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January 8, 2019 OCSB News From the Boardroom

St. Benedict helps unveil Black Raven Park

Black Raven Park near St. Benedict School in Barrhaven was officially has been officially unveiled! The park was named in honour of the school mascot and was a community collaboration with the local builder, Mattamy Homes.

The opening event in October 2018 included a ribbon cutting by Councillor Jan Harder, and a speech by Mayor Jim Watson, who spoke to the crowd about the unique partnership and the great idea of naming the park after the school mascot. The school was able to expand on the ideas surrounding flexible learning environments, outdoor classrooms, and deep learning tasks during the ceremony — a wonderful example of the strategic commitment Be Community. View the presentation.

Ready to launch the OCSB French virtual library

The Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) will soon be inviting all students to submit their literary works to our very own French online library. La bibliothèque virtuelle FSL OCSB will be launched Board-wide in January 2019. The FSL Virtual Library is a web platform that allows students to publish short stories online for others in the OCSB community to enjoy, enabling students to share their success as French writers and readers.

La bibliothèque virtuelle FSL OCSB is a Deep Learning opportunity that will enhance our students’ ability to be creative and collaborative while connecting with other students within our OCSB community. The Board is pleased to share this innovative resource with the OCSB community — virtual French books generated by our very own students!

Filling buckets with half a million dollars: OCSB’s United Way Campaign

We did it again! The Ottawa Catholic School Board’s (OCSB) United Way campaign has had another successful year with OCSB employees raising $508,598, with $379,035 being directed to the Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa (CEFO). The generosity of the staff in this school district is both amazing and inspiring.

Inspired by the book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” the “Fill a Bucket” theme for this year’s campaign was well received and took on a life of its own. Shiny red buckets were proudly and effectively displayed on raffle tables, special lunch tables….anywhere staff could see them to remind them how good it feels to fill the bucket for someone in need. The generous employees of the OCSB really connected with this message. They understood that while they may not know exactly how their donation will change a life, they know that it will.

Board elects new Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson

The Ottawa Catholic School Board has elected Trustee Mark D. Mullan as Chairperson and Trustee Jeremy Wittet as Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Trustees. Trustee Mullan is the trustee for Zone 8, Alta Vista/Gloucester-Southgate. He was first elected 1997, and served previously as Chairperson in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. Trustee Wittet represents Zone 7, Kitchissippi/Bay and has served as Trustee since 2017.

October 9, 2018 OCSB News From the Boardroom

The Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) is pleased to introduce the OCSB Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy 2018-2021, which is the first document produced aligning with our Board’s new Strategic Commitments. This resource reflects what we value and have accomplished and supports our work going forward.

At the centre of our new Strategic Commitments is Be Well, which states, “…honouring the dignity of every person, we care for and support the well-being of all.” This commitment begins with the fundamental belief that we are all created in the image and likeness of God, deserving of dignity and respect, of care for our mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

St. Francis Xavier High gets a new wing

On January 31st, Saint Francis Xavier High School hosted a Liturgy and Blessing Ceremony for the New Wing Addition to the school. Archbishop Terrence Prendergast presided over the Liturgy in the school chapel. The chapel was filled with several board personnel including Chairperson of the Board, Ms. Elaine McMahon, Director of Education Ms. Denise Andre, Superintendent Mary Donaghy and Superintendent Fred Chrystal. We were blessed to also have in attendance Mayor Jim Watson, representation from the Ministry of Education, as well as several community partners including the school council chairs and several student representatives.

A plaque unveiling and ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the entrance to the new wing. Principal John Pedari gave a tour of some of the contemporary classrooms including a multi-purpose room and the spacious new Grade 7 art room, which is adorned with samples of the wonderful artwork the students have produced. Mr. Pedari spoke about how innovative and functional the space is and how students are deepening their learning in the new collaborative space.

Calming those back-to-school butterflies

With September 5th just a few days away, it’s common for both parents and children to feel a myriad of emotions about the first day of school. Here are some tips to help you and your child calm those back-to-school butterflies! Keeping an open dialogue with your child will go a long way in helping your child feel great about their upcoming school year. Remember that your child’s teacher and school principal are also incredibly valuable resources in creating proactive solutions for your child’s success. The school-home partnership is key.

