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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.


The Global Community Alliance Gala and Award Ceremony

Moses Abayomi Pratt with Tom D'Amico
Pictured from left to right: Ryan Larose, Moses Abayomi Pratt, Alison Pratt, Samantha Momy, Maryam Abdulmajeed, and Tom D'Amico.

The Global Community Alliance held its 7th annual Gala and Award Ceremony at the end of February. The event was hosted and organized by Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School teacher Moses Pratt at the Ottawa Sheraton Hotel. The Global Community Alliance strives to identify and recognize the efforts of individuals, organizations, and businesses who serve as community role models and aim to make a difference within our diverse community.

At this year's gala, Moses Abayomi Pratt was a recipient of the United Way Community Builder Award, an award that recognizes those who lead by example, contribute their time and think of innovative ways to make positive changes within their community.

Awards were also presented to four Ottawa Catholic School Board students in the Youth Achievement category:

Maryam Abdulmajeed is a St. Patrick High School student who arrived in Canada five years ago from Jordan. She volunteers with Ottawa Medvents, a first aid group that works closely with the Ottawa Paramedic Service to provide first aid at community events. Maryam also takes on a leadership role within her school's environment club, encouraging students and staff to work together to care for the environment. She also excels in academics, particularly in her favourite subject, Math. She was the school champion for the Waterloo Fermat Contest, and was on a team of four students who scored first place in the Kingston Math League in 2015. Maryam hopes that the work she does inspires others to do their best and live a life that is meaningful.

Samantha Momy, a student from Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School, has a keen interest in any group or organization that promotes positivity and change. She attended We Day for her involvement in the Water 4 Rafiki fundraiser, where she raised money to build a well in Rafiki so women in the area would not have to travel far distances for water. Samantha was also a grade representative on her school's students' council and in her spare time, volunteers at homeless shelters such as the Ottawa Mission. She participated in the Ontario Justice Education Network Law Day Secondary Mock Trial Tournament and hopes to work in the area of Law in the future.

Cassandra Rousseau is a student at St. Peter High School and is an active member of her school community. She currently serves as the co-president of her school's students' council, serves as a peer helper, social justice leader, and Link Crew camp counsellor. Cassandra has been an active participant in the peer assistance camp, OCSB peace conferences, Student Senate, St. Peter High School girl's touch football team, and attended multiple We Day events. Cassandra strives to better her school community, local community and other communities worldwide.

Alison Pratt is a student at Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School who is also very involved with her school community. She served on her students' council for the last five years in various roles including vice president, and co-president. Alison strives to create a welcoming environment at school, and has been involved in a peer-mentoring program as part of the leadership team. She started an initiative at her school called CLIMB (Confident Loving Inspired Motivated Beautiful), which is a daylong event for grade 7 and 8 female students, focusing on building self-esteem and resiliency. Social justice is extremely important to Alison, and she hopes to continue to make a difference in her local and global communities.

Organizer, Moses Pratt says these awards continue to be an important part of Ottawa's Black History Month. "The awards are nice, but the most important aspect of this event is in bringing members of different communities together, and the best way to get to know each is to interact." The event also took place as a fundraising initiative for the Dominica Relief Project which was established following the devastation by Tropical Storm Erika on August 27, 2015. Due to the success of the sold out gala, Pratt was able to present a cheque for $750 to the Dominica Relief Fund.

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Guest — AbiolaAgoro
It is good that School Board actually recognise one of its own, Mr. Pratt is a devoted and committed teacher both in school and ou... Read More
Tuesday, 05 April 2016 2:02 PM
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Retired OCSB teacher celebrates 100th birthday!

Retired OCSB teacher, Kathryn Wake turned 100 years old on March 26, 2016.

On March 26th, Kathryn M. Wake, a retired teacher from our Board celebrated her 100th birthday! Kathryn retired from St. Bernard School in 1981 and was able to celebrate her special day with some of her former colleagues from St. Bernard's. These former colleagues remain great friends to this day! 

Her granddaughter, Cathryn Wake, also happens to be a teacher at Our Lady of Peace School in our Board and says that she is honoured to follow in the footsteps of such a dedicated Catholic educator. Congratulations Kathryn, we wish you all the best in your 101st year of life!

