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Feb
07

All Saints artists honour Chanie Wenjack

When All Saints High School art teacher Graham Mastersmith first heard the tragic story of Chanie Wenjack, he was deeply moved and decided to share it with his Grade 9 students.

Fifty years ago, Chanie Wenjack, a young First Nations boy, died cold and alone beside a railroad track in northern Ontario after running away from an Indian Residential School. His story is recounted in a series of videos and songs by Canadian musician Gord Downie and a graphic novel by artist Jeff Lemire entitled "The Secret Path."

After watching the Secret Path, Mastersmith and his class decided to undertake a collaborative art project to remember and honour Chanie Wenjack and the thousands of other Indigenous children who never came home from residential schools.

Remembering Chanie and a step towards healing -- This painting of Chanie Wenjack was done collaboratively by the Grade 9 Art Class at All Saints High School with their teacher, Graham Mastersmith, and Mohawk artist, Kirk Brant. Written into Chanie's clothing by the students are excerpts from the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions final report.

Working in collaboration with Mohawk artist Kirk Brant, students learned about the history and legacy of the residential school system and its devastating effects on generations of Indigenous people across Canada. Brant explained his role with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and introduced the 94 recommendations put forth in the commission's final report. One of the recommendations called upon Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process. This call to action inspired the project.

Students were tasked to read and condense the recommendations and write them within the body outline of Chanie Wenjack.Then, Mastersmith and a few of his students added the final details and shading. In addition to assisting with the mixed media painting, Brant helped create 20 hand-screened shirts for everyone involved in the project. Additional shirts have since been created and sold to OCSB staff to raise money for the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.

"I hope that this collaborative project helps foster reconciliation, but more importantly contributes to the responsibility of ensuring that the tragic story of Chanie Wenjack never happens again."

Graham Mastersmith

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines art as "something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings." What an appropriate way to describe this empathetic project and restorative journey Mastersmith has guided his students through. This mixed media painting has invited the artists, and now the the viewer, to ponder "how can we honour the life and tragic death of Chanie Wenjack?"

Recent comment in this post
Guest — MaryJoanHale
very touching. So wonderful to see young people of this generation learning about residential schools. When I was young we were t... Read More
Thursday, 09 February 2017 6:06 PM
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Jan
31

Denise Gotell is one of “Canada’s Outstanding Principals”

Denise Gotell, Principal of St. Thomas More School

St. Thomas More's Denise Gotell has been named one of Canada's Outstanding Principals for 2017. Denise is among 40 exceptional educators, from every province and territory in Canada, who is being celebrated by The Learning Partnership (TLP) for demonstrating innovation, having an entrepreneurial spirit, and for employing creativity in finding solutions and opportunities. Denise will now become a member of the National Academy of Canada's Outstanding principals, which offers principals ongoing networking, mentoring and professional development opportunities in order to continually enhance their leadership skills. 

A profile of an outstanding principal

Denise's advocacy for special education and equity, and the belief that all students can learn, thrive and achieve, has led her to champion assistive technology. Denise is an innovator, promotes student voice and choice, and explores avenues, including social media, for collaboration and engagement. Denise mentors and coaches other leaders, builds community, keeps current with research, and is a positive agent for change. Denise's style of leadership creates a culture of trust where staff feel empowered, further supporting the school-wide effort to change the world, to "Dream Large and Be Awesome." 

"Every person here wants to be their best self. There are no barriers if you develop trusting relationships with staff, students, and parents." - Denise Gotell, Principal of St. Thomas More School 

Denise has a unique ability to engage the minds and hearts of the school community as they embark on new initiatives. Denise once wrote the word "yet…" on the walls throughout the school to pique the interest of staff and students, as they searched for its meaning. The entire community became engaged in the notion that if you add the word "yet" to any phrase, the brain switches from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. In the Fall of 2015, the OCSB was selected from among 35 boards across Canada to be recognized by the Canadian Education Association (CEA) for its exemplary and visionary practices in transforming its classrooms into 21st century environment that meet the needs of all learners. Denise's school served as a leader in implementing this vision. 

