January 21, 2022 - Register Now for Kindergarten, Secondary Virtual Parent Information Nights, and more.

January 21, 2022 - Register Now for Kindergarten, Secondary Virtual Parent Information Nights, and more.
Posted on 01/21/2022

Dear OCDSB Families, 

We experienced a number of weather challenges and delays this week, but it was great to be able to welcome many of our students back to in-person learning. Thank you for your patience and flexibility, we recognize the challenges that come with change.

Register Now for Kindergarten 

The OCDSB offers an incredible full-day, two-year, fully bilingual program with 50% English instruction and 50% French instruction. Kindergarten registration is now open for any child who will turn four years old by December 31, 2022. Learn more about our Kindergarten program on our website, and join us for a Virtual Parent Information Night at a school near you! 

We are excited to share with you the first episode of our new podcast series, “In Conversation with OCDSB”Our first episode is all about that first “Big Day” of Kindergarten, and the many questions parents may have before their child’s first day of school. Visit our website to listen and learn more about preparing for Kindergarten at the OCDSB: ocdsb.ca/inconversation

Secondary Virtual Parent Information Nights

If your child will be entering high school in 2022, learn more about the secondary school in your neighbourhood at our Virtual Parent Information Nights

OCDSB Graduate Receives Ontario Lincoln M. Alexander Award

We are excited to share that OCDSB graduate Dina Efrem was one of three recipients of this year’s Lincoln M. Alexander Award. This award is given annually to students and community leaders who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in working to eliminate racial discrimination. Dina is a graduate of Nepean High School, where she was co-president of her school’s Diverse Student Union and hosted numerous discussions both at school and in the community on race, equity, and social justice. Learn more about Dina’s work and accomplishments and the Lincoln M. Alexander Award on our website

Questions about Freezing Marks for Secondary Students 

OCDSB secondary student leaders recently put together a proposal to freeze secondary student marks effective December 17th (final marks could go up, but not down, from that date). This proposal was similar to action recently taken in other districts. We recognize the important advocacy of these student leaders and held a meeting with them this week to discuss this issue in more detail. We wanted to let them know that in our planning for this year, we recognized that secondary school students would continue to face challenges as a result of the pandemic, both academically and from a well-being perspective. We planned for the possibility that students would face unexpected interruptions, such as the recent shift to remote learning, and adjusted our instructional and assessment structures to be flexible and responsive. 

In order to provide the greatest support for students, we took advantage of some additional flexibility provided by the Ministry of Education and made the following key decisions: 

  • there would be no examination days in the 2021-2022 school year, and 
  • there would be no final evaluations. Rather than the term mark accounting for 70% and students engaging in final evaluations weighted up to 30%, final marks would be based on 100% term learning with no final evaluations. 
  • Additionally, for students taking part in Grade 9 EQAO math assessments in the 2021-2022 school year, it was determined that the results cannot contribute to the final course grade. 

From the outset, we set the conditions to support student learning and achievement. The student leaders raised a number of questions and great examples about the practical application of this approach. We will be sharing this information with students by email and posting the examples on our website.   

COVID-19 Updates and Public Health Information 

School Absence Reporting 

Next week we will begin school absence reporting, which will provide data on how many students and staff were physically present in a school on a given day. This will be reported on the Ontario website, starting Monday, January 24th. Please note, this information will not collect details on why these individuals were not present (i.e. whether they were sick, self-isolating due to a household contact experiencing symptoms, or any other reason that someone may not come to school). If absences exceed 30% of the school population, we are required by the Ministry of Health to inform Ottawa Public Health who may provide additional direction to the school community.

Voluntary COVID-19 Disclosure

In response to requests for continued reporting of information on suspected COVID-19 cases at school, the OCDSB is creating a voluntary COVID-19 reporting process. Parents, students and staff will be able to share information about cases through a new Voluntary COVID-19 reporting form. That information will be used to populate a new COVID-19 Disclosure Dashboard. Interested persons will be able to access the dashboard and see information on the number of cases by school (no personal information will be shared). We hope to have this structure built and ready later next week. More information about this new system will be shared as soon as it’s available. 

Our goal is to be as transparent as possible with the community. This data is self-reported by parents/guardians and/or staff through voluntary reporting and/or normal absence reporting processes and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of it. It is meant to be a snapshot of the current COVID-19 situation and absences due to illness in schools and workplaces for the previous school day.

Rapid Antigen Tests 

The OCDSB has received a shipment of rapid antigen tests from the province and has been distributing them to schools this week. Two tests will be provided to each elementary student, and are to be used if students are showing symptoms of COVID-19. If a student receives two negative tests and no longer has any symptoms of COVID-19, they can return to school. Schools will send test kits and instructions to parents and guardians once they are ready for distribution. We expect to receive additional tests for secondary students at a later date. More information on the tests can be found on our website. Frequently asked questions are also answered on Ottawa Public Health’s website.

