Christmas Message from the Director of Education

In switching on the light of the Nativity scene, we wish for the light of Christ to be in us. A Christmas without light is not Christmas. Let there be light in the soul, in the heart; let there be forgiveness to others; let there be no hostilities, which are dark. Let there be the beautiful light of Jesus. This is my wish for all of you, when you turn on the light of the crib.” 

~~ Pope Francis

As the snow drifts downward to blanket our homes, we anticipate all the moments which so characterize this season and which make us feel more in relationship with those we love.  As we journey to Bethlehem, I offer thanks for the year we have had and in particular for the opening months of our 2017-18 school year.  I have reflected on the many valued folks who have given so much to the communities they serve – through Advent and Christmas festivities, through extra-curriculars, by acts of kindness and charity, of fellowship and community, but also through their daily dedication and acts of service.  We are a People of Love, of Hope and of Faith at Waterloo Catholic, and so many of you give generously so that others may know a happy Christmas.

A true highlight of the past months was our shared celebration of our Spiritual Development Day, and the days that have followed that have launched our Waterloo Catholic Pilgrimage Cross.  The inspirational encounters of Jesus that have taken place have been genuine food for the soul and give testament to the power of the cross, when we invite it into our hurried lives.  It is indeed gratifying to see the varied members of our extended Waterloo Catholic family both joining in and taking note of our celebrations.  The journey of the cross begins with the nativity however, and now we slow our pace to remember the greatest gift ever given.  The promise of new hope and all that is possible.

At this time of year when many suffer due to losses or personal circumstance, it is heartening to realize that our schools offer so much to so many.  In virtually all of our schools we see hampers being assembled, awareness campaigns that are launched, fundraising for and participation in causes such as Toonies for Tuition, The Working Centre and The House of Friendship, along with careful support for those experiencing loss.  Thank you for all you do in this regard.

Our students are brought to a greater fulfillment of the Catholic Graduate Expectations by the activities noted above, as well as the varied and diverse ways they are called to their learning.  I am consistently humbled by the range of artistic, theatrical and musical productions, the athletics, the classroom experiences – all of which are assembled and brought to life by the good will of so many of our staff.  Our “Faith in Action” profiles on the board website are amazing testament to all that happens daily in our schools.  Pride is the overwhelming emotion one experiences as you review the images, stories and videos assembled.

Earlier this fall the Renewing the Promise Symposium was held in Toronto and it was a time for representatives of Catholic Education to gather and reflect upon our collective calling.  To discern how our mission and vision has to evolve.  We must take time to personally reflect on that vocation – to discern the truth of our calling in Catholic education.  We are a system with a difference and as we hasten toward the manger, let us quiet our hearts and open our minds to the joy that is Christmas, to the simple pleasures that delight and to the miracles of the season.  If we do so, perhaps we will be fortunate to return in 2018 with a renewed spirit, called to our vocation of service and faith formation.

May we look to forward to 2018 with anticipation and hope.  May it bring a year of health, happiness, wisdom and  peace.   On behalf of the senior team, may each of you encounter the love of the Christ Child now and throughout the coming year.

~~ Loretta Notten, Director of Education

December 22nd, 2017|

WCDSB Board Meeting Bulletin – December, 2017


Annual Board Inaugural Meeting

Monday, December 4, 2017 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, December 11, 2017 — Meeting Agenda Package


Election of Chair and Vice-Chair

On Monday, December 4, 2017 the Board of Trustees re-elected Trustee Wendy Price (Cambridge / North Dumfries) as Chair of the Board and also re-elected Trustee Bill Conway (Cambridge / North Dumfries) as Vice-Chair of the Board. Both Price and Conway first assumed their current leadership roles in September, 2017.

The Board of Trustees is comprised of the following representatives:

Joyce Anderson (Kitchener / Wilmot)
Bill Conway (Cambridge / North Dumfries)
Manuel da Silva (Cambridge / North Dumfries)
Amy Fee (Kitchener / Wilmot)
Jeanne Gravelle (Waterloo / Wellesley / Woolwich)
Wendy Price (Cambridge / North Dumfries)
Greg Reitzel (Kitchener / Wilmot)
Brian Schmalz (Kitchener / Wilmot)
Melanie Van Alphen (Waterloo / Wellesley / Woolwich)

Kate Jamieson and Meghan Nemeth (Student Trustees)

French Second Language (FSL) Overview

In the WCDSB we offer our students four types of French Second Language (FSL) programming:

  • Core French
  • Intensive French
  • French Immersion
  • AP French

On December 11, 2017, the Board of Trustees received a detailed update on all four FSL programs – including a look at both best practices and key challenges in each area. The full report is available on pages 11-15 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Well Being Plan — Equity

At WCDSB, our Equity, Diversity and Learning (EDL) Committee has set a goal of building educator capacity to serve all students and assist in removing identified barriers to success. In our Catholic context, we employ a lens of liberation theology with a strong emphasis on the social teaching of preferential option for the poor.

