Geoff Grant, the Toronto Catholic District School Board’s superintendent of schools. Photo courtesy of TCDSB

TCDSB focused on family

  • May 3, 2015

[This article updates and corrects a previous version.]

TORONTO - The province’s largest Catholic school board will place an extra emphasis on the family next September as part of its multi-year strategic plan.

“The Church is having the family as their focus for next year so we will be picking up their philosophy and documents on that and then bringing them into the education system,” said Geoff Grant, the Toronto Catholic District School Board’s superintendent of schools, at the April 22 launch of a new Pastoral Plan for the board.

“We are trying to animate it for the students, make it real for staff and teachers.”

Under the Education Act Ontario school boards are required to develop a strategic plan of three or more years outlining policies and procedures. The new Pastoral Plan is one element of the broader strategic plan.

“This is our way to bring that into a Catholic perspective,” said Grant. “While at the same time we are looking at literacy and numeracy we are supporting our third perspective which is spirituality. (So) it has a practical application as well as a spiritual formation opportunity.”

In addition to in-class emphasis on selective areas of the curriculum a number of interactive activities will take place at the local school level as well as some board-wide initiatives. For example this year the board participated in Nuit Blanche, an international modern art exhibit held each September, as part of its year of charity theme.

“We are trying to pull out activities and ideas on a larger format,” said Grant.

Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins praised the board for incorporating the Pastoral Plan into the multi-year strategic plan to enrich the Catholicity of the community.

“We can lose Catholic education if it ceases to be Catholic,” he said. “If it just hums along but loses the vision, that is when the music dies. We make sure that does not happen and that is why it is very good that a Catholic school district has a pastoral plan ... based on harmonizing our faith.”

Years two and three will focus on the parish and school respectively.

The objective is to meet the Catholic graduate expectations.

“It brings faith alive and it helps them, following our Catholic graduate expectations, become discerning believers, responsible citizens and effective communicators,” said Grant.

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