About St. Charles

Catholic Education Centres

Vision

St. Charles Adult & Continuing Education Centres aspire to instill confidence and self-esteem enabling all learners to reach their full potential in a diverse and respectful environment.

Mission

St. Charles Adult & Continuing Education Centres strive to provide the programming needs of all learners and dedicated to meeting their pathway goals so they will become productive and contributing members of society.

Core Values

We Value the Person

Inclusiveness: A place where each belongs
Respect: A place where everyone is valued

We Value the Learning

Excellence: Striving to continuously adapt to the changing needs of our learners
Service: A place providing life skills to be successful in the community in which we live, and to bring an awareness of social justice needs within the same

We Value the Community

Collaboration: A place where we work with community stakeholders to overcome the ongoing challenges of life
Support: A place of mentorship and success encouraging responsibility for self and others


The St. Charles Adult and Continuing Education logo is founded on that of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board’s and the beautiful imagery reflected from it. The fundamental components of the design are the cross and students.

The position of the cross between the two students reflects the centrality of Jesus Christ in Catholic Education. The two students of the logo are rich in symbolism. That one is larger than the other depicts Learning for Life; their graduation caps reflecting that all can learn and be successful; and their upward thrust signifying striving for excellence.

Our Expertise

Employers are discovering the advantages of partnering with St. Charles Adult & Continuing Education Centres. Not only do they benefit from the varied experiences and expertise of a vast and qualified St. Charles Adult & Continuing Education Centre staff but from the entire Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.

Benefits Include:

  • Provincially recognized curriculum development
  • Nationally recognized assessors
  • Qualified, certified, caring and experienced instructors.
  • Ontario College of Teachers' certified teaching staff in our credit department.
  • More than 35 years’ experience in the delivery of adult & continuing education programs
  • Continuous staff development initiatives
  • A history of materials development
  • Ongoing staff support and supervision
  • Active membership in influential organizations at the local, provincial and national levels, including TESL and CESBA
  • Computer applications and hardware that meet industry standards
  • A full array of learning resources and archival materials

A Brief History of St. Charles

St. Charles Adult Education Centre began as an essential component of an overall plan by the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board to address the growing needs of adult learners in the city. The Hamilton Adult Basic Education Association initially brought together members from the three local school boards, CAAT, Literacy Association, Hamilton Public Library and various regional and community agencies (social services, C.E.I.C., etc.). The Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board was the only board in the education field that took the early initiative, and we have never looked back. Opening with three centres located in the city of Hamilton, and with a total initial enrolment of over 900 adult learners in Adult Basic Education and Credit Courses, the Centre was officially opened in September 1985, with headquarters in the former St. Charles Catholic elementary school.

St. Charles became the headquarters for the Extension Education Section (Continuing Education) Offices and the new Adult Continuing Education Centre for the Board. The projected enrolment for the first year was sixty adult learners in Adult Basic Education and credit programs. The actual enrolment after the first week of registration was well over 200 adult learners. St. Charles began to meet the growing need for adult education in the City of Hamilton.

What made St. Charles such an early success in the adult learning field? Visionary central and local leadership, a professional and caring teaching staff, a hard working support staff, and a philosophy of inclusiveness that respects the cultural and religious diversity, gender and potential of each student.

The initial program offerings consisted of Basic Literacy and Numeracy, Grades 9-12 English and Math credit courses, and a Co-operative Education program for adults. Subsequently, English as a Second Language, Typing and Law were added to the program. The program utilized the adult learning model wherein students worked at their own pace, with help from an instructor. St Charles also featured free registration and ongoing intake of students throughout the year. Shift workers were welcome, with evening classes added to the regular complement of day classes.

As the St. Charles program became better known throughout the region, community groups wishing to establish a class within a housing project, shelter or agency location requested assistance. Thus developed the St. Charles Outreach Programs. Currently, St. Charles collaborates with Catholic Family Services to provide credit teachers at St Martin's Manor, which is a home on the Hamilton mountain for teenage mothers and their children. St Charles also collaborates with the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd to provide credit teachers at Notre Dame House, a shelter for homeless and street involved youth, located in downtown Hamilton.