Simply stated, this involves empowering students and their families to advocate for change so that they may not just survive but thrive in our school communities. Additionally, we have committed to supporting our school administrators and educators in understanding and working to remove barriers that exist for students in accessing their learning. A full report on progress to date, as well as future plans, is available on pages 16-19 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Revised Estimates – Balanced Budget

Revised estimates of revenue and expenses have been prepared using actual enrolment as at October 31, 2017 and a revised enrolment projection for March 31, 2017. Enrolment for the school year is now forecast as follows:

For a complete look at the Revised Estimates for 2017-18, please visit pages 20-21 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Director of Education’s Annual Report

The Multi-Year Strategic Plan provides the roadmap for the staff of Waterloo Catholic District School Board and proclaims to the boarder community our goals and aspirations. Under the Education Act, the Director of Education must submit an Annual Report at the first Board meeting of December of each year reporting on the progress of the Board against the stated goals. As was reflected when the Interim Report Card on the Multi-Year Strategic Plan was brought to board, there has been strong progress against all of our nine strategic directions, within our three priority areas. The report – which covers the 2016-17 school year — the report takes a primarily electronic format this year and can be found online at https://annual.wcdsb.ca

Upcoming Board Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, January 15, 2017

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, January 29, 2017

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board, representing more than 96,000 Catholic school supporters, operates 52 schools and four adult education facilities serving more than 40,000 elementary, secondary and continuing education students in Waterloo Region – continuing a 181-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

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For more information, please contact:

John Shewchuk – Chief Managing Officer | (519) 578-3660 | john.shewchuk@wcdsb.ca

December 12th, 2017|

Director of Education’s Annual Report for 2016-17

The WCDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan provides the roadmap for the staff of Waterloo Catholic District School Board and proclaims to the boarder community our goals and aspirations. Under the Education Act, the Director of Education must submit an Annual Report at the first Board meeting of December of each year, reporting on the progress of the Board against the stated goals. As was reflected when the Interim Report Card on the Multi-Year Strategic Plan was released, there has been strong progress against all of our nine strategic directions, within our three priority areas. This year’s Annual Report – which covers the 2016-17 school year — is presented for the first time in a primarily electronic format, dramatically reducing the number of print copies produced.


December 12th, 2017|

Are You Ready for Winter Weather??

It’s that time of year! Advent is here, and soon Christmas will be upon us. It’s snow season — and that means it’s time to review the WCDSB’s Inclement Weather Policy.

Winter weather can be very unpredictable. So it’s best to be prepared. Here are some key things to remember – because not every day with snow is a snow day:

  1. Bad weather — such as a snow storm or frigid temperatures — is always a possibility during the winter months. It is very important to dress appropriately for the conditions.
  1. During bad weather, schools and board administrative sites may still be open, even if school buses are cancelled.
  1. At 5:30 a.m. on mornings when inclement weather has been forecast for Waterloo Region, the General Manager of Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR) assesses the current weather conditions – in consultation with local bus companies, if necessary. If a recommendation to cancel transportation (including potential closure of schools) is to be made, the local Directors of Education are contacted and a joint decision is made between STSWR, the WCDSB and the Waterloo Region District School Board.
  1. All reasonable efforts are made to announce any cancellation of buses or school closures by 6:00 a.m.
  1. It is recommended that parents, guardians, staff and students tune in a local Waterloo Region radio station and also monitor the following online information sources for information about potential closures or cancellations:

STSWR Website: http://www.stswr.ca/

STSWR Twitter Feed: @STSWR

WCDSB Website: https://www.wcdsb.ca/

WCDSB Twitter Feed: @WCDSBNewswire

December 11th, 2017|

SURVEY – French Immersion

Attention ALL Parents and WCDSB Staff

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board is reviewing its French Immersion program.

The purpose of the review is to develop a proactive French Immersion plan to set the board up for success. This plan will set the framework for future accommodation decisions, French Immersion program growth, and will ensure that a quality program is offered to all students, regardless of their program.

The following factors will be considered in this review:

  • School organization (grade structure, single track, dual track)
  • Entry point
  • French Immersion boundaries (and registration priorities)
  • Transportation (as it relates to school organization)
  • Criteria for selecting new FI sites

Please help us by completing this survey prior to December 15th.


Who should complete this survey?

  • Parents of children in French Immersion
  • Parents of children in the English program
  • WCDSB staff
  • Interested community members

Your opinion is important to us and will help inform the French Immersion plan.

Please CLICK HERE to complete the survey now. 

For more information:

Contact: frenchimmersionreview@wcdsb.ca
Website: https://www.wcdsb.ca/programs-and-services/fsl/french-immersion-review/

December 10th, 2017|

An Invitation to Participate in Ontario’s Independent Review of Assessment and Reporting

On September 6, 2017, the Premier and Minister of Education announced an Independent Review of Assessment and Reporting to update Ontario’s assessment and reporting practices to make sure they are culturally relevant, able to measure a wider range of learning, and better reflect student well-being and equity. The scope of this review includes public engagement concerning:

  • Classroom assessments
  • Large-scale provincial assessments, including EQAO
  • Ontario’s participation in pan-Canadian and international assessment programs.

This Independent Review of Assessment and Reporting is being conducted by the Premier and the Minister’s Education Advisors. The goal is to engage as many people as possible in a province-wide conversation about current approaches to assessment and reporting in Ontario. The expectation is that this provincial conversation, by listening to many diverse experiences and perspectives, will reveal the hopes for and concerns about assessment, and propose suggestions about future possibilities for assessment. The Review will also examine relevant research evidence and gather technical expertise on measurement and assessments practices in Ontario, across Canada and internationally.

To participate in the review, please CLICK HERE.


December 6th, 2017|

French Immersion Parent Information Nights

The WCDSB will be hosting French Immersion Parent Information Nights for all SK parents interested in registering their child for French Immersion in the Fall of 2018.  Parents may choose to attend any of the 3 sessions as they will all contain the same information.

For more information about the French Immersion Program, please CLICK HERE.


December 5th, 2017|
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