Trustees with the Northwest Catholic District School Board recently attended the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association professional development conference in Toronto.
The purpose of the gathering was to offer Catholic trustees the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist, hear current news and issues in education from OCSTA president Nancy Kirby, and to reflect on the trustees’ role to be advocates, guardians, and stewards of Catholic education.
The trustees had the opportunity to hear Education minister Leona Dombrowsky inform them of the continued focus on student achievement.
“It was a pleasure to meet the minister in person and speak to her regarding educational issues in the north,” said NCDSB vice-chair Cathy Bowen of Sioux Lookout.
With new provincial governance, all school boards in Ontario must adhere to the Regulation Bill 177, which defines the roles and responsibilities of school boards.
The trustees also were pleased to attend a certification program offered by the Ontario Education Services Corp. that partners with all of the trustee associations, directors of education across the province, and St. Michael’s College.
“It was exciting to have all of the Catholic trustees across the province come together to discuss school board governance,” said NCDSB education director Mary-Catherine Kelly.
The trustees had the opportunity to attend four training modules regarding Authentic Governance Through Ethical Leadership, Governance for Student Achievement, Roles and Responsibilities, and Relationships in School Boards.
“As Catholic trustees, we have a common vision and sense of mission for our Catholic schools,” said NCDSB chair Anne-Marie Fitzgerald of Fort Frances.
“Our role is to ensure that we prepare our students to have strong academic success, as well as preparing them to develop their faith information so that they can be prepared to live in their culture and embrace all that is good in it,” she added.
“The professional learning in these sessions was tremendous,” noted Kelly.
“The Northwest Catholic District School Board is a leader in the province in policy governance, which is the direction the ministry of education is promoting.”
“Northwest Catholic has been using the policy governance model for more than 10 years so we are ahead of the curve,” agreed Fitzgerald.
“This model of governance works extremely well for us and our board believes it is a positive direction for the province,” she remarked.