I am a Poor Sinner

Pope August 2017.fwThis August my wife and I visited Italy.  It was a terrific trip filled with wonderful sites, places, foods, and people.  The highlight of our trip wasn’t actual in Italy, but in the Vatican.  Spending only one day at the Vatican is not enough, but it was a memorable day that I will not forget.  During this day I was star struck; not only did I get to hear Pope Francis, but I got to see him up-close (only 5 or 6 feet away).  This pic of the Pope was taken by me using my iPhone.  Seeing him was awesome, hearing his message was just as important.  I could try to summarize his message, but I found a much better summary by Junno Arocho Esteves – Catholic News Service:

VATICAN CITY (CNS)—God did not choose perfect people to form his church, but rather sinners who have experienced his love and forgiveness, Pope Francis said. The Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman shows how his actions went against the general mentality of his time, a way of thinking that saw a “clear separation” between the pure and impure, the pope said Aug. 9 during his weekly general audience. “There were some scribes, those who believed they were perfect,” the pope said. “And I think about so many Catholics who think they are perfect and scorn others. This is sad.” Continuing his series of audience talks about Christian hope, the pope reflected on Jesus’ “scandalous gesture” of forgiving the sinful woman. The woman, he said, was one of many poor women who were visited secretly even by those who denounced them as sinful. Although Jesus’ love toward the sick and the marginalized “baffles his contemporaries,” it reveals God’s heart as the place where suffering men and women can find love, compassion and healing, Pope Francis said. “How many people continue today in a wayward life because they find no one willing to look at them in a different way, with the eyes—or better yet—with the heart of God, meaning with hope,” he said. But “Jesus sees the possibility of a resurrection even in those who have made so many wrong choices.” Oftentimes, the pope continued, Christians become accustomed to having their sins forgiven and receiving God’s unconditional love while forgetting the heavy price Jesus paid by dying on the cross. By forgiving sinners, Jesus doesn’t seek to free them from a guilty conscience, but rather offers “people who have made mistakes the hope of a new life, a life marked by love,” the pope said. The church is a people formed “of sinners who have experienced the mercy and forgiveness of God,” Pope Francis said. Christians are “all poor sinners” who need God’s mercy, “which strengthens us and gives us hope.”

I recognize that I am a “poor sinner” and I have “hope of a new life” in Christ’s love.  As a teacher and principal of Our Lady of the Assumption School, and as a member of the Catholic faith community of Lethbridge, I will be using Pope Francis’ message to find hope.  I will strive to find hope in the daily routines of life in a school, hope as a Catholic Educator, and hope of a new life in Christ.

Blessings,

Greg Kostiuk

 

Air Quality Policy – OLA

air quality

Please note that Our Lady of the Assumption School will be using the following policy regarding air quality:

NOTICE: Holy Spirit Schools will be using the Government of Canada’a Air Quality Health Index (https://weather.gc.ca/airquality/pages/abaq-006_e.html) to make decisions about student outdoor activity.

 

8-10 – High Risk – Students will be kept indoors

5-7 – Caution – Monitor individual student needs

1-4 – Low Risk – No action is required

 

Please ensure that your child’s school is aware if your child may be significantly impacted by poor air quality.

Please contact the school if you have any questions.

Thank you.

First Day of School

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I have had 48 first days of school; first 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 2017-18 school year at Our Lady of the Assumption School.  We are truly looking forward to supporting and learning with everyone.

We are excited to welcome new students, families, and staff to our school this year.  New teaching staff include: Miss Nadeau (Gr. 6), Miss Ingham (Gr. 1 and 3), Mrs. Bakatka (Kindergarten).  Also, we welcome back Mrs. Graf (Gr. 5) for the first six weeks of school.  Welcome to Mr. Palmarin, our new Family School Liaison Counselor. Finally, we have a University of Lethbridge PSIII student, Mr. Rothfus (mentored by Mrs. Nemecek).

The focus of this school year will 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 second year of our Faith Plan called Growing in Faith Together (G.I.F.T.).  This year’s faith theme is Growing in Spirit.  The major focus of Growing in Spirit is learning the different forms of prayer.

Are you a bus student?  Please check the new bus schedules as they are a bit different.  We offer bussing in most of south Lethbridge and in the area north of 10th Avenue South (Fleetwood neighbourhood).  Please click this logo for bus maps:

bus

This year you get pay your school fees and other fees online.  Please click on this logo for more information:

Online Payments  kev

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

OLA Facebook   facebook       OLA Website OLA blue font small   @GregKostiuk    Twitter-Download-PNG

To sign up on Remind enter 587-409-5907 and text @ourladyo  remind

@OLAlethbridge Twitter-Download-PNG

We look forward to working with you to continue to make Our Lady of the Assumption School a special place.  On behalf of our staff, I wish everyone a successful school year.

