The Canadian Catholic School Trustees' Association (CCSTA) recently interviewed Director of Education Deb Crawford regarding St. Clair Catholic's Thoughtexchange community consultation.
By using the online tool, more than 2,300 participants posted 3,344 thoughts and ranked the nearly 111,700 ideas shared through the exchange. The CCSTA blog follows how the online platform is being used to help develop St. Clair Catholic's next strategic plan.
Read the full blog at:
Throughout the year, students and staff at St. Vincent Catholic School have been learning about homelessness in Chatham-Kent.
Now, they're putting their learning into action.
After reading about homelessness in Canada, the Grade 8 students wanted to learn more about homelessness in Chatham-Kent. Through inquiry and more research, as well as visits by community members to speak to junior and intermediate students on the subject, students and staff decided to help make a difference for marginalized citizens in our community. On two occasions in February, the Grade 8 students volunteered at the St. Agnes Soup Kitchen.
"Now, as another way of putting our learning into action, and in keeping with our Lenten promise of almsgiving, we are working as a school community to support both the Salvation Army and the St. Agnes Soup Kitchen," says Nicole Stevens, Principal of St. Vincent Catholic School. "These two organizations do so much to help the homeless in our community."
For the past week, students have been collecting non-perishable foods and personal items that are needed by organizations which support those in need. The items included toothpaste, body wash and other toiletries, coffee, boxed beef or chicken broth, shampoo and sugar.
Yesterday, representatives of St. Agnes Catholic Church and the Salvation Army visited the school to accept the donated items.
In the photo with students are (Back Row L-R) Cathy Bechard, St. Vincent Grade 8 Teacher and Lenten Project Organizer; Jami Vandevenne, Salvation Army; and Patricia Riberdy and Pierre Cadotte, St. Agnes Soup Kitchen representatives.
Players for the Sarnia Sting and Sarnia Imperial employees recently visited Holy Trinity Catholic School to cook breakfast for more than 200 students.
"What was a tremendous thrill it was for our students to meet and speak with players from the Sarnia Sting!" says Daniella Mancusi, Principal of Holy Trinity Catholic School.
Several employees from Imperial's Sarnia site were on hand at the school, along with the Sting players, to cook and serve a breakfast of eggs, toast and cereal.
Sting defenceman Mitch Eliot, who has recently been drafted by the Vancouver Canucks, also spoke to the students about the importance of good nutrition - especially a healthy breakfast to start the day.
The Canada Learning Code, a national coding organization, is visiting five St. Clair Catholic elementary schools this week. Coding is the process that makes it possible to create computer software, apps and websites.
"We are excited to invite the Canada Learning Code into our schools, as a partner in technology education," says Laura Callaghan, Superintendent of Education. "Building capacity for students in 21st Century learning is an important strategic target for St. Clair Catholic."
The Canada Learning Code will assist in teaching nearly 700 elementary school students how to code using the latest digital software and will visit classrooms in Grades 1 to 8. The organization has participated in more than 2,800 educational events with 260,000 learners across Canada.
In addition, after school training opportunities will be offered to all principals and vice principals, teachers, educational assistants, early childhood educators and library technicians at three locations across the system.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for students and staff alike, as the Canada Learning Code helps us to become builders, and not just consumers, of technology," says Mrs. Callaghan.
In the photo (left) students at Holy Family Catholic School in Wallaceburg participate in a Canada Learning Code classroom session.
Grade 8 students from Holy Rosary Catholic School, Wyoming and St. Philip Catholic School, Petrolia got an introduction to the trades during a recent visit to St. Patrick's Catholic High School and the Labourers' International Union of North America (LiUNA) training centre in Sarnia.
"We think it's important that our students know about the many pathways choices that are available to them after high school," says Scott Johnson, Superintendent of Education. "And one of those choices is a career in the trades."
Two Pathways to Success teachers from St. Clair Catholic are visiting elementary schools across the district to begin discussions with Grade 8 students about the diverse workforce that awaits them. Apprenticeships in the trades are an important option that students should consider.
St. Clair Catholic has established a partnership with LiUNA and is looking to build relationships with other trade unions across Sarnia-Lambton and Chatham-Kent.
While at LiUNA, the students participated in hands-on activities including connecting pipes, concrete finishing and assembling scaffolding. During their morning visit to tech classes at St. Patrick's, they visited the television studio and a welding class.
The students learned that Sarnia-Lambton has between 6,000 and 7,000 skilled building trades workers and that it is a growing industry.
Mr. Johnson says that more visits by Grade 8 students are being planned for the future.
Community partners from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation) and the Sarnia-Lambton Native Friendship Centre joined together with Christ The King Catholic School's student wellness team to host a day of experiencing traditional games and building understanding of the rich history and culture of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
On February 22 the entire school joined in learning and physical activities throughout the day as the students participated in a series of activity and learning stations.
