October 22, 2019 News From the Boardroom

Photo (from left to right): Mary Donaghy, Superintendent of Student Success, Elementary; Students Nathan O’Hare, Basma Mohammed, and Shela Lamug; Mirella Frost, Creative Arts Department Head; Carrie Bowie, Principal; and Mark D. Mullan, Chairperson. 

Reaching out from Ottawa to Afghanistan

Mary Donaghy, Superintendent of Student Success, Elementary 

OCSB Trustees were delighted to welcome students from St. Patrick’s High School to hear about their participation in the global art project: The Memory Project. The Memory Project provided St. Patrick’s High School art students with the opportunity to brighten the lives of children living in a war-torn country. Each student received a picture of a child from Afghanistan. The high school student then drew the image of the child, creating a portrait that was sent to a child in Afghanistan.

Teacher Mirella Frost wanted her students to become global citizens, in word and in action. She described The Memory Project as Deep Learning at its finest. This project fostered a connection between students attending school at refugee camps in Afghanistan and the St. Patrick’s Art Club. The idea of reaching beyond the classroom was appealing to both the students and their teacher. Using the children’s photographs as a reference, the students carefully sketched the portraits of the children from Afghanistan. The drawings were then shipped overseas.

The Memory Project administrators produced a montage of video clips showcasing the children receiving their portraits. It’s hard to say who was happier — the children receiving the portraits or the St. Patrick’s students watching them!

In total, ten of the Art Club students took part in The Memory Project. This is not the first time Ms. Frost organized this initiative: two years ago, her students sketched students living in severe conditions in Syria.

“The Memory Project helped me become more aware of others, and reminded me that the little things we do for others make a big difference in a person’s life.”

Nathan O'Hare


Fall in Love with #ocsbOutdoors Learning Conference 

Mary Donaghy, Superintendent of Student Success, Elementary

The second annual Outdoor Learning Conference: Fall in Love with #ocsbOutdoors was held this Fall, welcoming 39 different presenters to share their expertise with attendees. Those participating included Early Childhood Educators, Library Technicians, system class teachers, occasional teachers, teachers from our elementary and secondary schools and central staff including Learning Partners, Consultants, and Coordinators. Several community partners also provided workshops. The Indigenous community, the Canadian Geographic Education group, and a local bee-keeper were all represented. The presenters helped provide a roadmap for how educators can include outdoor education in their classrooms.

The conference was held under the direction Kristen Charles, Arts Consultant in the Elementary Student Success Department.  A big believer in taking your inside classroom outside, Kristen was determined to share her love of nature with her peers — and it worked! Participants are already looking forward to next year’s conference. The event demonstrates yet another benefit of how innovating can create a sense of community and contribute to overall well being.

 Outdoor learning has many benefits, including:

  • supporting the development of children’s large muscle groups
  • supporting independence, resilience and social skills as children become confident about their abilities in the outdoors and develop an “I can” attitude towards learning
  • enhancing the well-being and mental health
  • encouraging collaborative play and relationship building
  • encouraging connection to nature which is a building block to teaching and learning about sustainability
  • helping to meet the needs of students with special education needs
  • developing imagination, a sense of wonder and the ability to observe

Final approval of OCSB Capital Plan

Miro Vala, Superintendent of Planning & Facilities

The Capital Plan is a comprehensive multi-year planning tool that looks at a range of variables including:

  • enrolment projections for each school within the system for a 15-year period;
  • enrolments in areas of rapid growth where new schools, additions, or possible boundary modifications might be required;
  • areas of the District where enrolment may be in decline and where school consolidations may be considered in the future; and
  • maps identifying the location of designated future school sites.

While the document covers a 15-year planning horizon, significant emphasis is placed on the first five years. The OCSB’s first priority is a new elementary school in Findlay Creek! 

Short term capital priorities (2021 to 2025)

  1. A new Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 Elementary School Findlay Creek (Leitrim)
  2. A new Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 Elementary School Fernbank (Kanata South)
  3. The consolidation of St. Rita and St. Augustine Elementary Schools at a new Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 Elementary School (to be located at the former OCDSB McGregor Easson Public School site)
  4. A six classroom addition to St. James Elementary School in conjunction with a boundary change for St. Anne and St. James Elementary Schools
  5. A new Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 Elementary School in Barrhaven South (Half Moon Bay)
  6. A ten classroom addition to St. Philip Elementary School

The above six capital projects were submitted to the Ministry for funding approval on September 30, 2019. The submission was made in response to the Province’s request for school board capital priorities.

News from the Boardroom Summary

This October 22, 2019 blog post covers the following topics:

  • Reaching out from Ottawa to Afghanistan
  • Fall in Love with #ocsbOutdoors Learning Conference
  • Final approval of OCSB Capital Plan
  • Purchase of portables for 2020-2021
  • Revised Safe Schools policies
  • International excursions
  • Ottawa Student Transportation Authority update
  • Board self-evaluation

Briefs from the Boardroom

Purchase of portables for 2020-2021

Twenty-five new portables will be purchased in response to increased student enrolment. In order to fund the purchase of these 25 portables and other related costs, the Ministry’s Temporary Accommodation grant of $1.1M will be supplemented with a further $2M from the Facility Renewal Program grant. Student enrolment is expected to continue to increase over the next three to five years. In combination with the 19 portables purchased for 2020-2021, the existing units and school additions the school board will be able to meet the needs of the student population.

Revised Safe Schools policies

Thomas D’Amico, Associate Director of Education

Three Safe School policies were revised and approved, as follows: 

International excursions

This year, OCSB students will travel to El Salvador and the Dominican Republic to delve deeper into social justice teachings. Other students will visit the United Kingdom, Paris, Monaco, Italy, France and Spain to study modern languages, art, history and religion. These international excursions are governed by the Field Trips and Excursion Policy

School trips abroad offer students the opportunity to learn outside the four walls of a classroom. The trips provide real-world experiences that encourage leadership and independent thinking. Students gain a broader appreciation for other peoples’ ways of life. They also allow students the opportunity to visit countries, cities, and historic landmarks that are key locations in the curriculum taught in their classrooms.

Ottawa Student Transportation Authority update

It’s been a busy start to the school year for the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA). OSTA facilitates transportation services to both the Ottawa Catholic School Board and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. OSTA is moving forward with several initiatives including preparing procurement of transportation services for September 2020; developing operator standards of performance; revising accident and incidents protocols and developing a communications plan.

Board self-evaluation

Trustees referred the matter of the Board’s self-evaluation process to the Trustees Support Services Committee. The goal is to determine if such a process would enhance the Board’s commitment to development, improvement and accountability.

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