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Edmonton Catholic Schools
May 7
May 7th, 2018

Catholic Education Week: This week people around the world will be celebrating the gift of Catholic education.  They will be celebrating that our children and youth have the opportunity to learn and grow as they nurture a deeper relationship with our God and explore the majesty of his Creation.

Catholic education week provides us with a special occasion to have conversations about the importance of this gift, to pray and give thanks for it, and to advocate for its significance in our world. I encourage you all to take time this week to reflect upon and share the many special blessings that Catholic education has brought to your own lives and continues to bring to the lives of your students.

On Thursday, May 10 – World Catholic Education Day – I invite you all to wear blue as an outward sign of your celebration and support of Catholic education!

Watch our social media this week for many special stories and representations of the richness and beauty to be found in Catholic education with Edmonton Catholic Schools!

Emergency Alert Test: A message from the Government of Alberta:

Albertans can now receive messages about life-threatening emergencies, such as a tornado, wildfire, flood or Amber Alert, directly to their cellphones. Wireless public alerting is a national system that will send life-saving emergency alert messages directly to compatible smart phones connected to an LTE network within an area affected by a disaster or emergency.

On May 9, 2018 at 1:55 p.m., the wireless public alerting system will send out a test alert across Alberta. During the test, an alert sound will go off on compatible cellphones with a message letting the cellphone user know that the sound is part of a test, and there is no need for concern. If the cellphone is switched off or on silent mode, there will be no sound, but a banner will be displayed, and the phone may vibrate even if the phone is in silent mode. To hear what sound to expect during the test, visit and click on the box at the bottom of the page that says – "play alert tone."

37th Annual Ben Calf Robe Annual Traditional Pow Wow: This amazing experience of Indigenous culture will take place from 1-10 pm on Saturday, May 12 at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre. The Pow Wow will feature a variety of dancers, drummers, artisans and food vendors.  Admission is free, and it is a great family event! Grand Entries will be held at 1 pm and 6 pm.

Grace for the Heart and Soul: One of the most highly anticipated events for the staff of Edmonton Catholic Schools is our annual Grace for the Heart and Soul-Care for Creation Staff Faith Formation Afternoon.  The intent of the afternoon is to provide staff with a broad range of sessions to choose from that allow them to develop their faith in matters that speaks to their heart.  Sessions include areas such as spirituality, service opportunities, theological learning, and interfaith/intercultural experiences.  Staff can access the registration page from the Faith Formation banner on myECSD. We are pleased to report that we have 2,235 registrants in the first week of registration!


May 1
May 1st, 2018

Gratitude on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption…"St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies...he is the proof that in order to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of great things-it is enough to have the common, simple and human virtues, but they need to be true and authentic."

(Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos, 22, 24)

May 1 is the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker.  As Pope John Paul II highlighted in his Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos, we learn from Joseph that the humble act of carrying out our work in loving ministry to those in our care plays a role in Salvation.

This picture of St. Joseph, working alongside Jesus to teach him the trade of carpentry, is one that is mirrored each day in our schools and our sites as we join together as a community to carry out the work that is necessary to nurture our children in safe, clean, welcoming environments and to bring them into closer relationship with God.

Thank you all for the work that you do each day in service to our children, just as St, Joseph did for Jesus.  This expression of love is at the foundation of our work in Catholic education, and your commitment to that work helps to build a hopeful future for our children and our world!


April 19
April 19th, 2018

Long Service Recognition: Edmonton Catholic Schools had the honor of celebrating 449 staff members in our Long Service Recognition Ceremony on April 16.  Our staff are the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus for our students and families and for each other as they live out their vocations in our schools and sites each day.  Their commitment to nurturing our students and helping them to reach their fullest potential is truly remarkable.

Please join me in celebrating the staff who have marked these special milestones of service! 

Years of                Number

Service                 of Staff   

10                           173

15                           85

20                           93

25                           55

30                           24

35                           16

40                           3

Staff can visit our April 2 edition of the Spotlight for the complete listing of staff names at

I would also like to thank our team in Human Resource Services for their incredible work in making sure that this was such a special celebration to truly honor our staff members!

April 5
April 5th, 2018

A Beautiful Tribute:    The staff and students of Archbishop Joseph MacNeil Catholic School put together a beautiful video to celebrate his life.  You can view the video and submit your own memories and photos of him at

Celebrating Outstanding First Year Teachers:  Each year, the Alberta School Boards Association invites school districts to nominate outstanding first year teachers for the Edwin Parr Award.  Please join me in celebrating our nominees for this year!


Confessions of a Catholic Educator:  The Board of Trustees is pleased to host an evening with Father Richard Leonard for our community on April 24.  All are welcome, and supper and childcare will be provided.  The presentation is on What Catholic Education Can Do for Your Child & What You Can Do for Catholic Education. Visit to register!