"Denise Gotell's leadership has brought her school to the forefront when it comes to innovative learning and helping students build global competencies. Denise ensures students are engaged in inclusive and welcoming community and establishes a culture of high expectations for all members of her school community." Denise Andre, OCSB Director of Education 

"We are delighted to be celebrating these exceptional principals for their contributions to their schools and communities. Their dedication to building and leading teams of great teachers plays a vital role in positively impacting student achievement and success and we are elated to recognize these dynamic leaders in the Canadian public education system." Rod Thompson, Director of Executive Leadership Programs of The Learning Partnership

Denise began her career in education as a teacher in Nova Scotia 20 years ago. She joined the Ottawa Catholic School Board 18 years ago and has held a variety of leadership roles. She has acted as Principal for the past seven years. The entire Ottawa Catholic School Board community is proud to support Denise and this prestigious accomplishment.

For more information, visit The Learning Partnership's website

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Dec
20

Deep Learning through a faith-filled lens

Over the last few years, we have been implementing Deep Learning practices in our classrooms so that our students can authentically connect their learning in the globally-connected world that we now live in. I see examples of Deep Learning in all of the schools I visit and follow on social media. In this blog post, I'd like to celebrate one school's initiative that highlights why this approach to learning can have such a transformative impact for all involved.

The inspiring story of St. Luke Nepean's "Little Free Pantry" shows how Deep Learning can come together to allow students to model the Catholic Graduate Expectations. This classroom with a big heart took a simple science project to the next level by creating an outdoor structure for their community to take what they need or give what they can.

St. Luke Nepean students put the finishing touches on their Little Free Pantry - a school project that will benefit their community for years to come.
The Pantry's logo incorporates this year's spiritual theme: Sent to be the Good News.

These students demonstrated the Global Competencies of Deep Learning. The students collaborated every step along the way, from creating blueprints to final construction. They communicated with each other to decide on what their project should be, the best way to go about it, and how to spread the word about it. They demonstrated citizenship, giving witness to Catholic social teaching, by choosing something that would benefit their entire community for many years to come. The students showed character, their God-given potential witnessed through hope and perseverance, as they saw their concept to completion. Their creativity shone through in the plans each student made, their ideas for raising money and gathering materials, and the creation of their pantry's logo. Critical thinking was evident in deciding which of their designs was best, planning the construction, and tackling any problems that came up along the way.

These inspiring young students and the staff who guided them are truly Sent to be the Good News – a fact that is evident by their pantry's logo, which incorporated the Board's spiritual theme. I am inspired by what so many of our students do every day - I see evidence that students can indeed be agents of change, helping humanity both near and far.

I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and Blessed New Year.


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Dec
15

OCSB takes part in the Hour of Code

From December 5th to 11th, schools from all across the OCSB took part in the Hour of Code, a global movement designed to celebrate computer science and to show that anybody can learn the basics. Not only does learning code promote problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity, it also creates a foundation for success in the 21st century. And on top of all that, our students absolutely loved it.

OCSB students and staff shared their Hour of Code experiences on social media using the hashtag #OntarioCodes. Take a look at our Storify for some highlights.

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Oct
11

OCSB Schools Raise Over $25,000 for OK Clean Water

The OCSB is celebrating another successful year of partnership with OK Clean Water, as 28 of our schools brought in an impressive $25,443.84 to support sustainable clean water projects in Kumbo, Cameroon. Both students and staff participated in a wide variety of creative fundraising efforts: walk-a-thons, read-a-thons, spirit days, coin lines, bake sales, chores at home, and many more. One group of students put together a presentation for their classmates. Some staff even volunteered to shave their heads if fundraising goals were met - let's just say their heads have been chillier than normal recently!

Currently, thanks to OK Clean Water, 43 villages have access to clean water, and more villagers are waiting in hope. In addition to providing the materials and planning for the village projects, the Cameroonian engineer, Edwin Visi, provides workshops for the villagers to ensure the sustainability of their clean water projects. An Advisory Committee has also recently been established to oversee the projects in each village and to make suggestions whenever needed.

During the 2015-2016 school year, the following schools took part in fundraising efforts for this worthy and important cause:

Dr. F.J. McDonald, Good Shepherd, Holy Family, Holy Redeemer, Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, Monsignor Paul Baxter, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Victory, St. Anne, St. Augustine, St. Bernard, St. Brigid, St. Daniel, St. Emily, St. Francis Xavier, St. Gemma, St. George, St. Jerome, St. John the Apostle, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Luke, St. Michael (Corkery), St. Michael (Fitzroy), St. Michael (Ottawa), St. Rita, Thomas D'Arcy McGee Catholic, and Uplands Catholic.

