Since my last newsletter in December, the TCDSB Witness to Faith Cross has travelled across our downtown community of schools. In partnership with parishes and school chaplains, each school developed its own liturgy, and in many cases, students and staff processed the Cross from one neighbourhood Catholic school to another across our city’s core. It was wonderful to witness the symbol of our faith in the community – reminiscent of WYD2002 in Toronto.
In January, CSAC Chairs, Principals and Pastors – almost 40 in total – gathered at Holy Rosary school to participate in our first ward-wide meeting. The gathering focused on building a ‘community of Catholic schools’ network across our city’s core, sharing ideas for school-based challenges and opportunities, and strengthening the partnership between school-home-parish.
I travelled to my parents’ home island in April, and watched 150 St Michael Choir School students perform to a packed house at St Joseph church, in Reserve Mines, Cape Breton, as part of their national tour. The choir sang liturgical music and local Celtic favourites and concert goers showed their appreciation of our world-renowned choir with six standing ovations. Upon introducing the choir, I reminded those present of the debt of gratitude we owe Nova Scotia: in 1845, Halifax-native, Archbishop Michael Power, founded St Michael’s Cathedral, and 70 years later Cape Breton-native, Archbishop Neil McNeil, lobbied for fair taxation for Catholic education.
Engaging our Community of Schools. Many thanks to those who participated in the series of community meetings held over the last 2 months for St Alphonsus, St Bruno, St Francis of Assisi, St Mary, St Luke, St Raymond, and Senhor Santo Cristo schools. Parents, local Members of Parliament (Eric Hoskins and Rosario Marchese), local City Councillors (Joe Mihevc and Mike Layton), senior TCDSB staff, teachers, principals, and community partners, attended. The aim was to hear from parents, and identify areas for investigation and action – from programming to partnerships – to support student achievement and strengthen our Catholic schools. I will be organizing meetings for the remaining schools in the ward in the coming school year. Please contact me if you wish to receive the distributed post-meeting actions.
Partners in Motion – Portuguese-&-Spanish-speaking Community Recommendations – Approved. I am very proud to have worked with Associate Director, Angela Gauthier, to create this joint TCDSB-Community committee. The committee’s objective was to enhance the educational achievements of Portuguese speaking and Spanish speaking students, and it included over 40 community partners. The approved recommendations included parental engagement initiatives, and support for after-school tutoring programs and community-based initiatives. Ongoing Advisory Committees will be created to monitor effectiveness in terms of students achievement. Given the committee’s success, it will be used as a framework to support other high needs student communities. To read the full report, please go to the 5 June Student Achievement agenda.
Critical Board Updates –
2012-2013 TCDSB Proposed Budget – Balanced. The TCDSB faces financial challenges with the phasing out of Program Enhancement Grants ($2M), as well as a gap in program and staff funding by the Ministry. The funding gap includes Special Education ($18M); literacy programs, resource teachers, Education Assistants, Chaplaincy, transportation and more (a combined $30M gap). The budget is an item on the 21 June Special Board agenda – but, at the time of printing the proposed balanced budget was $1.09 billion with a surplus of $255,000. For details please click here.
2012-2015 Strategic Plan – Approved. After months of work by senior staff and trustees, the Board approved its Multi-Year Strategic Plan on 4 April, 2012. The goals for each of the 6 strategic objectives were revised based on input received through public consultations. The plan is driven by the Board’s Mission to be “an inclusive learning community rooted in the love of Christ, that educates students to grow in grace and knowledge and to lead lives of faith, hope and charity”. Progress against our Plan will be monitored and evaluated annually. For details on the Multi-Year Strategic Plan please click here.
For more Board updates, check out the Board News page.
A happy and safe summer to all TCDSB families and Catholic school supporters!
For the complete June 2012 newsletter: TrusteeDavisNewsletter June 2012 FINAL for distribution