Questions & Answers

This page intends to answer any questions you may have about CISND or our schools.  For your convenience, we have broken the Q&A section into the following categories:


Where are the schools of the Nelson Diocese located?

There are seven Catholic Schools in the Diocese (6 elementary and 1 high school):

St. Mary’s School, Cranbrook
​Immaculata Regional High School, Kelowna
St. Joseph School, Kelowna
Our Lady of Lourdes School, West Kelowna
St. Joseph School, Nelson
Holy Cross School, Penticton
St. Michael’s School, Trail

Are there entrance exams?

There are no entrance exams.  Based on our mission statement, Catholic schools first accept students from Catholic families and Catholic parishes.  Others families not of the Catholic faith but wanting a faith-based education for their child and who support the Catholic philosophy are accepted.  Catholic schools bring the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to all within their walls.

Do you accept children who require a Learning Assistance and/or Special Education Program?

Yes, all of our schools accept students of all ability levels.  Principals will accept students requiring special assistance into the school following the procedures outlined in the Catholic Independent Schools of the Nelson Diocese (CISND) admissions policy, provided the appropriate program, facilities, classroom space and support personnel are available to meet the needs of the child.  The student’s program will be developed by the school staff in consultation with the student’s parents/guardians and community resource professionals (see policy 5700 for more details).

Is the BC curriculum followed?

Yes.  The curriculum established by the Ministry of Education must be taught in order for our schools to receive 50% funding.  All other Ministry requirements must also be met (i.e. hours of instruction, health and safety, records management, etc.).  In addition, all of our students are required to take Religious Education and the program taught in the diocese must be approved by the Bishop.

Are your schools evaluated?

All independent schools are evaluated by the Ministry of Education every six years and they undergo monitoring visits every two years. 

What qualifications are required of teachers employed in the schools?

Teachers must be certified by the BC Teachers Branch of the Ministry of Education.  All of our teachers require the same education, training and certification as public school teachers.

Are your teachers part of the BC Teachers Union (BCTF)?

Our teachers are not a part of the BC Teachers Federation (BCTF), as many of the independent schools in the province are not unionized.

Why do Catholic Schools of the Nelson Diocese charge tuition fees?

School land and buildings are owned by the Diocese.  As such, no money is received from the government to build or repair our schools.  Each year, schools receive 50% of the per-student operating grant allocated to public schools.  This does not cover any capital expenditures like computers, desks, etc. 

Do the schools receive any other funding?

Yes.  Government grants and tuition fees still only cover part of the overall funding for our schools; the remainder of the funding comes from a variety of sources.  In addition, parishes affiliated with schools provide a parish subsidy.  Parents sending their children to Catholic schools are required to pay tuitions and these tuitions are tax deductible as a charitable donation.  Staff members accept lower wages than their public school counterparts; this reduces the overall operational expenses for the schools.  There are many generous individuals and businesses in the diocese that donate to and support the schools each and every year.  School councils and parent groups constantly fundraise to help balance the budgets and assist with purchasing much needed school resources.  Lastly, the Pilgrimage of Faith also supports the schools.  It is through the generous support of many people that the Catholic schools of the Diocese remain strong and functioning.

Why are Catholic schools in BC not publicly funded like the schools in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario (where you declare where you want your property taxes to go)?

This is a historical issue.  Education is a provincial jurisdiction and when Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario joined Canada, Catholic schools were publicly funded and have remained so to this day.  All other provinces have "partial" or "no" funding for Catholic schools.  Thus the need for tuition fees for our schools.