Celebrating Student Success
Expanding Pathways for Every Student's Future
February 2018
Year of Service
This year, we asked our Student Senators to share what service means to their secondary schools as we celebrate the Year of Service. Each month, we will feature a new article written by students that highlight how our school communities are called to serve.
Learning the True Meaning of Service - “Amare et Servire” at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
During the past few months, the students at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School have been learning about the true meaning of service. “Amare et Servire” - Our school motto, meaning to love and to serve, has been taken into great consideration as students at St. Mary have selflessly volunteered their time for different school initiatives. These initiatives have helped people in our school, around our community and even internationally.

Serving the needs of the school community is something St. Mary students do through the Peer Mentorship Program. This initiative was carried on from last year and involves Grade 9 students who deal with social anxieties to be paired up with a Grade 11 peer mentor to help ease the transition to high school. Grade 11 peer mentors meet with Grade 9 peer mentees regularly to discuss their concerns and successes with their transition into high school. They also practice stress relief exercises together and build connections within the school community.

A new service initiative implemented at the school this year is the Unity Program. This program consists of junior grade presentations from the Harmony organization. The overall theme and purpose was to raise awareness about racism and discrimination within the school community. Through the use of statistics and surveys the unity program educated students on ways to reduce and prevent racism to ensure that all races and ethnic groups feel accepted. This was done through engaging activities and informative videos.

Select to Connect is also a new student lead initiative that serves the needs of students at St. Mary. Throughout the month of December, three times a week, Grade 11 leaders held presentations over lunch hours about different topics they felt needed to be addressed within the school. The first presentation was about self-love, the second was about healthy relationships and the third was on teenage substance abuse. These seminars were open to the whole school and used interactive games and free pizza to educate students and build connections. During their “Chill and Chat Fridays” they promoted a cellphone free zone to help build more genuine connections and engaging student interaction.
The St. Mary Christmas outreach is an annual initiative that truly promotes service within the entire school community. During the Advent season each homeroom was designated a family who lives within or around the St. Mary community. Students were in charge of bringing in food, toy and gift donations for these low-income families. Student leaders then selflessly dedicated a whole day to collecting, organizing and packaging the donations to ensure that the families would receive their food and gifts by Christmas. Run by our domestic outreach program and in partnership with local parishes, our school could help up to 70 families this year. We collected around $15,000 in gift cards and over 200 boxes of food and gift donations.

Service to people in other countries was also a priority for students this year. Our international outreach team has focused their service on hurricane relief victims. Since September they have been organizing various fundraisers to help raise money for hurricane relief. These fundraisers include Bake Sales, Juice Bars and a Haunted House. These initiatives were all student lead and took place over lunches. Our student council also held a teacher vs. student volleyball game as a buyout to help raise money for this cause. Thanks to our passionate student leaders we have raised about $4000 for hurricane relief.

Our Eco team has also been participating in this year’s theme of service. Serving the needs of the planet by reducing waste, they started a water bottle collection program. Water bottles are being collected and displayed to bring awareness to St. Mary students of how much unnecessary garbage is produced in the school. They are also planning to introduce the “St. Mary Reusable Water Bottles” as an alternative to plastic water bottles.

Lastly, students also started homeless youth initiative. Through student donations, student leaders could fill 48 shoe boxes with soap, toothbrushes and other necessities. These boxes were sent to The Covenant House in Toronto and The Refuge in Oshawa to help LGBTQ homeless youth. We also donated $1000 of our non-uniform money to The Covenant House for the cause. 

Andrea Kintanar, Student Senator
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
Students holding gift boxes for homeless youth
Students holding a banner that says Lighting the Way to Climate Action
Students wearing Christmas hats selling items during a bake sale
Students presenting on topics that are important to the school community
Baked goods for the hurricane relief fund fundraiser
Mental Health and Wellness
Elephant sitting down beside staff members in a room
Sign saying Elephant in the room anti-stigma campaign with picture of elephant
Anti-Stigma Initiatives at Durham Catholic District School Board
Durham Catholic District School Board has long been involved in anti-stigma initiatives related to mental health and mental illness. DCDSB has been a member of the Durham Talking About Mental Illness (TAMI) coalition since it’s inception in 2002. One of the main goals of Durham TAMI is to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Since 2002, Durham TAMI has provided contact-based mental health education to well over 60,000 students, teachers and other professionals in Durham and beyond. 

