11 TRADEWINDS Place, Kitchener, N2N3G4
11 TRADEWINDS Place, Kitchener, Ontario N2N3G4
470 DRIFTWOOD Drive, Kitchener, N2N1S6
470 DRIFTWOOD Drive, Kitchener, Ontario N2N1S6
201 ROYAL ORCHARD Drive, Kitchener, N2N1T8
201 ROYAL ORCHARD Drive, Kitchener, Ontario N2N1T8
158 SILVER ASPEN Crescent, Kitchener, N2N1J1
158 SILVER ASPEN Crescent, Kitchener, Ontario N2N1J1
#19C -1430 HIGHLAND RD W, Kitchener, N2N0C3
1430 Highland Road, Kitchener, Ontario N2N0C3
123 HILLBROOK CRES, Kitchener, N2N1J4
123 Hillbrook Crescent, Kitchener, Ontario N2N1J4
St. Mark Catholic Elementary School (simply St. Mark from here on out) is a Kindergarten to Grade 8 school located at 240 Autumn Hill Crescent in northwest Kitchener (in the Forest Heights neighbourhood). It has a student population of around 260 students, with just under 30 staff members. St. Mark opened officially in 1978 – it’s been serving the community for four decades now!
St. Mark’s affiliated Parish is St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish (sometimes referred to as St. Mark Church). St. Mark Church and St. Mark School have a long, shared history and to this day they are closely affiliated. Indeed, between 1982 and 1991, future St. Mark Church parishioners came to St. Mark School’s gymnasium for Sunday Mass. The current Pastor works closely with students at St. Mark.
As a brief aside: who was St. Mark? St. Mark the Evangelist was born and lived in the First Century AD; he wrote sermons, served as the first Bishop of Alexandria, and is traditionally ascribed as the author of the Gospel of Mark. St. Mark is associated with the symbol of a lion – sometimes a winged lion.
Fittingly, St. Mark’s team name is the St. Mark Lions, and their mascot is a lion. St. Mark’s school motto is, “Growing in skill, wisdom and strength.” The school offers Extended Day Care (not all schools offer this service). The office phone number is (519) 743-4682.
St. Mark is located fairly central within the northwestern Kitchener neighbourhood of Forest Heights. Forest Heights is a well-established, suburban neighbourhood that’s great for families: it has good access to shopping, parks, the Conestoga Parkway, and schools. You can read more about the Forest Heights neighbourhood itself in our article on it here.
In terms of St. Mark, it is right beside the large and lovely Westheights Park, which has multiple trails, a densely-forested area, and a sizable pond – indeed, it qualifies as a Natural Area in addition to a park. The impressive Forest Heights Community Trail lies just south of St. Mark (with a few shops, and St. Mark’s Church, along the way), and the Forest Heights Community Library (and Forest Heights Pool!) are a few blocks northeast.
The Fraser Institute is a Canadian organization that, among other things, compiles publically-available data about elementary and secondary schools in four provinces and determines their overall ranking. The data comes from the Grade 3 and Grade 6 Testing conducted each year by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). These tests assess Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.
The Fraser Institute’s ranking takes the average performance in each of those variables, while also accounting for Gender Gap, percentage of tests written below standard, and percentage of tests not written, and determines a ranking out of 10. St. Mark’s current score (as of the 2017 EQAO results) is 7.4/10, down slightly from its even more impressive score of 8.2/10 in 2016.
St. Mark’s score places it solidly in the top 20% of all schools in Ontario (there are over 3000), and incidentally, the 3rdbest school named St. Marks (there are 11 in total). Locally, St. Mark is currently among the top 10 elementary schools in the WCDSB, and it is the 4th highest-ranked school in all of Kitchener (both school boards).
St. Mark has a variety of athletics opportunities, clubs, and social opportunities for its students. One of their more recent clubs (and a very fitting one for the technology hub that is Kitchener-Waterloo) is the Computer Club, in which students learn to code, problem-solve with peers, and work hands on with technology. They even visited the Google headquarters in Downtown Kitchener’s bustling Innovation District! You can read more about Kitchener’s Downtown Tech Industry if you’re interested.
St. Mark is also quite dedicated to its role in the community and participates in fundraisers for a wide variety of causes. It’s been taking part in the Terry Fox Run for over a decade, and it’s even placed #22nd in all of Ontario for fundraising.
Combining their fundraising spirit and diversity of clubs is St. Mark’s Social Justice Club, which operates in partnership with the “Free the Children” organization. It has raised funds for Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating hurricane, provided medical supplies in Kenya and goats in India, and more. On a more local level, the Social Justice Club also works with senior citizens and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.