Setting our eyes on student achievement

As the final preparations are being made to welcome over 40,000 students back into our schools for the first day of school, we are filled with an excitement and anticipation for the many triumphs that we will celebrate during the 2017-2018 school year! Student achievement is often a beautiful result of the teamwork between a student, their parents, and our excellent staff. How will you help our students set, achieve, and celebrate their goals this year?

OCSB students collaborate to create welcoming schools

Hundreds of OCSB student from Grades 4-6 who are involved in peacemaking or peer meditation at their schools recently attended the 23rd Annual Elementary Peace Festival. The goal of the conference is to challenge students to recognize the power they have to make their schools into communities where all students feel welcome. It is also a way to highlight and celebrate the many practices used to build and maintain safe schools.

OCSB students receive Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards

A number of OCSB students were honoured at this year’s Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards held on June 5th at Ottawa City Hall. Ashley Robitaille of St. Matthew High School was a recipient of the Service & Caring Award. She has raised over $5,000 for CHEO by creating and selling duct tape petal pens locally and in Walmarts. Notre Dame High School’s Samuel Hickey received the Max Keeping Award for Personal Courage. He is a role model and inspiration to everyone who meets him.

OCSB students commemorate Battle of Vimy Ridge

Over 200 OCSB students travelled to Europe in April to visit Vimy Ridge on the 100th anniversary of the historic battle. Along the way, they visited many European landmarks, learned a lot, and gained a deeper appreciation for our Canadian heritage. Read their story and see photos from their trip here.

All Saints students receive Spirit of the Capital Awards

 A number of OCSB students were honoured at this year’s Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards held on June 5th at Ottawa City Hall. Ryan Coyte of All Saints High School was a recipient of the Academic Perseverance Award, while Ryan Rodrigs, also at All Saints, received the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Award.

OCSB students propose solutions to global problems

Over 60 Grade 12 students from both the Ottawa Catholic School Board and Ottawa Carleton District School Board participated in The Learning Partnership’s first Annual Global Solutions Student Symposium last month. Global Solutions introduced students to a current global problem and provides them the background, tools, and guidance to propose innovative solutions, which they presented to a panel of experts at the Student Symposium.

OCSB appoints new Zone 7 Board Trustee

On June 20, 2017, the Ottawa Catholic School Board of Trustees appointed Jeremy Wittet as the Trustee for Zone 7, Kitchissippi/Bay area. Justice of the Peace, Paulina Brecher officiated at the swearing in ceremony. Mr. Wittet has worked at Queen’s Park, Parliamentary offices, and now works for the City of Ottawa. He is a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament Parish. There were seven qualified candidates interviewed by the Board that replaces long-serving Trustee Betty-Ann Kealey who passed away in April.

OCSB students receive Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards

A number of OCSB students were honoured at this year’s Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards held on June 5th at Ottawa City Hall. Rebecca Kahindo of Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School was a recipient of the Academic Perseverance Award. She is a dedicated student who works very hard to achieve her goals. Sacred Heart High School’s Tysen Lefebvre received the Max Keeping Award for Personal Courage. In 2012, after having his wish granted by the Make A Wish Foundation of Eastern Ontario, Tysen decided to give back, and started his Mission To A Million campaign to raise $1 million to grant the wishes of 100 kids.

OCSB employees make life-saving donations

While students all over the city were enjoying one of the last PD Days of the year, over 20 Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) employees took time out of their day on June 9, 2017 to save some lives. Administrative staff from the main Board office rolled up their sleeves to give a life-saving donation to Canadian Blood Services (CBS), who is currently struggling to maintain a strong national blood inventory.

St. Brother Andre PGL students shine at science challenge

Students from the Program for Gifted Learners (PGL) at St. Brother Andre School dazzled at Carleton University’s recent Let’s Talk Science Challenge. The competition aims to encourage students to get excited about STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The event involved a Quiz Show portion to test students’ knowledge in STEM subjects, along with an Engineering Design Challenge.

