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Celebrating Student Success
Expanding Pathways for our Students' Futures
December 2020
Advent wreath and prayer table
The Lantern Project at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School
With the season of Advent upon us our Catholic school communities and offices are alive with hope, love, joy and peace. Nothing captures these feelings more than the Lantern project constructed with the help of Grade 7 female students at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School.

The students built lanterns for each of our Durham Catholic schools which will allow light, joy and love to fill our schools this Christmas season and beyond. The lanterns will be displayed on the altars and prayer tables of our schools and will welcome students, staff and visitors to the school communities.

The project introduced students to careers in the Skilled Trades and for many it was the first time using power tools to construct items. The project not only allowed students to create objects with their hands, but also provided them with a sense of pride and accomplishment to see their finished lanterns on display.

Watch our video to learn more about the project and why students felt it was important to give back.
Female adult lighting the first Advent candle
Advent - Come Lord Jesus
Advent is a time for waiting, reflection, prayer and acts of charity as we prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus Christ. This year, our Durham Catholic Parent Involvement Committee has invited you to follow them on Twitter @DCPIC and Facebook as they share a daily Advent activity that you can do as a class or family at home to spread joy and love this Christmas. You are encouraged to share what you are doing to celebrate Advent with us on social media using the hashtag: #DCDSBFaith.

If you are looking for activities to do at home then try the following crafts such as making an Advent wreath, prayer table or Jesse tree at home. You can find these ideas at https://www.dcpic.ca/en/news-and-events/advent-activities.aspx.

We hope these suggestions will help you and your family to celebrate Advent in a new and profound way this year. Wishing everyone a joyous Advent and Merry Christmas!
Sir Albert Love Catholic School Students Participate in DRPS' Seniors Christmas Special
Recently Sir Albert Love Catholic School community participated in the creation of the Durham Regional Police Services (DRPS)'s Seniors Christmas Special. The pre-recorded special aired on Rogers TV on Sunday, December 6, 2020 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. and will play again throughout the month until Christmas to spread joy to the senior citizens in long-term care home in the region.

The students in Grades 1, 2/3, 5/6, and 8 wrote well wishes, messages, poems, prayers and performed dances or played song to lift the spirits of our local seniors.

Bravo to the following students and staff for your contributions to this great initiative during this holiday season and our Year of Love.

  • Grade 8 students, Cooper S. and Kennedy S. for writing prayers for the seniors as part of a class project and reading their prayers on camera.

  • Mrs. Wilson's Grade 1 class and Mrs. Gualandris's Grade 2/3 class for performing a poem together called "A Secret".

  • Mrs. Lacey Grade 6 class which featured six students sharing their favourite Christmas Bible Quotes and

  • Mrs. Boudignon's Grade 5/6 class did a coral reading of "The First Noel" in French and English with their French teacher Mme. Lehman.
Two students standing beside a female police officer outside
Male student reading a prayer
Students performing outside
Experiential Learning
Five female students building bird houses
Adult helping a group of students to build a bike rack.
Group of male students building a compost bin and making sure the lumber is level
Two male students with hammers
Experiential Learning at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School
Grade 8 students at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School are busy working on ways to rejuvenate their school’s courtyard. The students began working on the experiential learning opportunity in Grade 7 and brainstormed ways to utilize the unsafe and under utilized space as a new outdoor classroom for the school community.

The students ideas include:
  • Leveling the pavers in order to make the outdoor courtyard safe for students and staff;
  • Creating planter boxes so classes can grow fruits and vegetables;
  • Designing and building a compost bin, in order to collect waste from the veggie gardens and leaves in the fall;
  • Building bird houses and insect boxes;
  • Building a bike rack and much more.

The highlight of the project for many of the Grade 8 students has been seeing their designs come to life and working through the challenges. “I enjoy working with my team to solve problems,” said Connor, a Grade 8 student at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School. “We’re using power tools, measuring and figuring out the best way to construct items to ensure we don’t waste wood or resources. It’s a great learning experience.”

