May 3, 2024 - New Ministry Directives on Cell Phones and Vaping, 2024 Student Survey - Closing soon!, and more.

May 3, 2024 - New Ministry Directives on Cell Phones and Vaping, 2024 Student Survey - Closing soon!, and more.
Posted on 05/03/2024


Dear OCDSB Families,

This week I visited Woodroffe High School and spent some time in classes, speaking with students about the strength of our diversity as school communities and an entire system… as well as their future aspirations. It was so insightful to hear the perspectives of a number of our senior students, as they prepare for their post-secondary pathways, and reflect upon the strengths of their experiences in public education, as well as areas for growth and reflection. 

I also took part in the Official Opening Ceremony of Wazoson Public School. I was graciously taken on a wonderful tour of this new site by a group of knowledgeable student ambassadors. It was a terrific event - congratulations to all students and staff! 

New Ministry Directives on Cell Phones and Vaping

The Ministry of Education has announced new guidance for school districts with respect to cell phone use in schools and vaping.  This will require changes to school board policies in several areas including:

  • Restrictions on student use of personal mobile devices at school, including technology restrictions on social media access;
  • Restrictions and guidelines for surrendered prohibited items (such as tobacco, electronic cigarettes,nicotine products, alcohol and illegal drugs, as well as personal mobile devices), in compliance with all applicable provincial policy and legislation, including the Education Act and the Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017;
  • Requiring signage in schools to communicate behaviour expectations that are consistent with a safe learning and teaching environment.

These changes must be in effect for September 2024. The District is reviewing the new regulations and will be posting more information on Engage OCDSB this month to explain the changes and invite comment on implementation strategies related to these changes.

2024 Student Survey - Closing soon!

The 2024 Student Survey closes on May 10th. If you haven’t completed your child’s survey, don’t delay. Parents/caregivers can complete surveys for students from Kindergarten to Grade 6. Students in Grades 7-12 can complete their own.

Check your email for a link to the survey.

Elementary Program Review - Public Meetings

The district has scheduled 7 public meetings for the Elementary Program Review. These gatherings will feature small group discussions led by Elementary Principals, Trustees, and Superintendents. Topics up for discussion include the current program's impact on student learning and well-being, proposed changes to enrich educational experiences, and the necessary support for smooth transitions to the new model. These engagement sessions aim to gather valuable input from parents and families to support potential enhancements to the elementary program. Can’t join us in person? You can still share your feedback on Engage OCDSB.

The dates and locations are listed below: 

Monday, May 13, 2024: 

Kanata Highlands Public School 

7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Ottawa Technical Secondary School

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024: 

D. Roy Kennedy Public School

7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Glashan Public School

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024: 

Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School

7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Sawmill Creek Elementary School

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Avalon Public School

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

May 6-10th: Mental Health Week Wellness Challenge

Mental Health Week is next week! We’ve shared some easy and engaging ideas to help you and your children focus on mental health and well-being. From Mindful Monday to Fun Friday, we've got activities for everyone in the family. Join the challenge!

Holy Friday and Orthodox Easter

In Orthodox Christianity, today is Holy Friday, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Orthodox Easter, which celebrates the resurrection, is on Sunday. We send our best wishes to those observing.

New Parent Resources to Help Your Child Succeed

Are you familiar with Executive Functioning Skills and Social-emotional Skills? They're really important for kids' and youth development. Executive functioning skills are like the brain's manager. They help us stay organized, pay attention, manage time, and handle our feelings. Social-emotional learning skills are all about understanding and dealing with emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations. They include things like empathy, self-awareness, communication and problem solving, and help kids and youth build positive relationships, make good choices, and solve problems. These skills are super important for students to do well in school and in life. Explore our new online resources that you can use to support your child's development.

School Council News

Visit our School Council News page for information about play structures and outdoor spaces, how to conduct a parent survey, and more. Plus, read about Elgin Street Public School’s recent international gala, which celebrated the community's diversity through food, music, dance, poetry, and storytelling.

Classroom Chronicles

Every day, students and staff are taking steps to grow our sustainability and minimize our impact on the environment. From sharing environmental poetry, to planting trees, to providing homes for solitary bees, see how schools are protecting the planet.


Engage OCDSB - We’re looking at revisions to the policy on Cooperative Education and Experiential Learning. If you’re interested in providing your thoughts, you can participate in this and other policy consultations on Engage OCDSB until May 10.

Secondary Report Cards for semestered schools were emailed to families and eligible students on Monday, April 29th, 2024. For more information, visit

School Mental Health Ontario Parent and Caregiver Collaboration Group - Parents/caregivers can apply by May 13th

May 4th: Bill Mason Outdoor Education Centre Open Trails Day - 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

May 22nd: OCDSB Speaker Series: Be The Difference with Gaelin Elmore - 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Register now and learn more on our website

Canadian Parents for French Ontario - Spring/Summer Free Virtual French Programs  - Programs run from May 6, 2024 – August 23, 2024.  For more details, visit their website.

2024 Summer Language Classes and Camps (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8) - Learn more about the programs and register now.

From the Boardroom:

Upcoming Board and Advisory Committee Meetings

May 7th, 7:00 p.m. - Committee of the Whole

May 8th, 6:00 p.m. - Parent Involvement Committee

Agendas, locations, minutes, livestreams and recordings of meetings are available for public viewing using the Board and Advisory Committees' meeting calendar.

Calendars and Planning for Important Dates

Please consult the OCDSB’s Elementary and Secondary calendars for PA Days, holidays, exam dates, and more during the 2023-2024 school year. In addition, schools avoid scheduling activities like evaluations and field trips on certain religious/creed-based days of observanceAdditional dates of significance can be found on the MultiFaith Calendar (located on our home page), Dates of Significance webpage, and on the Government of CanadaOntario Government, and United Nations websites

OCDSB Career Opportunities

Positions available include:

Visit our careers page to see job opportunities at the OCDSB and find out how you can make a real difference supporting our students and staff.

In case you missed it:

Helpful Links:

Thank You,

Pino Buffone

Director of Education


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