September 29, 2023
Superintendent’s Update: Students, Parents/Legal Guardians, and Staff
Greetings from the Superintendent
Good evening, students, families, and staff. We have come to the end of September, and I am very excited about what the remainder of the year will bring. It’s wonderful to see the students and staff excited to return for the wonderful journey we share in our Catholic schools in Legal, Morinville, and St. Albert.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th is a day intended to honour the children who never returned home, the Survivors of residential schools, their families, and their communities. Public commemoration of residential schools' tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts is vital to the reconciliation process. Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools is committed to working toward meaningful reconciliation through the work of our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Leadership Committee, which has as part of its membership Elders and representatives from our local Indigenous communities. We also strive to share stories and educate students and staff through professional development opportunities and in-class learning.
In marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation tomorrow, I encourage everyone to wear orange, learn something about the history of Canada’s Indigenous peoples or the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and connect with family and the land. I would like to share with you this message for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation from Elder Fernie Marty from Sacred Heart Catholic Church of the First Peoples. As we prepare to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we humbly ask that God grant us one heart and one mind to walk together in the love and strength of the Holy Spirit in truth, reconciliation, and peace.
Upcoming Indigenous Student Art Contest and Showcase
We are pleased to announce the return of the Indigenous Student Art Contest, an initiative celebrating the rich artistic heritage and creative talent of our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students from Kindergarten through Grade 12.
This year's contest theme is "Celebrating Indigenous Culture: Telling Our Stories Through Art," inviting students to share their unique perspectives, traditions, and cultural stories through their artwork. As we continue our journey toward meaningful reconciliation, we believe art is a powerful medium for fostering understanding, empathy, and appreciation for Indigenous cultures.
Our Division First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Leadership Committee will be pivotal in reviewing and selecting the artwork for this contest. The expertise and deep cultural understanding of our First Nations and Métis members will ensure that the chosen pieces truly reflect the essence of Indigenous heritage and creativity. Additionally, for those students who grant permission, the artwork will be part of an art showcase and auction that coincides with our Division Faith and Wellness Day in January. Any money raised from the auction of Indigenous art submissions will be donated to the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund.
This contest provides an opportunity for our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students to showcase their remarkable talents and reinforces our commitment to inclusivity and respect for Indigenous voices within our school community. We look forward to seeing the incredible artwork that our students will contribute to this contest and the meaningful conversations it will spark about the importance of Indigenous perspectives in our educational journey. Stay tuned for more updates and information on how your child can participate in upcoming school communications.
Alberta Education Seeking Input for Social Studies Draft Curriculum through Public Engagement
The public engagement will consist of four phases. We are currently in the first phase and would encourage all GSACRD families to participate and share their perspectives.
Note from the Ministry:
Feedback received from Albertans and education partners during the previous engagement on the draft K-6 Social Studies curriculum indicated common areas for improvement, including volume of content and learning progression, developmental appropriateness, pluralism, diversity and inclusion, local and Alberta context, current events and First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives. Alberta Education will consider previous feedback and incorporate feedback received through new engagement activities to develop the new draft of the Social Studies curriculum.
Phase one – Preliminary engagement
As part of the first engagement phase, we gather information about what Albertans would like students to learn in the Social Studies curriculum through a survey and discussion guide on Alberta.ca. We developed a discussion guide that can be used as a tool to facilitate conversations within communities and help Albertans organize their feedback before completing the survey.
The survey will remain open until October 16, 2023
Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools Education Foundation (a note from the Chair, Rob Akkerman)
As we embark on another academic year, the Education Foundation is again diligently working to support our GSACRD school communities. First and foremost, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who graciously supported our inaugural Golf Tournament in June. Despite braving cool conditions and a less-than-full turnout, we raised nearly $8,000. We are already planning our next tournament, so please mark your calendars for Friday, June 21, 2024.
For the Foundation, autumn is a season of generosity. This year, we are delighted to announce that we will award two Grade 12 Scholarships and three Grade 9 Scholarships. These awards will be presented during the respective awards nights at our district's high schools. Stay tuned next month for more details about our remarkable awardees.
Our next initiative involves contacting schools and school councils as we open applications for the annual GSACS Futures Fund. This grant is designed to support school initiatives that typically do not receive funding through the division. Applications will be available shortly, and we anticipate announcing the awards in early to mid-December.
Lastly, we humbly request your ongoing support. Firstly, by actively participating, we currently have several openings on our board and would greatly benefit from adding fresh faces and new ideas. For more information, please visit our website at https://www.foundation.gsacrd.ab.ca/. We typically convene on the first Wednesday of each month.
Secondly, we encourage you to continue supporting our fundraising endeavours. Once again, the fall season will usher in our annual "Christmas Cash 50/50" event, with a chance to win a maximum prize of $10,000. Let's aim for a sell-out this year!
That's all for now, and may God bless everyone.
Prayer for Thanksgiving
We also prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving next weekend, and we all have so much to be thankful for in Catholic education. I offer you the following prayer from Catholic.org, to share with your families for Thanksgiving:
Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love,
please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks.
Thank you for all the graces and blessings.
You have betowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: our faith and religious heritage
Our food and shelter, our health, the loves we have for one another, our family and friends.
Dear Father, in Your infinite generosity, please grant us
continued graces and blessing throughout the coming year.
This we ask in the Name of Jesus, Your Son and our Brother. Amen.
May God bestow His bountiful blessings upon all of you now and always. Thank you for your wonderful contributions to our GSACRD family.
With heartfelt gratitude,
Dr. Clint Moroziuk
Superintendent of Schools