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Other Posts from the Director's Corner:
Innovation and a Growth Mindset (Oct. 2017)
Welcome to the Director's Corner (Sept. 2017)

Joanne Bénard
Director of Education

Strengthening our Faith-based, Inclusive and Equitable Community
November 2017

It’s the middle of the month of November already. The leaves have fallen and the cool air is with us once again. We are in our 3rd month of school and so much has already been accomplished. As I have with previous blogs, I struggle with what to focus in on, as there is always so much to be proud of both inside and outside of our classrooms – from the cleanliness of our schools to the caring individuals that make up the Sudbury Catholic District School Board Community. This month, I am going to focus on evidence to demonstrate how we are living out the strategic pathway of –We are called to strengthen our faith-based, inclusive and equitable community. You will see below some of the amazing things happening in our schools every day.  Our students and staff make many contributions to their schools, the community of Greater Sudbury and beyond.  I will also feature James Suchoplas, a special education teacher who is making a difference in the Care and Development classroom at St. Charles College. As you read this blog I urge you to think about the amazing power we have to make a difference.  “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things” (Mother Theresa).

November 17th PA Day

This month, we were so fortunate to be able to come together as a whole Board community at the November 17th Professional activity Day to reflect on the importance of “WHY” we do what we do every day. The day began with a Eucharistic celebration with celebrant Bishop Damphousse and our Priests and Deacons where we were able to express our gratitude and give thanks. The day provided many opportunities for our entire community to come together, show appreciation and thankfulness for each other. We also unveiled our new branding for our new mission, vision, values and strategic pathways. We are very proud of the direction that we are taking as a School Board, and we now have a beautiful new logo to match. Our new logo represents the mind, body and spirit, making up the complete student. 

Our new logo and branding was proudly displayed in many ways as we gathered together.

Angela Maiers spent 2 days with Sudbury Catholic, speaking to  students, parents and staff.

What is the Sudbury Catholic Community thankful for?

St. Charles College Raises over 175,000 cans in Annual Fundraiser!

All of our schools participate in fundraisers throughout the school year and contribute to our community and beyond.  This month I want to highlight the wonderful work in supporting our local food bank.  The students of St. Charles College with the help of St. David, St. John, St. Paul, Pius XII and Holy Trinity contributed to this great cause raising an amazing 175,533 cans and $25,000 for this year’s food drive for the Sudbury Food Bank! Our students visited various homes and businesses in our community to canvass for the annual fundraiser. We extend our appreciation to the staff, students, parents and our community for their tremendous support. 

Principal Patty Mardero is very proud of her school for their ongoing commitment to the community! “Each year we set an expectation for the food drive and I am always so impressed when these students rise to the challenge to both meet and exceed that goal.  It really shows us that our students believe in the power of working towards a cause for the greater good of our community and to making positive contributions to our society.  This all truly is a part of our school motto of ‘teach me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge’.” P. Mardero

Congratulations Cards on another successful campaign!

Since the mid 80’s, St. Charles College has been canvassing for the Sudbury Food Bank. Through the help of feeder schools, the students were able to collect 175,000 cans to go towards the cause.

Marymount students continue work with Blue Door Soup Kitchen

For the past 8 years, students at Marymount Academy have been completing volunteer work for the Blue Door Soup Kitchen on a monthly basis.

Every 3 weeks, Chaplaincy Lead Jennifer Geddes takes a group of six Grade 9 students to volunteer their time at the soup kitchen. By the end of the year, the entire grade gets to participate in the experience. It is an opportunity to learn about one of Greater Sudbury’s most used community services. The students prep the lunch, serve to the clients, wash and clean-up. The experience provides the girls with an opportunity to learn about homelessness and how to help others.

The students always walk away feeling proud of their involvement, with a better understanding about the importance of volunteers who contribute to organizations each and every day. Students even continue to volunteer with the organization long after their initial experience.

