MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
How to reflect on the 2019-2020 school year?
Looking back, it’s easy to get caught up in how challenging this year was, but we must not lose sight of the resilience, the commitment to care, and how we all came together - while keeping a safe distance apart.
We developed new language and behaviours to collectively reduce the risk of the COVID-19 virus, such as respiratory etiquette, physical distancing and enhanced hand hygiene. We had to live, learn and engage with each other very differently. As in all circumstances of change and unfamiliarity, we have experienced some level of discomfort. But we have also learned more about ourselves, our communities, and what is important to us.
With the school closure in March, our entire education system was turned upside down overnight. We were forced to put all the pieces back together to create a new approach to learning.
Rather than shifting into existing routines, we have invented completely new ones. Our students and teachers have worked to create new ways to establish learning communities and develop social connections. Old systems of communicating, socializing, learning and working have given way to innovative new practices to ensure that each person in our working and learning community is cared for.
It is important to stress that learning continued in ways unimaginable a year earlier. Teachers embraced creative ideas to connect with students. We were proud to see the Class of 2020 “cap off the year” ready to tackle the world. Students of all ages adapted to overwhelming change with strength, despite the many struggles they may have faced.
In the past year, our commitment to social justice was also rekindled, inspiring us to see the lived realities of our communities represented in our learning and work. We also developed a deeper understanding of students through the collection of identity-based data. The OCDSB will use this information to help identify trends and patterns, which will allow us to take action to address structural racism and systemic barriers.
Our idea of “school” as a building has given way to the idea of “school” as a community as we fold our virtual schools into the reality of our District. In the OCDSB, the cornerstones of Innovation, Caring and Social Responsibility have emboldened our staff, inspired our students and galvanized our families and partners.
The road ahead is not without challenges, but we have weathered tough circumstances as a community before and we will do it again. This is the opportunity to build new ways of being, based on what we have already learned, and what we know we need to do.
We always knew our success was contingent upon our collective efforts. This has never been more true than in this year.
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
A year ago, I wrote that for school boards, as for our students and staff, the process of growth and development and adaptation to change is one that never ends. Never has that been more true than during the 2019-2020 school year.
The Board’s key areas of focus for the year were to build a learning community where innovation and inquiry drive learning, to advance equity and a sense of belonging to promote a safe and caring community, and to strengthen our community through ethical leadership, equitable practice and responsible stewardship. These were the three constants in a year that divided abruptly into two completely different parts with the shutdown of public school across the province in mid-March.
Pre-COVID, the 2019-2020 school year began with students and staff bringing evidence of innovative practices in teaching and learning directly into the boardroom. Trustees were soon engaged in understanding the data from a review of the English with Core French program, which illustrated systemic inequities in terms of choice of program, program delivery structures and student enrolment patterns.
With the support of our advisory committees and community partners, the process of collecting identity-based data for OCDSB students was underway, for future use in identifying specific needs to change policies and practices to eliminate systemic racism and ensure that all students have equitable opportunities to succeed.
Two new student trustees had been welcomed in September, continuing a tradition of strong student voice at the board table, but another change was yet to come. In December, the Board regretfully accepted the resignation of Trustee Erica Braunovan, and began an appointment process that culminated with the swearing in of Trustee Justine Bell in February as the new representative of Zone 10, Kitchissippi-Somerset.
Then, suddenly, in mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an abrupt provincial decision to close all schools. The Board’s work changed, but key strategic initiatives continued despite the many uncertainties over the potential disruptions to normal functioning.
In a COVID-19 world, trustees quickly adapted to holding virtual board and committee meetings, initially focused on ensuring continuity of learning for all students. As schools shifted to providing remote learning, with students, teachers and support staff all working from home, trustees closely monitored changing provincial health directives and allocated additional resources to support a new way to run schools. The core work, particularly for equity and innovation, continued.
Board members were also forced to confront their own biases and behaviours in the wake of an incident of serious misconduct by one trustee in late March that aroused significant concern across the OCDSB community about anti-Black racism and systemic racism. With a process constrained by legislation, there was no easy path that balanced respect for natural justice and the rule of law with public demands for swift action. The experience highlighted the need to re-examine our policies and practices through a human rights lens, and to have safe and caring schools with ethical leadership and equitable practice.
The COVID-19 experience has spurred the practical application of the three constants of the Board’s work plan as we met through the summer to develop new plans and allocate resources in new ways to reopen schools in September with both in-person and virtual instruction. Although 2019-2020 was a year like no other, the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan has guided our path forward, and there is reason for optimism that the Board and our staff are on a path to make the changes that our students most need.
Serving students across the City of Ottawa, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board is the largest school district in eastern Ontario. We are committed to ensuring our schools are welcoming places for all. Our focus is to support student learning and well-being so that students can develop the characteristics and skills they need to find success in the world.
We would like to acknowledge that our schools are on unceded Algonquin Territory, and thank the Algonquin Nation for hosting us on their land.
