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.

Toronto trustees stand on their records, react to 'unfair' smear from parents' group

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TCDSB LogoTORONTO - It's “unfair” and “irresponsible” for a Toronto Catholic parent group to ask electors to vote for anyone but the incumbents in the Oct. 25 election for Catholic school trustees, say some of Toronto's sitting trustees running for re-election.

The Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network made the call Oct. 12 for voters to oust the trustees who sat on the board for the last four years. The board has been under provincial supervision for more than two years after their refusal to balance the board budget as provincial legislation demands and trustee spending scandals came to light.  

Censorship claims mar Toronto candidate meetings

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Angela KennedyTORONTO - Two Catholic education organizations are voicing criticism of election candidate meetings for school trustees that, they claim, are tightly controlled sessions that offer little opportunity for debate or direct questioning of candidates.

Penny Boyce-Chester of the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network attended the Oct. 6 meeting for Ward 8 at Cardinal Leger High School in Scarborough.

“This is a very censored meeting,” she charged. “The moderator decided which two questions he was going to ask from the box and his interpretation of how he was going to word these questions. That really bothered me.