Toronto school rescues Iraqi refugees

iraqieducationFor Iraqi families that have endured months and years living as refugees in Damascus and Beirut, just landing in Canada doesn't solve all their problems.

But the Ontario's publicly funded Catholic schools come close. Take a virtual visit to St. Andrew's Catholic School in Etobicoke.








Northern project helps aboriginal students succeed

North West Catholic District School BoardTORONTO - A new project aimed at reducing the gap in reading and writing test scores for aboriginal students is producing impressive results, according to Mary-Catherine Kelly.

Kelly, Northwestern Catholic District School Board Director of Education, facilitated a presentation on the Oral Language Project at the 80th annual general meeting of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association from April 29 to May 1 in Thunder Bay, Ont.

100 years of memories celebrated at Toronto's St. John's School

Old St. John's schoolTORONTO - Aside from the annual Lenten Masses at St. John's School, alumni Angela Carroll remembers joining her Grade 4 classmates in the hallway as the school set up TVs in the hallway to watch Paul Henderson's 1972 history-making goal against the Soviet team.

Carroll is now a teacher at her old school on Kingston Road in Toronto's east end and will be joining alumni in celebrating St. John's centenary milestone May 8. Carroll says the event will be special, not only because she is an alumni, but her husband also attended the school, and their children are now students there.

Celebrate the gift of our distinct Catholic system

Catholic schoolSome of the most profound moments in my spiritual life — outside of  the sacraments and giving birth to my children — have been experienced in an ordinary Catholic elementary school right near my home in Mississauga, where I have run both a Rosary Club and Saints Club. The joys of praying with children, witnessing the prompting of their souls and feeling the abundant grace as they sang with united hearts, often left me speechless.

At times it could also be gut wrenching. Prayer petitions about everything from cancer, family break ups, job losses, to the death of a dear pet, tugged at our hearts. But in those moments of prayer, on Friday’s at lunch time, we had each other and our faith.

Ontario bishops eager to consult on sex-ed curriculum

sex educationTORONTO - Ontario's Catholic bishops, teachers and trustees say they're eager to co-operate with the education ministry as it revamps the province's controversial sex education curriculum.

A joint statement issued April 28 by the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, said the three groups look forward to participating in a review that was announced earlier in the week by Premier Dalton McGuinty. A new province-wide sex-ed curriculum that was to launch in September was sent back to the drawing board by McGuinty following howls of protest from several parent groups.

Iraqi children find a home in Toronto school

St. Andrew’s SchooolTORONTO - Like most refugees in Canada, Khulood Jarjass appreciates her new homeland for its relative safety, the freedom, the opportunity to dream again of a future for herself and her family. But what really excites the mother of three and former high school math teacher is a free Catholic education for her kids.

“When I heard in Canada it’s free — Oh my God!” she said. “I was so happy.”

Her kids range in age from seven to 13, Grades 2 to 7, all in St. Andrew’s in Toronto’s Rexdale neighbourhood. The Jarjass kids spent a year-and-a-half in crowded Syrian classrooms with a mass of other refugee students. Their teachers couldn’t help but look at the Iraqi students as an added burden and the Syrian kids saw the Iraqis as invaders in their schools. Syrian and Iraqi kids fought in and out of the classrooms.

New World Religions text introduced this fall

World ReligionsTORONTO - The first-ever Grade 11 world religion textbook from a Canadian Catholic perspective is coming to Ontario Catholic schools this fall.

World Religions: A Canadian Catholic Perspective is published by Novalis Publishing Inc. and Nelson Education Ltd. and will update the previous text that had been used for the Grade 11 course.  

In 2008, the Assembly of Bishops of Ontario (then known as the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops) commissioned the Institute for Catholic Education to write a proposal and approach publishing companies to have the textbook written.

Msgr. Dennis Murphy's leadership in Catholic education recognized

Msgr. Dennis MurphyFormer Prime Minister John Turner, environmentalist David Suzuki and former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin all share something in common with long-time Catholic educator Msgr. Dennis Murphy.

They have all been honoured with a National Leadership Award from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School in Guelph, Ont. On May 3, Murphy joins the impressive list of the school’s past honourees. He will also be the first clergy to receive the award.

Murphy, 75, said he was surprised by the award because he retired from the Catholic education scene about eight years ago.

Combining faith and aboriginal roots

Verna HardwickSudbury Catholic Schools’ native language teacher Verna Hardwick combines her aboriginal roots and Catholic faith in the classroom, sharing her gift of song and First Nations culture to students who have lost touch with their own language and roots.

Hardwick, 57, recently released a CD entitled Aanii (which means “hello” in Ojibwe) with songs featuring drumming and sung in the native language. This CD is now a teaching tool in her classes at St. David and St. Raphael Catholic School.

Ontario Catholic schools will follow Catholic doctrine

Catholic EducationTORONTO - Ontario’s public Catholic schools will always assert their right to teach students Catholic doctrine on matters of faith and morality, says the Institute of Catholic Education.

“When it comes to matters of faith and morality, denominational rights accorded to the Catholic schools of Ontario supersede any Government of Ontario directives which are at variance with the teachings of the church,” said ICE executive director Sr. Joan Cronin.

Opening the world to students in his little part of Canada

Joe TersigniAfter Pope John Paul II’s death in 2005, students in Joe Tersigni’s Grade 10 history class reminisced via webcam with teens from the Pope’s former high school in Poland about his legacy.

It’s this kind of interactive teaching style that has left an impact on students, earning the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School teacher in Guelph, Ont., a Premier’s Award for Teaching Excellence as one of the province’s “teachers of the year” in 2008-2009.