- 4,271 secondary Summer School students enrolled
- 879 students participated in Night School
- 300 students participated in Adult Secondary Credit Program
- 1,200 students participated in Literacy and Numeracy Program
- 5,720 students registered in International and Indigenous Languages Program
- Over 3,500 credits earned through Cooperative Education
- Over 375 000 hours logged working with community partners
- Nearly 4,000 students directly participated in skilled trades focused experiential learning activities supported through Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program funding
- 700 students enrolled as pre-apprentices or apprentices, despite the challenges of the pandemic!
- 56 students were enrolled in Level 1 schooling blocks across multiple trades.
- 1,150 adult newcomers participated in the Language Instruction Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program at four OCDSB locations, including 285 infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the Care for Newcomer Childcare (CNC) onsite program
- 2,500 adults participated in daytime and/or evening non-credit English as a Second Language (ESL) program at six OCDSB locations, including 170 infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the Ontario Works informal childcare onsite program
- 300 adults participated in the Academic Upgrading and Workplace Training programs as part of Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS)
What We Offer
50/50 English/French bilingual kindergarten, English with Core French, Early French Immersion, Middle French Immersion or Alternative English Program School
Support for families
- EarlyON Child and Family Centres
- More than 5,500 children (JK-Grade 6) enrolled in Extended Day Programs
Students earn credits in a variety of subjects, including English, French Immersion, Math and Science.
- International Baccalaureate
- High Performance Athletic Program
- Specialized High Skills Major Programs
- Secondary Alternate Programs
- Adult High School
- A secondary school dedicated to Arts education
The OCDSB offers secondary students the Pathways Program. It is designed to reflect a student’s goals, motivate them to complete their education and help them work towards a particular career destination. Pathways help students to also be successful in their transition to the workplace, apprenticeship, college, or university.
Students' course calendars are designed according to areas of interest: arts and recreation; business, sales and service; industry and tech; applied science and health care; and social services, education and government.
Programs including Adult Cooperative Education, International Languages, English as a Second Language/Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada, Night and Summer School
Update on the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan
The 2019-2023 strategic plan is the 4-year vision for the OCDSB and is focused on building a Culture of Innovation, a Culture of Caring, and a Culture of Social Responsibility. To achieve that vision, annual strategic action plans are used to identify actionable items, set specific goals, and increase accountability. The 2019-2020 school year was a unique one, with unanticipated challenges and disruptions. Despite these challenges, and even with school closures, the OCDSB remained focused on key objectives, continued to make progress on identified goals, and worked toward implementation of the strategic plan.
In many ways, the steps that we took to adapt to the circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic actually accelerated progress. We came together as a community and embraced innovative approaches to learning online and in-person. There have been more opportunities than ever to increase use of the Virtual Learning Environment; modernize Continuing Education; and use experiential learning to rethink engagement in compulsory courses. Significant progress was made last year in supporting student achievement and well-being through the establishment of targets and renewal of resources. Although there is still work to be done, progress in this area has created structures for improved measurement and monitoring of student achievement at both the school and District level, despite the absence of standardized testing.
Engagement with students, families, and staff looked different last year; however, once again we were able to come together as a community to engage with one another. Through large-scale engagements, we were able to hear from students, parents/guardians, and staff during Learn at Home. The ideas and insights that were shared were used to develop collective priorities and strategies for best meeting the needs of students amidst the pandemic. Much of what we heard was related to well-being and mental health supports, and in response the District was able to tailor supports and provide valuable resources.
In 2019-2020, we were highly committed to our equity work. A monumental accomplishment was the development of an Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Roadmap. The Roadmap aims to eliminate barriers to success by acknowledging diverse ways of knowing, different styles of learning and valuing, and by respecting and leveraging the strength of each student’s individual and intersecting identities. In support of this work, we engaged in the collection of identity-based data. This data represented the voices of over 35,000 students K-12 and explored issues of identity – such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation – along with perceptual questions focused on student well-being, safety and other topics. This data is critical for identifying trends and patterns, which inform our actions to address structural racism and systemic barriers. The progress made in this area evidences the District’s commitment to equity and prioritization of this work even in challenging times.
COVID-19: Learning continues with an emphasis on well-being
No conversation about the 2019-2020 school year is complete without a reflection on the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 16th, schools across Ontario began to close in an unprecedented response to the government’s pleas for everyone to do their part to help flatten the curve.
It was (and continues to be) a difficult time. We worried about health and safety, livelihoods, and what the future may hold for friends and families as we all struggled to adapt to this new normal.
While school doors remained closed, in a matter of weeks, we shifted our entire educational model as we moved the classroom online.
It wasn’t easy. Students and staff were learning how to engage with this new approach. Some families lacked access to computers or workable Internet. Parents were forced to work from home while supporting children at the same time.
Our teachers needed to adapt to help students continue learning from afar. New connection methods also had to be found with students and parents. School teams worked hard to deliver hundreds of Chromebooks and Internet hotspots.
However, despite our distance apart (and toddlers running through video calls on occasion), we saw our staff come together in new ways to show their commitment for the well-being of students. At a time when everything changed, this care and dedication remained the same.
As school came to an end in June, District staff focused on our next major challenge: preparing for the next school year.
