STEAM is the focus for students attending St. Clair Catholic's Summer Learning Camps for primary students this year.
"STEAM is an integrated approach to learning that teaches students to innovate and think critically in problem solving, through their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics," says Brenda Corchis, Elementary Curriculum Coordinator for St. Clair Catholic.
One of the problems undertaken by students this week was the 'Egg Drop Challenge' in which they had to build an apparatus to protect an egg being dropped from a height of nine meters.
"The students spent one day on design thinking, during which they drew up plans and reflected on what kind of structure they could create to protect the egg," says Mrs. Chorchis. "On the second day, they built and tested the apparatus. It was great fun!"
While mornings are spent on STEAM projects, afternoons at summer camp are dedicated to physical literacy. Several community partnerships have been developed, which gives students the opportunity to experience activities such as tennis, golf and Tae Kwon Do. In Chatham-Kent, a partnership with the municipality has made it possible to incorporate Drum Fit, Play Rangers and lacrosse into the afternoon curriculum.
The camps are located at St. Anne, Blenheim; Georges P. Vanier, Chatham; St. Elizabeth, Wallaceburg; and Holy Trinity, Sarnia. There are primary grade campers at all locations and in Sarnia and Chatham, a special Grade 7 and 8 'Design Your Future' camp was added this year.
Each day, these camps partner with community organizations to welcome guests or go on special educational excursions related to future pathways. Trips in Sarnia include the Sarnia & District Humane Society, Lambton College and Inn of the Good Shepherd. In Chatham-Kent, students will visit St. Clair College, the Chatham-Kent Public Library, a local fire hall and they will have an opportunity to meet with experts from various trades, including plumbing and electrical. The camp also has a focus on financial literacy.
Healthy and nutritious snacks are provided through the generosity of the Chatham-Kent Student Nutrition Program in Chatham-Kent and Noelle's Gift in Sarnia.
"We are grateful for the support of all of our partners to help make these camps possible," says Mrs. Corchis.
The Summer Learning Camp is funded through a grant from the Ministry of Education with support from the Ontario Council of Directors of Education.
In the photos (top) students at Holy Trinity, Sarnia show off the protection apparatus they designed for the 'Egg Drop Challenge'; (above right) students at St. Anne, Blenheim participate in a math activity; (above left) students at Georges P. Vanier, Chatham follow design instructions in creating a structure with sticks and connectors; and (bottom right) students at St. Elizabeth, Wallaceburg enjoy a healthy snack during a break in the day's activities.
Students and staff at Holy Rosary Catholic School in Wyoming have attained 'gold' status from EcoSchools Canada for the second year in a row.
"We were thrilled to hear that the environmental projects we worked on throughout the school year have once again been recognized by EcoSchools Canada," says Margaret DeGurse, Principal of Holy Rosary Catholic School.
The school continued some of the projects that began last year and took on new ones. Student collected markers and pens that were donated to Crayola and Staples to be recycled. A successful battery collection program through the County of Lambton was also continued this year.
"These projects are important because they reduce the waste stream by diverting these materials from our landfills," says Mrs. DeGurse.
In addition, the students have done great deal of work in the school yard habitat. Each class is tending a raised garden bed, where they are growing tomatoes, green peppers, cantaloupe, beans, carrots and squash. A decision will be made during the fall harvest whether to use the food as part of the school's student nutrition program or donate it to a local food bank.
The school also planted 11 trees this year, through a partnership with Lambton Public Health, TD Friends of the Environment and the Tomorrow's Greener Schools Today program.
"Our EcoSchools projects have given our students a better understanding of how important our environment is to our future on the planet," says Mrs. DeGurse. "Through our learning, we are becoming better stewards of God's creation."
Mrs. DeGurse says she is looking forward to hearing what types of projects the students will want to pursue next year.
In the photos (top) Principal Margaret DeGurse poses with members of the EcoSchools Leadership Team and (right) one of 11 trees planted on the school property through the Tomorrow's Greener Schools Today program.
St. Elizabeth Catholic School in Wallaceburg celebrated the summer solstice on Monday, June 24 in partnership with Indigenous community members from Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation), Aamjiwnaang First Nation, and Eelunaapeewi Lahkeewiit (Delaware Nation at Moraviantown). The school hosted a pow wow to celebrate its partnership with local First Nations communities all throughout the school year and to honor National Indigenous Peoples Day.
It was a very special event for many students. Holy Family Grade 5 student, Ma'Koonse Aquash, Bkejwanong Territory was mentored by Master of Ceremonies White Lightning Clark from Aamjiwnaang First Nation. Ma'Koonse was male head dancer for the pow wow. To support Ma'Koonse, two classes from Holy Family Catholic School joined in the celebration.
