Prime Minister's Awards– Would you like to celebrate an amazing teacher whose excellence and commitment has a lasting impact on students? Consider nominating them for a Prime Minister's Award. There are 3 categories for you to choose from: Teaching Excellence, Excellence in Early Childhood Education, and Teaching Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The nomination deadline is January 12, 2018. Nomination information can be found at CANADA.CA/PM-AWARDS.
Métis Week- The week of November 13-18 marks Métis Week this year; an annual celebration of the Métis people, their culture, and their contributions to our society. There are many opportunities for our students to focus their learning in this area for the week and beyond. Visit the Métis Nation of Alberta's website to download their digital calendar and detailed list of events for the week at http://albertametis.com/2017/10/metis-week-2017/. Alberta Education also has many learning and teaching resources that are available to support curricular learning about the Métis people. Click here to access them.
Partnership Appreciation Week– There is a well-known proverb that "It takes a village to raise a child". This is so true for the world of education! Edmonton Catholic Schools is blessed to have many partners in the education, church, civic, business and government communities who help to create opportunities for students to grow intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. During the week of November 13-17, we are celebrating the organizations and people who make up our village, and offering our sincerest thanks for their ongoing support of our great work with children and families! To learn more about our vital partners, visit https://www.ecsd.net/AboutUs/The-District/community_partnership/Pages/Default.aspx.
Holodomor Memorial Day – Edmonton Catholic Schools marks the Memorial of the Holodomor, the Ukrainian genocide by famine that took place in 1932-33, on the last Friday of November (the 24th this year). This year, in addition to learning about this tragic part of our world history, our students are being challenged to engage in acts of kindness to highlight the role that we all play in caring for each other and Creation. The Acts of Kindness Challenge runs from November 1-24. Visit our website to learn more. https://www.ecsd.net/AboutUs/Overview/Holodomor/Pages/default.aspx
Our New Board Chair and Vice Chair– Our newly elected Board of Trustees was sworn in at their Organizational Meeting yesterday afternoon. At that time, Trustee Terry Harris was elected as Board Chair and Trustee Sandra Palazzo was elected as the Vice Chair for the 2017-2018 school year. There will be a Commissioning Mass for our Trustees on Catholic Education Sunday, November 5, at 12:15 p.m. at St. Joseph Basilica-10044 113 St NW. All are welcome to this special celebration! Remember to set your clocks back an hour before you go to sleep on Saturday night for the end of Daylight Savings.
This Is…Catholic Education- There is such depth to the way that Edmonton Catholic Schools fulfills our mission to provide a Catholic education that inspires students to learn and that prepares them to live fully and to serve God in one another. In honor of Catholic Education Sunday, November 5, we will highlight a different aspect of what makes us so #ECSDawesome each day this week. Visit our website at https://www.ecsd.net/AboutUs/catholic-identity/this-is/Pages/default.aspx
Remembrance Day – Each of our schools honors our fallen soldiers in a special way. One of those is through ceremonies such as No Stone Left Alone. On November 6, we have over 1,160 students from 14 schools who will ensure that every soldier in Edmonton area cemeteries is remembered with a poppy on their headstone. To learn more about this moving event, visit https://www.nostoneleftalone.ca/alberta-edmonton.
Our schools and sites will be closed for Remembrance Day on Friday, November 10, and will re-open on Monday, November 13.
We have many congratulations to be shared!
Our New Board of Trustees – I would like to congratulate our newly elected Board of Trustees, and thank all those who stepped forward to be considered to serve as a champion of the gift of publicly funded Catholic education. The new Board will begin their important work next week with orientation. Their first Public Meeting will take place on October 30 at 3 pm, where they will be sworn in and choose their new Chair, Vice-Chair, and committees. You can watch this live at https://www.ecsd.net/BoardofTrustees/Reports-and-Resources/public_board_meeting/Pages/default.aspx .
Ward 71 Terry Harris
Ward 72 Sandra Palazzo
Ward 73 Carla Smiley
Ward 74 Debbie Engel
Ward 75 Alene Mutala
Ward 76 Lisa Turchansky
Ward 77 Laura Thibert
The Emmaus Award – The Emmaus Award is presented annually at the Newman Theological College Graduation Mass to a student graduating from the Master of Religious Education Program. The Award reflects the experience of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus: the hope that when students attend Newman, they join other colleagues on the journey and through their studies and dialogue with the content, come to recognize Jesus more clearly.
