WCDSB Celebrates 36 Certified Ontario EcoSchools!

Waterloo Region, ON – This year, schools across Waterloo Region are certifiably green!  Thirty-six schools in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board certified with the Ontario EcoSchools program, joining a growing movement of 1,900 schools across the province.

Ontario EcoSchools works with 58 school boards to nurture student leadership and foster environmental learning and action in school communities. Certification is based on a provincial standard of excellence and reaches 1,000,000 students across Ontario.

Quick Facts

  • For the 2017-18 school year, three schools achieved Bronze level, 18 Silver level, 13 Gold level, and 2 Platinum (St. Anne CES – Kitchener, and Saint John Paul II CES). It is the Board’s stated goal to have all 44 elementary schools and 5 secondary schools certified by the end of the 2018-19 school year. See complete list of WCDSB certifications further below.
  • The Board’s Sustainable Education, Stewardship and Sustainability Committee has established four key strategic priorities to guide its efforts over the next three-year period: Learning & Teaching; Staff & Student Engagement in Action; Operations & Communications; and, Community Connections & Partnerships. For more information, please visit the WCDSB EcoZone.
  • Ontario EcoSchools is an award-winning environmental education and certification program for grades K-12 that nurtures environmental leaders, reduces the ecological impact of schools, and builds environmentally responsible school communities. All publicly funded schools can access the EcoSchools program free of charge.
  • Visit ontarioecoschools.org/media/ for more information and for a full list of certified schools across the province.

WCDSB is proud to be part of this growing network, and supports ongoing environmental practices. In 2009, St. Nicholas CES in Waterloo became the first WCDSB school to certify, and has continued to certify as an EcoSchool for the past nine years.

Heidi Rudy, teacher and EcoTeam lead at St. Nicholas, reflects on what started their journey: “It all began when I was approached by two students who were concerned with everything they were seeing in the media about the problems with the environment. We decided to start an eco club:  K2OPS was the winning name and stands for Kids Keeping Our Planet Safe.”

Rudy was the teacher who led and began the club, and with her guidance, the students have run campaigns such as litterless lunches, Earth Hour activities, walk-to-school days, reusable water bottle campaigns, anti-idling campaigns, and lights-out initiatives. The school also planted gardens and shade trees as part of EcoSchools certification, and started up a vermicomposter.

Rudy notes that the Ontario EcoSchools program was instrumental in guiding their K2OPS ideas each year as well as providing incentive: “The importance of the program is immeasurable. The main reason I ever took it on was for the students.  I have learned so much through them. To see their passion about caring for our Earth is all of the impact that I need to see to keep the team going.”

Reflecting on the last nine years, Rudy notes the difference the program has made at her school and beyond: “I would say that everything we have done is a success story – bringing the awareness to everyone and their families is success in and of itself!”


“We are so proud of the efforts our students staff have put into living greener lives at their schools and at home. The Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations call on all students to — among other things — be “collaborative contributors” and “responsible citizens” and their success in the EcoSchools program shows just how much they take their responsibilities to the environment seriously. Of course, without the dedicated leadership of our outstanding school staffs and the great work of our Facility Services department, being “green” would be a much bigger challenge”.

~ Loretta Notten, Director of Education

“Being a teacher at a certified Ontario EcoSchool has been a very rewarding experience for me. It has allowed me to connect with students whom I might otherwise not interact with in a meaningful and significant way. It is rewarding to work with students on things that will have a very significant impact on their lives and their future, apart from the day to day curriculum lessons and class work. Seeing students taking responsibility for bettering their own futures at such a young age inspires me to want to continuing doing as much as I can to help them achieve their goals.”

~ Angela Pagett, Teacher, St. Anne (Kitchener) CES

“We never had composting bins at home, and now we all have them at our homes. We have had students at our school who had never recycled before and used to throw everything in the garbage at home. Now everyone is recycling and composting.”

~ Emma, Anna, Giuse, Grace, Madison, Matthew, Grade 7 students, St. John Paul II CES.

“Ontario EcoSchools certification provides a framework for environmental learning and action, and school communities bring it to life. The program allows schools and school boards to benchmark their progress and celebrate achievements year-over-year. We are so proud of the 1,900 schools and 58 school boards that participated in the program in 2017-18. This is a record number over our 13-year history.”

~ Lindsay Bunce, Executive Director, Ontario EcoSchools

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June 14th, 2018|

The St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centre Main Campus will RE-OPEN Friday, June 8, 2018

The St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centre Main Campus (80 Young Street) in downtown Kitchener will RE-OPEN Friday, June 8, 2018.

 ALL classes regularly scheduled on Friday and Saturday will resume at all locations.  Guidance and Correspondence services offered at St. Louis Main Campus are normally closed on Fridays, and will be OPEN this Friday (June 8, 2018)  8:30am – 3:00pm to support students. Phones will be re-activated Friday morning.

