Video Updates from our Chief Superintendent
Dr. Bryan Szumlas is a familiar face at Calgary Catholic. He has been with the district for more than 30 years and most recently served as area director for schools in north central Calgary and Airdrie. He has also served as a teacher, assistant principal, science supervisor, vice principal, principal, supervisor of teaching and learning and director with Instructional Services.
Dr. Szumlas graduated from the University of Calgary (B.Ed., M.Ed., Ed.D.) and has presented at local, provincial, national and international levels. He is well known for having chaired the Alberta Assessment Consortium and for his work on mentorship. “I am honoured to work alongside the many talented staff members in our district and to lead Calgary Catholic in the next chapter of providing excellence in Catholic education."
We are blessed to have more than 5,300 staff members supporting our students and district. I recently had the opportunity to connect with Michelle Hayden, a diverse learning teacher at St. Mary’s High School. Michelle is retiring this year and is currently our longest-serving employee. She has been part of our CCSD family for nearly 45 years! We thank Michelle for her service, as well as all of this year’s retirees for their dedication to providing excellence in Catholic education. May faith, hope and love continue to guide your next chapter. Congratulations and happy retirement!
June is National Indigenous History Month and our district is proud to join Canadians from coast to coast to coast to learn about, reflect on and celebrate Indigenous history, people, cultures and contributions.
Indigenous Education is one of our four board priorities. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Cynthia Launiere-Zielke, our supervisor of Indigenous Education, about this priority and how we can support truth and reconciliation efforts this month and year-round.
We recently gathered at St. Mark School to bless their updated facility and community. The renovation blessing also provided a meaningful opportunity to recognize the contributions of local and provincial officials, architects, contractors and the school district.
Today I discuss CCSD's annual Art Walk with Holly Schile, now director of arts and culture. Every year since 1995, each of our schools choose one piece of student artwork to be showcased on the walls at Central Office and the Diocese of Calgary. The chosen pieces are on display for one year. In fact, this district project is also known as Canada's largest children's art gallery as it is the only collection of children's artwork that changes annually.
Today I discuss Ash Wednesday and the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving with Father Adrian Martens.
Our Racial Justice Committee's Black History Month subcommittee discusses this month's learning opportunities and how we can recognize and celebrate Black history and culture in our schools and at our sites.
Buddy the Elf and Santa are visiting kindergarten classes to read the Christmas Story. Santa also reminds us that every year, the candy cane reminds him of why we celebrate Christmas...because a candy cane is really a J which represents Jesus!
In today's vlog, I talk with the team at Bishop McNally about their Culinary Arts program, and get a peek into the delicious holiday goodies coming from their kitchens.
We discuss our upcoming virtual Faith Days for CCSD staff.
Today we recognized Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. While there is no school Thursday, September 30 to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we hope everyone takes time to learn more about the Indigenous People of Canada and Residential Schools. The below posters, also banners in our Central Office lobby, were created by the district's Indigenous Education team to be used in our schools. Click the links to learn more about some of the Indigenous people in the local community, including district Elder Wanda First Rider.
Celebrating Indigenous Communities
- Cory Beaver
- Wanda First Rider
- Kelli Rae Morning Bull
- Dr. Yvonne Poitras Pratt
- Bruce Starlight
- Evans Yellow Old Woman
Today I speak with staff at Bishop McNally High School about the McNally Brain Game they created.
Today I welcome staff back to another school year and interview Dr Jia Hu. Dr. Hu is a family physician and public health and preventive medicine specialist, the Chair of 19 To Zero, a multisector coalition that provides support and education on COVID-19 related issues, and an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary. Dr. Hu was a Medical Officer of Health with Alberta Health Services in the Calgary Zone and left to help support organizations with COVID-19 related health matters. Dr. Hu discusses the importance of masking for a safe start to the school year.
Today I spoke with Mrs. Cartier-Aries, a teacher at Holy Child School who has taught with the district for 41 years. Congratulations on your retirement!
