News from the Boardroom June 9, 2020

Did you miss our Board Meeting on June 9, 2020? Not to worry, here are highlights from the meeting. Watch Full Meeting on YouTube.

St. Peter High School Student Kinsley Jura 2020 Loran Scholar

Photo sourced from CBC.

Kinsley Jura, a St. Peter High School Student, is a 2020 Loran Scholar. She competed with 5,194 applicants from 21 regions across Canada to be one of just 36 chosen to receive the prestigious scholarship. Kinsley is the only winner from Ottawa and one of only twelve recipients from Ontario.

The Loran Scholars Foundation awards selected young Canadians $100,000 towards a four-year undergraduate program. The Foundation looks to reward the next generation of Canadian leaders. They look beyond the transcript to find the promise of character: integrity, courage, compassion, determination and a high level of personal autonomy.

Students who hope to win this prestigious award are judged on a mix of academic achievements, extracurricular activities and leadership potential. 

Debbie Kealey, Principal of St. Peter High School, told Trustees that Kinsley brought people together to create positive change. She added Kinsley’s can-do attitude and infectious smile encouraged her peers to step out of their comfort zone, have difficult conversations, and work on social justice issues. Student Trustee, Sagni Kuma, told Kinsley she was, “Super, Spectacular, and Amazing!” 

Kinsley will attend McGill University, where she will study biomedical and science programs. She hopes to become a paediatrician while continuing her social justice work. Kinsley explained the medical community has not always supported black doctors. She would like to find out why and what she can do to change attitudes about Black students studying sciences at the post-secondary level.

End-of-Year Student Trustees’ Report

Carlos Sanchez

Looking Back 

Carlos told Trustees the experience of being a student trustee has been unlike any other. He was proud to bring the students’ voice to the Board Table. Carlos looks at his role as a student trustee in two different ways. Namely, he is responsible to the Board Trustees while at the same time ensuring he is conveying the wishes of the Student Senate to the Board. Both require listening, learning, planning and advocating for students.

Looking Ahead

Carlos hopes to one-day work in international business. The role of the Student Trustee appealed to him because he wanted to gain experience in business settings. He told Trustees,” Showing up in a suit and tie with a computer case (acting as the modern-day briefcase) gave me a snippet of what it might be like to sit on a Fortune 500 Board of Directors.” He did admit to still being a child at heart, whose love for cookies may have to be curtailed when he enters the real world of business. For now, he still loves “his” chocolate chip cookies!.

What COVID-19 Taught Him

Carlos said COVID-19 taught him resilience, patience, and to laugh at technical difficulties and malfunctions. He added that despite COVID-19 learning continued, Senate meetings were maintained, and he remains hopeful for the future.

Message to Incoming Trustees

Whatever challenges you face next year, remember you are surrounded by dedicated and hard-working students and staff members. They always find the will to better our School Board, as a community and an establishment.

Thank You

He thanked Sagni for being a fantastic Co-Student Trustee and friend, and Mr. Vallati, for being “the coolest, hippest Superintendent I have ever met.”

He also thanked all the Co-Presidents for making this year’s student senate the best it possibly could, and the Board of trustees, Superintendents and staff members who regularly attended board meetings. 

Carlos said, “Thank you, you have provided me with priceless experience and professionalism, and thank you to the Ottawa Catholic School Board for giving me this unforgettable opportunity of being this year’s Student Trustee. Thank you.”

Sagni Kuma

Looking Back

When Sagni looks back on her year as Student Trustee, she has many highlights, but the opportunity to work as a Youth Ambassador for Children’s First Canada has a special place in her heart. The organization’s goal is to improve children’s wellbeing. She also valued the opportunity to attend public engagements and represent the Board. 

Sagni enjoyed collaborating with fellow students, partner organizations like OCSTA, other youth leaders, Trustees and Superintendents. She said, “Joining forces to produce an FAQ video is one example of how working with people from various Board Departments helped to create something meaningful. The video helped allay student concerns regarding how COVID-19 would impact their school year and beyond.”