In recent years, DCDSB has also actively promoted and participated in the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, which has brought hundreds of thousands of people to the conversation, resulting in reduced stigma and an improved quality of life for people who are living with mental health challenges.

On January 10, 2018, DCDSB’s Staff Wellness Committee rolled out the Elephant in the Room (EITR) campaign. The EITR campaign is an initiative of the Mood Disorder Society of Canada, with the goals of: removing the stigma that surrounds mental health and mental illness; opening the conversation on mental health and mental illness; and creating a stigma-free zone to have conversations without fear of discrimination or stigma. Bill Gartland, Associate National Executive Director of the Mood Disorder Society of Canada was in attendance to help launch the campaign. As a retired Director from the Catholic School Board of Eastern Ontario, he shared that school board’s journey with the EITR campaign and how it was instrumental in raising awareness, as well as empathy and compassion for those who struggle with their mental health.

As part of DCDSB’s roll-out, all schools have been given a small blue elephant, a powerful symbol, to place in the main office to signal that this is a stigma free zone where people can talk openly about their mental health, including challenges that they might be facing. Principals were also provided with a list of local resources that can be shared with staff or parents.

While the EITR campaign was rolled out as a staff wellness initiative, it is expected that it will have a trickle down effect to students. This campaigns aligns with our board’s Together for Mental Health Strategy.

Diane Mullane
DCDSB Mental Health Leader
Experiential Learning
Female secondary student reads her story to the elementary students in a classromm
Female secondary student reading to elementary students on the carpet
Female student reading a book to elementary students in a classroom
Secondary Students from Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School promote Learning French
For the past six years, the Grade 11 French Class from Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School visits students at St. Bernadette Catholic School. The purpose of the visit is to promote reading and learning French for both the secondary and elementary students.

Over the course of the semester, the Grade 11 students planned, created and edited stories with positive messages for younger students. Reading their stories to their target audience and getting their direct feedback was a rewarding and positive experience.  
St. John Paul II and St. Josephine Bakhita Catholic Schools win Engineering Canada Contest
Engineering Canada recently awarded staff from St. John Paul II and St. Josephine Bakhita Catholic Schools with $150 each for their students' impressive designs as part of their Engineering The Holidays contest.

The students' designs will be featured in an upcoming video that promotes engineering tasks in the classroom! The students will now be given an opportunity to discuss and make suggestions for how the money could be spent to improve our robotics collection in the Learning Commons at both schools.
Congratulations!
Representatives from Engineering Canada present $150 to teachers and staff from two elementary schools in lobby of Board office.
Student design for Santa's sleigh
For holiday designs created by students -Elf on the shelf, spray that wraps gifts, gun that shots CHristmas lights and Christmas tree guitar
Three female student stand in front of a Conservation Mural in hallway
Celebrating Student Success at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School
Not only are the members of the Eco League team at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School fully engaged, but what is truly amazing is the Eco Team is led by students. The students are very compassionate about our environment and have fully encompassed the true meaning of Eco Schools. From spreading news about the importance of being green to taking on community outdoor projects and even spreading their compassion to other international countries.

Some examples of their hard work are as follows. New trees have been planted in the Kindergarten area. They have developed a full maintenance schedule to nurture these trees to ensure they will grow to provide shade during outdoor play for the young learners for years to come. The school has implemented the Boomerang Bin program. Specifically, the Kindergarten classes' leftover food from lunch and snack time is returned home for disposal. Not only does this limit the amount of waste disposed at school, but also allows the parents to be aware of what their children are eating throughout the day.

Moreover, these compassionate students have gone beyond caring for our environment, they collect milk bags which are used to create sleeping mats for those in need in other countries. For the past two years the Eco Team has organized a Used Book Fair. Books are collected from Seton families and selected titles are donated from the library. They are gathered and sold at this event and the students pick a cause to support and all proceeds are donated. For the cold winter months, the school collects mitts, hats and scarves to give to the homeless and organize a collection of mixed matched socks that are donated to the ones that need them.

Seton's Eco League also run various assemblies on specific issues. One of their latest assemblies focused on the use of refillable water bottles and limiting the number of juice boxes that are brought into the school, continuing with the idea of reducing waste in the school. They not only are getting students engaged, but also getting the teachers involved as well. The students are in the early stages of having a green bin installed in the staff room for organics collection.