Today I speak with our district Elder Wanda First Rider; we were also joined by the Indigenous Education team. She shares with us her thoughts on the recent events in Kamloops and the possible name change of Bishop Grandin High School.
Today I'm joined by members of Calgary Black Chambers, Jon Cornish, a former Calgary Stampeder, and Holly Schile, our Liaison of Arts and Culture. John tells us about 15 new scholarships for black and BIPOC youth in Calgary. For more information about these legacy and donor scholarships, visit the Calgary Black Chambers' Scholarship page; you can also apply directly for the scholarships through the Calgary Foundation, under High School Students and Undergraduate Students.
Today I met with our Board of Trustees, Director of Catholicity and his Excellency Bishop McGrattan to call on the government and Alberta Health to reconsider the vaccination of our staff. We believe firmly that our staff, no matter their role, should be vaccinated because they work with and support many students each and every day. We count on our school staff to educate and care for students so that parent's can work and our economy can continue.
Today I speak with Bishop McGrattan, who who extends his wishes for a blessed Easter, and for us all to experience the hope and promise that Christ extends to us through the gift of his resurrection. Have a wonderful and restful break.
I speak with Kate McKenzie, a former teacher and documentary film maker, about the Secret Marathon and our staff Professional Growth day on March 19. For a full archive of my vlogs, see here.
Today I speak with Mario Vergara, the President of ATA Local 55 about Guest Teachers' Appreciation Week. Thank you to all our guest teachers and guest employees for your hard work supporting our students this past year!
Yesterday I was surprised by the administration team at Central Office with a celebration of my first-year as chief superintendent. I want to thank everyone for their support; together, we have navigated many challenges and grown in our faith. I am grateful to serve our students, families, communities and staff and look forward to another year of faith, hope and love.
I speak with Father Adrian Martens, from Ascension Catholic Parish, after Mass this morning about the importance of fasting during Lent.
I spoke with Mr. Sauer, an English teacher, and John, a student, at St. Francis High School about Black History Month.
Please join me in welcoming Father Adrian Martens as our new Ordained Chaplain.
Today I speak with our Racial Justice Committee about their work to prepare Black History Month resources and activities for our schools.
Today I speak with Dr. Kelly Schwartz, associate professor at the University of Calgary's Werklund School of Education and Applied Psychology program. He will be the guest speaker at our next online Parent & Trustee Forum on Tuesday, January 19. For the agenda and Zoom details, see our news story.
Happy New Year, Calgary Catholic. A few important reminders this week. I'd also like to extend our condolences and prayers to the family of Sgt. Andrew Harnett.
Merry Christmas, Calgary Catholic. Please join me in a prayer to wrap up the year.
Today I talk with Dr. Christine Kennedy, Calgary Zone Medical Officer of Health, about what the additional health measures mean to us in education, and as we enter the holiday season. Dr. Kennedy also reminds us of our five health focuses. For all updates, see our COVID-19 page.
Today I'm joined by John Wasch, director of Catholicity to discuss the season of Advent. For CCSD staff, send Dr. Szumlas your advent reflections to be included in staff updates.
Today I'm joined by Gemma Oliverio and her daughter Olivia who is living with PNH. Olivia tells us more about her story and new government regulations that will prevent people like her from receiving life-saving medicine. Please take a few minutes to complete the process here to help people like Olivia. Enter your information, choose your province and postal code and the names of the Prime Minister, federal ministers of Health and Innovation, Science and Industry will appear. The email also auto-populates, so it takes a few moments to complete the process.
We're excited for our two-day, virtual Faith Days this year! Today I talk with John Wasch and Holly Schile about what's in store.
Happy World Teachers' Day! Thank you for your hard work to help our students learn and succeed in this difficult time. A big thank you to our support staff and administrators for supporting our teachers and making teachers' work possible.
We were honoured that district elder Wanda First Rider shared her experience of residential school with us. Thank you, Wanda. It is only by hearing and understanding these stories that we'll move closer to reconciliation.
Today I talk with Dr. Christine Kennedy, Zone Medical Officer of Health for Calgary about what we can do to protect ourselves and others.