Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools
|Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools|
|Type and location|
|Location||6 St. Vital Avenue
St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
|Chair of the board||Rosaleen McEvoy|
|Budget||CA$70.2 million (2012/2013)|
|Students and staff|
|Elected trustees||Dave Caron
The oldest of the former school divisions was St. Albert Roman Catholic Public District No. 3, formed in 1885, and later known as St. Albert Catholic School District No. 3. A legacy of teaching began in the district when the Sisters of Charity (founded by Ste. Marguerite d'Youville in 1737 and more commonly known as the Grey Nuns) arrived in St. Albert from Lac Ste. Anne in 1863. Construction of a small convent that served as schoolhouse and hospital when needed was completed in 1864. Students were taught primarily by the Sisters of Charity. Instruction in French, English, grammar, mathematics, and Catechism was carried out however it was their philosophy of practical, moral, and religious learning that was emphasized. Boys learned agriculture, woodworking, and carpentry while girls concentrated on sewing, cooking, and gardening.
The Thibault Roman Catholic Public School District No. 35 dates back to the late 1800s. The district was named after Father Thibault who established a mission and school near Morinville. In 1892, the first Board of Trustees administered a humble school that, unfortunately, closed after just a few months. Seven years later, Father Jolicoeur revived the district, and it operated in a modest form until 1904. The Thibault district began to thrive when the Filles de Jesus congregation established its order in Morinville. The close relationship between the school district and religious order continued for many decades. Just a couple of years before the regionalization, Thibault School District opened Morinville Community High School.
Legal School District No. 1738 was established in 1907, and the first school was built just south of the town. The influence of the Grey Nuns was evident in the district. Sister Marguerite Marie Côté served many years as principal and sole high school teacher. Tragedy struck in the mid-1940s when the school house burned to the ground. in 1952, the school building still in use (after numerous additions and renovations) was erected. Although French immersion was offered for the first time in 1980, Legal had been offering special advanced French classes in the decades prior. In 1993, the district dissolved its high school and bused students to Morinville.
In 1994, discussions began among the three school districts on regionalization. On January 1, 1995 all three formerly independent school jurisdictions began to operate under the corporate name Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division No. 29.
During the time as a division between January 1, 1995 to June 20, 2012 the 17 schools operated in the communities of St. Albert, Morinville and Legal. The addition of a new elementary school in the community of Deer Ridge opened in August 1998 and its namesake, Jack Nearing, was a former superintendent. French Immersion continued to be strengthened in all communities during this period with 6 schools offering either single track or dual track language (English & French) instruction in their schools.
The status of the division as “Catholic Public” met with some scrutiny and confusion among public and government. In the fall of 2010 a challenge to provide secular education in the community of Morinville was raised. To fully address this, new legislation titled Bill 4, was introduced on February 22, 2012 to change the status of the division to a Roman Catholic Separate School District and afford it the same rights and status of all other Catholic systems in the province. This change in legislation allowed for a public school provider to offer a secular education choice in the Town of Morinville and Legal. The St. Albert and Sturgeon Valley School Districts Establishment Act passed during the spring Legislative session and was proclaimed by the Lieutenant Governor on May 31, 2012.
On July 1, 2012 the legislation came into effect and the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools legal name changed to Greater St. Albert Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 734. The district continued to operate under the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools name. All schools under the previous division infrastructure remained except Georges P. Vanier School in Morinville which was reassigned by the Minister of Education to Sturgeon School Division for the provision of public secular education. At the same time, St. Albert Protestant became the public school provider in the City of St. Albert and also received a name change to reflect their new status as the public board.
With the new Roman Catholic Separate School status in the region, existing non-operating 4 by 4 districts of Cardiff and Cunningham were now included in the new district’s area.
- Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools formed in 1995 after the amalgamation of three historic school jurisdictions. We are the 4th largest Catholic jurisdiction in Alberta.
- Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools was the first jurisdiction to offer a cyber school. St. Gabriel High School marks 14 years of success providing online learning opportunities for Alberta and overseas students.
- Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools was the first jurisdiction in Alberta to offer the highly acclaimed Learning Through the Arts program developed by the Royal Conservatory of Music.
2013 - 2014 School Year
- Superintendent: Mr. David Keohane
- Schools: 16 located in 3 municipalities (Morinville, Legal & St. Albert) with 1 outreach location (St. Albert)
- Students: 6000
- Teachers: 378 (371 in schools + 7 in district operations)
- Total Staff: 579 (552 in schools + 27 in district operations)
- Trustees: 7 (4 in St. Albert ward; 2 in Morinville ward; and 1 in Legal ward)
- Board Chair: Mrs. Joan Crockett
- Budget: $67.2 million
Board of Trustees
- Dave Caron – St. Albert Ward
- Joan Crockett – St. Albert Ward, Board Chair
- Serena Shaw – St. Albert Ward
- Rosaleen McEvoy – St. Albert Ward, Board Chair
- Cathy Proulx - Legal Ward
- Noreen Radford – Morinville Ward, Vice-Chair
- Brendan Kaup – Morinville Ward
- Diverse Learners and Student Supports
- Faith Education
- French Immersion
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
- Learning Through the Arts (FAME)
- Power UP2Learn
- Sports Academy
- Albert Lacombe School
- Bertha Kennedy Catholic Community School
- Ecole Father Jan
- Ecole Marie Poburan
- J.J. Nearing Catholic Elementary School
- Neil M. Ross Catholic School
- Vital Grandin Catholic School
- Richard S. Fowler Junior High School
- Vincent J. Maloney Catholic Junior High School
- Ecole Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d’Youville
- St. Albert Catholic High School
- St. Gabriel High School
- Greater St. Albert Sports Academy
- Legal School
- Ecole Notre Dame Elementary
- Georges H. Primeau Middle School
- Morinville Community High School
Alleged human rights violations
In October, 2009 it was reported that a man formerly employed by GSACRD had filed a human rights complaint against the district. The man, Jan Buterman, claimed that in 2008 he had been removed from the district's substitute teaching list after he declared his intention to transition from a female to male. In a letter to Buterman dated October 14, 2008 the division's deputy superintendent, Steve Bayus stated "Since you made a personal choice to change your gender, which is contrary to Catholic teachings, we have had to remove you from the substitute teacher list." As of October 15, 2009, the Alberta Human Rights Commission had accepted Buterman's complaint.
2011 Morinville controversy
One anomaly of the school system in Alberta is that the Town of Morinville has only a public Catholic high school (part of the Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division), and no secular or Protestant high schools of any kind, when the surrounding Sturgeon County, is a part of the public Sturgeon School Division. This led, in 2011, for non-Catholic parents to start an advocacy campaign to secularize education in Morinville.
- "Quick Facts". Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "Budget Report For The Year Ending August 31, 2010" (PDF). Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools. 2009-11-30. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "Teacher loses job for changing gender," Edmonton Journal - http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/Teacher+loses+changing+gender/2059774/story.html
- Copy of Letter to Mr. Buterman - http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/www.edmontonjournal.com/news/2059641.bin
- "Transgender teacher case goes to conciliation," Edmonton Journal - http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/Transgender+teacher+case+goes+conciliation/2103870/story.html
- Sturgeon School Division
- "In an Alberta town, parents fight for a secular education". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). March 5, 2011.