News From The Boardroom – February, 25th, 2020

Special Equipment Amount (SEA) Learning Partnership

OCSB – SEA Learning Partners support students’ access to the curriculum through assistive technology. SEA encourages inclusive and sustainable learning environments. Student innovation and well-being are fostered through the use of digital tools and supports. 


The Special Equipment Amount grant has two components: SEA Per-Pupil Amount – supports the purchase of all computers, software, devices and furniture. While the SEA Claims-Based Amount – supports other non-computer based equipment, including sensory equipment, hearing support equipment, vision support equipment, personal care support equipment and physical assists support equipment.


Inclusive classroom settings empower educators and support staff to nurture a sense of confidence in their students to build technical capacity. SEA provides students access to a variety of tools that promotes critical thinking and demonstrates knowledge. 


Assistive technology helps students develop self-advocacy. When students have digital tools, they need to support their education; they can better manage their learning styles.


SEA Learning Partners is making a difference in how students learn, how educators collaborate and are building confidence and capacity in the classroom.

Equity and Diversity Update

OCSB is committed to providing a positive school climate that is inclusive and accepting of all pupils. Our Equity and Diversity Commitments seek to build awareness, change practice and expand capacity in our leadership and human resources; in our schools, classrooms and through our organizational structures.

Positive Changes

We have provided additional funding and professional development resources, all while aligning our equity work with our mental health initiatives. 

Senior Administrators and Managers participate in bias-free hiring training practices. So, together we can champion ideas to support inclusion and more equitable education practices. 

Still to Come

We are updating the existing Equity and Inclusivity Policy. We are continuing to advance the implementation of the OCSB Equity Framework to identify and address systemic barriers. And most importantly, we are consulting, collaborating and assessing with students, staff, stakeholders and the community on topics of equity, diversity and inclusion.

Leadership at the OCSB

The Ottawa Catholic School Board is developing formal and informal leadership pathways that are innovative, support the well being of individuals and promote collaborative partnerships.

Our leadership courses are recognized provincially as an exemplary Catholic leadership development program that reflects our Gospel values in content and approach and reinforces our beliefs and Strategic Commitments.

Aspiring Leaders Program 

Mentors encourage candidates to develop a leadership portfolio

based on two pillars from the Ontario Catholic Leadership Framework (OCLF). The five components of the Ontario Catholic Leadership Framework form the foundation of the Aspiring Leaders sessions. These include the Personal Leadership Resources that represent the soft skills of leadership development.

Five Components of the Ontario Catholic Leadership Framework

  1. Setting Directions 
  2. Building Relationships and Developing People 
  3. Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices
  4. Improving the Instructional Program and;
  5.  Securing Accountability.

Principal and Vice-Principal Interview Process

Candidates apply the skills and knowledge they acquired within the Aspiring Leaders Program and demonstrate that knowledge through the interview process.

Candidates outline initiatives they led within their schools while making connections to how this would translate to the work of a Principal or Vice-Principal. Candidates present their portfolio to an interview team, followed by questions about the position.

Continuous Support

Our supports do not stop when someone is newly appointed Principals and Vice Principals. We come together as Catholic Learning Leaders through learning series, coaching sessions and presentations. All designed to make the Leaders feel appreciated and supported.

The Aspiring Leaders sessions helped individuals feel part of a community whose goal was to advocate and celebrate excellence in Catholic education.

Principal Learning to Support Mathematics

Principals, as instructional leaders, need to have the knowledge and strategies to share with their educators to help them provide the best education possible to their students. Our math focus, under the strategic commitment of “Be Innovative,” is one we will continue to foster, in many ways, including the professional development of our principals.

This year alone, we offered professional development for teachers and Principals in topics as diverse as robotics, coding and Hapara Workshops. Principals also delved into teaching strategies, math games for unstructured times and test writing skills.

Proposed 2020-2021 School Year Calendar

What Must Be Included?

The School Year Calendar must have a minimum of 194 school days, three mandatory Professional Activity (PA) days dedicated to provincial education priorities and up to four additional PA days per school year, for a maximum total of seven PA days. The remaining school days shall be instructional days and a total of ten instructional days designated as examination days.

How is it Developed?

A school year calendar comes together with the help of an Executive Committee, in consultation with our coterminous Board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.

We also received input from representatives of the Catholic School Parents’ Association, the Parent Involvement Committee, the Catholic Principals’ Council–Ottawa, union groups, non-affiliated groups, as well as the Board’s student trustees.

What’s Different This Year?

Labour Day is a week later than usual in 2020, so we will be submitting a modified calendar to the Ministry for the 2020-2021 school year.

Key dates for the School Year Calendar 2020-2021:

DatesOccasion / Event
Tuesday, September 1, 2020First Day of School for students
Monday, September 7, 2020Labour Day
October 12, 2020Thanksgiving Day
December 21, 2020 – January 1, 2021Christmas Break
January 4, 2021First Day of School after Christmas Break
January 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 2021First Semester Examinations (Secondary)
February 1, 2021First Day of Semester 2 (Secondary)
February 15, 2021Family Day
March 15-19, 2021March Break
March 22, 2021First Day of School after March Break
April 2, 2021Good Friday
April 5, 2021Easter Monday
May 24, 2021Victoria Day
June 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 2021Second Semester Examinations (Secondary)
June 24, 2021Last day of school for all students

This calendar still needs to be approved by the Ministry of Education.

Professional Activity Days 2020-2021:

Monday, August 31, 2020Provincial, Board and school priorities (all panels)
October 09, 2020Christian Community Day (all panels)
November 13, 2020Provincial, Board and school priorities (all panels)
January 22, 2021Assessment and completion of report cards (Elementary) (contractual)
January 29, 2021Assessment and completion of report cards (Intermediate)(contractual)

Semester turnaround (Secondary)
April 23, 2021Provincial, Board and school priorities (all panels)
June 4, 2021Assessment and completion of report cards (Elementary and Intermediate) (contractual)

Provincial, Board and school priorities (Secondary)
June 25, 2021Provincial, Board and school priorities (all panels)

This calendar still needs to be approved by the Ministry of Education.

Appointment of Ottawa Catholic School Board Representative to OCSTA Board of Directors

Trustee Mark Mullan was appointed the Board’s representative to the Ontario Catholic Schools Trustees Association (OCSTA)  Board of Directors for the two-year term May 2020 to April 2022. OCSTA is a not for profit corporation that provides leadership, service and provincial voice for Catholic School Boards in promoting and protecting Catholic education in Ontario.

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