SASKATOON — The Annual General Meeting of Electors for Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, covering the fiscal year 2015 - 16 was held Feb. 7 at St. Frances Cree Bilingual School in Saskatoon.
The meeting opened with prayer and the St. Frances Grade 6 and 7 class singing “O Canada” in Cree.
Board chair Diane Boyko gave a report, mentioning the challenge of the provincial government focus on “transformational change” that started in 2015-16 and continues into 2017.
Boyko spoke briefly on the board’s four priority areas: celebrating and promoting Catholic identity, improving student learning, building relationships and partnerships, and promoting stewardship.
Boyko said she was humbled that so many parents entrust Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools with the task of providing Catholic faith-based education for their children. She also acknowledged the many partners that contribute to the learning and development of students, including other school divisions and education partners, parents and Catholic School Community Council members, chambers of commerce and business partners, the Saskatoon Tribal Council, and Central Urban Métis Federation Inc.
She emphasized the importance to the school division of relationships with, and pastoral support from, the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.
In the area of stewardship, Boyko stressed that we are all stewards of God’s gifts and are called to use our gifts wisely. The division continues to take steps to use resources efficiently and effectively, she said, noting that changes to administration, transportation and purchasing saved the division some $700,000 in the 2015-16 fiscal year.
Director of Education Greg Chatlain also presented a report, noting that the context in which education is provided has changed dramatically over the past 105 years of the division’s history, especially in the past 20 years. This includes changing demographics that includes welcoming new Canadians, offering English as an Additional Language (EAL), Cree, Ukrainian and French language programs, and strengthening First Nations and Métis partnerships to meet student needs.
Chatlain also noted the development of new religious education (elementary) and Catholic Studies (high school) curriculum as part of the teaching and passing on of the faith.
Early childhood learning is a needed investment, said Chatlain, adding that investing in the professional learning of staff is an important part of that investment.
Chatlain emphasized the importance of partnerships in the community and among staff, parents and Catholic School community councils. “We all need to work together to ensure success during changing times.”
Superintendent Joel Lloyd presented the treasurer’s report, which shows an unrestricted cash surplus of some $51,000 for 2015-16. About 88 per cent of the school division’s expenditures go toward instruction and facilities, while transportation is about four per cent, and administration about three per cent.
The annual meeting closed with prayer lead by Boyko. A regular board meeting followed, in which trustees reviewed student achievement results, designated Holy Mary (Martensville) and St. Peter schools as French immersion for next year, and approved the 2017 - 18 school calendar. Capital projects at St. Frances, Bishop Klein and St. Michael schools will be submitted to the provincial Ministry of Education for consideration.