October, 2016 Community Update

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Dear Catholic School Students, Parents & Supporters,

Below are highlights from my latest community update – the complete update can be found here.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks.  Thank you for all the graces and blessings, You have bestowed upon us, both spiritual and temporal:  our faith and religious heritage, our food and shelter, our health, the love we have for one another, our family and friends.

Dear Father, in Your infinite generosity, please grant us continued graces and blessing throughout the coming year.  This we ask in the Name of Jesus, Your Son.

Amen

 Create family rituals of thanksgiving by:

  • Count blessings by listing things that everyone is thankful for at dinner or bedtime.
  • Express your thanks through service – as a family of volunteers.
  • Comment on the blessings you encounter throughout your day and your children will follow suit.

Transportation Update

As you will have read or experienced, our transportation partners have not fulfilled their contractual obligations to the TCDSB and TDSB this school year – impacting families and students across the school board.

Based on the information I’ve been provided as a trustee of the TCDSB and TCDSB trustee representative on the TCDSD/TDSB Transportation Consortium, staff were not given a heads-up regarding the potential impact to students and families before the school year in order that we might have prepared appropriately.  While there are avenues that we can pursue legally, this does not make up for the fact that some families have been left scrambling for more than a month. As of the time this newsletter is going for printing, there are still driver gaps for routes impacting schools in Ward 9 – most notably Holy Rosary and St Mary Catholic elementary schools.

Some of you may have heard that the Ontario Ombudsman will be reviewing what occurred and I hope will support school boards in improving communication and accountability.  We clearly need to do better – in terms of preparedness and communication and I will be doing all I can on the Transportation Consortium to see what can be done in partnership with the transportation companies.

Update on New School at St Raymond’s Site

In April, 2016, the province committed $9.4 million to build a new elementary school to meet the consolidated needs of St. Raymond and St. Bruno Catholic students on the St Raymond site. Following the announcement, the Ministry indicated that the monies for the new school would be released after a long-term accommodation and programming plan (LTAPP) was approved by the TCDSB, which increased the average utilization of schools “in the vicinity” of St Raymond – some 5km away.  This report will be a sub-set of a board-wide LTAPP and staff confirmed that it will be presented for approval at the October 13th Corporate Services Committee meeting. (NOTE for readers:  Since the community update was published the date for the staff report has been moved – still waiting on confirmation of the new date).

Motion Seeking Board-Wide & Local Technology Partnership Opportunities:  At the September, 2016, Student Achievement meeting trustees approved my motion for staff to come back with a report by November which outlined both local school, and board-wide technology partnership opportunities. The aim is to increase the opportunity for students in every classroom to gain access to the latest technology in support of learning.  The reality is that the board does not have the resources to provide access to tablets or 3D printers, robotics or coding, to every student.   But, we can expand our partnerships to work collaboratively in an effort to level the playing field of student opportunities – a clear Catholic social justice goal of a Catholic public school board.

WONDERWORKERS: A ShareLife Curriculum

Wonderworkers was created to help educators connect the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations with our call to serve, as exemplified by ShareLife agencies in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Using local examples, along with curriculum connections, Wonderworkers recounts the powerful true stories of people being raised up and supported in justice and love. The series highlights three of the over 40 ShareLife agencies serving the poor and marginalized in our local communities.

Age-appropriate lesson plans for Grades 1 to 12 accompany the three videos. This new curriculum resource will help foster a deeper understanding of charity and service in our students and will help teachers communicate Catholic Social Teaching and the values of the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations for all students.

Pupil Accommodation Review – St Michael & St Paul Catholic Schools

Boundary Review – Our Lady of Lourdes, St Michael & St Paul Catholic Schools

The first public meeting took place October 11th, 7pm at St. Michael Catholic School and the second will take place on December 7th, 7pm at St. Paul Catholic school.

In 2015, the government established a four-year, $750 million School Consolidation Capital program.  In May, the Board of Trustees approved the start of a Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) involving the St. Michael and St. Paul school communities (policy can be found here).  The challenges are several:  St Michael’s enrollment is far higher than the school was built for, and is expected to continue to grow while St Paul is only 40% full and is expected to stay around that percentage.  Both schools have about 175 students – and funding for schools with less than 300 students is declining.  The opportunity is the 3.47 acre former Duke of York site and a newly constructed school for 500 students and full service child care.

In addition, in January, the Board approved a boundary review for Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Michael and St. Paul, and so the boundary is being reviewed as part of that PAR process as they impact each other.  The outstanding issue is a boundary that does not include all of the St James Town community.  The projected challenge is a student population that is larger than the school was built for in the next few years.

Ongoing updates can be found on the board website here.

YOU Can Inspire YOUR Child to Learn & Enjoy Math!

When students understand math, they have knowledge they can bring to every aspect of their lives. Inspiring Your Child to Learn and Love Math is a tool kit for parents from the Ontario Council for Directors of Education. It provides on-line lessons with simple, but effective methods and materials for parents. It shows you how to get involved in your children’s learning, and offers guidance for working with students of different ages.

This Parent Tool Kit was developed by experts in mathematics education, with input and advice from parents and students. When families and educators join forces, students of all ages can experience greater success in their learning.  Take the time to view or download the videos and documents that apply to the age group you are interested in. Share with colleagues, friends and family.  If you are preparing a parent engagement workshop, you will find everything you need right here!

 

 

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