Background and Structure
St. Martin School is located in Westfort across the street from St. Agnes Church. The first St. Martin School was one of the oldest schools of the Board (opened in 1910) and had a long history of tradition and excellence. The new St. Martin School, built in 1998, is just down the street from where the old building stood. It is the newest school of the Thunder Bay Catholic School Board. The school is designated Handicap Accessible and is a two story structure. The second floor previously housed the Catholic Education Centre, the operating hub of the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board. The Board vacated the top floor in 2008 to create additional classroom space for the school. The bottom floor of the building includes:
· 1 resource room that is used by the school as a second gymnasium,
· a Board computer lab that the school can access,
· the Board’s professional development training centre that contains video conferencing and SMART board technology, also available for use by the school, as well as
· the Board's Instructional Resource Centre and Technology Services. St. Martin staff enjoys easy access to the resources of the school board that are still in the building.
The School Building
The school itself is comprised of the following:
· 27 classrooms
· 2 Learning Centres
· a large gymnasium equipped with change rooms
· a stage and a kitchen area
· a large library with I-Mac computers
· a junior I-Mac computer lab
· a primary I-Mac computer lab
· 6 storage rooms
· a health room
· a junior teacher workroom
· a primary teacher workroom
· a resource room The entire school is networked and has high-speed Internet access.
Thirteen school buses unload students in a large bus loading area under the watchful eye of paid supervisors. The school also serves as a transfer point for students from other schools of the Board. One handicap bus and one special education bus transport high needs students to and from St. Martin School. One bus transfers students from the French Language Board as well.
The School Grounds
The grounds contain a paved area, a large basketball court with four basketball standards, a grassy area and an outdoor classroom with planters and a perennial garden. Climbing equipment maintained by the City of Thunder Bay for the West Thunder Community Centre is immediately adjacent to school property and is used by our students. In the winter, two large ice rinks erected on the Community property are available for use by St. Martin students.
The Green Team: A schoolyard Greening Committee is active. The committee received its inspiration and some assistance from EcoSuperior to create an ecologically and environmentally friendly play space in the yard. The committee includes representatives from staff, parent community, school council and school administration. The Committee has multi-year plans in place that include the creation of a second reflection area, the planting of mature trees, the installation of play equipment in the kindergarten area and the purchasing of additional equipment for large muscle activities.
The School and Its Students
The school serves 656 students in a dual track setting. There are 390 students in the English program from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 and 266 French Immersion students from Senior Kindergarten to Grade 6. St. Martin School is the Board's only French Immersion site on the south side of the city.
· 28 classroom teachers,
· 2 Learning Centre teachers,
· 1 teacher librarian,
· 1 French as a Second Language teacher,
· .55 FTE physical education teachers,
· 1.54 FTE Religious Education teachers,
· .5 FTE Vice-Principal,
· 1 Principal,
· 2 secretaries,
· 5 custodians,
· 7 student support personnel,
· 8 lunch/bus/Kiss and Ride supervisors.
The Catholic School Council
We have a very active Catholic School Council, consisting of 7 parents, 1 First Nation representative, 1 teaching representative, 1 non-teaching representative, 1 community/parish representative, the principal and vice-principal. The council meets once a month onto discuss events/activities that support the Christ-centred environment, the school improvement plans and to find ways to involve the school community in the education of their children. They also provide feedback to the Board, school administration and the provincial government. The goals of our Catholic School Council are as follows:
1. Promote a Christ-centred environment in St. Martin School.
2. Enhance the effectiveness of the St. Martin Catholic School Council.
3. Promote effective communication among the stakeholder groups.
4. Provide opportunities for families to be active participants in the education of their children.
5. Provide input on issues that may affect the structure and/or function of St. Martin School.
6. Incorporate the uniqueness of our First Nation and French Immersion students.
7. Promote the St. Martin in Motion Healthy Lifestyle program.
Members of the council enlist the assistance of others in the school community to assist with these committees when the need arises. The school has excellent working relationships and partnerships with St. Agnes Church, the West Thunder Community Centre, The Thunder Bay District Health Unit, the Boys and Girls Club, the Fort William First Nations, Dilico Ojibway Child & Family Services, George Jeffrey Treatment Centre, Community Care Access Centre, Schoolhouse Day Care Centre, Communities Together for Children and the Police Education Officer.
