St. Josaphat Catholic School was established in 1961 by Msgr. Basil Filevich, the pastor of St. Josaphat Cathedral. Under the continual spiritual leadership of St. Josaphat Cathedral, we are blessed with regular visits from priests who are vibrant and enthusiastic in their calling. We are blessed to be able to integrate our Eastern Rite religious and cultural traditions. Student liturgies, celebration of parish events and the preparation of the students for their first solemn communion are part of the parish involvement in our school.
St. Josaphat offers classes from the Early Learning Program (ELP) to Grade 8, delivering the Ontario curriculum with an enriched program that includes the instruction of the Ukrainian language from Kindergarten to Grade 8. At St. Josaphat, we provide a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for our students, so that they may work and grow to their full potential. High academic and behavioural standards are set for all. The Catholic Graduate Expectations as well as the Virtues are emphasized daily and integrated into curriculum programs. We aspire to nourish our students in the Eastern Rite Catholic faith to become discerning believers, effective communicators, creative thinkers, good family members, and responsible citizens.
Through the precise and collaborative work of the entire staff, St. Josaphat students achieve at high levels in such areas as EQAO provincial assessments. In terms of student academic achievement, our students display excellent work habits and commitment to learning which is translated into superior EQAO and CAT/4 results. Our athletic accomplishments are notable, and the sense of fair play and sportsmanship displayed by our athletes is as valuable and distinctive.
A collaborative Catholic School Parent Council (CSPC) seeks to enhance and support school programs through the engagement of the parent community in fundraising and active involvement in volunteer activity. The CSPC also provides funds that are used for the classroom, curriculum delivery and co-curricular activities such as sports and Eastern Rite celebrations such as St. Nicholas, Christmas and Easter luncheons.
Local and international community outreach such as the support of local food banks, and the Help Us Help the Children program in Ukraine, are a focus of student fundraising and community work, as is the development of student leadership through an active Student Council that seeks to raise school spirit through a variety of activities.
As an Eastern Rite faith community, we share a common set of beliefs. However, within that commonality, our students come to school with a diverse and varied set of experiences as well as needs. The school's first and foremost intent is to provide a safe and welcoming environment. The St. Josaphat Parent Handbook (provided to all parents in the first month of school) outlines many of the procedures and strategies in place to provide such an environment. Included in the handbook are sections on safe arrival, code of behaviour, bus safety, health information, and emergency numbers and procedures (which can also be found in the student agenda).
An integral part of our faith and community fostering process is the strong international languages component of the school. We are very proud of the Ukrainian heritage language program offered at the school. Our Eastern Rite traditions are interwoven very tightly with the Ukrainian language. By continuing to offer a strong heritage program, we continue to develop a strong Catholic environment within our community. Preparation for numerous feast days throughout the year is an essential component of the school year.
Our kindergarten students spend a full day in school. Our Grades 1 to 8 students spend 1/2 hour per day studying the Ukrainian language and culture. School concerts, festivals and open houses have a strong basis in the faith as well as the language. The school provides special education services, gifted classes (Grades 5 to 8) and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. The school library is an abundant resource centre for both staff and students. The library has many materials in audio, video and print. Technology and computer education continue to have strong foundations in the school. The school has networked computers both in the classroom and the library.
In the area of sports, our junior and intermediate students are involved in a variety of team sports, including volleyball, track and field, and soccer. These include invitational competitions with local schools.
The school is very proud to have a chess club and to once again participate at the junior and intermediate level in public speaking competitions and festival of the spoken arts presentations. The school continues to have a music program of an exceptionally high calibre. The strings group performs at numerous functions throughout the year at the school, festival and community levels.
Modifications to curriculum are evident in order to reflect standards as outlined in Ministry guidelines. Board-wide standardized testing carries on this year with both the administering of the grade 4 testing and CAT/4 test administered to grade 2, 5 and 7 students. EQAO testing is administered to grades 3 and 6 students across the province.
It is quite evident in this short overview that the school has a varied and rich curricular and extracurricular base with which to meet the diversified needs of the students of this small school.
In 2004, St. Josaphat School staff and students relocated to the old Brother Edmond Rice building in order to accommodate the growing needs of the student community. The facility has a drama and instrumental room, high school sized gym, cafeteria, large library, huge classrooms and a very big school yard.
St. Josaphat Catholic School is the first of three Eastern Rite schools to have been established in Toronto, in addition to St. Demetrius and Josyf Cardinal Slipyj Catholic Schools. Through the strong beliefs of Bishop Isidore Borecky that a need existed within the community to educate its children on a sound spiritual base, plans got underway to raise funds for a private parochial school. Much effort was devoted by the community to raising funds, and the first six-classroom school was built in 1961. The school was initially administered and staffed by the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate. Msgr. Filevich campaigned heavily within the Ukrainian Catholic community to convince parents to send their children to the school.
In 1963, the Metropolitan Separate School Board (MSSB) - now the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) - assumed partial responsibility for the school. Over the next few years, the community continued to raise funds and purchased three school buses in order to allow more families access to this unique school. Eventually, the TCDSB assumed complete responsibility for the school. St. Josaphat Catholic School now serves students and parents from all over the Toronto area, who want the opportunity of an education that fosters academic and spiritual development within the Eastern Rite tradition.