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

Parent-Teacher Interviews

Hello everyone,

Just a friendly reminder that we have parent-teacher interviews tomorrow (Thursday, October 18) from 5-8 pm for our Grade 1 to 9 classes.  Elementary classes will be in their classrooms and Jr. High classes will be in the gym.  Assessments will not be the focus of the discussion at this interview as these are not due until November.  This first meeting is for both teachers and parents to meet and share information and to give an informal progress of how the school year has started.
Please go online at https://vantighem-leth.schoolsoft.com/login.jsf to book an interview time.
Also, we are still looking for School Council Room Reps for the following classes:
  • 1T
  • 3K
  • 5H and 5G
  • 6W and 6B
  • 7G
  • 8K
  • 9R, 9C and 9H

Please talk to your child’s homeroom teacher if you are interested in being a room rep.

Thank you and we are looking forward to seeing everyone on Thursday.  I always enjoy a good chuckle reading Calvin and Hobbes.  I hope you enjoy this one:


Greg Kostiuk

October Message


fall 2Fall is one of my favourite seasons; I only wish it was longer.  The highlight of fall for me is Thanksgiving.  On January 31st, 1957, our Canadian Parliament proclaimed
“A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed  … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.”  Thanksgiving is a time to get together with family and friends and be thankful for all the blessings we have.  A big part of our blessings is celebrating our faith.  This year, as part of our three-year faith plan G.I.F.T. (Growing in Faith Together) we are focusing on Sharing Our Bounty.  All year we will be sharing our 3Ts: time, treasure, and talents.  Celebrating our faith is a gift and something to be thankful for.  At Father Leonard Van Tighem School I am thankful for the many blessings God has given us.

I am thankful for…

  • the warm welcome the staff, students, and parents have shown me;
  • a very respectful and focused student body;
  • the countless hours the staff put into our school to make it a beautiful place to learn;
  • the support of our community putting on great events like the Back to School BBQ;
  • William celebrating our Opening Mass and the Blessing of Families;
  • our strong relationship with St. Martha’s Parish;
  • the dedication of our staff, parents and students in representing our school in volleyball and cross country running;
  • the terrific prayers the grade seven students have written and read over the intercom every morning;
  • the recent honour of receiving a Blackfoot name, Niitsitapikoan;
  • to all the returning FLVT students that are doing their CCH Faith in Action hours at FLVT;
  • for being part of the Spring Production;
  • the many parents and staff that came to our opening School Council meeting;
  • our community support of our fundraising so we can participate in rich educational events;
  • the great student attendance. 87% of students have 90%+ attendance, 55% of students have perfect attendance, and 97% of student have 75%+ attendance;
  • the many events on our October calendar;
  • all the many gifts our students and staff have;
  • the diversity and the many different views and perspectives in our community;
  • being part of the gift of Catholic Education.

I am genuinely thankful for all the gifts God has given me and the learning community of Father Leonard Van Tighem School.

Have a terrific start to fall and Happy Thanksgiving.

Greg Kostiuk

4Fs at FLVT

BBQ 2018

Everyone is invited to our Welcome Back BBQ and School Year Blessing on Thursday, September 20th at 5:45 pm.  I think this event is evidence of a 4F event: food, folks, faith, and fun.  There promises to be great food, all the folks of our learning community are invited to attend, we are blessed to practice our faith in the school year blessing, and we hope everyone has fun in coming together as a community.

The evening starts off with a blessing in our gym at 5:45 pm.  Thank you to Fr. William, the staff of St. Martha’s Parish, and our school staff for leading the blessing.  After the blessing, we have a bbq for everyone.  Thank you to the Knights of Columbus for helping and supporting our bbq.  Approximately 30-45 minutes after the meal begins, teachers will be available in their homerooms for parents to meet.  Most teachers will be in their classrooms, a few Jr. High will be in the gym.  Mr. Leger’s 4L class will be doing his ‘Meet the Teacher’ prior to the blessing at 5:15 pm in room 116.

We are looking forward to a beautiful evening covering the 4Fs.

Greg Kostiuk

Willingness to Serve

willingness to serve

FLVT virtues hawksLast week we had our first School Council meeting of the year and we had a great turn out, approximately 25 people.  It was the best turn out in my entire educational career.  Thank you all of those who came.  School Council plays a very important role in advising the school and supporting school activities and events.  As part of the meeting, it was shared that many of our positions are finishing their terms.  All but our Secretary position is open.  I would like to thank all of the current executives for sharing their time and skills in serving our learning community, it is greatly appreciated.  Also, I am inviting everyone to come out to the next meeting on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, in our library.  At this meeting, we will be inviting parents to put their names forward to fill our elected positions.  Here is a brief description of the roles:

Elected FLVT Parent Council Positions


  1. Attend all and preside over all General, Executive or Special meetings.
  2. Cause the agenda to be prepared and circulated for all meetings.
  3. Act as an ex-officio member of all committees.
  4. Attend School Board Meetings as required.
  5. Delegate any of the above-noted duties to another member of the council as necessary to ensure the Council’s affairs are properly handled.
  6. Prepare the annual report for the School Board.


