Joining forces with the Ottawa Food Bank
The Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) and the Ottawa Food Bank signed a memorandum of understanding at the November 13 Board meeting as a demonstration of our continued commitment to work together to serve our families and school communities. “OCSB schools have supported the Ottawa Food Bank for many years as a means of helping the community while providing experiential learning to our students based on Catholic social teachings,” said Denise Andre, Director of Education.
There is a coherence with the OCSB’s goal of alleviating poverty in the school system and the Ottawa Food Bank’s mission of working in partnership to create a healthier city by empowering people, increasing access to healthy food, and advocating for systemic changes that reduce food insecurity. “For many of our clients, every day is an emergency. Building relationships with organizations like with the OCSB gives us the opportunity to improve the quality and quantity of food available to our clients,” said Michael Maidment.
Both signatories to the agreement believe that through collaboration between education and appropriate food bank services, we can achieve greater collective impact to create healthy schools and overall communities that foster well-being and success. As stated in the signed agreement, the goals are to:
- inform educators and staff about the emergency food services available to vulnerable students and families
- provide opportunities for students to learn about their community and ways to give back
- assist classrooms and staff in fundraising and food-raising efforts in support of the Ottawa Food Bank
Attendance support for students
Manon Séguin, Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services
The Special Education and Student Services Department has assigned a Social Worker dedicated to attendance support and reengagement. This focus will provide Board-wide support for students with ongoing attendance concerns. It will also deploy school teams to identify students for referral who may benefit from additional support where other strategies have proven unsuccessful. The dedicated Social Worker will strive to address barriers experienced by parents and students while supporting the re-entry process back to school. Chief Social Worker, Mary Gallagher, and Lindsay Rowlands, Social Worker, will continue to build capacity with school staff on current topics around habitual absences, the impact on student success, and strategies to ensure the returning student has a welcoming environment. View the presentation.
“Be Well” Board improvement plan goal
Manon Séguin Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services, and Cindy Owens, Superintendent of Human Resources
‘Be Well’ is one of the Board’s Strategic Commitments for 2018-2021, and is defined as: honouring the dignity of every person; we care for and support the well-being of all. Our commitment is to develop and strengthen system conditions that promote positive mental health and well-being of staff and students. An update on this strategic commitment was presented to the Board. Superintendent of Human Resources, Cindy Owens, outlined the focus on staff wellness with targeted strategies like:
- PD Workshop: Psychologically Safe Workplaces (open to all Principals/Supervisors)
- PD Mental Health First Aid (open to all employees)
- PD Mental Health Leadership Certificate (open to Principals)
- New Staff Portal featuring LifeSpeak: Online platform for employees and their families that provides access to a comprehensive library of mental resources to support employees during difficult times
The responses by schools and departments to the wellness initiatives have been very positive. Student wellness is supported by specialized school teams and professionals in the Special Education and Student Services Department. Our Board’s bi-annual school climate survey gives us rich data to identify the mood or ‘climate’ at each school. Targeted strategies like the ‘Third Path’ pilot project in 11 schools and further development of peer-to-peer initiatives support student wellness in schools.
This year also saw the launch of the Mental Health & Well-Being Strategy 2018-2021 document and the increase of clinical support to schools in the form of psychologists, social workers, speech & language therapists as well as ABA specialists. Work continues on a Mentally Healthy Schools video series with topics like welcoming and inclusion. View the presentation.
“Be Community” Board improvement plan goal
Steve McCabe, Superintendent of Leading and Learning
A priority in our Board Improvement Plan (BIP) is to ensure all learning and work environments are safe, equitable and inclusive spaces for all students and staff. Goal 1 of our BIP aligns with our strategic commitment calling us to Be Community. Embracing diversity and promoting equity, we are guided by Catholic social teachings to create welcoming places while promoting inclusivity and a sense of belonging for all (examples: anti-bullying teams, equity teams, diversity days, LGBTQ teams, peer ministry teams, and Roots of Empathy-type programs). Guided by our Strategic Plan, each school works to support outreach activities and culturally responsive programs with an emphasis on our Board’s Spiritual Theme. View the presentation.
November 18, 2018 Boardroom Summary
This November 18, 2018 blog post covers the following topics:
- Joining forces with the Ottawa Food Bank
- Attendance support for students
- “Be Well” Board improvement plan goal
- “Be Community” Board improvement plan goal
- Appointment of new supervisory officers
- Provincial government consultation on education reform
- Trustees’ conference and convention expenditures
- Annual Investment Report
Briefs from the Boardroom
Appointment of new supervisory officers
Shelley Montgomery and Lisa Schimmens have been appointed to the position of Supervisory Officers (Superintendents), effective January 1, 2019. Shelley’s portfolio will be the Leading and Learning Department with responsibilities for families of schools. Lisa will assume the role of Superintendent of Finance and Administration.
Lisa has served as Superintendent of Business and Corporate Affairs for the Renfrew County District School Board during the past 18 years. She will bring a wealth of experience to the role. Lisa has co-chaired the provincial Council of Ontario School Business Officials and is a mentor and facilitator for the Eastern Ontario Staff Development Network Supervisory Officer’s Qualification Program.
Shelley has been an educator for 21 years, most recently as principal of St. Gabriel School in our board. She has been a teacher, vice-principal, principal, system principal for School Effectiveness (K-12), MISA lead, Creating Pathways lead, and 21st Century Teaching and Learning lead in the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board.
Provincial government consultation on education reform
The provincial government has invited parents, students, educators and interested individuals or organizations to provide feedback on the education system in Ontario. Feedback from the consultations is being organized by the Board for the December 15 deadline. Public submissions are still welcome at: http://fortheparents.ca
Trustees’ conference and convention expenditures
The Board received a Summary of Trustees’ Conference and Convention Expenditures report for the period September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2018” in accordance with the requirements of Board policy.
Annual Investment Report
The Board received a “Investments – Short Term” and “Investments – Sinking Fund” report in accordance with the requirements of Board policies.
Mardi de Kemp is the OCSB’s Manager of Communications.