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Sep
16

What is your hope for 2016-2017?

I recently watched an inspiring video on YouTube that I found fitting for the start of our school year at the Ottawa Catholic School Board. A school in the United States set up a chalkboard in front of the school asking students and staff what their "hope" was for the upcoming school year and the responses were both enlightening and challenging.

Whether you're a student, a parent, or staff in our OCSB family, there is great value in naming your "hope" for the 2016-2017 school year. Naming your "hope" just might give you something positive to look for, or work towards. Whether big or small, my hope is that your "hope" is something bright that not only comes to be a reality this year, but something that sparks hope all around you. Here's to a great 2016-2017 school year! Share your hope below in the comments, or on social media using #OCSBhope..

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Sep
08

#OCSBFirstDay!


On Tuesday, September 6th, the OCSB kicked off its 2016-17 school year. Students around the city, from JK all the way up to Grade 12, came together with OCSB staff to greet new students, reunite with old friends, and learn!

View the #OCSBFirstDay Storify here!

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Jun
08

OCSB Celebrates 22nd Annual Elementary Peace Festival

This year, over 1,200 elementary students in grades 4, 5 and 6 who are involved in peacemaking or peer mediation at their schools attended the Ottawa Catholic School Board's 22nd Annual Elementary Peace Festival held at St. Paul High School. An event that highlights and celebrates the positive roles of our students in junior grades, the Peace Festival also showcases the many practices used to build and maintain safe and inclusive school environments.

​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. The festival has helped many students view conflict as an opportunity for positive change. Students shared ideas and affirmed each other in their commitment to making their world a safer and more just place. In addition to playing co-operative games and having a lot of fun, student participants at the festival were celebrated for their outreach programs and examples in leadership.

The day is developed and run by the Leadership Program students at St. Joseph High School and made possible by the ongoing support of MADD Ottawa.

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May
30

2016 OCSB EduGala winners

11 outstanding educators from the Ottawa Catholic School Board were recently named finalists for Capital Educator Awards. On May 20th, two of our OCSB finalists Claudio Micomonaco (left) and Jane O'Regan (right), were honoured as winners at the 15th annual EduGala held at Algonquin College. Hosted by the Ottawa Network for Education, the annual event honours educators from around the Ottawa region who demonstrate teaching excellence and instil a passion for learning in their students. Congratulations!


To see biographies and pictures of all nominees, please check out the Facebook album.


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May
03

#CathEdWeek 2016 is here!

Students from St. Pius X High School gather for Mass in celebration of Catholic Education Week

This week is a very special week in our school communities– it's Catholic Education Week! On Monday, May 2nd, our high schools kicked off #CathEdWeek by participating in a province-wide Mass. Throughout the week, fun events and celebrations will take place at each and every one of our schools. It's a great opportunity to see faith-based education in action. Take a look at the events happening in your school community in our Catholic Education Week Activity Booklet.

The theme for this year's Catholic Education Week takes inspiration from the "Year of Mercy," as announced by Pope Francis as "a time of grace, peace, conversion and joy." If you aren't able to stop by one of the events in your school community, make sure to follow the action online by checking out the #CathEdWeek hashtag on Twitter, or seeing our posts on our Facebook page

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Apr
06

St. Thomas More School wins national contest

The St. Thomas More grade 1 teaching team (Left to Right): Linda Bouzanis, Shannon Riley, Tammy Doyle, Natalie MacDonald, and Principal, Denise Gotell.

It is with great pleasure that I announce St. Thomas More School was named one of three winners from across Canada in the 8th annual Classroom of the Future Challenge. The contest, run by MindShare Learning, challenged Canadian teachers to capture innovative teaching and learning practices and upload a digital portfolio that demonstrates the role technology plays in engaging and motivating students in their classroom. We had a total of five of our schools participate in this contest this year, demonstrating the breadth and depth of innovation present here at the OCSB.

The grade 1 teaching team from St. Thomas More claimed one of three Makerspace prize packages for their school valued at over $10,000. I am very proud of the the many passionate educators here at the Ottawa Catholic School Board who use innovative teaching and learning practices to inspire others on a daily basis. With their cutting edge integration of technology and digital tools to enhance learning, they truly make 21st Century Learning fun! 