“We are so thankful to the Blue Door Soup Kitchen for giving our students this opportunity to volunteer. It gives our students a chance to meet some of the people facing homelessness and poverty right here in our city. Students often go to the soup kitchen feeling apprehensive, but invariably leave feeling less fearful, more accepting, and asking when they can come back to volunteer again!” J Geddes

Because of their long relationship with the Blue Door Soup kitchen, the girls also wanted to give back to the organization, who celebrated its 35th anniversary this past year! Art students created a beautiful mural to celebrate the organization and all of contributions they have made to Greater Sudbury!

Keep up the great work, Regals!

A group of Grade 9 students volunteer with Blue Door Soup Kitchen every month. Art students at Marymount Academy created a mural to celebrate Blue Door Soup Kitchen’s 25th Anniversary

Care and Development Classroom makes positive impact at Pius XII!

The Care and Development program at Pius XII helps to support various students within our Catholic school community.

The Care and Development classroom has recently been renovated, now better built to suit their needs. The room is equipped with various touch and sensory devices, including quiet corner spaces and SMART Board technology to engage the students. Across the hall is the brand-new physiotherapy room. Every day, the hard-working educator teams  help the students learn to bare their own weight, helping  to develop strength.

This year, the group is focusing on communication. The ‘Snoozlen room’ is a multi-sensory room which focuses on interacting with the student’s senses and cues. Whether it is by watching coloured lights and bubbles in the bubble tube, feeling the various materials or listening to the sounds, the goal is to have the students understand and react to the cues.

As with any great program, the Care and Development program has had its fair share of successes. Laurie Oliver, an Educational Assistant in the classroom describes a story that truly impacted her!

“Sometimes, it can take a while for the students to reach a milestone or goal. And when they do, it’s always really rewarding. We had a couple of students who have learned how to pedal their bikes. Every day, our students pedal their bikes throughout the hallways at Pius. At first, we just pull them around the hallway so they can get a feel for it. In some cases, we might just do that for several years with a particular student. Then we start to encourage them to start to learn to pedal on their own. And one day they will just get it! And all of a sudden they’re pedaling up and down the hallways, steering, changing speeds. To watch them progress and achieve those key goals is so rewarding for everyone involved!”

Welcome to our newly added physioptheapy room!
Laurie Oliver assists student as they complete their morning cycle around the school. Pictured is the newly renovated Care and Development classroom.
The snoozlen room is located right next to the physiotherapy room. Noreen Pellatt works with a student.
Christina Pierobon, Noreen Pellatt, Jade Qiao, and Laurie Olivier work in the Care and Development classroom at Pius XXII.

White Buffalo Circles Program Instills Self-Respect and Self-Confidence in Classrooms

Fostering positive learning relationships and honouring Indigenous identity is one way our Board is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. Joel Agowissa, our Elementary Indigenous Support Worker, directs the White Buffalo Circles program, teaching both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and teachers about the history, beliefs and cultural traditions of Canadian Indigenous peoples.  Using the Anishinaabe cultural teachings as a foundation, this program gives all participating learners an insight into Anishinaabe culture. Joel has visited many of our classrooms this past month, instilling the belief that young people who have self-respect and self-confidence are better prepared to cope with negative influences and peer pressure.  

Joel Agowissa sits with the FDK classroom at St. Francis to teach them about the Original 7 Clans of the Ojibwa people. Holy Trinity attends classes on Indigenous teachings with Joel Agowissa.

Mental Health Space at St. Benedict creating more hopeful and happy students

Clinician Holly Graham working in the chapel which is currently the mental health space at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School.

At Sudbury Catholic, we have been working very hard to provide services for our students that will enhance their mental health and well-being.  Our focus is trying to provide students with easy access to supports offered in a very warm and non-threatening environment.  One such program is our Mental Health walk-in clinic offered both at St. Benedict Secondary School and St. Charles College. The mental health space is currently under renovation at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School in Sudbury, but Clinician Holly Graham says regardless of the location, the students need the support on a weekly basis.

Graham is the on-site Clinician at St. Benedict.  She says more than seventy-five students have been serviced since May 2016. Melissa Anderson, the Associate Director of Clinical Services with Child and Family Services says the organization was approached by the Sudbury Catholic District School Board in 2016 in an effort to explore projects that would support mental health services in the school setting.  

