St. Brother Andre SchoolMARKHAM, Ont. - Brother André High School in Markham has officially added “St.” to its name.

It’s the first school in the archdiocese of Toronto to officially change its name by adding the “St.” designation since the Quebec-born saint’s Oct. 17 canonization.

The school is working with the board to change its name on the school building as well as developing a new school logo, said interim principal Peter Bahen.

Alway to recommend returning powers to Toronto Catholic trustees

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TCDSB LogoTORONTO - On the heels of a $2-million budget surplus, the Toronto Catholic District School Board should soon be out of supervision, provincially appointed supervisor Richard Alway announced at the board's inaugural meeting Dec. 8.

Alway said having a balanced budget is one of the steps that will kick-start the return of decision-making powers to the elected members of the board, which has been under provincial supervision since 2009. He added that he would soon be submitting a report to Ontario's education minister to recommend that local powers to be restored to the board. This could happen as early as January, he said.

Gay teachers' network aims to recruit Catholics

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gay teachersTORONTO - A new teachers’ group for openly gay teachers has been created to provide a “safe environment” to discuss homophobia, said the group’s founder.

Durham District School Board kindergarten teacher Lauren Chapple started Proud Rainbow Voices last May. The 155-member group of openly gay teachers includes five Catholic school teachers, she said.

Catholic board’s denominational rights will trump province’s equity strategy

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TORONTO - Ontario’s Catholic schools won’t be forced to hire non-Catholic or gay teachers as part of the government’s new equity strategy, said an education ministry spokesperson.

Next year is the final phase of government’s equity strategy which asks boards to update or establish equitable hiring and promotion practices. Gary Wheeler told The Register that the government’s strategy “is to be implemented within the context of denominational rights.”

Toronto Catholic board supervision likely to end in new year

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TCDSB LogoTORONTO - Provincial supervision of the Toronto Catholic District School Board is likely to end in January, according to supervisor Richard Alway.

The board and its trustees are turning over a new leaf with a mix of incumbent and new trustees elected in this past October's election, said Alway. He said the new group is “very anxious to work together and build a positive relationship amongst themselves, between the board of trustees and staff leadership.”

Governor General recognizes teacher for bringing history to life

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Diane VautourTORONTO - Diane Vautour likes to bring history to life. And for doing so on a daily basis at Toronto’s Loretto College High School, she was awarded a Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History at a ceremony at Rideau Hall on Nov. 19.

“Teaching at an all-girls’ school, I want to emphasize women’s history, from a women’s point of view,” Vautour, 32, told The Register.

“It’s not just an add-on or an extra page in a textbook.”

Catholic education celebrates the Spirit

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celebraating spiritTORONTO - Catholic schools will be “celebrating the Spirit” when the annual celebration of Catholic Education Week arrives in May.

The theme for this year’s week, May 1-6, borrows from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”

New bill brings code of conduct for Ontario trustees

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OCSTATORONTO - Critics are predicting a provincial bill on student achievement and school board governance will change the face of Ontario’s school boards when newly elected trustees take office in December.

Rather than leave it to school boards to always act in the best interest of students, as has been the case historically, Bill 177 legislates boards to “promote student achievement and well-being” and “ensure the effectiveness of the board’s resources.” Trustees are also legally bound to “entrust the day-to-day management of the board to its staff through the board’s director of education.”

Brother André school name changes on hold

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Brother André Catholic High SchoolThere are no set plans to incorporate Brother André’s sainthood at schools named in his honour at the present time, though one school board has already vowed to name its next school after Canada’s newest saint.

“It’s the community’s prerogative,” said Jim Nicoletti, principal at Brother André Catholic High School in Markham, Ont.

“The superintendent was waiting for direction from the trustees to come out and meet with our parent council to get the ball rolling,” said Nicoletti, adding that because it’s an election year, “it’s not happening too quickly.”

Catholic school boards need anti-homophobia policies

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Kevin Welbes GodinMISSISSAUGA, Ont. - A “courageous conversation” needs to happen at Ontario’s Catholic schools to combat homophobia as boards implement the provincial government’s new equity policy, says a prominent educator.

Kevin Welbes Godin told a symposium that “silence is no longer acceptable” when it comes to the absence of anti-homophobia policies in some Ontario Catholic boards.

But other comments during the workshop upset some teachers who said Welbes Godin and co-presenter David Szollosy were misinterpreting the position of the Ontario bishops and that their views on gay support groups were not in keeping with Church teaching.

School board trustee acclamations down across Ontario

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OCSTA logoTORONTO - Close to 40 per cent of the 230 seats for Catholic school trustee across Ontario have been filled by acclamation.

But the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association says this represents a drop in acclamations — down from 45 per cent in 2006 to 37 per cent this year — and is a potential silver lining to what’s happened at the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Nancy Kirby, the association’s president, told The Catholic Register that the drop in acclamations is encouraging and may have been sparked by the events at the Toronto Catholic board.