Cooks, Hairstylists and PSW’s of 2021

Have you really thought about the adaptations all industries have made during the pandemic?

Training for these industries has had to adapt as well. So what does your future hold? At St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centres, there is Hope, Opportunity and Success for All.  You can upgrade secondary school credits toward a pre-requisite for any college or university program, work toward finally finishing your high school diploma or improve your English with teacher support.  Or you could consider hands-on, in-person, skills training programs.

Over the next two weeks, St. Louis is recruiting for our three skills training programs.

A few unknowns about St. Louis’ skills training or ‘school-to-work’ programs is that:

  • Tuition is paid for by the Ministry of Education,
  • Materials fees are low ($1,300)
  • and Secondary School Credits can be earned or upgraded.


Bring a fresh start to the new year and be work-ready by next Fall.

Pre-register and book an evening intake appointment NOW for:

  • Wednesday, November 18  Hairstyling / Barber training intake session – Start date: January 4, 2021
  • Wednesday, November 25  Culinary Arts training intake session – Start date: Feb 1, 2021

Covid-19 has shown the high demand for trained Personal Support Workers and St. Louis is accepting pre-registrations for 2021 Certified PSW Training classes.  Although the February 2021 PSW class is already full, inquire now to be on the waiting list.

For more information about any of these affordable, skills training programs, please email: 

St. Louis Term 2 classes start on a Friday?

Who thinks about going back to school on a Friday at the end of October?

  • Adults who are determined to get their high school diploma – no matter how long it has been or how many credits you ‘think’ you still need!
  • Adults who have sights on post-secondary for 2021 (university, college, trades)
  • People looking for work and need to brush up on skills or pivot directions
  • Newcomers to Canada who have improved their English levels to Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) 6+ and are ready to have their International Education recognized and high school equivalencies measured
  • Existing St. Louis students who just finished a rigorous 8 weeks of remote learning from home on the Desire to Learn (D2L) platform and are that much closer to reaching your goals.

Secondary School Credit (SSC) day classes are offered morning and afternoon. During Covid-19 restrictions, these day classes are still being taught remotely or through distance learning.  St. Louis is a really great adult, school-board run institution that will be a safe landing space to prepare you for your future.   Commit to the set times every morning and/or afternoon, Monday to Friday from October 30th to December 18th and earn one or two SSC’s toward your goal.

You’ve heard of Motivation Mondays? Let’s call this Fired-up Friday.

Don’t wait! It’s never to late to start or upgrade. Get motivated and let us help you reach your goals!

Term 2 Course Selection Form is available Oct 29, 30 and Nov 2 ONLY during Guidance Office Hours. A Guidance Counsellor will get back to you as quickly as possible, to get you started. 

For more information visit:



Fairview & St. Louis Launch PSW ‘Living Classroom’


October 8, 2020 CAMBRIDGE – Fairview Seniors Community is pleased to officially welcome St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centres and the Class of 2021 PSW students to its Cambridge campus.  This inaugural part-time St. Louis PSW class at Fairview Mennonite began on Tuesday, October 6th

A ceremonial (mask-) cutting was held by a small group of key contributors to this initiative on Thursday October 8 at 10:00 a.m., social distanced, outside the new classroom in the Main building of Fairview Seniors Community.









Fairview and St. Louis have partnered to offer a progressive ‘Living Classroom’ experience for 22 PSW students who will receive their training in the newly constructed 1,000 square foot classroom at Fairview.

The curriculum is the same as other PSW learning environments recognized by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.  The Living Classroom concept, developed by Conestoga College and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging and tested by Colleges across the province, is being adopted in collaboration with Fairview’s long-term care home and St. Louis’ 20-year PSW program.  Together, they are taking care training to the next level to create a shared learning environment. Students have the benefit of practical, hands-on experience incorporated into their learning and apply their knowledge throughout their training, while current staff and residents benefit from refreshers on best practices. This living classroom approach helps students build on their confidence and experience, as well as learn about the opportunities for growth and development in long-term care.

Tammy Cantin, St. Louis PSW Program Manager reflects on this partnership evolution by stating that “Fairview Seniors Community has been a solid partner with St. Louis for well over a decade, working with students during the placement portion of the program and hiring our graduates.  We are thrilled and honoured that Fairview would choose to invest in our school board-run adult training program.  I believe our shared vision will help further advance personal support worker care and care training in our community.”

As part of their training, students will continue to have practical placements in Fairview’s Long-Term Care Home (LTC) and Fairview’s Home and Community program. Upon successful completion of their certification exam in early July 2021, graduates may have the possibility of employment at Fairview in its LTC Home, Home and Community program or Fairview Suites.