The project at St. Benedict started as an eight-week trial and has grown to two full days of support per week. 

Graham says the clients need help with anxiety, school, social and home challenges and she says “sometimes getting their problems off their chest makes them happier and more hopeful allowing them to turn their week around.”

Principal Laura Kuzenko has noticed the changes in the students in a short time. Kuzenko says “some mornings the students are waiting for the help due to something happening in their lives” and she is grateful for the support. 


Sudbury Catholic Schools welcome 2 new French interns!

Both St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School and St. Charles College are hosting teachers from France, who are assisting with teaching the French Immersion students at both schools. Elisa Genevet and Morgan Flinois have been selected to promote French language and culture to enrich the Immersion experience for our students. It is very important to us that our students are exposed to a variety of French models to further develop their proficiency in both French and English. 

Elisa has been working with students at St. Benedict Secondary while also enjoying the many wonderful sights that Greater Sudbury has to offer. Morgan arrived earlier this month from Lille, France and is excited to work with the French Immersion students at St. Charles College. We welcome them both to the Sudbury Catholic Community. 

Elisa Genevet at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School.

Morgan Flinois works with students at St. Charles College.

Get to know us!

This month, I am happy to feature James Suchoplas Special Education and ESL Teacher at St. Charles College. James works in the Care and Development classroom at SCC, where he ensures all of the students meet their unique developmental, physical and educational goals. The goal of the Care and Development program is to assist the students to move into a post-secondary program. James works with the other Educational Assistants in the classroom as well the physiotherapists and occupational therapists to develop curriculum goals on a daily and weekly basis. Having been a part of the program at Pius XII, James has seen notable success in the students as they move on to the SCC program. We thank James and all of our Care and Development teams for the difference they make each and every day!

“The Care and Development program here at St. Charles College is a vital component for our most vulnerable students. I work with a team of dynamic and passionate educational assistants and therapists to develop and implement a program and learning environment that meets the individual complex medical, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, sensory and academic needs of each of our students.  I am very blessed to be given the opportunity to work with a dedicated team and to know that our work positively impacts the quality of life for our students." J Suchoplas. Thanks James!

James Suchoplas with a student from the Care and Development program at SCC.

Innovation and a Growth Mindset
October 2017

The air is changing, the leaves are falling and our staff and students are working hard to accomplish new goals this month! As our year begins to take shape, I encourage everyone to think about the many blessings that we have.  One of those blessings is the opportunity to work in an amazing system which promotes and supports innovation and a growth mindset.  As I think about what to write in this month’s blog I am presented with a wonderful problem to try and decide what to highlight among the many amazing practices and activities.  That being said, this month I am going to focus on evidence to demonstrate how we are living out the strategic pathway of – We are called to promote innovation. This month I will also feature a new member of our SCDSB team, Alan Levesque, Manager of Facilities.  As always, if you have suggestions for future blogs let me know!

Leadership Day

Our school year began with a system Leadership Day! Senior Administration, Principals, Vice-Principals, Teachers and System Staff gathered together to analyze student data, identify our strengths and our needs and to plan how we can improve teaching and learning to make the 2017-2018 our best school year yet! It was amazing to be part of a collaborative learning opportunity with staff that is highly motivated, engaged, open to learning and creative in their approach. We had so much fun discussing with each other how to best meet the needs of our learners, and how each member of our well-rounded team helps to contribute to our goals every day.

Our day began by discussing what we were grateful for in and out of the classroom.  Pictured standing is Nicole Bédard, sharing with the team the importance of triangulating data.  Her passion for student learning was contagious.


Learning Commons

All four of our secondary schools now have amazing renovated library spaces called Learning Commons. Transforming the traditional library, each Learning Common is equipped with the latest technology including Green Screens, Ipads, laptops, GoPRO cameras, robotics such as Sphere-O bots and Ozobots and 3D Printers. The Learning Common promotes student collaboration, providing ample meeting spaces and outlets so that students may plug-in electronics as needed. The spaces are designed to accommodate both quiet and active spaces to meet the varying needs of students. Students can be found discussing, creating, studying, writing, drawing, building, meeting etc. Since completing our renovations and enhancing the programing, our learning commons are filled with students bringing a new vitality to our traditional libraries.  They have become the heart of the school – the place to be! I encourage staff and students alike to take advantage of the wonderful new Learning Hubs located at Bishop Alexander Carter, St. Benedict, St. Charles College and Marymount Academy!