When completed, the courtyard will be a welcomed addition to the school’s outdoor classroom space and offer students in all classes an opportunity to explore and learn through hands on learning.
Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School Students Complete Operation Thank You
"Operation Thank You" is complete thanks to students at Msgr. John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School. As a part of their Exploring our World course, students learned about what different people are doing to support others during COVID. In this case their teacher, Stephanie Mandziuk, explained to them that there are many individuals in their immediate school community who are helping them. Some people are seen daily, and others are working behind the scenes.

As a special thank you, the students created bookmarks for all the adults in the school (EAs, teachers, administration, office staff, custodians, social workers and hall monitors.) It was a great way to conclude Quad 1 of Semester 1.

A group of students wearing masks and holding bookmarks that they have created to thank staff.
Handmade bookmarks
Students helping to plant trees in the school yard
Students outside in the school yard
St. Leo Catholic School Creates an Outdoor Classroom
On Tuesday, November 10, the students and staff at St. Leo Catholic School celebrated their patron Saint, St. Leo the Great. In honour of their feast day, additional trees were planted, and nine sitting stones placed in their new outdoor classroom.

A huge thank you to TD Friends of the Environment for the funds granted to the school to complete this project. This space is a place where students can gather as an alternative learning environment and the trees will provide much needed shade at recess.

The outdoor classroom will lend itself well to multiple subjects such as science, where awareness can be made to both nature and trees, in particular climate change, the purity of air and energy consumption. Students and staff look forward to using this new space to learn and explore. 

All Saints' Regional Arts & Media Program Students CBC Music Class Challenge Submission
Our talented Regional Arts & Media Program (AMP) students at All Saints Catholic Secondary School have submitted their version of Alanis Morissette's “Hand In My Pocket” for the CBC Music Class Challenge.

This year's challenge features songs from Juno Award winners in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Juno Awards. Due to the pandemic, video performances were a little different as schools were asked to perform with recommended provincial safety measures of physical distancing in mind. Our AMP students recorded their one-take live performance remotely.

Watch the video to see our Regional Arts & Media Program students shine.

Male student coding on an iPad
Female student coding on an iPad
Coding for 21st Century Learning Skills
Coding is used to navigate many of the machines and electronics we use today. Think of computers, cell phones, self-check-outs at stores, automated banking machines, cars and video games. Many devices run on code and there are many written code languages such as Java, Python, HTML and C++.  
The “New” Ontario Math curriculum has added expectations in algebra for students to learn coding skills in Grades 1 to 12. Block code provides students with an introduction and understanding for using code to create animations, games and various other projects to explore math concepts.   
Students at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic School have been working with their teachers and Ms. Closs the 21st Century Learning Consultant. Primary students have been introduced to coding doing unplugged coding (without technology) and also work with technology using the app Scratch Jr. available on iPads. Students in junior grades then advance to using the website Scratch which has 100 block commands to make more advanced projects.  
Students in Ms. Shaw’s Grade 1/2 French Immersion class coded their first story and inserted themselves into the space scenes! Students are learning that code uses sequences, concurrent events, repeated patterns, translations and angles. New French vocabulary is also exposed in the classroom as students are learning how to describe their code related to math terms and literacy. Here is a picture showing students learning how to make an animated character navigate and explore in space.  
Intermediate students will learn how to use Microbits which are miniature computers and provide an online simulator to explore code. This resource then leads secondary students to learning code languages in the computer science programs. Many jobs in the future that use code include cyber security, Trades, programming and engineering. Here at DCDSB, we promote current community partnerships with Engineers Canada for Future City challenges for students in Grades 6 to 8, Cyber Security with Ontario Tech for Grades 5 to 8, Youth Fusion for First Lego Robotics and Media Arts.   
St. Leo’s Virtual Comic Book Club
Each week, Friday morning’s announcement echo through the halls: “Comic book creators assemble!and 40 participants from every grade at St. Leo Catholic School gather with visual arts materials and bursting imaginations.

Stan Lee’s words greet them, “Think of the character first, what they wear, look like, their history and motivations, and from there your story will emerge.”

Perseverance, trust and the promise of educational engagement rekindled a love of literacy.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, creators of Superman, once said of their own hero, during troubled times, “Our character is a symbol of hope and a challenge to the darkness from the light.”

The enduring spirit of creativity prevails as the St. Leo Comic Book Club is now virtual on EDSBY. 

