2022 Parent Conference

OCDSB Parent Conference

2022 OCDSB Parent Conference 

The 2022 Parent Conference was held on November 5th, 2022 at the Ridgemont High School. This in-person event began at 8:30 a.m and ran till 1:30 p.m. 

We were pleased to have Dr. Michael Cheng join us from CHEO as our keynote speaker, as he shared how to build resiliency in our children and youth in a world of uncertainty. Following the keynote, we hosted multiple workshops, including several offered in Arabic and Somali.  

It was wonderful to see parents and caregivers connecting with each other and we thank you attending this event. 

We owe a huge thanks to all our presenters for taking the time out and making this event a huge success! We also thankful to the community partners who participated in the Community Marketplace and provided participants with information and resources.  

This event would not have been possible without the support of OCDSB staff and student volunteers. We thank you for making this event a great experience for the participants.

Please find below the details of the keynote, the individual workshops and their presentations where available. 

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Michael Cheng 

Dr. Michael Cheng is a child and family psychiatrist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. He also works with eMentalHealth.ca, an initiative of CHEO. The title of Dr. Cheng’s keynote address was, “Building Resiliency in our Children and Youth in a World of Continued Uncertainty”. 

Dr. Cheng approaches his work with radical empathy, acceptance and validation in order to connect with children, youth, and their families. He works to help his patients connect or reconnect to the people, things and activities that are truly meaningful in their lives, and to disconnect from all that is not helpful. Dr. Cheng’s approach also helps children, youth, and families to overcome any particular challenges they face along the way, such as sensory processing issues, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, visual stress, and more. 



Building Children's Oral Language as a Foundation for Literacy

Helen MacLeod,  Kerry Jenkins and Lauren Gallagher, Speech Language Pathologists, OCDSB

In this presentation we discussed areas of language development, the relationship between oral language and literacy and strategies to promote language and literacy development at home.


How to identify risk factors for educational stagnation and formulate an action plan for student success (Workshop in Somali)

Abdulhakim Moalimishak, Teacher OCDSB

The risk factors we identified involved the lack of early intervention in at-risk students’ difficulties at school, gaps in coordination with learning supports and resources at school, the impact of negative peer groups, substance abuse/addictions, and the importance of fostering an effective parent-child communication model based on mutual trust, collaboration, leadership and empowerment.

Presentation (Please note that the presentation is in English)

Problematic Use of Gaming and Technology: Prevention and Caregiver Guidance

Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services

This session, presented by counsellors from Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services’ School-Based Program, provided attendees with an understanding of addiction and problematic behaviours related to gaming and technology use in youth. The counsellors reviewed risk factors and warning signs, as well as helpful tips and protective factors. Programs and resources that provide support to caregivers and youth were also be reviewed.

Reading Development: How to Help your Child at Home

Brent Smith and Christine Quart, Program and Learning, OCDSB

This session included an overview of how reading develops in children and featured hints and tips for supporting your child's reading development at home.


Recognizing and Responding to Stress and Anxiety

Dr. Kristin Schaub & Krista Edwards, Learning Support Services - OCDSB

In a time when many are discussing the levels of stress and anxiety felt in children, this session provided an opportunity for parents and caregivers to better understand the differences between stress, fear, and anxiety, and offered practical strategies for parents and caregivers to support their children with feelings of stress and worry.


Special Education - Understanding and Accessing Support for your child (English)

Kate Stoudt, Learning Support Services - OCDSB

In this presentation, general information about special education in the OCDSB was shared with parents. This included topics about what special education services are in our schools, how to access support at your school, and how to advocate for your child.


Special Education - Understanding and Accessing Support for your child (Arabic)

Lila Hammouda, Learning Support Services - OCDSB 


Supporting Your Child's Mental Health and Well Being

Nina Eldridge & Wendy Knight, Learning Support Services - OCDSB

The last few years have created a new parenting landscape for everyone. This workshop helped identify what is mental health, what might be signs that children are struggling with emerging or escalating mental health concerns and parents and caregivers can communicate effectively with children about their mental health and well-being. Presenters provided concrete strategies to support parents and caregivers in engaging in these conversations from a place of empathy, validation, and compassion. Finally, this workshop provided information on mental health services available to parents and caregivers, and children both within and outside of the OCDSB.


The Human Library - Student Voice

The concept of this event was to host a Human Library and have the 'living books' engage and share their enriching stories on their lived experience as students and looking at their different responsibilities and understanding the journey to student achievement.

(There was no presentation for this event)

The Parent Child Connection

Emily Balla & Melissa Chung, Learning Support Services - OCDSB

Parenting today can be a wonderful and exhausting journey, particularly as we’ve navigated these past two years. As parents, we often feel pressured to ensure that our children are prepared for whatever challenges come their way. Traditional approaches to parenting, however, can often leave us (and our children) feeling disconnected and discouraged. This presentation looked at how new approaches to parenting centre on what we can do to build strength and resilience in our children by focussing on the one thing that matters the most, the parent child connection.

Presentation Parent Child Connection Resources

Transforming Culture and Curriculum to Affirm Identities

Jacqueline, Jody Kohoko & Naya Markanastasakis, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Peagogy (CRRP) Team, OCDSB

Parents were invited to share their experiences around shifts in culture, curriculum to affirm identity. It included a focus on conversation about how our board connects different levels within the district to identify and address equitable access and opportunity for student success and well-being.


Understanding the Steps to English Proficiency (STEP) Framework for Multilingual Learners

Sonia Manchen and Anna Marie Kukla, ESL/ELD Coaches, OCDSB

This session provided parent(s)/guardian(s) with an understanding of the STEP resource used by OCDSB educators to support Multilingual Learners in developing English proficiency in the areas of oral, reading, and writing skills.


Welcoming and Supporting Newcomer Families with Navigating the School System

Melanie Cantrell and Rosemary Todd, Program and Learning, OCDSB

This session will highlight school and community support for newcomer families and provide an overview of ESL and ELD programs for Multilingual Learners in the OCDSB.


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