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Twenty Years of Blues in the Schools

Debbie Frendo, Superintendent of Student Success, Intermediate/Secondary

In 1999, Corpus Christi School was one of two Ottawa-based schools to participate in the Blues in the Schools program.  This two-week school residency program brings well known local and internationally known musicians into schools to work with classes on songwriting, dance, learning to play music, and musical performance.  The students then have the opportunity to present this performance for their school community and to perform at the RBC Bluesfest in July.

The Blues in the Schools program has now expanded to over 20 schools in Ottawa and is still going strong at Corpus Christi.

Blues in Schools has opened doors for me; exposing me to different genres of music, different styles of play. I am excited about performing at Bluesfest this year.

Julian Fuenzalida, student, Corpus Christi School

Photo (from left to right): John Curry, Trustee; Manon Seguin, Superintendent; Joan Barry, Principal; Oliver Slack, Grade 8/St. Joseph HS; Corrine Parks, Grade 8/St Paul; Les MacFarlane, Resource Teacher; Alison Hicks, Consultant; and Mark D. Mullan, Chairperson.


Gifted Program Update

Manon Séguin, Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services

Manon Séguin and her special education support team outlined the learning opportunities within gifted programming.  Examples at the elementary level include:

  • screening of most grade 4 students in Children Support Schools as well as providing Chromebooks for all students with a gifted profile in those schools.  
  • the weekly congregated program for elementary students with a gifted profile continue at St. Andrew and St. Brother Andre schools.
  • all student with a gifted profile in grades 7-8 take part in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) initiatives focusing on hands-on work, coding and robotics.
  • the Math Acceleration Initiative allows Grade 8 students with a gifted profile to take Grade 8 math in the fall and earn their Grade 9 credit in the second term.

At both the intermediate and high school levels there was the Math and Science (new) Olympics, challenging almost 400 students across the Board. Other enrichment examples: enrichment mini-courses which include learning at a postsecondary institution; as well as mentorship and internship opportunities.

The program has helped me face new learning challenges while developing my work ethic for classroom work, collaboration as well as online learning.

Corrine Parks, Grade 8 student, St. Paul High School

Be Innovative: Numeracy

Mary Donaghy, Superintendent of Student Success, Elementary

The focus of the Board Improvement Plan (BIP) numeracy goal this year is to support educators in improving their fluency in mathematics so that they can support their students to improve their mathematical knowledge and problem-solving abilities. This year, five targeted strategies were put in place to achieve this goal.

Targeted strategies:

  1. Build foundational skills in Grades K-2.
  2. Implement MathUP Classroom in Grades 4-6.
  3. Support students with a learning disability in Grades 7-12 with SEA equipment and EquatIO math software.
  4. Use MathUp School as a resource for principals.
  5. Math/Numeracy Day held in Fall for all system K-12 teachers.

Amendment to By-Law – Education Development Charges

Fred Chrystal, Superintendent of Planning and Facilities

The Board approved an Amendment to By-Law No. 02-2019 – Education Development Charges. EDC rates going forward will be as follows:

Balance of Year 1 of EDC By-law (from May 19, 2019 until March 31, 2020)
Residential $499 per dwelling unit
Non-Residential $0.36 per square foot of new development

Year 2, 3, 4, 5 of EDC By-law (from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2024)
Residential $499 per dwelling unit
Non-Residential $0.37 per square foot of new development

For full details, view pages 51-52 of the May 14, 2019 Board Agenda.

Corpus Christi Grade 6 Student Julian Fuenzalida participates in the Blues in Schools program. He delighted a large crowd at the May 14 Board meeting with a mashup of “Bohemian Rhapsody/Fur Elise/and a bluesy breakdown. Julian will be performing at Bluesfest this year.

News from the Boardroom Summary

This May 14, 2019 blog post covers the following topics:


  • Twenty Years of Blues in the Schools
  • Gifted Program Update
  • Be Innovative: Numeracy
  • Amendment to By-Law – Education Development Charges
  • Ottawa Student Transportation Authority Update
  • Grants for Students Needs 2019-2020
  • 2019/2020 Preliminary Budget Information
  • Final Summary of Accounting – St. Patrick’s High School Additions and Renovations

Briefs from the Boardroom


Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) update

Lisa Schimmens, Superintendent of Finance and Administration

The Board received an update regarding the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority’s (OSTA) progress towards its goals and objectives.


Grants for Student Needs 2019-2020

Lisa Schimmens, Superintendent of Finance and Administration

The Board received a report on Grants for Student Needs (GSN) for the 2019-2020 school year. The total projected education funding through the GSN is expected to increase from $24.61 billion in 2018-2019 to $24.66 billion in 2019-2020. Additionally, $330 million of Priorities & Partnership Fund (PPF) funding will be allocated to education partners to support students, with $185 million currently being confirmed in support Ministry priorities. Information on Board specific amounts are still forthcoming.


2019-2020 preliminary budget information

Lisa Schimmens, Superintendent of Finance and Administration

The Board received a presentation of preliminary budget information for the 2019-2020 school year, followed by a review and discussion. The remaining sections of the Board’s budget will be reviewed at subsequent Board meetings.


St. Patrick's HS addition final summary of accounting

Fred Chrystal, Superintendent of Planning and Facilities

The Board received a final summary of accounting information for the completion of St. Patrick’s High School addition and internal renovations. The balance of $95,149 owing to the contractor will be paid upon rectification of outstanding deficiencies, of which $70,500 is exterior paving, which will be completed in July when there will be no disruption to school activities.

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