Comic book drawings and story
Cartoon drawing of sword in a stone
Cartoon drawing of a comic
Colouring pages of Remembrance Day wreaths
Certificate for Remembrance Day art
Life Skills Class at Msgr. John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School Remember our Veterans
The importance of remembering our veterans and saying thank you was a key lesson for students from
Ms. Mandziuk's Life Skills class at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School. To really show their appreciation, the students submitted entries to the Remembrance Day Art competition sponsored by Pathwise Credit Union. 

CEO of Pathwise Credit Union, Chris Inniss noted, "You and your class are receiving this award for the respect you showed towards the many Heroes who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their lives for our future." The class is also recognized on the credit union's website.  

Expanding Pathways and Student Voice
Numeracy in the Workplace: Numeracy Reflection in Co-op at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
Female student working in a vet office as part of Cooperative Education.
Emily, a Grade 11 student at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School shares how she uses numeracy at her Veterinary Placement.

At my co-op placement, I demonstrate many examples of numeracy, like getting an animal’s weight, preparing medication, and cashing out costumers. To complete these tasks I use numbers, shapes/sizes of different animals, calculations, and handling clients or patient’s information.
My favourite task that I complete at my co-op placement is getting patient’s weights because I get to handle the adorable animals. To complete this task, I have to turn on the digital scale display and wait till the numbers go down to 0.00. Then I grab a treat from the shelf and direct the animal onto the weighing scale. Lastly, I get the weight from the display and write it down in the patient’s file, including the date. If the animal doesn’t cooperate, we ask if their owners would like to try.

The equipment that I use to complete this task is a weighing scale, specifically for bigger animals, a digital display that connects to the scale, and a patient file to keep track of their history. Weighing animals is a critical aspect of daily operations for any veterinary practice. The reason we do this is because it helps veterinarians monitor their patient’s health and well-being, and it advises owners on how much to feed their pets. Another reason for this is because it helps vets discover animal pregnancies and keep track of the growth of a new-born animal. Weight measurements also help with prescribing the right dosage of medication and suggesting exercise or dietary changes for overweight/underweight animals.
Electronic keypad
Christian, St. Mary Catholic Secondary School is completing his Cooperative Education placement at Automotive Service Placement and shares how he's using Math everyday at his placement.

When a car is serviced, a date of when the car should come back for servicing is entered on a small sticker that is placed on the inside of the windshield. The sticker is usually stuck on the driver’s side of the windshield as a reminder to the owner. In order to determine when the car should return to the dealership for servicing, a mathematical formula is applied.

The units used to measure a car’s “life” are the kilometers which can be found on the odometer. Using kilometers rather than time is more accurate because the higher the kilometers, the more the parts are being used. Using a specific timeframe could be inaccurate because if the car has not been driven during that timeframe, the service could be unnecessary.

The formula for calculating the return kilometers is k+8000=r, where K is the current kilometers, r is the return kilometers and 8000 represents the average number of kilometers a set of tires should be rotated, and engine oil should be changed. Regular maintenance on a vehicle helps to keep it reliable and perform better.

After calculating the return date, the service sticker is created by entering the date into the system with the electronic keypad next to the printer. The sticker is printed with the calculated kilometers. The old sticker is removed (if there is one) from the windshield and replaced with the new one before the car goes to the car wash.
Female student using excel on a computer
Tatyana, a Grade 12 St. Mary Catholic Secondary School student explains how she is using Math at her virtual Library Placement.

I am using Mathematics to track Stay-At-Home-Storytime attendance at the Pickering Public Library. The statistical data related to this program was input into a spreadsheet and categorized according to the month and week day each session was performed. Through recording details such as the number of participants and branch, an analysis could be completed to get a better representation of how successful the program truly is. In fact, I was able to use the information in the spreadsheet to develop multiple charts and draw several conclusions about Storytime attendance over the past 5 months.

To gather statistics for this project, a spreadsheet was created to ensure the data could be recorded after each session. One of the staff at the Pickering Public Library developed an Excel spreadsheet to organize the information. It included sections such as the number of children per week, total participant attendance, branch location, program name, and the date. Then, after each Storytime was completed, the information could be entered into the chart and used for statistical analysis in the future. Since the Storytime’s are delivered via Facebook Live, it is quite easy to figure out how many people attend the sessions because the number appears in the top right corner. Hence, it is quite a straight-forward task considering the only real work is to manually enter the results into the sections.

