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May 14th, 2013
Alberta Government announcements help to “transform” education!
Also, the Ministry of Human Services released the Children First Act which outlines how the Provincial Government will continue the process to transform systems to support the health, safety, education, security and well-being of children in Alberta.
Ensuring Labour Stability The Provincial Government has announced that it will introduce legislation that will guarantee stability in the province’s classrooms. The four year deal reached by the government and the Alberta Teacher’s Association (ATA) will be extended to all of the province’s teachers and school boards. In announcing the pending legislation, Minister Johnson indicated that “a stable labour environment will enhance the continued transformation of the education system aimed at meeting the Inspiring Education’s vision for a new generation of learners.”
Blessings of the Holy Spirit On Sunday, May 19th Catholics throughout the world will celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of our Church. As the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, may the Holy Spirit fill us with a strong faith in Jesus and a firm desire to serve others in His name. Together may we welcome, celebrate, and embrace each other’s differences as we help to build His Kingdom here on earth.
Enjoy the long weekend everyone!
May 6th, 2013
Inspiring Education: Building Connections, Celebrating Relationships!
Dual Credit Program Announcement Thank you to Principal Hugh MacDonald, and the staff and students of St. Joseph High School who hosted Premier Redford, Education Minister Jeff Johnson, Advanced Education and Technology Minister, Thomas Lukaszuk and Minister of Human Services, Dave Hancock plus many other dignitaries as the government made the important announcement for Dual Credit programming. This innovative system provides an opportunity for high school students “to participate in apprenticeship training or post-secondary, college or university courses earning both high school and post-secondary credits for the same course.” The government announced that it is investing $11 million dollars into this initiative. We are thankful to the individuals who dedicated time and effort in preparing to host this event. Special thanks to Mikhaila Currie, a dual credit student at St. Joseph and a skills Alberta regional gold medalist in welding, who spoke on behalf of the students who will benefit from this new funding strategy.
Hats On! for Mental Health! Do you have a favourite hat tucked away in the closet? On May 8th the ATA and Canadian Mental Health Association are encouraging everyone to “wear a hat” to help build the awareness of mental health issues in our province.
World Catholic Education Day Please join us in celebrating World Catholic Education Day on Thursday, May 9th. Every year, on Ascension Thursday, 40 days after Easter, Catholics worldwide give thanks for the gift of Catholic education. We invite you to take time on Thursday to pause and pray in thanksgiving for the opportunity we have to be able to live and practice our faith each day in our Catholic School District. What a blessed gift!
Congratulations to CCSSA Award recipients Congratulations to Pat Lema, Suzanne Szojka, and Tim Cusack as they were honoured with the Excellence in Catholic Education Award from the Council of Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta (CCSSA). This award recognizes Catholic educators in Alberta who have done an exemplary job in preparing our youth to grow into outstanding citizens. Well done!
Council of School Leadership (CSL) Distinguished Leadership Awards On May 15th we will celebrate with Bill Moreau, Denis Gauthier, Suzanne Szojka, and Dave Bouma as they receive a CSL Distinguished Leadership Award from the ATA Council for School Leadership. Congratulations to these individuals who have been recognized as educational leadership role models for their demonstrated skills and capabilities in leading innovative change for 21st century learning. We are so proud of you and what you are contributing to our District! Congratulations!
Capital Announcements On Thursday, May 2, the Premier and Minister of Education announced the Capital Funding Plan for the 2013-2014 school year. Edmonton Catholic Schools received funding to build one new K-9 school located in Lewis Farms in west Edmonton. The new school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.
Ben Calf Robe Annual Pow Wow Just a reminder that the 32nd annual Ben Calf Robe Traditional Pow Wow will be held this coming weekend on Saturday, May 11th at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre. This year’s theme, Honouring Our Mothers “Heartbeat of all Nations” is very fitting and timely as we also celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend. For more information please contact Rhonda Metallic at 780 944 2000 ext. 320.
