Design (La diversité par le design)a été adopté.

  • CSCNO PrincipalsFour school principals from the Conseil scolaire catholique de Nouvel-Ontario (CSCNO) were recently recognized by the Association des directions et des directions adjointes des écoles franco-ontariennes (ADFO). All four received awards at the ADFO’s annual conference on October 18th in Toronto.

    Yves Laliberté, Principal at École secondaire catholique Champlain (Chelmsford), and Paul Henry, Principal at École secondaire du Sacré-Cœur (Sudbury) and Carrefour Options+, both received the first-ever ADFO Leadership Award. The award recognizes principals for their exceptional leadership contributions to their communities.

    Under Mr. Laliberté, ÉSC Champlain received the 2018 Premier’s Award for Safe and Accepting Schools and was also designated a Microsoft Showcase School. In December 2017, his extraordinary leadership also earned him a Canada 150 pin for his contributions to youth leadership.

  • GrACE logoThe recently formed Grateful Advocates for Catholic Education (GrACE) is an Alberta-based organization that seeks to celebrate Catholic education in the province.

    The Chair of GrACE, Michael Ouellette, says that the founding of a group like this has been talked about for a while, but it’s now finally being acted upon.

    “It’s something we’ve always wanted to do,” he says. “Our mission is to tell the story of Catholic education in the province of Alberta.”

    With a new campaign being run seeking a unified school board, now seemed like a perfect time to organize and promote the value of Catholic education in the province.

  • cccb logo black and whiteVous avez pris la résolution d’approfondir votre foi en 2018 ? Dans ce cas, vous voudrez sans doute prendre connaissance d’une nouvelle ressource qui favorise les échanges et la réflexion.

    L’Office for Evangelization and Catechesis(OEC) et l’Organisme catholique pour la vie et la famille (OCVF) ont créé une ressource vidéo en ligne qui aide à l’étude de l’Exhortation apostolique Amoris Laetitia du pape François. Cette ressource comprend une série de neuf vidéos d’une durée de 7 à 8 minutes et des guides de discussion. Elle est conçue pour être utilisée à la maison ou par des groupes diocésains, paroissiaux ou scolaires. 

  • Andrew ScheerCCSTA Board of Directors are set to meet with key political players from across Canada this week, including the Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrew Scheer.

    Scheer was elected as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada in May, 2017. This comes after serving as the youngest Speaker of the House of Commons in the country’s history. He was elected within the Regina—Qu'Appelle riding in Saskatchewan.

    The CCSTA Board of Directors will sit down with him for a 20-minute discussion on Oct. 30 about the importance of Catholic education within the Canadian education system.

    The following day, CCSTA Board of Directors will split up to meet with other MPs from across the country including:

    • Earl Dreeshen, CPC MP (Alberta)
    • Peter Fonseca, LIB MP (Ontario)
    • Chandra Arya, LIB MP (Ontario)
    • Lloyd Longfield, LIB MP (Ontario)
    • Harold Albrecht, CPC MP (Ontario)
    • Todd Doherty, CPC MP (British Columbia)
    • Marco Mendicino, LIB MP (Ontario)
    • Charlie Angus, NDP MP (Ontario)
    • Terry Sheehan, LIB MP (Ontario)
    • Francesco Sorbara, LIB MP (Ontario)
    • Omar Alghabra, LIB MP (Ontario)
    • Chris Bittle, LIB MP (Ontario)
    • math resource for parents 01In late 2016, Marshall Jarvis, Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) General Secretary, approached CCSTA Executive Director Julian Hanlon about forming a partnership between the two organizations. OECTA is the only union in Canada that represents only Catholic teachers.

      “We got together with them in Toronto for a meeting, and we talked about cooperating in areas where we could,” said Mr. Hanlon. “And OECTA has a lot of professional development resources available for teachers.”

      CCSTA President Marino Gazzola said that these resources could be very valuable to Catholic educators across the country.

      “A lot of our provincial associations, especially the ones that are not funded, don’t have access to those types of resources without buying them,” said Mr. Gazzola. “OECTA’s proposal was that they would share what they have free of charge.”

      “We know that our partners across the country certainly appreciate having access to it,” said Mr. Hanlon. “The associations have all expressed interest in using them.”

