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Apr
27

OCSB is a top employer for third year in a row

With great joy, I'm happy to announce we've been named a Top Employer in the National Capital Region for 2017 for the third year in a row! As we have in years past, I invite our entire OCSB community to celebrate with us by participating in our #OCSBcelebrates social media campaign. This special campaign allows us to pause, observe, and recognize the outstanding employees that make our school board such a wonderful community.

Last year, we received over 2000 nominations from members of our OCSB community. This year, we're already over 1000 nominations! The first 500 nominated employees received a special prize in the mail from me, and at the end of our campaign we will draw the names of 50 nominated employees to receive a large prize pack!

It only takes a few minutes to fill out the #OCSBcelebrates nomination form, but the impact of recognizing someone can truly brighten up their day for weeks! Remember, 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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Apr
27

OCSB students collaborate to Keep the Promise

Students from across the Ottawa Catholic School Board recently gathered at the annual Keep the Promise Student Summit to work together to bring an end to child poverty in Canada. Over 65 OCSB students from Grade 5 to Grade 10 brainstormed ways they could make a difference in the lives of impoverished children.

This year's summit was all about student voice – what they think child poverty looks like in their communities and around Canada, and how they think they can make a difference. Students discussed in groups how their neighbourhoods and communities helped those in need, and were later treated to a human library, where they interacted with and asked questions of people who spend their lives helping fight poverty. It was a day filled with inspiration and with hope.

The origin of the summit comes from a promise made by Canadian political parties in 1989 to end child poverty by the year 2000. Today, 1 in 5 children in Ottawa live in poverty – that's about 32,000 kids. Keep the Promise is all about raising awareness, connecting to curriculum, empowering student voice, fostering leadership opportunities, and exploring solutions.

"When we all said 'We can Keep the Promise' together, it's kind of official, we all promised so we will remember!"

student quote
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Apr
27

OCSB visits Man of the Shroud Exhibit

Over 1500 OCSB students from 27 schools recently got to experience the Man of the Shroud exhibit held at St. Isidore Church in Kanata. The exhibit included a life-sized authentic recreation of the Shroud of Turin as well as more than 30 display panels outlining historic, scientific, and theological information about the shroud. The Shroud of Turin is widely believed to be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. It was an inspirational and educational experience for all the students who attended.

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Apr
26

Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights - Apr 25, 2017

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

  • School profile: 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge 
  • Music Ignites highlights for Ottawa 2017 
  • Deep Learning - Connecting Communities One Crate at a Time 
  • New Human Resources Department positions 
  • Holy Family School Renovations Phase 2 
  • Grants for Student Needs 2017-2018 
  • Transportation consortium update 
  • Preliminary Budget Information for 2017-2018
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Apr
25

OCSB celebrates exceptional students

Ali Witol, a student at St. Anne School, was recently among the OCSB students recognized at the annual Celebrating Excellence event. This annual event celebrates and recognizes one exceptional student from each of our schools. Students are chosen by their peers for exemplifying one or more of the gospel values: faith, hope, love, community, justice, dignity of persons, excellence, and stewardship of creation.

Ali demonstrates the gospel value of excellence on a daily basis in her school community. She strives to do her best for herself and for others, not just academically, but also in the yard, in clubs, and in her social interactions. She always has a ready smile, even when a task is difficult. She demonstrates a strong ability to persevere through any challenge, and always does so in a positive manner. The St. Anne and OCSB communities are very proud of Ali and her many accomplishments this year. Congratulations, Ali!

Ali Witol with her father at the OCSB's Celebrating Excellence event.
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Apr
25

Elite basketball program wins national championship

Canada Topflight Academy (CTA), which operates out of Notre Dame High School, has won the inaugural National Preparatory Association (NPA) league tournament. The NPA is a new league for elite-level prep basketball teams from across the country. It currently includes nine teams.

CTA came into the event as the third seed, with a 10-5 record. After losing their first five games of the year, they were riding a 10-game winning streak going into the tournament. Eventually, they would reach the finals against the fifth seed London Basketball Academy, who had upset the tournament favourites, Central Tech. After a tough game, the first-year program from Ottawa came out on top.

