Archive for the ‘March’ Category

Our focus this month is on Habit 6 Synergize: Together is Better, which fits in well with the season of Lent.  The two big ideas of this habit are to Value Differences and Seek Third Alternatives.  Valuing differences is the foundation of creating synergy and this seems to be lacking in our society today.  We are effective when we value and embrace the differences of others rather than rejecting or tolerating them.  We need to see our differences as strengths and not weaknesses.  Here are some things that we can we do to value differences:

  1. Respect, include and value everyone’s skills and contributions.
  2. Know the unique strengths of the people you work and live with.
  3. Actively seek to learn from others.
  4. Seek out different ideas and points of view.
  5. Take advantage of the strengths of others and differences of opinion to achieve better results.

Lent is about prayer, fasting and almsgiving and sharing our time, talent and treasures with others. It is also a good way for us to practice valuing differences. One way we are doing this at STC this month is through our Student Lighthouse Team.  We started with good intentions in January but just really got sidetracked with COVID and the overwhelming number of students (47) who applied to be on the team.  We are blessed to have so many students wanting to share their time, talents and treasures with us. Our goal is to have all students who expressed interest, be able to share their talents with at least one leadership activity.

Another area where we will need to practice valuing differences this month is with the lifting of the restrictions by the government.  We have put together a plan for our community to ease back into more familiar procedures. While the restrictions are lifted, we are being cautious as we are still in a pandemic.  Our goal is to continue to create a safe, caring and welcoming atmosphere.  Through COVID, we have discovered different ways of doing things and are going to keep some of those procedures in place. Our speaker at Teacher’s Convention, Dr. Robyne Hanley Dafoe reinforced this idea for us.  She said that we are in an integration stage of recovery and if we simply return to what was, we are missing out on the learning from the past 18 months.


  • Adults and students are no longer required to wear masks. However, we highly recommend that masks be used as a means of reducing the transmission of respiratory viruses. Whatever your choice may be, we will support it.


  • We will not have any cohorts in the school. However, we will try to limit the number of classes that students interact until our March 21 recess change.

Assemblies and Gatherings

  • We will gradually be increasing the number of classes gathered together.  We may be too large to fit all of the school into the gathering space so we will continue with a hybrid of online and in-person celebrations.


  • We will be moving forwards with field trips. The school is booked to attend St. Francis’ production of Beauty and the Beast on Tuesday, March 29. Grade 6 Orientation will be at St. Francis on March 23.

Recess and lunch  

  • We will continue with our lunch and recess stagger for a few weeks.  As students will not be limited to staying in a designated area, we want to give them time to get used to the choice before all students are outside at once.
  • On March 21, we will not stagger our lunch and recess breaks.  
  • Also, on March 21, microwaves will be available during lunch recess as we will have student microwave helpers from our Lighthouse Team.

Drop Off and Pick Up

  • Drop off and pick up will continue to be outside at the muster points.  We feel that we are better able to ensure student safety as we know which students have been picked and can see them crossing the parking lot.  We also want to keep the hallways less congested at the start and end of the day. Parents are still able to connect in person with the teacher on a daily basis at the end of the day.
  • Students who arrive after 8:05 will need to enter through the front doors.
  • In the morning and at the end of the day, students will be able to play on the playground.  Please remember that supervision starts at 7:50 am. 

Access to the Building

  • We will be transitioning to a more open school environment and will be following an “access with a purpose” model so that we can monitor entry to the building.
  • As was the norm before COVID and for the safety and security of the people in the building, all exterior doors will be locked except for the front door. Parents, visitors and guests will enter through the front door and check in at the office.
  • Parents are welcome to come to the school for different reasons, such as, dropping off lunch, picking up students for appointments, looking through the lost and found items, volunteering for hot lunch.
  • We want to provide opportunities for parents to attend events as we know it has been a long time since this was possible.   We thought that opening our Lenten liturgies up to parent attendance would make a nice transition. If you choose to attend, please check in at the office and we will show you to your seats.
    • Monday March 7 – Lenten Liturgy at 9:10 led by 3.4 Davey
    • Tuesday March 15 – Lenten Liturgy at 1:25 led by 1.2 Picton and Alvarez
    • Monday March 21 – Lenten Liturgy at 9:10 led 1.2 Picton and Alvarez
    • Monday March 28 – Lenten Liturgy at 1:25 led by 1.2 Mouly, Schori, New
    • Monday April 4 – Lenten Liturgy at 9:10 led by 1.2 Mouly, Schori, New Monday April 4 – School Council Meeting from 6:00 – 7:00pm
    • Volunteer to help out with hot lunch

