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Celebrating Student Success
Expanding Pathways for our Students' Futures
March 2020
Group of male and female students with their male teacher holding their Gold record for their second place finish in a nation wide music classroom challenge.
Experiential Learning
Celebrating Black History Month
Messages of kindness, love, respect, purpose, and humanity were all part of our schools' Black History Month celebrations, during the month of February. Our students and staff celebrated Canada's diverse Black community, culture and history in a variety of ways. Some highlights include:

  • Poet, Nadine Williams shared her poetry featuring Black History Month stories with students at St. Wilfrid, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Christopher Catholic Schools. Ms. Williams worked with students to finish writing poems that focused on how we can live in harmony with one another.

  • St. Mark the Evangelist and St. André Bessette Catholic Schools welcomed the P.E.A.C.E and the Por Amor team and taught students to find their NIA (purpose) during a journey to learn more about African and Caribbean history.

  • Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School welcomed Heart Wisdom and students participate in an energetic style of African heritage, while learning the meaning of 'Hoza' - Stop, Start and Change.

  • Students at Father Fenelon Catholic School learned about “Ubunuc” or I am you with Baba Williams from Drum Et Al. Students learned how to open their hearts and treat each other with respect by working together in collaboration and compassion. The school's focus from February to April is treating everyone with kindness, love and humanity.

  • The Black History Committee at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School held Cultural Food Festivities, so students could buy traditional Caribbean and African dishes over lunches.

Black History Month
Female adult talking to students about Black History
Male adult teaching students how to use African drums
Male adult with arms open and signing
Male adult playing an African hand drum
Six female students standing with the school's principal and Chaplain selling food
Three female students demonstrate their coding skills
St. Joseph Catholic School Students Combine their Love of Dance and Coding
Maya, Olivia and Riley, Grade 6 students at St. Joseph Catholic School in Oshawa are combining two passions, their love of dance and their knowledge of coding. Recently, the girls choreographed Sphero balls to perform a dance at the school’s Invention Convention and Youth Fusion event. Demonstrating how coding can have both a practical and artistic component is inspiring for their fellow students. As their Teacher-Librarian, Christine Closs mentions, “These skills promote Computer Science and engineering jobs for the future”.
Outside of class time, the girls dedicate time to peer coach coding workshops for students in Kindergarten to Grade 8. The school’s Teacher-Librarian, Christine Closs, has been hosting coding club sessions at lunches for the past several years. Peer coaches are an integral part of the sessions as students rely on each other for solutions and ideas. Helping fellow students solve problems provides the girls with an opportunity to refine their coding skills as well as to work interpersonal skills such as the ability to listen and meet the needs of others.
These interpersonal skills have also been developed while the three students participated in the Cyber Girls Ambassador Program that is coordinated through Ontario Tech University. In the program, the girls learned how coding is an integral part of the cyber security industry, as well as, exploring future career paths.

Students celebrate I Read Canadian Day
Grade 1-2 students at Good Shepherd Catholic School celebrated ‘I Read Canadian Day’ on February 19, by going to the library and listening to a story entitled That’s Not Hockey by Andree Poulin. Students then participated in a scavenger hunt that included finding Blue Spruce and Silver Birch Award winning books, name the author of the Paper Bag Princess , name the author of the Franklin books, write the title of an Indigenous book and more.

‘I Read Canadian Day’ was an opportunity for families, schools and libraries to promote the love of reading and Canadian authors. Students at Good Shepherd Catholic School will also be participating in Forest of Reading Program and will attend and meet authors of nominated books in May. Forest of Reading is the largest Canadian recreational reading program where the students read Canadian books and vote for their favourite Canadian author. To learn more about this year’s nominated authors, click here .
Female adult teacher reading a books to students in a library
Two female students writing the name of an author down as part of their scavenger hunt
Two female students and one male student hold up their sewing projects.
A male adult and female adult helping a female and male student on the sewing machines.
Male adult mentor helps a female student prepare her sewing project by a sewing machine.
A male and female student sewing on a sewing machine.
Students Discover Sewing at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School
Students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School learned the art of sewing on February 27 and February 28 under the direction of the Sewing Studio. The dynamic and engaging sewing workshop breaks down stereotypes and provides an inclusive environment for students to learn the lost art of sewing.