Denise Gotell and the St. Thomas More team have truly embraced deep learning and will definitely put the prize package to good use. View their full submission.

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Mar
29

Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights March 22, 2016

​​​The Boardroom Spotlight provides a summary of what took place at each Board meeting. This issue covers the following topics:

  • NDHS students win Provincial Cardboard Boat Race Championships
  • e-Learning at the OCSB
  • Student Success: Indicators and Credit Recovery, Semester 1, 2015-2016 Highlights & Graduation Rate
  • Student Voice at the OCSB
  • 2016-2017 Budget Process and Guidelines


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Feb
11

A cultural celebration of the Lunar New Year

The Ottawa Catholic School Board's Continuing and Community Education Department recently hosted an event in celebration of the Lunar New Year. This educational experience gave staff and members of our community the opportunity to learn about Chinese and Korean traditions as they celebrate "Chinese New Year."

The boardroom at the Catholic Education Centre we beautifully decorated with bright red and gold decorations which set the perfect tone for staff to experience and appreciate the celebration that many Asian families in our community would have participated in this weekend in celebration of "the year of the monkey." With dragon dancers, Chinese calligraphers and Korean origami experts leading live demonstrations, staff were able to learn and experience the richness of these cultures firsthand.

View more photos on our OCSB Facebook Page.

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Feb
04

OCSB recognized as top employer for 2016

It brings me great pleasure to announce we've been named a Top Employer in the National Capital Region for 2016 for a second year in a row! To celebrate this honour of being named a top employer in Ottawa, I invite you all to participate in our #OCSBcelebrates social media campaign so we can take a moment to shine the spotlight on the people who really deserve to be recognized for this award– our employees.

One of the great blessings in my role as Director of Education is having the opportunity to meet and interact with the dedicated, caring and passionate employees who make this organization such a fantastic place to learn and work.

It only take a few moments to fill out the #OCSBcelebrates nomination form, and anyone in our community can submit a nomination whether you're a student, parent, staff, or someone connected to our board through one of our many partner organizations. Thank you in advance for your participation in this exciting activity, and congratulations to the employees of the Ottawa Catholic School Board for this outstanding accomplishment. Let's celebrate!

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Feb
01

Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights - Jan 26

The Boardroom Spotlight provides a summary of what took place at each Board meeting. This issue covers the following topics:

  • Principal announced for new school 
  • Principal wins national award 
  • Summer programs for 2016 
  • Professional journal articles authored by Board staff 
  • Board committee composition 
  • New Board procedural by-law
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Jan
26

Brid McDonald wins national principal award

Brid McDonald, named one of Canada's Outstanding Principals for 2016

St. Patrick's High School's Brid McDonald was named one of Canada's Outstanding Principals™ for 2016. Every year, principals from across the country are nominated by their peers, school staff and community members with finalists narrowed down by a national selection committee. She is among 40 exceptional Canadian educators who are being celebrated by The Learning Partnership for demonstrating innovation, having an entrepreneurial spirit and for employing creativity in finding solutions and opportunities.

Brid will join the ranks of other illustrious OCSB Principals who have won this award: Jim Rogers (2015), Jane Hill (2013), Jennifer Oake (2012), Tom D'Amico (2007) and Eugene Milito (2005). She is also now a member of the National Academy of Canada's Outstanding Principals™, which now boasts almost 400 members. The National Academy offers principals ongoing networking, mentoring and professional development opportunities so they can constantly enhance their leadership skills.

"The strength of our world-renowned public education system is built on great principals, who are educators, managers and leaders in their schools and communities," says Akela Peoples, President and CEO of The Learning Partnership. "These dedicated principals contribute tremendously to creating nurturing learning environments to enable all students to succeed. We are delighted to celebrate their achievement and contribution, and recognize them as important leaders in Canadian society."

All 40 winners will be recognized at the 12th annual Canada's Outstanding Principals™ gala on February 23rd, 2016, in Toronto. They will also benefit from an exclusive five-day executive leadership training program at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. They will also participate in a "Changing World of Work" day where they learn about today's workforce from notable business leaders.

"In Education, we are on sacred ground.  We are charged with the growth and development of young people who become the voice of our future.  By honouring the unique voice of each student and teacher, we have the ability to create a learning environment where all can grow and accomplish goals."