Canada Topflight Academy celebrates after winning the national championship.

Their success this year would not have been possible without the support of everyone at Notre Dame High School. CTA looks forward to building on the first year momentum and will start recruiting for the 2017-18 season immediately.

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Apr
20

Remembering Trustee Betty-Ann Kealey

Trustee Betty-Ann Kealey faithfully served families and students in her community for over 30 years

On Monday April 17, with heavy hearts, we said goodbye to a champion of Catholic education, and a dear friend, Trustee Betty-Ann Kealey. She was a tireless supporter of families and students in her community serving for over 30 years, representing the Kitchissippi and Bay area (Zone 9).

Trustee Betty-Ann Kealey was first elected to the Ottawa Roman Catholic Separate School Board in 1984, serving as trustee until 1994. During that time, she was Vice-Chairperson in 1990 and Chairperson for three years after that. She then served as trustee with the amalgamated Ottawa Catholic School Board from 2000 until 2017. She was Chairperson in 2004, and Vice-Chairperson in 2002, 2003, 2014 and 2015.

Betty-Ann possessed a wide range of knowledge on local and provincial education issues and was devoted to supporting the schools in her area, rarely missing a meeting or event. Warm and genuine, she will be missed by all.

Family and friends are invited to visit at the West Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 150 Woodroffe Avenue (at Richmond Rd) on Sunday, April 23 from 2-4 & 7-9pm. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church, 153 Woodroffe Avenue on Monday at 11am with Reception to follow at the funeral home. For those wishing, donations to the Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa would be appreciated by the family.

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Apr
13

Simone Oliver honoured by OCSOA

Simone Oliver, OCSB Superintendent of Student Success (Elementary), was recently awarded the OCSOA-CASSA EXL Award at the Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers' Association Annual General Meeting. The annual award is given to an administrator who is dedicated to improving children's educational experiences, increasing the scope and quality of school programs, and creating environments that foster positive attitudes towards learning. In her years as an OCSB Superintendent, Ms. Oliver has led collaborative teams that helped shape both the Special Education and Student Services Department, as well as the Student Success Department (Elementary). She was nominated for the award by the OCSB Executive Team.

The entire OCSB community is indebted to Superintendent Oliver for her tireless work as a champion of Catholic education. Congratulations, Simone.

Simone Oliver (centre) receives her award from OCSOA President Deb Crawford (left) and OCSOA Executive Director John Kostoff (right).
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Apr
12

St. Elizabeth School wins new instruments

St. Elizabeth School recently applied for and won the MusiCounts Band Aid Program grand prize of $10,000 to go towards musical instruments for their school. The school community provided MusiCounts with a wish list of instruments and the program purchased them. The instruments were unveiled at the announcement assembly by the Spouse of the Prime Minister of Canada, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, and Juno Award winning artist Ruth B. There were also special performances at the assembly by Ruth B, and the school band. Check out the video & photos from the event.

Juno-award-winning artist Ruth B and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau at the MusiCounts assembly at St. Elizabeth School.
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Apr
11

Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights - Mar 28, 2017

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

  • School Profile - All Saints High School Reconciliation Project - Honouring Chanie Wenjack 
  • Diversity Day 2017 
  • Indicator and Credit Recovery Report, Semester 1, 2016-2017 
  • French Second Language Trends and Certificates 
  • EQAO Assessments 
  • 2017/2018 Budget Process and Guidelines
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Apr
04

OCSB students take part in mass band performance

Students from 9 of our high schools - Sacred HeartHoly Trinity, St. Mark, St. Matthew, St. Pius X, St. Peter, Lester B. Pearson, St. Patrick's, and St. Francis Xavier - recently took part in a mass band performance conducted by Alexander Shelley of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Over 1300 kids took part, and more than 350 of them were from the OCSB. Watch the performance below.

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Mar
30

St. Peter teacher receives 2017 Mayor’s City Builder Award

LeeAnn Napiorkowski, St. Peter High School's High Needs Coordinator, has been awarded a 2017 Mayor's City Builder Award for her extraordinary commitment to making her community a better place for all. She uses her passion for coaching as a way to guide, support, and encourage her players on and off the field.