Respectfully yours,

Greg Kostiuk

Principal

Telling Our Story – June 2017

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Sorry this is so late, but I was simply away.  June was fantastic.  Here are some pics to prove it:

Year-end Field Trips – 3N and the 6s

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Aggie Days

Aggie Days

Bumper Balls – Thank you Jr. ATB

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Butterflies Release

butterflies 2L

Grade 6 Farewell Mass

farewell massfarewell mass1

Guest Speakers

Fireman 2L

Mrs. Graf’s Retirement

Retirement

Sports Day

sports day1sports day2sports day3sports day4

Swim Day

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We Are All Treaty People Poster Contest

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Year-end Assembly and Slide Show

year end assembly

We hope you are having a relaxing summer and we are starting to get excited about school starting!

Greg Kostiuk

OLA Teaching Staff 2017-18 – update

November 7, 2017, Update

An announcement regarding 5B:  Mrs. Baptista’s leave has been extended to December 22, 2017.  Mrs. Graf will continue to replace Mrs. Baptista.  We are looking forward to Mrs. Baptista’s return on January 8, 2018.

October 11, 2017, Update

An announcement regarding 5B:  Mrs. Baptista’s leave has been extended to November 17, 2017.  Mrs. Graf will continue to replace Mrs. Baptista.  We are looking forward to Mrs. Baptista’s return on November 20, 2017.

Also, last week we welcomed Jessica Lamb to staff as an Educational Assistant in our Kindergarten class.  Welcome, Mrs. Lamb.

September 8, 2017, Update

Effective September 11, 2017, our grades 1 and 2 configuration of 1D – Duke, 1O – Orr, 2L – Lank, and 2CM – Chief Moon has been changed to 1D – Duke, 1/2O – Orr, and 2L – Lank. Please see the note that emailed to all parents.

August 2, 2017, Update

I am pleased to announce that Linda Graf will be returning to OLA to fill the temporary position in grade 5 while Mrs. Baptista is away on leave.  Mrs. Graf’s main teaching duties will be Math 5B, Religion 5B, and Social 5B.  5B will be in excellent hands.  We are thankful Mrs. Graf is able to come back for a bit and we look forward to Mrs. Baptista’s return.

2017-18 Teaching Staff

2016 – 17 school year is over!  It was definitely a year of ups and downs, but as I reflect on the year I believe it was a wonderful year full of many blessings.  I was very impressed with how the parents, students, and staff of our learning community supported each other throughout the year.  It is a blessing to be part of a caring, faith community.

2017-18 school year will be fast approaching.  Please see the below listing for the structure of our homerooms and teaching assignments for next year:

OLA staff 17-18 blog pic

We are looking forward to welcoming our new teachers.  Please note that class lists we be posted outside the OLA office on Friday, September 1.

Have a safe, blessed summer!

Greg Kostiuk

 

Future of Catholic Education

Recently I was back in Saskatchewan to attend my mom’s funeral.  When I was there the Saskatchewan Court decision ruling regarding Catholic Education was a big topic of discussion.  If you have not been following it, the Saskatchewan Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the government to fund non-Catholic students attending Catholic Schools.  Therefore, at the end of the 2017-18 school year this funding would cease.  The ruling threatened to bring a lot of instability in the Saskatchewan educational system as many non-Catholics currently attend Catholic Schools.  Since the initial ruling the government of Saskatchewan has stated they plan to use the constitutional ‘not withstanding clause’ and not follow the ruling.

SK ABThe Alberta and Saskatchewan educational systems are very similar as both have publicly funded, entrenched Separate School systems.  This occurred while both provinces were still a part of the North West Territories.  As the situation in Saskatchewan unfolds it is not a stretch to say that a parallel situation could happen here in Alberta.  Someone asked me, “Why do Catholics feel so upset by the ruling?”  My response was pragmatic.  Firstly, I think we need to have trust in the process.  There is little doubt the Saskatchewan ruling will be appealed and hopefully a just ruling will be made.  If a Saskatchewan type ruling was followed in Alberta it would definitely affect our school.  Currently, at Our Lady of the Assumption School we have approximately 30-40% non-resident students that would be affected by a Saskatchewan type ruling.  Losing 30-40% of our student population would have a dramatic impact on our learning environment and programming.  True, Catholic Education would be still offered, but it would change.  I felt upset by the ruling as it cuts to the core of who we are.  We are an inclusive community where the door is open and we welcome many.  Although there are residency factors, you do not have to be Catholic to attend.  This inclusiveness is fundamental to our beliefs and a message we model as followers of Christ.  A Saskatchewan type ruling would try to limit who we are.  I think this is why many of us are upset.

Unfortunately, some rights are under attack.  Whether they are in a form of newspaper editorial or a provincial court decision.  We must continue to advocate for Catholic Education by heralding all the wonderful works that occur in our schools; all the terrific learning activities, thoughtful prayer, wonderful religious celebrations, and successful social justice projects to name just a few.  Our school’s vision statement is ‘A safe and caring, Christ-centered community of hope and learning’.  We can attain our vision in an inclusive learning community where all are welcomed.  The future of Catholic Education is still bright, but it is a future that we must continually advocate for.

Greg Kostiuk