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Our schools are filled with inspiring students and staff that are making a positive impact on the world around them. These stories highlight some of the wonderful things that are happening in Ottawa Catholic schools every day. If you have a story you would like to share, Tweet the link to us @OttCatholicSB or send us an email at connect@ocsb.ca
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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Jan
16

Notre Dame students win Cardboard Boat Race

A talented team of students from Notre Dame High School took home first prize in the Ottawa region at Skills Ontario's annual Cardboard Boat Race in December. The event is an opportunity for students to use teamwork, creativity, and problem solving in a fun and competitive environment. In teams of four, students have two hours to build the fastest and strongest boat they can, using a limited amount of cardboard and duct tape. Their boats are then tested to see how fast they complete a race, and how much weight they can hold.

Notre Dame's team of Jackson, Ethan, Jason, and Ralf worked together beautifully to construct their prize-winning boat. It finished the race in 21.5 seconds and successfully held 772 pounds. With their first-place finish (out of 28 teams), they have qualified for provincials in March. Good luck!

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Jan
16

Ontario creates new licensed child care spaces

The Government of Ontario is creating 81 new licensed child care spaces in Ottawa to promote early learning. St. Luke Nepean will be retrofitting two licensed child care rooms to create 39 new spaces for toddlers and preschoolers, while Prince of Peace School will be retrofitting its one currently licensed child care room to create 24 new preschool spaces.

School officials and local MPPs on hand for child care space announcement. Back row, right to left: Superintendent Simone Oliver, OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon, and Director of Education Denise Andre.

"On behalf of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, I wish to thank the Ministry of Education and their Early Years and Childcare Office for the funds to retrofit space in two of our schools to accommodate preschoolers. These types of supports from our provincial government continue to make schools vital community hubs where families know they can rely on safe and caring environments." - Elaine McMahon, Chairperson, Ottawa Catholic School Board.

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Dec
21

Richard Lussier wins award for supporting students financially

From left to right: OCSB Associate Director of Education Tom D'Amico, OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon, President and Founder of the Help Our Students Program Richard Lussier, & Director of Education Denise Andre.

Richard Lussier has been chosen to receive the 2016 Growing Up Great Award in the Healthy and Thriving category after being nominated by the OCSB for his generous work providing financial support to hard-working high school students in Ottawa. The award "acknowledges an outstanding individual working so that every child's basic needs are met." Mr. Lussier does just that with his Help Our Students Program, which gives deserving students living in difficult financial circumstances $100 per month from September through June to help foster their learning journey. The students are chosen by school administrators who can confirm the student's dedication to school and financial difficulties. The program currently supports two students from each of the OCSB's 15 high schools. On behalf of the entire OCSB: thank you, Mr. Lussier.

Learn more about the Help Our Students Program, and read some student testimonials about how much it's helped them.

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