Being proactive and starting new initiatives, is the key to ensuring success for Seton's Eco League team. Once a week, members of the team travel from classroom to classroom to conduct visual waste audit. They inspect the red, blue and garbage bins to see if these bins are being used properly. They use their knowledge about the program and report to the individual class and the Eco Leaders on what they have observed and if needed suggest changes to improve the classroom results. This process ensures that everyone involved, the student body and the teaching staff, know the procedure for disposing of classroom waste.

It is evident that the Eco League is highly focused on teaching the younger students about what they can do to help our environment and getting them involved at an early age. When I met with the team to discuss their success they were all very excited that their message was spreading to the younger students, which will hopefully continue year to year. These students are very passionate about being active when caring for our environment.

Overall, I was impressed that St. Elizabeth Seton's Eco Team has fully encompassed the true meaning of EcoSchools. Each and every one of the members has brought home what they have learned and educated their families on practices as well. The students feel it is important enough to incorporate these practices both at home and at school. They feel that to be truly environmentally helpful you need to be active all of the time.

Congratulations to St Elizabeth Seton’s Eco League for going above and beyond the expectations to becoming a Platinum certified Eco School.

Grant Vermeulen
Waste Recycling Specialist
Expanding Pathways
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School's Co-op Showcase
On January 16, St. Mary Catholic Secondary School's cooperative education students shared information about their co-op placements including educational requirements to work in the field as well as labour market information through a Co-op Showcase, set up in the newly renovated Library Learning Commons. 

Classes were invited to peruse the showcase and completed a scavenger hunt for information relating from essential skills and work habits, to the use of numeracy in a co-op placement, as well as connections to St. Mary Specialist High Skills Major programs (SHSM).

Co-op students were proud to share their co-op experience with St. Mary staff and students; and some of our co-op supervisors also dropped by to support their co-op students! 
Students walking around and talking with cooperative education students about their placements and display boards.
Female student standing beside her display
Female student standing beside her display
Female student standing beside her display
Eight adult women holding certificates
Male and female adults standing in front of food they prepared and holding orange juice in glasses
Child Care Assistants from Ajax Campus holding certificates
Male and female adult students making a hospital bed with linens.
Gain Job Skills with Training Programs at Archbishop Anthony Meagher Catholic Continuing Education Centre
Earning high school credits while training for new job opportunities, or while continuing to work at your current job, can be achieved with the help of educators at the Archbishop Anthony Meagher Catholic Continuing Education Centre in Oshawa and Ajax.
 
The wide range of programs available includes employment preparation courses that offer high school credits, certifications and connections to employers, which allows adult learners to prepare for the workplace or post-secondary study. Employment preparation programs include child care assistant, customer service training, hospitality and tourism, personal support worker certification, and trade skills and safety certifications. A Work-4-Credits program allows adult learners to keep their current day job while earning high school credits in cooperative education.
 
A new and already popular program is the child care assistant program, which begins January 30 at the Ajax campus and the new Oshawa campus, 850 King Street West, Unit 26.
 
“We did our labour market research and there are opportunities in Durham Region for child care placements,” says Vice Principal Stacey Ritchie, noting the education centre has formed partnerships with child care providers. “We’ve developed a program to meet the needs of the community and provide our students with on-the-job experience.”
 
The child care assistant course includes 10 weeks of classroom training and nine weeks of on-the-job training in a licensed child care facility. The program focuses on child development and is also valuable preparation for entry into the field as a child care assistant or post-secondary study for those who want to continue on to a career as an Early Childhood Educator (ECE).
 
“It’s a popular program, so we’re expanding it,” added Ms. Ritchie.
 
There is no cost for tuition, but certifications and materials costs $395, and the course includes CPR, first aid, WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) training, safe food handling and infection control.
 
“Previous participants have moved on to either work in the field or continue their education in college,” says Jensen Andrews, child care assistant program instructor.
 
Child care assistant program applicants need to pass a literacy test, clear a criminal reference check, and have up-to-date immunizations. Those registering for the program will go through an interview first to ensure they meet the requirements to work in a registered child care facility.
 
The personal support worker program also includes classroom training and a co-op placement, with the majority of students finding jobs when they’ve completed the program.
 
