March 2016 - In This Issue of the Durham Catholic School Board's Celebrating Student Success Newsletter:
Understanding Self-Regulation in Children and Teens
What is it and Why is it Important? 
Self-regulation is the ability to recognize and manage stress levels. It is the ability to achieve the preferred state of alertness for the given situation. Self-regulation comes more easily to some children than others. There are many reasons for this, including temperament - all children are born with temperamental traits that can affect self-regulation. We also need to understand that self-regulation has nothing to do with being strong or weak, and that children and teens who find self-regulation difficult are not intentionally misbehaving. The problem has to do with an over-stretched nervous system. These children need more assistance from adults to stay calm and focused. When children and teens are calmly focused and alert, they are best able to: regulate their emotions; pay attention; ignore distractions; inhibit their impulses; assess the consequences of an action; understand what others are thinking and feeling, as well as the effects of their own behaviour on others (Shanker, 2013).
As parents and educators, we can teach children and teens to understand and manage their physical state and their feelings in various situations. Our goal should be to create environments where students become self-aware of their stressors and equipped with the skills and strategies necessary to maintain a positive state of calm, alert focus.
Keep in mind that difficulty in self-regulation that occurs across a number of settings and over long periods of time can be a warning sign that mental health difficulties may be present that may require further assessment by a qualified professional.  

Parish and Community Connections  

All Saints Catholic Secondary School begins the Lenten Season

Following pancakes at Breakfast Club on Shrove Tuesday, All Saints
Above: Students gather for Ash Wednesday liturgy at All Saints Catholic Secondary School.
Catholic Secondary School celebrated Ash Wednesday with a beautiful liturgy together. Chaplain, Eileen McGowan invited Deacon Dominic Pullano to lead the school community in prayer, and ensured numerous roles for student faith leaders throughout the service. 

A highlight of the service was a procession by All Saints' Life Skills class under the raised arms of their peers, in what was called a Human Door of Mercy to recognize the Jubilee Year of Mercy.  They processed with the Witness Walk of Faith cross, which was received from St. John the Evangelist Catholic School on Tuesday and is being passed to St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic School on Friday.  The Life Skill class had produced art work to adorn the altar space, and it was blessed by Deacon Dominic. 

The Prayers of the Faithful focused on the Corporal Works of Mercy (Matthew 25:31-40), and, while they were read out, students brought symbols of mercy and solidarity to the altar.  Students and staff received the ashes with the words, Repent and believe in the Gospel.  We wish everyone a good Lenten preparation for Easter.
Supporting Grandview Children's Centre at Father Joseph Venini Catholic School
In early February, students and families at Father Joseph Venini Catholic School donated a
Above: Nick is a student at Father Joseph Venini Catholic School and a Grandview Children's Centre Ambassador.
toonie to Grandview Children's Centre. One of the school's students, Nick is a Grandview Ambassador. Nick and his sister Katheryn shared their Grandview experience with the school during morning announcements. 

Nick told the school how Grandview is helping him to learn how to walk with his walker and Katheryn explained how students' donations are making a difference in the lives of other Grandview Kids.

Congratulations to the school community at Father Joseph Venini Catholic School for raising nearly $300.00 to help children who receive health care at Grandview Children's Centre 

St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic School kicks off Socks 4 Soul

Last month, students and staff at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic School kicked off a Socks 4 Souls drive. As a non-profit, volunteer organization, Socks 4 Souls is committed to contributing warmth, comfort, dignity, mobility and health to homeless communities by providing them with new clean socks. During this season of Lent, the school is committed to helping the homeless in Durham Region by donating over 4057 pairs of socks. BRAVO!

Above: Students in the Grade 6 French Immersion Class at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic School hold up socks for the Socks 4 Soul campaign.
Experiential Learning

OYAP Students Participate in Health and Safety Training
On February 18, the Durham Catholic District School Board hosted a Health and Safety Training Event for 120 Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) students from local School Boards. All OYAP students participate in Health and Safety Training prior to
Above: OYAP students gather for Health and Safety training prior to starting their work experience.
beginning Cooperative Education placements.
Many of our OYAP students also receive Working at Heights Training and Certification as part of their pre-placement learning. Applications for 2016-17 Cooperative Education placements, as well as for the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) are currently being accepted through the Co-op/Guidance Departments at your local Secondary School. Please contact Cooperative Education teachers for further information.

Exploring Pathways

Course Selection Time at our Secondary Schools
February was a busy time at the secondary level. Students were transitioning into their new courses for second semester and completing their course selections for the next school year. Selecting courses not only affect the immediate future, but assists in meeting long term career goals. It is essential that the students select courses that will benefit them and lead to future plans. When selecting courses, the students have to ask themselves:
  • Why am I considering this course?
  • Will this course help me along my chosen pathway?
  • Is this course acceptable to post secondary institutions (if post secondary education is part of the goal)?
Planning for the future is good, but it is also important that the student maintains a balance. "All work and no play" is a true adage. Picking an unrelated general interest course may seem detrimental to the chosen pathway, but is necessary to creating and maintaining that balance. Learning should be fun.

To summarize, selecting courses is a serious endeavor, but maintaining a balance is essential to well-being. If you have any questions, students, parents and/or guardians are encouraged to contact their school's guidance department.

Student Achievement

Grade 8 Student from St. Patrick Catholic School designs Kindness is my Superpower
Congratulations to Rachel Castillo, from St. Patrick Catholic School for her winning slogan and t-shirt design for the Durham Catholic District School Board's first ever Board wide pink shirt. Students and staff across the Durham Catholic District School Board proudly wore their pink shirts to promote kindness on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 for National Pink Shirt Day. Make Kindness your Superpower everyday!

Above: Rachel Castillo models the Durham Catholic District School Board's Kindness is my Superpower pink t-shirt for Stand Up to Bullying Week. 

Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School Student heads to Queen's Park

Above: Jacob Ebbs from Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School represents students at Queen' Park.
Grade 11 student Jacob Ebbs from Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School represented Oshawa as the Member of Provincial Parliament at Queen's Park during their annual Model Parliament session from February 24-26, 2016. As a part of the New Democratic Party, Jacob has a passion for politics and law. 

"I want to extend my total view of politics," said Jacob Ebbs. "We are representing minorities, the rich, the poor and the working class with our policies."
Congratulations Jacob!

St. Patrick Catholic School Student is working at Queen's Park as Legislative Page

Above: Grade 8 student Bianca Padilla is a Legislative Page at Queen's Park.
Congratulations to Bianca Padilla, a Grade 8 student from St. Patrick Catholic School in Ajax. Bianca is working as a legislative page at Queen's Park for the next five weeks.

"My brother was a page and I thought I'd like to try it," said Bianca. "I deliver documents to MPPs and bring them water while the house is in session. It's an exciting experience."

Bianca has a front row seat and is experiencing democracy in action. Bravo!

Student Voice

Student Voice welcomed at Holy Family's School Council Meetings
Holy Family Catholic School honours student voice through the active participation
Above: Students share information with parents at Holy Family's Catholic School Council meeting.
of student representatives at School Council meetings. S tudent representatives shared the results of their student voice survey and healthy lunch proposals at the February 9 meeting. 

The students also shared their spirit and learning report and included a summary of our school's participation at the Talking about Mental Illness (TAMI) summit in January.


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

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