Kemptville – CDSBEO Board Meeting Highlights for Meeting held February 21st, 2017.
School Profile – St. Andrew’s Catholic School
Catholic school students in grades four through twelve from across Ontario, were asked to create a two-minute video that tells “The Story behind the Name of Our Catholic School” in a recent contest sponsored by the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA). The winning videos, which were announced on January 13, 2017, included first place elementary panel winners from St. Andrew’s Catholic School in St. Andrews West.
St. Andrew’s Catholic School Principal, Stacey Krol, Teacher Patricia McRae, and students Hannah McIntyre, Mikaela Coleman, and Maggie Cameron, spoke to the Board about the project. The students noted that they began the project by looking in books at the school library about St. Andrew’s and about the parish.
“Our library has a lot of history,” noted Mikaela Coleman, “so this really helped us to do the research for the story.”
The announcement of the winning submissions was made at the OCSTA 2017 Catholic Trustees’ Seminar. Karen McAllister, Trustee for St. Andrew’s, and a former student, was impressed with the productions.
“You’ve all done a wonderful job, and the Board is very proud of this amazing accomplishment. It was a great moment of pride when St. Andrew’s was announced as the winner for the elementary panel with over 200 other school board trustees in attendance.”
OCSTA Together in Faith Campaign
In November 2016, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association launched the Together in Faith campaign to help spread the word about the distinctiveness of Catholic education, and to help build a strong community of support for Catholic education in Ontario.
Principal of Religious and Family Life Education, Paul Mantha, presented to the Board of Trustees an overview of the Together in Faith campaign,
“For more than 80 years, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association has safeguarded and promoted the interests of Catholic education in Ontario,” began Mr. Mantha. “OCSTA represents the needs and perspectives of Catholic school boards to the provincial, and when necessary, the federal government. An integral part of OCSTA’s mission is the support of activities and initiatives that enhance the Catholic dimension of our school system. Among them are: the production of resources and communication materials to assist boards in highlighting aspects of the Catholic dimension of our system at the local and provincial levels.”
The launch of the new Together in Faith campaign includes a dedicated website which provides an opportunity for proponents of Catholic education to demonstrate their support in a number of ways. Visitors are invited to submit their name to a growing community of advocates, and are invited to take action by writing to their member of parliament.
“OCSTA intends to use this information to demonstrate to political leaders and the people of our province that we have a diverse base of support and that challenge to remove our system will be met by a unified and immediate response,” noted Mr. Mantha.
The site also offers options to visitors to participate in spreading the word about the website, and the Together in Faith community, in schools, with friends, and in parishes.
“Lastly, we can visit the News tab to see videos and read stories submitted by members, exemplifying how Catholic schools are unique and inherently distinct in our province,” added Mr. Mantha.
“As a means of promoting our Catholic system on an ongoing basis, and demonstrating how we are distinctly different, OCSTA is inviting members to submit videos and stories about students who demonstrate inclusivity, diversity, academic excellence and faith.”
Mr. Mantha highlighted the recent story posted on the Together in Faith site about the St. Thomas Aquinas AVENGERS team, and their outstanding success in the area of environmental stewardship through the creation of a biodegradable hay bale wrap product.
In 2013, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) announced, as part of their six-point plan, their desire to see Catholic school systems, both English and French, eliminated. This still stands as a clear goal on their website.
“In order to ensure that we make the most effective use of this tool, the Religion and Family Life Department has begun to facilitate the following communications to ask the faith community to promote the Together in Faith website: letters to Archbishops, letters to all pastors, newsletter and bulletin inserts, website links, school announcements, posts cards, Catholic school councils, parent involvement committee events and Special Education Advisory Committee meetings.”
“We will work together to proclaim that our students learn best when they learn in faith, when they learn through their faith, and when they learn of their faith,” concluded Mr. Mantha.
Joint Protocol for Student Achievement (JPSA)
The Joint Protocol for Student Achievement (JPSA) is a partnership between seven regional school boards and four regional children’s aid societies/family and children’s services agencies (CAS), to establish and implement processes and policies to support student achievement and wellbeing for crown ward and CAS involved students. The protocol sets the foundation for effective communication and collaboration among local boards of education and the CAS.
Sue Giff and Trudy VanDyke, Behaviour Crisis Consultants with the Board, presented details on the protocol to the Board of Trustees. The JPSA outlines the way in which school boards and CAS work together to create Educational Success Plans (ESPs) to ensure crown ward and CAS students are well supported in their educational and post-secondary opportunities.
“In the fall of 2015, we partnered with select teachers from our Board to review the protocol in a consultation process, which resulted in excellent feedback,” noted Ms. VanDyke. “Their input has also be reflected in the development of the “Activation Steps,” the Educational Success Plan, and the development of the REACH teams within their schools. Teachers felt excited to be receiving tools to assist crown ward and CAS involved students to achieve not only their academic but social and community goals as well.”
A REACH (Realizing Educational Achievement for Children/Youth) Team is a student focused support system that consists of a school member, CAS worker, guardian/parent, and a significant adult as identified by the student. Each crown ward or CAS involved student will have access to his/her REACH team, who will support the student in developing their individual success plan. The REACH meetings are positive, student-centred, and strength-based solution-focused, and allow the students to have a voice and participate in their own success plan.
The student and REACH team will meet a minimum of twice per year, with the first meeting happening within 30 days of the student being registered at the school. Subsequent meetings align with existing school reporting periods, and the CAS Point Person meetings (and/or caseworker meetings).
The student Educational Success Plan is designed to encompass not only the academic goals of the student, but also their dreams for the future and their community involvement activities.
In September 2016, the JPSA was finalized and shared with schools for implementation. The implementation will also provide additional training to both CAS and school personnel beginning in the spring, 2017. The Steps to Success, as outlined in the protocol, allows for specific requirements to be determined and explicitly outlined for crown ward and CAS students’ learning needs at the time they register for school.
“We have also developed a student booklet, with input from crown ward and CAS students, and it has been extremely successful as a resource to guide this group of learners through their rights and responsibilities with regard to student success,” noted Ms. VanDyke. “The booklet has been received and distributed widely throughout the Board, and was also well-received by the Ministry of Education.”