Monthly Archives: April 2020

Nutrition for Learning Food Truck

The Nutrition for Learning Pop-Up Foodtruck will be in the area on Friday May 1st; at the following locations and times:

St. Dominic Savio Catholic School 10 am
AR Kaufman School 10:30 am
St. John’s Catholic School 11 am
King Edward Public School 11:30 am

Stop by the truck to pick up some FREE healthy snacks!

Final Boundary Decision Details

Good evening everyone,

This past Monday, the Board of Trustees made their final decision on the St. John’s Boundary Review. Please click on the link below to read about all of the specific details. Letters to individual families will be coming out soon.

St John Boundary Review Letter Apr 2020

Be Well and Stay Safe;

Mr. Paul Galdding

Great Info for Review with Students from Tools for Life

Week 2- Tools For Life- Knowing Your Feelings

Dear Parents/ Guardians:

This week, your child learned about Knowing Your Feelings. A copy of the slide deck may be found here: Please take this opportunity to discuss what your child learned through the following questions. We are sure you will be impressed with how much information your child can share. Please reassure your child that all feelings are okay; feelings are not good or bad, they are just our body’s way of letting us know when we are experiencing something,

Your child is learning that feelings are okay but how we choose to share our feelings is something we need to practice.

  1. Can you name three feelings you learned about this week?
  2. What are uncomfortable feelings?
  3. What are comfortable feelings?
  4. What feelings did you have today?
  5. What is belly breathing?

We hope that you will encourage your child to share their feelings in appropriate ways. The more we practice talking about our feelings the better we can get along together.


Mr. Shanahan & Ms. Murphy

Additional Resources:

How are you Peeling     Feelings/ Emotion Song            Guess and Learn Emotions

The Feelings Book         Emotions- Story Bots                 Reading Rainbow- Feelings


Very Important Info and Updates from the School Board

April 23rd, 2020

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

It has been a few weeks since we have connected, so we thought it important to offer you a few important updates as we continue to navigate this time of school closure and distance learning.  Let us begin by saying that we truly hope that you and your families are well and that you are finding ways to stay healthy and positive.  As an Easter people we pray that the hope of the season is alive in your homes.  But these are unsettling times for everyone and we believe it is absolutely OK to feel that you are not OK.  We know that each of us has a unique reality and that will position us differently in terms of our ability to walk through this time and to support our children’s learning journey right now.

For the past three weeks we have begun the journey into Educator-led learning and it could not have been done without the tremendous efforts of so many.  We are most appreciative to our staff who have worked so hard to put provisions in place so that we could reach all of our students.    We hope that every student continues to have contact with their teacher(s) and that each one knows that we care for and value each of them.  Your teachers are truly amazing and they are definitely here for you.  We will reiterate that our most pressing concern remains student well being – both mentally and physically.  As we have said before, it is not “business as usual”, but we do hope that students are connecting with their teachers as this is our “new normal” for the time being.

We wanted to provide you updates on a few different topics of interest to you and your children.  Know that this is a rapidly changing landscape and with many uncertainties, and as there are many players to both consult and work with, as well as others who provide us vital direction or information, sometimes full clarity takes a little time.

As always, on our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WCDSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found.  We also encourage you to continue to visit our WCDSBPray@Home webpage as well as our FAQ page.  You can also follow the #STEAMDays hashtag where lots of fun and engaging activities are being posted.  With that said, a few updates:

Length of the closure: 

We are awaiting direction from the government and Ministry of Education on this point.  We expect it will be forth coming soon.  While it is unlikely we will be returning to our buildings in the short term, full clarity about our return or what that might look like when we do return, may still be a while in coming.

Expectations During Distance Learning:

We realize there are different realities for all of our students and all of our educators.  For that reason, each student and teacher is held to the guidelines the Ministry has provided for minimum hours.  To review what we have shared previously – the suggested hours reflect both the time a teacher might use in providing formal instruction or guidance, as well as the time the student will spend completing the learning task or activity.  There is not a firm expectation that all students have to be “online” at the exact same time, although in some cases that might happen on occasion.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Equity has been a significant consideration in this new landscape as not all children are equally positioned to succeed to the best of their ability when learning from home.  We also know that students learning from home can place added pressure on a parent who may be juggling their own work or family related responsibilities.  For these reasons, assessment in elementary is taking the form of feedback or formative assessment, rather than grading.  Students can benefit and continue progressing through this feedback.  For our students in secondary, they will receive both formative and summative assessments – that is feedback and grades, but teachers will be working to support a student’s best outcome and will not be penalized if the current circumstances detract from their ability to succeed.  Marks will not drop below that attained on March 13th, when schools were declared closed.  There is however every opportunity for a mark to improve, and for learning and achievement to be enhanced.

