The York Catholic District School Board welcomes students back to school

The York Catholic District School Board is preparing to welcome over 55,000 Kindergarten to Grade 12 students to its 105 schools this September.  Elementary school students will start classes on Tuesday, September 8th. High school students in Grades 10-12, and students in Grades 8-12 at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic College School in Keswick, will begin classes on Wednesday, September 9th.

A Grade 9 orientation day called, “Getting Ready for High School” was piloted last year at York Catholic high schools and will return this year on Tuesday, September 8th. An adapted program for Grade 7 students entering Our Lady of the Lake CCS will also take place the same day.

“The high school orientation day was a tremendous success last year,” says Elizabeth Crowe, Chair of the Board. “This year, we are looking forward to building on last year’s success so that students can begin the school year with a great start. The orientation day provides students with a warm welcome to their new school and helps students become familiar with their school’s routines and surroundings before classes officially start the following day.”

The orientation day helps students successfully transition to high school. During the orientation day, students will participate in a Liturgical celebration and in a series of fun and informative activities. Students will have the opportunity to meet their teachers, support staff, and student leaders.

This year, the York Catholic District School Board continues to expand its French Immersion program by introducing it at St. Marguerite D’Youville CES in Richmond Hill and St. Thomas Aquinas CES in Keswick. This will bring the total number of Catholic elementary schools offering the program to 14 across York Region.

This September, the Markham Sports Dome, an indoor sports facility at Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy will open. The new facility was constructed thanks to a partnership agreement between First Service Tennis Management (FSTM), which covered the construction costs, and the York Catholic District School Board, which provided the land. The state of the art, year-round sports facility will benefit both students at the Markham school, as well as the local community which can book the facility through FSTM after school, and on weekends.

A new Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program for the Non-Profit sector will be introduced at Father Michael McGivney CA. This program is the first of its kind in the York Catholic District School Board and will focus on the growing non-profit sector of the economy that includes charitable and social justice organizations in which 21st century students have shown keen interest. SHSM programs help students focus on a particular career path that matches their skills and interests, while they gain experience and earn their high school diploma. For the 2015-16 school year, the York Catholic District School Board will offer 19 SHSM programs in the Arts and Culture, Business, Health and Wellness, Information and Communication Technology, Manufacturing, Transportation, Sports, and Non-Profit sectors.

Also at the secondary level, the York Catholic District School Board will increase the number of e-Learning courses it offers from 18 to 21. e-Courses help meet the diverse needs and learning styles of all students, while providing flexibility and 24/7 access to learning.

“We look forward to welcoming our students and families back for the 2015-2016 school year,” says Patricia Preston, Director of Education.  “Our focus on student achievement and well-being is at the forefront of all we do, and is supported through the offering of a number of specialized programs to help students succeed. We are particularly proud that our Board has the highest graduation rate of any English-language board in the province. It is our programs, in collaboration with dedicated staff, which have contributed to this success. York Catholic students make us proud and we feel a great sense of fulfillment helping our students develop a sense of purpose and vocation.”