Catholic News in Your Inbox:  The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton launched an online news service late last year.  You can get their top stories delivered directly to your inbox.  Just visit and click on the Subscribe tab, and we'll add you to the list! News Editor Andrew Ehrkamp sends the newsletter each Thursday.

March 9
March 9th, 2018

Numeracy Week is Coming:   Each year, in conjunction with International Pi Day (3/14), our focus turns to the important role of numeracy in all aspects of our lives during Numeracy Week. In addition to exploring the wonderful world of Pi, students can explore numeracy through various activities such as numeracy and art, language arts, literature, social studies, and, of course, money. Our Learning Services Innovation team has created a wonderful Numeracy resource site for staff in our portal.  Visit to explore!

Daylight Savings:  Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour when you go to bed on Saturday night.  There is nothing more disconcerting that being out of sync when the time changes!

Time to Shine:  With the first rays of Spring on the horizon, we know that there begins a flurry of events that showcase and enhance student learning. In the past few weeks, our students have had the opportunity to shine through Band Share Day and the JFLA International Women's Day Luncheon. You can enjoy our Spring Into Art gallery of student works at Enterprise Square until March 18.  Our performing arts students will have opportunities to shine and our annual Heart of Glee show on March 15.  You can always learn more about these events at .


February 22
February 21st, 2018

Great news!  I am so pleased to share that Edmonton Catholic Schools has once again been named one of Alberta’s Top 70 Employers!  This annual competition, which is held by Postmedia Network Inc. and Mediacorp Canada Inc., takes a comprehensive, comparative look at various aspects of operations and human resources practices to determine which organizations have the most progressive and forward-thinking programs.  We are compared to other applicants in the field of education in eight domains:  physical workplace, work atmosphere and communications, financial benefits and, compensation, health and family friendly benefits, vacation and personal time off, employee engagement and performance, training and skills development, and community involvement.  This is the third consecutive year that we have earned the designation, and we are proud to be one of the leaders in our field in creating exceptional conditions for our employees!

February 7
February 7th, 2018

Amazing Grace!  The first Monday and Tuesday of February begin one of my favorite weeks in the school year. These days mark two amazing celebrations of our Catholic identity.

Father Michael “Catfish” Mireau Youth Faith Day:  The grade 8 students from across our District were joined by the grade 8s from Elk Island Catholic, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic, Evergreen Catholic, and St. Albert Catholic to learn how to “Serve like a Superhero” from the always inspiring Steve Angrisano.  He shared incredible stories that show the strength of spirit of young people and their ability to change the world. The day concluded with a Mass concelebrated by Bishop David and Father Paul Kavanagh, along with Father Julian and Father Dean.  It is always so moving to see 3800 youth gathered together in faith, deeply engaged and joyfully participating!

Faith Development Day:  What a tremendous celebration of God’s saving love!  To begin with the Eucharist as an expression of our membership in a community of His love, and then to learn more deeply about being Rooted in Jesus, was a great experience of #ECSDfaithinspires.  Father Richard Leonard gave us so much to reflect upon during our time together.  He challenged us to look at our image of God, for that reveals our theology.   He also drew our attention to our greatest learnings from Pope Francis and gave us an overview of the Ignatian Rules for Discernment. His overarching message speaks to the heart of Catholic education – everyone is welcome here because we are all loved equally by Christ.

Our Board of Trustees:  The Board of Trustees is very excited to experience all the excellence that our schools have to offer to our students and families.  In the upcoming months, they plan to visit every school to meet the staff and students and to celebrate the wonderful things that are happening in Edmonton Catholic Schools.  This has been a great experience for schools and Trustees alike!

January 24
January 24th, 2018

Global Woman of Vision:  Edmonton Catholic Schools is blessed to be the jurisdiction that Principal Marie Whelan has chosen to live out her vocation to Catholic education.  We are so proud to share that Marie has been named Global Woman of vision for this month.  Visit our website to view Global’s video of Marie and why she is a visionary:

Orange Shirt Day Logo Contest:  Our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation is fundamental in Edmonton Catholic Schools.  We are proud planners and participants in so many events that see our staff and students recognizing and honoring the experiences and impact of Residential Schools and committing to reconciliation.  The Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities invites students to design the logo for the 2018 Orange Shirt Campaign and share their vision for respect, remembrance, and reconciliation.  Visit for details!

Honored to Serve:  I am pleased to share with you that I will continue to serve as Superintendent of Edmonton Catholic Schools until the end of August 2020.  Guided by the words of Micah (6:8) - to act justly, to love faithfully and to walk humbly with our God, I am honored to continue to live out my mission to empower students, staff and parents to experience the joy and fulfillment of a truly Catholic education, striving for excellence in all areas while sharing in the vision of our risen Lord Jesus Christ!  I am excited to work with our Board of Trustees to continue to create excellent opportunities for students to learn and grow in faith.

