Director’s Welcome to the New School Year

Director’s Welcome to the New School Year
Posted on 09/01/2023
Director’s Welcome to the New School Year

As we prepare for the start of a new school year, I share the excitement and energy of students, families, and educators across the District. For me, this is a homecoming of sorts - I am a graduate of Bell High School; I was a teacher when the OCDSB was newly amalgamated; I was a vice-principal, principal and superintendent in this District; and now, after seven years with the Renfrew County District School Board, I am honoured to serve as your Director of Education.

Renewed Strategic Plan

Learning. Well-Being. Social Responsibility. These are the three strategic priorities of the new OCDSB strategic plan for 2023-2027, and to me, the foundational pillars of public education.  These priorities help ensure every child has equitable access to programs and/or services that will allow them to succeed academically, to develop their social emotional skills, and to feel a sense of belonging so that they are able to reach their fullest potential. 

Smooth Transitions

I know that the new school year is a time of transition for families. As you prepare for new family routines, school schedules, and the start of a new year, I wish to extend a warm welcome.  I know that educators, educational support workers, and administrators across the OCDSB are ready to welcome students and families and support you and your child with the transition. Parents can expect regular updates through school newsletters, websites, learning management systems, and letters in backpacks, etc. We strive to keep you informed and also send weekly updates from the school district.

Transportation Services

Unfortunately, the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) continues to face significant driver shortages and some service contract issues. While OSTA has secured transportation for almost 95% of students, there are 221 routes across 47 OCDSB schools where service will be affected. The direct impact on individual schools varies considerably. The  OSTA Long-Term Cancellation list identifies those routes that are affected. A separate letter will be sent to families in schools that are directly impacted. We know how challenging this can be for families who have been adversely impacted and we apologize for this inconvenience. 

We encourage all families to use the OSTA Parent Portal to access the most up-to-date information about transportation service and to sign up for transportation alerts. The OSTA Parent Portal Guide is a great resource to help you get set up.

Should your family face transportation disruptions, your school’s principal and educators will work with you to find ways to support your child’s learning, including access to on-line learning materials where available.

Collective Bargaining

Ontario school districts are currently engaged in collective bargaining at both the local and provincial levels. We look forward to the successful negotiation of fair and fully-funded collective agreements with all bargaining groups. As always, we remain committed to keeping the community informed throughout the process.

Parent and Community Volunteers

With the start of the school year, schools will be electing members to the school council and seeking volunteers for school activities. We are fortunate to have such an engaged parent/guardian community. My thanks in advance to all who are able to volunteer with their school council and/or parent groups, as well as the OCDSB Parent Involvement Committee and our other advisory committees. Your contributions are invaluable and greatly appreciated.

I wish you a warm and wonderful start to the school year.

Pino Buffone
Director of Education


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