 Students and teachers have been diligently working together to continue their course work remotely, since last Friday. Both St. Louis and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board thank students and staff for their patience as the school’s electrical system was repaired.

June 7th, 2018|

SEAC Parent Engagement Night Videos

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) had a Parent Engagement evening held at St Mary’s H.S. on April 20, 2017 with key note speaker DJ Cunningham. The various workshops were themed with Self Advocacy, Math Strategies, Assistive Technologies, Transition Planning and Sacramental Preparation. The presentations were geared toward assisting families with children with special needs in the WCDSB.

Click here to watch the SEAC Parent Engagement Night videos


June 7th, 2018|

Board Administration Presents Catholic Trustees with $292.1 Million Balanced Budget

Waterloo Region, ON — Trustees of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board have received the Board’s $292.1 million 2018-19 school year budget. The budget vote is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, June 18, 2018.

The 2018-19 budget anticipates enrolment will continue to increase in both elementary and secondary schools in the upcoming year. This increased enrolment, along with a number of targeted provincial investments and funding for provincially-negotiated labour agreements, accounts for the significant year-over-year funding change for the Board. The planned expenditures are based on the Ontario Government’s Grants for Student Needs, and incorporate the aforementioned investments, along with new funding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and continued supports to reach provincial student achievement goals.

Quick Facts

* The overall budget is as follows:

o Total Operating: $273.3 M (+ $20.7 million)

o Total Capital: $188 M (- $0.4 million)

o Total Operating & Capital: $292.1 M (+ $20.3 million)

* Key focus areas of the budget include:

o Ensuring students with special needs continue to receive the support and assistance they need to succeed. To that end, the proposed budget builds on the complement of workers established in the 2017-18 school year, by adding a new multi-disciplinary team of experts and other support workers focused on special education.

o Ensuring instructional practices support high levels of achievement.  New instructional coaches have been added to the budget. These specialized staff will support the use of best practices in schools across the Region.

o Earlier identification of graduation and career pathways for students. A new team of guidance counsellors has been added to assist with this goal, and will work with students starting in Grade 7.

o Ensuring our newcomers are supported as they transition into our school system. Additional ESL teachers have been included in the budget to assist with this important integration process.

o Increasing levels of technology in schools, as well as replacing old hardware, to ensure students can compete in an ever-changing world, following graduation.

* During the coming fiscal year, the board will closely monitor areas of pressure and create further alignment between risk areas and available funding. The budget plan aligns with the priorities identified for the next generation of the Multi-year Strategic Plan, which will be launched in the fall of 2018.

* The budget package presented to the Board of Trustees carries on an established staff practice of presenting the board’s financial information in a transparent and easily understandable format. Last year — for the sixth consecutive year — the board received the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) for excellence in presentation of the 2017-18 school year budget. The WCDSB is the only school board in Ontario to receive this prestigious award.


“While our enrolment continues to grow — increasing by an average of 3% per year over the past four years — with growth comes a need for additional teaching staff, learning resources, technology investments, and a carefully managed approach to adding temporary accommodations at many of our schools. This is challenging, and I am very pleased to report that the proposed budget is balanced, meets all legislative and regulatory requirements, fulfills contractual obligations, and addresses local priorities in the areas of improving graduation rates, encouraging well-being for students and staff, implementing a new pastoral plan, promoting equity throughout the system, ensuring ongoing investment in 21st century technologies, and promoting global competencies for students.”

~~ Shesh Maharaj, Chief Financial Officer

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board, representing more than 96,000 Catholic school supporters, operates 49 schools and five adult education facilities, serving more than 40,000 elementary, secondary and continuing education students in Waterloo Region — continuing a 182-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

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For more information, please contact:

Shesh Maharaj — Chief Financial Officer

(519) 578-3660 | Shesh.Maharaj@wcdsb.ca



June 5th, 2018|

WCDSB Board Meeting Bulletin — May, 2018


Committee of the Whole Board: Monday, May 14, 2018 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting: Monday, May 28, 2018 — Meeting Agenda Package


Renewed Math Strategy Update

In a previous report, the Board of Trustees was made aware of the capacity-building priorities for 2017-2018, rooted in Ontario’s Renewed Mathematics Strategy (RMS). The report presented to the Board on May 14, provides an update on the implementation of the RMS in WCDSB schools January. The collaborative efforts of educators in the WCDSB ensure the six components of Ontario’s Renewed Mathematics Strategy are fully realized, and continue to show growth in measurable ways. A number of success stories are highlighted in the report.

Moving forward, the WCDSB’s Renewed Math Strategy will support staff to:

  • Continue to build capacity with Elementary Math Lead Teachers, and leverage this learning to support whole school capacity in mathematics
  • Deepen an understanding of the intentional intersection of content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and technological knowledge to maximize student learning and achievement
  • Continue to seek opportunities for Elementary Math Lead Teachers to build whole school capacity at their school sites
  • Continue to explore in secondary schools how observations and conversations can be used to triangulate student achievement data
  • Continue our intentional attention to building cross-panel professional relationships and improving our understanding of big ideas within the continuum.

