February 2016 - In This Issue of the Durham Catholic School Board's Celebrating Student Success Newsletter:
The Benefits of Parent and Family Engagement
Enhancing protective factors, building resilience and supporting students' well-being is a shared responsibility between community, families and schools.
The benefits of parent and family engagement in the area of student well being are well-documented. Students are more likely to be motivated, earn higher grades, develop better self-regulation and social skills, and pursue higher education when parents partner in their children and youth's education. When parents engage with schools by becoming involved with school councils or committees, or through day-to-day support of their child's learning (e.g., ensuring children have a quite place to homework; asking about what their children are learning in school) students feel that their parents place value on their school experience and feel supported in their efforts. Encouraging parent engagement can be one way to promote well-being in our children and youth. (Leading Mentally Healthy Schools, School Mental Health ASSIST, 2013)
As part of our effort to encourage family and parent engagement, the Durham Catholic District School Board is hosting a Sharing of Excellence: Parents as Partners conference on February 25, 2016: Parenting Resilient Children and Youth: Promoting Positive Mental Health. All parents and community members are invited to attend this free event. For details and registration information, visit: dcdsbmentalhealth.eventbrite.ca.

Experiential Learning    
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School - Legislative Assembly of Ontario Model Parliament
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School is proud to be participating in the upcoming Legislative Assembly of Ontario Model Parliament program on February 24-26, 2016. This event will bring 107 students together for a three-day Model Parliament Program in Toronto. Students will have an opportunity to meet politicians in Ontario's parliament and learn about the legislative process via presentations and workshops.
The school's successful student applicants will get an active student role in drafting, debating, and voting on bills that they constructed to learn the importance of the democratic practices that will enrich their learning and passion for law and government.
These students exemplify the Catholic Graduate Expectations by demonstrating responsible citizenship and a commitment to Catholic leadership in their community. This year St. Mary Catholic Secondary School is sending eight students:
  • Ethan Bryant;
  • Daniela Garabito;
  • Sarmia Karimi;
  • Claire Macdonald;
  • Jacob Murray-Gratton;
  • Lauren Pazzano;
  • Tiera Sandiford and
  • Nolan Toscano. 

We wish them all the best!

Engaging Students through Robotics
Students and educators from St. Jude, St. Catherine of Siena and Brother Andre
Above: Robotics Team from St. Jude Catholic School use a Lego Kit to built their robot.
Catholic Schools gathered in early January at Brother Andre Catholic School to learn more about robotics. The robotics teams collaborated and established inquiries for their next steps in using Lego Kits. The goal was to build and extend learning within our schools aligning with curriculum connections.

The school's robotics teams were invited to learn from Mr. MacKinnon, a Computer Science and Robotics teacher from Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School and some members of his award-winning robotics team.

Videos of the winning robots for Best Engineering Design and First Place from last fall's UOIT Robotics Competition were viewed followed by LEGO We Do and Mindstorm EV.3 building. Team members were on-hand for assistance and to discuss strategy and coding.

Exploring Pathways
Apprenticeship Signing Ceremony for OYAP General Carpentry Program

Above: Student Nicholas Proietti answers questions about OYAP General Carpentry Program.
On January 7, 2016, students attended the apprenticeship signing ceremony for the OYAP General Carpentry Program at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School.

This program allows students to participate in Level 1 Apprenticeship training delivered by Local 27 Carpenter's Union while completing Carpentry co-op related placements. Pictured here is Durham Catholic District School Board's graduate, Nicholas Proietti, last year's award winning Local 27 OYAP Carpentry student. Nicholas answered questions about this successful program.


Durham Catholic Students participate in OYAP Signing Ceremony

On Thursday, January 14, 2016, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) students from the Durham Catholic District School Board gathered at the Durham College Centre for Food to participate in the apprenticeship signing ceremony for the OYAP Accelerated Cook Program.

