School Council Update from Michele Giroux

Hard to believe it is already the first of November! There was an exceptional display of creativity in our schools this week with Halloween activities, artwork and costumes. Creativity is so important to learning and to our sense of well-being and personal satisfaction. If you are interested in exploring the concept of creativity – how to nurture and inspire it at home, at school or at work, then mark your calendars for this Thursday, November 7, from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm. The school district is hosting a “Flash Mob Celebration of Creativity and Learning! at Lago on Dow’s Lake. There will be an enlightened panel of guests to share their thoughts and experiences on creativity, followed by a sharing of perspectives about what we need to do to ensure creativity and critical thinking are nurtured in our students. The panel includes: Renée Légaré – Senior Vice President, Human Resources at Ottawa Hospital, Jennifer MacKenzie – Chair of the Board, OCDSB, Joel Westheimer – University Research Chair in the Sociology of Education and full professor in the Faculty of Education at Ottawa University and CBC Radio columnist, and Mike Sirois – Principal/Industrial Designer DW Product Development. The event is free and everyone is welcome. Click here to register. Hope to see you there!

Director’s Update
This week, the Director released the district goals for the 2013-2014 school year. The district goals outline the key work that is planned for the school year to help us achieve the objectives of our strategic plan. Take a minute to read the Director’s webpage and learn more about the work we have planned.

Exit Outcomes
Over the last year, the district has been working on the development of “Exit Outcomes” – the characteristics and skills that we expect for all of our students. Input on the development of the Exit Outcomes was sought from students, staff, trustees, parents, and community members. As a result of that work, we have identified five characteristics and five skills. At graduation, we expect our students to be resilient, globally aware, collaborative, innovative/creative, and goal-oriented. We also expect them to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, academically diverse, digitally fluent, and ethical decision-making.l

Parent Teacher Interviews
Many parents are getting ready for parent/teacher interviews. This is an important opportunity to learn about the achievement of your child and share ideas and information with your child’s teacher. You can also discuss ways to help your child develop strengths and overcome challenges. Take a look at this Tip Sheet to help you get the most out of your time with the teacher. Remember at parent/teacher meetings, time is limited to ensure all parents have an opportunity to meet the teacher.

PRO Grants
Good news! All school councils should receive their $500 PRO grant cheque this week. The cheques were attached to a letter addressed to the School Council Chair and sent to the school office. Touch base with your school principal to make sure your cheque has arrived.

Speaker’s Series with John Antonetti – Engaging Tasks – Getting your child engaged in learning
Our next speaker series is an opportunity to understand how to engage your child in tasks. An engaged learner masters more content and develops deeper skill sets. Even more important, students who can articulate their own thinking become better problem solvers in the academic work and the real world. John Antonetti takes us on a journey through the latest brain research in a humorous, interactive workshop that integrates strategy, thinking, and engagement — truly a three-dimensional approach to look at what makes each of our children unique. John integrates the latest research of John Medina’s Brain Rules with action research from 17,000 classrooms across North America. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You may leave with a new understanding of your child (as well as yourself).
When: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Where: Confederation Education Centre Library Room 121, 1645 Woodroffe Avenue at Hunt Club.
A free workshop for parents/guardians in an informal group setting.

Extended Day and Child Care Programs
One of the priorities of the Board this year is the development of a policy to govern the Extended Day Program. This policy will set the guiding principles and operational parameters for the delivery of the programs, whether offered by the District or by our partnering third party child care operators. In October, there was a discussion report at Committee of the Whole about what might be included in this policy. A draft policy on Extended Day and Child Care Programs has now been developed and we are interested in your feedback. Please provide your input. We will be holding an information session on Wednesday, November 13 and November 27 from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at the Sir Robert Borden High School,~ 131 Greenbank Road or you can send your comments directly to earlylearning@ocdsb.ca.

BOARD MEETINGS AND COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETINGS
The next Committee of the Whole meeting is on Tuesday, November 5th at 7:30 p.m.. At that meeting, the Committee will be looking at our Exit Outcomes – the characteristics and skills that we expect of our graduates. In addition, the Committee will discuss draft new by-laws that govern the proceeding of meetings, and will consider socio-economic resource allocation issues. Read the agenda.

