Parents & Students
Our school staff is committed to providing excellent education in a Catholic environment that promotes gospel values and the Catholic faith. Students enjoy a strong academic program with a Catholic educational emphasis. Students, we invite you to be the best people you can be: spiritually, academically, physically, socially and morally. We encourage you to enroll in programs and courses in which you can experience new challenges and excellence in learning achievement.
Students are provided with rich choices and a broad array of programs and courses. We encourage you to enjoy high school by becoming active in the several extra curricular clubs and athletics opportunities. The extracurricular programs provide rich opportunities for students to excel in specialty areas of interest.
In recognizing the value of student choice and the tremendous benefits gained from active and involved students, the staff at our school is committed to providing a nurturing environment for students to enjoy a successful and memorable Catholic high school experience.
Finally, all students are encouraged to live a life in harmony with love: love God above all and love others, develop servant leadership skills through high school and be prepared to lead in your adult lives to contribute to the greater good of society.
This student handbook provides a brief overview of our school offerings and practices. More information may be found on the school’s website.
On behalf of the staff and administration, we wish every student success, happiness and God’s blessing remembering that God is our power; knowledge is our strength!
MISSION AND VISION
In congruence with the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, we are:
• a gospel centred professional learning community that fosters hope and a Catholic Christian value system within a pluralistic society
• continuing the mission of Jesus, Prophet, Priest and Servant King
Our service commitment is to make His life, mission and teaching our focal points of belief and conduct within our Catholic schools.
Specific to École Secondaire Notre Dame High School, our motto is God is our Power, Knowledge is our Strength. This motto emphasizes the commitment of the school to making Christ known to each student.
Each school day begins with a prayer, which is led by a student or staff member. While prayer is being said, everyone is expected to stand still and reverently listen. Classroom teachers, coaches and club advisors incorporate additional prayer opportunities throughout the day.
This room is a special place in the school, designed and furnished to encourage an atmosphere for prayer, celebration and meditation. Students are welcome to visit and are encouraged to use it as a quiet place to reflect and pray.
RELIGIOUS STUDIES EDUCATION
Every student is expected to successfully complete three courses in Religious Studies (15, 25, and 35) to meet graduation requirements. Religion 15 is offered as a class based course in order to create a community of faith, while religion 25 and 35 may be taken with École Secondaire Notre Dame High School, St. Gabriel Online School or St. John Paul II Catholic Outreach School. Our school has youth ministers that work with our students to promote a deeper relationship with God within our Catholic community.
We are proud of our Catholic faith permeation and the expectation that all students receive a minimum of 9 credits in Religious Studies (15, 25, and 35) to graduate. The RS classes and faith permeation throughout the school include:
- All Grade 10 students are in a teacher taught RS 15 class
- Canadian Catholic Bishops prescribed Curriculum (approved by Alberta Education as a Locally Developed Course)
- Faith discussions with an opportunity to challenge and question during those teachable moments
- Face to face faith mentorship between adults & students alike
- Exploring RCIA & RCIC with students considering joining the church or receiving sacraments
- Building a faithful praying learning community
- Promoting Faith vocations
- Promoting Youth Rally participation
- Encourage Community volunteerism hours
Our program provides opportunities for students to be involved in liturgical music performances. The school choir provides additional opportunity for students to express our Catholic faith through music.
We have a relationship with Sacred Heart Parish, St. Mary’s Parish and St. Vladimir Ukrainian Catholic Church, as well as an affiliation with Our Lady of Peace in Innisfail and Our Lady of Assumption in Sylvan Lake. We frequently hold religious ceremonies and celebrations. Our school is pleased to have the parishes as partners in the promotion of youth faith development.
SAFE AND CARING SCHOOL
We honour our children.
We provide a safe & secure environment.
Our schools are places where all students, staff and parents feel welcome. Our motto, “Inspired by Christ, Aspiring to Excellence” and our Principles of Practice, proudly proclaim that our schools are Christ-filled centres that ensure a satisfactory climate for learning and that we respect each student as a person, unique in God’s creation.
Each school has student behavior expectations specific to the needs of that school to ensure a safe and caring environment. These expectations are listed in the school handbook or are posted in classrooms. Expectations are shared with students at the beginning of each year and are also shared with parents so we can work together to provide all students with the best possible educational experience while in our schools. For further information, please contact the school principal.
STUDENT CONDUCT POLICY
Each student must adhere to all expectations for positive student conduct as outlined in our student conduct policy. Each student and parent/guardian is asked to sign the conduct statements to ensure an awareness of all components of our school discipline policy.
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR STUDENTS
Students are expected to model appropriate Christian behaviour by:
- Respecting self and the rights of others.
- Respecting fellow students, teachers, staff and visitors to the school.
- Respecting the school environment.
- Respectful dress and deportment.
- Abiding by attendance and achievement expectations.
- Modelling appropriate behaviour for young Christian adults.
ATTENDANCE IN CLASSES
The onus is on the parent/guardian to advise the school if a student is to be absent from school by telephoning the school prior to, or on the morning of the absence. There is a 24-hour attendance line, 403-342-4800 ext 1, where messages can be left. Parents are encouraged to contact teachers directly if there is a question on attendance or any other concern for a particular course.
The School Act for Alberta indicates that attendance to all classes is an expectation for all students. Teachers monitor attendance on a daily basis in each class and are to contact parents if attendance is a concern. We have an automated phone service. Automated calls home will be made each night for any unexcused student absence.
Teachers will communicate attendance concerns to parents as the need arises. In the event that the teacher has repeatedly dealt with attendance concerns with a student, the matter is considered serious and will be forwarded to the administration for review.
Students should expect regular homework. The amount of time for homework each night will vary with course load and grade level but all students with a full schedule should be completing all homework and spending adequate time studying.
School is the student’s number one “job” – be sure that any after school work does not interfere with this. If you have any concerns, please discuss them with your student’s teachers or grade administrator.
The following guidelines have been established by a representative group of students, parents and staff.
As part of the expectation of courtesy and respect, all staff and students are required to adhere to reasonable and respectable standards in dressing and grooming for a focused working and learning environment. Clothing worn by staff and students needs to facilitate comfortable interaction within the school community. Staff and students should be sensitive to the values and expectations of the community and should strive to offend no one by their dress. Dress should be modest, appropriate for the school setting and conducive to a safe environment.
Modesty – clothing that is revealing is inappropriate. Clothes must cover all undergarments, and from the base of the neck to the mid-thigh at a minimum.
Appropriateness for School Setting – clothing should not detract from the learning environment. Messages on clothing that display or promote the following are unacceptable: discrimination, hatred or violence, profanity or obscene gestures or the use of alcohol or drugs.
Students may be asked to go home to change so as to comply with the school expectations for modesty and appropriate dress.
SMOKING AND ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES
Smoking, vaping, drugs and alcohol are prohibited. Students in the possession of alcohol, tobacco products, vaping paraphernalia or drugs or who are under the influence of these substances during the school day – which includes on the way to school until the student has returned home at the conclusion of their school day – are subject to detention, suspension, expulsion and criminal charges/fines.