We know that not everyone will agree with our plan as some will see it as moving too fast while others will see it as moving too slow.  We tried to Seek a Third Alternative by balancing the two sides and trying to create wins for everyone. We welcome us working together in our move towards more familiar processes. St. Teresa summarized Synergize when she said, “I can do things you cannot and you can do things I cannot.  Together we can do great things.”

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St. Teresa of Calcutta said that “it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing.  It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.” Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving and it is not important how much we do or how much we give, but how love we put into our actions. For our Lenten journey we are asking the community to follow those words of our patron saint.

Our motto is to Lead with Love and that is exactly what we are asking of the school community during our Lenten Adventure.  We have created a Lenten calendar based on the following categories:

  • The Three Pillars of Lent: Monday –  Prayer, Tuesday – Alms or Fasting
  • Our Faith Plan Calls to Action:  Wednesday – Be Gracious, Thursday – Be Grateful
  • Leader in Me: Friday – 7 Habits

Each day of the week has a specific activity to be completed for the theme.  For example, one Monday we ask you to pray for world political and religious leader, one Tuesday we ask you to do something to help the earth, one Wednesday is to learn about a saint, one Thursday is to think about a place you are grateful for and one Friday is to plan to first complete your big rocks for the weekend. Activities for our calendar can be found on our Webpage and our Facebook Page. These activities can also be completed as a family so I encourage you to follow Habit 6: Synergize and Lead with Love throughout Lent.

Habit 1 is to Be Proactive so here are some other things going on during March to bring your attention to. Join us for our weekly Lenten prayer services which are on the first school day of the week. Zoom links will be emailed out so that can join us.  Our virtual School Council meetings are the second Monday of the month so please join us on the 8th at 6:00 so that you can be engaged in what is going on at the school.  Thank you to School Council for organizing the Pie and Pierogi fundraiser which will help support more online events for the school community and individual classes. Please note that our school calendar has changed and our Spiritual Development Day was originally scheduled for the 16th of March but has been moved to the 22nd to accommodate the speaker’s schedule.

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What makes a Catholic school any different from a public school?  For myself, all I know is working in a Catholic school so I do not have the experience to compare the two.  Over the years, I have had conversations with people who have had experiences in both systems and have told me that the biggest difference is the atmosphere you feel when you walk into a Catholic School.  Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel (114) says that the Church “must be a place of mercy, freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” The school, as an extension of the Church, so too must be this. Archbishop J. Michael Miller presented and identified Five Marks that make a school Catholic. They are as follows:

  1. Grounded in Christian Anthropology – Driven by a mission which views all men and women with an inherent dignity as sons and daughters of God.
  2. Imbued with a Catholic World View – A Catholic vision is evident in its physical space, liturgical celebrations and prayer life.
  3. Animated by a Faith Infused Curriculum – Faith is integrated within the learner outcomes and teaching strategies.
  4. Sustained by Gospel Witness – Hires and nurtures staff that are living witnesses to the Gospel and are intentional disciples of Jesus Christ.
  5. Shaped by a Spirituality of Communion – Recognizes that all stakeholders are responsible for the common good.

As we are approaching the Lenten season Mark 2 will be at the forefront of our activities.  We will gather for our weekly liturgical celebrations which will focus on the three pillars of Lent: fasting, prayer and almsgiving.  While it is good to give up things during Lent it is also a time to Share our Bounty and be generous. As a result, we will be taking part in the 40 Acts School Challenge. It is a Lenten generosity challenge organized by the UK charity group Stewardship. There is a reflection every day and the students will also complete challenges to make a difference and be generous in the following categories: gratitude, care for the environment, giving, school community, kindness, new friends and doing the right thing.  Students will be given a challenge card summary where they will track which Acts they have done over the 40 days of Lent.