Learning Common at Marymount Academy
Learning Common at St. Charles College

Learning Common at Bishop Alexander Carter

Learning Common at St. Benedict

Transforming our Classroom Spaces

It is so exciting to be part of a school board that is always looking to enhance our learning spaces to meet the needs of the 21st century student.  With a focus on flexible learning spaces that promote collaboration, flexibility and sociability, we are setting out to renovate our classroom spaces.  In our classrooms, you will find a variety of different desks and chairs, including flow desks, stand-up desks and various technologies.  Below, are some examples of our newly renovated spaces. 

Immaculate Conception Renovation
Immaculate Conception has undergone major renovations, completely altering the look and feel of the interior of the building. 7 classrooms went through major transformations. Each classroom now has flow desks. These desks are different from the traditional student desks as they fit into each other to create a collaborative and flexible learning environment!
Kindergarten Classrooms
Over the summer, St. Paul Catholic School had their Kindergarten classroom renovated. The construction improved the space to be more innovative and hands-on for our youngest learners! St. Paul is just one of our many elementary schools who have received renovated Kindergarten classrooms. Our Kindergarten classrooms  are bright and playful spaces that encourage an inquiry approach allowing for learning and growth for all!

Innovation Fund

During the last school year our Board initiated the Learning Innovation Project Proposal (LIPP), an opportunity for our staff to further develop the skills necessary in order to bring innovation for deeper learning and to create sustainable practices that align with the board’s mission, vision and strategic priorities. Through this program staff are invited to submit project proposals that encourage the development of the skills necessary to transform teaching and learning. We were thrilled at all of the proposals that came forward and were able to fund many of the projects last year and look forward to supporting other submissions this year.

Last Spring, Kyley McHugh, gr 4/5 teacher at St. James School, applied for a special LIPP grant in order to transform her classroom into a Kinesthetic Classroom. Kyley was awarded a $10,000 grant and transformed her classroom and her timetable using the philosophy and program outlined in “The Kinesthetic Classroom” by Lengel and Kuczala as well as “Ready, Set, Go! The Kinesthetic Classroom 2.0” by Kuczala and Lengel.

Research (Lengel/Kuczala 2010) shows there is a meaningful increase in academic achievement following exercise or physical activity. It also shows that movement allows for students to refocus and strengthen their ability to pay attention. Kyley wanted to provide students with the opportunity to experience an innovative kinesthetic learning experience. They are engaged in different types of movement and exercise throughout the day to help them stay engaged and focused thus improving academic performance. She is gathering data on their academic achievement and physical health, and will be sharing her successes with her colleagues throughout the year. She has already noticed a positive difference in her students’ engagement and behaviour. “My classroom is a result of the board’s Learning Innovative Project Proposal (LIPP). I wanted to make a difference in the lives of my students and through reading a lot of pedagogical articles and research, I found out that exercise improves physical and mental health as well as student engagement, focus and achievement. I can already observe and say that my students seem to be happier and are on task. Every day, we start with a 40 minute of intensivephysical exercise. Some of the students have expressed that there is a difference on the days they haven’t started out with Physical Education, that they feel less motivated and engaged.” K. McHugh




Get to Know us!

This month, I would like to introduce you to one of the newest members of our team, Alan Levesque. Alan is our new Manager of Facility Services, having started the position at the end of August. As Manager of Facilities, Alan works to ensure that the operations in our many schools and buildings run smoothly. He also has been learning about the ins and outs of our various large capital projects and our future plans. Alan was lucky enough to come in toward the end of the summer, seeing projects such as the Immaculate Conception construction come to life. He has been enjoying the challenge of his new role, and has loved learning about the culture of Sudbury Catholic Schools to determine needs and next steps! We are thrilled to have him on our team.

