October 8, 2019 News From the Boardroom

From St. Elizabeth to farm to table

Geoff Edwards, Superintendent of Learning Technologies

It all began with a small seed. At least that is how the Farm to Table (Ferme Urbaine) story goes at St. Elizabeth School. The seeds, hydroponic tower, and veggie-pod may have been the tools the students used to grow their garden, but the story behind the story is so much more collaborative!

Two teachers — Mary Allan and Teresa Charbonneau — applied for an Innovation Fund Grant unbeknownst to each other. When both received the funds, they decided to turn two small projects into one fantastic student-focused, student-run business adventure!

Ferme Urbaine allowed students the opportunity to care and nurture their garden from seedling to end product. That in itself is a hands-on Deep Learning experience, but the students weren’t satisfied with just “growing” the project. They wanted to create an authentic farm to table experience for their peers and the greater school community. The learning that started in just two classrooms is now embraced by the entire school population and the greater community.

“It would have been easy to teach the kids about farming and nutrition out of a book or with graphs and drawings. But that rarely create memories or knowledge that sticks.”

Geoff Edwards

Superintendent of Learning Technologies

Photo (from left to right): Kim Izsak, Principal; Shelley Lawrence, Trustee; Mark D. Mullan, Chairperson; Geoff Edwards, Superintendent Learning Technologies; Brigid Waghorn, Student; Teresa Charbonneau, Teacher; and Mary Allan, Teacher.

A student-designed logo was developed and voted on, much like would occur in a corporate board room. With the logo chosen, students advertised their veggies and healthy eating venture. They did so through blogging, podcasts and an in-school marketing campaign that included posters and whole-school announcements.

Being good corporate citizens, the students chose a charity — Ryan’s Well Foundation — to donate their profits. Ironically Ryan’s Well Foundation grew from the devotion and tenacity of one 6-year-old boy, Ryan Hreljac. Ryan was motivated to take action as a grade one student. He was heartbroken children were dying because they didn’t have access to safe drinking water. Ryan visited St.Elizabeth Catholic School to personally thank the students for their charity work and their advocacy for farming and healthy eating.

Dual Credit program boasts a 94% success rate

Debbie Frendo, Superintendent of Student Success, Intermediate/Secondary

All students learn differently. Some thrive in a traditional school environment while other students face barriers to success in the regular classroom. Dual Credits and Paid Co-op are innovative programs that meet the needs of disengaged students.

The Dual Credit program allows Grade 11 and 12 students the opportunity to attend college while earning a credit that counts as both a high school and college credit. It allows students to experience the college environment, gain a head start on career training, and discover vocational pathways. The OCSB program started in 2006. Since that time, the Dual Credits program grew from 10 students to 240 students that represents a 94% student success rate.

The Paid Co-op program is an opportunity for students in the Algonquin Achievement Centre to earn credits while they work. This program is ideal for students who live on their own. The first paid Co-op students graduated in June 2019.

The future of these programs is bright. Plans are in the works to operate a Congregated Dual Credit class in Health and Wellness starting in late October. Staff will also explore the feasibility of offering a Congregated Dual Credit Math class for Ontario Youth Apprenticeship (OYAP) students.

News from the Boardroom Summary

This October 8, 2019 blog post covers the following topics:


  • From St. Elizabeth to farm to table
  • Dual Credit program boasts a 94% success rate
  • Gifted learners showcased on the world stage
  • OCSB New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP)
  • Trustee Honoraria for 2019-2020

OCSB New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP)

Shelley Montgomery, Superintendent, Leading & Learning

The New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) is designed to bring new teachers together with experienced educators. It offers mentorship and professional learning opportunities in areas of: Literacy and Numeracy; Equity and Diversity; Social Emotional Learning and; Assistive Technology. The program provides job-embedded professional learning for new teachers to develop their skills and knowledge further to be effective teachers.

Holy Family Elementary School, Teacher, Kyle MacLennan, described NTIP as an opportunity for teachers to become more culturally responsive teachers. He also found the Math Literacy section engaging and encouraging. Mr. MacLennan felt the program promoted productive discussions, advocated a variety of teaching styles and built a sense of community between new and experienced educators.

This year alone, the Board hired 90 new permanent teachers, 51 long term occasional teachers and brought together 154 mentors with new teachers.

Gifted learners showcased on the world stage

Manon Séguin, Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services

Gifted learning is evolving at the OCSB. The improvements and advancements were showcased at the 23rd Biennial World Council for Gifted and Talented Children in Nashville this July. Trustee John Curry delivered our story Gifted Learning at the OCSB via a video. Those in attendance came from countries around the world, including Australia, Germany, Malaysia, Sweden and the United States.


Briefs from the Boardroom


Trustee Honoraria for 2019-2020

Trustees will receive less than a 1% increase. The increase is tied to enrolment growth.

  • Chairperson – $20, 347 per annum
  • Vice-Chairperson – $16,798 per annum
  • Trustee – $13,248 per annum

Registration is Open!

Let us help you register your child for the 2024-2025 school year.

Register Today
News by Month
News by Category