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Celebrating Student Success
Expanding Pathways for our Students' Futures
May 2021
Exploring Pathways
Build a Dream Trades Week Event
Trades Week virtual panel event
DCDSB partnered with Build a Dream to provide Grade 9-12 students and their families an opportunity to participate in Trades Week. Over 250 students registered for this two-day virtual career expo which took place on the evenings of May 19-20, 2021. 

This event showcased a panel of speakers and employers discussing their apprenticeship pathway and career opportunities in the skilled trades. Students were encouraged to explore the apprenticeship pathway in secondary school through enrolling in tech classes and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). If you are interested in a career in the skilled trades, please speak with your school's Guidance department to learn more about these opportunities. 

A video from the Trades Week event can be found here.
DCDSB Announces Introduction of New Grade 12 Course: Deconstructing Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian and North American Context
The Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) is pleased to announce the addition of a new pilot course at three DCDSB secondary schools. Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School, Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School and St. Mary Catholic Secondary School will be offering Deconstructing Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian and North American Context beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. 

Deconstructing Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian and North American Context is a Grade 12 Contemporary and Interdisciplinary course that serves to equip students to identify and address systemic racism in all its forms. The course will provide a space in the classroom where students will engage in courageous and meaningful conversations about race. The essential goal of the course is to inform students and encourage them to take action to eradicate systemic racism and oppression.

Some of the topics that will be explored in this course include:
  • Black History
  • Black Excellence
  • Allyship
  • Oppression of various racialized and marginalized groups
  • Origins of Black Stereotypes
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Contemporary matters
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Cancel Culture

A team of Toronto District School Board (TDSB) teachers created the Deconstructing Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian and North American Context course. This course was piloted in the TDSB in the 2020-2021 school year.

We are excited that an alumnus of DCDSB was an integral part of creating and leading this new course. D. Tyler Robinson, a Secondary Educator with the TDSB, is a graduate of Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School. Robinson was part of a team of educators who worked on creating and writing the curriculum for the Deconstructing Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian and North American Context course.

In the 2021-2022 school year, there are 51 schools in five different school boards who have committed to offering this course, and the number keeps rising.

“The introduction of the Deconstructing Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian and North American Context course in our secondary schools is another example of our commitment to Equity and to our Anti-Black Racism Strategy and Action Plan” said Susie Lee-Fernandes, Superintendent of Education. “We view this course as a tremendous opportunity to build capacity in our students and staff around the important issues surrounding the Black community and anti-Black racism.”

To learn more about the Deconstructing Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian and North American Context course, families with students attending Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School, Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School and St. Mary Catholic Secondary School are encouraged to contact their Guidance department.
Experiential Learning
Reflection on a Cooperative Education Experience Job Task
Kalysta, a student at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, is completing a co-operative education placement with a local elevator company. She is working in the warehouse learning about the elevator maintenance trade.

Kalysta created a short video highlighting one of her job tasks that she has learned through her placement. This task includes preparing fish plates and hardware for elevator maintenance service off-site. Kalysta showcases the steps in this job task including safe work procedures and examples of numeracy.

  • Ms. Wilson-Clark, Cooperative Education Teacher at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
DCDSB Students Participate in National Future City Showcase
The Future City competition is offered worldwide on a yearly basis. This STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) based project is annually offered to students in Grades 6-8, and asks students to imagine how they can make the world a better place. Students must create a city that operates in the future, and that showcases solutions to potential issues. Past topics have included clean drinking water, public spaces, and green energy.

This year, the problem posed was literally out of this world! It challenged students to think about how to create a sustainable city that could possibly exist on the Earth's Moon in one hundred years from now.

Since October 2020, over 300 Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) Grade 6-8 students have researched, planned and built a model city to scale, to address the numerous problems that living on the Moon would pose.

Engineer mentors were assigned and virtually connected with each class. The Canadian Space Agency also offered a live virtual question-and-answer session for students in March 2021.

The DCDSB would like to thank the 18 teacher leads that gave their students this opportunity during a pandemic! We are also very proud to acknowledge that DCDSB led the entire country in school board participation.

The DCDSB would also like to thank Engineers Canada for financially supporting participating classrooms with maker-space tools and supplies. In addition, we would like to acknowledge Engineers of Tomorrow and Ontario Tech University for connecting classes with engineer mentors as well as organizing the Canada-wide showcase. 

The National Future City Showcase took place on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 and our participating students gave a live presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session with an engineering panel.
Student Voice
Children's Mental Health Week Videos from Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School
During Children's Mental Health Week, students at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School had the opportunity to reflect on the things and the people for which they are grateful. Grade 9 student Selin A. created a video titled, "Gratitude and Happiness". Selin used her creativity and her video-editing skills to spread exactly that. She acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic can leave us feeling alone and isolated from the ones we love most. But her message of hope and gratitude throughout her video shows us that even the simplest way to say "thank you" can be so deeply meaningful others. 