LeeAnn Napiorkowski (middle, red sweater) with educational assistants and the students from her Inclusion Room before receiving her award.

As the head coach of St. Peter High School's senior boy's rugby team, her leadership has translated into success for her students, both in sports and in life. Her teams have reached several city championships, but, more importantly, her players regularly take part in fundraisers and community charity events. Outside of her school, she also volunteers as a coach for the Ottawa Beavers-Banshees Rugby Football Club and other provincial and regional teams.

LeeAnn's tireless commitment to the principles of inclusion and respect have led her to establish an ambassador program to help connect the parent Beavers and Banshee Rugby clubs with junior players. LeeAnn raises money for financially challenged players who cannot afford registration and equipment, including one player who qualified for the Eastern Ontario Championship, and wouldn't have been able to go without LeeAnn's fundraising support.

On top of all that, LeeAnn's compassion led her to help the family of John Kelly, a St. Peter student who tragically passed away, establish a memorial award in their son's name. Thanks in part to LeeAnn's efforts, The John Kelly Memorial Award remains a living tribute to John's life, and helps other students pursue their rugby goals after graduation.

The Mayor's City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has demonstrated a strong commitment to making our city a better place. LeeAnn more than qualifies. The OCSB family sends a big thank you to LeeAnn for everything she does, and for being an inspiration for us all.

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Mar
23

Sacred Heart grad named a Women of Worth

Everyone should have access to healthy, affordable food. It's this belief that's fuelled Eva von Jagow's mission to combat food insecurity in Canada over the past half decade. Through her tireless and inspiring work, she's truly making a difference. And now she's being recognized for it.

Eva, a recent Sacred Heart High School graduate, was selected as one of the 10 inaugural members of Canada's L'Oréal Women of Worth, a program that promotes and celebrates inspiring Canadian women who strive to improve the lives of people across Canada. Chosen from over 300 nominations, she is being honoured for her role with DueNORTH, a not-for-profit she founded that aims to fight food insecurity for children and youth in Canada's Far North.

Eva's journey began in 2012, when she was in Grade 11 at Sacred Heart. That's when she first learned about food insecurity, and how it impacts many Northern Canadian people every day. When she found out that many children don't have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food to live an active and healthy life, she knew she had to do something about it. So, she got to work founding the All That Glam Fundraiser, which sells used jewelry and handbags to support breakfast programs in Nunavut. To date, it's raised over $100,000 with corporate matching. That's a lot of full stomachs.

From there, Eva went on to found DueNORTH, with the goal of providing even more healthy breakfasts for children and youth in Northern Canada. Under the organization's four guiding principles of fundraising, engagement, awareness, and connection, DueNORTH strives for a Canada where everyone has access to nutritious, affordable, and culturally-appropriate food.

Eva is truly living out the Catholic Graduate Expectations by showing compassion, integrity, and initiative. She saw a problem, and became part of the solution. The OCSB is extremely proud of all of Eva's tremendous work, and we look forward to seeing the all the great things she'll do next.

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Mar
10

St. Peter shows solidarity with local mosque

A poster with messages from the St. Peter school community.

When members of our community are hurting, our faith calls for us to offer love and support. So, in the wake of the tragic shooting at a Quebec City mosque, the St. Peter High School community reached out to a local mosque to show them that the staff and students cared.

After speaking with Imam Mohammed Badat of Masjid Balil mosque, teachers Scott Searle and Linda Roe decided to show sympathy and compassion by making cards and posters for the members of the mosque. Linda brought the idea to her leadership class, and they leapt at the opportunity. People in their community were grieving, and the students wanted to help. The class got together after school and began making posters and writing kind messages. Word spread quickly, and, pretty soon, the whole school was taking part. The leadership class put their big poster in the chapel for other students to sign, and other classes took time to make their own cards and messages of support. The whole school came together to offer some love and kindness to those who needed it most.

Needless to say, the members of the mosque were touched by the heartwarming gesture. They invited the leadership class to visit the mosque to see their cards and posters on display, and to see the positive impact they were having. Imam Badat even told the students that he could use their kind and inspiring messages as inspiration for his weekly prayers for the rest of the year. The mosque even made cards of their own for the students, and presented the school with a commemorative plaque to show their gratitude.

