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London District Catholic School Board
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15-16 Board of Trustees

January 13, 2016


Here is a group photo of your 15-16 Board of Trustees.

Below is the text of the inaugural address from Bill Hall, Chair:

Reverend Father, Fellow Trustees, Distinguished Guests, Members of Senior Administration, Friends of Catholic Education, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Thank you for joining us tonight as we celebrate the wonderful gift of Catholic Education.

Thank you to my fellow Trustees for putting their faith in me. This is my twelfth term as Chair of the London District Catholic School Board and the Elgin Board that was one of its predecessors. 

Being re-elected as Chair is a tremendous honour and I am delighted to be working with each of you and with Trustee John Jevnikar as Vice Chair.

Last year we engaged in a process called Shaping Our Future. We engaged our employees, our students, our parents and our parishes to identify our challenges and offer potential alternatives to meet those challenges.  

From consultations with our stakeholders we heard:
  • Continue to support faith formation opportunities for students and staff and the teaching of our faith throughout the curriculum
  • Dedicate resources to improving student achievement and supporting student well-being
  • Support the effective implementation of technology to support student achievement
  • Deploy staff to directly/indirectly support student achievement and well-being
  • Enhance communication throughout the board both internally and externally 

Based on what we heard a Multiyear Strategic Plan was developed, and this past August approved by the Board of Trustees.  The following strategic commitments form the basis of that plan: 
  • Promoting the distinctively Catholic character of our schools and enhanced communication 
  • Implementation of our Board Improvement Plan to reduce the percentage of students achieving below the provincial standard (with emphasis on students with behaviour and learning disability exceptionalities).  
  • Embedding Technology throughout the curriculum to support digital literacy, creativity, innovation and promote student engagement
  • Building, through innovative and collaborative practices, our organizational capacity and providing for responsible stewardship of our resources.
Through the implementation of these commitments we have every confidence that we are on the right path to supporting success for ALL our students.

This past summer and throughout the fall we have been engaged in provincial labour negotiations.  I want to thank our local bargaining groups, our employees, our school and central administrators for their joint commitment to supporting ongoing communication and maintaining a positive working relationship throughout this process.

Last month we were delighted to learn and we thank the Ministry of Education for approving funding for several of our capital priorities.  To address our most pressing capital need we are receiving $19.3 million for a replacement secondary school for Regina Mundi Catholic College. 
As most of you know, Regina Mundi was built in the early 1960s to be a junior seminary, not a high school. While we made it work, the cost of renovating and restoring the building to meet today’s educational needs and requirements was becoming prohibitive. We thank the Ministry for providing us the funding that will allow a wonderful new facility to be built to serve the needs of the RMC community. 
We were also very pleased to receive news that St. Francis Catholic School is receiving approximately a half million dollars in funding. This funding will allow for a portion of the school to be renovated and turned into a Family Centre.  We are excited to be working closely with the City of London to offer a range of services to meet the needs of our families at St. Francis.  

Plans are currently well underway for the construction of a replacement St. John French Immersion Catholic School.  As was announced previously we are receiving $2.4 million in funding for five daycare rooms that will accommodate up to 88 infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers. Again this is wonderful news for our students and their families.

Tonight provides me an opportunity to offer thanks, on behalf of my fellow trustees, to all who support Catholic education within the London District Catholic School Board.  

Our board is blessed with a strong team of Senior Administrators and Principals, thank you.

I want to thank Lucy Da Costa, the executive secretary to the Director for all her assistance to the Chair during the year and her work putting together this Inaugural and all that that entails for the Trustee's of this Board. And thank you to Susan Coleman. We appreciate your efforts very much.

Our teachers are one of our major strengths. Our support personnel do a superb job every day. Thanks to each and every one of you, who help make amazing things happen every day in each classroom and in each school.  

Thank you to our Bishops, Ronald Fabbro and Joseph Dabrowski, our Board Chaplain, Father Jim Mockler, our parish priests and parish teams key partners in the triad of home, school and parish. 

Thank you to our parents for entrusting to us the care and nurturing of your children.  We consider this to be sacred trust. 

Every school in the province benefits from parent and community engagement in the success and operation of local schools.  Thank you to our District Council – Parent Involvement Committee under the leadership of Marianna Michaels for their hard work.

I want to thank the Provincial government and the Ministry of Education for keeping education a top priority and continued support for publicly- funded education.

To all of our partners, thank you as we together support, promote and celebrate the gift of Catholic education.  

In closing, tomorrow we join Catholics around the world in marking the beginning of an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.  In the words of Pope Francis:
“At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives.  For this reason I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.”

May this coming year be for all of us, a time where we grow in our understanding of our need for God and his mercy.

Thank you.
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