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Superintendent’s Blog

May 18
May 18th, 2017
Celebrating #ECSDawesome!  

Superintendent's Awards of Excellence and God Is Love Awards:  I had the privilege of hosting the 28th Annual Superintendent's Awards of Excellence, which included the 3rd annual conferring of the God is Love Awards, last night.  Our students were honored for such things as their dedication, perseverance, service, and commitment to evangelization.  As always, it is inspiring and uplifting to see the truly humble way that these amazing students make this world a better place!  Thank you to all of the staff who have played a role in the nurturing of all of our students, and special thanks to those staff members who nominated students to receive these awards.

Canadian Association of Principals Distinguished Principal Award:  Please join me in congratulating Terry Volk, Principal of Bishop David Motiuk Catholic Elementary/Junior High School.  Terry has been named the recipient of the Canadian Association of Principals Distinguished Principal Award.  Terry is being honored for her demonstrated commitment to creating experiences that benefit students and teachers, her dedication to her own professional growth and that of others, her service to the community, and her philosophy of learning which has translated into innovative programming.

We are proud that Terry's ongoing pursuit of excellence has led to this well-deserved national recognition.

ATA Council for School Leadership 2016-2017 Distinguished Leadership Award.:  Please join me in offering congratulations to Wendy Robinson, Kyle Porter, Dale Astill, Tisa Haesch, Eugenia Kowalczyk, Elana Simington, Brad Koshka, and Jennifer De Stefanis-Dimas for being recognized as among the most forward thinking and innovative leaders in the province! The Council for School Leadership shares that "these individuals are considered role models in a vibrant network of educational leaders with the confidence and capabilities to lead innovative change for 21st century learning."  Their exceptional leadership is greatly appreciated not only by their schools, but by our District as well!


May 02
May 2nd, 2017

Education Week:  May 1-5 is Education Week.  This celebration of the role that education plays in our communities was established by the teaching profession over 75 years ago.  The theme for this year is Learning is a Journey.  You can learn more about Education Week and find resources and activities on the ATA website:

Hats on for Mental Health:  One of the simplest acts that we can do for someone who is faced with a challenge is to stand in solidarity with them.  Hats on For Mental Health Day, May 3 this year, provides us with the opportunity to foster a culture that helps to end the stigma that people who live with mental illness are faced with.  It is estimated that 60% of people with mental illness will not seek help because of this stigma.  For more information and resources, visit

36th Annual Ben Calf Robe Traditional Pow Wow:  Edmonton Catholic Schools is very proud of the amazing celebration of indigenous culture that takes place each year at the BCR Pow Wow.  This year's event takes place on Saturday May 13 from 1-10 pm at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre, 11000 Stadium Road. All are welcome and admission is free, but bring your own chairs! For more information, contact Rhonda Metallic at 780-471-2360.  

New Evangelization Summit:  St. Anthony's Parish in Drayton Valley invites you to join them for the New Evangelization Summit on Friday-Saturday, May 12-13. Together they will join 26 host sites across North America and link into the main conference in Ottawa! Come and be inspired by top speakers from across North America including: Bishop Robert Barron, Sister Miriam James, Michael Dopp and many more. 

To register visit . When you select your location, be sure to select "Drayton Valley, AB."

For more information or for help registering for the conference, contact Ashley at the parish office at 780-542-5254 or email .  

Apr 20
April 20th, 2017

CWL Edmonton Diocesan Convention:  I would like to offer my best wishes to the women of the Edmonton Diocesan CWL as they prepare for their annual convention this weekend.  The CWL is a vital partner in Catholic education, and their support for our District as a whole and the schools in their parishes is greatly appreciated!

Newman Theological College Faith, Fitness and Fun Run/Walk:  Another one of our valuable partners is NTC.  They are play an integral role in the formation of our teachers through the Master of Religious Education program, as well as through the many Certificate courses they offer.  You can have fun and support their good work by participating in their annual fun run!

