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A blessed beginning for a new school

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

Fred Chyrstal, Superintendent of Planning and Facilities, welcomed attendees to the event. Greetings were given by Janet MacLaren on behalf of MPP Jack MacClaren, Chairperson Elaine McMahon and Sandra Moore, Trustee for Zone 2.

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

Four reasons to consider Indigenous self-identification

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

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

Bright purple reminders to give

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

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

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

Lest we forget.

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

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

October is Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month

Did you know that October is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month in Canada? Did you know that it is estimated that 1 in 68 individuals have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? This month is a great opportunity to learn more about autism, raise awareness, and raise acceptance in our schools, workplace, and community. This month is a great opportunity to learn more about autism, raise awareness, and raise acceptance in our schools, workplace, and community. Please enjoy this short, 5-minute video entitled: Amazing Things Happen, created by Alex Amelines (independent animation director). The video was released in April 2017 to coincide with the tenth annual World Autism Awareness Day (Sunday April 2nd, 2017). The aim is to raise autism awareness among young audiences who do not have autism as well as to encourage understanding and acceptance in future generations. It is primarily aimed at 7-11 year old children.

Calming those back-to-school butterflies

With September 5th just a few days away, it’s common for both parents and children to feel a myriad of emotions about the first day of school. Here are some tips to help you and your child calm those back-to-school butterflies! Keeping an open dialogue with your child will go a long way in helping your child feel great about their upcoming school year. Remember that your child’s teacher and school principal are also incredibly valuable resources in creating proactive solutions for your child’s success. The school-home partnership is key.

OCSB appoints new Zone 7 Board Trustee

On June 20, 2017, the Ottawa Catholic School Board of Trustees appointed Jeremy Wittet as the Trustee for Zone 7, Kitchissippi/Bay area. Justice of the Peace, Paulina Brecher officiated at the swearing in ceremony. Mr. Wittet has worked at Queen’s Park, Parliamentary offices, and now works for the City of Ottawa. He is a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament Parish. There were seven qualified candidates interviewed by the Board that replaces long-serving Trustee Betty-Ann Kealey who passed away in April.

2017 Catholic Education Week Mass

Our annual Catholic Education Week Mass was held on Tuesday, May 2nd, hosted at the Notre Dame Cathedral in downtown Ottawa. The Ottawa Catholic School Board Chamber Choir performed and Monsignor Daniel Berniquez presided over the Celebration of the Eucharist. Following the Mass was the presentation of the Director of Education Commendation Awards, presented to outstanding role models in the Ottawa Catholic School Board.

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.

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

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.