School Council Newsletter, November 21


School Council Newsletter
November 21, 2014


A few minor technical issues delayed the sending of the newsletter this week.  Yesterday was a professional development day in both elementary and secondary schools. Hopefully, many of you  were meeting elementary teachers at parent-teacher interviews. In our secondary schools, staff was engaged in discussions about numeracy and school learning plans.
 Last week I mentioned an event we hosted at City Hall on November13th.  Take a look at this wonderful video that was produced from our 1st Aboriginal Community Feast.   
Director’s Update
The Director’s webpage has been updated.  Take a minute to read the Director’s comments about our upcoming strategic planning consultation, her message of appreciation to outgoing trustees and her welcome to the new Board.

Every School_Every Voice

The Director’s webpage introduces our upcoming strategic planning consultation called Every School_Every Voice.  Beginning December 1st, the OCDSB will be inviting all parents/guardians, students in grades 8-12, employees, community partners and the general public to provide input into the development of our next strategic plan.  The consultation will be done using an on-line process called Thoughtexchange.  It’s a three stage process and everyone is welcome to participate.  Read more and watch for additional details in the next week.

School Movie Nights

This fall, many of you asked questions about school movie nights and what restrictions apply. The OCDSB has a license agreement (license option B) which allows all schools and/or school councils to screen legally obtained commercially available feature length films.  This means that you can host a movie night in your school outside of regular school hours, as a school related fundraiser, and for audiences including students, parents, siblings and family members.  The license is with Audio Cine Films and you can learn more on their website.

Inclement Weather Reminder

While there might be a reprieve early next week, it seems that snow and colder temperatures are going to be with us for a while.  Please use extra caution and slow down in school parking lots or pick up and drop off areas.  Also, a reminder to parents to ensure that students are dressed appropriately for outdoor play.  The OCDSB has a procedure regarding extreme weather conditions and we monitor the forecast issued by Environment Canada.  


The 10th Annual Rainbow Youth Forum – Thursday, November 27th

The Rainbow Youth Forum is an annual high school conference where students and staff celebrate diversity and enhance their knowledge and awareness of issues related to gender identity, sexual orientation and gender expression, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in order to encourage safer and more inclusive school environments.  The Rainbow Youth Forum is held in collaboration between the OCDSB and the Rainbow Service Provider’s Network, which is a network of community agencies who promote inclusive services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Two-Spirit, Queer, Questioning (LGBTTQQ+) youth.  There are some excellent resources to support this work available from the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

Math Facts

Take a look at this parent guide called Doing Mathematics with Your Child for students in kindergarten through to grade 6.  It’s filled with fun activities and ideas about how you can support your child’s learning.

Meetings that Matter….

Board and Committee of the Whole Meetings

The last meeting of this term of office for the Board of Trustees will be held on November 25th. Read the agenda.

Please join us to celebrate the incredible contribution of our current Board at this last meeting of the their term.  On November 25th at 7:00p.m. there will presentation in the Board Room at 133 Greenbank, followed by an Appreciation Reception.  On December 1st, we will welcome in the newly elected Board at a Swearing In Ceremony and Welcome Reception – at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Room.

Other Committee Meetings:
Advisory Committee on the Arts – November 24th 7:00 p.m.
Audit Committee – November 24th 7:30 p.m.
Special Education Advisory Committee – November 26th 7:00 p.m.
Trades & Technology Steering Committee – November 27th 9:00 a.m.
Advisory Committee on Equity – November 27th 5:00 p.m


Places to Go…Things to Remember


Snowsuit Drive – Schools Helping Schools – Huntley Centennial – November 24 – December 5

The students in the Leadership Council at Huntley Centennial are having a “snowsuit” drive the 2 weeks beginning November 24th – December 5th. The students will be collecting any CLEAN or NEW winter clothing items such as hats, scarves, mitts, snowsuits, boots, etc. and delivering the articles to R.E. Wilson Public School the week of December 9th. Last year’s donations were huge, and we hope to equal (or perhaps even better!) with this year’s campaign. There will be a drop-off box located in the main foyer by the front door, and bagged contributions are welcome any time during these two weeks.  Donations are welcome from all school communities.

