New OECTA president, James Ryan, gets his priorities straight

{mosimage}TORONTO - Limiting “data-driven education” and ensuring full-day kindergarten in Ontario are some of the key priorities for the new president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

James Ryan told The Catholic Register that these issues are on his priority list for his two-year term.

On the issue of testing, Ryan said North American schools, especially in the United States, have been swept by a “plague of accountability.” This is a trend, he said, which the association will oppose in Canada.

Schools need to take advantage of technology

{mosimage}TORONTO - When Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School student Erika Shervan has a basketball or volleyball game, she doesn’t have to worry about catching up on her math homework. Shervan can take her Grade 11 math class at home or anywhere with an Internet connection.

This flexibility and the ability to learn at your own pace are the main selling points of taking the online course, said the 17-year-old.

Schools need to wake up to the digital reality of students’ lives and learning habits, says a new report by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association .

Parent leader brings passion for education to new role

{mosimage}TORONTO - As Aimee Gerdevich’s daughter and her senior kindergarten classmates shivered in the winter months in their newly renovated classroom, the 39-year-old mother of three developed a passion for educational advocacy.

Becoming more involved in school council meetings led her to “have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in my child’s education,” she told The Catholic Register from Thunder Bay, Ont.

Edmonton students open up to refugees

{mosimage}Eleven-year-old Mikylie Shapka joined classmates at Edmonton’s St. Martin Catholic School in presenting close to $3,000 worth of gift cards to three refugee families just before the school year ended in June.

Shapka says it’s a way for students to help others in need.

“We learned that it is hard to live in other places where girls are not allowed to go to school,” she told The Catholic Register.

High school lessons prepare baseball prospect for future

{mosimage}TORONTO - It was a school camping trip in Algonquin Park that helped baseball prospect Jerome Werniuk define his future goals and the leadership role he would like to take on in his life.

The 17-year-old Texas Rangers draft pick says leadership camps like the one he took with students from Toronto’s Neil McNeil High School have helped shape his outlook on faith, baseball and education.

Werniuk was the 604th player chosen in this year’s Major League Baseball draft.

Perfection is satisfaction for Bishop Allen Academy scholar

{mosimage}TORONTO  - It was a perfect year for Jana Cmorejova. The 17-year-old Bishop Allen Academy High School student scored the best marks in the Toronto Catholic District School Board, earning a perfect 100 per cent in all six of her Grade 12 subjects,

Cmorejova credits hard work and a passion for education as the keys to her success.

“I want to make a difference somehow in life, to make the best of what I can do and be the best I can be,” she said. “I believe that’s going to happen to me through education and university.”

Schools need to open up to community

{mosimage}TORONTO - When 11-year-old Madison Wood first started kindergarten at Toronto’s Our Lady of Wisdom Elementary School, her mother enrolled her at the school for a specific reason: an after-hours enrichment program featuring dance, drama and arts.

Pam Wray, 40, said Madison gained confidence after meeting students from different ages and participating in Irish dance, judo and the homework club.

St. Bonaventure's music program part of a well-rounded education

{mosimage}It’s been 10 years in the making. But for St. Bonaventure’s College music teacher Vincenza Etchegary, the sweet sounds of success for the school’s choir, wind ensemble and jazz band have paid off with a chance to play at a music festival at the famed Carnegie Hall.

“The difference between our students and some other groups was the conviction with which the children play and sing,” the 20-year teaching veteran told The Catholic Register from St. John’s, Nfld.

Toronto Catholic board supervision team resigns

{mosimage}TORONTO - After a challenging and controversial tenure, the provincially appointed supervision team for the Toronto Catholic District School Board has resigned.

In an Aug. 21 letter to Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, the team led by Norbert Hartmann said it had accomplished part of its mandate in restoring the financial health and public confidence in the board. Last year, the board was in the middle of a trustee spending scandal and came under provincial supervision after it failed to balance its budget.

Richard Alway, president of the University of Toronto's Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies and chairman of the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation, will replace the supervision team.

Top high school students in GTA

{mosimage}The top three graduating students from Catholic school boards in the GTA.

Arrowsmith program cancellation sparks lawsuit

{mosimage}TORONTO - The head of the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network says it’s “appalling” that parents of some children with learning disabilities must file a lawsuit against their own school board in order to save a program their children need.

“It’s ridiculous for parents to be put in this situation,” said chair Murielle Boudreau.

Boudreau was responding to news that five parents with children enrolled in a unique special education program called “Arrowsmith ” launched a lawsuit in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court against the Toronto Catholic District School Board.