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Posts Tagged ‘catholic’

According to Mirriam-Webster for students, remembrance is the act of remembering or something remembered, such as a souvenir, that serves to bring mind. November is a month where we turn to remembrance and that is what we are doing here at FLVT.

We start the month with the Solemnity of All Saints Day on November 1. It is celebrated by Catholics all around the world and connects us to the communion of saints.  We look to the Saints, we celebrate their lives and ask them to pray for us. On All Saints day take a moment to pray to St. Kateri, our FLVT patron saint to intercede on our behalf.

St. Kateri@1x

The next day, November 2, is All Souls Day where we remember all those who have died but may not yet be in heaven.  We pray for them and ask God to take them to heaven.  Students will be creating “In Loving Memory” poems for those loved ones who have died and they will be displayed on the prayer board in the gathering space. On November 2 please take a moment and say a prayer in memory of a friend or loved one.

O Lord, please grant eternal rest unto (_____name_____).

Let Perpetual light shine upon him/her.

May the soul of ( _____name_____) and of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

Amen

On November 5th, we celebrate Catholic Education Sunday in Alberta.  We need to remember to celebrate the fact that we are one of three provinces that have publically funded Catholic education. With the recent controversy in the news regarding the health and wellness curriculum, it is important that we as Catholic school supporters become informed about the issues. Our Catholic schools are a gift to be celebrated.

On November 11th we remember our veterans from the First World War, the Second World War, and the Korean War who sacrificed for us so we could enjoy our freedoms and live in peace. To honour these men and women, we wear poppies as a symbol of remembrance and freedom. As we pause in our minute of remembrance on the 11th day of the 11th hour of the 11th month, let us not forget to pray for the men and women who have served, those who have died in service and those who are currently serving in our armed forces.  Please come join us for our Remembrance Day Celebration on the 8th at 10:45 in the gym.

remembrance day

During the month of November there are also events going on where people can take part as their way of honoring or remembering someone.  All of our male staff members are participating in Movember to raise awareness of men’s health and to help raise money for our advent project Mission Mexico.  We have a dedicated FLVTMen page where donations can be made. Students will also vote for the best or worst mustache and at the end of the month, we will draw names from those who have voted or donated for the opportunity to win a prize and/or shave some staff members’ heads. For some of our staff members, they are participating in Movember as a way to remember a loved one. For me, I am going to honor my Uncle Don who passed away this Saturday by participating in World Kindness Day on the 13th and Random Acts of Kindness Day on the 24th. My Uncle Don was the kindest man I know and this is the perfect way to remember him.  How are you going to honor your loved ones this month?

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Did you know that the popular Christmas song, the Twelve Days of Christmas was written in England in the 1700s? It has been suggested that the song was used a method for Catholics to learn the teachings of the faith when, during this time in England, Catholics were persecuted for their faith. The three French hens are a way to remember the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. During November and December, we have been focusing on our Van Tighem Virtue of Accepting: I accept that everyone is unique and made in the image and likeness of God. It is also tied to the Catholic virtue of Fortitude which helps to strengthen our resolve and to overcome difficulties.

Students believe that being accepting means that we should celebrate that God made us different.  We can demonstrate it by including others, welcoming new students, concentrating on what makes someone unique and special, appreciating everyone’s contributions, accepting people for who they are, welcoming everyone to our school, and allowing everyone to join in. We should embrace, welcome, and encourage other people’s differences. After all, we are all a box of crayons!

all-areas-accepting

 

Students also came up with some excellent examples that follow as to how they can be accepting in the classroom. Accept others into your groups.  Be kind and inclusive when working in a group. Make conversation with others. Be open to different work environments and help to create them. Celebrate other classmates’ learning abilities and styles. Sit with everyone. Accept and listen to other people’s answers, ideas, and opinions. Help people out if they are having trouble.  Invite others to be your partner. Pick different partners or groups when you have the chance.

classroom-accepting

 

In the hallway, a strong theme of patience and caring for younger students came across. Be patient walking the crowded hallways.  Wait for students who are walking slower than you. Make conversations with different people.   Walk with someone who may be alone. Invite others to join you. Visit quietly with others. Be considerate of the shared hallway spaces. Wait patiently for the student in the locker above or below yours to finish or ask politely to use your locker. Be aware that all students are going different ways, places, and speeds.

hallway-accepting

 

In the gym, inclusion and encouragement were important to different classes of all ages.  Students demonstrate acceptance by including others, inviting others to join, and accepting anyone who wants to play.  Students also thought that they need to recognize everyone’s talents, accept players of all skill levels, invite everyone to participate, encourage team members as well as opposing team members, and make encouraging and positive comments as a spectator.

gym-accepting

 

While playing outside, students should be open to play a game someone else’s way or by someone else’s rules. Realize that there are many different ways to play games. Try to get everyone involved in a game. Ask people to join your game. Try new games that others want to play. Compromise on game choice. Invite others to join you when going off campus. Giving compliments to people is a way to help them to feel more accepted into a group.