You are invited to join us for the 12th Annual Faith, Fitness & Fun Run/Walk on Saturday, May 27, on the grounds of St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College, 10012 - 84 Street. Enjoy scenic views of our river valley on your chip-timed 10K run, 5K run or 3K walk -- and support the seminary and college at the same time. 

To register, please visit  Registration fee includes T-shirt, hospitality, prizes & fun, plus games and activities for children. For more information, visit or email  

Summer Social Justice Curricular Workshop Opportunity:  Development and Peace – Caritas Canada, in partnership with the Alberta Catholic Schools Trustees Association, invite you to apply to participate in a second workshop for the Development of Curricular Resources on Global Social Justice Issues. This workshop, facilitated by Development and Peace, will take place at St. Mary's University in Calgary from July 4-7th, 2017 to produce global resources that are faith based, aligned with Alberta Education curriculum, cross-curricular and accessible.

 Development and Peace – Caritas Canada and the ACSTA invite you to apply for this opportunity if you are looking to learn about and support education on social justice issues, to contribute to the social justice ministry of the Canadian Catholic Church, and to access an opportunity for professional development alongside a team of like-minded individuals. 

ACSTA_CCODP Curricular Workshop Opportunity.pdf


Apr 06
April 6th, 2017

Red and White Day Poster Contest:  In honour of Canada's 150th Birthday, Edmonton Catholic Schools is sponsoring a poster contest for our students.   The winning posters will be printed and shared with all of our schools for Red and White Day, May 30, 2017, the 150th day of the year.  Grand Prize winners will receive a ROOTS Canada sweater and a Canada 150 colouring book.  Runners-up will receive a colouring book.  Details on the poster contest can be viewed here The deadline for submissions is April 28th

A Lenten Reflection:  Sacred Heart Parish in Wetaskiwin invites you to join them for a special Musical Lenten Reflection on Palm Sunday, April 9, at 4 p.m. Enjoy inspirational music and reflective readings on the theme of peace. Music by the St. Nicholas Mandolin Ensemble and Guest Choir of Edmonton. Sacred Heart Church is located at 5113 - 49 Avenue, Wetaskiwin. Everyone is welcome; food bank donations gratefully accepted.

Outdoor Way of the Cross:  The Outdoor Way of the Cross is an ecumenical prayer event commemorating the suffering and death of Jesus. It is a time to notice how the gospel values of Jesus are important to individual and social life today. People of all faith traditions are welcome. Participants should dress for weather conditions with good footwear, but the two-hour 1.5 kilometre walk is reasonable for most ages and levels of fitness and ability. Light refreshments are available after the final station. Free street parking all around start location. For more information please call 780.466.6327 (evenings) or 780.218.6989, or Facebook Event page "Good Friday Outdoor Way of the Cross" ( ).

Holodomor Awareness:  The Holodomor National Awareness Tour is a project to raise awareness of the Holodomor, the genocidal famine carried out in 1932-33 by the Soviet Union led by Joseph Stalin, which resulted in the deaths of millions of Ukrainians. The centerpiece is the Holodomor Mobile Classroom (HMC), a 40-foot RV customized to educate and engage students and the public about the Holodomor.  The mobile classroom will be in Edmonton and area during the week of April 17-21.  It will spend some time at the Legislature earlier in the week, and then will be at Austin O'Brien Catholic High School on April 20 and 21 where it will be used by the students of AOB and of St. Brendan to enhance their learning.  Visit to learn more about this engaging program.


Mar 23
March 23, 2017
Alberta's Top 70 Employers:  Edmonton Catholic Schools is proud to announce that we have been chosen as one of Alberta's Top 70 Employers for 2017, our second year in a row!

The submission for this competition is very comprehensive, and we submit information in the following categories for the judging:  Physical Workplace; Work Atmosphere & Social; Health, Financial & Family Benefits; Vacation and Time-Off; Employee Communications; Performance Management; Training & Skills Development; and Community Involvement. Please visit and click on Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7 for a detailed look at why we were selected as a winner in this competition.  We know that when our staff have exceptional working conditions, they can focus on providing excellent learning experiences for our students.  Our staff is what makes us #ECSDawesome!