We would like to thank parents, students and staff for sharing their input through this difficult process. More than 28,000 individuals participated in a survey conducted in early July to gather feedback as we prepared for our return to school. Dozens of parents also submitted written responses or presented public delegations to trustees that month.
Thanks to these contributions, staff worked hard to design and redesign in-person schooling to follow health and safety measures, create a brand new virtual school model, and reorganize all staffing in mere weeks - a process that normally takes months.
Quote: “Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes them meaningful.” — Anonymous
Valuing Voices - Identity Matters! Student Survey
In June 2020, the OCDSB released the first summary report of our Valuing Voices – Identity Matters! survey of students from kindergarten to grade 12.
The results demonstrate the rich diversity of the OCDSB student population and provide important data, which has assisted in the preparation of our new Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Roadmap, released in fall 2020.
Conducted between November 2019 and January 2020, nearly 35,000 surveys were completed for students from kindergarten to grade 12. Parents completed surveys for students from kindergarten to grade 6, with students completing surveys from grades 7-12. The overall response rate was 46.5%.
The study explores issues of identity – such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation – along with perceptual questions focused on student well-being, safety and other topics.
While the majority of students and parents surveyed said they were positive about their school experience, the data shows that more work is needed to improve overall student well-being at school.
The OCDSB will use this information to inform its commitment to human rights and equity. This data will help identify trends and patterns, which will allow the District to take action to address structural racism and systemic barriers. The data will help to better understand racial disparity in student outcomes (e.g., achievement, suspension rates, graduation rates) and experiences in school (e.g., sense of belonging, safety, etc.), and disproportionate representation of different groups across programs and services (e.g., academic/applied/locally developed level courses; English with core French/French immersion programs).
This is the first survey conducted by an Ottawa-based school board since the introduction of the Ontario Anti-Racism Act (2017) and Data Standards for the Identification and Monitoring of Systemic Racism (2018). Work on the survey was guided by the input of students, parents and community partners through focus groups and discussions beginning in spring 2019.
For more information
- Read the full report
- Visit the Valuing Voices webpage
- Learn more in our news release
- View the infograph of identity-data survey results
The results from the survey highlight the diversity of the OCDSB student population, as evidenced by:
- There were more than 150 languages that students were reported to have first learned to speak as a child. Amongst the most common were English, Arabic, French and Chinese.
- Approximately 3.5% of survey respondents identified as being First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit.
- Most survey respondents considered themselves to be Canadian, despite more than 300 ethnic/cultural backgrounds being reported. Aside from Canadian, more than 5% of survey respondents reported being of Arab, Chinese, English, Irish, or Scottish descent.
- While the majority of respondents identified as White, there was student representation from all response options provided to the question about race. Black, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and South Asian were amongst those most frequently reported.
- The OCDSB student population is reflective of a multi-faith community; Christian and Muslim faiths were amongst those most frequently reported. Many students reported having no religious or spiritual affiliation.
- Just over 1% of students in JK to grade 6, and more than 5% of students in grades 7 to 12, reported diverse gender identities.
- Approximately 40% of parents/guardians of children in JK to grade 6 were uncertain or preferred not to answer the question about their child’s sexual orientation; the balance of respondents reported that their child was straight/heterosexual (55%), LGBTQ2S+ (1.5%), or that it was too soon to know (3.5%). Just over 16% of survey respondents in grades 7 to 12 identified as LGBTQ2S+.
- Approximately 9% of survey respondents (parents/guardians of students in JK to grade 6, and students in grades 7 to 12) reported having a disability at the time of the survey. Learning disability was the most commonly reported disability for both groups of respondents. Close to one-third of students in JK to grade 6 were reported as having Autism, while a similar percentage of students in grades 7 to 12 reported having a mental health disability.
- Over three-quarters of survey respondents were born in Canada. Of those not born in Canada, most reported being a Canadian Citizen or landed immigrant/ permanent resident at the time of the survey. Ten percent of JK to grade 6 students, and 13% of students in grades 7 to 12, were enrolled through a study permit as an international student.
Responses to the perceptual questions shed further light on the student experience
- Most survey respondents reported positive school experiences; parents/guardians of children in JK to grade 6 tended to rate their child’s experiences more positively compared to students in grades 7 to 12. For both groups, results suggest that an area of focus should be on respect. For younger students, acceptance was another area that warrants further attention, while older students need to be made to feel like they are part of the school community.
- The majority of survey respondents reported positive moods and attitudes towards school. More than 75% of students in grades 7 to 12, however, reported being tired in the morning.
- The majority of survey respondents described themselves as having “excellent” or “good” attainment of the characteristics and skills identified in the OCDSB Exit Outcomes. For the younger cohort of students, Creativity was a particular area of strength, and for the older cohort of students it was Digital Fluency. Areas that require further support include Goal Setting (both cohorts), Resiliency (younger cohort), and Communication and Global Awareness (older cohort).
- A sense of belonging at school was stronger for the younger cohort of students compared to those in the older cohort. Five percent of students in JK to grade 6, and 11% of students in grades 7 to 12, reported a low sense of belonging.
