News from the Boardroom – May 26, 2020

Did you miss our Board Meeting on May 26, 2020? Not to worry, here are highlights from the meeting. Watch Full Meeting on YouTube.

2020-2021 Student Trustees

Nyameer Gony from St. Pius X High School and Patrick Bennett from St. Mark High School are the new 2020-2021 Student Trustees. Their peers elected Nyameer and Patrick to represent them at the OCSB Board Table.

Nyameer told Trustees she wanted to make a difference at the Board level, and she believes she can. She also wants to encourage ESL students at all schools to get involved in their school community. She believes schools are more vibrant when everyone participates. 

Meanwhile, Patrick explained he has always been an energetic, busy individual who enjoys encouraging others to live in the present and participate in school-based events. The St. Mark student said this opportunity allows him to promote a wide range of student ideas from students across the Board.

Both incoming Student Trustees had positive things to say about their out-going counterparts. They described Sagni Kuma and Carlos Sanchez as role models for engaging students, supporting innovative student projects and just being good people. Superintendent Ben Vallati agreed, saying Sagni and Carlos did a fantastic job, and we are all grateful for their contributions to student voice.
One of those innovative projects is an FAQ video designed to keep students in the know regarding COVID-19 and their education. To date almost there have been almost 1,200 views on Instagram and 286 views on YouTube.

Community Outreach

Our students, staff, and families have shared messages of hope, kindness, support and humour during COVID-19.

We, as a Board, have been encouraged by these examples of relationship-building over the past ten weeks. We are grateful for how we came together as a community to sustain our students’ academic progress and nurture relationships.

You can find many examples of Community Outreach on page 17-20 in our Regular Agenda May 26 2020.pdf

Portable Requirements for the 2020-2021 School Year

The system requires 31 additional portables for the school year 2020-2021. 25 portables are new units that were pre-approved by Trustees earlier in the school year. The remaining six required portables will be moved from existing school sites: two from St. Peter High School, and one from All Saints High School, St. Matthew High School, Our Lady of Peace, and St. Bernard. Additional portables are required at the following 13 schools:

Portable Locations

  • St. Benedict 3 (a total of 7 on-site)
  • Guardian Angels 2 (a total of 11 on-site)
  • St. Stephen 2 (a total of 9 on-site)
  • St. Martin de Porres 2 (a total of 12 on-site)
  • St. Jerome 2 (a total of 7 on-site)
  • St. Leonard 2 (a total of 5 singles, plus the existing port-a-pak)
  • St. Rita 2 (a total of 5 singles, plus the existing port-a-pak)
  • St. Rose of Lima 1 (a total of 2 on-site)
  • St. Gregory 1 (a total of 3 on-site)
  • St. Patrick (Nepean) 1 (a total of 2 on-site)
  • Sacred Heart HS 5 (a total of 21 on-site)
  • Holy Trinity HS 4 (a total of 4 on-site, plus the existing port-a-pak)
  • St. Joseph HS 4 (a total of 30 on-site)

Total Required: 31

The numbers are subject to change based on enrolment, and the organization of classes in September 2020. For this year, in particular, there may be shifts in student numbers due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Planning and Facilities staff will work with school Principals and the Human Resources Department to manage any required adjustments.

Annual Review of Board Policies

As part of the annual policy review, several new, revised and rescinded policies were brought forward to reflect legislative and regulative changes, updated procedural changes and current practices. 

The policies were vetted by the affiliate and stakeholder groups, reviewed by the Executive Committee and the Policies and Procedures Steering Committee, and reviewed by Trustees.

Director’s Verbal Update

Schools are entering their tenth week of closure, and we are in week 8 of educator-led learning. Much has happened in that time, last week, the Premier and Minister of Education announced schools would be closed until the end of the school year. With this closure, the Ministry of Education released a document entitled Ontario’s Framework for Continued Learning.

This framework outlines the importance of keeping students safe, continuing student learning, and discussing how to re-open schools responsibly in the fall. 