Professional athletes (including Toronto Argonauts), boxers, musicians, interior designers and personal trainers coach and mentor students through the process of sewing, while helping students to gain confidence, self-regulation, mindfulness, develop a growth mindset, and complete a customized project.

Students learned how to safely use a sewing machine, while completing projects such as Power Pouches, Cha Ching Pouches (aka a wallet) or a small sash bag. “Sewing is so much fun,” said Kaleb, a Grade 5 student at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School. “I would definitely try sewing again at home with my mom.”

Grade 1 students created Power Pouches and shared that they were going to store kindness, love, sparkles, candy and respect in their pouches.

“The sewing workshop empowers students to take risks while learning a new skill,” said Mr. Fortin, Principal at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School. “Students love it!”

A special thank you to the Sewing Studio for donating a sewing machine to the school's maker space. Student will now have the opportunity to continue enhancing their sewing skills.

Student celebrate Heritage Day at St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic School
On Friday, February 28, 2020 students in Ms. Adams’ Grade 3/4 class at St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic School concluded Black History Month by celebrating all of our heritages.

Students presented a family project about their heritage and some students came to school dressed in traditional clothing. Students and staff also got to sample a variety of foods from the different countries. Students were happy to share their heritage projects with other classes, their parents and Director of Education, Mrs. Barill.

Eight female students dressed in traditional clothing representing their heritage.
Female student dressed in traditional Philippines clothing and standing beside a desert with display in the background.
Expanding Pathways
Centre for Success Program helps Students Achieve their Ontario Secondary School Diploma
On January 18, 2020, 19 high school students from the Durham Catholic District School Board were recognized for their achievements at the Centre for Success during the first semester of the school year. The Centre for Success is the highly successful Dual Credit program that offers students the opportunity to complete the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma on the campus of Durham College. Students are together as a class under the direction of high school teachers Mr. Hanlon and Mr. Flynn in a classroom at the new Centre for Collaborative Education at the college. On Thursdays, students attend a college course at either the Oshawa or Whitby campus. Through this program, students earn both high school credits and a college credit.

The Dual Credit program allows students to experience college life, research post-secondary pathways and learn many of the skills required to be successful in college. As a result of this program, students are well set up for success when they transition to college.

Congratulate all of our students for their great success and taking advantage of this great opportunity. We are grateful to Durham College for their support of the program and welcoming students to their campus.
Female student receiving her Ontario Secondary School Diploma in a school's gym
A group of male and female students holding their Level C First Aid and CPR training certificates
SHSM Program offers Students Real-World Experiences in a Variety of Economic Sectors
The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Program is one of the signature student success programs offered by the Ministry of Education. At the Durham Catholic District School Board, we are proud to offer 27 SHSM programs to approximately 700 Grade 11 and 12 students.

In the SHSM program, students complete courses related to the economic sector they are studying. They also complete industry related certifications and participate in numerous reach-ahead activities. Students from the Non-Profit SHSM program at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School recently completed their CPR Level C training along with AED training and Standard First Aid. Over the course of this year, the Non-Profit students have also taken part in Leadership Training, attended a day with Development and Peace and learned about the importance of marketing for Non-Profit organizations. Our thanks to Mrs. Cannon for all her efforts organizing these events.

Students in the Arts and Culture SHSM program at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School have had an exciting year. They attended a Curatorial Techniques workshop at the Station Gallery in Whitby, attended a Fashion and Interior Designing workshop, have participated in the Creative Industries Expo at the Science Centre and will be attending the OCAD Graduation Show in late April. Mrs. McDavid is the SHSM Arts and Culture lead teacher at St. Mary CSS and continues to do great work preparing students for a career in the Arts and Culture sector.

