Apollo 11, Catholic Education and the 5Cs

apollo 11d

This Sunday, November 4, is Catholic Education Sunday.  As I reflect on the importance of Catholic Education I am reminded of a conference I attended last year that focused on the ‘Marks of an Excellent Catholic Leader’.  Dr. Troyapollo 11b Davies, Superintendent of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic School Division, presented the second mark – Expressing and Developing a Catholic Vision.  I was intrigued by his analogy of visioning for Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Mission and Catholic Education.  Dr. Davies listed the ‘5 Cs’ of visioning: Courageous Vision, Clear Focus, Communal, Candid, and Convincing.  He explained how NASA implemented the ‘5 Cs’ and the need to apply them to Catholic Education.  Here is my simple summary of his points:

The 5 Cs NASA’s Implementation Catholic Education
Courageous Vision President Kennedy had a courageous vision as outlined in his words, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard” FLVT has the vision of a Christ-centered learning community dedicated to excellence for all.  Holy Spirit Catholic Schools has the vision of Christ-centered learning communities where students are cherished and achieve their potential.  Although both are very good, I wonder how we could improve them to be courageous?
Clear Focus NASA had specific clarity on what was needed to accomplish the vision, a clear focus on the big picture and the small details.  Details matter. We continue to be precise in our academic and faith strategies.  Assessments guide our instruction and help to drive our Continuous Improvement Plan.  Details matter.
Communal NASA had a clear ‘we’ mentality.  They knew they needed a massive team to accomplish the vision. Collaboration among staff and our various stakeholders are welcomed and encouraged.  No classroom or school is an island.
Candid Difficult questions had to be asked and answered, they addressed any and all issues. We do not shy away from the difficult questions.  Our faith is a pillar to help us achieve our vision.
Convincing NASA was excellent in communicating the vision, focus, team mentality, and the need to address any and all issues.  They were able to put the might and passion of America behind their vision. We need to continue to share our many success stories.  Often, it is a challenge to promote the need for Catholic Education in a secular world.  While many see its importance, many also see it as outdated.  We need to continue to convince every one of the former.

apollo 11a

I know Dr. Davies did a better job than my simple summary, but his presentation on visioning was both important and appropriate.  I hope to regularly reflect on the ‘5 Cs’ and how they apply to our work in Holy Spirit Catholic Schools, and more specifically, our work at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.

On a short, related matter.  I have always been interested in the Apollo 11 Mission, so I did a little online reading.  I read that astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a Christian, took communion with him to the Moon.  So the first meal on the Moon was the body and blood of Christ.  Pretty cool!

Greg Kostiuk

 

November 2018 Message

This Sunday, November 4, we celebrate Catholic Education Sunday in Alberta.  This year the theme of Catholic Education Sunday is ‘Rejoice and Be Glad.’  Here is an excerpt from the letter from the Bishops of Alberta and NWT:

Our theme is further inspired by Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation and the call to holiness. It highlights the important role that our schools play in nurturing the call to holiness for our children and youth. Our schools also help students know Christ through religious education, prayer, and a safe, caring school community that encourages them to discern their vocations. Pope Francis reminds young people that Jesus looks to them and invites them to journey with him. They are urged to be open to God’s plan in becoming joyful disciples.

The bishops remind us to “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mt. 5:12).  Let us work together in the spirit of Catholic Education to make Father Leonard Van Tighem School a place to ‘Rejoice and be glad’ for all members of our learning community.

Recently, the staff of Father Leonard Van Tighem completed our 2018-19 Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP).  This CIP is the third and last year of a three-year plan from 2016-19.  The three priorities continue to be:

  • Staff and students will grow in their faith and experience the richness of Catholic Education;
  • All students will develop literacy and numeracy skills that will prepare them for a changing future;
  • First Nations, Metis, and Inuit learners will achieve equitable student outcomes.

You can find a copy of our CIP by clicking on this link: https://www.holyspirit.ab.ca/flvt/_cabinet/2/FLVT_Improvement_Plan_2016_2019_-_Oct_15,_2018_submitted.pdf

During the next School Council, we plan on sharing our Alberta Education Accountability Report Card with parents.   Our school continues to be a very positive learning environment for our students.  This table summarizes our results:

Acc Pillar FLVT October 2018

Father Leonard Van Tighem School’s Accountability Report was very positive.  We were above the provincial average in the following categories of Safe and Caring, Program of Studies, Education Quality, Drop Out Rate, Work Preparation, Citizenship, and School Improvement.  We were slightly below in Parental Involvement, but this went up.  Our Provincial Achievement Tests Acceptable rating was well above the provincial average, and our Excellence rating is an issue that the staff is addressing.

Have a wonderful November,

Greg Kostiuk