The School Community
Our school community strongly supports school events by participating, volunteering and donating. We keep our community informed with a monthly newsletter and information posted on both our Community and Catholic School Council bulletin boards as well as on our web site. Announcements are periodically posted at St. Agnes Church and the West Thunder Community Centre as well. The school building is booked by the Catholic Education Centre for a variety of sessions, including School Council inservice and commissioning services, principal/vice-principal meetings, new teachers' orientation sessions, occasional teachers' inservice sessions, Student Support Persons' inservice sessions, teacher-librarians' inservice sessions, etc. The gymnasium is also used for St. Agnes Church's Gold Rush Days and other parish initiatives. The OECTA Religious Education Course runs in the school during the fall, winter and summer. The school also hosts workshops, meetings and courses for Canadian Parents for French.
The school has a primary and junior division in both English and French Immersion. Special needs students are integrated into primary and junior classes with the assistance of student support personnel. Special school programs include:
· Community Prayers and Petitions – daily
· The Morning Snack Program
· Before and After School Child Care
· Parent/Tot Drop In Program
· Rainbow Friday Nutrition Program – once/month
· Presentations by the Police Education Officer
· Upward Bound (after school Homework Club – 3x/week)
· Hot Lunches 1x/week
· Recess Ambassadors’ Program
· Milk Program - daily
· Book Fairs
· Junior Winter Outdoor Program 1/week for 4 weeks
· Anti-Bullying Program
· School Choir
· Roots of Empathy
· Healthy Schools Club (St. Martin in Motion Healthy Lifestyle Program)
· Active Parent/Guardian School Volunteer Program
· Effective Behaviour Support Program
The school staff and students take our commitment to the community seriously and support a number of charitable organizations and perform many acts of service. These include but are not limited to:
· Holy Childhood Association popcorn sales 1/month
· Project Love (literacy kits for Africa)
· St. Vincent de Paul (food drives)
· Shelter House (food drive)
· Christmas Cheer (food drive)
· Coats for Kids
· Pro Kids
· Visits to Homes for the Aged
· Staff Dress Down Friday – donations to a charity of our choice
· Spring Clean Up of the neighbourhood
Money is also raised for those in need of special assistance.
· Celebration of our faith through integration, prayer and liturgies
· Ontario Curriculum Initiatives including the work of the Leading Student Achievement initiative, the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat and EQAO
· A School Homework Policy
· Handwriting Without Tears program
· French Immersion Cultural Initiatives
· The Building of Classroom Libraries
· Parent/Guardian Curriculum Initiatives
· Early Reading Strategies
· WBBT Early Intervention Program (SK)
· NOEL Oral Language Project (JK, SK, Grade 1)
· Junior Winter Outdoor Program
· Teaching Learning Critical Pathways (Reading for Meaning, Critical Thinking)
· Anti-Bullying Week
· Focused Programming and Interventions (using data)
· Junior Track & Field Unit
· Success by Seven Program (focused reading interventions for primary students)
· Active Lifestyle and Proper Nutrition (We are designated a Healthy School by the Ministry of Education.)
We communicate with our community in a variety of ways that include:
1. A School Family Handbook
2. Simple School Rules Student Matrix
3. Monthly School Newsletter
4. School Council Bulletin Board
5. Student Agendas
6. Community Bulletin Board
7. Parent/Guardian Surveys
9. Parent Meetings
10. Classroom Curriculum Updates - monthly
11. Phone Calls
12. Parent Notes and Invitations
Anaphylaxis/Allergies All members of our staff and all supply personnel are trained to recognize and respond to anaphylactic reactions. St. Martin School is a nut-safe school. No Nuts signs are posted on every classroom door and in the gymnasium. A separate allergy table is set up at lunch for students with life threatening allergies. St. Martin School is also a fragrance-safe environment.The School Environment
Through the ministry of teaching, we accept the challenge given to us by our parents and guardians, the Board, the Ministry and the Church. Through our personal example of ongoing spiritual growth, faith development, professionalism and the service of others, we hope to make a difference in the lives of those we serve and with whom we work. At St. Martin School, it is our tradition to preserve the wisdom of the past while preparing our students for the future, using the gospel values of Jesus Christ as a guide.