Asked & answered: Kids can make a difference in the world

St. Benedict School teacher Julian Daher and his Grade 4 FSL Immersion class recently won the Learning Partnership’s Entrepreneurial Adventure Program Judge’s Choice Award for their inspiring Tiny Terry Bracelet Business to support the Terry Fox Foundation. Their year-long business journey began with a simple question posed by a student: “Can kids make a difference in the world?”

St. Jerome takes part in Project North

As part of a school-wide inquiry into what it means to be Canadian, the Grade 2 students at St. Jerome School decided to get involved with Project North, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in Canada’s northern communities. They decided to tie it to their Lenten project, and began raising money for needy northern students. They organized a number of fundraisers and ended up with over $1000 to send north.

A heartfelt farewell to Uplands

As Uplands Catholic School winds down its final school year before closing its doors for good, staff and students are leaving on a positive note. At a recent mass, Principal Elaine Phinney reflected on some the life lessons she learned at Uplands. “I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”

Special Olympics swim meet lets students shine

Almost 400 students competed at the 16th annual OCSB Special Olympics Ontario Swim Meet on May 9th and 11th. Hosted by the OCSB Special Education and Student Services Department, this uplifting two-day event let our student athletes shine. Their spirit was evident in all areas of the pool.

OCSB schools among top Terry Fox Run fundraisers

Three OCSB high schools were among the top 20 fundraisers in Ontario for the 2016 Terry Fox School Run. Holy Trinity Catholic High School, St. Pius X High School, and Immaculata High School went above and beyond to raise over $70,000 combined for cancer research. All of our schools raised a combined $180,689 last year, and our running total is $2,466,902. The dedication, enthusiasm, and selflessness shown by our school communities to support such a worthy cause is an inspiration for the entire OCSB family.

St. Paul students get VIP treatment at Shopify

Earlier this month, 43 Computer Science and Business students from St. Paul High School were treated to a VIP tour of Shopify’s Ottawa offices. They enjoyed their visit to the impressive facility, which included robotic go-karts, a slide, and many themed work spaces. Two St. Paul alumni who now work at Shopify prepared a motivational presentation for the visiting students.

OCSB students to send another experiment to space

Students in the Program for Gifted Learners (PGL) at St. Brother Andre School recently earned the right to send one of their experiments into outer space by qualifying for the Cubes in Space program for the second year in a row. Thousands of students aged 11 to 18 from around the world sent in scientific proposals, hoping to get their experiment a spot on either a NASA sounding rocket, or a high-altitude scientific balloon. Our hardworking students from the Ottawa Catholic School Board collaborated over several weeks to create an experiment that looks at the effects of radiation and weightlessness on teeth in space.

Governor General honours OCSB community members

On April 28th, three outstanding members of the OCSB family were among those awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, which recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country. OCSB Trustee John Curry, St. Jerome School teacher Tracey Nesrallah, and Sacred Heart High School student Tysen Lefebvre were all honoured at the special event at City Hall. Mayor Jim Watson, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, and many city councillors were on hand to congratulate the worthy volunteers.

2017 Catholic Education Week Choral Celebration

To close out this year’s Catholic Education Week, choirs from several OCSB schools gathered to participate in our annual Choral Celebrations held at Notre Dame High School and St. Paul High School. The talented students gave a beautiful singing performance in front of their peers and parents. To end the celebration, the choirs got creative, putting all of their parents up on stage while the students performed for them from the seats. It was a moving scene, and a great way to end another successful Catholic Education Week.

2017 #CathEdWeek Dance Showcase

Every year during Catholic Education Week, several schools from across the OCSB come together for a three-day event to celebrate their shared love of dance. This year’s dance showcase theme was “Broadway Bound: Start Spreading the Good News.” Students from both elementary and high schools performed brilliantly choreographed dance routines in a wide variety of styles and genres, including hip hop, fusion, salsa, jazz, tap, broadway, and many more.

2017 Catholic Education Week Mass

Our annual Catholic Education Week Mass was held on Tuesday, May 2nd, hosted at the Notre Dame Cathedral in downtown Ottawa. The Ottawa Catholic School Board Chamber Choir performed and Monsignor Daniel Berniquez presided over the Celebration of the Eucharist. Following the Mass was the presentation of the Director of Education Commendation Awards, presented to outstanding role models in the Ottawa Catholic School Board.