January 14, 2020 News From the Boardroom

The Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) partnership

Denise Andre, Director of Education

The Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) partners with all four school boards in Ottawa and works alongside Teachers to meet the needs of students in both official languages. Heather Norris, President and CEO of ONFE attended the January 14, 2020 OCSB Board Meeting to outline the impact ONFE is having on OCSB students. ONFE currently delivers 77 programs across 56 OCSB schools.

ONFE’s School Breakfast Program is available in 53 OCSB Schools. Twenty-three hundred OCSB students benefit from this program daily. In total, ONFE’s breakfast and snack programs operate in 193 Ottawa schools, providing over 13,500 nutritious meals to students. That represents over 2.5 million meals per year!

Classroom Gardens Programs brings indoor gardening into Ottawa classrooms. Throughout the school year, elementary students grow vegetables from seeds to harvest, to learn about plants, nutrition, healthy eating, and entrepreneurship.

Targeted Deep Learning lesson plans and growing programs connect hands-on gardening activities with curriculum goals in a variety of subjects. Students gain a better understanding of plants, food supply and demand, nutrition, healthy eating, and food-related careers. Last year, 10 OCSB schools participated. That number grew to 16 schools this year. Each indoor classroom garden can grow up to 50 edible plants at a time, all year long.

Employer Connections brings together educators and employers to create work-related Deep Learning experiences. Providing opportunities for career exploration and encouraging increased enrollment in STEM-related courses designed to prepare high school students for tomorrow’s careers. Nine-hundred and thirty-nine OCSB students are actively involved in programming options such as World of Choices, Career Exploration events, and coding initiatives. The students work for 85 different employers.

Close to 6,000 OCSB students participate in Junior Achievement Ottawa. The programming includes financial literacy, workplace readiness and entrepreneurship.

ONFE collaborates with 22 community partners to support treatment, education, and prevention education needs of youth in grades 7 to 12 for Substance Abuse Programming. Substance abuse programming is available in all OCSB schools.

Collectively, with funding from the Province of Ontario, the City of Ottawa, the four local school boards, and United Way/Centraide Ottawa, ONFE is helping to improve access to substance abuse education and providing critical school-based counselling to students and parents affected by drug and alcohol addiction. United Way plays a pivotal role in raising awareness and community funds for Project Step and oversees the coordination and delivery of in-school programming in Ottawa’s publicly funded high schools.

Photo: Student Trustees Sangni Kuma (far left) and Carlos Sanchez (far right) with members of the Student Senate

Student Trustees Board Mid Year Report

Ben Vallati, Superintendent, Continuing and Community Education

As a principal duty in their role as Student Trustees, Sangni Kuma and Carlos Sanchez are to ensure the student’s voice is listened to at the Board table and beyond. A Student Trustee represents the student voice at their school, at the Board table, and by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

At the school level, Student Trustees work with the Student Senate, which is a group of student leaders from all OCSB high schools. At the Board level, Student Trustees serve as the voice of the student population. Outside of school and Board, Student Trustees are members of the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association (OSTA-AECO). This association’s General Assembly includes Student Trustees from across Ontario. Their goal is to promote student voice at the provincial level.

Trustees Kuma and Sanchez provided Trustees and staff with an overview of what they have been doing for the past six months, and the list was exhaustive! These busy students have represented the OCSB at Operation Come Home, United Way Launch, Christian Community Day, Archbishops Charity Dinners, and National Child Day, to name a few. They have also improved the promotion of Student Trustee elections, increased awareness of Student Senate initiatives, and promoted CEFO fundraising activities.

Implementation of Grade 11 Indigenous Studies Courses

Shelley Montgomery, Superintendent, Leading & Learning, and Debbie Frendo, Superintendent, Intermediate/Secondary Student Success

The OCSB’s goal is to implement Grade 11 Indigenous Studies Courses as the only Grade 11 English college/university classes offered to students across the system over the next two years. The two-year plan will allow time to provide professional development for staff and to examine the successes and challenges of schools that already offer these courses.

Several boards across Ontario have already made this change, for example, Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic, Thunder Bay Catholic, and Upper Canada.

Why are we doing this?

  • This course follows one of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (#62)
  • Tells a different story – one that is pertinent to the history of our country
  • The use of indigenous texts allows students to see Canadian history through an indigenous lens
  • It aligns with our Equity Framework

Four of our high schools are already offering Grade 11 Indigenous Studies Courses. The response from students, staff and the greater school community is encouraging. In 2021-2021, all high schools will offer Grade 11 Indigenous Studies Courses.

News from the Boardroom Summary

This January 14, 2020 blog post covers the following topics:  
  • The Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) partnership
  • Student Trustees Board Mid Year Report
  • Implementation of Grade 11 Indigenous Studies Courses
  • Be Innovative Literacy update
  • Annual Review of Trustee PD and Kilometrage
  • Board meeting cancellation

Annual review of Trustee PD and kilometrage

Lisa Schimmens, Superintendent of Finance and Administration

The purpose of this report was to review the actual expenses for Trustee professional development and kilometrage for the fiscal period of September 1, 2018, to August 31, 2019. Trustees voted to maintain the status quo. There will be no change from last year’s budget.

Be Innovative Literacy update

Debbie Frendo, Superintendent of Student Success, Intermediate/Secondary

The Literacy Team’s goal is to assist educators in providing precise and personalized literacy interventions and supports to students who are not meeting programming expectations.

Levelled Literacy Intervention (LLI)™

Three hundred ninety-nine students in grades 1 to 6 participated in this program across the board. On average, every child participating in the program increased 7 PM Benchmark levels. 99% of participants (394) showed some improvement in reading. 90% of participants (360) improved by at least 3 PM benchmark levels.


Ninety-three students in grades 2 to 6 regular classes, as well as 29 students in our system classes, participated in this program across the board. Every student showed some improvement in their reading. 52% of students in grade 3 who participated in Empower met the standard in reading, and 57% achieved the standard in writing on EQAO.

Feedback about LLI™ and Empower™

From Principals to parents, the feedback was encouraging. Principals were astounded at the significant gains students had in their reading levels. While one parent told her child’s teacher that her daughter, who once shied away from reading, is now reading stories to her little brother unprompted by her parents.

What’s New for 2019-2020?

Leveraging Digital for Literacy Learning (LDLL): 

Shifting to a new initiative this year – Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity in Literacy (EDIL). This program will:

  • Focus more on literacy skills
  • Involve teachers of grade 7, 8, 9, 10

Equity, Diversity, & Inclusivity in Literacy (EDIL)

The EDIL network will ensure students in grades 7 to 10, from culturally diverse backgrounds, have meaningful opportunities to experience quality literacy instruction that is relatable.

Board meeting cancellation

Denise Andre, Director of Education

This year, the March Board meetings fall on March 10th and March 24, 2020. While we typically have two meetings a month, March usually only has one meeting, as one usually falls during March Break. Even though neither meeting falls during March Break this year, the March 24, 2020 Regular Board meeting has been cancelled.

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