Report Cards:

There will be a report card in June for all students and they will contain grades.  As noted above, those grades will be largely informed by the marks students had attained prior to March 13th, but there is every opportunity for those grades to improve based on any work submitted during this time of distance learning, if there is evidence of growth and/or improved performance.  In the case of graduating students, midterm marks were sent to the Universities and Colleges to assist with post-secondary admission.


We know that graduation is a significant event in the life of a student and his/her family. For this reason, this has been a difficult decision.  Our secondary schools have no option but to postpone graduation ceremonies as a result of venues not being available to us.  As you can appreciate secondary graduations are often large events and so they are not easily accommodated in alternate settings.  We have made the decision that all of our secondary schools will hold their graduations in the fall.  This will in no way impact a student’s ability to actually graduate from high school should they have met the requirements.  We are still in the process of finalizing our decision in relation to grade 8 graduations and will communicate that information as soon as a final decision has been achieved.

Thought Exchange – Your Voice

As most of you will be aware, we recently engaged our stakeholders in an exercise of asking them what questions or concerns they had after one-two weeks of distance learning.  Our survey closed on Tuesday April 21st in the evening and we are now starting to unpack that feedback.  We are thrilled that you took us up on this invitation.  We had just under 2000 participants and approximately 37,000 ratings from all our stakeholders.  We know that at a very high level elementary parents are expressing thoughts about the home learning environment and the types of tasks students are assigned, about feedback and assessment, and about equity.  Secondary parents are sharing thoughts about the nature of student and educator contact, and also about feedback and assessment, as well as issues related to equity.  There are roughly 14 sub-themes in the Thought Exchange feedback that we have identified and there is much more analysis we can do, and it will help to inform our thinking and actions moving forward.  A high level report on parent feedback is available at these two links, but much more will be shared in the weeks to come, that will map to themes and the take-aways from the feedback.

Parent/Guardian for an Elementary Student

Parent/Guardian for a Secondary Student

Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Waterloo Region Public Health.  As a local and global community – we have never been more connected by an event or issue and now is the time to do everything we can to ensure we can soon return to life as we knew it not so long ago.  As an Easter people we believe in the power of the resurrection and the promise of new life.  Certainly this signs of the season affirm that promise.  Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether.



Loretta Notten                                                            Bill Conway

Director of Education                                                  Chair of the Board






Update and info

Good evening St. John’s Community,

I am writing with a number of info and update items. We hope you are all safe and healthy at home and we hope you are taking advantage of this extra time to spend with family. We also hope that your children are taking full advantage of the learning opportunities that are being provided. The teachers and support staff are working very hard to provide the best programming possible under these circumstances.

  1. Families who received a loan of one of the school’s Chromebooks for distant led learning are reminded to make sure that the children are taking great care of these device. Families are responsible for the safe return of these devices when we get back to school.  If you are having any trouble please communicate with your child’s teacher by email or through your class web page.
  2. Boundary Review – the final meeting for the discussion and decision on the St. John’s Boundary Review by the School Board Trustees is on Monday Evening; April 27th at 6:00 pm.  The meeting will be streamed live on You tube and will be available to anyone who would like to tune in to the link: (These meetings tend to be lengthy and many other topics are discussed; based on the placement of the Boundary Review on the agenda, discussion on the review will likely start between 6:30 and 7:00pm.)
  3. Please note that The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit is available for families who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. You can apply for the $2000.00 assuming you meet a few basic criteria. Here is the link that includes all of the details:  agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html
  4. The next meeting of the St. John’s Catholic School Council is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28th at 6:30 p.m. As a result of the current State of Emergency resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic, this meeting will be held remotely on the Google Meet platform; all council members will be sent the link to the meeting on Tuesday.
  5. We are pleased to announce that His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins will be celebrating the province-wide Catholic Education Week Mass scheduled for Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. EST. All students, families, staff and the broader Catholic community are invited to participate “virtually” in this celebration of the Eucharist by clicking on the link at the scheduled time:
  6. At this time of the year we are looking ahead to next year for class creation and organization. If your family is moving out of our areas and your child(ren) will not be returning to St. John’s in the fall we would like to know as soon as possible.  Please advise Mrs. Miller if your child(ren) will not be returning to St. John’s for the 2020-2021 school year. Her email address is   NOTE – this is independent of the boundary review. Once the decision is made about the boundaries for next year, everyone will be notified about the school that all of the children are to attend.
  7. Last weekend there was a very tragic incident in Nova Scotia; if your children have heard about it and have had concerns or are upset, the following chart may be helpful.

