School system is authentically Catholic

November 11, 2013

I am concerned with statements in the article: “New trustee wants to rattle some cages” in the Oct. 28 WCR.

Trustee Patricia Grell asks: “Are our schools authentically Catholic?” I would like to know how Grell is measuring the Catholicity in our schools?

How are our schools not Catholic when we look at our social justice accomplishments, the work of our chaplains, our inclusion of all students regardless of ability, our commitment to faith formation for students and staff, and our relationships with parishes.

Our students and their compassion and empathy towards others is a reflection of how Catholic we are.

Grell suggests that proposals for a Catholic education symposium as well as money for teachers to have a full sabbatical to study religious education at Newman Theological College were voted down by the board.

At the June 26, 2012 board meeting, the majority of trustees felt it would be more appropriate for the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association to organize such an event which would allow trustees across the province to reflect on this topic and the board passed a motion to that effect.

The resolution was approved at the ACSTA annual meeting and the symposium will be held Feb. 21-22 in Sherwood Park.

If we allow a few teachers a year to have a full sabbatical, as Grell proposes, this would decrease the number of teachers the district can support and it would directly impact students in the classroom.

Although full sabbaticals are not fiscally possible, the district has been generous in supporting teachers to study at Newman. The number of teachers with graduate diplomas in religious education, bachelor of religious education and master’s in religious education increases every year.

We are proud of the 14 masters in religious education graduates from Edmonton Catholic Schools this fall.

The Jasper Leadership Academy is an important professional development opportunity for administrators, senior staff and trustees. We spend approximately 15 hours in formal sessions over two and a half days. The cost per person is $625 for room and meals, and is comparable to other venues both in Edmonton and in other areas of Alberta.

Holding this event outside of Edmonton allows dedicated, uninterrupted time to come together as a group. This uninterrupted time is of immense value and helps foster a collaborative learning environment, build a shared vision and invite spiritual renewal.

Cindy Olsen
Trustee Ward 73
Edmonton Catholic Schools

Letter to the Editor – 11/25/13
Letter to the Editor – 11/25/13