More Exciting News for FLVT

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We are excited to announce that Alberta Education has approved Holy Spirit Catholic Schools’ request for additional space at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.  One modular class will be added to FLVT for the 2020-21 school year.  Thank you to our Board of Trustees and central office staff for advocating for our students.  Once we have more details we will share them with our school community.

Great news!

Greg Kostiuk

March Message

Be mindful be prayerfulThis year our school’s faith plan theme is Beginning the Journey: Be mindful…Be prayerful…  This theme is part of our three-year faith plan entitled Making Our Mark: Journey of an Intentional Disciple.  This school year, we have challenged each other to reflect on the purpose of our faith journey.  Lent provides us with a great opportunity to discover how our actions and thoughts are intentional as we travel on our Lenten journey.

On Ash Wednesday, we started this Lenten journey, a period of 40 days that we set aside for prayer, fasting, and doing good things for others.  In this way, we prepare for Easter, the greatest day in our faith, when we celebrate Jesus’ rising from the dead.  On Ash Wednesday, all over the world, Catholics received a cross of ashes on their foreheads.  Wearing ashes was a sign of sorrow for sin.  ash wednesdayIt was a public sign.  It told our friends and neighbours that we know we are not perfect.  We sometimes do what is wrong.  We break the law of God.  We hurt other people.  We act with selfishness.  During our Lenten journey, we tell God and each other that we are sorry for our sins.  We are going to try, with God’s help, to become better people.  The cross of ashes we received means all of these things.

This Lent I invite everyone to follow the three traditional practices during Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

  • Prayer – Every morning, our staff meet for prayer at 8:25 am in our staffroom. Morning prayer is an excellent opportunity for our staff to grow on their Lenten journey.  Also, as a school community, we will be praying together in our weekly Lenten prayer services.
  • Fasting – Like many, I will be giving something up for Lent. Lent can be more than a time of fasting; it can be a season of feasting. We can use Lent to fast from certain things and to feast on others. It is a season in which we can:
  • Fast from criticism, and feast on praise;
  • Fast from anger, feast on joy;
  • Fast from jealousy, and feast on love;
  • Fast from selfishness, and feast on service;
  • Fast from fear, and feast on faith;

What will you fast from, and feast on this Lent?

  • Almsgiving – Individually and as a group, we will continue to help our needy.

Finally, our Lenten journey is an opportunity for us to reflect as a faith-based learning community.  One reflection tool is for us to measure up to Archbishop Miller’s five characteristics or marks that identify a school as authentically Catholic.  Please check out this link of the Five Marks of a Catholic School.

Lenten Blessing,

Greg Kostiuk

Message from Our Superintendent

Holy Spirit

Good day everyone,

It has been exactly one month since I began my new role as Superintendent of Schools. I wanted to make sure to take this opportunity to thank all of you for providing your feedback in the ThoughtExchange Survey that we completed this past November 2019; helping me to learn more about what is important to you as I begin my new position.

First, I’m pleased to report that a total of 661 individuals from across the division participated in the ThoughtExchange.  Of those, 297 provided 667 thoughts and 343 rated and ranked those thoughts using a total of 30,025 stars.

Though there was a wide variety of topics and thoughts provided through this process, as can be seen in the table below, there was definite concern surrounding budget cuts in education and the importance of ensuring that educational resources remain focused on the classroom and front-line staff members, who are essential to ensuring high quality education for students.

TABLE 1: Top 5 Thoughts

Ranking

Thought (as found in the survey)

Average Star Rating

1st

Budget restraints requiring staff reduction should NOT happen at the front line level! Children cannot learn without teachers and inclusive classrooms cannot be managed without EA’s. Children do not benefit from top heavy management.

4.5

2nd

Maintaining educational quality in the face of declining resources. Provincial education cuts are here and they will impact staffing levels, morale, and resources for programming.

4.2

3rd

Helping kids learn how to work hard and push through failure to go on to succeed. Resilience.

4.1

4th

School life is being increasingly controlled by aversion to risk. Physical activities, sports, field trips, and recess fun are being increasingly restricted due to fear of injury. All of these are essential to growth

4.1

5th

Make budget cuts from the top-down. Front line workers are more important to the success of students than they are given credit for.

4.

Through further review of the 667 thoughts provided, 15 major categories emerged.  The following table identifies these categories and shows how many thoughts were included in each, as well as the average star rating.

TABLE 2: Identified Themes

Theme

Number of Thoughts within Theme

Average Star Rating for Theme

Resources & Fiscal Stewardship

97

3.3

Processes & Practices

94

3.0

Skills & Programs (Literacy/Numeracy/Life)

85

3.3

Staffing / Human Resources

62

3.3

Faith & Catholic Education

48

3.1

PD & Training

40

3.3

Class Sizes

37

3.6

Leadership

36

3.4

Inclusive Education (Culture & Needs)

35

3.3

Soft Skills for Students (Social / Citizenship)

34

3.5

Support for Staff

30

3.6

Environment & Culture

26

3.3

Parent & Community Engagement

22

3.1

First Nations, Metis & Inuit Education

13

2.9

Miscellaneous

8

2.9

Clearly, this is just the tip of the iceberg in reviewing the rich feedback that was provided through this survey.  If you are interested in learning more, I certainly invite you to explore the results at: http://bit.ly/hs4incomingresults

Thank you again for taking part in this valuable conversation, which I’ll certainly be coming back to as the year goes on. In the meantime, I look forward to working more closely with all of you as we continue to build a strong Holy Spirit Catholic School Division community.