“Fairview Seniors Community is privileged to enter into this training initiative with St. Louis, given the overwhelming need for PSWs in our Community, Long Term Care, Retirement and Home and Community,” says Elaine Shantz, Fairview Parkwood Communities CEO. “This enriched learning model feels like exactly the right fit for our campus of care. We are truly pleased to see this partnership unfold.”

Staff and students will follow Fairview’s and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board’s health and safety protocols, including health test screening upon entry and exit, physical distanced learning environment and personal protective equipment. Safety in our community and our residents in care will always remain top priority.


Fairview Parkwood Seniors Communities is a not-for-profit, charitable, faith-based organization featuring a campus continuum of care and affordable retirement options in both Cambridge and Waterloo. Fairview Parkwood Seniors Communities welcomes older adults of all faiths, cultures and financial means. The Communities offer a range of retirement options including independent living, assisted living and long-term care, as well as a Seniors Active Living Centre at its Fairview campus.


 The St. Louis Adult Learning & Continuing Education Centres have been a proud part of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board for 34 years, historically serving more than 250,000 learners and over 12,500 annually to earn credits, learn languages and gain skills.  Each year, several hundred adult learners receive their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and over 6500 Secondary school credits are earned. For almost 20 years, more than 2,800 students have graduated from St. Louis’ award-winning certificate, apprenticeship and licensing ‘school-to-work’ programs (Culinary, Hairstyling/Barbering and Personal Support Worker) of which 82% per cent of Chef and Hairstyling graduates and 98% of Personal Support Worker graduates find employment in their fields within six months of graduation.

Watch the clip on CTV -Kitchener News or read about it in the Exchange Magazine

To register for the NEXT available class, visit

Catholic Secondary Schools NEW Start Date & St. Louis Start-Up

WCDSB Director of Education, Loretta Notten sends an open letter to all Catholic Secondary School Students stating that the WCDSB Catholic Secondary School start date has been moved to Monday September 14th.

Letter to Catholic Secondary Parents and Guardians Sept 01 2020


Catholic Elementary schools still plan to be opened with staggered starts between September 8 to September 11, by grades.  We know that there will be many new routines for our students to learn.  And we are continuing to work hard to prepare our schools and to prepare our staff to welcome our students.  We feel it is prudent and critical to a successful start to stagger the start of school for our students.

WCDSB is also challenged to fully schedule and staff our virtual school(s).

The newest virtual school for WCDSB K-12 students is now named St. Isidore.

St. Louis Adult and Continuing Education has had self-directed and online learning options for adults for a number of years and St. Louis’ Fall 2020 start up will also have staggered starts.

See below for highlights or visit our website for details.

IMPORTANT St. Louis Start-up Dates

Here are some St. Louis  start-up highlights:

  • Term 1 Secondary Credit Courses begin daily classes remotely Wednesday, September 9thRegister NOW and earn a credit in less than 8 weeks.
  • Self-directed online courses begin Monday, September 28 with options to earn credits around your schedule.   Certified teacher tutor support available in-person and by appointment.
  • International Languages Secondary School Credit courses are part of the above credit course registration process.  Register NOW for Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish classes
  • All PSW, Culinary and Hairstyling students who were unable to complete their practical skills in class back in March and April have already returned to complete the last portion of their professional skills training, in-person, and in-school.  This hands-on learning in a safe school environment will prepare these students for their placements later this month.  Licensed Child Care is available onsite to support St. Louis students.  Registration has begun!
  • A NEW cohort of PSW, Culinary and Hairstyling students begin September 28.  St. Louis has small class sizes that will allow for in-person learning and skills development.  If you want to be ready to graduate next Spring, Register NOW for these high demand professional training programs.  Tuition is free, with affordable materials fees! Email for details.
  • Core Essentials will be offered in-person in small class sizes beginning September 14
  • ESL and LINC will only be offered in-person for those English Language learners with the lowest literacy levels.  All students with Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) 2 and higher will continue with remote learning morning, afternoon, evening and Saturdays this Fall. ESL & LINC Classes start September 14
  • Saturday and after school children’s language programs starting soon. Visit webpage for details.

Bring Your Own Device and Purchase Program

The following information is to help families learn about our Bring Your Own Device and Purchase Program.

Partnership with STAPLES and Dell for Learning devices

WCDSB has made significant investments to ensure our students and staff have access to a variety current technologies. The use of technology to support learning remains a key priority to ensure that students are equipped with the skills to flourish in an increasingly digital world. Chromebooks and Windows 10 Cloudbooks have proven to be versatile, reliable, and affordable digital tool in the classroom.

As students have engaged more with the technology that is available in their classrooms, many families have expressed interest in purchasing a device for their child to use at school and at home. WCDSB families have reached out, seeking advice about which technology would best support their child’s learning, is reasonably priced, yet durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of daily use as it’s transported back and forth to school each day.