We know that the virtue of gratitude makes us aware and appreciate the gifts we receive each day. Selin's video reminds each of us to express our thankfulness in simple ways to fill our heart, the hearts of others, and to cherish what we have. Selin is proud that her video has been able to shed light on gratitude and spread positivity throughout our community. Our Pereyma community is lucky to have students like Selin A., Adam A., Draivynn F., Suneigha F. and Vanessa W. who all contributed amazing videos during Children's Mental Health Week.
Student from St. Bernadette Catholic School Shares Culminating Project
Diego is a Grade 1 student at St. Bernadette Catholic School in Ajax who was very happy to make this video to share with our DCDSB family. The project that he is displaying was the culmination of a reading comprehension lesson centred around ladybugs. The lesson began with a brainstorming session of everything Diego already knew about ladybugs, to tap into his prior knowledge, and to pique his interest in the reading task ahead. The book he then read was entitled, "All Kinds of Ladybugs", which is found on the Unite for Literacy website. It is a great website for English Language Learners as the book can be narrated in a variety of languages.

Upon completion of the reading, Diego was asked to write a sentence about ladybugs that reflected something he had learned from the book. His sentence read; "Ladybugs are colourful." 

Diego is very artistic and loves to engage in any and every art activity, so next he and his teacher each painted a rock to look like a ladybug and that was the culmination of the lesson. However, on his own, Diego went on to paint more ladybug rocks and to create a whole ecosystem in which to place them! Way to go, Diego!
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School Students Find Success in Regional Level One Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)
The Regional Level One OYAP program is a partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Durham College, DCDSB and other local school boards. Students apply for this program in early spring of their grade 11 year, through their school’s co-operative education department, for an opportunity to participate in the program in the second semester of the student’s Grade 12 year.
Students complete their in-class Level One apprenticeship training combined with a co-operative education placement in the trades as registered apprentices. They also take the first step toward becoming certified journeypersons in a skilled trade while completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma requirements.
Alyssa working at the carpentry union training facility in Woodbridge
“I've been really enjoying the OYAP program and I am proud of all the new skills that I've already developed. Although the program only started a couple of months ago, I'm surprised at the amount of things that I've learned so far. Being able to completely focus on this career path without other school subjects distracting me was one of the best decisions that I've made and would highly recommend it because the program is already paid for and is really good to put on a resume, even if you don't go into that specific career.”
  • Alyssa L., St. Mary Catholic Secondary School Level 1 Accelerated OYAP Carpentry student
Romas at a work site in Etobicoke
Throughout my continuous journey in the Accelerated OYAP Plumbing program, I have exceeded my learning and working potential. The program has dipped many young students' feet in the water of the life of a trade's person, but I feel like I have been fully submerged. Between balancing education at high school, Durham College, and the life of a worker, there is ample time to learn and succeed. I have been given this great opportunity, the same one many before me have been given, and it truly is a wonderful experience. I will be forever grateful for the chance I have to further my learning and working habits in the Accelerated OYAP Plumbing Program. I have started my apprenticeship journey through this program and look forward to continuing after graduation.
  • Romas D., St. Mary Catholic Secondary School Level 1 Accelerated OYAP plumbing student

St. Bernard Catholic School Coding Project
During Black History Month, Grade 7 and Grade 8 students at St. Bernard Catholic School discussed, as a class, different ways they could share work that would engage their school community. 

Students decided that it would be interesting to create a periodic table with each “element” celebrating a Black person who had contributed their talents to the world in the areas of art, science, sport and business. We were inspired by a Black History Periodic Table that our Principal had shared with us during January’s online learning.
The next goal was to decide how we could create this “Periodic Table”. Students were asked if it was possible to use coding to create this project. Two Grade 8 students, Rowan B. and Allison K., collaborated and figured out how it could be created through coding. These students led the coding component and their classmates did the necessary research and writing of biographies. Our student coders decided there should be categories in the periodic table to make it more user-friendly. Students were encouraged to seek out Canadians to be celebrated, but ultimately, it was student interest that led the choosing of the Black men and women included in the table. 

Student Voice:

  • Use coding to present the Periodic Table.
  • Students researched individuals to celebrate in a variety of categories such as: Athlete, Entrepreneur, Scientist, Activist, Author, Artist, etc.
  • Coding students would share with class when one category was filled and to focus on other categories.
  • Students would then share their work with the teacher, and the teacher would then share with the curators of the project and they would input the biography into the coded periodic table.
  • Once curators shared with the class how many biographies were needed, students were asked to begin with three each. Some students easily met this target and wanted to do more. The curators suggested implementing a lottery as motivation to encourage efficient completion. This did ramp up the number of individuals who were willing to complete more biographies. We had many students who researched and wrote six biographies, and a few students who completed 10 or more biographies.