Kind regards,
Ken Sampson, Superintendent
Holy Spirit Catholic School Division

Asking Our Parents (January 2020)

survey says

Asking Our Parents

In January, in order to help give our parents a better voice, we conducted a parent survey called ‘Asking Our Parents.’  We were pleased to have 160 parents respond to the survey, that’s approximately 100 more than last year.  Soon we will be doing a student survey to get their input.  Here are the results of our parent survey and the planned action:

2020-21 School PD Days

1

Action: We will advocate for the bulk of our PD Days to be on Fridays next year.

School Communication

2

Action: We will be continuing, but trying to improve current school communication practices.

Email Blackouts – A positive change?

3

Action: We will be continuing the Email Blackouts policy.

Continue with the Jr. High Awards Night?

4

Action: We plan on continuing the Jr. High Awards Night every October.

Faith Plan – Has it helped FLVT to become a more safe and caring, prayerful school?

5

Action: Although the ‘yes to no’ ratio is very positive; it is clear we need to increase communication regarding the implementation of our faith plan.

One to One Initiative (purchasing Chromebooks through FLVT) – Jr. High

6

Action: We will plan to deliver the One to One Initiative later this school year.

Our parent survey is helping to give parents a voice at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.  Thank you to everyone that did the survey and please contact the school if you have any questions.

Thank you for your insights,

Greg Kostiuk

Curriculum Update – January 29, 2020

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(weedezign/Shutterstock)

Here is the link to the Education Minister’s press release from this morning regarding the recommendations of the Curriculum Advisory Panel:
A link to the full report from the Curriculum Advisory Panel can be found here:
One of the recommendations was to get further feedback from Albertans on the future direction of curriculum, therefore a survey regarding a new draft ministerial order has been created that is open to all Albertans until Feb. 24th. Here is the link to both the draft ministerial order as well as the survey itself.

https://www.alberta.ca/vision-for-student-learning-engagement.aspx

Thank you for giving this a read and for considering doing this important AB ED survey.

Greg Kostiuk

CCH Grade 10 Orientation for 2020-21

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January 7, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians of Grade 9 Students:

Your son/daughter will soon be embarking on the next exciting stage in his/her educational journey.  We are looking forward to welcoming these new students to Catholic Central High School (CCHS), and being part of their academic, spiritual, and social growth.  To help ease the transition from junior high to high school, and to ensure that you have all the information necessary to assist your child in making decisions, we invite you to attend our parent meeting, to be held as follows:

  • Tuesday, February 4, 2020, Campus East – 405-18 Street South; 7:00 p.m. in the cafeteria

During this parent meeting, we will provide information about program selection and registration. Students are also welcome to attend these meetings, although they will be receiving similar information during their orientation visit to CCHS.

In terms of how to register your child to attend CCHS, current Holy Spirit students will be completing a registration update (“re-registration”) form online. Students from our feeder schools (of which FLVT is one) will need to indicate the designated school as CCHS. The division is targeting February for these registration update forms to roll out to you via email.

For the course selection process, I will be visiting FLVT on Monday,  February 10  (a.m. classes.).  During this time, they will receive a course selection sheet and will be guided through the first stage of completing their program selection.  Please ask to see your child’s course selection sheet when he/she comes home. We will be returning to FLVT between February 24 and March 2 to visit all Grade 9 classes and, at that time, will collect from students their signed course selection sheets. Please note, however, that students cannot be registered at CCHS until the registration update form has been submitted online. 

The parent meeting and the visits to the schools should provide you and your child with the information you need to transition to high school.  However, if you require more assistance or information, please contact any of our counsellors or administrators at CCHS and we will be pleased to set up an appointment time to answer all your questions.

At CCHS, we believe that a culture of Rigor, Relevance and Relationships is essential to ensuring the success of all students.  We look forward to welcoming you and your child into our community.

Blessings,

Joanne Polec, Principal CCHS

How Was Your Year?

Happy New Year to all the parents, students and staff of our learning community!  I hope everyone had a safe and restful Christmas break.  I would like to thank you for all the Christmas and New Year’s wishes.  Also, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who volunteered to support the many activities throughout the busy month of December, including our weekly Advent celebrations, various social justice projects, Gr. 2 and 3 Choir Performance, elementary Christmas Fun Afternoon, and Jr. High Christmas Formal and Dance.

2020 offers many challenges, especially with looming budget cuts, and many opportunities.  Through these challenges and opportunities, we can be thankful for our school.  To me, Catholic Education is a gift. Every day we get to live our school motto of “Many Hands Building A Better World.”

At a past New Year’s Eve celebration, I was visiting with some family and friends. At one point, I asked someone how his year went and received a warm, pleasant response.  I expected a generic question back, but instead, the gentleman asked, “At the end of each day, did you get closer to your life’s dream?”  Wow, what a question!  Since then, I have often reflected on my past, and if I am getting closer to my dream.  The answer is yes.  I have a loving family, I am part of an active faith community, and every day I have thejourney pic pleasure of working with the talented staff of Father Leonard Van Tighem School, the terrific students, and the supportive parents.  Upon reflection, I realize that I continue to get closer to living my dream.  The journey is often just as important as the destination.

Happy New Year to everyone and may 2020 be a blessed year for everyone at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.

Greg Kostiuk