Students urged to be more active in social justice

Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ AssociationTORONTO - The Catholic Board Council of the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association has released a new social justice report urging Catholic students to become active in organizations promoting justice and service to marginalized groups.

“(The report) is trying to get the message across that social justice is such an integral way of making Catholic education come alive,” said Olivia Suppa, president of the Catholic Board Council.

“Let us live as Jesus wanted though nurturing the growth of Catholic leadership, and through opening our eyes and hearts to serve the victims of injustices in our communities, our country and our world,” according to the online report entitled “Social Justice: Inspiring Active Citizenship in Catholic Education.”

Members of the Catholic Board Council prepared the report over two years, with input from Catholic student trustees from across the province. The trustees call for an “active” component in the religion curriculum based “on our call to act as responsible stewards of humanity.” It also “encourages that local and global initiatives, outreach programs and positions related to social justice be included in religious education in the classroom, as well as integrated into the cultural life of the school community.”
  • By Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register

    King’s University appoints new academic dean

    King’s University College at the University of Western OntarioLONDON, Ont. - Sauro Camiletti has been appointed the new academic dean at King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario.

    Effective July 1, the appointment follows an intense international search and a broad consultative process within the King’s community.

    “It is a great privilege to serve as a leader in an academic community that is recognized for the quality of its degree programs, the teaching ability and scholarship of its faculty, its Christian values and the services it provides its students,” said Camiletti.
    • By Catholic Register Staff

      Toronto board's equity policy draws more fire

      Chris D’Souza, former equity and diversity officer with the Dufferin Peel Catholic School BoardTORONTO - A vocal group of Catholics loudly expressed its concerns that the Toronto Catholic school board’s draft equity policy could undermine Catholic teachings on same-sex relationships.

      About 120 people attended the first equity policy public consultation at St. Mary’s Catholic High School April 18 and heard four panellists speak on the equity policy, including Chris D’Souza, a former equity and diversity officer with the Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board.

      The McGuinty government introduced its equity and inclusive education strategy prohibiting discrimination based upon race, religion, gender and sexual orientation in 2008. Boards are expected to implement equity policies this school year.  

      The Toronto Catholic District School Board’s draft policy states that the board “gives pre-eminence to the tenets of the Catholic faith” which are “congruent and compatible with the protections entrenched in the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Constitution Act 1982 and confirmed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
      • By Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register

        St. Jerome’s, union reach settlement

        St. Jerome’s University, Waterloo, OntarioSt. Jerome’s University took two steps toward peace between professors and administrators March 24 as a first contract between the faculty’s union and the university and a plan to set up a senate-like body to oversee academic matters by May 2012 were ratified by the university’s board of governors.

        The union contract will see St. Jerome’s faculty keep pace with colleagues at the University of Waterloo in terms of salary and benefits. St. Jerome’s is the Catholic college federated with the University of Waterloo.

        It was how the school is governed, rather than money, that inspired the professors and librarians to seek union protection. But in the end, governance issues were not part of union negotiations.

        A separate working group with representatives from the board of governors, administration and academic staff was struck to report on possible reforms to how St. Jerome’s runs itself.
        • By Catholic Register Staff

          TCDSB to reschedule equity policy symposium

          Toronto Catholic District School Board chair Ann AndrachukTORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board has cancelled its upcoming symposium on the province’s equity policy, which was set to begin on March 26, with some hinting that it was because of a controversial keynote speaker.

          Board chair Ann Andrachuk denied that was the case, saying the cancellation was “an issue with aligning panelists” and that it would be rescheduled.

          “Everybody’s got other commitments,” she said.

          But trustee John del Grande, in a March 23 newsletter to constituents, said that in addition to the scheduling conflict of panelists, some parents had raised concerns about a speaker, Chris D’Souza, a course director at the York University Faculty of Education. D’Souza is also a former equity and diversity officer with the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board.
          • By Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register

            Celebrating Fr. Troy’s unconventional ways

            Fr. Michael TroyTORONTO - Spiritan Father Michael Troy, founding father and principal at Toronto’s Neil McNeil High School, had an untraditional way of thinking, said Fr. Gerald FitzGerald.

            “There was a rapport, a relationship and a casualness between the priest-teachers and the boys that did not exist elsewhere and that was the unique spirit of Neil McNeil,” said FitzGerald, a fellow Spiritan who was a seminarian under Troy in Dublin and a science teacher at Neil McNeil. “He came in at a unique time in the spread of Catholic education — and I think he left a stamp on it.

            “I think he shook up Catholic education,” said FitzGerald. “He came here with no preconceived ideas and he brought with him a tremendous freshness.”
            • By Vanessa Santilli-Raimondo, The Catholic Register

              Catholic groups have concerns over full-day kindergarten

              While many people are praising full-day kindergarten, there are concerns over the costs as well as after-school care. (CNS photo/Mike Crupi)TORONTO - While Ontario’s full-day kindergarten program is in high demand and considered by several Catholic education groups an “investment” in the future, there remain concerns.

              The provincial government introduced the full-day kindergarten program in September 2010 at about 600 schools across the province. By September 2012, there will be close to triple that number of schools offering the program.

              Among the issues that need to be worked out are funding and after-school care, according to some Catholic groups. Dan Barrett, president of the Toronto Association of Parents in Catholic Education, says once the full-day kindergarten classes end for the day, making an arrangement for care afterwards can be “problematic.”
              • By Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register

                New tool to help pick Catholic education

                CCCM president Fr. Daniel Renaud and CCCM co-ordinator Lori Neale. (Photo by Deborah Gyapong)OTTAWA - Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry (CCCM) has devised a tool to help guide students in choosing a university where there` can keep their faith alive.

                The tool can help students find a school where there is a “vibrant, active student ministry” that will help “nurture their faith” and allow them to “blossom,” said CCCM co-ordinator Lori Neale.

                The 2011 Status Report on Catholic Campus Ministry in Canada is the first of a series of status reports on the state of campus ministry across Canada. Neale said CCCM will track the information by doing a similar study in another two or three years.
                • By Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News

                  School board’s equity policy up for debate

                  Toronto Catholic District School BoardTORONTO - As the Toronto Catholic District School Board hammers out its equity policy over the next several weeks, with public consultations scheduled for the end of March, some parents and trustees say “stronger language” is needed to ensure that the province’s policy to promote diversity in “gender identity” doesn’t bypass Catholic school’s denominational rights.

                  But others fear stronger language could have adverse consequences if Catholic school board’s denominational rights are ever the focus of a court challenge.

                  Last year, school boards began implementing equity and inclusive education policies, with guidelines from the education ministry.

                  The province introduced its equity and education strategy in 2008 to prohibit discrimination based upon race, religion and sexual orientation. It became law in 2009.
                  • By Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register