Jaden Soney, a student from Ursuline College Chatham Catholic Secondary School was female head dancer. She is also a member of UCC's Indigenous Student Leadership Group, Kidwin Zhingwaak. Other members of Kidwin Zhingwaak also joined in to support Jaden as a head female dancer.
Grade 7 girls from Bkejwanong Kinomaagewgamig, the Walpole Island Elementary School, had their debut performance in the pow wow. They worked throughout the year with Leigh Ann Isaac and Charmaine Day from Bkejwanong Territory on creating their regalia. Their class also joined to show their support for the day.
It was a great day for youth. The Little Bears Youth Drum Group from Eelünaapeewi Lahkeewiit drummed under the support of host drum Iron Woodlands Drum Group, while the day care from the Delaware Nation also joined to show support for the Awehleew Shognosh, the pow wow's youngest Lenape dancer at almost two years old.
The St. Elizabeth Pow Wow truly brought together many communities and opportunities for students and young people to learn through hands-on experiences. Special thanks for the tremendous guidance of Head Veteran Judy Peters, Veterans Greg Isaac and Edwin Taylor, and Knowledge Keepers Cedric Isaac and Reta Sands, all from Bkejwanong Territory.
Students in the Grade 10 Science and Technology classes at Ursuline College cut the ribbon on landscaping structures that they designed and built throughout the year. The work was done in partnership with Youth Fusion, an organization which helps to foster student engagement through innovative and meaningful education projects.
"Our work with Youth Fusion throughout the 2018-2019 school year has been an amazing and rewarding experience for our students," says Ray Power, Principal of Ursuline College Chatham Catholic Secondary School. "With the support of Youth Fusion and our staff, the students have created several landscaping structures that will enhance the beauty of the UCC campus for many years to come."
In addition to a pergola, the students created planter boxes and benches, which are now located in the campus courtyard.
The work is the result of a year-long experiential learning project that took students from the design stage through construction, with the help of Youth Fusion Environmental Coordinator Stephanie Howes, and UCC staff members Chantal Lucarelli, Chris Halinaty and Trevor Matthews.
The students' work also received a provincial award. At Youth Fusion's Ontario Education Festival in May, the Ursuline College entry received an 'Excellence of Approach' award.
In the photo above (L-R) Youth Fusion Environmental Coordinator Stephanie Howes, UCC Teachers Chris Halinaty and Chantal Lucarelli, Superintendent of Education Scott Johnson, UCC Teacher Trevor Matthews and Mayor Darrin Canniff look on as UCC Grade 10 Student Cole Tetreault cuts the ribbon to officially dedicate the landscaping structures to the Ursuline College campus.
Mayor Darrin Canniff joined Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School students and staff for the school's weekly Walking Wednesdays, part of a community-wide initiative to help Chatham-Kent residents - especially students - become more healthy and fit.
"Walking Wednesdays are part of our school's new physical literacy initiative," says Kelly Van Boxtel, Principal of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School. "We realize it takes a community to raise a physically, socially, intellectually, mentally and emotionally healthy child. These walks help to promote the idea of being physically active among our students, which improves wellbeing."
The St. Clair Catholic District School Board has partnered with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, the Lambton Kent District School Board, Sport for Life and the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario, as recipients of a $519,400 Ontario Trilliuim Grow grant, to support a wide-ranging physical literacy initiative in Chatham-Kent.
"St. Clair Catholic is pleased to be a partner in this important initiative to help create a community where parents, teachers and coaches are trained and supported as they help to deliver quality physical literacy skills and practices to children and youth," says Deb Crawford, Director of Education.
Participating St. Clair Catholic schools include Our Lady of Fatima and St. Vincent, Chatham; St. Anne, Blenheim; St. Joseph, Tilbury; and Holy Family, Wallaceburg and will involve the Board's Mental Health & Wellbeing Lead, Health & Physical Education staff, Catholic Curriculum Services and Special Education Services, in addition to community partners.
A Canadian Health Measures Survey has shown that only five percent of children and youth ages 5 to 17 and 15 percent of adults are active. In Chatham-Kent, more than 60 percent of adults and 40 percent of children are overweight or obese, with rates of chronic disease or related deaths higher than the provincial average.
"The purpose of this multi-sectoral approach is to work together to create quality physical literacy experiences that transcend all ages and sectors of our community," says Lisa Demers, Superintendent of Education and Lead for the Physical Literacy initiative. "The goal is to build physical literacy in young people now to prevent illness later in life."
School action plans include Wellness Nights, Walking Wednesdays, Recess Reboots, Active Hallways, running clubs and tennis, golf and lacrosse instruction.
