Did you know that Canadian Catholic School Boards educate almost 850,000 students in nearly 2000 schools across Canada? More than 2 million parents have chosen a Catholic education for their children – and CCSTA is striving to promote and protect this choice. A key focus for CCSTA this year is to broaden our Communications Plan to create stronger connections and a more unified voice in defense of Catholic schools in Canada.
CCSTA’s Vision and Mission states, “Enlivened by the Word of God and our tradition, we promote and protect the right to Catholic education in Canada. We speak as one.”
As the world rapidly changes around us and as Canadian Catholic schools face increasingly significant challenges in living out their mission, CCSTA is discerning the evolving needs of our schools and all involved in Catholic education at every level. Guided by our mission to promote and protect Catholic Education and strengthen a unified voice for Catholic Schools across the country, our CCSTA Communications plan aims to provide guidance and support and be a place of connection for Canadian Catholic schools.
What’s the Plan?
As outlined in the 2021/2022 Vision to Action Plan, we want to focus on using online tools and platforms to:
1. grow connections with school boards and organizations across the country and;
2. provide helpful, unifying content to assist educators and Catholic school board representatives in the mission to promote and protect Catholic Education in Canada.
The first goal of our Vision to Action Plan is, “To foster Communications within CCSTA and the Catholic Community“.
Communications has been a key component of CCSTA’s strategic plan for a number of years, however, this year it has become one of our top priorities.
CCSTA’s Executive Director, Julian Hanlon, shared, “When I took over as Executive Director 7 years ago, CCSTA didn’t have a presence on Social Media. As mentioned, communication has always been a priority and I felt we needed to establish a presence on Twitter. Our Twitter accounts have proven to be very useful tools to get information out to our members and the broader community. Our mission is ‘to promote and protect the right to Catholic Education in Canada’ – in order to do this effectively, we need to make sure communication remains a priority.”
As we listen to our members across the country, despite varying funding structures and school board sizes, one common theme is abundantly clear: from coast to coast, important questions about the nature of our Catholic mission are bubbling up from school board meetings, politicians, staff members, diocesan offices and Catholic School communities.
What does it mean to be a Catholic school in 2022?
What does it mean to preserve, promote and protect Catholic Education?
What role does the Catholic school play in our country and in the Catholic Church?
How can our schools – within the modern context and culture of Canada – be evangelizing missions for our Church?
How do we understand and protect our Catholic identity?
These fundamental questions are echoing throughout the country and CCSTA’s Communication strategy seeks to find new ways of providing useful, relevant, Catholic content to help continue this important dialogue. In addition to focusing on relevant content, the new strategy seeks to provide opportunities for connection and engagement so that educators and trustees from all Provinces can seek these important answers together. Through the use of online tools and platforms, CCSTA has the opportunity and desire to connect Catholic schools from coast to coast to make the voice of Catholic Education one that is strong, clear and unified.
This strengthened Catholic voice can help Catholic schools to feel more connected, better understand their common Catholic identity and learn more about their role as an evangelizing mission in the Church. Increased online content can help engage Canadian Catholics and educators in the discussion on the importance of the Catholic school and its impact on society and provides more opportunities for engagement with Canadian politicians.
What has that looked like so far?
In the Summer of 2021, CCSTA went through the process of revamping the entire website to make it more user-friendly and more focused on new and relevant content.
In the Fall, the CCSTA Communications Committee began discussing the idea of expanding CCSTA’s online presence to reach a broader audience and the new Communications Strategy was created with details on the Communications Vision, Content Parameters, Target Audience and possible Social Media Platforms.
At the board meetings in February 2022, the CCSTA Board of Directors approved the new position of Communications Officer to ensure the carrying out of the strategic plan. Shortly after the meetings, our new Communications Officer, Catherine Burnham, was hired to begin implementing the strategy. This new part-time position will allow CCSTA to focus on growing an engaged online audience and providing helpful and relevant content to help Catholic schools and school boards in discovering, maintaining and protecting their Catholic identity.
A few of the key points you can find in our newest strategy are:
✓ Connect trustees / School Board Representatives across Canada
✓ Strengthen the Toonies for Tuition Campaign
✓ Engage federal politicians, CCCB and other Catholic organizations in Canada
✓ Broaden CCSTA’s Social Media presence by considering the benefits of other platforms, in addition to Twitter, such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
Catholic Education is WORTH Communicating
CCSTA’s focus on Communications is not for the sole purpose of engaging in the latest trends online – but to connect people across Canada who are involved in one of the most important missions in our Church and in our country.
When we begin to engage Canadians in dialogue about protecting the right to Catholic Education – we are protecting the right for 850,000 Canadian young people to be educated in the Truth, with the opportunity to encounter the person of Christ at their school, and be introduced to the Catholic faith. As the threats in opposition of Catholic Education increase, we want to strengthen our Catholic Voice and engage more people in the conversation of Catholic Education. We know that in an increasingly secular culture, the need for a unified voice in support of Catholic Education is more important now than ever. Our hope and prayer is that all of those involved in Catholic Education would join together through the modern tools of communication to strengthen support for Catholic Schools and protect the mission of Catholic Education in Canada.
A mission as influential and powerful as a Catholic School – and as broad as 850,000 students across the nation – is a mission worth communicating.
Now, more than ever, our Catholic schools need to come together to bring the Light of the Gospel to the next generation of Canadians – and each online tool and platform will be maximized to ensure a more solid connection between our school boards and a stronger defense for the continuation of this mission for years to come in Canada.
Join the momentum!
Here are ways you can help us build connection across Canada:
Check out our latest video on restoring Catholic Identity in our Canadian Catholic Schools
Follow us on Twitter @CCSTAConnect + @ACCEC_CCSTA
Keep up-to-date by joining our email list so you’ll be the first to know about new updates such as social media expansion to Facebook and Instagram!
Tag us online when you post on Twitter and use our common hashtag #CatholicEd