This year the Emmaus Award recognized Beth Pecson from Monsignor Fee Otterson, who has shown incredible effort and dedication, both to her studies in the MRE Program as well the tremendous contributions she has made and continues to make to her school and parish communities.
In her work as a Catholic teacher and school chaplain, she has clearly demonstrated her commitment to Catholic education. From organizing music for district, school, parish, and community liturgies and events, as well as orchestrating extraordinary musical productions at her school, she has worked hard to inspire her students and colleagues to place Catholic education and specifically Religious Education at the core of their lives.
School Opening Mass Collection – I would like to congratulate our staff and offer my thanks for your generosity towards those in need. The collection from our School Opening Mass was $12,548.83, which will be shared between Development and Peace and the Marian Centre. These two very worthy causes do amazing work and we are so pleased to be able to offer them such great financial support.
Our Lady of Schools – The third Sunday in October is the Feast of Our Lady of Schools. This is a special devotion to our Mother, Mary. Our Lady of Schools was declared the patron saint of all schools and students in Canada by Pope Pius XXII in 1952. The purpose of the devotion to Our Lady of Schools is three-fold:
to honor our Blessed Mother under this particular title so that she may protect schools and prepare strong and faithful generations for the future,
to work for the salvation of the family and of society, especially through children's prayers, and
to remind everyone, not only educators but also parents and leaders of states, of the crucial importance of Catholic education.
In honor of this feast, each of our grade 5 students is being gifted with a book mark with a prayer to Our Lady of Schools:
Mother of God,
Our Lady of Schools,
Teach us how to walk in the footsteps of Jesus,
your Son and our brother,
so that He may always be the Light of our minds and the Love of our hearts.
Our Lady of Schools,
Mother of Knowledge and Love,
pray for us.
Orange Shirt Day – I was honored to represent Edmonton Catholic Schools at the Orange Shirt Day Ceremony at City Hall today. It was very moving and inspiring to see so many students, individuals and so many leaders of community and government gathered together to unite in the principle that every child matters, and to recognize that the path to reconciliation begins by acknowledging the truth of the dark history of residential schools for our Indigenous people.
Student Count –It is amazing to think that September is already at an end. It has been a landmark start up for Edmonton Catholic Schools. With the opening of 5 new schools and the re-opening of St. Margaret, we have seen our student population swell to a total of 42,494. That is #ECSDawesome!
Read-In Week – Monday, October 2 marks the launch of Read-In Week. The theme for this year is I'm a READER, I read for ME! This is one of my favorite times of the year, as I have had a lifelong passion for reading. I wish all our staff and students a magical week of diving into the pages of good books for the pleasure of reading. You can find many excellent resources at http://www.readin.ca/.
Catholic Trustee Forum – Our Edmonton Catholic Teachers Local 54 is hosting a forum for all Catholic trustee candidates. It is an excellent time for the electorate to come out and learn more about each candidate's views on the issues facing Catholic education in Edmonton. The forum is on Wednesday, October 4 at 7 pm at the Royal Alberta Museum (12845 – 102 Avenue).
You can also watch videos of each of our candidates stating their platform and answering questions at https://www.ecsd.net/BoardofTrustees/Election-2017/Pages/Trustee-Candidate-Video-Interviews-and-Contact-Info.aspx.
