Durham Catholic District School Board 50th anniversary logo

Celebrating Student Success
Expanding Pathways for our Students' Futures
February 2019
Male student grinding metal in an automotive shop classroom
Year of Joy
"Our Catholic schools help form joyful disciples as hearts and minds are opened to the transforming love of God and to the flame of faith in action. On a daily basis, Catholic schools demonstrate the joy of believing and witness the Good News to the communities they serve." (Renewing the Promise, page 13)

St. Mary Catholic Secondary School Students join GlobalMedic in Packing Family Emergency Kits for Syrian Families

On Thursday, February 7, 2019 the students at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School teamed up with GlobalMedic to pack 840 Family Emergency Kits to support families affected by the war in Syria. Each kit included enough Purifier of Water powder to purify 2,400 litres of water, as well as essential hygiene items such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The kits will be given to Syrian families displaced by war to support their health and dignity. 
More than 50 Grade 11 and 12 student retreat leaders from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School participated in the event. Students were first made aware of GlobalMedic's initiatives after hearing founder, Rahul Singh speak at TEDxStMary in 2018.

The school’s retreat leaders are a student who address relevant social justice and outreach initiative as needs arise in the local and global community. The students live the school’s motto “to love and serve” and celebrate their Catholic faith during the board’s Year of Joy, by partnering with GlobalMedic to bring joy to thousands of Syrian refugees.

GlobalMedic logo
Male and female adults and female student holding up items that make Emergency Kits
Group of male and female students and adult volunteers with boxes of Emergency Kits
Two male and one female student fill up an Emergency kit
Male and female student taping up the kits in cardboard boxes
Mental Health and Wellness
Students are creating a poster on what do you do to take care of your mental health
Male and female students are making Bell Let's Talk cookies
I take care of my mental health by staying connected to my faith, family and friends
Female and male adults with female students standing in front of Stomping out Stigma bulletin board in school
Female and male adults with female students and grey elephant sitting by school's Wellness bulletin board
Bell Let's Talk
On January 30, 2019, Bell Let’s Talk Day was celebrated at schools and offices throughout the Durham Catholic District School Board. Bell Let’s Talk Day is a multi-year awareness campaign, driving the national conversation to help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

School board staff from the Catholic Education Centre were invited to participate in a “conversation cafe,” providing an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding about mental health and stigma in the workplace and beyond. Schools were encouraged to have similar conversations with their staff.

Schools participated in Bell Let’s Talk Day in different ways. Some schools chose to share information via a morning announcement. Teachers talked about the five simple ways to end stigma and students were encouraged to write or draw what mental health means to them. Staff and students were also encouraged to use social media to generate a donation for mental health initiatives through the Bell Let’s Talk campaign.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, representatives from our board’s Staff Wellness Committee visited two schools, Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School and All Saints Catholic Secondary School to award them for their efforts to "Keep the Elephant in the Room Campaign" alive. "Elephant in the Room" is an ongoing anti-stigma campaign that reminds us that it’s okay to talk about mental health at Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) without fear of judgement or discrimination.

Diane Mullane,
DCDSB Mental Health Leader

Experiential Learning
face of female on a map of Canada
male adult dancing
February is Black History Month
Throughout the month of February, our Durham Catholic students will participate in events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present.

On Thursday, February 7, 2019, students and staff at St. James Catholic School celebrated Black History month with a d ynamic and engaging presentation by POR AMOR Movement and People Everywhere Actually Co-Existing Equally(PEACE).

The theatrical performance featured music and dance and taught students about the Journey of Nia (Nia means purpose). The presentation was a passionate display of African roots, Canadian history and the legacy of these cultures in our lives today.

Congratulations to our Centre for Success Students
The Centre for Success program at Durham College is a highlight of the dual credit program. Students at the Centre for Success complete their final semester of high school on the campus of Durham College. Students come from all eight of our Durham Catholic secondary schools. Two teachers from Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary School support the students as they work their way to graduation. In addition to completing their high school course requirements, each student takes one Durham College course. 
The Centre for Success program is offered by the School-College-Work Initiative and is funded by the Ministry of Education. The goal is to support students as they complete their O.S.S.D. and help them with their transition to college. 
On Thursday, January 17, 2019 the Centre for Success Completion Ceremony took place at Durham College. This ceremony recognizes the efforts of the students and congratulates them on their success. Many of these students will now transition to college - better prepared as a result of this successful program.
Female student receives her diploma at the Centre for Success Completion Ceremony
Four female adults and two female students smiling at a table in the school's learning commons.
Two students talk with two male adults in French in the school's Library.
French as a Second Language Students at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School talk to Seniors about What Brings Them Joy
In January, the French as a Second Language students at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School gathered together with seniors from Oshawa Senior Citizens Centre (OSCC)’s French class. The adults and students discussed in French what brought them joy.