New Schools and Major Modernization Announced:  We were so pleased to receive news that the government will be funding a major modernization for Ben Calf Robe/St. Clare School and the planning stage of a new school in the south Edmonton neighborhood of The Orchards.  Each year, we create a Capital Plan that lists our priorities for modernizations and new schools.  Visit our website to view the Capital Plan which our Board of Trustees approved on March 21.

Budget Update:  Now that the provincial budget has been tabled, our Core Budget Committee is hard at work developing the District Budget.  You can view a summary of the budget with respect to education at . The final District budget will be presented to the Board of Trustees at the May 30 Public Meeting.

Mar 08
March 8th, 2017

International Women's Day:  March 8 is International Women's Day (IWD).  The theme for this year is #BeBoldForChange.  There are lots of excellent resources and ideas to be found on the IWD website at .  I would like to give a special shout out to our Unifor 52A Women's Committee for organizing the t-shirt campaign for our staff.  All proceeds are going to the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters.

Substitute Appreciation Week:  The week of March 13-17 marks Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week. Substitute teachers are so vital for our schools' ability to be able to provide uninterrupted excellent learning experiences for our students.  Please take the time this week to thank a substitute teacher for their flexibility, adaptability, and willingness to serve our students.

Numeracy Week:  Edmonton Catholic Schools is thrilled to host our 3rd Annual Numeracy Week from March 13-17.  As educators, we know the fundamental importance that literacy and numeracy have for all learning, and indeed to life itself.  Numeracy Week is an opportunity to bring special awareness to the importance of numeracy skills in all subject areas, not just in math class! Teachers will receive daily emails, starting on March 6, which will contain innovative connections, activities, and ideas. Numeracy Week is so much more than everyone's favorite, Pi Day!

Kindergarten Calculator:  Check out our neat new tool to help families determine when their children can start kindergarten. When you input a child's birthday, it gives you the year that they could start this program.  It can be found at .

Feb 22
February 22nd, 2017

Hockey Helps Kids:  Congratulations to the students of Father Michael Troy Junior High School, captained by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, for winning the second annual Charity Cup Challenge.  This amazing charity program is the brainchild of Chloe and Harrison Katz, and is funded by the Katz family.  Because they received the most votes of support in this contest, Team Nugent-Hopkins was awarded $25,000 for the charity of their choice, Sport Central, which ensures that children have barrier free access to organized sports.

Congratulations as well to the students of St. Edmund Junior High, captained by Jordan Eberle, for their successful campaign.  As runner-up, they are awarded $10,000 for their charity of choice, the Guardian Angels Fund through the Edmonton Catholic Schools Foundation, in support of student mental health.  Visit the Hockey Helps Kids  or website to get the full story.

Pink Shirt Day:  It is always uplifting to see the power that is generated when people join in solidarity.  Pink Shirt Day is a perfect example of how a simple action, deciding to wear pink on February 22, indicates to everyone that our community supports healthy relationships and takes a stand against bullying.  Schools across our District have made this day one to build awareness around how to prevent and how to respond to bullying.  We were pleased to have Education Minister Eggen join our students at H.E. Beriault on this important day.

Day of Confessions:  The Archdiocese of Edmonton is once again celebrating a Day of Confessions. The day will be held throughout the Archdiocese on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Visit their website to find times in your parish.

Feb 09
February 9, 2017

Random Acts of Kindness Week:  We can all benefit by being on both the giving and receiving ends of a little more kindness in our lives.  It goes without saying that even the smallest kindnesses are always appreciated when you receive them.  It is also empowering for us to know that when we carry out acts of kindness, we are positively impacting someone's life, even if it is just for a moment. As Saint Teresa of Calcutta told us, "we can do small things with great love!" Kindness starts with one.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has an excellent website that is full of stories, ideas, and resources for everyone.

Family Day:  What a gift it is for us to have a day that is dedicated to a celebration of family.  You may have noticed that in our monthly newsletters, you are receiving chapter overviews of Pope Francis' Encyclical Amoris Laetitia: The Joy of Love.  This beautiful document speaks about love in the family. You can find the summaries in your school newsletters starting in October, 2016, or visit the "Superintendent's Messages" section of our public website and click the links for the monthly messages.