"Each station was designed to teach the students about a traditional First Nations, Métis or Inuit activitiy or culture," says Cortnee Goure, Indigenous Education Lead with the St. Clair Catholic District School Board. "There were also stations which promoted health and well being among the students. This was an engaging way for students, staff and the entire community to come together to build understanding and lasting relationships with our Indigenous communities."
Students drummed, sang songs, learned about and played traditional games. They also created their own materials, which they will use to continue to play the games into the future.
"The students enjoyed listening to stories about how the games were a means of building skills for hunting and survival," says Tony Jacobs, Right To Play, Aamjiwnaang First Nation. "They were able to identify which skills were needed to play the games and it was fun to watch them smile as I played along with them."
Through play and hands-on learning, the student experienced cultural and recreational activities and built relationships with their peers across the grades and with community partners.
"This important day connected well being with physical activity, learning and cultural awareness and provided our students and staff with a rich experience that will last into the future," says Lisa Walker, Principal of Christ The King Catholic School.
To end the day, the entire school gathered to thank the wellness team leaders, staff and community partners, while Cedric Isaac sent the students off with drumming and singing the travelling song.
Participants in the day included Cedric Isaac, Leigh Ann Isaac and Sandra Isaac, Walpole Island First Nation; Tony Jacobs, Right To Play, Aamjiwnaang First Nation; Debbie Millward and Dylan Isaac, Sarnia-Lambton Native Friendship Centre; Pat Demeter, Phys Ed Teacher; Beth Fisher, Classroom Teacher; Lisa Tetrault, RN, Chatham-Kent Public Health; and Cortnee Goure, Indigenous Education Lead, St. Clair Catholic District School Board.
The theme for the Board Advisory Council meeting on Wednesday, February 27 was academic achievement and pathways planning.
Secondary school students from both Ursuline College Chatham Catholic Secondary School and St. Patrick's Catholic High School, Sarnia led parents through a carousel of learning. Students shared their personal stories about how they have benefitted from a Specialist High Skills Major course, a cooperative education placement or participation in a dual credit course with either St. Clair College in Chatham or Lambton College in Sarnia.
"It was a great evening," says Superintendent of Education Scott Johnson. "The students were both enthusiastic and articulate as they shared with parents their stories about the importance of engaging in pathways planning during their secondary school careers."
In the photo above, students from St. Patrick's and Ursuline College pose with (Back Row L-R) Trustee David Argenti; Brian Breault, Pathways to Success Teacher; Warren Seton, Secondary Specialist Assignment Teacher; and Paul Cogghe, Pathways to Success Teacher.
The Science Discovery Squad is the new name for a volunteer program that has been immensely popular in area schools. Four existing volunteer initiatives are becoming one, providing students in Lambton-Kent with an even more enhanced learning experience. Consultation with both teachers and volunteers led to the new program moniker.
The Science Discovery Squad is a program of the Science Education Partnership, a joint venture of the St. Clair Catholic and Lambton Kent district school boards, which began 24 years ago.
Formerly known as 'Adopt-a-Scientist', the program began in 1995 when Imperial Oil retirees with a science background were asked if they would like to help students learning science in the classroom. Volunteers developed interactive, curriculum-linked, hands-on presentations that could travel to different classrooms – and the students and teachers were 'wowed'!
A Grade 7/8 teacher from St. Philip Catholic School in Petrolia recently commented, "The students really enjoyed the whole day and were excited to create a structure that they could use... They learned about jigs, hydraulics, pneumatics, precise measurements, (and) tripods… They also learned about the value of volunteering and sharing one's expertise."
"After 24 successful years, it was time to restructure into one cohesive program and choose a name more inclusive of new opportunities that have evolved throughout the years", says Science Partnership Technician, Wendy Hooghiem, who has coordinated the program since its inception. The Science Discovery Squad volunteers sharing their expertise in the classroom will now be among four new divisions: Science, Bridge Building, Agriculture, and Computer Coding.
"The Science Education Partnership provides a unique, hands-on learning experience for our students, with the guidance of experts in the fields of science and engineering," says Deb Crawford, Director of Education for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board. "We are grateful for the support of these dedicated volunteers!"
"The Science Education Partnership provides students with a unique opportunity to explore science education programs in a hands-on environment, led by experts in the field," said Jim Costello, Director of the Lambton Kent District School Board. "We appreciate the dedication of the volunteers who make the program possible and we look forward to continuing to provide meaningful learning opportunities to support student success."
"Every year we see the demand for volunteers in the classroom rise, and we are actively seeking new volunteers for all divisions," adds Hooghiem.
A media event was recently held at a local school to introduce the new Science Discovery Squad.
In the photo above are (L-R) Laura Callaghan, Superintendent of Education, St. Clair Catholic District School Board; Ben Hazzard, Superintendent of Education, Lambton Kent District School Board; Wendy Hoogheim, Science Partnership Technician; and Peter Smith, Science Discovery Squad Volunteer.