- Between 30% and 50% of survey respondents reported participating in Arts, Music, School Clubs, School Special Events, and Team Sports in school. These activities, with the exception of School Clubs and School Special Events, also tended to be the most common out-of-school activities. More than 25% of survey respondents reported an interest in participating in extracurricular activities, but an inability to do so. Time, cost, distance/location, and transportation were amongst the most frequently cited barriers.
- Most survey respondents saw their identity reflected positively within the school. For students in JK to grade 6, this was particularly true with respect to pictures, posters, and displays, whereas extracurricular activities was the area in which students in grades 7 to 12 felt it the most.
- Survey respondents were more likely to report having opportunities to express their identity and learn about the identity of others, than they were to have opportunities to learn about their own identity.
- Students who have experienced stereotyping and/or acts of prejudice or discrimination within the school system, were most likely to report that it is associated with their appearance, clothing, or grades/achievement.
- For the most part, students reported feeling safe at school, in the area around the school, and on the way to and from school. Feelings of safety on the school bus, however, is an area that warrants further investigation.
- The majority of respondents do not worry about being bullied and have not been subjected to bullying. Of those students who had been the victim of bullying in the four weeks leading up to the survey, verbal bullying was the most common form for students in JK to grade 6, whereas verbal and social bullying were most common amongst students in grades 7 to 12.
OCDSB Parent Conference and School Council Training Day 2019
Keynote speaker Dr. Laura Markham welcomed nearly 400 parents and community members to the 2019 OCDSB Parent Conference and School Council Training Day. Dr. Markham presented strategies on how to help children co-operate without the use of yelling, threats, bribes or punishment. Workshop topics included smartphones and social media; technology; vaping; math; special education supports; welcoming newcomer families; experiential learning; self-regulation; and the parent-child connection.
Government of Ontario Announces Funding for Two New OCDSB Schools
In July of 2020, the Government of Ontario confirmed funding for the building of two new OCDSB elementary schools. With the support of the Ministry of Education, these schools will help reduce pressure on surrounding area schools as these communities continue to grow. The new Fernbank Elementary School will be built in the rapidly-developing Fernbank community situated between Kanata and Stittsville, and the new Half Moon Bay Elementary School will be located in the fast-growing Half Moon Bay community in south Barrhaven.
Saying “Thank You From OCDSB!”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of health care workers, grocery store staff, police officers, and other frontline workers are helping to keep our communities safe and ensuring that we are taken care of. In 2020, students, staff, and families came together virtually to say a big ‘Thank You’ to these frontline workers for their tireless efforts. The Thank You From OCDSB campaign generated a tremendous response, with more than 550 heart-warming contributions, ranging from creative videos and art to thoughtful letters. These contributions were shared online and with frontline worker organizations, many of which put them up on display to inspire their staff.
Indigenous Youth Symposium
The OCDSB hosted its fourth annual Indigenous Youth Symposium for high school students in October of 2019. The event aimed to instill "Pride and Indigenous Identity & Collect Student Voice" through interactive workshops, breakout sessions, and kiosks featuring community agencies.
Black Student Virtual Forum Takes “A Step Towards Our Future”
In June of 2020, African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) students and their allies gathered virtually for the annual OCDSB Black Student Forum, an event designed by Black students, for Black students. Approximately 290 participants engaged in conversation and action around the theme “A Step Towards Our Future.” Attendees shared their stories and insights; heard from spoken word artist Dwayne Morgan; and had important conversations on a variety of topics including systemic racism, cultural appreciation, re-imagining education, and their vision for the future.
Celebrating Diversity at the Rainbow Youth Forum
The OCDSB held the 15th Annual Rainbow Youth Forum in November of 2019, in collaboration with the Rainbow Service Providers Network. This annual event is a celebration of diversity, inviting secondary students, staff, and community members to learn about equity and diversity issues, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Capping Off 2020 with OCDSB Graduates
In the spring, over 7,000 students graduated from the OCDSB. In this most unusual year, they showed incredible leadership as they embodied our culture of innovation, caring, and social responsibility. To safely celebrate their achievements, the District launched Capping Off 2020, a campaign developed based on input from grade 12 students. The celebrations included graduation signs at all secondary schools, graduation caps and swag, school webpages, social media stories, and more.
OCDSB Launches Learn At Home
Following the March school closures due to COVID-19, the OCDSB launched its Learn At Home program. Teachers provided virtual instruction and creative learning opportunities, enabling students to learn key concepts so they could finish their academic year and advance to the next year or graduate. The OCDSB also provided a collection of additional online learning resources spanning across various grade levels and subjects; resources for families to support student learning; and supports for students with special education needs and English language learners.
Educators Deliver Innovative Learning Opportunities
Educators across the district found many creative ways to engage students during the Learn At Home period. They created opportunities for learning and connection through outdoor activities, projects using household items, virtual field trips, read-alouds, cooking activities, physical exercises, educational challenges, spirit days, and Google Meets with special guests.