We would also like to highlight the Business SHSM program at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School under the guidance or Mrs. Ryan and Mrs. Dinn. Students spent a day at the Oshawa Centre looking at the world of retailing and studying the different marketing, customer service and retailing strategies of stores at the mall. The group completed a Personality Inventory and took part in a teamwork certification at Laser Quest. In addition, students participated in a presentation by the Manager and Franchise Owner of Boston Pizza about life in the hospitality sector.  

The SHSM program continues to connect students to sector partners in the community so that they can put their classroom learning into a real-world context. We are grateful to all of our SHSM lead teachers for their efforts in making this a very successful program. 

Stephen Hughes, Student Success Coordinator at the Durham Catholic District School Board

Be Proud of What you Build! Find a Career You Wouldn't Trade
Are you interested in exploring a career in the skilled trades? The Ontario government has launched a new campaign to increase awareness of careers in the trades.

Students are encouraged to discover if a career in the trades is right for them by looking into Cooperative Education and/or the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. Talk to your school's Guidance Office and/or Cooperative Education Teacher to start the discussion.

Visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/skilled-trades and explore the opportunities available in the trades. View the video on the left to learn more.
Person is wearing a welding with protective equipment on.
Five men and women on a stage as part of a panel discussion of career opportunities in non-profit sector.
St. Mary’s SHSM Students Attend a Career Presentation at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School’s Non-profit Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) students attended the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.’s (MLSE) Career Presentation. Organizers hosted a panel of speakers who work with the organization’s, charitable arm MLSE Foundation to address the students prior to a Toronto FC match.

The panel discussion offered students a better understanding of the different career opportunities that exist within the non-profit sector. Speakers included Steve Caldwell and topics covered included leadership, conflict resolution, interviews and post- secondary career options. Following the Career Presentation, students enjoyed watching the Toronto FC match vs D.C. United at BMO Field. 
Student Voice
Cheering on All Saints Catholic Secondary School's Kalista Wilson
Kalista, a Grade 10 student from All Saints Catholic Secondary School, has been stunning audiences in Durham Region with her incredible singing capabilities. A student in the All Saints' Regional Arts and Media Program, Kalista has been able to use her amazing voice more than ever.

Kalista's Pop-Rock Girl Group, Girl Pow-r, has been nominated for Best Children’s Album of the Year at the 2020 Juno Awards. Kalista will travel with her group to Saskatoon in March in order to attend Canada's Music Awards, and maybe even win herself a Juno.

Submitted by: Sofia Zamorano, Student Trustee
Female student singing outside
Female student washing a female adults hair in a salon as part of her cooperate placement.
Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School Student shares Cooperative Education Reflection
My name is Miranda and I'm a Grade 11 student at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School. I am currently completing a Cooperative Education placement at
K-OHK Hair Salon, in Oshawa.

What I like best about my placement is how helpful and encouraging staff are with me. Everyone has made me feel welcomed since my first day. I am given lots of opportunities to try different jobs and tasks within the salon such as washing clients hair and answering the phone.

I am enjoying my placement because its a refreshing break from sitting in a classroom. My placement is also helping me to obtain a better idea of whether or not this is a career I would like to pursue. I am considering becoming a hairstylist as a future career and having the opportunity to try working in a salon is a wonderful experience.
Student Achievement
Gold Record Awards for St. Joseph Catholic School and All Saints Catholic Secondary School
Congratulations to St. Joseph Catholic School, in Oshawa and All Saints Catholic Secondary School for their second and third place finishes in the CBC’s 2019 Music Class Challenge. The schools were recently honoured with their Gold Record Awards for their achievements in the nationwide music challenge.

Thank you for our dedicated teachers – Mr. Parker from St. Joseph Catholic School and Mr. Paglia, Mr. Mahoney, Mr. Chan and Ms. Dumpit from All Saints Catholic Secondary School for your commitment to excellence.

Watch their performances again here - click on the videos to play.
Upcoming Events
Registration for the DELF Proficiency Exam opens on March 9, 2020. Limited space available. Register at dcdsb.ca/DELF
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