I would recommend this as an individual challenge as I myself have grown spiritually the past two years while completing the challenges and am excited for us to be doing it as a school community. As an individual, you receive an email every morning with a reflection and three different prompts as to how you could choose to act because 40 Acts believes that generosity is about the size of your heart not your wallet. If you are interested in learning more or signing up for the 40 Acts Challenge you can find them on the Web, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You may even want to sign up as a family as they have a 40Acts Family Wallchart and guide.  40 Acts. 40 Days. 40 Ways to Share your Bounty.  Join us in the challenge!

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A Lenten Wave of Kindness

To be beacons of light, love, and happiness during Lent we focus on the three pillars of Almsgiving, Fasting, and Prayer. Our Lenten project this year will focus on almsgiving for Streets Alive Mission. We will be focusing on bringing in different food items throughout the course of Lent, such as, canned fruit, vegetables, or soup. The second pillar, fasting is a topic we discuss in class and practice in our canteen on Fridays. Kayla does not sell items containing meat on Fridays. Friday items range from egg or tuna salad to cheese pizza, and as always, smoothies are available.

We started our prayer journey by going to Mass at St. Martha’s Church on Ash Wednesday. We will gather weekly as a community to pray and reflect on our theme “Rooted in Christ”. Please come join us in prayer each week. Every morning, to start our day, we pray together as a community. We also pray together every morning as a staff and this year we are using the resource Jesus Daily: 365 Interactive Devotions by Aaron Tabor.

Our Van Tighem Virtue focus for Lent is Kindness. The focus is to treat people with dignity and to respect all rights and property. We have made a Lenten calendar which contains acts of kindness that staff, students, and families can do each day. Jesus did not perform random acts of kindness but treated everyone with dignity and respect. As a result, we are trying to focus on intentional acts of kindness as opposed to random as we want to teach students that kindness is integral to how we should treat one another by following Jesus’ example. Research is showing that kindness has a positive effect on not only the giver, but also on the receiver. The Dalai Lama says that “when we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” We are hoping to start a wave of kindness through our Lenten calendar. Our wave will branch outside of our school community when staff will be performing acts of kindness around the city on our professional development day on Friday March 24. Join us in spreading happiness and love around our community.


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Lent: A Time of Gratitude

To be beacons of light during Lent we focus on the three pillars of Almsgiving, Fasting, and Prayer. Our Lenten project this year will focus on almsgiving for Cancer Research. Our Me to We Club will be holding a fundraising activity and all the proceeds will go towards our Lenten project. The second pillar, fasting is a topic we discuss in class and practice in our canteen on Fridays. Kayla does not sell items containing meat on Fridays and comes up with “meatless” Friday specials. Friday items range from egg or tuna salad to cheese pizza, and as always, smoothies are available.
We started our prayer journey by going to Mass at St. Martha’s Church on Ash Wednesday. We will gather weekly as a community to pray and reflect on our theme “A Horizon of Hope”. Please come join us in celebrating each week as the schedule is on the calendar. Every morning we pray together as a community. As a staff, we also pray every morning with reflections of Gratitude The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer. Being thankful for our lives and the ways that God has blessed us, gives us a new perspective and fills us with joy. Practicing gratitude can also improve health and reduce stress. Even a simple smile and hello to start the day can make a difference in someone’s life. There are five weeks left of Lent and here are five ways you can focus on gratitude:
  • As you are eating supper together, go around and express what you are grateful for that day. We did this as a family last year during Lent and it is a practice that we still continue to this day. It is a great family activity.
  • Give your colleagues or classmates genuine compliments. Better yet, compliment a stranger!
  • Wait a few extra seconds and hold the door for the person behind you.
  • Get in touch with an old friend or a relative and let them know how grateful you are to have them in your life.
  • Do something nice for the person behind you in line – buy a coffee, pay for the order, or strike up a conversation

Gratitud and gods blessings

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