The OCDSB provided a variety of resources for our system to reimagine teaching and learning with consistency, flexibility, integrity and compassion. This included a comprehensive Learn At Home section in the staff portal, as well as a range of virtual workshops for educators. Program and Learning led professional development sessions focused on all K-12 curricular areas, including assessment and evaluation in the Learn at Home context. From April to June, total attendance at these sessions was 6,074. Business and Learning Technologies also offered 409 workshops on various digital tools to 8,808 participants.
Distributing Computers and Internet for Students
From the start of the spring school closures, the OCDSB was focused on supporting students without computers or access to reliable Internet. Teachers, principals, and staff in the Business & Learning Technologies team worked together to reach out to families, distribute 11,000 Chromebooks from our schools, and purchase 1,700 Internet hotspot devices.
These devices not only enhanced learning, but also offered students an important connection to their school community, as staff organized virtual initiatives like spirit days, events, games, and more. Staff also creatively supported students with low-technology solutions when needed, including establishing the home-school connection through phone calls.
Growing Learners Program Takes Root
During the school closures, over a thousand students at 20 schools took part in the OCDSB’s innovative Growing Learners program, in partnership with the Education Foundation of Ottawa, Just Food, Ottawa Farm School, and Ottawa Good Food Box. Families received two boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables along with soil, seeds, tools, and instructions to grow fresh produce at home. The program focused on schools in high-needs neighbourhoods, supporting families during a challenging time while giving students a unique hands-on learning experience.
Launching the Report Card Portal
In June 2020, the OCDSB launched a new online Report Card Portal that provided parents and guardians with a secure way to access their child’s report card and additional information. The portal allowed teachers to input report card data, principals to review the report cards, and parents to receive the report cards – all while managing physical distancing and safety.
RESPONDING TO ANTI-BLACK RACISM
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we also saw a renewed call for action to address anti-Black racism in the U.S. and Canada.
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has a strong commitment to equity and inclusion. We acknowledge that we have work to do within our system. As a school district, we are committed to challenging ourselves to examine privilege and question how we can make changes to eliminate racism from within our system. We are committed to creating a place where everyone has an opportunity to learn and work in spaces of respect and belonging.
As this important discussion was unfolding, we shared with families and staff mental health supports, resources to learn more about discussing race and discrimination with children, advice from Ottawa Public Health for those who wish to demonstrate and how to safely do so, and other ways to show support and take action against racism. In addition, Education Director Williams-Taylor joined CBC’s hour-long call-in show Ontario Today to discuss these important issues and how to speak to children. You can listen to the show at this link.
Anti-Black Racism Resources
As part of the OCDSB’s commitment to equity and inclusion, a collection of Anti-Black Racism Resources was created to support students and families. This resource includes books, podcasts, videos, websites, articles, mental health supports, and ways to take action against racism.
The OCDSB also invited educators from across the district to recommend resources which they use to purposefully embed equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, and anti-oppression into their instructional practices. Through this collaborative effort, the Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression Starter Tool Kit was created to support staff and K-12 educators in their learning and planning across the curriculum for 2020-2021 and beyond.
Safe Schools and School District School Code of Conduct Policy Review
The OCDSB carried out the first phase of its consultation plan to address the Safe Schools and School District Code of Conduct Policies. Between November and March, the district engaged with stakeholder groups to gather input on the draft policy creation. Engagement activities included student focus group sessions, gathering additional student feedback, a Principal and Vice-Principal facilitated discussion, a Multicultural Liaison Officer focus group session, and an online survey for parent/guardians. This feedback informed the policy revision stage and the second phase of the consultation process taking place in 2020-2021.
OCDSB Office of the Human Rights and Equity Advisor
Established in the spring of 2020, the Office of the Human Rights and Equity Advisor is committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of students, families, staff and the broader school community.
The Human Rights and Equity Advisor is a senior leadership role, which reports to the Director of Education. The position was created by the OCDSB as part of its ongoing commitment to building and maintaining a culture of caring and respect for human rights and equity within the Board.
The Human Rights and Equity Advisor is arm’s-length from other OCDSB departments to help ensure objectivity in fulfilling the role.
The Human Rights and Equity Advisor has two main functions.
- To provide leadership and advice to the OCDSB to identify and address systemically-based human rights and equity issues and to increase the OCDSB capacity to ensure compliance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
- To provide oversight to the OCDSB’s internal human rights complaints procedure. The OCDSB is currently developing a human rights policy and related procedures that will guide resolution of internal human rights complaints. In the interim, complaints continue to use the existing OCDSB complaints policies and procedures.
