News From the Boardroom – June 23, 2020

Did you miss our Board Meeting on June 23, 2020? Not to worry, here are highlights from the meeting. Watch Full Meeting on YouTube.

Erin Donahue-Boyle – Schulich Leader Scholarship Winner

Grade 12, Notre Dame High School student, Erin Donahue-Boyle, is a 2020 Schulich Leader Scholarship Fund winner. The Fund supports undergraduate scholarships each year in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Twenty-five scholarships, valued at $80,000, are awarded to students studying science, technology or math at one of Canada’s prestigious universities. Erin met all of the criteria and is now one of the Schulich Leader STEM scholars. She will attend McMaster University in the fall. Her teachers and administrators are very proud of her dedication to her studies, her commitment to charitable events and innate kindness.

Year-End Report From Our Parent Organizations

Our Catholic School Parents’ Association (CSPA) and Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) are 100% volunteer-based. The Catholic parent organizations are made up of dedicated caregivers, cooperating to provide the tools and support needed for parents to be active partners in their children’s education. To find out more about all the amazing activities organized by these two organizations please read the CSPA-PIC Year-End Report 2019-2020.

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) Year-End Report

Susan Muleme Kasumba, Chairperson of the Special Education Advisory Committee offered her thoughts on how the Board and the Committee worked together to embrace diversity and promote equity. Her SEAC Year-End Report 2019-2020 outlined what the school board and educators are doing to support students with special needs.

Ottawa Catholic School Board – Equity and Diversity Update

The Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Equity and Diversity Framework seeks to build awareness, change practice and expand capacity in three areas: Leadership and Human Resources, School and Classroom Practice, and Organizational Structures and Accountability. Here is an update of our purposeful work and future plans completed in its first year of implementation.

Summer Programs – July/August 2020

The pandemic initiated several changes and additions to the programs available to students this summer. The OCSB Summer School 2020  plans demonstrate how our staff have used their creativity and dedication to exemplify the Board’s commitments to Be Community, Be Well, and Be Innovative.

Mental Health Support 

Our Psychologists and Social Workers will be available to provide follow-up support to students who are currently receiving counselling, including the continuation of the school board’s Urgent Care Protocol with CHEO. Mental Health Workers will provide virtual group sessions throughout July and August to students identified as needing additional support to return to school. The Communications Department will heighten awareness regarding community resources, including the 24/7 Crisis Line, CHEO, and the Youth Services Bureau.

Transitional Support

We are finalizing a plan to support students transitioning to new schools, programs and system classes. If permitted by Ottawa Public Health, the transition meetings will take place face-to-face during the last two weeks before school starts with incoming students.

Proposed New First Day of School 2020-2021

The OCSB is proposing the new school year begin on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. However, all provincial school board calendars are still pending approval by the Ministry of Education.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges related to reopening our schools in September, we have requested an additional professional activity day from the Ministry of Education that would be at the start of the school year, on September 1, 2020. If they do not approve the addition of a professional activity day, we have requested the option to replace April 23, 2021, professional activity day with one on September 1, 2020.

Verbal Report from Director of Education

Student, Staff and Parent Surveys

We reached out to our students, staff and parent community to gather their input regarding their experiences with distance learning. The survey took place from May 26 to June 3, 2020. We continue to analyze the data and comments to guide our planning should we need to return to remote learning or an adapted model of delivery in the fall.  

We heard from close to 13,000 students in grades 4-12, representing approximately 41% of our student population. 1500 educators responded, and close to 97% of our administrators filled out the survey. As well, 13,470 parents completed the survey.  
Overall, the survey responses indicated general satisfaction with the OCSB’s approach and communication during the school closure period.  Parents, educators, students and administrators provided valuable feedback that will assist with our planning.  One of the clear recommendations was to develop a uniform technology platform for parents. The OCSB Parent Portal was launched this week.

Plans for Reopening Schools

The Ministry of Education has asked us to plan for three possible scenarios for the 2020-2021 school year:

  1. Return to regular instruction with enhanced health and safety protocols.
  2. Adapted school day based on smaller class sizes, cohorting and an alternative day or week delivery.
  3. At home learning with ongoing enhanced remote delivery.

We are developing a local plan by consulting with key stakeholders, including leading members of employee groups, CSPA, PIC, SEAC, and students. Our plan is a comprehensive blueprint that considers the three main delivery modes the Ministry of Education is asking us to develop. We are also consulting with the Ottawa School Transportation Authority, Ottawa Public Health, the three other Ottawa area school boards, and other districts in the province, the country and internationally. Once our plan is developed, it will be shared with our community.

Our plans will be reviewed in July by the Ministry of Education, and we expect the provincial direction in terms of the Ministry’s delivery mode in early August.

2020-2021 Funding

We received the Grants for Student Needs (GSNs) late last week. We continue to review those documents and will be bringing forward additional information in the coming weeks through our budget process.

Math Curriculum

The new Grade 1-8 Math Curriculum was released this week.

Be Community

The Board’s Communications team was recognized for the development of the ocsbGrads 2020 Website, created by Caroline Bachynski, featuring all OCSB high schools. Board staff received a shout-out for singing “A Million Dreams” as an accompaniment to a beautiful tribute to our grads.

A special mention of the 200+ individuals who completed the credit requirements for a high school graduation diploma from St. Nicholas Adult High School.

Be Well 

1041 requests for emergency assistance from 83 different OCSB schools were received and answered this school year by our Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa. Close to $288,000 has been distributed to students and their families in need to date.

Be Innovative

The technology used in our many virtual leaving and awards ceremonies is a testament to the innovation of our educators and Learning Technology staff. They worked tirelessly to support virtual education and learning from home. The OCSB Children’s Choir performing a song of hope is just one example of how our employees have used technology to learn, connect and share during this challenging season.

Welcome to Kindergarten

Prince of Peace Kindergarten Staff created a virtual Welcome to Kindergarten book using the Book Creator app to welcome parents and students and give them a glimpse into what to expect when they begin their school journey.

Thank You From the Director

The Director of Education offered her thanks to all staff who have risen to the challenge in the last few months, whether that was at the school or the system level. From connecting with students, parents and the community in ways we could not even have imagined a few months ago, to responding to professional learning needs, to pivoting all core functions to online platforms, our staff continued to exemplify our Strategic Commitments to Be Community, Be Well, and Be Innovative.  Ms. Andre also thanked many of our partners, including our employee groups, CSPA, PIC, SEAC and Archbishop Prendergast, wishing him a healthy and happy retirement.  

Finally, Denise thanked the people with whom she works closely every day.  She closed by acknowledging the wise counsel of our Board Chaplain, Father Peter Sanders, and the creative contributions of our two student trustees, Carlos Sanchez and Sagni Kuma.  In acknowledging the Board of Trustees, she shared her appreciation that these ten dedicated individuals work collaboratively with the senior team and together, build the Kingdom of God through seeking justice, loving kindness and mercy and walking humbly with God.

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