Allison K.
Rowan B.
Student Services/Mental Health
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School Safe and Caring Schools Team
2021 Virtual Mental Wellness Cafe
Safe and Caring Mental Wellness Cafe
The Safe and Caring Team
The Safe and Caring Schools team at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School focuses on mental health and how to maintain mental wellness, and promotes the creation of safe learning environment where all are welcome. Our team worked diligently alongside teachers to launch several activities throughout the year.

The first was the unveiling of the new Safe and Caring Website which is a platform designed to make it easier for students to access information regarding their mental health. The website is equipped with links to other educational sites, study guides, quick and easy recipes, as well as our upcoming events.

In March we had our Self-Care campaign that provided students with tips and resources that promote proper self-care practices. Our Annual Mental Wellness Cafe was held virtually this year and it was a major success! The theme for this year was “Sticking Together while Staying Apart.” This year it was more important than ever to stay informed about how to take care of our mental health. Many of us are facing novel challenges that are made even more difficult to cope with because of social distancing protocols. This year's Mental Health Wellness Cafe focused on connecting with your friends, family and community. The cafe featured performances and artwork from St. Mary, All Saints and Virtual Secondary school students! We also hosted a panel of school support staff (board mental health lead Diane Mullane, social worker, Andre Chor and chair of guidance and career studies Diana Stanesic) who answered audience questions. This year's virtual Mental Wellness Cafe was also proud to present the return of Jennifer Kolari, one of the nation’s leading parenting experts, and highly sought-after international speaker and the founder of Connected Parenting. Her wisdom, experience and humour provided all those who attended the opportunity to re-examine their relationships and the opportunity to meaningfully strengthen familial bonds. 

Special thanks goes to the student leaders of the safe and caring schools team: Taijah R., Micaela M. and Devine M. for their incredibly dedicated and inspirational work!
Indigenous Education
Students from Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School Continue Learning through OYAP Partnership
Books by Indigenous authors
Beedahbin Peltier ​of Indigenize Consultants, Keri-Ann Peacock ​of Indigenish Catering and James Dejong ​of James Dejong Carpentry connected ​virtually with 70 Grade 7/8 students at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School. The students and their teachers Mrs. Couch, Mr. Oldman, and Mrs. Dunslow, have had the opportunity to continue learning with Indigenous community partners on multiple occasions throughout this school year. These sessions were opportunities for students and teachers to create relationships with Indigenous community members while learning about the skilled trades, specifically horticulture, culinary arts and carpentry. In addition, students explored ways to learn about the skilled trades in secondary school through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and technology courses. 
On May 20, 2021, Indigenous community partners and classes at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School came together to consolidate their learning from the past few months, and to discuss next steps. Students will ​continue to work with the community partners involved in this collaboration and decide on a culminating task where they will choose to work on a ​building project.
Students ​will also choose a book written by an Indigenous author from the Indigenous owned business Goodminds
Adult and Continuing Education
Young Parent School Program
Young mother in the Young Parent School Program with her Rose of Durham Counsellor.
In partnership with the Rose of Durham, Archbishop Anthony Meagher Catholic Continuing Education Centre and Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary School, the Young Parent School Program supports young mothers and fathers who are 16-26 years of age to obtain credits for their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).  

Students in the program are supported by caring adults that includes a teacher from the Durham Catholic District School Board and a Rose of Durham Counsellor. Rose of Durham supports include one to one counselling, community connections and family donations.

Autumn is a young mother who recently earned her Ontario Secondary School Diploma through the program, and shared this: “I have been working extremely hard over the last couple months to achieve my OSSD. The Young Parent School Program at the Rose of Durham has allowed me the flexibility to get this done in a fast and supportive way. Because of this program, I have all my courses complete and am looking forward to beginning the next steps for my future.”

The program is continuous intake and runs each Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. from September to June. Students can meet with a guidance counsellor and Mature PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition) assessor to plan their courses and future pathway.  Students also have access to all programs and services at the Rose of Durham.

For more information about the program, visit www.con-ed.ca or call the Rose of Durham (905) 432-3622 or the Archbishop Anthony Meagher CCEC Oshawa Campus (905) 438-0570.
Upcoming Events
Important Dates
The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, National Indigenous History Month, Pride Month and Brain Injury Awareness Month

  • May 31 - June 4 - AccessAbility Week
  • June 1-5 – Canadian Environment Week
  • June 3 – Clean Air Day Canada
  • June 5 – National Day to Promote Health and Fitness for all Canadians
  • June 9 - Together in Prayer - Live Eucharistic Adoration @ St. Isaac Jogues Parish 12:30 - 1:00 p.m.  
  • June 17 - Virtual Graduation Ceremony for Archbishop Anthony Meagher Catholic Continuing Education Centre
  • June 13-19 – National Public Service Week
  • June 21 – National Indigenous People’s Day
  • June 23 – National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism
  • June 27 – Canadian Multiculturalism Day
  • June 28 - Graduation Ceremonies for All Saints Catholic Secondary School and Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School
  • June 29 - Graduation Ceremonies for Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary School, Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School, Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School, Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School, Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School and St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
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