Living in the Word of God - Archbishop Richard Smith has released a pastoral letter to the Archdiocese that will provide special focus for our faith community over the next 5 years. It is deeply grounded in the words of Pope Francis, ""These are the two conditions in order to follow Jesus: to listen to the word of God, and to put it into practice. This is the Christian life – nothing more. Simple, simple." (Homily at Daily Mass, September 23, 2014)
You can read the pastoral letter, watch a video titled Archbishop Smith's Pastoral letter in 60 Seconds, and find other resources at http://caedm.ca/Letter
Holy is Thy Name –Each of the names of schools and buildings in Edmonton Catholic Schools has a special significance. Our District Archivist, Helen, Scarlett, has done an amazing job of revising the book Holy is Thy Name – Honouring the Namesakes of Edmonton Catholic Schools, which was first produced in 2006, and creating a beautiful digital format. This book proudly shares the stories of our rich Catholic heritage. You can view it by visiting our website at https://www.ecsd.net/AboutUs/catholic-identity/Pages/Holy-Is-Thy-Name.aspx
Dinner and a Course Winners – There are so many opportunities for us to grow in knowledge of our faith. We were pleased to offer 5 bursaries to staff to participate in Dinner and a Course at St. Joseph's College at the U of A. Congratulations to Kelli Lavigne, Ann Hammond, Gloria Cabase, Gloria Antipan, and Laurie Wojcichowsky whose names were drawn to receive the bursaries. If you are interested in registering for the course, the information can be found at http://www.stjosephs.ualberta.ca/en/AcademicProgram/DinnerAndCourse.aspx
Ecumenical Learning Opportunities – Pope Francis has shared that "Christian unity is an essential requirement of our faith, a requirement that springs from the intimacy of our being as believers in Jesus Christ" (10/11/2016). The Archdiocese extends the following invitation to attend a session on Why the Reformation Still Matters:
Join us for this special presentation marking the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Why does it still matter? Find out with Dr. Brad S. Gregory, an award-winning professor of church history at University of Notre Dame and author of The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society. His lecture is free, and all are welcome. Come to All Saints Anglican Cathedral, 10035 - 103 Street, Edmonton, on Friday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m. The presentation is jointly sponsored by the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton, the Edmonton & District Council of Churches, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.
The 28th annual Ecumenical Mission of Strathcona County will be held from October 15th -18th. It will be led by Archbishop Bolen of the Catholic Archdiocese of Regina. The brochure for this opportunity can be found at by clicking here.
Catechetical Sunday, October 1 – Our call in Catholic education is to help others to come to know and love Christ. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has prepared resources for celebrating Catechetical Sunday, a day that celebrates this calling. The theme this year, Missionary Disciples in the Vineyard of the Lord, focuses on four topics: catechists are called to be missionary disciples, facilitate encounters with Christ, accompany others, and live in solidarity with the poor and marginalized. The resources are found at http://www.cccb.ca/site/eng/office-for-evangelization-and-catechesis/4757-catechetical-sunday-2017.
Welcome Back to Our Regular Calendar Schools –Today, our regular calendar schools returned to class. I was able to go visit our 5 new schools as they opened their doors to students this morning. We are so excited to have Bishop David Motiuk, Christ the King, Corpus Christi, Father Michael Mireau, and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Schools join our Edmonton Catholic Schools family. I look forward to visiting our newly opened St. Margaret Centre For Diverse Learning later this week.
We Are Growing! This is definitely an exciting year of growth for us! I am pleased to share with you that, as of this morning, we have a record 42,683 students registered in Edmonton Catholic Schools! We are so delighted that the demand for the excellence that is to be found in Catholic education, an education that is rooted in Jesus, is growing in our city.
Lumen Christi Catholic Education Centre – At their June 20 Public Meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to rename the Catholic Education Services building to Lumen Christi Catholic Education Centre. This beautiful name, which means Light of Christ, will be a beacon to all, proudly proclaiming that Jesus is at the heart of all that we do. We look forward to having Bishop Gregory Bittman join us on Tuesday, September 12, to lead us in Eucharistic Liturgy, followed by a blessing of our building with its new name, and our new Edmonton Catholic Schools sign.
Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day – September 7 of each year marks Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day in Alberta. This day was instituted by unanimous vote in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta to encourage the recognition of Alberta's Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage by all residents of our province.
These earliest settlers in our province "have contributed immensely to the Province of Alberta, initially through agriculture, forestry, railways and mining and subsequently to Alberta's government, civil society, industry, economic advancement and prosperity;" and "should be recognized specifically (for) bringing their wheat grains with them from Ukraine and developing the "Red Fife Wheat" that is grown throughout Alberta, contributing to Alberta's rich cultural heritage through the arts, including choral and instrumental music, folkloric and performing dance, fine art, fibre art, literature, architecture, libraries, museums and archival collections and cuisine, and helping to build our roads, railways and infrastructure in Alberta's national parks." (Bill 26 Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day Act, 2016)
We look forward to seeing all the #ECSDawesome learning that takes place to honor Alberta's Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage!
We always think of the school year as starting in September when the students traditionally returned to class. Times have certainly changed, and the middle of August finds the school year off and running for many of our staff and students!
Welcome Back to Our Year-Round Schools –August 11 was the first day back for the students of St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Alphonsus, and St. Catherine, our year-round schools. Today marks the first day of class for their students. I visited each of these schools this morning; it energizes me to see the joy and enthusiasm of students and staff alike as we start a new year of learning and growth!