Manordale Family School Council Event- Eco-Fair 2014

A Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Grant Initiative – this is a free evening for parents with their children to come and share environmentally-friendly ideas including everything from litter-less lunches to energy conservation tips offered by Hydro Ottawa. A Recycling Depot will be operating during the evening – where you can turn in old batteries, unused or old cell phones and charges; printer ink cartridges; eye glasses; and milk bags to name a few. The proud Eco -School is hoping to encourage families to reduce, reuse and recycle at home and at work.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Manordale Public School

Healthy Food for Schools – Berrigan ES – November 25th 7:00 p.m.
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff will be speaking at Berrigan Elementary School on November 25th at 7:00pm. Dr Freedhoff will be joined by dietetics experts from Ottawa Public Health to discuss what foods to feed elementary school aged children, with a focus on healthy, nut free school lunches.  Topics will include why nutrition is so important for our children, barriers we face as parents to feed our families well and the role the school environment plays in our children’s wellness.
Dr Freedhoff will speak at 7:00pm, followed by Jamie Hurst and Nadine Hodgins. Doors open at 6:30pm. Families are welcome to come and talk to Pamela from Terra20 about litterless lunches and view the displays. Older children are encouraged to listen to the speakers. Babysitting is available for younger children.
Please RSVP at


Sir Wilfrid Laurier Seconday School Toy Mountain

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School’s official launch of their 2014 Toy Mountain Campaign will take place at the school on Monday, November 24 at 10:45 a.m. in the Rotunda with the lighting of the Christmas tree. The school is located 1515 Tenth Line Road, Orleans. Grade 11 music students will perform a medley of tunes. The Toy Mountain Campaign brings joy to many children and their families but it also brings a sense of community to the school. Donations are welcome!


Rockcliffe Park Public School – Speaker Event – Dr. Maggie Mamen – November 26th 7:00 p.m.

Rockcliffe Park Public School invites parents and teachers to a presentation by renowned psychologist Dr. Maggie Mamen on Wednesday, November 26, 2014. This event is free, thanks to the generous contribution by the Parents Reaching Out Grants. The session description:

When our children are being bombarded with values that are very different from our own, it is often difficult to know how to establish, protect and encourage their sense of self in an ever-changing, challenging and sometimes even unsafe world. This presentation examines ways that parents can provide a family environment that supports the development of resilience and healthy self-esteem.

When: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Where: Rockcliffe Park Public School Library

For more information, please contact

Longfields Davidson Heights Secondary School Parent Council Fundraiser – Bag2School – November 22nd-23rd

The LDHSS Parent Council will be running a fundraiser in partnership with Bag2School. Bag2School raises money for fundraising projects; helps the environment by reducing landfill waste while promoting the 3 R’s, especially Re-use and; supports affordable second-hand clothing markets, in both North America and abroad.

When: Saturday November 22nd (10AM – 4PM) and Sunday November 23rd (10AM – 3PM)

John McCrae – STRUT FASHION SHOW – November 27 – 7:00pm

The STRUT fashion show was launched in the Fall of 2012 featuring the students of John McCrae Secondary School. The annual event showcases the students commitment to diversity, acceptance and the youth voice through fashion. Tickets are available through the school.

Changes to School Start Times

The start times at a number of schools in the district may change effective September 2015. These changes are commonly referred to as “Bell time’ changes and are the result of a review of transportation services.  Over the past year, the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) has conducted a system-wide review of bell times.  The purpose of the review is to align the bell times in such a way that school bus service can be better managed.  The “bell time” changes are divided into 2 categories; changes of 10 minutes or less and changes of 11 minutes or more.  The main difference between the two categories is decision-making process.  OSTA has the authority to make decisions about changes of 10 minutes or less.  School Boards are responsible for making changes of 11 minutes or more.  Read more about what changes have been approved, what changes are recommended and how you can provide feedback on the proposed changes.

Secondary Students with Learning Disabilities – Free Webinar – November 25th  

For secondary students with learning disabilities (LDs), planning for the transition to post-secondary is an important and multi-faceted process. This free webinar hosted by the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario will explore the various components of, and considerations for, the transition planning process and will cover a variety of topics, including a review of key Ministry documents, the roles of the Individual Education Plan and the Individual Transition Plan.  The next section of the webinar will address: Transition pathways – further education, employment, community life; core skills required for accessing each pathway; assumed level of independence for pathways (self-advocacy, student involvement); individualized pathway planning; the role of the Transition Advisory Committee; and existing community supports. The Presenter is Ryan Machete, Transitions Facilitator for the Peel District School Board (PDSB). Register in advance.