As for my role, I was instructed to analyze the statistics that had been collected in the Excel spreadsheet over the past 5 months. This involved creating a variety of charts, drawing conclusions, making inferences, recognizing trends and patterns, etc. I utilized the resources available to me (i.e. Microsoft Word and Excel) to present my findings from the document in a very organized and visually appealing format. The project itself was an enriching experience because I had to use Excel for the first time, which gave me an opportunity to navigate the software and develop new skills that might be useful in future situations.

In fact, being able to use Excel is a very valuable quality that many workplaces value. As a result, I believe this experience has been very beneficial not only in terms of working with numeracy, but also for broadening my skills. Overall, the main computer tools used for this project were Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.

Through collecting this data over time, the library can investigate success factors, areas of improvement, changes in attendance numbers, etc. Also, it allows them to find impressive information that is worth talking about, such as the trends and patterns that exist. For example, one of the trends that I noticed while completing my analysis was that Storytime’s were much more popular on Tuesday’s than any other day of the week. I was able to visually display this statistic through pie charts, line graphs, and bar graphs, so that the team could see the differences in a simple format. This revelation was quite interesting and will definitely be used by my co-op placement to figure out why Tuesday’s receive most attention and how to enhance the other weekdays.

In addition, another pattern I was able to recognize was that over the 5-month period, the library can examine the program's productivity and brainstorm unique ideas that may draw in new participants. I think using Microsoft Excel to record the data was an excellent idea because it allowed for great organization while simultaneously providing a variety of tools to help with analyzing. Overall, this numeracy task was a great way to make new discoveries and effectively present program results. 
Calling all Indigenous students in Grades 7-12 to join the Indigenous Student Education Advisory Circle
The Student Indigenous Education Advisory Circle is an opportunity for DCDSB Indigenous students to share their voice and culture with students across our board. The Circle meets in February, April, June, September and November where members of the Indigenous Education Advisory Circle invite you to discuss what you would like to see happen or initiatives implemented in Indigenous Education within our board. You will meet other Indigenous youth in DCDSB and community members as well as have the opportunity to share your own knowledge and extend your learning. 
If you have yet to self-identify as Indigenous, please fill out https://dcdsb.formbuilder.ca/Indigenous-Ancestry-Form
If you are interested in joining the Indigenous Student Education Advisory Circle please submit an original work to demonstrate why you would like to be a part of this circle. This could be done through a letter, art piece, poem, video, voice recording, essay or anything that you feel represents your interest in being a part of this circle.
Please also include one reference (name and school) from any board employee to go along with your work and send all submissions by January 8, 2021 to Leahm.power@dcdsb.ca (Indigenous Education Secondary Resource Teacher) titled “Indigenous Education Student Advisory Circle.”
We Walk the Path Together
Upcoming Events
Are you Transitioning to High School in September 2021? Attend an Information Session
Grade 8 students and their parents are invited to attend an upcoming information session on the transitioning to secondary school.

Learn what our great schools have to offer - from academics, trades, to music and art. The schools will provide virtual tours, meet teachers and highlight programs available at each school.

This year's information sessions will be held virtually - visit our secondary schools' website for the link to the meeting. Upcoming sessions include:

January 14, 2021 - Archbishop Denis O'Connor CHS Grade 8 Parent Night. Time: 7:00 p.m.
Visit doc.dcdsb.ca for the meeting link

January 14, 2021 - Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School Virtual Grade 8 Parent Night
Time: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Or visit the school website at austin.dcdsb.ca

January 20, 2021 - Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School's Virtual Grade 8 parent night (for Incoming Grade 9 students).
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Visit notredame.dcdsb.ca to access the link to the virtual meeting.
Male and female students standing beside a welcome to high school sign
Male student face to face with school mascot
FREE virtual Métis Youth Iver Culture Camp
Flyer promoting a free Metis virtual camp for students
Rooted in Faith logo Excellence, Equity and Engagement
Durham Catholic District School Board
650 Rossland Road West,
Oshawa, ON
Phone: 905-576-6150 | Visit us at dcdsb.ca