Head Custodian Meeting – Our head custodians will gather together on August 22 to learn about improvements in our operations and procedures, as well as to continue their learning in areas such as Occupational Health and Safety. Their leadership in ensuring that our buildings are clean, safe, and healthy is so greatly appreciated!
Administrative Support Kickoff – Representatives from each of our schools will gather together on August 25 to learn about what's new in a variety of areas such as technology, financial procedures, and transportation. It is always a joyful gathering that is filled with excitement!
Opening Leadership Meeting – August 24 also sees our District and school based leaders gathering together to dialogue on the goals and key strategies that have been set forth in our District Plan for Continuous Growth (2017-2020) and to celebrate the Eucharist as a community of Christ. It is so powerful for us to ground our plans for the year with the roots of our faith.
School Opening Mass – Christ is found at the centre of Catholic education. To gather together as a community and sit at the Lord's table, remembering the gift of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, is an incredibly important way for us to begin our school year. Just a quick reminder to staff that we will be holding our School Opening Mass simultaneously at four parishes this year on August 31 at 8:55 am. Staff can click on the portal banner to see which parish their site is to attend. For those who wish to experience Divine Liturgy, you are welcome to attend St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral with Bishop David Motiuk.
Have a wonderful summer! What a wonderful year of teaching and learning that we have had in Edmonton Catholic Schools. I have heard countless examples of #ECSDawesome in our school communities that range from learning experiences to social justice projects to celebrations. As we say our final farewells to our students of this year, it is an excellent time to pause and remember those first days of September so that we can reflect on all the growth that has happened over these past 10 months.
Have a restful and rejuvenating summer!
Our year-round schools' first day of class is August 14, and our regular calendar schools' first day of class is September 5.
School Opening Mass for staff is August 31; see you then!
Cappies: Congratulations to all our staff and students for an excellent theatre season! The amazing productions from our high schools only happen because of an unbelievable commitment on behalf of the staff and students involved. The season culminated with the Cappies Gala at the Citadel Theatre last weekend. Those receiving special recognition at the gala were as follows:
Costumes — Fashion Studies Students of Blessed Oscar Romero High School for Village of Idiots
Ensemble in a Musical — Flotsam and Jetsam of St. Joseph High School for The Little Mermaid
Female Vocalist — Glynnis McCrostie of Archbishop MacDonald High School for Kiss Me Kate
Male Vocalist — Navneet Chand of Archbishop MacDonald High School for Kiss Me Kate
Lead Actor in a Play — Max Hanic of J.H. Picard High School for Othello
Grade 10 Top Critic — Beylul Ariay-Dirrar of Archbishop MacDonald High School
Grade 11 Top Critic — Madeline Newman of Archbishop MacDonald High School and Mary Frank of J.H. Picard High School
Top Critic Team — Archbishop MacDonald High School
National Aboriginal Day, June 21: In 2009, June was declared National Aboriginal History Month, following the passing of a unanimous motion in the House of Commons. This provides an opportunity to recognize not only the historic contributions of Aboriginal peoples to the development of Canada, but also the strength of present-day Aboriginal communities and their promise for the future. Here are some of the events you will see happening across our District on this important day:
- Edmonton Catholic Schools, APTN, and others, in partnership with the City of Edmonton, will host 2017 National Aboriginal Day at Victoria Park on June 21, 2017. Visit http://aboriginaldaylive.ca/edmonton/performers/ for the schedule and performers.
ECSD has 10 schools participating in the event on the 21st of June and one school at a special event on the 23rd at Victoria Park.
- St. Thomas More will host their first Pipe Ceremony on June 21st . The host Elder will be Francis Alexis.
- High School teachers are participating in a partnership Social studies PD session hosted by LSE and LSI on the 20th.
The Catholic Dimension: The Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association (ACSTA) works hard to ensure that they are doing their utmost to celebrate, preserve, promote and enhance Catholic education in Alberta, Northwest Territories and Yukon. They are very excited to share their summer 2017 edition of The Catholic Dimension.
As their main publication to their stakeholder base, as well as the public and Catholic community, The Catholic Dimension (a twice-yearly publication) gives a good insight into the on goings of member boards, as well as what the ACSTA executive team and staff are up to. You can access the publication at
School Fees: We are now in the midst of reporting our proposed school fees to the Ministry of Education. Once those fees have been approved, parents can expect to see fees schedules posted on school websites. We will have more information to share as the government process unfolds.
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