Preparing for Grace for the Heart and Soul afternoon! Our second annual ‘personal’ faith formation afternoon on the afternoon of May 23rd is almost here! All staff members are encouraged to participate in this wonderful opportunity of engaging faith development. This is an inspiring opportunity for each person to make connections with their faith through their own choice of activity.
Special Blessings May the Lord bless all mothers, grandmothers and those in the care-giving role as we celebrate their special day this Sunday.
As we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, may we, as his followers, be blessed and find our hope in his glory.
April 29th, 2013
Khrystos Voskres! Voyistynu Voskres! Christ is Risen! Truly He has risen! Special Easter blessings to the students, staff, and their families who follow the Julian calendar (Eastern rite) as they celebrate Easter this coming Sunday, May 5th. May the blessings of our Lord bring you peace, hope, and joy on this special day.
Grace for the Heart and Soul : Care for Creation Day It is with a great deal of anticipation that I look forward to our second annual ‘personal’ faith formation afternoon on May 23rd. Our staff members are able to select from sessions that connect with a variety of subjects and activities that will allow them to continue their faith journey. Presently, over 2000 staff members have registered in a session of their choice for this wonderful afternoon. We look forward to having this precious gift of time to celebrate, nurture, and develop our faith!
Awaiting Capital Announcements On Thursday the Minister of Education will make the announcement of the Capital funding Plan. We are hoping for some good news!
Congratulations Father Mike Mireau! On Tuesday, April 30th, Father Mike will celebrate the 11th anniversary of his ordination! Father Mike has touched the lives of so many members of our District. We give thanks to God for the gift of his ministry and ask that many blessings be bestowed on him.
Most gracious God, guide Father Mike whom You have called to serve among Your people. May the Word He proclaims give him courage and wisdom. May he continually love You with an everlasting love, and attain joys without end. Amen
May the Risen Lord fill you with joy as you find God’s glory in every moment of your lives!
April 15th, 2013
Showcasing our talented students and staff!! We are so blessed to have such talented students and staff as members of our District! Last week we were privileged to experience two delightful evenings displaying the many fine arts abilities of our students. I am always so proud of the many accomplishments of our District and humbled by the talent of our outstanding performers.
I was filled with such joy as I watched the truly spectacular performances of our students and staff at our amazing 24th Celebration of the Arts on April 8 at the Winspear. Throughout the evening, the theme of this year’s production, Children our Hope, shone through as the students’ unique gifts and talents were alive on stage. Through their expression of music, drama, dance and visual arts, these students confirmed their faith in themselves and their desire to be leaders in the future. Thank you to the dancers, the singers, the musicians, the actors and actresses, and the visual artists, who shared their gifts and creativity through the array of performances.
Again on Thursday, April 11th, I was delight to be present at our Third Annual Heart of Glee presentation in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital at the Myer Horowitz Theatre. The audience enjoyed a fabulous evening of song and dance performed by students from 10 of the District’s schools. Each performance captivated the audience with a lively interpretation of musical pieces specifically chosen by the students. Once again, the infamous Shane Jones from Global Edmonton entertained as emcee for the evening. We also enjoyed Edmonton’s very own Marty Pawlina, Folk Musician and songwriter, as he performed four of his own songs to the delight of the audience.
Grateful thanks to the many staff members who dedicated their time and energy in preparing the students for these wonderful evenings. Special thanks to Sue Chevalier and the Learning Services –Innovation staff and all individuals who helped behind the scenes to present these enjoyable evenings. Lastly, thank you to all of the performers who shared their talents with us. Your passion and energy delighted us all!
