Student trustees from across the province gather for a photo on Jan. 18 during a Catholic Trustees Professional Development Seminar where the Faith in Our Future Campaign was discussed. Photo courtesy of Sharon McMillan

Promoting the value of Catholic education

By 
  • January 25, 2013

TORONTO - The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) has launched a public awareness campaign to promote and help ensure the preservation of publically funded Catholic education.

Called Faith in Our Future, the campaign is intended to engage the Catholic community and foster appreciation for Catholic education, said Sharon McMillan, OCSTA communications co-ordinator. “The ultimate goal of this campaign is to increase parent and student engagement in the promotion and protection of Catholic schools.”

Discussions among the association’s board of directors last year regarding Catholic education led to the campaign.
It aims to supplement three of the key areas of focus for trustees: communicate successes of Catholic education, increase public confidence in publicly funded education, and strengthen the broad base of public support for Ontario’s Catholic schools.

While the province’s 29 Catholic school boards were introduced to the campaign back in November, McMillan said the real launch point of the initiative came with the announcement of a YouTube video contest earlier this month.
Students produced a short film, no longer than one minute in length, which expressed the value and impact of Catholic education on the lives of local community members.

In addition to the contest OCSTA has also created a web site for the campaign, wwww. faithinourfuture.ca. Through the interactive site users can share their perspective on Catholic education, lobby the government using pre-written e-mail templates and promote engagement among Catholic school alumni.

Hosting the campaign primarily in the online world not only makes it contemporary for students, but also keeps the costs down.

“Costs are minimal for this campaign as there is no advertising involved and very little printing at the provincial level,” said McMillan. “Most of our promotions rely on the distributions of messaging and marketing material within our school boards, parishes and on social media platforms that are free.”

To cater to those who are less tech-savvy, the OCSTA will look to local trustees to promote the campaign.

“Trustees will be discussing the messages of the campaign at the local level,” said McMillan. “Their presentations will focus on getting parents, students, ratepayers and other school supporters engaged in the conversation locally and in social media about the benefits of a Catholic education and the necessity of Catholic schools.”

The campaign, the first of its kind for OCSTA, is expected to run through May.

 

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