“I am truly excited to have joined a Facilities Services Team that is committed to providing safe, functional and innovative environments for students and staff.  As a team, we will continue to focus on providing timely and effective service to all stakeholders,” Alan Levesque, Manager of Facilities.




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Welcome to the Director's Corner!
September 2017

I am very excited to share my first blog and thank all those who have contributed, especially Carlee Vendramin, our Communications Officer. We hope that you will find this blog helpful in staying connected with all of the exciting work taking place in our Sudbury Catholic Schools.

As we begin a new school year, I would like to take some time to reflect on all of the exciting developments that took place this past summer! So much took place but here is a snapshot…

2017 Summer Learning Program
The 2017 Summer Learning Program was a success, with six camps packed full of eager participants! The campers took part in one of three programs: the summer literacy program, the summer numeracy program and the Indigenous arts and literacy program, enhancing and improving their reading and math skills. The camps were infused with the latest technology and each day started with a session of Taekwondo!

Visit to Kunming Jinguo Kindergarten Summer Camp in China

Alice Desormeaux and Lina Reale, Kindergarten teachers at St. Anne Elementary and Holy Cross Elementary schools respectively, had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Kunming Jinguo Kindergarten Summer Camp in China this past August! While there, the teachers participated in the camps, engaging with children aged 3 to 10 years old. They also interacted with the teachers and staff at Jinguo, offering a learning opportunity for all on best practices in the classroom.

Students from Hangzhuo, China also joined students from Sudbury Catholic Schools in August to attend a week-long summer camp! Sudbury Catholic School teachers taught the students each day at Holy Cross Elementary School. The participants also completed daily outings to famous Sudbury attractions such as Dynamic Earth. The students thoroughly enjoyed learning more about each other's culture and traditions throughout the camp experience!

Pictured here is Lina Reale completing a physical activity with students. Pictured here is Alice Desormeaux and participating students.

School Readiness Program

To help prepare our youngest learners, we partnered with Jubilee Heritage Family Resources to offer a School Readiness Program! This was a week-long program aimed to introduce children entering Kindergarten to the school and to work on school readiness skills. This program also allowed parents to gain greater understanding about our schools and to support their child in the exciting transition to schools. These little ones are now settling into our Kindergarten classes surrounded by our caring Early Learning Support Teams.


Lynsie Royer
Intensive Support Facilitator

Get to Know Us!

In this month’s post, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Lynsie Royer, an Intensive Support Facilitator at St. David Catholic Elementary School. This is a job embedded professional learning position which is part of our Learning Support Services Department.

Intensive Support Facilitators learn from teachers, each other, and specialists in the field of education collaborating on ideas and teachings to assess students that will help guide teacher practices.  Intensive Support Facilitators also support the implementation of new resources and collaborate with teachers to help meet their professional learning goals, the school improvement goals and the varying needs of students to support student achievement. The overall goal of this position is to increase student achievement in an innovative learning environment.

“As a teacher, I’m always learning from my students. With this job though, teachers are teaching each other. This new way of learning and training has changed the teaching practice in general, and has made me a better educator,” Lynsie Royer Intensive Support Facilitator at St. David Catholic Elementary School.


New Mission, Vision and Values

I have no doubt that the 2017-2018 School Year will be full of opportunity and growth for all. Throughout the past two years, our Board has undergone an in-depth consultation process to develop our multi-year plan for 2017-2021.Through on-line questionnaires, face-to-face discussions and conversations with students, staff and parents alike, we have developed a new path for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board. We proudly present our new mission, vision and values as follows:

Mission: To realize each student’s potential within our inclusive Catholic learning community by nurturing and developing their mind, body and spirit.

Vision: Leaders in Learning and Faith

Values: Faith – Respect – Community – Innovation – Learning – Modelling Jesus in the world

Strategic Pathways:

  1. We are called to strengthen our faith-based, inclusive and equitable community
  2. We are called to promote innovation
  3. We are called to advance leadership and learning for all.

I wish all our staff and students a wonderful start to their next adventures in learning. I know that each of you will accomplish great things over the course of the school year.

Keep an eye out for my next blog post in October!

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