January 8
January 8th, 2018

Happy New Year! –We are so lucky in the world of education.  We have two opportunities to celebrate new beginnings:  September (or August if you are in a year-round school), and January.  The start of 2018 gives us the perfect reason to revisit goals and plans and to adjust as needed to ensure that we are set for success.

We Care Challenge: update – I am so pleased to share the preliminary total for the Edmonton Catholic Schools' We Care Challenge for Christmas 2017.  Through school-based projects, the staff payroll deduction program, and the basket raffle, our District raised $115,278 for these two important organizations.  The Edmonton Catholic Schools Foundation will receive $42,982, and the Sign of Hope will receive $72,296.  What a shining example of how #ECSDfaithinspires!

Shout out to Facilities Services Staff -  I would like to celebrate the amazing staff of Facilities Services who were so incredibly responsive to the issues that popped up in our schools due to the inclement weather over the break.  I am proud to report to you that their great work has ensured that there is no interruption to teaching and learning in any of our schools.  Thank you!

New Assistant Superintendent, Facilities Services–  Welcome to Dave Bouma, who has now assumed his new leadership role with our District.  Please join me in wishing him an excellent journey. 



December 14
December 14th, 2017

We Care Challenge– The generosity of our staff and students is always so inspiring.  Each year, as we undertake our District wide We Care Challenge, we are humbled by the participation of our community to help support the great work of the Edmonton Catholic Schools Foundation and Catholic Social Services' Sign of Hope Campaign.  The three pillars of this Challenge are the staff payroll deduction program, the school based fundraisers, and the staff's Build a Basket Raffle.  The first of these totals is in, and I wish to thank all the staff for their participation in the raffle, which raised $2,687.02 for each charity.  Congratulations to our winners! I look forward to sharing the success of the other two pillars of this Challenge early in the new year. 

Grandin Media –  Do you miss the Western Catholic Reporter?  The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton is pleased to announce their new online media outlet, Grandin Media, to offer informative and engaging content with a distinctive Western Canadian Catholic voice.

The website Grandin Media ( aims to tell the stories of Catholic life in Alberta and also to apply the lens of faith in its coverage of issues that matter in the wider community. Under the leadership of News Editor Andrew Ehrkamp, a small but dedicated Grandin Media team is posting news reports, feature stories, cultural and social analysis, and high-quality pictures and video.

"Our goal is to inform, to inspire, to evangelize and to fill a gaping and persistent hole on the Canadian news media scene – the Catholic angle and the portrayal of our faith as we know it," says Ehrkamp. "Instead of having the secular media define what it means to be a Catholic and to live out our faith, we're doing it ourselves.

"We're providing news where the faith hasn't been edited out. In fact, it's at the forefront."


Faith & Fun Day at Rogers Place – I am so excited to share this opportunity with you!  I will be joined by the Superintendent of Red Deer Catholic Schools as we drop the puck for this game.  ECSD will be well represented as the Monsignor Fee Otterson Choir and the Jazz Band from Archbishop MacDonald perform.  I hope you can join us.

Are you looking for some Christmas gift ideas? Why not treat the family to a hockey experience on Faith and Fun Day at Rogers Place? 

The Archdiocese is sponsoring an afternoon game between the Edmonton Oil Kings and Red Deer Rebels at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 10, featuring a special price of $18 a ticket (regular $29). The first 400 ticket buyers will be rewarded with an invitation to an exclusive pre-game meet & greet event, including opportunities to meet your bishops, have fun in the photo booth, and shake paws with Louie the Lion. To purchase your tickets at the special price, visit and click on Find Seats. In the Enter Promo Code box, type CAEDM, and then click on Go to get to the ticket purchase page.

If you have trouble online, you can place your order by phoning 780-414-4625 and following the prompt to go to Edmonton Oil Kings tickets sales. Remember to mention the promo code CAEDM to get the discount price for the February 10th game.

Questions? Contact Steve Defer in the Office of Life and Family at 780-460-1010 ext. 2159.

Christmas Blessings - There is excitement in the air as Christmas approaches.  The staff of Lumen Christi Catholic Education Centre were blessed by a visit from the Monsignor Fee Otterson Glee Club on December 14 as they shared the gift of the songs of Advent and Christmas.  We are always so delighted when students come visit us to share their gifts and talents!

As I write my last blog of 2017, I want to wish you all a holy and blessed Christmas that is deeply rooted in Jesus, and a joyous and fruitful New Year!

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Welcome to the Superintendent’s area. Please visit often to see what's new in Edmonton Catholic Schools!