“It has a high employment rate upon graduation,” says Jim Wilson, principal at Archbishop Anthony Meagher Catholic Continuing Education Centre.
 
Those who already hold a job and want to earn high school credits can check out the Work-4-Credits program, which allows adult students to earn co-op credits through their current job. They can also sign up for correspondence courses or e-learning courses to further their education.
 
“Students don’t have to quit their jobs, because we have flexible options,” notes Ms. Ritchie. “We support individualized programming for adults who may have work or family commitments.”
 
The customer service program begins January 30 at the Oshawa campus, and emphasizes business and communication skills. Students earn high school credits and certifications, and participate in nine weeks of classroom training and a cooperative job placement.
 
Anyone aged 18 and older currently not enrolled in secondary school is welcome to register at the education centre, regardless of faith or which school system they attended in the past.
 
View the course guide at Archbishop Anthony Meagher Catholic Continuing Education Centre website www.con-ed.ca . Or call the Ajax campus at 905-683-7713, or the Oshawa campus at 905-438-0570.
Student Achievement
Cover of Healthy Active Living Text book featuring pictures of students from Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School
Student wearing Pereyma gym uniform pushing his wheel chair around the gym
Pictures of students wearing Pereyma gym uniform running in a gym
Monisgnor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School Students Featured in New Physical and Health Education Textbook
Athlete students from Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School were recently selected to appear in the new Healthy Active Living textbook by author Ted Temertzoglou. 
 
Featured in the “Wheelchair Aerobic Test” instructional piece are Pereyma students Joshua Artiga, Alannah O'Neill and Victoria Ward. 
 
Appearing in the “10 Metre Shuttle Test” section are students Stephan Harrison, Daniel Ferreira and Gregory Bourgeois.
 
Pereyma Physical and Health Education Curriculum Chair Lisa Politano remarked that she is pleased to see Thompson Educational Publishing Inc. offer such diverse and inclusive content to students through the Healthy Active Living textbook which will circulate throughout several Ontario classrooms in the Semesters to come.  
 
Upcoming Events
February 7 is Winter Walk Day
Bundle up and join our students and staff as we celebrate the benefits of outdoor play and nature during Winter Walk Day on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

Pediatricians report that the health benefits of staying physically active outweigh the risk of cold exposure. You need to get outside and be active just as much during winter time! The number one thing to do to ensure FUN? Dress warmly!
Person wearing a red coat walking in the snow
Paris
Rainforest
Great Wall in China
Parents and students are Invited to Information Nights for Summer Travel for Credit Courses
Earn a credit while you travel this summer! We are excited to offer secondary students an affordable, experiential learning program that enables students to earn a high school credit while travelling to Europe, South America or Asia. 

Join us on for a parent and student information night on:

February 21, 2018 - French Culture & Conversation in France.
Location: All Saints Catholic
Secondary School, 3001 Country
Lane, Whitby
Time: 6:30 p.m.

February 22, 2018 - Environmental Science in Costa Rica
Location: Father Leo J. Austin
Catholic Secondary School
Time: 6:30 p.m.

For more information on the Travel and Tourism Credit in China or the trips above, please email Mark Lacy, Principal, Alternative Education and International Education at  mark.lacy@dcdsb.ca  
Parents as Partners
Connection is Key: Promoting Positive Mental Health
Parents are welcome to attend DCDSB's Parents as Partners Conference. This free event will feature keynote speaker Dr. Jean Clinton on February 27, 2018 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School.

Dr. Jean Clinton will address the relationships that we have with our children are essential components of healthy brain development. These relationships play a key role all the way from early brain development to healthy adolescent development. This presentation will explore brain development through the lens that relationships and love build brains.
Dr. Jean Clinton is a Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster, division of Child Psychiatry. She has been a consultant to children and youth mental health programs, child welfare, and primary care for almost 30 years, and was recently appointed as an education adviser to the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education. Dr. Clinton's special interest lies in brain development, and the crucial role relationships and connectedness play therein.

Pre-registration is required for this free event. Come early for registration and to explore community displays. Refreshments and door prizes will be available throughout the evening.

Doors will open at 5:15 p.m at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School, 1020 Dryden Blvd, Whitby. 
Son and father walking together, holding hands outside
Female adult smiling
Durham Catholic District School Board
650 Rossland Road West,
Oshawa, ON
Phone: 905-576-6150 | Visit us at dcdsb.ca