  1. Assume duties of the Chairperson in their absence.
  2. Assist the Chairperson as required.
  3. Maintain liaison with the School Board and District.
  4. Attend School Board Meetings as required.
  5. Chair the Bylaws committee.
  6. Serve on the Strategic Planning Committee.

Secretary (filled)

  1. Record and maintain an accurate record of all general, executive and special meetings.
  2. Cause this record to be typed into minute form and be distributed to all members of the Executive Committee and all members present at the meeting to which the minutes apply.
  3. Keep an accurate record of the names and addresses of council members.


  1. Receive all monies paid to the School Council and deposit it in the Council’s bank account.
  2. Make all disbursements for expenses incurred by the Council for its business, supported by appropriate invoices and receipts, by cheque bearing the signature of 2 of Chairperson, Treasurer, and/or Principal.
  3. Maintain records of all financial transaction of the Council and present a written statement of same to be presented at each General Meeting.
  4. Ensure that each disbursement made is covered by a resolution no later than the General Meeting following the transactions.
  5. Prepare the books and records for the appointed auditor no later than July 31 of each year.

Communications Coordinator

  1. All communication from the council to the community regarding meeting dates.
  2. The School Council newsletter.

School Events Coordinator

  1. Coordinating upcoming School events with Council.
  2. Set up committees with room representative for each event and report their progress to Council at general meetings.
  3. Assign room representatives events that their classes will be handled during the year.
  4. Keep and maintain complete files of each event the School Council handles.

ESC Parent Representative

  1. Attend all general meetings and if not able to attend, to provide a replacement to attend in their place.
  2. Act as a liaison between the School Council, teachers and staff.

Also, we are looking for parents to sign up for room reps.  Room representatives will work with the Community Events coordinators and will be advised of the school council
events that pertain to their classes. Representatives will be asked to form a parent committee to provide the necessary volunteers to carry out the tasks required. Room representatives will report any questions or concerns to the attention of the Community Events Coordinator.

For those of you thinking of signing up, thank you for your willingness to serve.  We look forward to seeing everyone on October 2 at 7 pm.

Thank you,

Greg Kostiuk

Welcome Back to School

flvt wordle

I have had 49 first days of school; early days as a K-12 student, university student, homeroom teacher, and school administrator.  Today, like all those other days, I am full of excitement, joy, passion, a little anxiety, and a lot of happiness.  I welcome all the members of our learning community to the 2018-19 school year at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.  We are looking forward to supporting and learning with everyone.

Thank you to Mr. Wensveen, Mrs. Wallace, and our relief caretakers for their hard work in making the school ready for us.  All the shiny floors look great.  We are excited to welcome new students, families, and staff to our school this year.  New teaching staff include Mrs. Lawrence (Gr. 6), Mrs. Kambetiz (Gr. 8), Mr. Magierowski (Associate Principal) and me.  Finally, we have two University of Lethbridge PSIII students, Miss Emily Kenney (mentored by Mrs. Hay) and Mrs. Klapp (mentored by Mr. Templin).

The first School Council Meeting will be on Tuesday, September 11th.  I encourage all parents to attend.  School Council plays a vital role in our school community.  Our Welcome Back BBQ and Family Blessing are on September 20th.  Father William will start off the evening with a family blessing at 5:45 pm, BBQ hamburgers will be served after the blessing, and families will be able to ‘meet the teacher’ in their classrooms starting at 6:45 pm.  Also, Jennifer from St. Martha’s Parish will be there to provide information on Sacramental Preparation.  We look forward to seeing everyone to celebrate the beginning of a new school year.

The focus of this school year will continue to be on growing in our faith and experiencing the richness of Catholic Education, developing literacy and numeracy skills that will prepare students for a changing future, and helping First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students achieve equitable educational outcomes.  Also, we are excited about our third year of our Faith Plan called Growing in Faith Together (G.I.F.T.).  This year’s faith theme is Sharing the Bounty.  The primary focus of Sharing the Bounty is learning how to share our time, treasures, and talents.  I am looking forward to us integrating Sharing the Bounty with Van Tighem Virtues of Honest, Accepting, Wise, Kind, and Spiritual.

Like last year, you can pay your school fees and other fees online.  Please click on this logo for more information:

kev   Online Payments

To help with communication, here are some social media links (please click on the logo):

facebook   FLVT Facebook

hawks-logoandwordmark_teal_eye[1]  FLVT Website

Twitter-Download-PNG   @GregKostiuk

remind   Remind enter 587-600-0226 and text @flvtscnews or email flvtscnews@mail.remind.com

Twitter-Download-PNG   @flvthawks

We look forward to working with you to continue to make Father Leonard Van Tighem School a special place.  On behalf of our staff, I wish everyone a successful school year.

Greg Kostiuk