Welcome Back!

And so we begin another #WCDSBAwesome School Year!  Yesterday we invited our community to share their #WCDSBFirstDay memories and pictures, and we visited St. Boniface CES where staff and students shared what they love about the first day.

In both cases – the pictures shared and the insights offered truly “filled my bucket”.  They captured the joy and anticipation of a new school year. Students shared thoughts,  as they often do, that were profound and insightful.  I was moved by the young man who said “I love the first day because it is a chance to re-invent yourself” and by the teacher who observed that she treasures being able to “welcome my students back and tell them I love them”.  Those sentiments really do capture the truly special nature of this time of year and our vocation.  Our staff and students commented on their excitement for the new faces, on the potential for fun, on just the realization of the many days to come and the opportunity to challenge oneself anew!  There are infinite possibilities for the year ahead and that is the true magic of these first few days! You can find the video at: https://www.wcdsb.ca/wcdsbfirstday/.

I hope you have been inspired by our Pastoral Plan theme of #CalledToBelong.  Inspired by the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter Renewing the Promise, it reminds us that we are all one in Christ Jesus and we as a Catholic school system, are commissioned to remind our students that they are all children of God, and called to be members of His family.  What greater message could we share?  I hope you share my pride in the communities of inclusion within Waterloo Catholic, and we hope that the theme that grounds us at this time is a beacon to us now and always to foster school communities of welcome and safety, of love and hope, and of Faith for our students.

The year ahead may not be without its challenges.  My prayer for our system is that we have the grace to travel whatever challenges come our way in respectful relationship with one another, and that we are all called to our better selves.  When we travel together, striving for open communication and walking in the shoes of the other, we will be destined to arrive at our journey stronger and with more joy in our hearts.  We are preparing our students to fulfill the Catholic Graduate Expectations, and as such we nurture them to be compassionate, creative, responsible citizens.  We want them to be empowered to use their voices and to be strong global citizens.  In order to succeed in this regard, we must found our system and our decisions in our students.  If we hold our gospel values close, and work and learn in service of our students, our road may not always be easy, but we will succeed in our vocation as a Catholic community.

I am filled with optimism for the potential of this system because despite any challenges, there is always goodness that prevails in our schools and in our classrooms.   As we greeted our  Administrators for the new school year, we were able to share the many strides we have made as a system over the past year and how well we are progressing against so many of our articulated priorities and goals.  Feeding from our Multi-Year Strategic Plan, we continue to unfold our Pastoral Plan as we transition to Year 2 #GatheredtoBecome later this fall, we launch a new Board Improvement Plan for Student Learning (BIPSA) that keeps the learner at its core, and we formalize our WCDSB Well-Being Plan, that acknowledges the integral significance of our health and well-being to our success.  We are well positioned to fulfill our Vison of our schools as:  Heart of the Community, providing Success for each and a Place for All.

Take the time to visit our website to see the updates and to stay in touch. And be sure to follow us on Twitter @WCDSBNewswire. When you have an idea – share it in your local setting but do not be shy about having your voice heard by others as well, including those of us who work at the CEC.  Your contributions and your voice matters.  Let’s build our preferred future together.

I am most grateful to the senior team for their leadership and guidance, but also to each of you for your myriad of contributions which we truly do value.  Welcome back to the 2019-2020 school year.  Let’s continue to authentically live out our mission to educate and nurture hope in all learners to realize their full potential to transform God’s world.  May the year ahead be your best-ever.  May you never doubt that you are valued, that you make a difference and that you work in the service of the greatest vocation.

On behalf of the senior team and the Board of Trustees, thank you for all you do and once again, have a #WCDSBAwesome school year!

Yours in service and appreciation,

Loretta Notten – Director of Education