The full report is provided on pages 19-26 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

School Travel Planner Update

Local governments — including school boards — have identified traffic flows around school sites to be problematic in the areas of congestion, parking, and pedestrian safety. Practices to manage traffic flows vary by school and by school board. It was agreed that a plan to address these issues was important, and that all stakeholders held some responsibility in this area.

The School Travel Planner has been in place now for two years and has been a very welcomed addition and support to all participating partners in the Region. The partners are:

  • Waterloo Catholic District School Board
  • Waterloo Region District School Board
  • City of Kitchener
  • City of Cambridge
  • City of Waterloo

The Province, through Green Communities Canada, has taken great interest in the way Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR) has rolled out the school travel planning program. Green Communities Canada has agreed to fund additional positions at STSWR in hopes of identifying a sustainable and effective model for other school boards and municipalities to follow as they embark upon active school travel programs.

Another exciting initiative being undertaken by the Waterloo Catholic District School Board is a system-wide refresh of bike racks, scooter racks, and storage for skateboards. It is hoped that these types of initiatives will remove barriers for active travel to school. More details will follow on this initiative as the project unfolds in the coming months.

Special Education Plan Update

In accordance with Ontario Regulation 306, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) is required, every two years, to prepare and approve a report on the special education programs and special education services provided by WCDSB, and to submit it to the ministry. Each board is required to maintain a special education plan, to review it annually, to amend it from time to time to meet the current needs of students with special needs, and to submit any amendment(s) to the Minister for review.

One of the purposes of a school board’s Special Education Plan is to inform the Ministry of Education and the public about special education programs and services that are provided by the board in accordance with legislation and ministry policy on special education.

WCDSB builds capacity, skills and knowledge in educators to ensure that high quality programs and services are provided for our students. The Special Education Liaisons (SELs), the Chief Social Worker, Principal of Special Education and Senior Manager of Student Services play a pivotal role in building capacity with educators in our community who have the most contact with our highest needs students.

We are continuing to foster a system of inclusion that nurtures the whole student, ensuring wellness across their development; spiritually, emotionally, socially, physically as well as academically.

In compliance with Ministry priorities, the WCDSB Multi Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) and the WCDSB Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement (BIPSA), students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) — particularly students with a learning disability — has been a focus for professional development for our WCDSB staff. Building independence and resiliency in our students continues to be a priority to ensure positive outcomes for our students, so they are contributing and caring citizens upon graduation from WCDSB.

To read the full report, please visit pages 10-38 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Energy Conservation Plan

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board has a long history of environmental protection and awareness, and of innovative action toward sustainable operations. The Board’s collective dedication for creating a better future for its students, staff, and community members stems from a deep appreciation of God’s world. WCDSB conservation measures to date are a broad sweep of inspirational ideas. The way in which these initiatives have been adopted and supported across the Board is a direct result of the Board’s successful history and optimism for the future. While these strategies have provided excellent resources for staff, if we are to truly “live our mission” then green thinking must be woven throughout all future planning and day-to-day operations. An action-based, goal-oriented Energy and Environmental Plan is needed.

The WCDSB Energy Conservation and Demand Management Report is written to satisfy legislative requirements as they relate to energy conservation, local commitments made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), a need to address budget pressures and the current state of our environment — supporting the creation of a sustainable future for younger generations, and in the context of the requirements contained in the Multi-Year Strategic Plan.

WCDSB is actively addressing long-term sustainability in the following key areas: Energy & Water; Purchasing & Waste; Buildings & Grounds; Food & Drink; Inclusion & Participation; and Local Well- Being. This is in keeping with the guidance of Pope Francis in his historic encyclical, Laudato Si’ – OnCare for our Common Home, as well as WCDSB’s own mission and vision.

In 2017, the Board’s Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan was rewritten to align with the requirements of Ontario Regulation 397/11. The Regulation requires boards to publish data on energy conservation practices, and to set targets and a plan for energy management and usage reduction. WCDSB’s plan is updated annually, to reflect energy-conservation related work that has been completed, newly planned work, and to refresh tables that show annual spending.

To read the full report, please visit pages 39-72 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

For further information regarding the Board’s commitment to environmental education, stewardship and sustainability, please visit the WCDSB EcoZone.

Student Trustees Report

Student Trustees Kate Jamieson and Meghan Nemeth presented their monthly report on activities in WCDSB’s secondary schools – with special emphasis on Catholic Education Week, and the annual election of secondary school co-presidents. Their full report is available on pages 81-82 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Special Public Board Meeting: Monday, June 4, 2018

Regular Public Board Meeting: Monday, June 18, 2018

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board, representing more than 96,000 Catholic school supporters, operates 49 schools and four adult education facilities, serving more than 40,000 elementary, secondary and continuing education students in Waterloo Region – continuing a 182-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

June 1st, 2018|
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