St. Charles has always been known as an outstanding leader in the teaching of English as a Second Language (ESL) and Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC). St. Charles is recognized throughout the province of Ontario as a key partner with the federal and provincial Ministries of Citizenship and Immigration. St Charles was the first ESL service provider in the City of Hamilton to provide Canadian Language Benchmark Assessments. This service provides the students with an opportunity to be professionally assessed, throughout the school year, by instructors who are specially trained to administer the Canadian Language Benchmark Test. This allows the students to be given authentic and credible language assessments in order to move up the CLB stepladder.

St. Charles enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with several community groups and agencies in the City of Hamilton, notably the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion and the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council. Members of the St. Charles staff provide valuable insights into the changing needs of immigrants in the city.

One of the hallmark programs offered at St. Charles is the Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program. This program offers a second chance for learners who did not finish their education but who now wish to obtain valuable job related skills such as resume writing, time management, and interview skills along with basic math and language instruction. LBS is offered at most St. Charles centres and is a valuable community partner with social assistance programs such as Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

St. Charles offers a variety of venues for students to obtain their secondary school diploma. Summer school and night school credit courses are offered, each year to secondary school students throughout the city. The St. Charles Adult Day School is another way for students who have not completed their secondary education to obtain their diploma. As well, we offer credit courses. And finally, our PLAR for Mature Student program allows adult students the opportunity to complete 17 secondary school credits in as little as 6 weeks.

St. Charles leads the way in Hamilton with innovative programs, such as the Personal Support Worker (PSW) program. This course provides students with an opportunity to obtain certification in the growing PSW field. Most of our PSW graduates are immediately hired by hospitals, nursing homes and palliative care centres. Our PSW course is highly valued in the long term health care community in Hamilton. Our students display a high degree of professionalism and expertise at their work placements.

St. Charles also offers an innovative and highly successful Culinary Arts program which prepares students to obtain employment in the rapidly growing hospitality field.

Other St. Charles initiatives include general interest computer courses, and Canadian citizenship classes and much more.

St. Charles---Learning for Life!

Patron Saint - St. Charles Garnier

Charles Garnier, born in Paris on May 25, 1606, was a French Jesuit missionary, who was martyred at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, near present day Midland, Ontario, Canada, on December 7, 1649.

The son of a secretary to King Henri III of France, Garnier joined the Jesuit seminary in Clermont in 1624 and was ordained in 1635. His father initially forbade him from travelling to Canada (which was then called New France) but Charles was eventually allowed to go and arrived in present day Quebec in 1636. Charles travelled immediately to the Huron-Wendat mission, along with fellow Jesuit, Pierre Chastellain.

One of the first things Father Garnier did, upon his arrival at the mission, was to learn the language of the First Nations people of the area. Father Garnier respected the language and culture of these people and sought to understand the common humanity between the Europeans and the First Nations people.

Father Garnier spent the rest of his life as a missionary among the Hurons, never returning to Quebec. The Hurons nicknamed him "Ouracha", or "rain-giver", after his arrival was followed by a drought-ending rainfall. Father Garnier was greatly influenced by fellow missionary, Jean de Brébeuf, and was known as the "lamb" to Brebeuf's "lion".

When Brébeuf was killed in March 1649, Father Garnier knew he too might soon die. On December 7, 1649, he was indeed killed by the Iroquois during a raid on the Huron village where he was living. Father Garnier spent the last moments of his life ministering to the injured and dying Huron-Wendat people in the village.

Father Charles Garnier, now known as St. Charles, was canonized in 1930 by Pope Pius XI, along with the other Canadian Martyrs, and his feast day is October 19th.

St. Charles School Prayer

Our School Prayer

We are partners in God's vision of fullness of life for all,
partners in the ministry of service,
partners in teaching,
partners in healing and hope.

Together we reach out to welcome the newcomer,
the stranger,
the disadvantaged.

Together we move out to teach the young and the elderly.

Together we listen to the shy,
the lonely,
the grieving,
the downcast.

Together we celebrate each effort,
each personal accomplishment,
each academic success.

Ours is the gift of care and concern
on days when no one else is there.

Ours is the gift of knowledge and skill
to build and rebuild lives.

Ours is the gift of affirming the ways of a loving God
in a world that needs reminding that life is still beautiful.

God of life,
Bless this relationship with our students,
strengthen our partnership with each other
and deepen our fellowship with all
as we strive to bring life through learning
into the lives of all students at St. Charles.

Amen