Experiencing Webinar Technology! Please join us for this year’s final Parent Engagement evening sponsored by the Board of Trustees on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Various schools throughout the District will host this event as we share our speakers through webinar technology! The District staff of Emerging Technology is pleased to have Steve Dembo from Discovery Education address our participants on the topic of how education will be impacted by technology in the future. Please access the follow website to register and determine which site offering a webinar connection is closest to your location. I am looking forward to connecting on Wednesday evening! http://publicsessions.ecsd.net/
Celebrating our Aboriginal Cultures We are so proud of our relationship with the Aboriginal Community! Edmonton Catholic Schools and Aboriginal Learning Services in partnership with the City of Edmonton, are proud to invite you to the 32nd Annual Ben Calf Robe Powwow on Saturday May 11, 2013. The theme this year is Honouring Our Mothers “Heartbeat of all Nations”. The event takes place at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre (Stadium) located at 11000 Stadium Road. A brief agenda includes:
There will be craft and food vendors on site and participants are asked to bring their own chairs. For more information, please contact Rhonda Metallic at 780 944-2000 ext. 320.
Congratulations to our Semi-finalists Alberta Education has released the name of the semi-finalists for the Teacher of Excellence Awards. Congratulations to the following educators in our District!
Grace for the Heart and Soul : Care for Creation Day Preparations for our second annual ‘personal’ faith formation afternoon on May 23rd are being completed. All District staff members will be invited to choose a faith development experience that personally allows them to learn more about their faith and celebrate this great gift from God!.
Long Service Celebration On Thursday, April 18th, our District will honour 344 staff members with service from 10 – 45 years. Thank you to these staff members who have so willingly served our students, their families, and colleagues. May these dedicated staff continue to enjoy their lives of service with our District!
During this Easter season may the hope of the resurrected Christ continue to enter your hearts and fill your life with many blessings!
March 22nd, 2013
Showcasing Our Students’ Talents During the first two weeks of March, many of our students’ art work was on display at the U of A Extension Art Gallery. The students along with their families and staff members were invited to the closing reception on Sunday, March 17th where they enjoyed an afternoon of fellowship. We are proud of these gifted young artists and are thankful for the teachers and parents who have encouraged and nurtured these students’ talents. We look forward to seeing more wonderful creations in the future!
Bands Share their Musical Gifts The Winspear was alive with the sounds of music on Monday, March 18th as 26 bands from 20 of our schools performed for the District’s 18th Band Share Day! Special thanks to all of the 1243 students and their teachers for the gift of music that you so freely shared. To all those who participated in the organization and coordination of this event, thank you for a job well done.
Budgeting Activities Since the announcement of the Provincial Budget on March 7th, the Core Budget Committee has been working to determine the allocations for the schools and departments. A draft of these allocations was shared with the principals yesterday at their meeting. The process will now continue at each of our schools and District sites. I appreciate this is a difficult task and thank all who work to complete these budgets.
Trustees give support to Teachers’ Agreement In discussions on Tuesday, the Board of Trustees has decided to support the agreement reached between the government and the Alberta Teachers’ Association. The Board believes that four years of labour stability will be beneficial to all members of our community and will allow us to focus on educating our students.
Grace for the Heart and Soul : Care for Creation Day It is with much anticipation that I look forward to our second annual ‘personal’ faith formation afternoon on May 23rd. Each staff member will be able to choose a faith development experience that personally allows you to grow in your faith. We look forward to having this precious gift of time to celebrate, nurture, and develop our faith!
During this Easter season, I pray that you will be graced with new life through the abundant love of Christ alive in our hearts and in our lives.
Give thanks for Easter. Give thanks for resurrection.
February 26th, 2013
An anticipated change of pace
Celebrating Pope Benedict XVI
Also, the following special prayer has been released by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on this special occasion:
PRAYER for the RETIREMENT of POPE BENEDICT XVI
All praise and glory are yours,
Certificate In Catholic Education
February 11th, 2013
An Unexpected Announcement
A Week of Kindness
Celebrating our Families
Also, the Pontifical Council for the family now has an electronic newsletter, “Familia et Vita: Good News” that contains interesting articles about Catholic family life. The newsletter is free and is available in English, French, Italian and Spanish. The link to the site is http://www.family.va.
Please share your perspective.
Sharing Faith and Hope
January 22nd, 2013
Transform! Engage in Christ-centred Learning for Today and Tomorrow
At these sessions Lee Crockett also announced that ibook copies of Literacy are NOT Enough will soon be available at no cost for individuals connected to the District. This is an excellent resource for all to read to gain an understanding of 21st Century learning fluencies. As this will be a limited offer, please watch for the release date and more information on the ECSD website.