    • OCSGE ImageRecently released statistics from the Ontario Ministry of Education show that Catholic schools in the province continue to succeed in creating well-rounded high school graduates.

      Both French and English Catholic school boards perform well above average. The Ministry sets its target 5-year graduation rate at 85%, and 27 out of the 35 Catholic school boards with numbers available are at or above that benchmark. In addition, two Catholic school boards are less than 1% away from the province’s goal.

      “As someone involved in Catholic education, I’m very proud of what our schools do in Ontario and across the country,” says CCSTA Executive Director Julian Hanlon.

      Of course, Catholic education is about more than just math and science. It’s about the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. This is best exemplified in the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations (OCSGEs) introduced by the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE) in 1998, and still used today across the province. These expectations help form graduates rich in integrity, faith, and love.

    • Toonies for tuitionAs we approach the end of the school year, we know that principals, teachers, trustees, parents and clergy are already turning their attention to the upcoming year’s school calendar.

      For instance, most of you have already hosted your kindergarten orientation sessions!

      As you look at your 2017-2018 school calendar, please keep the Toonies for Tuition initiative in your plans to help raise money and awareness for a good cause.

      Toonies for Tuition raises money for families who want their children to attend Catholic schools in provinces with partial to no funding. As a result, students are responsible to pay tuition fees. Families who could use the financial support in order to make it happen can apply for funding support through the CCSTA Endowment Fund.

      Each year, the Endowment Fund applications are reviewed by a committee and money is then allotted to the successful applicants.

      Since 2006, CCSTA has contributed more than $315,000 so that children and youth can access Catholic education in their hometown.

      And the demand remains high.

      “It’s wonderful that we’re able to provide that much funding to students from across Canada, but the need for support continues to grow,” says CCSTA Executive Director Julian Hanlon, adding that just last year, more than $130,000 was requested through the Endowment Fund applications and CCSTA was able to allot $45,000. “The selection committee has to make some tough choices about who receives the available funding each year. We’d love to – someday – be able to fund every dollar requested.”

      That’s where Toonies for Tuition comes into the play.

    • Santas Anonymous 2It’s never too early to start planning for Christmas. It’s also never too early to be inspired by a heartwarming Christmas story.

      Every Christmas season, a group of students at Father Mercredi High School in Fort McMurray plan, organize, and oversee their annual Santas Anonymous campaign — a program that raises funds and collects donations to provide children and families in need with a holiday hamper that includes toys, a grocery store gift card, and additional support for infants or seniors. The program is over 30 years old, and it’s run by the students with the support of school staff.

      “We begin planning and fundraising in October of each year,” says Santas Anonymous Coordinator Jennifer Pope. “We do many fundraisers, such as a teddy toss with the local AJHL Oil Barons hockey team, an annual market in which we rent tables to local vendors, a pancake breakfast, a Middle School dance, and more.”

    • Sr teresitaA lifetime of dedication to faith and education has earned Sr. Teresita Kambeitz some well-deserved recognition at the national level; she’s been named the 2018 Higgins Award Winner.

      In memory of a distinguished Canadian jurist and Catholic School Trustee, the Honourable Justice James Higgins (1913-1974) of St. John's, Newfoundland, the Board of Directors of CCSTA annually presents an award to a person or group that has made an outstanding contribution to Catholic education in Canada. The Justice James Higgins Award is the highest honour provided by CCSTA. It reflects recognition of an exceptional contribution to Catholic education in this country. Sr. Teresita is the seventh women to receive the honour since its 1975 inception.

      Nominated by the Board of Education of Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, Sr. Teresita’s commitment to education clearly hasn’t gone unnoticed by her peers.


      Sr. Teresita’s Dedication to Education

      Sr. Teresita’s 56‐year tenure spans from 1959 when she began teaching in Tramping Lake, SK through to the present day in her role as Assistant Director of Religious Education for Newman Theological College, Edmonton: Saskatoon extension‐site.

      Sr. Teresita contributed many years to the vocation of Catholic teacher. Over 26 years, from 1959 to 1985, she taught in Grades 8 through 12 and fulfilled many roles including principal, 15 years as a teacher of Christian Ethics, and ten years in campus ministry and as a sessional lecturer at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.