Column: STAR Catholic using community input to guide focus

Trustee Dan Svitich speaks to the focus at STAR Catholic schools

When you look to set a direction that serves your school community, it is truly important that focus be one shared, and really something generated, by those you serve.

St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic Schools board of trustees strives to do this each year in setting its annual board priorities and indicators. In coming to this critical set of priorities for the school division, STAR Catholic’s Board continues to value the wisdom and experience of its many stakeholders.

The 2018-2019 board priorities were approved at the April board meeting, but the process began long before with a consultation of high school students at STAR Catholic’s three high schools, as well as a comprehensive community consultation day this past February in Wetaskiwin. This annual consultation process brought nearly 70 STAR Catholic stakeholders together, from staff to students, clergy and parishioners to administrators, school council members and parents. All bring a unique perspective to the table, and through the consultation those viewpoints help weave the full picture of the division, what could be better and what is a resounding success. At this consultation, stakeholders along with Trustees dug deeper into the current board priorities.

As a board we were delighted by the passion in the conversation. It was evident that student learning is at the forefront of the minds of our stakeholders, there is a strong connection to faith shown and desired throughout, and a definite want to help equip our educators and staff in the best way we can for the classroom.

The board’s priorities are: Grow and affirm Catholic identity, supporting staff efficacy, and strengthen student learning and wellbeing, and those priorities remained in place following the consultation and the board’s subsequent discussions. But what has changed is some of the indicators; how we achieve or know we are achieving these priorities. This process has been very fruitful for the Board, and there are a few points that stand out.

In Grow and affirm Catholic identity, out of the consultation it was important to reaffirm the connection between the home, school, and parish that exists in Catholic education. That will come through creating opportunities to build those relationships. In supporting staff efficacy, it was important to continue focus and support to assist administration in their capacity as instructional leaders. And, in strengthen student learning and wellbeing, STAR Catholic is focused on supports for mental health, and student anxiety. Additionally, improving First Nations, Metis and Inuit student educational outcomes, as well as a commitment to understanding, knowledge and respect for our First Nations cultures, history and perspectives is critical for STAR Catholic moving forward.

We as a board pass along a heartfelt thank you to those who joined us in February in Wetaskiwin, and to the inspirational high school students we spoke with. These priorities are born out of your expertise and insight.

Our board is committed to listening to the voices of our communities, our partners and those we truly serve in Catholic education. It is these many voices that make these priorities evident, as we collectively journey along this path, always improving as we move forward.

Dan Svitich is a Ponoka Trustee on the STAR Catholic Schools Division Board. STAR Catholic Schools has more than 4,000 students in 12 schools located in Beaumont, Drayton Valley, Leduc, Lacombe, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin.

Just Posted

Lacombe, Red Deer and Ponoka counties launch agricultural plastics recycling program

The three counties signed an agreement with Merlin Plastics

Bashaw council declines penalty forgiveness request from Bashaw Motel owners

The motel was destroyed in the 2016 fire; owners owe $46,000 in fire services, taxes and penalties

Ponoka’s Ronnie Racing wins Hot August Night

About 15,000 people filled the Castrol Raceway stands at the motorsports complex

Ponoka County residents divided on farmland uses

There were about 150 people at the county’s meeting related to reducing confined feeding operations.

Ponoka County slows changes to CFO plans

Residents speak their concerns over the potential of changing areas allowing CFOs

UPDATED: Gord Bamford Foundation Charity Gala brings the stars to Central Alberta

The Gala raises money for various children’s charities throughout Canada

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Canada’s team chasing elusive gold medal at women’s baseball World Cup

Canada, ranked No. 2 behind Japan, opens play Wednesday against No. 10 Hong Kong

WATCH: Paradise Shore’s lawyer granted adjournment of SDAB hearing

Appellant asks for stop work order of RV development

Kim XO is Black Press Media’s fashionista

Starting Sept. 7, stylist Kim XO will host Fashion Fridays on the Life channel on Black Press Media

Feds agree to look at easing jury secrecy as part of review

At issue is a law that forbids jurors from talking about closed-door deliberations

Liberals unveil poverty plan with lofty goals, but no new spending

Government’s goal is to lift 2.1 million people out of poverty by 2030

Surf’s up in California, where it’s now the official sport

Grab a board, catch a wave and find yourself, ‘sittin’ on top of the world’

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu is charged with 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death, other charges

Most Read