Learning Outdoor and Culinary Skills at Urban Aboriginal Secondary Alternate Program
The Urban Aboriginal Secondary Alternate Program, in partnership with the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, offered students a variety of hands-on experiences in a culturally safe, responsive, and relevant learning environment. Students explored the outdoors with a fall hike in Gatineau Park, as well as outdoor education classes at the Baxter Conservation Area, where they learned about navigation, making shelters, and more. As students worked towards their Foods credit, they collaborated to prepare delicious holiday lunches and heard from Indigenous chef Shane Chartrand, who visited the school to share about his career journey. (Zone 10)
Hands-On with Hardware at West Carleton Secondary School
Students in the Information and Technology Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) at West Carleton Secondary School, in addition to learning how to code, also learned how to create printed circuit boards. This initiative gave students the unique opportunity to learn about both software and hardware simultaneously, and to gain hands-on experience in building hardware while earning a credit. (Zone 1)
Vibrant Murals Welcome Students Back to School
Clifford Bowey Public School, Fallingbrook Community Elementary School, and Robert E. Wilson Public School unveiled colourful outdoor murals created by OCDSB students. The murals focused on the following themes: “Greatness is Achieved Together,” “Youth as Agents of Social Change,” and “A Place We All Call Home.” The projects were funded by Crime Prevention Ottawa’s Paint it Up! Program, sponsored by the City of Ottawa, which supports graffiti prevention, community safety, and empowering youth through community arts. (Zones 8, 9, and 11)
Growing the Cafeteria Menu at Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School
As part of the 2019 parent-teacher night, Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School students served up school-grown food at Back to Our Roots, an event that offered a taste of their ongoing experiential learning projects. Through a variety of initiatives supported by a Farm to School Canada Grant, students have gained hands-on experience in food planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and preparation. This resulted in the school’s cafeteria adding weekly fresh salads and a monthly salad bar that was 80% locally sourced, with as much grown in-house as possible. (Zone 5)
Ridgemont High School Students Plant 800 Trees to Help Restore Tornado-Stricken Ecosystem
In the fall of 2019, science students at Ridgemont High School, in partnership with the National Capital Commission (NCC), applied their learning to combat climate change as citizen scientists. Following a lecture series facilitated by NCC scientists, students planted 800 white pines at Bruce Pit – an area affected by the 2018 tornado – and actively supported the restoration of the Pinhey Sand Dunes. (Zone 6)
Colonel By Secondary School Student’s Winning Essay Tackles Plastic Pollution
Sabia Irfan, a student at Colonel By Secondary School, was one of two winners of a Canada-wide essay contest hosted by the IISD Experimental Lakes Area. The grade 9 student’s essay explored the “Perils of Plastics in Lake Ontario” and identified potential solutions to the problem of plastic pollution. (Zone 12)
Board of Trustees - 2018-2022
Lynn Scott - Zone 1 - Chair of the Board - West Carleton - March/Stittsville/Rideau- Goulbourn
Christine Boothby - Zone 2 - Kanata North/Kanata South
Donna Blackburn - Zone 3 - Barrhaven/Knoxdale-Merivale
Wendy Hough - Zone 4 - Bay
Rob Campbell - Zone 5 - College
Chris Ellis - Zone 6 - Rideau - Rockcliffe/Alta Vista
Jennifer Jennekens - Zone 7 - Gloucester-South Nepean/Osgoode
Keith Penny - Zone 8 - Vice-Chair of the Board - Orléans-Cumberland
Lyra Evans - Zone 9 - Rideau-Vanier/Capital
Erica Braunovan - Zone 10 - Somerset/Kitchissippi - Sept. 2019 - Jan. 2020
Justine Bell - Zone 10 - Somerset/Kitchissippi - Effective February 2020
Mark Fisher - Zone 11 - River/Gloucester-Southgate
Sandra Schwartz - Zone 12 - Innes/Beacon Hill-Cyrville
STUDENT TRUSTEES - 2020-2021
STUDENT TRUSTEES - 2019-2020
2019–2020 BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Board of Trustees is made up of 12 trustees elected by zone and two student trustees. On October 22, 2018, a new board of trustees was elected for a four-year term beginning December 1, 2018 and ending on November 14, 2022. Our school board trustees are responsible for overseeing a thriving and progressive educational system, which serves over 74,000 students in 143 schools and sites plus 7 new virtual schools - 6 elementary and 1 secondary. Trustees are empowered under the Education Act to set policy for the operation of all public schools in the Ottawa area. The role of the school board is to articulate the Board’s vision for education, develop policies based on that vision and provincial policy, set budgets and goals, monitor policy and student achievement, and provide equitable access to programs for all students. The Board sets priorities for the term through the Strategic Plan. The Board monitors work on these priorities.
Communicators with the Public
Trustees are accountable to their community for the decisions made by the Board of Trustees. They communicate with the public through organized and informal meetings with parent groups and concerned citizens, and also through the distribution of newsletters and other materials. Trustees also act as ambassadors for the District, officiating and speaking at school openings and events. Trustees are advocates for students and community members on a wide range of issues regarding public education.
Trustees are responsible for approving the policies and by-laws which govern the Board’s entire operation. Policies are developed in conjunction with staff to address program, student, staff, property, Board and administration requirements. The Board is active in many provincial educational associations and lobbies the Ministry of Education and other government bodies for changes to existing policies and legislation.
Advocates for Quality Education
The Board ensures the quality of public education in Ottawa is maintained through the development, review and evaluation of high-quality programs and effective support for students. The focus is on meeting the educational goals and needs of all students in a changing global environment.