One of our presenters, Andrew Churches from New Zealand, was very impressed by the commitment of our District to change our teaching practices to enhance the education of our students. He also had an opportunity to visit St. Joseph High School to view the various programs and to hear of the unique opportunities offered. Please connect to his Twitter page through the following link to read his comments about Edmonton Catholic Schools: http://edorigami.edublogs.org/2013/01/21/fluencies-sdl-and-edmonton/
Sign of Hope … Thanks to all! Very special thanks to all for your tremendous support of this year’s Sign of Hope campaign - WE Care Challenge activities. Over 55 schools/sites/departments participated in this year’s challenge and the final numbers show a total of $80, 322.00 was raised. Employee pledges added up to another $35, 390. for a total of $115,712.00. I am so proud of Edmonton Catholic Schools’ overall contribution and to you, both personally and in your school communities for your support of this worthy cause.
What does God require of us? (Micah 6: 6-8) This year in the Archdiocese of Edmonton, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being celebrated from January 20 – 27. The Edmonton and District Council of Churches invites you to participate in an evening of praying together in Christian harmony on Sunday, January 27 at 7:00 PM at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 18407-60 Avenue, Edmonton. This is a wonderful opportunity to join with others to pray that we may overcome the divisions that exist among Christians. For more information and resources, please visit the Edmonton Archdiocese’s website:
Parent Engagement Evenings A reminder of the Board of Trustees’ Parent Engagement evening on Monday, February 4th at St. Joseph High School starting at 7:00 p.m. Our guest speaker, Sr. Anne Bryan Smollin, is known for her lectures on humor and its effect on spirituality and wellness. I encourage you to attend this presentation – and bring along a colleague, parent, and/or friend. Registration is online at http://publicsessions.ecsd.net/. See you there!
Our annual faith sharing day is coming soon! This year’s Faith Development Day on Tuesday, February 5 is an excellent opportunity for all staff of Edmonton Catholic Schools to gather, celebrate, and share our faith. We will have the pleasure to listen to three speakers share their thoughts and insights about our theme, Life of Grace, Ministry of Hope. Sister Edith Prendergast, Sister Anne Bryan Smollin and Bishop David Motiuk will address the vocational responsibility of being involved with the formation and education of children in a Catholic school. I know our faith will be renewed through this time together!
Upcoming Provincial Budget District trustees and administrators are awaiting the announcement of the 2013 Provincial Budget on March 7th, 2013. Please watch for details in the upcoming weeks.
Enjoy the rest of the week. Keep warm!
December 20th, 2012
Sign of Hope Campaign Thank you!! Our school donations this year have exceeded our goal of $60,000! Thank you to all staff, students and families who supported the various activities in our schools in support of the Sign of Hope/ WE Care Challenge fundraising campaign. As the official campaign does not conclude until December 31st, you can still submit your donations directly to Catholic Social Services through their website: https://www.signofhope.ab.ca/SignofHope/donateonline.aspx
Blessings of the Season May the miracle of Christmas fill your heart with warmth and love. Merry Christmas everyone!
December 4th, 2012
Faith Formation afternoon All staff within the District are preparing for a District-wide Faith Formation afternoon to be held on December 6th at various sites. The theme for the afternoon is Permeation: Finding Grace Within Curriculum. This time together will be focused on the beauty of Catholic education and how it is “the right, responsibility and privilege of educators in Catholic schools to bring to consciousness the divine presence that resides in what is learned.” We are looking forward to a great afternoon!