"We are grateful to the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario, which is the lead agency for this tremendous initiative," says Mrs. Crawford. "We believe that by working together with our partners, we have the opportunity to change the health profile of our community!"
The physical literacy initiative is funded for three years.
In the photos (above L-R) OLOF Teacher Lisa Matteis and Mayor Darrin Canniff join students and Kelly Van Boxtel, Principal of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School for a recent Walking Wednesday; and (below) students at OLOF on the march during Walking Wednesday in the school yard.
Student Trustees Arianna Kennedy and Zach McGlynn received the thanks of the Board of Trustees and senior administration, as they attended their final Board meeting of the 2018-2019 school year.
"Arianna and Zach have been outstanding student trustees and each month have brought to the board table engaging and informative reports that have kept trustees up-to-date on the happenings in the life of their schools," says John Van Heck, Chair of the Board.
"I want to thank Zach and Arianna for their tremendous dedication to the role of Student Trustee and for the support they have provided to trustees and to senior administration," says Deb Crawford, Director of Education. "Their reports are very often the highlight of our meetings!"
Arianna, who represented St. Patrick's Catholic High School and Zach, who represented Ursuline College, were each presented with a token of appreciation by the Board.
Each spring, two students - one from each Catholic high school - are selected to represent their schools at the board table. Ethan Gilhula from Ursuline College and Kyra Mevis from St. Patrick's have been named Student Trustees for the 2019-2020 school year. They will attend their first Board meeting in August.
In the photo are (L-R) Deb Crawford, Director of Education; Arianna Kennedy, Student Trustee representing St. Patrick's Catholic High School; Zach McGlynn, Student Trustee representing Ursuline College, Chatham; and John Van Heck, Chair of the Board.
St. Clair Catholic principals, vice principals and vice principal candidates are the first in Ontario to complete, as an entire leadership group, the Special Education For Administrators Additional Qualifications course (SWA AQ). The course, which was offered throught the Catholic Principals' Council of Ontario (CPCO) was led by Superintendent of Education Lisa Demers, Sacred Heart Catholic School (Port Lambton) Principl Jen Morrow and St. Joseph Catholic School (Corunna) Principal Colleen Cogghe.
Administrators from several schools attended the June 18, 2019 Regular Board Meeting to accept their Certificates of Achievement, which were presented by Chair of the Board John Van Heck and Director of Education Deb Crawford.
"We are proud of our entire leadership team for this significant achievement, which will benefit students across the system - especially our most vulnerable students - those who have special needs," says Mr. Van Heck.
"This is an important course for our administrators because it celebrates our distinct Catholic identity," says Mrs. Crawford. "It is learning that causes us to rethink perceptions and attitudes towards persons with disabilities, because it reflects a society in which we work toward understanding and accepting responsibility for others."
The CPCO Special Education for Administrators Additional Qualifications course consists of 125 hours of course work, including face-to-face instruction, online learning and a job-embedded professional inquiry practicum. the learning was part of the Board's Catholic Leadership meetings, to ensure that all administrators and leadership candidates received the SEA AQ accreditation.
A key component of the course is its practical application in school improvement plans and helping to determine the most pressing student learning needs. Administrators are looking through the lens of the learner, as school-wide numeracy and literacy goals are developed.
In the photo above are (L-R) John Van Heck, Chair of the Board; Luana Sfalcin, Principal, St. John Fisher Catholic School, Forest; Colleen Cogghe, Principal, St. Joseph Catholic School, Corunna and Course Leader; Tamara Johnson, Vice Principal, St. Matthew Catholic School, Sarnia and St. Joseph Catholic School, Corunna; Jen Morrow, Principal, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Port Lambton and Course Leader; Mark Bernard, Principal, Holy Family Catholic School, Wallaceburg; Rick Baggio, Vice Principal, Ursuline College, Chatham; Lisa Walker, Principal, Christ The King Catholic School, Wallaceburg; Lisa Dermers, Superintendent of Education and Course Leader; and Deb Crawford, Director of Education.
About 600 Grade 7 and 8 students from St. Clair Catholic schools in Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton had the opportunity to visit both St. Clair College and Lambton College earlier this month.
"This tremendous partnership with our colleges gives students opportunities to explore hands-on learning experiences, which introduce them to a variety of college destinations offered at our local colleges," says Scott Johnson, Superintendent of Education.
After the events, St. Clair Catholic's intermediate pathways teachers follow-up with classroom-based activities, which help students to consider additional pathways options.
The events are organized each year by the Board's Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program Lead Warren Seton, in partnership with the colleges.
In the photo above, students at the Lambton College event try their hands at virtual welding, in a technology trailer located on the campus.