Sagni’s communication skills were on display for all to see when she and Carlos coordinated to create Instagram Campaigns for school elections. Her enthusiasm for student government can be seen in every Instagram post.

Growth Year

The role of the Student Trustee allowed Sagni to hone her leadership skills and build her confidence when speaking with adults. She feels she has learned to work cohesively and collectively with others.

Being patient and listening to others’ viewpoints helped her to prioritize her mental health, practice time management and to say no when she had too much on her plate.

She believes she is a healthier, more independent person, capable of reaching out and working with a wide range of individuals beyond just people within her age group thanks to what she has learned by being a Student Trustee.

Future Plans

Sagni will study Medical Sciences at Western University with a specialization in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and, hopefully, a double major in Political Science.

Her goal is to one day work in public health policy and administration to develop government policies relating to public health concerns. She feels a natural urge to lead and thinks she would be most helpful to society in such a role. She plans to be a leader who is respectful and collaborative.

Thank You

Sagni thanked Superintendent Vallati for being a phenomenal mentor and the Communications Department, including Nathalie Rodriguez, “for being an absolute gem, who offered never-ending support and patience.” But her biggest thank you was saved for Director of Education, Denise Andre, who she described as “providing steadfast leadership and modelling resilience in the face of the numerous obstacles we’ve had to face this year.”

2020-2021 Preliminary Budget Information

The Grants for Student Needs (GSN’s) will not be known for several weeks, resulting in a probable extension of the filing due date by the MInistry of Education. The GSN’s represent more than 90% of the Board’s revenues. A revised Budget Schedule will be posted when the details of the grants become available. View the updated Preliminary Budget

Transportation Communication

OSTA is working with the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), and Ottawa Public Health (OPH) to develop a safe plan for students eligible for transportation for the 2020/21 school year. They will update parents throughout the summer and the beginning of the school year.

Parents can register for email notifications through the OSTA Parent Web Portal or follow OSTA on Facebook and Twitter for news, updates, safety tips, bus delays and cancellations.

Thank Your Bus Driver – Virtual Appreciation Day

Friday, June 12, is OSTA’s Virtual Driver Appreciation Day. It’s a day when students recognize and thank their bus drivers, including drivers of the yellow buses, wheelchair bus, van drivers and walking school bus leaders for getting students to and from school every day. Students are encouraged to post on social media channels to show their appreciation.

Financial Statements for the seven months ended March 31, 2020

In keeping with Board Policy, the Financial Statements for the seven months ended March 31, 2020, are presented to the Board at its first meeting in June. Financial Statements address the following:

  • Statement of Operating Activities
  • Schedule of Operating Expenditures
  • Schedule of Operating Recovery of Expenditures
  • Statement of Capital Activities

Approval of Revised Policy: Trustee Support Services

The Trustee Support Services policy is being revised to reflect changes in technology, to clarify uses for community engagement funds; and to direct the use of unspent funds.

C21 Canada Shifting Minds Shifting Systems Award

Chair of the Board, Mark Mullan congratulated Director Denise Andre for being this year’s C21 Canada’s Shifting Minds Award Winner. The award recognizes leaders who ensure a culture of equity, inclusion and collaboration – so innovation can flourish.

Chair Mullan said, “Denise is a quintessential lead-leader who created an exemplary model for 21st-century learning and innovation in the Ottawa Catholic School Board through her commitment to Deep Learning. She created a legacy across the country by sharing her authentic and elegant leadership and mentorship.”

Denise advocated for BeCommunity by placing the collective needs at the centre to achieve system coherence. The established Be Well philosophy positioned and empowered the OCSB community to embrace the challenge of a pandemic and Be Innovative.

Director’s Verbal Update

Return to School

We hope to share with students and their families a snap-shot of what the return to school will look like by the end of the month. We have drafted a blueprint for the return to school. The plan focuses on six areas to reopen safely. The areas of focus are Community Consultation, School Site Preparation, Prepare our staff, Prepare for students, School Operations, Hygiene and Cleaning. 

