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Catch a glimpse of what’s buzzing in the OCSB community. Do you have an idea or story you’d like to pitch as a guest blogger? We’d love to hear it. Email your story or idea to connect@ocsb.ca.

80% of OCSB employees generously pledge $533,362 to the United Way

80% of OCSB employees generously pledge $533,362 to the United Way

It’s been another record-setting year for the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s United Way campaign. OCSB employees raised $533,362.93, with $404,981.52 being directed to the Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa. We also met our goal of 80% participation among staff for the second year in a row. The generosity of the staff in this school district is both amazing and inspiring.

At the Announcement Ceremony on Friday, December 8, 2017, central OCSB staff witnessed the unveiling of the total funds raised with the help of seven very special guests from St. George, Dr. F.J. McDonald, St. Emily, and St. Joseph Schools. We had the numbers a little mixed up at first, but with the help of the students and some “Price Is Right” theme music, we were able to get all of the numbers in order for the audience.

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A blessed beginning for a new school

A blessed beginning for a new school

On November 22, 2017, the OCSB held a sod-turning ceremony to celebrate the construction of a new Catholic elementary school in Kanata North. Construction has begun in the Marchwood Lakeside Community of Kanata North. The state of the art school will sit on a 6.52 acre site and will have the capacity to accommodate 460 students.

The assembled crowd then watched as students from St. Gabriel Elementary School gripped shovels and participated in the sod turning for their new school. A special blessing was performed by Fr. Virgil Amirthakumar, Parish Priest, St. Isidore. Director of Education Denise Andre gave her closing remarks and thanked all in attendance, including staff, students and parents from St. Gabriel and architects and contractors who were present. After the ceremony, attendees were invited back to St. Gabriel Elementary for a tour and reception.

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Four reasons to consider Indigenous self-identification

Four reasons to consider Indigenous self-identification

While I’ve learned a lot over the years, there is still much I’m continuing to learn about treaties, the Indian Act, and the Sixties Scoop, and in turn helping support our educators discover these important pieces of history and the impacts that they still carry today. It brings me great pride to say that we’ve increased the number of the Indigenous Studies courses from 18 classes when I first started five years ago to 29 classes today at every one of our high schools.

Our board works hard to bring change in Indigenous Education for all of our students, so that we walk down the path to Reconciliation together. In the midst of our board’s Indigenous Awareness month, it seems like a good time to reflect on the important topic of self-Identification which can have such a positive impact on our Indigenous students’ education.

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Bright purple reminders to give

Bright purple reminders to give

Standing before 19 OCSB schools is a new, bright purple reminder of just how simple it is for us to support one another. To deepen our relationship with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa we have installed 15 new bins at OCSB schools throughout the city.

Through our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa, we hope to help them reach their goal of collecting 300,000lbs of clothing by the end of 2017. What makes these clothing donation bins so special is that they raise funds for mentorship programs for Canadian youth. These mentorship programs improve the mental health, employment opportunities and civic engagement of youth at risk right here in our city.

Needless to say, there was no questioning why we were all smiles as we celebrated the ribbon cutting of the new clothing donation bin before St. Joseph High School.

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A spiritual walk through nature

While many of us have been rushing indoors to avoid the cold, I had the pleasure of visiting Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School’s outdoor Stations of the Cross. This colourful display has been drawing students, staff, and community members alike back into nature.

The school’s chaplain, Donna Hughes, pointed out to me that these outdoor Stations of the Cross invite us to consider our daily journey with God. These unique and beautiful pieces of art are a perfect addition to the school’s community garden. This combination of the tranquility of nature and the feelings of reflection that the Stations of the Cross evoke, has resulted in a quietly powerful prayer space.

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Lest we forget.

Lest we forget.

Last April, 205 students and 32 staff from 12 high schools in the Ottawa Catholic School Board travelled to France to pay our respects at the 100th anniversary celebration of the battle of Vimy Ridge. This battle is considered by many to be the most significant Canadian contribution in World War I. It is often referred to as the day that Canada truly became a nation.

This year on Remembrance Day, what will you do with your family to stop and acknowledge the great sacrifice made by so many men and women for our peace and freedom?

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2017 Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award

2017 Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award

Each year at Christian Community Day, we honour one of our former students with the Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award. This year’s award was presented to Mr. George Brown, who attended Holy Cross School and St. Patrick’s High School. Mr. Brown is an accomplished lawyer, social entrepreneur, and humanitarian. His name will be added to a permanent plaque at the Board office recognizing all past Distinguished Catholic Alumni award winners. Along with the award comes a $5000 donation. Congratulations to Mr. Brown. He is an incredibly deserving recipient of this prestigious award.

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From the Director

ocsb-photo-denise-andreDenise Andre, Director of Education, is one of our most popular OCSB bloggers. Her thoughtful perspective speaks directly to parents, students and staff all at the same time.

 

An honour we can all share

On Tuesday evening, the Ottawa Catholic School Board was honoured at the annual Ottawa Philanthropy Awards ceremony with the Outstanding Philanthropic Group award for our longstanding partnership with the Shepherds of Good Hope. I am proud of our school board’s continued generosity and service to our community through our special partnership with the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Thomas D’Amico, Associate Director of Education, and Joanne MacEwan, Vice-Chair of our Board, were present at the celebration to accept this award on our behalf. The countless acts of mercy, kindness and generosity our staff and students have contributed to the Shepherds of Good Hope also provide people with the invaluable gifts of respect and dignity.

As a faith-filled OCSB family, we work together every day to share in this caring community we’ve created together. Thank you to every staff member and student whose contributions have touched the lives of our neighbours with love and kindness.

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Embarking on a year of Good News in 2017-2018

I hope you have all taken time to enjoy your family, spend time in the great outdoors, and catch some of the exciting #Canada150 events that took place in our beautiful city throughout this summer. As we prepare to start the 2017-2018 school year, I’m pleased to highlight that we are starting our second year of our Spiritual theme Sent to be the Good News. I look forward to seeing our staff and students continuing to learn and live this theme out on a deeper level, discovering how they can be Good News for their communities, families, peers, and the ever-changing world around them.

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From the Boardroom

After each bi-weekly meeting of the Board of Trustees, our Communications Department produces a blog post summarizing major Board decisions (formerly known as Spotlight).

 

News from the Boardroom (December 5, 2017): OCSB returns Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson

The Ottawa Catholic School Board has returned Trustee Elaine McMahon as Chairperson for a fourth term, as voted by the Board of Trustees at the OCSB Annual General meeting on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Elaine McMahon is the Trustee for Zone 6, Knoxdale-Merivale/College, and has served as an OCSB Trustee since 2014. The Board also returned Trustee Joanne MacEwan as Vice-Chairperson for a second term. Joanne MacEwan is the Trustee for Zone 5, Beacon Hill-Cyrville/Innes and has served as an OCSB Trustee since 2012.

The Most Rev. Christian Riesbeck, CC, V.G. presided over a Mass with co-celebrant Board Chaplain Peter Sanders before the Annual General Meeting. The Board of Trustees was joined by the OCSB Executive, as well as many special guests from the OCSB community. Parents and family members of 75 students were also present to enjoy a beautiful and moving performance by the OCSB’s Children’s Choir to commemorate the special annual meeting.

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