November 26, 2019 News From the Boardroom

Photo (from left to right): Manon Séguin, Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services; Choir Director Mary-Beth McGowan, Educational Assistant; Diane Fournier, Principal of Divine Infant School; Brian Coburn, Trustee; Mark D. Mullan, Chairperson; Choir Director Michelle Seguin, Teacher; with students, Mateo Kukic (Grade 3) and Norah Brennan-Lee (Grade 5) who attended the November 26 Board Meeting to provide Trustees with a first-hand account of this unique and inspiring experience.

Lest We Forget with Juno Award winner Frank Mills

Manon Séguin, Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services

Three-time Juno Award winner Frank Mills reached out to Divine Infant Catholic School. The choir under the direction of Mary-Beth McGown and Michelle Seguin is well known for their commitment to excellence. Both women described the offer to record with Mr. Mills as a once-in-a-life-time proposal.

The Canadian music icon wanted to record a musical version of “In Flander’s Fields” with their students. He believes it is essential for young Canadians to continue to honour and commemorate the sacrifices of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

The students recorded their voices in concert with a recording of a 45 piece orchestra. The end result was magnificent. The message, the music and the experience resonated with students and staff. It could be seen in their faces and heard in their voices.

Mr. Mills is also known for his quick sense of humour and his ability to bring joy through his music. He encouraged the students to enjoy the process and this can be seen in the Behind the Scenes footage.

Diane Fournier, Principal of Divine Infant School, Choir Directors, Mary-Beth McGowan (Educational Assistant), Michelle Seguin (Teacher) and students, Mateo Kukic (grade 3), and Norah Brennan-Lee (grade 5) attended the November 26 Board Meeting to provide Trustees with a first-hand account of this unique and inspiring experience.

“Be Community” goal update 

Shelley Montgomery, Superintendent, Leading & Learning

Embracing diversity and promoting equity, we are guided by Catholic social teachings to create welcoming places for all. Our Be Community goal is designed to foster a community of learners to “seek justice, love kindness and mercy, and walk humbly with God”. Our commitment to our school communities is we will continue to keep the lines of communication open with students and staff. This video highlights our commitment to being the light! Collectively we raised $350,000 for the Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa (CEFO).
What have we done?

As a community, we continue to review the School Climate Survey and take action where needed. We also looked at the EQAO attitudes and behaviour data. We are reaching out to our school teams through several engagement strategies created by the Communications Department and the response has been inspiring. We are encouraging schools to ensure they are fostering a sense of belonging. For example, if the focus a school chooses is ‘Be Kind’, then all staff should be regularly examining what ‘Be Kind” looks like, sounds like and feels like all year long and not just a one-off lesson. Schools will also be encouraging students and staff to be reflective are their actions mirroring kindness? If not this is an area they can work on as an individual.

Be Community in action!

We have taken concrete steps to ensure equity and diversity are a priority. The Declaration for people of African Descent and the Equity Framework symbolize our commitment to ensuring all students and staff see themselves in classrooms, staffrooms and boardrooms. In addition, we are continuing to offer supports to our indigenous students; our students suffering from mental health issues and or poverty. We have many intentional initiatives advancing our equity work.

Deep Learning Partnerships

Our educators are building community partnerships that benefit our students by offering them real-life learning experiences. There is international Deep Learning Pedagogy being used inside and outside the classroom.

News from the Boardroom Summary

This November 26, 2019 blog post covers the following topics:

  • Lest We Forget with Juno Award winner Frank Mills
  • School Climate Survey 2019
  • “Be Community” Goal Update
  • Annual Energy Management Report
  • Audited Consolidated Financial Statements

Annual Energy Management Report

Miro Vala, Superintendent of Planning and Facilities

Our Energy Management Plan was implemented in 2005. We consume an average of 17 million fewer kWh of electricity per year over the past five years. Similarly, we have consumed 1.5 million cubic meters less natural gas over the same period. On a percentage basis, we have reduced electricity consumption by 30% and gas by 26% over the past 5 years. Since 2005, we have achieved an avoided cost from utility savings in electricity and natural gas of $37,508,887, which with an increase of 200% in the cost of electricity in the past 14 years and overall square footage increase of 692,528, which is the equivalent of adding 13 elementary schools. The success of our energy management plan is equivalent to eliminating the carbon footprint of 11,098 automobiles.

Green Energy Act and Awards

The Annual Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report showed OCSB as the top-performing board in the province for the first three years of ranking. For the recent reporting period, we are number four in the province. The ongoing efforts by the Planning and Facilities Department will continue to build on previous successes and development of best practices to continue our energy consumption and reduced greenhouse gas generation.

Environmental Stewardship

With 59 schools in the EcoSchools program students and staff are continuing to develop the knowledge and skills they need to be environmentally active and responsible citizens and to apply their knowledge and skills cooperatively to effect long-term change. Currently, we have 8 schools certified as Platinum, 37 Gold, 13 Silver and 1 Bronze. Our goal is to continue to increase school participation in the EcoSchools program.

The success of the OCSB Energy Management Plan is attributable to the collective effort of all staff and students across the Board and an energy conservation culture. Our faith communities help encourage the culture shift that supports planet-friendly behaviour to ensure a sustainable future. Our energy management plan and related initiatives make a substantial contribution to student and staff success and to the stewardship of resources across all aspects of the Board’s operations. We are proud to be a provincial leader in energy management and conservation.


Briefs from the Boardroom

Audited Consolidated Financial Statements

Financial statement highlights:

  • Favourable Independent Auditor’s Report – no qualifications
  • Compliant with all legislative requirements and the Ministry of Education funding model restrictions
  • All spending is in accordance with Board-approved budget and objectives with a maintained focus on programs and initiatives that directly benefit students and enhance student and staff success
  • Overall enrolment for grant purposes increases 745 ADE beyond budget contributing to an in-year surplus

School Climate Survey 2019

Shelley Montgomery, Superintendent, Leading & Learning

Ontario school boards conduct school climate surveys with students, school staff, and parents at least once every two years. The intent of the survey is to help schools make informed planning decisions to promote safe and inclusive schools, to determine the effectiveness of their programs, and to build on and sustain a positive school climate. Trustees reviewed the data from the OCSB’s Spring 2019 survey.


  • 86 – 93% of students feel safe, happy, encouraged, accepted, and a sense of belonging
  • 93 – 96% of staff feel safe, happy, encouraged, accepted, and a sense of belonging
  • 92 – 96% of parents feel their children are safe, happy, accepted, and are in a friendly environment


  • 76 – 88% of students feel safe, happy, encouraged, accepted and a sense of belonging
  • 94 – 96% of staff feel safe, happy, encouraged, accepted, and a sense of belonging
  • 88 – 92% of parents feel their children are safe, happy, accepted, and are in a friendly environment

The survey confirmed what students and staff already knew and were practicing respectful relationships are the glue that holds a positive school community together. Positive relationships promote a sense of belonging which in turn supports positive mental health and well-being. When students feel included and connected to school they are more likely to participate in the school community and achieve academic success. The survey serves as a reminder to ensure schools are welcoming so all community members feel included, valued, and supported.

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