Brid McDonald, Principal of St. Patrick's High School

A profile of an outstanding principal

Brid McDonald began her career in education 25 years ago as a teacher with the Ottawa Catholic School Board, and joined St. Patrick's High School in 2013. She has served as a secondary school principal for the past 10 years, and has made a tremendous impact on the school and local community. Here are some of the reason's Brid was highlighted as an outstanding principal:

  • She believes a school should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable, and adopted the mantra "what is essential for some is good for all."
  • She supported the establishment of a school Robotics program, winning accolades across the country.
  • She created a Literacy Committee to increase success rate for Grade 10 students writing the provincial literacy test, realizing an impressive 10% increase in the success rate.
  • She was selected as one of 10 principals in Ontario to sit on the Minister of Education's Principal Reference Group to help address challenges in education.
  • She chaired the Aboriginal Education Steering Committee and hosted a "Legacy of Hope" event to promote awareness and understanding about the legacy of residential schools and its impact.

"Brid is a Catholic leader of tremendous vision, energy, and exemplary follow through.  Her faith is evident in all that she does, and she is a true role model for students, staff, and the greater school community.  She inspires other staff members to see the best in every student and supports them in ensuring students are very well served."

Denise Andre, OCSB Director of Education
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Dec
06

Spotlight: OCSB Annual General Meeting - Dec 1

The Boardroom Spotlight provides a summary of what took place at each Board meeting. This issue covers the following topics: 

  • Annual General Meeting - Board returns Chair and Vice-Chair 
  • Director's Annual Report
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Nov
15

Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights - Nov 10

The Boardroom Spotlight provides a summary of what took place at each Board meeting. This issue covers the following topics: 

  • Bullying Awareness & Prevention Week 
  • Parent and Family Literacy Centres 
  • Grade 12 Exit Survey Results - Creating Pathways 
  • First Nations, Métis & Inuit (FNMI) Initiatives for 2015 - 2016 
  • The Power of Hapara 
  • Vice-Principal Leading & Learning Opportunities
Continue reading
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Nov
13

Bullying Awareness & Prevention Week 2015

St. Francis Xavier Grade 7-8 anti-bullying campaign door designs.

Next week is Bullying Awareness & Prevention Week at the Ottawa Catholic School Board. OCSB schools participate to prevent bullying at our schools and to heighten awareness about bullying. Activities and programs include Restorative Practices, WITS (Walk Away, Ignore, Talk it Out, Seek Help), our Samaritans on a Digital Road curriculum, and many other activities, presentations and anti-bullying pledges and commitments.

Here are some OCSB highlights coming up next week:

  • Barbaro Coloroso, an international bestselling author and recognized speaker on teaching, bullying, nonviolent conflict resolution and many other subjects, will be doing a presentation at Frank Ryan Catholic Intermediate School, with 8 other school communities invited to attend.
  • On November 19, St. Pius X High School is having a random acts of kindness day. Students & staff will be tweeting to @stpius with the hashtag #piuscares to share the random acts of kindness they've done and had done to them.
  • St. Patrick's Intermediate School will have a photo booth set up all week so students can take pictures with their friends and add their picture and signature to the anti-bullying pledge wall.


That's just a sample of the many things the OCSB has planned for Bullying Awareness & Prevention Week. Together we can put an end to bullying!

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Nov
12

We Day 2015

On November 10, thousands of young people gathered at the Canadian Tire Centre to celebrate We Day. It was a day filled with inspiring speeches, lessons and stories from people within Ottawa and around the world. The event was capped off by a surprise guest appearance from Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire - their first public appearance since Trudeau was sworn into office.

The OCSB was represented by about 1,700 students from 68 different schools. Students were chosen at their schools for being involved in local and global social justice initiatives.

St. Gabriel School teacher Rola Tibshirani was even invited onstage to speak about the amazing social justice work that they do!


Sacred Heart High School student Tysen Lefebvre, whose Mission to a Million charity is helping to raise $1 million for Make-A-Wish® Eastern Ontario, even got to meet Marc Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children, Me to We and We Day with his brother Craig!

The event was a joyous occasion to celebrate the amazing work young people are already doing to help people locally and around the globe, and to look forward at how they can change the world in the future. It was truly a day of going from Me to We!

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