Retired OCSB teacher, Kathryn Wake celebrates her 100th birthday with former colleagues from St. Bernard School.

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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Kindness Week At The OCSB

Rabbi Bulka (Chair and Founder of Kindness Week in Ottawa) presenting kindness awards to Deirde Quinn, Norma Khairallah, and Susan Conway.

The city-wide initiative known as "Kindness Week" celebrated its ninth anniversary this year. Schools within the Ottawa Catholic School Board have actively embraced the Kindness Week movement across the city by encouraging our community, staff and students to "choose to be kind."

The week was kicked off at Our Lady of Fatima School where resource teacher Deirde Quinn, French teacher Norma Khairallah, and office administrator Susan Conway were presented with Kindness awards from Rabbi Bulka, Chair and Founder of Kindness Week in Ottawa for their kind acts and absolute commitment to the school, staff and students.

At St. Peter High School, students performed a different act of kindness for each day of the week including things like posting a kind quote on social media, hugging a friend, writing a thank you note to a teacher who impacted their life, and putting away their phone to talk to their friends face to face.

Take a look at some of the other fun activities OCSB schools did by checking out our Storify.

Principal Andrea Green featured in MindShare Moment

St. Cecilia Principal Andrea Green

OCSB Principal Andrea Green was recently featured in the MindShare Learning Report's Top 10 News Stories, a national learning and technology eMagazine. In the report she was given the opportunity to speak about the Board's vision that technology is not just a tool in the classroom, but a way to access curriculum for deeper learning. Green notes that although each school site within the Ottawa Catholic School Board may be designed differently, the philosophy and strategy of technology and 21st century learning is rolled out across the district.

Her school, St. Cecilia, is designed with that vision for deeper learning in mind. There is a school wide focus on collaboration at St. Cecilia, where even the design of the school itself lends to collaboration. The classrooms are open to pod areas, where students can collaborate in small groups. Green explains that the students are taught how to collaborate with each other, and accept each other's ideas and opinions. She says that the students are responding really well because they are engaged in their learning. Once students are taught the expectations of collaboration and give it a try, they learn to articulate themselves on what it should actually look like, sound like and feel like, to truly collaborate.

Green says the teacher's role in the classroom has shifted with students do more of the talking and explaining. When students persevere through tough tasks, collaborate with each other, add to classmates ideas, and share their knowledge, these strategies help and add to their character development. Green says that the backing and support from OCSB has been tremendous and the board level support has given her the opportunity to lead her staff and bring this vision of technology as an accelerator of learning to life. Listen to Andrea Green's full MindShare moment.


Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights February 23, 2016

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

  • St. Peter High School
  • ​Student Trustees
  • School year calendar 2016 - 2017
  • Extended Day program fees
  • Board approves elementary attendance boundaries
  • Annual review of Community Planning and Facility Partnerships
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MTHS student test drives future career

Mother Teresa High School Student, Gigi Huang

Mother Teresa High School student Gigi Huang began her journey in discovering what she wanted to do career wise by participating in the many programs her school had to offer. In her grade 10 careers class, she was introduced to the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program. She signed up for the Energy SHSM, which focuses on the connection between health and the environment and has said the program "changed her life."

Applying what she learned to her daily activities, Huang decided to try cooking healthier desserts at home. With much encouragement from family, friends and teachers, Huang decided to apply for the Ontario Summer Company Program, and start her own business. Her company, Gigi's Pastry, focused on selling fresh, healthy and delicious desserts. Through the Summer Company Program, Huang says she learned entrepreneurial skills, healthy baking and how to fundraise.

With the growth of her pastry business, Huang took the Dual Credit Program course, Introduction to baking and pastry at Algonquin College to learn more about baking on a professional level. The program provides students with the opportunity to take a college apprentice course which will count towards their high school diploma and a post-secondary certificate.

Although the program provided invaluable experience, Huang really wanted to follow her lifelong dream of becoming a pediatric dentist. Through the Co-op program at her school, she was able to secure a placement at a nearby dentistry and work as a dental assistant. Huang says "Co-op has been my favourite course throughout high school. Through the program I was able to gain real life experience in dentistry."

