OCSB update for families – April 4, 2020

Message from the Director

Dear OCSB Students and Families,

Thank you for your patience and encouragement as we move into the second phase of the continuation of learning in our province. These are new experiences for all of us, but with flexibility and innovation, we will do this together. 

I know there are a lot of questions and unknowns regarding the next few weeks. Instead of our 45,000 students returning to our ‘brick and mortar” buildings on Monday, we will continue to offer educator supported distance learning. This is a massive shift for any system, and we know adjustments will need to be made over the next few weeks as we work through this new learning environment. I would ask everyone to be flexible and patient with themselves and others. Together we will learn but there could be a few bumps along the way.

We know distance learning can be difficult in the best of times. This type of learning instruction is neither simple nor easy for any of us. But it is doable. I am confident our students will continue to learn. They practice deep learning in their classrooms every day. At every Ottawa Catholic school, we focus on helping your child develop global competencies: citizenship, character, communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity skills.

We know you are doing your best to encourage and guide your children as they continue their distance learning. We also understand you are doing this on top of all the other stressors you have in your life in these challenging times. Our educators are committed to doing the same. Like you, some of our educators are caring for aging and ill parents and young children. We are all doing our best as we remain student-focused.

We hope everyone understands distance learning is flexible; it can be done at any point in the day. We encourage students to read, communicate and engage in Deep Learning experiences while continuing to be physically active and mentally well. 

We will continue to listen to the input we receive from staff, students and families in the days ahead as we design future supports. We ask for your continued patience, empathy and faith, and commit to extending the same compassion in return. The Pope has shared a Holy Week message of hope, “It is the hope of a better time, in which we can be better, finally freed from evil and this pandemic. It is a hope: hope does not disappoint; it is not an illusion; it is a hope.”

Continuity of Learning

As we move into phase two of Learn at Home, our educators will be placing more emphasis on delivering curriculum to their students. Over the last two weeks, our educators have been checking in with students in a number of ways, including by email, phone, video calls, Twitter and other social media platforms. In the coming weeks, these check-ins will continue, and our educators will be available to answer questions and provide clarification where needed. 

We continue to work with Ottawa Public Health to have an approved distribution system for families in greatest need of a device. At this time the emergency measures do not permit students or parents to enter our schools. Working with Ottawa Public Health, we hope to have a protocol in place by mid-week to safely distribute devices to those families in greatest need of a device. This process will need to take place outside of the school while ensuring both physical distancing and ensuring no gatherings of more than 5 people. We continue to place the health of our students and staff as our first priority. Schools will be in touch regarding a process to safely distribute technology next week.

We recognize that we have many students that receive special education services. We will continue to work with you and with our staff to find solutions and strategies to best address personal situations. Our clinical staff and our resource teachers and other educators continue to work on the best way to support each student with an individual education plan. We are also working with a variety of providers to find solutions that would allow for equipment such as occupational therapy equipment to possibly be used by some students in their home. Given the many health, safety, and legal requirements that exist for specialized equipment, we are working on individual solutions to assist families where we can.

Hours of Recommended Student Work

Hours of work as outlined by the Ministry of Education, include instruction, online meetings, and independent work.

  • Kindergarten to Grade 6: 5 hours per week 
  • Grade 7-8: 10 hours per week
  • Grade 9-12: 3 hours per course per week

Assessment and Evaluation

Elementary/Intermediate Students (K-8): During the closure period, educators will provide feedback to students on how they are progressing and to support their ongoing learning. Teachers will use the evaluation information gathered prior to the schools closures on March 13, 2020 to determine a final mark. However it is important to note that evidence of improvement in learning during the closure will be taken into consideration when assigning a final grade in a subject. All students, K-8, will receive a final report card. 

Secondary Students (9-12): All secondary students will receive final report card marks. Teachers will assign learning tasks and projects and will provide students with feedback on their learning. Results from the work done through distance learning will be used by teachers to inform the final mark. Teachers will base the final mark on work completed up to March 13th, however they can adjust the weighting of assigned tasks based on what is in the best interest of students at this time, incorporating evidence of improvement in learning during the closure in the final mark. 

Graduating students: Mid-term marks will be calculated for graduating students for the college and university admission process. Teachers will use evidence of learning that reflects work completed prior to the school closure. They may also provide opportunities for students to submit a missed and/or additional assignment to demonstrate their learning within the timelines prescribed by the teacher. 

As always, students and families should connect with their educators if they have questions about assessment and evaluation.​ We will all be learning together as we navigate new methods to teach and learn in uncharted territory during these very challenging times. We remain committed to providing the necessary support that your child requires to succeed. 

Online Registration is Open For New Students

Students currently in our school system will automatically be registered for the next grade level, for example students in Grade 6 will be electronically transferred into Grade 7 for the Ottawa Catholic School Board High School in your area.

If you are not currently registered with the Ottawa Catholic School Board, you can still register your child for next year.

How to register 

  1. Find your school
  2. Submit online registration form and collect documents 
  3. Wait for your school to schedule an appointment once schools reopen
  4. Visit your school to complete the registration process

Specific questions regarding registration can be directed to admissions@ocsb.ca

Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa: Donate today and have an immediate impact on the life of a child

In these uncertain times, it is even more critical we come together as a Catholic community to help mitigate the effects of poverty in our students’ homes. The Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa (CEFO) is a registered charity whose main focus is to raise funds to help alleviate poverty for students in the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB). You may wish to watch Be The Light video.

The need is great in our community. Since March 23, the foundation has provided over $45,000 in emergency donations to 150 OCSB families who required food, shelter and medicine, among other things. While some members of our school community are in need of support, others may be in a position to provide support. We encourage you if you are able to donate directly to the Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa (CEFO) It takes only a few minutes to donate. 

Other than credit card processing fees, we do not charge an administrative fee. The foundation is run completely by volunteers. Your donation will go directly to the students and families who need it the most, with only a 4% admin fee for credit card donations made through CanadaHelps. 

No amount is too small to help a child who needs it. Thank you for being the light and making a difference in the lives of many families in our community.


Catholic School Parents’ Association (CSPA) Update

CSPA would like to remind everyone all of their meetings and events are cancelled until further notice for the 2019-2020 school year. They will continue to issue their monthly newsletters, which you can sign up for at http://Bit.ly/CSPAnews. They do remain available via email to support OCSB School Councils with any questions and concerns that may arise during this time. 

They can be reached by email at ottawacspa@gmail.com and one of their parent volunteers will be happy to assist you. Be sure to follow CSPA on Twitter and Facebook for updates, information sharing and ideas. They send their best wishes and thank everyone for their continued support.

Thank You to OCSB Staff and Education Partners

We recognize that we are fortunate to be able to continue to work in the education sector during these challenging times. Thank you to our staff for doing their best to balance their family situations with their work while supporting support for the continuity of learning for students. 

We work with many partners in providing education to your children. Our unions, our non-affiliate associations and our Principals and Vice-Principals association have worked collaboratively to find ways to ensure the health and safety of our employees. All while providing distance learning opportunities for students using a wide variety of means and trying to find the solution that works best for every one of our families. Thank you to everyone for helping to make the Ottawa Catholic School Board a caring community.

#ocsbAtHome Highlights

Thank you to the many staff and families who continue to share great photos online! Check out some of this week’s #ocsbAtHome Highlights.

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