Devices for Families in Need

Free learning device/computer offerings for low income families:

Visit our web site to learn more about the programs and devices that available for purchase through STAPLES and Dell.

Plan for Re-opening Schools

Plan for Re-opening Schools: Message from the Director of Education

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We hope that you are well and finding ways to enjoy the summer, albeit a very different one.  At Waterloo Catholic we have missed seeing our staff and students in our schools – and we think that you would agree.  We also know however, that all of us feel very strongly that if we are to return to our schools, we have to do so in a very safe and thoughtful manner.  In the attached package, you will find a high-level introduction to all of the factors that we have been considering as we plan for the return of students.  We know that we all want good learning to happen, but we are equally motivated to ensure that all our staff and students are feeling both safe and healthy, in mind, body and spirit.

There are some discussions that are ongoing and which may cause minor adjustments to our models or plans, but in the main, the attached document should give you a solid start in understanding our plans for the fall.  Our new collective reality under COVID has tested all of us, and we know that things are evolving daily and understanding about best practices and the disease itself also continues to grow.  Our commitment is to be informed by new knowledge and learning as it is presented.

In June we outlined that there were three possible scenarios under which a return to school might happen, and yesterday the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education declared that all students of the province would be returning to schools for face to face learning.    The provincial decision has been informed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, as well as the leading medical and health experts in the province.  At Waterloo Catholic we have been preparing for this announcement and have engaged in thoughtful planning to ensure that health and safety of our staff and students remains a top priority.  We are also prepared to “pivot” to any of the three scenarios, if we have to and remain confident that learning continuity will be possible.

We know that for elementary aged students the provincial announcement signaled a “conventional return”, which means attending school 5 days a week, full time.  To the extent possible, “cohorting” will be observed, which means that every effort will be made to limit the number of contacts any one staff person or student comes into contact with, in the course of their day.  Similarly – masks will be worn by students in grades 4 to 8, and remain an option for students in JK to grade 3, and to the extent possible physical distancing of 1 meter will be observed.

For secondary aged students, the province has indicated that all Waterloo Region schools will open under an “adapted return”, which means that students will attend face to face classes 50% of the time.  Waterloo Catholic has committed to a “quadmester model” which means carrying only 2 courses at a time (it is a 4 term model instead of a 2 semester model).  We have devised a model where students only see one cohort of students face to face on a given day, and access their second class remotely – from home.  We have built this model to ensure both 300 minutes of instruction per week, while still giving maximum consideration to the health and safety of our staff and students.  The attached document will provide you with more information.

It is currently the end of July and we are all heading into a long weekend.  We still have five full weeks until the start of school and our planning will continue – at the board level and at the school level.  We want to offer our assurances that we will be prioritizing health and safety, learning continuity and equity of access for all our students.  Nonetheless, for some of our families, you may choose to have your child learn from home.  That is an option for you.  Please read the attached document carefully and then complete the survey that follows.  We need EVERY family to complete the survey for EACH child, as that is how we will prepare properly for the fall.  Please complete this SURVEY

Finally – as we have said before, we do encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo Public Health.  This has been a year and a summer unlike any other – and one we will all remember for some time to come.  Continue to enjoy a restful and rejuvenating summer, but let’s stay safe and healthy.  May our faith that grounds us as people of love and people of hope give you strength in these times.  We remain grateful for your trust in us to provide quality, faith-based, inclusive education.

Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether.


Loretta Notten

Director of Education

May 12 Update to WCDSB re: COVID-19 School Closure

Your Voice Matters

As the Waterloo Catholic District School Board awaits direction from Provincial and local government officials to guide the future of our return to school, so does the feedback we receive from parents and students.  To our St. Louis school community and to parents of WCDSB students, please find attached an update from Loretta Notten,  Director of Education and Bill Conway, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Letter to WCDSB School Closure COVID 19 May 12th 2020

Upcoming eNewsletters

We are committed to keeping you updated, as much as possible.  If you want to learn about ongoing St. Louis programs or when schools and programs re-open, please read our upcoming eNewsletters ‘The St. Louis Hopeful . Invite your network to scroll to the bottom of our homepage and subscribe.

Special Message from the Chair of the Board & Director of Education

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

It has been a few weeks since we have connected, so we thought it important to offer you a few important updates as we continue to navigate this time of school closure and distance learning.  Let us begin by saying that we truly hope that you and your families are well and that you are finding ways to stay healthy and positive.  As an Easter people we pray that the hope of the season is alive in your homes.  But these are unsettling times for everyone and we believe it is absolutely OK to feel that you are not OK.  We know that each of us has a unique reality and that will position us differently in terms of our ability to walk through this time and to support our children’s learning journey right now.

