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Director of Education - October 22, 2014

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Director of Education and Secretary of the Board Dr. Jennifer Addams

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Reflecting on Today’s Events

Today was a difficult day for everyone in our community.  On behalf of the students, staff, and trustees of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, I extend my deepest condolences to those whose loved ones were lost today.  As a community, we will need to support each other as we come to better understand this unfortunate tragedy.

At the school district, our first priority is always the safety of our students and staff.   As soon as we became aware that there was a situation of risk, we took immediate action to secure our schools.  Schools in the downtown core were moved to “Secure School” mode which means that instruction continues, but all school doors and windows are locked, as well as the doors to classrooms and all blinds or curtains are closed; students remain inside the classroom.  Schools outside of the downtown core were moved to “Shelter in Place” mode which means regular activity continues within the school, but all exterior doors and windows are locked, and students are kept inside at lunch and recess.  Where students were outside of the school on field trips or at sporting events, the trip supervisor was contacted and students were secured as quickly as possible.

We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with the Ottawa Police Service and we remained in regular contact with them throughout the day.  All decisions about school security were made in consultation with the police. 

In schools, the primary focus of  teachers, administrators and support staff is to maintain a calm and safe learning environment.   We understand the anxiety that parents have in this type of situation, and we make every effort to keep parents informed.  Today, we communicated with parents through the media, social media, our district website, and direct phone calls and e-mail to parents.  At times like this, we are reminded of the importance of having up-to-date emergency contact information for all parents.  Please ensure that your child’s school knows how to reach you.

Tomorrow, we will resume regular operations, with  a close eye on student and staff well-being.  We know that children may be confused by what they have heard about what has happened in our city today.   Most likely they will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children cope by listening, acknowledging and validating feelings and by being reassuring.  At schools, we will provide resources and supports to students as required.  We have also prepared an information sheet for parents to help engage in conversations with children. 

Finally, on behalf of the school district, I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to all of our staff and to the Ottawa Police Service and all first responders who worked so hard to keep our students safe.

Jennifer Adams
Secretary of the Board





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Dr. Jennifer Adams became Director of Education/Secretary of the Board for the OCDSB on July 1st 2011.

Dr. Adams has been a leader in public education throughout her distinguished 27 year career. She began her teaching career with the Lakehead District School Board, followed by promotions to curriculum coordinator, elementary principal and superintendent. In 2005, Dr. Adams joined the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board as a Superintendent of Instruction and until becoming Director of Education, served as the Executive Superintendent.

Throughout her career, Dr. Adams has been passionate in her focus on student learning. She is recognized for developing strategies to improve student achievement through research, instructional practice, and strong academic leadership.

A mother of two and married to a teacher, Dr. Adams is dedicated to fostering well-being, engagement, leadership and learning, both at home and at the OCDSB.





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