As she gets ready to graduate high school, Huang has certificates and experience from participating in the SHSM, Summer Company, Dual Credit, and Co-op programs. Huang says she is equipped and looks forward to being a dentist who can bake!


Immaculata students cook up encouragement

An Immaculata student working hard to prepare a healthy meal for a student in need.

Angela Bradley is the senior office administrator at Immaculata High School, and her son was recently undergoing radioactive iodine treatments for thyroid cancer. Her son needed to be on a very strict and limiting diet leading up to, during, and following his cancer treatments. No dairy, no fish, nothing processed, nothing store bought, everything from scratch, no salt and no spices. 

Looking for advice on meal options to feed her son, Angela reached out to Brandy Kozowy, Immaculata's hospitality teacher,but had no idea how much love would soon be poured out from her Immaculata family onto her son.

Brandy Kozowy, who also happens to be a Red Seal chef, saw this as a valuable learning opportunity for her students where they could learn the basics of making healthy, organic meals that are gluten-free, dairy-free, salt-free, non-processed, with everything made from scratch.

With funding provided by Angela, Ms. Kozowy's students made a breakfast, a snack, a dinner and a special golden milk or smoothie during each class for her to bring home to her son at the end of each day. Attached to each container of food was a personalized, encouraging post-it note saying things like "You got this Bud!" "Be strong!" "You'll love this...it's my favourite!" "You're amazing!"

Ms. Kozowy has proudly remarked how engaged and focused her students have been on this project. Their sense of purpose, desire to help, and a newly-formed compassion to learn about healthy meals has made a positive impact on their school family. One of the students in Ms. Kozowy's class who plays on the football team was going to miss his cooking class due to an early dismissal for their semi-final game, but he didn't want to miss his contribution to the meal that day, so he cooked through his lunch hour and even kept the football bus waiting for him so he could finish what he was doing.

"My heart is bursting with immense gratitude not only for the wondrous food prepared for my son, but also for the genuine interest the students have put into the well being of my son"

-Angela Bradley, senior office administrator at Immaculata High School

Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights - Feb 9

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

  • Celebrating English Language Learner Success
  • The Coaching Institute
  • New Teacher Induction Program
  • Experiential Learning
  • National Capital Region's Top Employers 2016 Award
Continue reading

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.


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!


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
Continue reading

Embarking on a journey of faith in Kindergarten

With Kindergarten registration opening at OCSB schools last month, many parents have been asking about how faith is incorporated into our classrooms. At the Ottawa Catholic School Board, we recognize that the faith journey is a personal, ongoing process that strengthens and grows over time when nourished with love and care. In our schools the journey begins in Kindergarten, where students are introduced to faith-based materials in an interactive, play-based learning environment.

Kindergarten teacher Michelle Boudreau and Early Childhood Educator Rebecca Willemsen-Shackleton from St. Stephen School in Stittsville describe what the faith journey looks like in their classroom. "We support our students' faith journey by giving them access to faith-based resources, leading by example, and being open to learn from them so we can grow in our own personal faith."

A key focal point in their classroom is an interactive religion table with materials to help their students learn and grow. With weekly gospel lessons and craft activities to learn about God's work and fun books in French and English to be reminded of God's goodness, these educators are watering seeds of faith on a regular basis.

"We also recognize the importance of 'walking the talk' so we try hard to lead by example throughout the day in how we act and treat others in relation to our faith," said Mme Boudreau. This can be seen in the large container on the table that says "God's Bucket," referencing the popular book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" which encourages kids to fill the buckets of others with acts of kindness, but in this case, they fill God's bucket with acts of kindness and mercy.

Ms. Willemsen-Shackleton adds "everyday, I feel that I need to jump into my faith more and more so that I am prepared to answer the wonderful faith questions my students ask... I want to know more so that I can experience the same wonder that I see in my students when they are learning about Jesus."

Both educators agreed that the most rewarding aspects of supporting the faith journey of their students is in seeing the children get excited about their faith, and putting their faith to practice in their play throughout the day. "We often hear how our faith lessons spill over into other areas of their young lives and how they share these messages with their family and friends," continued Ms. Willemsen-Shackleton.