Take Care and Stay Safe!

Mr. Paul Gladding

Online Social Skills from our CYCW staff

Good Afternoon Parents,

Our support staff is doing everything they can to help and support the teachers and students. This evening I present the first installment of our Tools For Life series, the CYCW staff at the school will be posting this learning for your children each week. These are great life skills that will equip your child for current and future success.

Have a good weekend,



Week 1 – Tools for Life- Active Listening

Dear St. John’s Parents/ Guardians:

This week, your child learned about being an active listener.

The complete slide show is here.

Please take this opportunity to discuss what your child learned through the following questions.

We are sure you will be impressed with how much information your child can share.

  1. What is a listening body?
  2. Why is it important to be a good listener?
  3. What should you be thinking about when someone is speaking to you?
  4. How does it make you feel when someone really listens to you?
  5. What is square breathing?

We hope that you will encourage your child to use a listening body at home, as well as at school.


Mr. Shanahan & Ms. Murphy

Child & Youth Care Workers – St. John’s

Additional Resources:

Social Sprouts Story Time: Why Should I Listen?

Little Elephant Listens  The Listening Game | Cosmic Kids Zen Den – Mindfulness for kids

Listen And Move    Listening and Attention: Guess the Sound you Hear


Survey for Parents/Students and the Pop up Snack Truck

Good evening everyone,

We hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend with your families. Obviously connections with extended families are not possible; thanks to some online platforms, most people got the opportunity to talk with special people that they could not see face to face.

Thought exchange survey – the board has launched a Thought Exchange today with our community.  We are hoping that staff, parents and students will offer us feedback on our response to COVID19 and the changes we have had to make as a school system. Please check out the survey


Nutrition For Learning POP UP SNACKS

The Pop Up Snack Truck will be back in our area on Friday this week (April 17th), Please go to visit the truck at the following locations/time for some free healthy snacks:

St Dominic Savio Catholic School and King Edward Public School at 10 am
St John’s Catholic School at 10:30 am

God Bless.

Mr. Paul Gladding

Check in and Easter Wishes

Good morning everyone,

We have reached the end of our first ‘official’ week of teacher guided learning at home; we hope everyone is becoming more and more comfortable with this process. We know it is not easy and it is completely different from what we are all used to, we are focusing on being patient and figuring it all out together. Please let your teachers know if you have questions. Please note that this is our new and temporary normal for school; all students are expected to be participating.

The staff and translators have been working very hard to make sure we reach everyone over the past couple of week and we have supplied devices to students that need them. The last of the devices are being picked up today and going forward this opportunity is finished. After today the school will not be open until we receive further direction from the board and the province.

On behalf of the entire staff and Father Cruz, I want to wish everyone a happy and blessed Easter. Please note that Father is live streaming services from the church.

Take care and stay healthy!

Mr. Paul Gladding



Easter Prayer

Lord our God, we thank and praise you for the greatness of your love, shown to us through Jesus Christ, who was willing to die for us, to bring us into your family, and to bless us with the life that lasts forever.

We thank you for the new life we celebrate at Easter; help us to keep growing in the life that never comes to an end.

We pray for our families, our friends, and all those we care about: fill them with hope and happiness.

We pray for people who are unhappy today: those who are hungry, or homeless, those who fear violence or harm; may they find protection and peace.

We pray for those who are ill; or facing difficulties: may they find hope in the cross of Christ, and be strengthened by the knowledge of your love.

Lord, accept our prayers, and be with us now and for ever.

Snack Truck in the Area on Tuesday April 7th

Good evening everyone,

The Nutrition for Learning Snack Truck in the area on Tuesday April 7th at the following locations and times.

Kind Edward Public School 11 am
St John’s Catholic School 11:30 am
AR Kaufman Public School 12 noon

Chromebook availability

Good afternoon Parents,

As you know, we have gone through an exhaustive process of contacting all parents to determine the tech needs are in each home. This was followed by running a distribution of Chromebooks at the school for during the day on Friday and Saturday. We are now have follow up requests coming in from families that said they were fine for devices when we made contact earlier. While it is possible that another opportunity for pick ups may happen it is not scheduled at this time; the reason for this is that no-one is supposed to be leaving their homes nor making contact with others. We followed a very specific protocol on Friday and Saturday for the pick ups.


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