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St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School
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Belonging
​​​​​​Belonging

Creating a safe, healthy, inclusive,
Christ-centered learning environment

Everyone needs to have a sense of belonging and connection with others. This helps provide a positive school climate where students, parents, staff and community members feel they belong and are valued. Working with our school community, we return to our Catholic faith roots to examine how we might promote and encourage safe, healthy, inclusive, equitable, Christ-centered learning environments in our schools.

Our Catholic teachings promote a culture of Being, Belonging and Becoming in the classroom, school and community. A variety of learning environments are provided in which students can develop feelings of acceptance, belonging, and self-worth. We recognize that the divine image is present in each and every person. Parents, students, staff and community members are invited to demonstrate Healthy living, Belonging and Stewardship in their daily words and actions.

 

Formed and informed by the life of Christ, our faith tradition, the Catholic Graduate Expectations, and turning to the faith-filled wisdom of Jean Vanier, we hope to provide all the opportunity to grow in relationships with self, others, God and the environment. (cf. Mt. 5-7). Echoing the Gospel, Jean Vanier teaches us that all people feel the basic need to belong to a family and to a community.

“…the purpose of all human growth is openness to others, to God, to the world; to discover our common humanity; to work for a world where there is more communion and compassion between human beings. But each person needs to choose the right means to be well nourished in order to achieve this end.
We must make good choices."


Jean Vanier, Our Journey Home, p. 158

 

 

Find out more about Jean Vanier:

  1. Jean Vanier Biography
  2. Jean Vanier  – Creating relationships and an identity of love
  3. Jean Vanier – On belonging

What are the characteristics of a positive school climate?
When a positive school climate exists,

  • students, parents, and staff members feel safe, comfortable, and accepted;
  • healthy and respectful relationships are promoted among all members of the school community;
  • students are encouraged to be leaders and positive role models – for example, by speaking up about issues such as bullying;
  • parents and community members are actively engaged;
  • positive behaviour is reinforced and students are given opportunities to develop relationships that are free of racism, discrimination, and harassing behaviour;
  • there is a culture of high expectations in which the improvement of learning outcomes for all students is emphasized;
  • all cultures are respected and valued.
  • where forgiveness and reconciliation is promoted;
  • where we celebrate our faith and the God-given gifts of others; and,
  • where we reach out and serve others especially those in need.

Student Success
“Actively promoting, supporting, and recognizing appropriate, positive student behaviour and healthy relationships is essential to creating and sustaining a safe learning and teaching environment that will allow all students to reach their full potential. A positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable, and accepted” (Ministry of Education. Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12, p. 12).

Ministry of Education Links:

Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12
Equity and Inclusion in Ontario Schools
Catholic Graduate Expectations
Promoting a Positive School Climate
Promoting A Positive School Climate - A Resource for Schools
Foundations for a Healthy School
Shaping a Culture of Respect in Our Schools: Promoting Safe and Healthy Relationships.