Our community consultation will include CSPA/PIC, SEAC, student trustees, employee groups. Trustees will have an opportunity to provide feedback as well.

Summer Learning

Summer Learning programs are being developed, and we are awaiting Ministry approval. We hope to be able to share details with the community by June 23, 2020.

 Programs include

  • Summer school credit programs (credit recovery/reach ahead)
  •  New upgrading courses 
  • Summer Learning (literacy and numeracy) 
  • Focus on Youth
  • Special Education Needs
  • Summer transition programs
  • Summer mental health supports

Continuity of Learning

Over the next few weeks, we will continue to support Distance Learning, guided by our Strategic Commitments.

Be Community

3D Print Shop

We have closed our 3D Print Shop. Though we have not dismantled it in case our partners require our support again. In total, we distributed over 1900 headband pieces for face shields, provided 152 acetate face shields and 471 clips for face masks. Sixteen volunteers provided their assistance, and four more were willing to help if the need arose.

Red Cross Visits

We are grateful for the support of local Red Cross officials who launched a door-to-door campaign to ensure all school families were contacted and advised that we were here to help if help was needed. We want to thank Principals who also were involved in checking on their students and their families.

St. FX Fundraiser

Fifteen grade 12 students initiated a one week fundraiser. The students created personalized cards (birthday, thank you cards, etc.) for staff. Then a Student Success Teacher delivered the handmade cards to staff members’ homes. All funds raised support the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Interview Bias Awareness Training

We have trained 180 principals, managers, HR officers, and district supervisors in interview bias awareness.

Equity Conversations

We continue to hold Equity Chats via our webinar series, on June 2 Independent Equity Consultant Nicole West-Burns hosted the webinar.

Honouring our Grads

Grad recognition gifts, including lawn signs, are in the process of being delivered to students’ homes in all of our high schools. Virtual grad masses are taking place. Approximately 130 St. Pius X community participated in their live streamed grad mass, and the recording has had 878 views. More plans are underway to honour our grads at the system level.

Learning Technologies (LT) Department

Our LT department continues to offer support to schools on how to deliver virtual leaving ceremonies using tools like Book Creator and WeVideo. Our elementary schools are also holding virtual celebrations.As an example Holy Family elementary school created a beautiful 30+ minute tribute to each of their Grade 6 students.

National Indigenous People’s Month

Every Tuesday, we will feature a speaker for Tuesday Indigenous Talks. Speakers have included Cree graphic novelist and author David Alexander Robertson. Twin Flames, the multi-award-winning musicians, shared a live-at-home concert; and on June 16, we will wear red to bring awareness to the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Be Well

Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa

This school year, we have received 1002 requests for assistance from 83 schools. Since schools closed on March 23, we have answered the call for help from 424 families. 

Praying Together 

Corpus Christi School Principal (Sherri Stacsik) led a “praying in colour” session for students, siblings, parents and staff. They each prayed for four people close to them, with themes being around wellbeing, equity and peace. The principal referred to excerpts from books related to our strategic commitments and the Global competency focus for the school of critical literacy.

Be Innovative

We continue to offer professional learning opportunities, including certifications in Hapara and Google, as well as learning more about versatile applications such as Screencastify and We video. Educators are becoming more comfortable with these tools, which will allow them to continue to support their students.

Our teachers are also reaching out to students with low-tech initiatives including doing “driveway visits,” delivering work packages to students’ homes and picking them up when complete. For some students, this type of connecting is helping them engage and complete assignments. 

Retrieval of Personal Belongings

We have begun the process of retrieval of personal belongings by students and parents. OPH helped us to develop a safe school retrieval protocol, and the process has started. We have three pilot sites: Holy Trinity High School, St. Stephen and St. Jerome. All remaining high school and elementary schools will proceed with the safe collection of personal belongings over the next two weeks. 

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