Audited Financial Statements approved. The Board of Trustees approved the 2011-2012 Audited Financial Statements at their public Board meeting on November 27, 2012. The financial statements have been posted on the website and can be accessed using the following link:
“Blessed by the Grace of God”. The combined Annual Education Results Report 2011-2012 and Three Year Strategic Education Plan 2012-2015 were presented to the Board of Trustees at the November 27th meeting. The report can be found on the website at the following link: Annual Reports: Blessed by the Grace of God
Transform! 21st Century Learning. As we continue our journey of 21st Century learning in Edmonton Catholic Schools, we are excited and look forward to the many experiences ahead. Transforming our pedagogy and the skills that we teach our students so that we are prepared for the future is a challenge we are embracing! The new title for this phase of our journey invites everyone to be a part of this transformation of learning.
Putting Students First - New Education Act. On November 19th, 2012 the Alberta government passed a new Education Act entitled Putting Students First. This bill includes many of the suggestions that numerous Albertans shared through the consultation process that the government undertook before writing this new act. This new Act will be proclaimed in the next 1 ½ -2 years.
A detailed document about the changes to the Education Act and a description of Edmonton Catholic Schools’ initiatives to meet these changes is available at the following link: http://ecsd.net/parents/pdf/Education%20Act.pdf
Drawing closer to Jesus Christ The third evening of this year’s Nothing More Beautiful series is this Thursday, December 6th at St. Joseph Basilica starting at 7:00 p.m. The Most Rev. Frederick Henry, the Bishop of Calgary and Sara Michel, the regional animator for the Alberta/Mackenzie region of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace will speak on Evangelizing the Social and Political Order. I invite you to experience this evening filled with music, prayer, and inspired messages.
May this Advent be a time of reflection and hope for you and your families.
November 16th, 2012
Empowering our youth in financial decision making On November 15th, I was at Holy Trinity High School as the Chartered Accountants of Alberta launched their new web portal, the Money Project, designed for Alberta youth. Edmonton Catholic Schools was honored to be the launch site for this online web portal that acts as a one-stop-shop for money management resources for young people. The website provides specific financial strategies for our youth while being engaging and relevant to their lives. As Financial Literacy is an important 21st Century Skill, we are pleased to help provide our youth another educational tool to assist them in becoming fiscally responsible. This exciting web portal can be found at the following link www.themoneyproject.ca
It’s time…Sign of Hope Campaign Our District has been such a strong supporter of the Sign of Hope campaign for over 15 years. The District’s WE Care Challenge continues to grow each year as our school communities participate in events that help to raise the students’ awareness of the importance of making a difference in the lives of other young people. This movement is an excellent opportunity for children and youth to learn about the programs and resources provided by Catholic Social Services and to help bring about change in our local communities. For more information, please visit CSS website at:
Celebrating our young people. Edmonton Catholic Schools is proud to be a sponsor of National Child Day celebrated each year on November 20. It is a day to remember that we have a part to play in ensuring that children receive support, encouragement and respect to grow to their full potential. There are many ways we can celebrate this special day: nurturing them with good food, participate in an activity with them like sledding or skating, inspire their creativity, listen to their stories or spend time reading together. Whatever you do, show them you believe in them!
Also, the City of Edmonton is inviting families to celebrate National Child Day by enjoying a FREE swim at any YMCA of Edmonton and select City of Edmonton facilities on Sunday, November 18, 2012. Click on the link below for more information.
Celebrating our students’ achievements! Throughout this month of November, many of our sites will have occasions for parents to be informed of their child’s growth through the formal reporting process. I encourage you to take this opportunity to attend the parent/student meetings or Celebrations of Learning offered by your child’s school.
September 6, 2012
A New Program Just for Boys! I was present for the energizing start as 17 boys in grades 4 and 5 officially started the All Boys Academy at St. James Elementary School Tuesday morning. This unique environment created specifically for male learning styles will surely be beneficial for these students. Thanks to the staff at St. James who have made this vision become reality!!
Registration for Parent Evenings. I encourage all parents to sign up for the trustee sponsored evening sessions, “Parents Engaged in Christ-Centred Learning”. Registration opened on-line September 4th and can be found on the ECSD website: http://publicsessions.ecsd.net/ What a great way for parents to become connected to the 21st Century learning that is happening in our classrooms!
August 15, 2012