Distance Learning

Educators will continue to support Distance Learning, guided by our Strategic Commitments. We will provide more details regarding summer learning, as they become available. The Ministry is expected to provide direction in the coming weeks on summer learning and a plan for returning to school in September.

Be Community

2020 Director of Education Commendation Awards 

The recipients of the 2020 Director of Education Commendation Awards were announced earlier this week. All of the recipients embrace equity, create welcoming environments and support well-being. 

A special virtual booklet will be produced and shared with the recipients and on our social media channels before the end of June.

2020 Celebrating Excellence Award

All of our schools chose a student to receive the 2020 Celebrating Excellence Award. The award honours students who demonstrate citizenship, character, communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. Although we could not gather in-person to celebrate their accomplishments, they will receive their certificates through the mail and are being recognized virtually.

One example the Director shared was the recipient from Dr. FJ MacDonald:

“Today, we celebrate Nolan, who is the recipient of the Celebrating Excellence Award for the Global Competency of Character.” Nolan is a kind boy with a big heart who always tries his best and helps others. We are so proud of you, Nolan!”

3D printing

We have distributed over 1600 headband pieces and provided 120 acetate face shields, in just six weeks. One of the grateful recipients of 30 of these face shields is a youth shelter on Elgin Street. 

Wellness Checks

Last week, Red Cross volunteers knocked on the doors of OCSB families who we have been unable to contact. They provided a letter informing them our educators and administrators are there to help if they need materials/supports. We are awaiting a full report but believe Red Cross volunteers were able to connect with approximately 25 OCSB families. 

Student Senate

The efforts these students are making to reach out to their student body is truly inspiring. Student Senate produced uplifting videos, virtual Spirit Weeks, Theme Days, morning announcements etc. 

Be Well

Parent Lunch and Learn Sessions

Lunch and Learn sessions sponsored in partnership with the Catholic School Parents Association (CSPA), and the Special Education and Student Services Department are providing parents with relevant information in a welcoming virtual environment. 

The sessions are held every Thursday. Last week’s topic was “Expanding Your Child’s Vocabulary,” led by the Speech and Language Pathologists. “Vaping and Your Child” will be discussed this Thursday, presented by four of our Board’s Addictions Counsellors. So far, 385 parents have joined the live Lunch and Learn sessions with many more viewing the link. 

Third Path

Dr. David Tranter – the author of the Third Path, hosted a live-video session for 266 people last week, with another 60 watching at a later date. The session is still open to parents. The session focused on a relationship-based approach to student well-being and achievement. There were 266 who joined the live video, and another 


We have received 972 requests for assistance this school year. That represents just over $264,000 in financial aid. Since the schools closed on March 23, we have helped 394 families from 67 schools handing out close to $110,000.

Be Innovative

We have created quick tutorials, how-to videos, webinars, google meets and “twitter chats” on a variety of topics to support ongoing professional learning, and the adoption of engaging synchronous learning. 

Learning Technology Outreach

  • We have been using Screencastify to capture student thinking and speed up feedback.
  • Book Creator is being used to reach learners in virtual classrooms.
  • We are using PearDeck to engage all learners.
  • The LT Department is partnering with CSPA for Tutorial Tuesdays.


We are grateful for SEAC’s input regarding developing sessions that meet the needs of parents for example, our ABA team developed podcasts for parents. It has included links to conference speakers in a folder for parents to access.

May was #ocsbArts Month

One example of celebrating OCSB arts during the month of May was the #ocsbPhotoChallenge. Our staff, students and families, shared theme photos such as gratitude, love, hope, “this is me” or perspective photos such as birds-eye view, macro, no straight lines, light/shadow. 


We issued a survey to parents, our Grade 4 to 12 students, our staff, and Principals/VP’s asking how they were doing. We hope the answers will help inform our next steps as we move through the process. The survey remains open until next week, June 3.

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