Masks 

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 should wear a high quality mask that is well-fitted. According to Ottawa Public Health, no matter which type of mask you are using, proper fit is a key factor in its effectiveness. Here are some tips to help your child check if their mask is fitting properly. In cold weather, masks worn outdoors can become damp or wet; families may wish to send an extra mask for outdoor play. For more information about mask wearing, guidelines, and recommendations, please visit Ottawa Public Health’s website

School Vaccine Clinics Resume January 21 

To increase vaccine accessibility in the community, Ottawa Public Health will be resuming school vaccine clinics beginning today. These clinics are open to anyone ages 5 or older who needs a first, second, or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine: you do not need to be a student at the school offering the clinic to drop-in and get a vaccine. During the week of January 21st to 26th there will be clinics at Sawmill Creek, York Street and Hawthorne Public Schools. Learn more and view clinic dates and locations on OPH’s website

Upcoming Events

2SLGBTQ+ Interfaith Panel Discussion

We invite students, staff and families for a 2SLGBTQ+ Interfaith Panel Discussion webinar on Thursday, February 10, 2022, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This information session will help you know more about gender, sexuality and faith.  

Participants will hear from Kusha Dadui, OCDSB Trans and Gender Diverse Student Support Coordinator, and a panel including El-Farouk Khaki - queer Imam and co-founder of Salaam Canada, Caro Ibrahim - BIPOC Christain faith-based counsellor and Orev Katz - 2SLGBTQ+ non-binary rabbi who has done a lot of work with incarcerated people.

Register Now 

Student-led Discussion on Black Excellence

Looking ahead to Black History Month, the OCDSB will be hosting a student-led discussion on Black Excellence on Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. The event will feature current and former OCDSB students who will explore topics, such as what it takes to consciously and unconsciously achieve excellence as Black youth.

The discussion will be streamed via YouTube. If you wish to submit a question for the panel in advance, you can do so via this Google Form. For panel bios or to watch previous sessions of the Black Excellence series, visit our webpage.

Dates to Remember

Registration for Winter 2022 Virtual Night School is Now Open

The OCDSB’s Winter 2022 Virtual Night School Program is open to students in all school boards and adult learners. More information, including how to register and a list of our course offerings, is available on our website, and you are also welcome to email [email protected] or call 613-239-2620 to learn more.

OCDSB Board Meeting, Tuesday January 25th

The OCDSB’s Board Members will meet on Tuesday, January 25th at 7:00 p.m. for a Board Meeting, where Trustees will vote on items discussed at previous Committee of the Whole meetings. You can watch the livestream at this link, and view the agenda on our website. Note, the dates and times of upcoming OCDSB committee meetings can be found on our calendar: https://ocdsb.ca/calendar.

Upcoming Dates of Significance

There are a number of dates of significance to learn about for the remainder of January, including International Day for Education on January 24th and Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 26th. 

January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, where we honour and remember the over six million Jews murdered and the countless other victims of the Holocaust. Learning the lessons from our past is essential to shaping a more inclusive future, free of antisemitism and hate.

In addition, January 29th marks the 5th anniversary of the Quebec Mosque shooting. The OCDSB remembers the victims and their families and stands with the Muslim community against Islamophobia and all forms of hatred. 

Please remember to follow us on social media and visit our website for additional resources and to learn more about the important dates of significance we recognize throughout the year.

In case you missed it…

Reminder: Staffing and Bus Driver Shortages 

The OCDSB and the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA), similar to many other organizations, are continuing to experience staffing shortages. This may result in classes pivoting to remote learning if suitable replacements cannot be found for teachers, and route changes and/or cancellations to school bus service. Please ensure you are signed up for OSTA’s parent portal for any transportation announcements, and have a contingency plan in place in case your child’s class pivots to remote learning.

2022-2023 Winter Break Survey: We're planning the calendar for the 2022-2023 school year and looking for the input of students, parents and staff on the placement of the Winter Break. Click here to access the survey and let us know which option you prefer: feedback will inform final decisions about the school year calendar. The survey closes on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. 

February 22 is Toonie Tuesday: The Education Foundation of Ottawa (EFO) needs your support on Toonie Tuesday! The EFO provides OCDSB students with appropriate access to food, clothing, school supplies, healthcare supports, and opportunities for learning and recreation. There are many ways to take part: you can make a one-time or monthly donation online, donate through your School Cash Online Account, or send your child to school with $2 (or more) anytime between now and Toonie Tuesday (please ensure the money is put into a plastic baggie for safe handling). Visit EFOs website to learn more. 

Thank you, 

 

Camille Williams-Taylor 

Director of Education 

 

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