Congratulations to Father Leo. J. Austin Catholic Secondary School student, Juvon Bosse,
Above: Juvon Bosse begins his OYAP Cook Program at Durham College.
(pictured here) who is completing his OYAP
Cook Program and the many other Durham Catholic students who will be beginning their Level 1 Apprenticeship training this February at Durham College, Whitby Campus.

Students will begin their apprenticeships in the following OYAP Accelerated Programs:
  • Automotive Service Technician;
  • Child Development Practitioner;
  • Cook;
  • Electrical;
  • Plumbing;
  • Welding and
  • Industrial Mechanic Millwright.

Service Excellence Training Workshop 
In January, teachers from the Durham Catholic District School Board and Peterborough,
Above: Educators from the DCDSB and PVNC Catholic School Board receive Service Excellence training.  
Victoria, Northumberland, Clarington Catholic District School Board received training to deliver the program, Service Excellence. 

Service Excellence is a six hour program designed by OTEC and is used in education and industry to teach customer service skills.  Recently, the Ministry of Education updated the Certification charts for all Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) programs in Ontario. 
Customer Service is now a certification for all SHSM sectors which highlights the importance of customer service in industry.  Many of our schools will integrate the Service Excellence program into their Cooperative Education programs."

Student Achievement
Celebrating Students' Achievement at the Centre for Success

On January 14, Durham College hosted the Centre for Success Completion Ceremony.  This joyous event recognizes the accomplishments of all students who studied at the Centre for Success in semester one.
Above: Centre for Success Completion Ceremony at Durham College.

The Centre for Success is a very successful high school program where students complete their final semester of high school at Durham College.  In addition to completing the required high school courses for their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), students also take one Durham College course. 

Students in the program come from four different school boards.  This program is part of the Ministry's dual credit program which helps students complete high school and get a head start on post-secondary education. 

Director Anne O'Brien brought greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Board.  We would like to congratulate all of our students for their success in the program.  In February, 34 new Durham Catholic students will begin their Centre for Success program.

Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School's Jam Club respond to the Call
This past fall, the CBC challenged for all music classes and clubs across Canada to create a music video. Mr. Paglia's "Jam Club" at Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School in Ajax, responded to the call. Congratulations! Check out their video submission.
Jam Club at Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School respond to the Call
Jam Club at Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School respond to the Call

Student Voice

St. Bernard Catholic School Students provide Feedback
Students at St. Bernard Catholic School were invited to give teachers feedback on
Above: Students provide feedback on anchor charts to educators at St. Bernard Catholic School.
success criteria during a staff professional learning meeting. Staff were interested in hearing students' thoughts on anchor charts and success criteria that were created.
The students provided feedback on their understanding of anchor charts and how they differ from success criteria. They questioned the clarity of information in the success criteria and didn't feel the graphs  illustrated everything on the anchor chart, and as a result students found the information confusing.



Opening Our Doors to Parents and Grade 8 S tudents
In January, parents and Grade 8 students toured our secondary schools to learn about the programs, courses, clubs and sports activities available at our Durham Catholic Secondary Schools. Comments from students and parents to the open houses were well received.

"We loved the opportunity to visit the classrooms, talk with teachers about courses and ask students what they like about their school," said a Grade 8 parent from St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic School.

If you are interested in learning more about one of our Durham Catholic Secondary Schools, visit a Parent Information session or call the school for a tour. We welcome students of all faiths at our secondary schools. To learn more about what our students have to say about their Durham Catholic Secondary Schools, watch our Check Us Out video.
Check Us Out! Durham Catholic Students share what they love about their local High Schools
Check Us Out! Durham Catholic Students share what they love about their local High Schools

Helpful Links and Resources

Visit our website, for more information about Pathways opportunities in Secondary School and beyond.

Are you transitioning from Grade 8 to Grade 9? Learn more about transitions from elementary to secondary school programs.


At the Durham Catholic District School Board, we believe that all students can be successful, that success comes in many forms, and that there are many pathways to success. If you have a story idea for an upcoming newsletter, please email your story for consideration to student.success@dcdsb.ca.

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