"Our students were happy that they could do something to reach out to their friends and help them feel a little bit better, knowing that we all stand together as one human family."

Linda Roe

The entire St. Peter community has done a wonderful job of demonstrating the Catholic Graduate Expectations by spreading love, kindness, and compassion in their community. The OCSB family is extremely proud of St. Peter for going above and beyond to make a loving difference in their community. Take a look at some of the cards and posters in our Facebook album.

"All of us are proud to work in a faith-based environment that shows such love and solidarity with people of different religious backgrounds."

Scott Searle
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Mar
01

St. Pat's senior boys win city basketball championship

St. Patrick's High School's Senior Boys basketball team recently defeated Collège catholique Franco-Ouest to take home their third straight city championship. The game was a nail-biter, coming down to the very last second. Their defense came through in the clutch, holding Franco-Ouest scoreless in the last three minutes, and they took the game 62-60.

The St. Patrick's High School Senior Boys basketball team poses with their trophy after winning their third straight city championship.

It's been a good year for the St. Pat's Irish. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year after graduating nine seniors last year. But a pair of Grade 12 students, Alston Harris and Eugene Kanku, helped lead the team to another successful campaign. They won both tournaments they entered, and finished the season with a record of 18-4. The boys will be heading to North Bay for the AAA OFSAA provincial tournament from March 6-8.

The Irish have established something of a city dynasty in the past 20 years. This is their second city three-peat, having also won from 1999-2001. It's also their sixth straight trip to the city finals, of which they won five. With this win, they also take the record for most city championships with 11, one more than Sir Robert Borden High School. All 11 of their wins have come since 1999. Keep it going Irish, we'll be rooting you on in provincials.

Recent comment in this post
Guest — MrTurcotte
Way to go Eugene. I always knew.
Tuesday, 07 March 2017 5:05 PM
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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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Feb
06

Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights - Jan 24, 2017

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

  • A Review of Gifted Education 
  • Minor boundary changes approved 
  • Ministry announcement of capital allocation and appointment of architect
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Feb
02

OCSB artists shine at Artistic Fusion

On January 23rd, the Ottawa Catholic School Board hosted Artistic Fusion, a fun and inspiring evening dedicated to celebrating all the incredibly talented artists in the OCSB family. Organized by Katie Lewis-Prieur and Kristen Charles, the annual event showcases the beautiful art of OCSB employees, art teachers, and students.

Dozens of participants from all across the Board came out to proudly display their creations. Their work took many forms: sculptures, photographs, stained glass, water paintings, jewelry, acrylic on canvas, pottery, and much more. OCSB Director of Education Denise Andre and OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon were on hand to offer congratulations and enjoy the artwork.

The night also featured the annual gallery-style showcase of student art called Art Days. This year, Anishinabe elder Albert Dumont from Kitigan Zibi taught the young artists about the 13 moons of the Indigenous calendar. Using celebrated Métis dot painting artists Christi Belcourt, Leah Dorion, and Jaime Koebel's works as inspiration, students were tasked with making a painting based on one of the moons. The finished pieces were personal, powerful, and reflective.

All in all, it was a lovely evening and a chance for artists and admirers to gather and appreciate art in all its forms. Check out pictures and samples of the artwork from the event in our Facebook album, and join us next year!

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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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Jan
18

OCSB helps kick off #Ottawa2017 celebrations

Celebrations for Canada's 150th birthday have officially kicked off here in the nation's capital. Throughout the year, Ottawans will be coming together to commemorate our country's amazing people, history, and heritage. The opening ceremony was held on New Year's Eve, as over 400 youth from our city (including more than 70 OCSB students) formed a human chain that brought the fire from the #Ottawa2017 Cauldron all the way to the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill. The OCSB will be working with the city on a number of events and contests throughout the year. Check out our Facebook Album to see photos from the #Ottawa2017 Celebrations Kick-Off. There's also an awe-inspiring video from the night's festivities.

Photo courtesy of Prabhakar Street (pjtstreet.com)
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