The event was an opportunity to build community partnerships, while offering both the students and seniors a chance to strengthen their French communication skills in a fun and interactive way. A great example of a truly joyful experience that demonstrates that learning a language is a lifelong journey.

Students at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School research the Trades in order to Build Gingerbread Houses
The students from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, through collaborative inquiry, researched specific trades that would be relevant to constructing a gingerbread house. Based on their research, students engaged in an experiential learning activity of creating a gingerbread house and the details around its development. Each house reflected the characteristics of the craftsmanship of those trades.
The students celebrated their efforts by raffling the gingerbread houses and donating the proceeds to the Ontario Federation of Cerebral Palsy.

Two male students constructing a gingerbread house.
Two female and one male student measuring and making templates.
Male and female students getting ready to make gingerbread houses
Three male students assembling a gingerbread house in a classroom
Decorated and fully assembled gingerbread houses
Female speaking to a group of adults
Sign saying that the content has been moved to the Microsoft Cloud
SHSM Programs offer Students Industry-Recognized Certification and More
On Wednesday, January 30, Microsoft Canada hosted the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Provincial Board Leads meeting. This event brought together school board leads from across the province. The Ministry of Education provided updates on the SHSM program and highlighted some of the great successes of the program.
The SHSM program gives Grade 11 and 12 students the opportunity to focus their education on one of 19 economic sectors. Students take a number of courses related to their sector, earn industry-recognized certifications, participate in events with community partners, complete a Cooperative Education program and more.  
There are 53,600 students in the SHSM program across the province.  The five-year graduation rate for students in the SHSM program is 92% which is 5% higher than the provincial graduation rate. The credit achievement rate for SHSM students is 96%, also higher than the provincial average. The SHSM program supports students in all four pathways: workplace, apprenticeship, college and university. The most recent statistics show that 42% of SHSM students are in the college or workplace pathway.
At Durham Catholic, we offer 27 SHSM programs covering sectors such as Health and Wellness, Construction, Business, Arts and Culture, Sports, Transportation, Hospitality and Tourism and Non-Profit. We are fortunate to have an amazing group of SHSM lead teachers in our high schools who bring this successful program to our students. We thank them for their efforts. We look forward to growing this program in the years ahead.
See the World and Earn a Credit
Are you looking for an opportunity to earn a secondary school credit, while travelling?

The Durham Catholic District School Board is offering secondary students an affordable, experiential learning program that enables students to earn a high school credit while travelling to Europe or South America. 

The following four travel for credit courses will be offered during the summer of 2019:

  • Archaeology in Italy (IDC3O1/4U1)
  • Food and Nutrition in France (HRN201/HFC3M1)
  • World Religions in Italy & Spain (HRT3M1)
  • Environmental Science in Costa Rica (SVN3M1)

The next information session will be held on Tuesday, February 19 at 6:00 p.m. at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School. Click here to pre-register .

For more information email Christopher Gardner, Principal, Alternative Education and International Education at Christopher.gardner@dcdsb.ca or visit https://www.dcdsb.ca/en/programs-services/travel-for-credit-courses.aspx .
Female student in an European City
Expanding Pathways
male and female students sitting in a technology classroom at the local college
Students listening to an OYAP presentation
Welcoming Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program Level 1 Students to their First Day of Classes
The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) Level 1 students in the automotive service technician, electrician, child development practitioner, cook, industrial mechanical millwright, plumber, and welder programs participated in their first day of classes at Durham College on Friday, February 1 and Monday, February 4, 2019.

Students were welcomed into their program by Durham College's faculty and OYAP coordinators from all five participating boards: KPR, PVNCCDSB, DDSB, DCDSB and Trillium Lakelands District School Board. They also received their textbooks and all required personal safety equipment which varied depending on their programs. 
These students will complete their last semester of Grade 12 at Durham College achieving dual credits and earning cooperative education credits in a skilled trade placement.

