TCDSB moves forward 'In God's Image'

  • June 17, 2024

Beginning this upcoming school year, the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) is undertaking a three-year apostolic journey of growing in knowledge with justice and hope.

The world’s largest publicly funded Catholic school board unveiled its 2024-27 pastoral plan, “In God’s Image,” earlier this month, which echoes the vision statement and is significantly influenced by the multi-year strategic plan the board launched in 2022. 

The development of TCDSB’s pastoral strategy was a collaborative effort led by the Nurturing Our Catholic Community (NCC) group under the guidance of superintendent Michael Caccamo. Inspiration is drawn from the strategic plan’s symbology, language and professions of steadfastness to Catholicity and its bedrock values.

The three-year plan aspires for TCDSB stakeholders to embrace the message of 2 Corinthians 3:18: “Seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, being transformed into the same image…” “In God’s Image” plans state the truth of this scriptural passage “is foundational to how we view ourselves, others and the world. We are called to live full, authentic and joyful lives, reflecting God’s image and serving as mirrors for each other.”

Lisa Malcolm, an NCC team member, said she and her colleagues thought, “How beautiful to have our students see themselves as and remind them that they were created in God’s image.”

Year one emphasizes the Biblical value of knowledge. The board intends to foster this trait within its over 84,000 students by sharing the teachings of Christ and His Church, promoting how truth is discovered via dialogue and asking questions, and nurturing positive minds and spirits through community service initiatives.

Justice is the chief value pillar championed during year two of the plan. All pupils will be called to develop this attribute by using their voices to advocate for positive changes within their school and society and to practice compassion by serving the poor, the sick and other disadvantaged communities.

Hope takes centre stage during the third and final year. Teachers and staff members intend to encourage each elementary and secondary student to create opportunities to infuse their home, parish and school with uplifting energy. Learners will also be motivated to become agents of hope and age by acting kindly and engaging in social justice activism.

Though appraising the implementation of “In God’s Image” cannot be measured using success metrics applied to Safe Schools or an academic improvement plan because of its pastoral nature, Caccamo said it is possible to measure engagement.

“What (forms of) and levels of engagement are our school communities, students, staff and families participating in that directly reflect an awareness of or showcasing of the pastoral plan being brought to light? We’re always inviting them to share initiatives based on the pastoral plan with us,” said Caccamo. 

In regard to the plan’s allusions to social justice, it could be suggested that “In God’s Image” substantially champions the mindset, values and principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). After all, the overview section of the plan includes the board’s stated intent to “strive to mirror Jesus’ love through actions that promote equity, inclusion, anti-racism and wellness.”

Caccamo said Jesus’ work with the marginalized shapes the TCDSB’s anti-discrimination efforts.

“I think the work in focusing on the person as a whole and helping students, staff and communities realize they’re children of God, deserving of inherent respect, dignity and unconditional love, working towards that wholeness is complementary to the work that speaks to the marginalized, underrepresented and underserved,” said Caccamo. “I think Jesus worked in the margins and shared that love that is inclusive of everyone.”

Read “In God’s Image” at

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.