 

As we are constantly striving to improve the quality of education at FLVT School, our Van Tighem Virtues are a goal in our Continuous Improvement Plan. We are continually working towards teaching the attitudes and behaviour students need to be successful in life.  The work we have done on Honest and Accepting is available on our constantly evolving website page.  Please find it on our website under Our School/Van Tighem Virtues. The Van Tighem Virtues are a guide for the adults and students as to how we treat each other:  fairly and with respect. Once completed, they will serve as school rules so that students will know how to act and what we expect of them academically, socially, and spiritually. By the end of the year, the rules of the school will be clearly articulated so all staff and students will have a better understanding of the ways we can demonstrate our Virtues.

Our focus for January and February will shift to Wise:  I speak up for myself and others even when it may not be popular (Tied to Justice).  Wise Up is our video and we have chosen the following lyrics as a focus: “Wise Up. I’m gonna listen and do.  Wise Up. Every day I will chose to.”   Students will be challenged in January and February to think about what they are going to choose to listen and do to demonstrate being Wise. How are they going to speak up for themselves and others, even when it may not be popular?  I look forward to seeing what the students come up with.

Catechism Virtue Link

 

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As we approach the season of advent, I’d like to highlight a couple of programs to illustrate this years theme, Horizon of Hope. It’s important that we all are beacons of hope and we are letting our students shine through focusing on conduct and celebrating their cultures and stories.

OLWEUS  Program

On Thursday November 12, the entire staff was trained on the program components: individual, classroom, school, and community. The goals of the program are to reduce bullying problems among students, to prevent the development of new problems, to achieve better peer relations at school, and to provide students with skills needed to be leaders. A key component from the training forward is that our community have a shared understanding of what bullying is.  Three components of bullying behaviour are that is involves an aggressive behaviour, typically involves a pattern of behaviour repeated over time, and involves an imbalance of power or strength.

Currently we are working on putting together the school-level components.  We have established a Coordinating Committee with the following representatives:

Mrs. Kobza – Coordinator

Mr. Pollio and Mrs. Kremenik – Co-chairs

Kevin Verberk – Secretary and Divisional Rep

Mrs. Ponomar, Ms. Pilsner, Mr. Parr, Mrs. Hay, Mrs. Jans – Staff Reps

Mrs. Rocca and Mrs. Shore – Counsellors

Leroy CrazyBoy – FNMI Program Leader

Karen Kondor – Trainer

On Friday the 13th the committee met for the first time and decided to administer the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire before Christmas. The survey asks the students forty questions about their life at the school. The committee and staff will analyze the results of the survey and make changes to our supervisory system as needed. We will be moving forward with implementation oat our January PD Day.

Artist in Residence Showcase

We are excited to have John ChiefCalf, Blackfoot teacher at CCH, offer an Art Visualization and Writing Program to our junior high First Nations students.  John has had 6 sessions with our students where they worked on the following elements:

  1. Identifying how students create relationships with nature and how this impacts their identity and sense of belonging
  2. Writing about a shared experience and sharing emotion
  3. Responding with art, beading, or dancing

We will be showcasing our students’ work in a couple of ways this month.  First, our students will have a session at our Christmas Family Fun Night on Wednesday, December 9th from 5:30 – 7:30.  Come out and enjoy some frybread and berry soup!

fnmi_v2

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In the Alberta Education Business Plan the Minister of Education articulated goals for the province. Our Holy Spirit board then set strategic priorities that aligned with the Business Plan. At FLVT, we chose two priorities to focus on that aligns with the Board’s direction: 1. Catholic Identity and 2. Preparing Students for their Future

Within those priorities, we created goals to move the school forward. This month I would like to highlight what we are doing to enhance our Catholic Identity. Our theme for this year is a Horizon of Hope. We are using Pope Francis’ statement as a guide where he challenged us to be lights in the darkness:

“Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to
be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect
every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love,
is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy
clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope” Pope Francis

With this in mind we have two main areas of focus under Catholic Identity. We are asking our community to be beacons of hope by focusing on an attitude of Gratitude. The staff was given gratitude journals to start the year and teachers have chosen to incorporate journals, compliments, trees, and chains into their classrooms. When you walk around the school you will see bulletin boards in the halls and classrooms expressing the attitude of gratitude. Every morning we gather as a staff for a meeting and prayer, and this year, our staff prayer is taken from Joyce Meyer’s devotional The Power of Being Thankful. During advent we will be creating an advent calendar for the school that does not contain chocolate, but does contain gratitude activities.

The second area of focus came as a result of analyzing our junior high Bullying and School Safety Tell Them From Me Survey results, and feedback from staff and parents. A safe school environment is critical for students’ learning and well-being. As a result, we will be focusing on implementing the OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program at the school. The program is backed up with over 35 years of research and is designed to improve peer relations and make school safer, more positive places. Goals of the program are to reduce existing bullying problems, prevent the development of new problems, and create better peer relations at school. On November 12 and 13 the whole staff will be in serviced on the program by Karen Kondor who runs Find Your Voice Consulting. Schools are safer when school staff, students, parents, and communities work together.

We are looking for a parent to be a member of our Coordinating Committee. Information on the duties are included in the newsletter and we would require that you attend the training on the 12 and 13. Please contact me if you are interested in being a part of this exciting program.

Coordinating Committee Responsibilities

Find Your Voice Consulting

OLWEUS Program Information

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