EVENTS

Take Our Kids to Work™ – Wednesday, November 6, 2013,

This program is an annual, nationwide program that helps parents, employers and volunteers host Grade 9 students at their workplaces. Research suggests that today’s students will have multiple careers. They’ll need the ability to master new technologies, new skills and changing social and organizational systems. Tomorrow’s economy will require people to be adaptable, creative, resilient and independent thinkers.
The goals of Take Our Kids to Work are to help students:

  • understand the importance of staying in school
  • develop an appreciation for their parents’ careers
  • start exploring career options in a practical way
  • gain a better understanding of just how many career choices are open to them

LDAO-C Monthly Parent Support/Education Night – November 7, 2013 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
For Parents and Guardians of children and young adults with Learning Disabilities and/or ADHD/ADD. ~
November~Topic: Viewing the DVD-~Understanding Learning Disabilities: How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T City Workshop
When: Thursday, Nov 7, 2013~~From: 7- 9PM
Where:~160 Percy Street
RSVP: info@ldaottaw.com or 613-567-5864 (child care available)

School Ground Greening Workshop – Getting Started – November 27, 2013
Join us for a free series of inspiring workshops designed to help you plan a successful and sustainable school ground greening project. Workshops are open to all Ottawa schools and daycares that want to engage their students in creating healthy, stimulating play and learning spaces. Teachers, administrators, parents, custodians, students and community volunteers are all welcome. Discover what Ottawa schools are doing to improve the health of students’ outdoor environments. Learn about how to build a greening team and create and sustain a grounds greening project with ongoing school council commitment.
Where: Immaculata High School, 140 Main Street
When: Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Goulbourn Middle School is proud to be hosting a FREE Mental Health Information Evening for Parents of Children Aged 10 to 17 presented by Ottawa Public Health in partnership with the Youth Services Bureau.
An Ottawa public health nurse will provide information about healthy adolescent development, warning signs of mental health concerns, and give practical advice to parents around communication, role modeling and resolving conflicts. Centre Psychosocial and Youth Services Bureau will present information on mental health and their services. Resource Tables from various community agencies will be onsite for the event. For more information please view the flyer or contact the school at 613-836-1312.
When: Thursday, November 7th, 2013 from 7-8pm – Doors open at 6:30 pm.
Where: Goulbourn Middle School, 2176 Huntley Road, Stittsville

REMINDERS
Healthy Schools 2020 E-bulletin #11
The October~e-bulletin is designed to provide you and your school communities with fun, practical ways to keep healthy nutrition and physical activity top of mind. This issue includes tips to get active travel started at your school, how to help, not harm while promoting healthy lunches, healthy school funding opportunities and healthy Halloween snack ideas.

Great News about School Council Insurance
School Councils are required to have insurance coverage for events and activities not under the control of the school principal. Historically, councils have been encouraged to buy insurance for such situations. This year, as part of the District’s risk management strategy, the District will be providing and paying for the School Council’s liability coverage for the policy period 1 November 2013 to 1 November 2014. The school council $2 million third party liability insurance coverage will be provided through the Ontario School Boards’ Insurance Exchange (OSBIE) and confirmation of the coverage will be sent to the school council chairs within the next few weeks.

School Council Information
Many people are still looking for information about school council business. The presentations from our recent School Council Training Day are posted on our website.

Interested in the Next Phase of the Province’s Education Strategy?
The Ministry of Education is currently doing some public consultation to inform the development of the provincial education strategy. The Ministry has released a background guide and 7 discussion questions that individuals or groups may wish to consider. You can share your thoughts on these questions and more by submitting them to GreatToExcellent@Ontario.ca. The seven guiding questions are great topics for school council discussions. The district’s Parent Involvement Committee will be participating in the consultation and has been discussing these questions over the last two meetings. Read more about the PIC discussion in the minutes.

As always, please continue to check the School Council Information and Updates webpage for the most up-to-date and detailed information. You can also follow the OCDSB on Twitter (@OCDSB), Facebook, LinkedIn.

Remember, the clocks go back one hour this weekend. I hope you enjoy that extra hour!

Michele

Michele Giroux
Executive Officer, Corporate Services
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
133 Greenbank Road, Nepean ON
613-596-8211 ext 8607
michele.giroux@ocdsb.ca