The Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division is excited now that the school year is underway.
The division’s theme for this year is “A Community of Story: Putting Flesh on our Faith,” and director of education Gwen Keith said that concepts of story and celebrating the little and big wins have given the division a wonderful start to the year.
Principals attended a retreat in Wilcox to look at the direction they’re taking, and moving the schools forward, with an opening mass that also involved Athol Murray College of Notre Dame and four speakers.
“We had stories that exist in the excellence of that town, whether it’s rink stories, or the story of the church or the story of the school,” said Keith.
St. Augusta School in Wilcox is celebrating 10 years of being part of Holy Family.
All of the schools opened on Sept. 4 and were in great shape. Some needed a little more work than others, but Keith is pleased with what they have accomplished this summer.
Student numbers are up in Holy Family this year. As of the first day of school on Sept. 4, there were 1,370 students in the division, which was up 50 from the figures for Sept. 30, 2017.
“It moves around each day a little bit,” said Keith. “We thought we would be up students. We didn’t think we’d be up that high, but we’ll see whether we hold them until the end of September.”
The two schools in the Estevan area were about what Holy Family expected. They were at 369 students for Sacred Heart School/École Sacré Coeur, as of Sept. 4, which was a couple more than expected. They were up about 15 students at St. Mary’s School to 285 enrolled.
“We expected stability and we got it,” said Keith. “It’s always interesting with the St. Mary’s crew, because of the English as another language crew. Sometimes you get a surprise there with how they come in, because families are tight and they talk to other families.”
Ryan Jutra is the new principal at St. Mary’s School, replacing Mary Ellen Barreth, who came in last fall on an interim basis. Jutra was previously a vice-principal at the Midale Central School.
Holy Family will continue to place a high priority on reading, while emphasizing writing and math, which are on the priority list for the Ministry of Education.
“What we do is we look at the student data in terms of where of our students are at, and strategically support the schools, principals and individual teachers to helping their students move forward in that area,” said Keith.
As a Deep Learning school division, Holy Family is looking to teach what Keith called “21st century global competencies” in students. The division is being strategic about addressing them in a way that will create more tangible and concrete skills when students leave the division at a local and global level.