Student Trustees, Student Senate and Student President’s Council
The Student Senate and Student Presidents’ Council continue to serve as key forums to express the voice of students. Thanks to the leadership of our student trustees, a number of important issues have been raised that have helped inform our efforts going forward. This includes topics such as menstrual equity, improving communication with students, supporting students to self-advocate and raise concerns, and addressing racial inequities.
Student Trustees Ganaaboute Gagne and Prasith Wijeweera presented their bi-annual report. The report addressed issues of environmental concerns, student transportation, mental health services, along with reflections from the Rainbow Youth Forum, Indigenous Youth Symposium, Student Senate, Presidents Council and OSTA-AECO. Read the full report.
CURRENT DIRECTOR’S EXECUTIVE COUNCIL 2019–2020
Camille Williams Taylor - Director of Education and Secretary of the Board
Brett Reynolds - Associate Director of Education
Dorothy Baker - Superintendent of Instruction
Mike Carson - Chief Financial Officer & Superintendent of Facilities
Mary Jane Farrish - Superintendent of Instruction
Michele Giroux - Executive Officer of Corporate Services
Prince Duah - Superintendent of Instruction
Eric Hardie - Superintendent of Instruction
Shawn Lehman - Superintendent of Instruction
Janice McCoy - Superintendent of Human Resources
Shannon Smith - Superintendent of Instruction
Peter Symmonds - Superintendent of Learning Support Services
Nadia Towaij - Superintendent of Program and Learning K-12
Carolyn Tanner - Human Rights and Equity Advisor
Celebrating Our Students, Staff and Community Members!
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board is a place where respect, encouragement, and inclusiveness are honoured. The OCDSB takes great pride in acknowledging those efforts. Recognition awards are tributes to the work staff, parents, students and community members do. At the OCDSB we are pleased to celebrate these contributions to the District. Individuals being recognized by these awards understand that their work impacts the lives of others — our students, our staff, and our community. It is important to note as well that their contributions have been acknowledged by people who work closely with them, and recognize the work they do for others.
STUDENT RECOGNITION AWARD recipients
Excellence In Equity Student Award Recipients
Excellence In Equity Student Award Nominees
STAFF AWARD recipients
COMMUNITY AWARD recipients
At the Education Foundation of Ottawa, we believe that it’s about what ALL kids deserve.
The 2019-20 school year was a challenging one for so many! While numerous things changed, the underlying message for the EFO stayed the same ~ OCDSB students and families need our continued support!
We know that each year thousands of our students face enormous social, emotional, and financial challenges that are out of their control. The COVID-19 Pandemic amplified just how important structures like the Education Foundation of Ottawa are to those who are in need. We stepped in promptly by making sure support was received in an efficient and equitable way. New and continued partnerships helped us provide families access to both internal and external resources in our community. We grew this year, with the addition of our Development and Communications Assistant, Laila Labelle. Our small, but mighty team, made sure that whether it be clothing, food, school supplies, or bursaries and awards, we were there. All students deserve to experience their education in a way that promotes their sense of safety, security, and self-esteem. That’s why the Education Foundation of Ottawa is here to help.
Thanks to our donors, our students' realities have positively changed. Here’s how:
- We increased awareness about the role of the Education Foundation of Ottawa with the launch of our video “What Kids Deserve”;
- We developed and implemented the Eyes for A’s Vision Care Program with Essilor Canada where 14 schools including almost 3000 students were screened for vision issues, from which over 500 required eye exams, and almost 200 students received much-needed eyeglasses;
- During the school shutdown period, we shifted our support to include e-gift cards so that parents and caregivers could get financial support in their hands as quickly and easily as possible;
- We’ve strengthened our partnership with our OCDSB Social Work team as a way to provide families with the type of resources that meet their individual and unique needs;
- Through our new Bridges Over Barriers Fund and our Students in Crisis Fund, we were able to distribute over $40,000 in gift cards to families during the shutdown period and throughout the summer;
- Through our Tools for Learning Program, we filled over 700 bags of school supplies for our remote learners and directed $5000 toward the #GrowingLearners project where OCDSB students got their hands dirty learning to grow their very own vegetables at home!
- We worked collaboratively with the Ottawa Network for Education (our local breakfast program provider) and other local school boards to innovatively meet the needs of our food-insecure families by supporting ONFE’s School Breakfast Program Replacement Kits with a donation of $25,000;
The mission of the Education Foundation of Ottawa ensures that barriers are removed for children regardless of their personal or socio-economic circumstances. We continue to work with generous individual and corporate donors in our community. ROGERS Communications, United Way, Canadian Tire Jumpstart, COSTCO, Essilor, and TELUS, know that you are crucial as we provide critical programs and opportunities for our OCDSB students.
Many thanks to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board for continuing to support us through school fundraising activities, school council donations, and the Staff Payroll Deduction Program. If you are an OCDSB staff and would like to complete this form (while logged on to the OCDSB VDI), you can do so here. Participating in the Payroll Deduction Program allows us to build our capacity and the sustainability we need to keep going. To support the important and ongoing work of the Foundation, please donate here. Thank you so much; we couldn’t do this work without you! Your support assists us in making sure we are able to help many students when they need it the most.