For the past three weeks we have begun the journey into Educator-led learning and it could not have been done without the tremendous efforts of so many.  We are most appreciative to our staff who have worked so hard to put provisions in place so that we could reach all of our students.  We hope that every student continues to have contact with their teacher(s) and that each one knows that we care for and value each of them.  Your teachers are truly amazing and they are definitely here for you. We will reiterate that our most pressing concern remains student well being – both mentally and physically.  As we have said before, it is not “business as usual”, but we do hope that students are connecting with their teachers as this is our “new normal” for the time being.

We wanted to provide you updates on a few different topics of interest to you and your children.  Know that this is a rapidly changing landscape and with many uncertainties, and as there are many players to both consult and work with, as well as others who provide us vital direction or information, sometimes full clarity takes a little time.

As always, on our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WCDSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found.  We also encourage you to continue to visit our WCDSBPray@Home webpage as well as our FAQ page.  You can also follow the #STEAMDays hashtag where lots of fun and engaging activities are being posted.  With that said, a few updates:

Length of the closure: 

We are awaiting direction from the government and Ministry of Education on this point.  We expect it will be forth coming soon.  While it is unlikely we will be returning to our buildings in the short term, full clarity about our return or what that might look like when we do return, may still be a while in coming.

Expectations During Distance Learning:

We realize there are different realities for all of our students and all of our educators.  For that reason, each student and teacher is held to the guidelines the Ministry has provided for minimum hours.  To review what we have shared previously – the suggested hours reflect both the time a teacher might use in providing formal instruction or guidance, as well as the time the student will spend completing the learning task or activity.  There is not a firm expectation that all students have to be “online” at the exact same time, although in some cases that might happen on occasion.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Equity has been a significant consideration in this new landscape as not all children are equally positioned to succeed to the best of their ability when learning from home.  We also know that students learning from home can place added pressure on a parent who may be juggling their own work or family related responsibilities.  For these reasons, assessment in elementary is taking the form of feedback or formative assessment, rather than grading.  Students can benefit and continue progressing through this feedback.  For our students in secondary, they will receive both formative and summative assessments – that is feedback and grades, but teachers will be working to support a student’s best outcome and will not be penalized if the current circumstances detract from their ability to succeed.  Marks will not drop below that attained on March 13th, when schools were declared closed.  There is however every opportunity for a mark to improve, and for learning and achievement to be enhanced.

Report Cards:

There will be a report card in June for all students and they will contain grades.  As noted above, those grades will be largely informed by the marks students had attained prior to March 13th, but there is every opportunity for those grades to improve based on any work submitted during this time of distance learning, if there is evidence of growth and/or improved performance.  In the case of graduating students, midterm marks were sent to the Universities and Colleges to assist with post-secondary admission.


We know that graduation is a significant event in the life of a student and his/her family. For this reason, this has been a difficult decision.  Our secondary schools have no option but to postpone graduation ceremonies as a result of venues not being available to us.  As you can appreciate secondary graduations are often large events and so they are not easily accommodated in alternate settings.  We have made the decision that all of our secondary schools will hold their graduations in the fall.  This will in no way impact a student’s ability to actually graduate from high school should they have met the requirements.  We are still in the process of finalizing our decision in relation to grade 8 graduations and will communicate that information as soon as a final decision has been achieved.

Thought Exchange – Your Voice

As most of you will be aware, we recently engaged our stakeholders in an exercise of asking them what questions or concerns they had after one-two weeks of distance learning.  Our survey closed on Tuesday April 21st in the evening and we are now starting to unpack that feedback.  We are thrilled that you took us up on this invitation.  We had just under 2000 participants and approximately 37,000 ratings from all our stakeholders.  We know that at a very high level elementary parents are expressing thoughts about the home learning environment and the types of tasks students are assigned, about feedback and assessment, and about equity.  Secondary parents are sharing thoughts about the nature of student and educator contact, and also about feedback and assessment, as well as issues related to equity.  There are roughly 14 sub-themes in the Thought Exchange feedback that we have identified and there is much more analysis we can do, and it will help to inform our thinking and actions moving forward.  A high level report on parent feedback is available at these two links, but much more will be shared in the weeks to come, that will map to themes and the take-aways from the feedback.

Parent/Guardian for an Elementary Student

Parent/Guardian for a Secondary Student

Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo Public Health.  As a local and global community – we have never been more connected by an event or issue and now is the time to do everything we can to ensure we can soon return to life as we knew it not so long ago.  As an Easter people we believe in the power of the resurrection and the promise of new life.  Certainly this signs of the season affirm that promise.  Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether.


Loretta Notten                                                Bill Conway

Director of Education                                  Chair of the Board

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