COLUMN: Ponoka STAR Catholic trustee celebrates Catholic education

Dan Svitich speaks to the Catholic Education Sunday and benefits

In November, we celebrate Catholic Education Sunday. What is Catholic Education Sunday?

It is a day to recognize and celebrate the contributions publicly funded Catholic schools have made in your child’s education, in the lives of your family, and the growth of your community.

Catholic Education Sunday was Nov. 4, but as we move forward through the school year we know there is much more we can highlight with the gift that Catholic education brings to the students, families and the communities our schools serve.

Catholic schools are 100 per cent publicly funded in Alberta, which means Catholic education is free and available to all students enrolled in a Catholic school. In STAR Catholic we continue to see enrolment growth around the division. As trustees we see that as affirmation of what our schools provide and are truly grateful that parents are choosing STAR Catholic and Catholic education.

When you are in a Catholic school you will see a wonderful place of faith, learning and community. Catholic schools and Catholic education are the definition of an inclusive education, as Catholic schools enrol students of all faiths and backgrounds. Many non-Catholic families desire the environment created at a Catholic school, and choose Catholic schools for this reason. The word Catholic literally means universal, and in Catholic schools students are taught to respect the diversity of others.

There is choice in Alberta when it comes to education, and part of that choice includes publicly funded Catholic education. With that choice comes a locally elected and accountable board of trustees that work for the betterment of education in our communities. We hold dear the responsibility to be true and good fiscal stewards of the tax dollars that fund education. That includes entering into a number of partnerships with our sister public boards in areas such as busing. STAR Catholic has busing partnerships throughout the division to provide safe and reliable transportation for students.

Catholic education and Catholic schools sincerely desire to uphold the dignity of the person that creates strengthened relationships among students and teachers, and the home and school. In Catholic education we know that parents are the primary educators of children, and we are always looking to strengthen that partnership. In our division that commitment to parental voice is illustrated through such consultations with parents as our three year education planning day, where parents join other STAR Catholic stakeholders to lend their voice in mapping the direction of their schools and the division. From this comes the Board priorities, and creates a way to address local concerns and make the appropriate plans for success.

Catholic schools are a great asset to our communities and as a board, and all those who cherish Catholic education, we are thankful for and blessed with its many supporters.

Dan Svitich is a Ponoka Trustee on the STAR Catholic Schools Division board.

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