The Ottawa-Carleton Education Network
The Ottawa-Carleton Education Network (OCENET) is a recognized leader in international education for its innovative programs in promoting intercultural competency. OCENET is a non-profit organization which serves as the international education division of the OCDSB. For just over 20 years, the OCDSB has hosted more than 11,000 students and educators from all corners of the world in its elementary and secondary schools. OCENET is committed to providing cross-cultural opportunities for the international students who come to study in Ottawa and to developing intercultural competencies amongst OCDSB students and educators. Because of its many innovative and unique initiatives, OCENET is widely acknowledged as a leader in international education within Canada and around the world.
Highlights of the 2019–2020 School Year
International Students in OCDSB Schools
- OCENET placed close to 1,000 long term international students from almost 50 countries in 22 high school schools and 32 elementary schools throughout the OCDSB.
- OCENET hosted close to 200 students in short term Global Classroom programs which included 11 students who participated in Winter Explorer prior to their school immersion experience. Due to COVID-19, OCENET did not run Spring or Summer programs. These students represented individuals from many countries with student groups representing Spain, Colombia, Italy, China, Japan, and Germany.
- OCENET’s Young People’s Language School (YPLS) had an enrollment of over 62 international students from China, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the USA. Because of the pandemic, the YPLS.OCDSB ESL summer credit program had to be cancelled.
Supporting International Students During COVID-19
- The COVID-19 pandemic had a large impact on our programs. In early March, approximately 30% of the international students returned to their respective home countries to complete their semester online. The dedication of educational staff to support the international students is to be commended. Also, the support of the Homestay families who provided accommodation to those international students who remained in Ottawa was and continues to be greatly appreciated.
- OCENET sponsored a couple of contests for our international students during the lockdown phase of the pandemic. In April, the “QuarantArt Contest” saw numerous submissions that included short stories, poems, photography, songs, music videos, paintings, drawings, and digital artwork. During the summer months, OCENET also challenged international students in the COVID-19 Comfort Food Contest which allowed students to share international cooking recipes.
- OCENET and the OCDSB welcomed and provided teacher training and educational workshops to over 238 visiting educators from China, Colombia, South Korea, Spain, and Sweden.
- OCENET has developed a comprehensive teacher training program around various topics and themes for teachers and principals with a particular focus on the area of language teaching and learning. In November 2019, OCENET delivered a one-week program on current practices in assessment and strategies for language learners in Chengdu, China. OCENET also had a delegation visit Chengdu at the same time as the training program.
OCENET and OCDSB Leadership in International Education
International Exchanges and Partnerships
- In the past several years, OCENET has been instrumental in organizing several partnerships and exchanges with schools and education bureaus overseas with the aim of cultivating long-term, sustainable and trusted educational partnerships.
- These new partnership initiatives bring reciprocal benefits both to visiting students and educators and to local OCDSB students and teachers. In 2019-2020, the formal partnerships that had been nurtured in previous years resulted in either teacher visits or student exchanges, in some cases reciprocal visits or exchanges, with the following educational organizations:
Chengdu Chenghua Municipal Education Bureau (China)
L'académie d'Aix-Marseille, Région académique Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (France)
Jeju Provincial Office of Education (South Korea)
Yamate Gakuin High School (Japan)
- OCENET provided guidance and support to several international student exchanges overseas, including an exchange with Grade 5/6 students from Chengdu, China who attended school and stayed with host families at Castor Valley Elementary.
- OCENET also provided guidance for a virtual collaborative project between students in grade 5/6 at Castor Valley Elementary School and Shuanglin Elementary School in Chengdu, China. Students collaborated over the course of several months to share stories about their lives and communities and met each other over two Zoom meetings. OCENET is exploring interest in expanding The Global Learners Program to include more students and schools.
International Certificate Program
- During the 2019-2020 academic year just under 500 students were enrolled in the OCDSB International Certificate Program (ICP), now accessible in all OCDSB secondary schools. The ICP recognizes students who have demonstrated a commitment to being motivated, engaged and active global citizens both locally and internationally. In June, 77 students were awarded the OCDSB International Certificate making it just over 400 OCDSB students who have received certificates since the ICP’s inaugural year in 2013.
International Education Bursary Program
- An increasingly important part of OCENET’s role is encouraging local OCDSB students and staff to participate in international learning, intercultural exchanges and developing global competencies. Since the inception of the OCENET sponsored international education bursary program in 2015, hundreds of student bursaries and over 60 staff bursaries have been awarded to support opportunities to pursue international learning experiences. Bursaries are awarded through the Education Foundation of Ottawa. In 2019-2020, almost $30,000 in bursaries were awarded although most of these bursary funds were returned due to school educational excursions being cancelled because of the pandemic.
Lynch-Getty Global Student Awards
- Each year OCENET presents awards to four OCDSB graduates, with two students being international students and two being Canadian residents. Each recipient is awarded $1,000 and a plaque recognizing their commitment to global citizenship.