Free Webinar: Transition Planning and Pathways for Students Transitioning to Post-Secondary: The Importance of Planning with the End in Mind – November 25 –  3:30PM – 4:45PM

Canada Homestay Network (CHN) – Information Sessions

The OCDSB has been welcoming international students into its schools as part of its successful International Student Program for close to 15 years. During their stay in Ottawa, international students live with local families, developing friendships that for years. Students and families alike have benefited from the experience.  Host families who welcome international students into their home grow their understanding of the world and its peoples; make life-long friendships; get to share the beauty of their home and community and ensure their local economy benefits from the booming international education industry.

Interested? The CHN will be hosting information sessions this month at the following schools.

  • D. A. Moodie Intermediate School – Nov 26th – 7pm
  • W. Erskine Johnston Public School Nov 26th – 7pm
  • Sawmill Creek Elementary School Nov 27th – 7pm

School Ground Greening Workshops

Join us for a free series of inspiring workshops designed to help you plan a successful and sustainable school ground greening project. Workshops are open to all Ottawa schools and daycares that want to engage their students in creating healthy, stimulating play and learning spaces. Teachers, administrators, parents, custodians, students and community volunteers are all welcome. All workshops run from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. and are held at Immaculata High School, 140 Main St, Ottawa, ON K1S 5P4.  REGISTRATION: Email your name, school and contact details to Andrew Harvey, For more information, call Andrew Harvey, Evergreen School Ground Design Consultant at 613-894-2540. These workshops are co-presented with OCDSB School Ground Design Consultant, Jeff Kaster.

Colonel By Secondary School International Baccalaureate Program

Do you have a student looking for an intellectually rigorous, pre-university course of study that is recognized world-wide? Many of Colonel By’s International Baccalaureate graduates are top candidates for scholarships both nationally and internationally. Our students often qualify for university credits and advanced standing. Find out more at our Open House and begin preparing for a successful post-secondary future.

When: Wednesday, November 26, at 7:00 p.m. or Thursday, November 27, at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Colonel By Secondary School, 2381 Ogilvie Road


Visit for complete program and application information, and to register for one of the Open House dates.


Playgrounds and Play Structures

As part of the 2014-2015 budget, the Board approved increased funding to assist school communities in developing their school grounds or installing or replacing their play structures. 

In the past most schools applied for funds from the City of Ottawa’s Community Partnership Minor Capital Program up to ($7,500) which were matched by the OCDSB Facilities Department. The Board/Facilities portion has now been raised to up to $25,000, although more funds may be available to help address unique circumstances. The difference in the cost of a project and the funding provided will remain the school community’s responsibility, and may be met through fund raising or sponsorships.


More information about the application process, appropriate forms and other supporting details is posted on the School Council section of our website.  You might also be interested in our upcoming workshop on School Greening.

School Council Finances

By now, most of you will have your new school councils in place. A challenge for every council is the continuity of operations as old members leave and new ones join. This is particularly true for school council treasurer’s who need to get financial records from the previous treasurer.  The treasurer performs a key role on school council. The recent presentation on finances at the School Council Training Day has excellent information for treasurers.  A resource guide will be coming soon- stay tuned! In the interim, all school councils should ensure that:

  • Ensure that the list of authorized signing officers for school council transactions is updated.
  • All cheques are signed by two authorized signing officers.
  • A monthly financial report is presented at school council meetings;
  • Proper year-end reports are completed each year and filed with the Council and the District.

School Council Insurance

School Councils are required to have insurance coverage for events and activities not under the control of the school principal.  Historically, councils have been encouraged to buy insurance for such situations.  This year, as part of the District’s risk management strategy, the District will again be providing and paying for the School Council’s liability coverage for the policy period 1 November 2014 to 1 November 2015. The school council $2 million third party liability insurance coverage will be provided through the Ontario School Boards’ Insurance Exchange (OSBIE) and confirmation of the coverage will be sent to the school council chairs within the next month.

Taking Care – The Importance of Public Health 

With increasing media coverage about public health concerns, we often get questions about what plans are in place in schools. The OCDSB has a strong working partnership with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and we keep in regular contact. As public health professionals, we follow their advice and advisories when developing plans for schools. The OPH website has a wealth of information that you might find useful.  Learn more about the current flu clinic schedule  for the City of Ottawa; develop your understanding of the Ebola virus; or read the resource material they have about dealing with stressful events.

Get outside and enjoy the snow!

Have a wonderful weekend.


Michele Giroux
Executive Officer, Corporate Services
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
613-596-8211 ext. 8607
Public Education
Doing it W.E.L.L.
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