Families gather to mark opening of new school, Pope Francis CES in Kleinburg

Parents, students, school staff and officials from the York Catholic District School Board marked the opening of York Catholic's newest school, Pope Francis Catholic Elementary School, on September 6, 2016 with a prayer, and brief flag-raising and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Inaugural Principal, Anthony Arcadi, raised the Canadian flag at the school for the first time, with the assistance of some of the school's students. YCDSB Director of Education, Patricia Preston, School Superintendent Mary Battista, and Vice Chair of the Board, Elizabeth Crowe were among the Board officials who marked the special occasion and welcomed families to the new school.

The 65,015 square foot school, located at 15 Secord Avenue in Kleinburg will serve approximately 250 students from Kindergarden to Grade 8. It is the first English-language school to open in the Greater Toronto Area named after Pope Francis.

Pope Francis CES features 6 kindergarten classrooms specially designed for play-based learning, a music room, reflection room, and a Special Education classroom. All classrooms are equipped with smart boards, which align with the Board's focus on technology.  As the top energy performing school board in the province, Pope Francis CES is designed with environmentally friendly features including lighting, which is controlled by occupancy and daylight sensors, and water bottle filling stations to conserve water use. The school is designed to provide barrier free access to both floors, and signage and tactile warning devices assist the visually impaired.

"We are very pleased to provide our Kleinburg families with a Catholic school in their community, and look forward to welcoming students to our newest school on September 6th," says Carol Cotton, Chair of the Board. "We were delighted when the Ministry of Education granted funding for a school in Kleinburg in 2014. Since then, our staff, together with our partners, have worked tirelessly to see this school built. As we journey through the Year of Mercy, as declared by the Holy Father, I am confident that Pope Francis CES will be a place of mercy that inspires all students to learn and grow."