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At the beginning of each school year, I marvel at how our schools are so well prepared and welcoming for the return of our students. Each year, our Planning and Facilities Department coordinate hundreds of construction and renovation projects over the summer two month period, and our caretaking staff work diligently to ensure that our schools are sparkling clean.

This year, we faced an unexpected challenge at the beginning of the summer with the fire at St. Francis of Assisi School. It is such a strength of our Board and part of our strong community, that our team would look at such a devastating event, come together to problem-solve, and have the school open and ready to receive the students in less than two months.

A member of the St. Francis of Assisi staff hard at work cleaning up after the devastating fire this summer.

The OCSB’s Planning & Facilities Department worked tirelessly all summer to ensure St. Francis of Assisi was safe and ready to welcome students on September 5th.

This speaks to the dedication, resilience, and creative thinking that our staff bring to their work everyday. From the principal, Carole Parent, who learned far more about construction and restoration over the summer than she ever planned, to the staff at the school who had to be adaptable to change, and all involved in bringing this school back from the proverbial “ashes,” I want to extend my sincere appreciation for all that you did and continue to do for our students.

The words of St. Francis of Assisi truly resonate as the patron saint of this school: “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”.  

After many weeks of cleaning, construction, and organizing, staff are eager and ready to welcome students for a new school year!

Principal, Carole Parent, was all smiles as always, eager to start off the 2017-2018 school year.

The classrooms, staff, and students at St. Francis of Assisi looking pristine on the first day of school.

Staff and students were delighted with the beautifully restored learning spaces.

Denise Andre
Denise Andre is the Director of Education and Secretary-Treasurer of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, and was appointed in July 2015. She has been with the Ottawa Catholic School Board for 39 years and has served as a teacher, department head, vice-principal, principal, superintendent, and deputy (associate) director.

Denise holds a Masters of Education and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University, and has been married to Bob Thomas for over 32 years.


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