WEYBURN – There is a deliberate emphasis on promoting the distinctive Catholic nature of the Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division, the board of trustees were told at their January meeting on Wednesday.
Religion coordinator Lynn Colquhoun provided a report on the ways Holy Family distinguishes itself as a Catholic school division.
“Every school division identifies itself in the community, and we permeate the Catholic values that we believe in through everything,” she said.
One distinctive fact is while Holy Family is the smallest school division in the province, in terms of enrolment, and in part due to the division having no high schools, they are the largest Catholic division in geographic area, serving four communities: Weyburn, Estevan, Radville and Wilcox.
“No other Catholic system serves four communities, very distinctively different communities,” Colquhoun added.
In addition, Holy Family sets a new theme each year, she noted, based on where the schools are at in development.
The school division begins things each year with prayer, and with new teacher orientation, and she noted, she will be doing orientation with several new teachers this week who are starting the year because of such factors as maternity or health leaves, the bulk of them in Estevan.
Colquhoun said part of this permeation of values is by the board themselves, as they set their budget, adding, “Your dollars are put towards achieving that goal, and I can see you’re on a very good track so far.”
She gave some examples of how budgetary items help promote their Catholic nature, pointing out they send out the annual Christmas card, using student artwork, distributed throughout the division and the province; they provide for gifts for staff appreciation week in February; staff awards night; and for scholarships for Holy Family students who have done well at the high school level.
Staff appreciation week will be marked in Holy Family on Feb. 12-18, with the theme, “Champions of Learning”, said Education Director Gwen Keith. The staff awards night will be held on Friday, May 12, at McKenna Hall in Weyburn.
“It’s good that you highlight these things. It’s part of what we do,” said trustee Rocky Sidloski. “It doesn’t always feel like anything special.”
“When it comes to the budget and the daily operations, our administration is on top of that all the time. We as a board don’t get involved in the operations every day, but we know where we’re going,” said board chair Bruno Tuchscherer.
He also pointed out that in relation to teacher orientation, not all of their teachers are Catholic, but all are given the same orientation for teaching in a Catholic school regardless.
Keith also pointed out the Education ministry does not provide any extra funding for the division’s Catholic features and services, but this comes out of the normal level of funding to run their schools.
Colquhoun pointed out that board chair Tuchscherer is now the provincial chairman of the Saskatchewan Catholic School Boards Association, and Keith chairs the education committee, comprised of all of the education directors of Catholic school boards, so there is leadership and input into the Catholic education system from Holy Family. Colquhoun also chairs the committee of religious education coordinators for the province.