The OYAP Level 1 program is a wonderful opportunity for any grade 12 student interested in pursuing the skilled trades/apprenticeship pathway. 
If you are interested in learning more about the OYAP program, please contact the Guidance department or speak with any Cooperative Education teacher in your secondary school.  
Grade 7 Students Explore the Trades and Career Pathways at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, Grade 7 students from St. Wilfrid and Father Fénelon Catholic Schools visited St. Mary Catholic Secondary School to participate in an exploring the trades and career pathways event. St. Mary’s Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) students lead the Grade 7 students to various activities around the school such as the Cooperative Education Showcase in the Library/ Learning Commons and hands-on activities in the shop area.
Students were able to learn about different career opportunities that St. Mary’s Cooperative Education students participated in through their co-op placements this semester. Ms. Brown, Intermediate Guidance teacher, also presented a high school transitions talk to the Grade 7 students, fielding eager questions about high school life.
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School’s Trades teachers, Mr. DiFonzo, Mr. Gangl and Mr. Sorbilli showcased their construction and transportation shops to the elementary students. With the assistance of SHSM students, the elementary students learned to work safely wearing prescribed personal protective equipment and operated some power tools (drill, plasma cutter, mitre saw) and created signs to take home!
The cross-panel event was a huge success as St. Wilfrid and Father Fénelon Catholic Schools’ Grade 7 students were impressed with St. Mary classes, staff and students. Thank you to the SHSM teachers and students who assisted with the planning and implementation of this successful trades promotion and careers exploration event. 
Written by: Melissa Wilson-Clark
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
Two female students working in a shop classroom with tools
Male and female students working in a woodworking classroom
Female student using a saw in a woodworking classroom
Piece of work with a metal x carved into the metal
Student Achievement
Female basketball players on the court
Twelve female students dressed up
A Memorable Season for Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School's Senior Girls Basketball Team
Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School's Senior Girls basketball team played a memorable season. The Chargers played at the Lake Ontario Secondary School Association (LOSSA), at Anderson Collegiate in Whitby, Ontario and placed first after beating All Saints Catholic Secondary School; one of their tough rival teams in the finals.

This allowed the team to move onto the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA), an organization of student-athletes, teacher coaches, student-coaches, teachers, principals, and sports administrators in Ontario, Canada.
At OFSSA, the girls victoriously played several games including one of 36-35. Unfortunately, they were defeated in quarter-finals. However, they easily demonstrated our school's motto, "Nothing Without Faith and Work" with grace and persistence.

Written by: By Samantha Brown
Introducing Student Representatives on the DCDSB’s French as a Second Language Advisory Committee
On February 1, 2019, student members of the French as a Second Language (FSL)Advisory Committee met for the first time to learn about their role as student ambassadors for French language at the Durham Catholic District School Board.

The students represent Core and Extended French students at the board and will support conversations and initiatives based on the goals for FSL education in the Durham Catholic District School Board
Congratulations to:
  • Simona Damiani, All Saints Catholic
Secondary School;
  • Emily Bissonnette, St. Mary Catholic Secondary School;
  • Sakeena Mohammed, Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School;
  • Kersten Roffey, Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School; and
  • Jeswende Seedu, St. Mary Catholic Secondary School.
Four female students with one male student with statue of Jesus in the background.
Upcoming Events
Male and female students sitting and standing with the DELF books
Register for the DELF French Proficiency Exam
Grade 12 Core French and Extended French students are encouraged to register for the DELF French Proficiency Exam. Registration opens on February 20 and closes March 6. Please talk to your French teacher for the registration form.

The Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF) is an internationally recognized assessment of French proficiency. The exam measures a student's ability to use French in everyday life. Students' French skills are measured across four areas:
  • Listening;
  • Speaking;
  • Reading; and 
  • Writing.
Our students choose one of these three testing levels to complete - A2, B1, and B2. The student's French teacher will discuss the best testing level for a student to complete.
The DELF Proficiency Exam has two components - a written exam and an oral interview. 

Visit https://www.dcdsb.ca/en/programs-services/DELF-French-Proficiency-Exam.aspx for more information regarding exam dates, cost and frequency asked questions.
Durham Catholic District School Board
650 Rossland Road West,
Oshawa, ON
Phone: 905-576-6150 | Visit us at dcdsb.ca