As the students continue on through other grades, our hope is that their seeds of faith continue to grow and mature with the help of our caring and supportive staff. We aim to support the development of students that embody Catholic Graduate Expectations who contribute in meaningful ways to the world around them. To learn more information about registering your child for Kindergarten at an OCSB school, visit ocsb.ca/kindergarten.


Lynne Charette appointed principal for new school

Lynne Charette appointed principal for new school in Half Moon Bay

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Lynne Charette as principal of the new Half Moon Bay Elementary School which is scheduled to open September 2016. This will allow Lynne the opportunity to coordinate the tasks of organizing, purchasing, and staffing the new school for the upcoming fall opening. This appointment was received at the January 26th Board meeting.

Lynne is an excellent educator who will provide quality Catholic education for our students and dynamic leadership in her new role. She is currently the principal at St. Monica School with system responsibilities. 

Follow the building progress of this new school on our Facebook page.

Congratulations, Lynne and best of luck on this new adventure!

Lynne Charette, current principal at St. Monica School interacting with students
Recent comment in this post
Guest — DaveCorbishley
Congratulations Lynne. Half Moon Bay is off to a good start!
Thursday, 28 January 2016 9:09 PM
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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

Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights - Jan 12

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

  • Modification of 2015-2016 School Year Calendar 
  • The Discovery Block at St. Emily School 
  • Robotics Grant Project 
  • Specialist High Skills Major Programs 
  • Year of Mercy - A moment of connection with our faith and spreading the Good News 
  • Environmental Initiatives in our Schools
  • Kindergarten Registration 2016
Continue reading

An evening of art at the OCSB

Kristen Charles and Katie Lewis-Prieur organized this year's Artistic Fusion event at the Catholic Education Centre
Beautiful artwork created by an OCSB staff member.
Another impressive art piece created by a member of the OCSB staff.

On January 11th, Ottawa Catholic School Board staff and art students gathered together for a fun, inspiring and educating night. Organized by Katie Lewis-Prieur and Kristen Charles, Artistic Fusion is an annual event that celebrates and showcases the many talents of OCSB employees, art teachers and students. Denise Andre, OCSB Director of Education, was on hand to host the event and congratulate participants.

This year, over 30 participants from various departments and schools came out to display their work. The evening event was held in the Boardroom of the Catholic Education Centre. The art took many forms: sculptures, photographs, stained glass, water paintings, jewelry, acrylic on canvas, stained and painted pottery.

The event also featured a gallery style showcase of the incredible student artwork from OCSB high schools entitled "Art Days." The students worked with professional artist Colin White to create comic strips that relate to mental health and well-being. OCSB's Head Social Worker, Mary Gallagher also worked with the students by leading them through a mental well-being workshop to explore positive mental well-being strategies. The comic strips were very powerful, reflective, and educational.  

All in all it was an evening filled with beautiful art and a chance for artists and admirers to gather and appreciate art in all its forms. See the pictures from the event in our Facebook Album and join us next year! 


Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights - Dec 15

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

  • Governor General Award Winner: ASHS teacher Caroline Pignat 
  • Board Innovation Plan for Student Achievement and Well-Being 2015-2016 (BIPSAW) 
  • Consultation to begin for proposed elementary attendance boundary - CFB Rockcliffe Redevelopment 
  • Refugee support 
  • Vice-Principal appointments and assignments 
  • Preschool Retrofit Program - expenditure completion report 
  • Policies and Procedures - Revised, rescinded and new
Continue reading

St. Pat's Grade 12 Immersion wins french class contest

St. Patrick's High School's Grade 12 French Immersion video has been selected winner of the 2015 edition of La meilleure classe de français en Ontario! Bravo!

According to the judges, the evaluation was not easy. The judges looked at specific aspects of the class: bilingualism, leadership and community engagement. They also considered elements such as respect for the theme, quality of the written and oral French, choices of images, soundtrack and originality. Each student in the class will receive a $2000 scholarship to a French Immersion Program at the University of Ottawa. Congratulations!

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