There are many events going on in the City of Edmonton on Monday, February 20.  Visit their website for great ideas on sharing this special day with your loved ones.

Jan 26
January 26. 2017

Wonderful Faith Formation Opportunities and Celebrations:

Faith Development Day - February 7:  Our annual Faith Development Day is one which I look forward to each year.  The spiritual refreshment that this time to pause, reflect, learn, and celebrate brings to me is rejuvenating.  On February 7, we will have the pleasure of learning from David Wells and celebrating with our shepherds, Archbishop Smith and Bishop Motiuk.  I look forward to joining together with our staff for this amazing day.

2017 ACSTA SPICE and Blueprints Retreats:  You have an additional opportunity to enjoy David Wells in the upcoming g months.  The Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association has engaged him to present their annual retreats.  Here is their message to you:

We are delighted to welcome back David Wells who will be keynote speaker for both the 2017 ACSTA SPICE (April 28-May 1) and Blueprints (May 3-6) Retreats

David was a high school teacher before becoming a research assistant for the Bishops' Conference in England and Wales. His latest position is as Project Manager for School Evangelization. Wells has travelled the world, speaking at more than 350 conferences in Europe, North America and Australia. He guest lectures in three English universities and holds a Master of Philosophy degree from Nottingham University.

David will be speaking on the post-Synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), on love in the family, signed on 19 March, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, which brings together the results of the two Synods on the family convoked by Pope Francis in 2014 and 2015. The document highlights the importance of family and all its implications including education.  Catholic education is important but the family too shares responsibility for passing on faith.  David, in his joyful and powerful manner, will break open the document for us and assist Catholic educators in understanding the as yet untapped influence this document has for us in our own lives, our Church and our Catholic schools.

For further information and registration please visit ACSTA website

48th Annual Friars Ball - May 5, 2017: Westin Hotel.  Mark your calendars and make plans to attend this formal event in support of the education, training and formation of seminarians, religious, and lay leaders for the Ukrainian Eparchy and the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.  Tickets are $250 each ($150 for 25 and younger).

For further information, please contact Anna at 780-469-1010 (, visit them at , or view them on Facebook @friarsball.  It is a wonderful evening!


Jan 10
January 10, 2017

Happy New Year:  One of the many exciting aspects of the school year is that is filled with new beginnings.  We start a new year of learning in the fall, and then we start a new calendar year in January.  For me this creates a mindset of endless opportunity.  I wish you all of the excitement that is to be realized in embracing the possibilities that 2017 holds for you!

Canada's 150:  One of the opportunities that awaits us in 2017 is to celebrate our Canadian pride as our country turns 150.  ECSD will commemorate this special moment in our country's history by recognizing Canada's 150th throughout 2017!  We are compiling a variety of activities and resources for our schools to use.  They can be found at .  As an example, the Government of Canada has launched #OnThisDay, and you can explore historical events for each day of the year as it unfolds at Day.

Benefits of your Edmonton Public Library (EPL) Membership:  We are so thrilled with our partnership with EPL that provides a free library card to each of our students.  Did you know that one of the benefits of your EPL card is access to a vast number of digital materials?  Resources include picture books, novels, reference materials, newspapers, and magazines as examples. Visit  to explore this amazing opportunity for literacy and learning.

Franciscan Youth Poster/Writing Contest:   Our Lady of the Angels Regional Council of the Secular Franciscans of Western Canada would like to invite children and youth to participate in their Poster/Poem/Story/Essay Contest.  They have chosen the theme "Who is Saint Francis of Assisi?" because they want young people to learn about the 800-year-old tradition of Franciscan Spirituality, living in harmony with each other and our fragile environment.  It is an excellent way for children and youth to explore what Pope Francis wanted us to learn from his encyclical Laudato Si'-On Care for Our Common Home.  Visit to learn more about the contest. The deadline for entry is March 17.

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