Sudbury Catholic District School Board
October 01, 2021

New School Year, New Beginnings

Director's Corner

September is no stranger to new beginnings. It brings about new opportunities, a renewed excitement, and energy that creates an atmosphere that is bursting with life. It’s exhilarating to experience, and we couldn’t be happier to be back this fall to embrace another September as a school board community. Our theme this year is Back to School with Gratitude, Hope, and Success for All. To support our system in a mentally healthy return to school we are all reminded of the following:

  • We need to work with compassion, and empathy. We need to take care of ourselves so that we are better able to support one another, and our students, with compassion, understanding and empathy.
  • We need to acknowledge the varied COVID-19 experiences of staff and students during the time of school closures. Each person will carry a unique story as we return to school, and this story will impact the way each of us approaches this time of transition.
  • Schools are an excellent place to promote and protect student mental health. Together, we welcome students warmly, build their mental health self-care and social-emotional skills, reduce stigma, and encourage help-seeking. 
  • We have strong mental health foundations to build on. Now more than ever, we need to leverage the knowledge and skills of our team and the work we have been doing within our mental health strategy. Our board is well-positioned to support student mental health and well-being through the return to school.

There are many unknowns and we don’t have all the answers, but we know that a challenge this big requires us to work together.  All system and school leaders, educators, support staff, school mental health professionals, parents/families, and community partners have a shared responsibility to prepare and support students for the return to school. Let us always be there for one another.

In this first blog of the new school year, I want to highlight the opening of our grade 7 and 8 wing at Bishop Alexander Carter Secondary School. This is a very exciting time, as now all of our secondary schools offer Grade 7 and 8 programming which brings so many new opportunities for our students. Special recognition for making this possible is extended to our Board of Trustees, Alan Levesque (Manager of Facilities), James Morgan (Facilities Administrator), Steve Odette (Head Custodian – BST) and the custodial team at BAC, Gerry Robillard (Manager of IMS), Ron LeClair (IMS team), Darren Smith (IMS team), Tara Large (Procurement Coordinator) and both the School Leadership and the Senior Administrative Team. Thank you as well to our teaching and support staff, as they are the difference makers in making such an endeavour a success.

Bishop Alexander Carter Secondary School Welcomes Grade 7 and 8 Students

On Tuesday, September 28th, 2021, the official opening of the new Grade 7 & 8 wing was held. The occasion was highlighted with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to honour this event. To open the celebration we were greeted by student Jade Prentice and Grandmother Sandra Corbiere who invited us to smudge. The celebration also included opening remarks from Principal Stephanie Venturi, Chaplaincy Lead Jennifer Geddes, and Chair Michael Bellmore, along with a very impactful prayer and song by Grandmother Sandra Corbiere and blessing by Deacon Steve. It was a beautiful ceremony to welcome amazing staff, students and families to the Gator community.

Ribbon Cutting with students C. Rideout and A. Charron, along with Director of Education J. Bénard

Teachers & Staff

The new wing brings further advantages for modern learning. Specifically, Bishop’s newly added technological resources provide further opportunities to enhance teaching and learning.  

“The new technology that we have in our classroom is wonderful. We’ve been given stunning, new Chromebooks which is incredible because it adds excellent resources for students to grow and expand their knowledge.” Says Grade 8 Teacher, Jody O’Daiskey.

We’re proud of all our educators for embracing this new opportunity and seeing the potential it has to further enhance teaching and learning. In addition to the technology, this new wing offers facilities that according to Bishop’s Principal, Stephanie Venturi provide a “precious opportunity for us to enhance learning in all areas of the curriculum and to help our students achieve the 21st-century skills they require to be successful”.


But what have Bishop’s newest students enjoyed most at their new school?! 

  • New lockers
  • A beautiful, newly renovated gym 
  • Larger classrooms
  • Club and sport participation 
  • Comfortable uniforms with many options
  • New laptops
  • Big screen TVs in all classrooms
  • Creative learning opportunities 
  • Awesome staff
  • And so much more. 

Particularly, many students expressed their enthusiasm towards being able to participate in Bishop’s intramural volleyball league at lunchtime in the school’s modern gymnasium.  

Many people in our community have found themselves adjusting to a bustling schedule of school activities, but as one student puts it “even though it’s a different school, it still feels the same.” 

This comment reinforces what is really at the heart of what we do… our students. 

No matter where they are, at SCDSB we want them to feel like they’re at home. Even though it’s a new experience and a new setting, it’s filled with the same love, high-quality teaching, and helpful support we have at every school. 

As we begin this new school year, some of us may have new classes, friends, and educational pathways we are discovering, and others could be finding themselves learning, growing, and teaching in a new place entirely. Regardless of where we are, we should always remember that we are a part of one family at SCDSB. Let us embrace change as this promotes growth and learning and allows us to be Leaders in Learning and Faith, which is at the heart of what we do. Wishing everyone another successful school year.

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