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St. Mark High School – Dominican Republic Experience

Stephen McCabe, Superintendent of Human Resources

Trip organizer/teacher, Kerry Nolan, and two of her students spoke at the Board about lessons learned from 16 years of trips to the Dominican Republic. Besides a rigorous application process, the students spend months fundraising to go on the trip. There, the students experience the stark realities of barrios and batayes (sugar cane communities); as well as the friendliness and spirit of their hosts.

This trip is a living example of Catholic social teaching, as the service by students reflects the Board’s priority of ‘Be Community’.

The children and families we learned from in the Dominican have nothing material, yet they still strive, they still have faith & hope – they never give up.”

Kahlan Baak, student, St. Mark High School

“Be Community” Board Improvement Goal Update

Shelley Montgomery, Superintendent, Leading & Learning

Our “Be Community” goal inspires us to foster a community of learners to “seek justice, love kindness and mercy, and walk humbly with God”. As we dig deeper into this rich goal and focus on professional development and cultural awareness, we continue to engage staff and students to provide safe, equitable, and inclusive learning environments.

Where research guides us:

  • Respectful relationships are the glue that holds a positive school community together.
  • Relationships promote a sense of belonging for students, staff, and families, which in turn supports positive mental health and wellbeing.
  • When students feel included and connected to school they will be more likely to participate in the school community and achieve academic success.
  • Schools, through their policies and practices, can create a positive environment where all community members feel included, valued, and supported.  (Mind Matters, 2018)

“The LGBTQI2S professional learning reminded me to create safe inclusive spaces, where students can learn and feel secure. I am called to let students know that they are all created and loved by God and that their many gifts are blessings to our school community. The workshop helped me focus on language and subtleties that I needed to change in order to show my students how welcomed and valued they all are in my classroom.”

Lisa, OCSB teacher

Approval of Policies – New and Revised

Thomas D’Amico, Associate Director of Education

As part of the annual policy review, a number of new and revised policies were approved by the Board of Trustees to reflect legislative & regulatory changes, updated procedural changes, and current practices. The policies were first vetted by the affiliate and stakeholder groups, reviewed by the Executive Committee and the Policies & Procedures Steering Committee.

The Board of Trustees approved the following new policies:

  • Provision of Health Support Services in Schools
  • Safe, Inclusive and Accepting Schools Code of Conduct: Safe Schools Transfer
  • Safe Schools -Safe, Inclusive and Accepting Schools Code of Conduct: Victims’ Rights
  • Student Trustees
  • Technology Equipment Disposal / Repurpose
  • Water-Related Activities
  • Workplace Substance Abuse Management (Fit for Duty)

The Board of Trustees approved the following revised policies:

  • Administering Medication
  • Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting
  • Board Meetings – Electronic Participation
  • Capital Projects — Approvals: Change Orders — New Schools, Major Additions and Alterations
  • Code of Conduct for Trustees
  • Concussion Recognition, Intervention and Awareness
  • Field Trips and Excursions
  • First Aid
  • Flags
  • Home Schooling
  • Honoraria
  • Naming/Renaming of Schools and Board Facilities
  • Pediculosis (Head Lice)
  • Petty Cash Funds
  • Public Consultation
  • Responsible Use of Information Technology Resources
  • Safe, Inclusive and Accepting Schools Code of Conduct: Smoking/Vaping on School Board Property
  • Safe, Inclusive and Accepting Schools Code of Conduct: Student Expulsion
  • Safe, Inclusive and Accepting Schools Code of Conduct: Student Suspension
  • Safety Patrols
  • Social Media
  • Websites
  • Workplace Harassment

News from the Boardroom Summary

This May 21, 2019 blog post covers the following topics:

  • St. Mark High School – Dominican Republic Experience
  • “Be Community” Board Improvement Goal Update
  • Approval of Policies – New and Revised
  • Trustees’ Conference and Convention Expenditures
  • Legal Fees
  • Portable Requirements for September 2019
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Briefs from the Boardroom

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Trustees’ Conference and Convention Expenditures

Lisa Schimmens, Superintendent of Finance and Administration

The Board received a report on the Trustees’ Conference and Convention Expenditures for the period of September 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

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Legal Fees

Lisa Schimmens, Superintendent of Finance and Administration

The Board received a report on the legal fees (by category) incurred for the period of September 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019, with comparative amounts for the 2017/2018 fiscal year.

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Portable Requirements for September 2019

Fred Chrystal, Superintendent of Planning and Facilities

The Board requires 27 portables for the next school year in order to meet the needs of enrolment growth in certain areas. Six of these portables will be relocated from Holy Redeemer School, and two will be relocated from St. Thomas More. The remaining 19 new units have been purchased. Adjustments for the number of portables may need to be made as the new year gets under way.


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