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Fostering resilience to help prepare for tests and exams

As parents, we want what is best for our children. We want them to be happy and to grow up reaching their full academic and social-emotional potential. It is always difficult as a parent when we see our children experiencing challenges or difficulties that cause them feelings of stress, sadness, or fear. Our natural instinct is to want to rush in and to “save them” from this hardship. However, in reality we can not save our children from all the challenges they will face in life. How can we prepare them for those challenges that are an unavoidable part of life, like not making the sports team they wanted, not doing as well as expected on a test, or the loss of someone dear to them?

This is what resilience is all about — being able to bounce back from the challenges we face and to learn from them. Being resilient can help our children learn coping skills and find solutions to academic and social problems. It is a key factor in positive mental health and overall life success. Our high school students are busy studying for their first semester exams and our Grade 3 and Grade 6 students are preparing for EQAO evaluations. These are opportunities to help them develop healthy coping skills. Keeping an open dialogue with your child will go a long way in helping your child develop resilience. We’ve assembled some tips to help your child manage realistic pressures.

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.

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.

An honour we can all share

On Tuesday evening, the Ottawa Catholic School Board was honoured at the annual Ottawa Philanthropy Awards ceremony with the Outstanding Philanthropic Group award for our longstanding partnership with the Shepherds of Good Hope. I am proud of our school board’s continued generosity and service to our community through our special partnership with the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Thomas D’Amico, Associate Director of Education, and Joanne MacEwan, Vice-Chair of our Board, were present at the celebration to accept this award on our behalf. The countless acts of mercy, kindness and generosity our staff and students have contributed to the Shepherds of Good Hope also provide people with the invaluable gifts of respect and dignity.

As a faith-filled OCSB family, we work together every day to share in this caring community we’ve created together. Thank you to every staff member and student whose contributions have touched the lives of our neighbours with love and kindness.

A spiritual walk through nature

While many of us have been rushing indoors to avoid the cold, I had the pleasure of visiting Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School’s outdoor Stations of the Cross. This colourful display has been drawing students, staff, and community members alike back into nature.

The school’s chaplain, Donna Hughes, pointed out to me that these outdoor Stations of the Cross invite us to consider our daily journey with God. These unique and beautiful pieces of art are a perfect addition to the school’s community garden. This combination of the tranquility of nature and the feelings of reflection that the Stations of the Cross evoke, has resulted in a quietly powerful prayer space.

2017 Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award

Each year at Christian Community Day, we honour one of our former students with the Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award. This year’s award was presented to Mr. George Brown, who attended Holy Cross School and St. Patrick’s High School. Mr. Brown is an accomplished lawyer, social entrepreneur, and humanitarian. His name will be added to a permanent plaque at the Board office recognizing all past Distinguished Catholic Alumni award winners. Along with the award comes a $5000 donation. Congratulations to Mr. Brown. He is an incredibly deserving recipient of this prestigious award.

Embarking on a year of Good News in 2017-2018

I hope you have all taken time to enjoy your family, spend time in the great outdoors, and catch some of the exciting #Canada150 events that took place in our beautiful city throughout this summer. As we prepare to start the 2017-2018 school year, I’m pleased to highlight that we are starting our second year of our Spiritual theme Sent to be the Good News. I look forward to seeing our staff and students continuing to learn and live this theme out on a deeper level, discovering how they can be Good News for their communities, families, peers, and the ever-changing world around them.

OCSB students collaborate to create welcoming schools

Hundreds of OCSB student from Grades 4-6 who are involved in peacemaking or peer meditation at their schools recently attended the 23rd Annual Elementary Peace Festival. 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. It is also a way to highlight and celebrate the many practices used to build and maintain safe schools.

OCSB students receive Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards

A number of OCSB students were honoured at this year’s Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards held on June 5th at Ottawa City Hall. Ashley Robitaille of St. Matthew High School was a recipient of the Service & Caring Award. She has raised over $5,000 for CHEO by creating and selling duct tape petal pens locally and in Walmarts. Notre Dame High School’s Samuel Hickey received the Max Keeping Award for Personal Courage. He is a role model and inspiration to everyone who meets him.

OCSB students commemorate Battle of Vimy Ridge

Over 200 OCSB students travelled to Europe in April to visit Vimy Ridge on the 100th anniversary of the historic battle. Along the way, they visited many European landmarks, learned a lot, and gained a deeper appreciation for our Canadian heritage. Read their story and see photos from their trip here.