Celebrating Student Success
Expanding Pathways for Every Student's Future
October 2017
Year of Service
Call to Service
The work of evangelization takes on many forms. Spreading the message of Jesus has as much to do with action as with proclamation. Over the last two years, we have promoted New Evangelization by the quality of our witness and the vibrancy of our Christian communities. Building on the foundation of witness and community, we now enter into a Year of Service. Service to those less fortunate is a cornerstone of Catholic education, and is one of the most meaningful ways that we can demonstrate our gospel values to the world. Service to the poor is the sign that love for all people is at the heart of Jesus' message. Whenever we serve others, we serve our God within them.

Our symbol for the Year of Service is a statue entitled "When I Was Hungry and Thirsty", sculpted by world renowned artist Timothy P. Schmalz. This image is inspired by the Gospel of Matthew and serves as a visual representation of charity through service. Statues will be blessed and placed in every school to serve as a reminder of our commitment to service. Schools and workplaces will engage in Days of Service to create opportunities to deepen and extend the ways we serve others (both large and small). 

To document the good work of our students and staff we have asked members of our Student Senate to share what service means at their secondary schools and how they answer this call to action in our Catholic schools? Join us in celebrating the Year of Service through social media #DCDSBService.  
Statue of Jesus sitting cross legged and holding his hand out
Mental Health and Wellness
Female exercising and picture of brain activity. Exercise for Brain Health
The Exercise-Brain Connection
As we embark on a new school year, the Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) is renewing our commitment to Daily Physical Activity for all staff and students. The research is clear - regular physical activity is great for our physical health, but it is also a good stress buster, it helps with self-regulation and it can improve academic performance.

Dr. John Ratey highlights the research findings in his bestselling book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain . Physical activity stimulates the release of feel-good brain chemicals, reduces the level of stress hormones, and helps relieve anxiety. If you are feeling sluggish, exercise makes you feel more energized and alert. If you are feeling agitated, it can help you feel more calm and settled. Exercise improves focus, learning and recall. Teachers have observed that their students are better able to stay on task after physical activities. Finally, adults and children alike sleep better when they have exercised during the day and we know that good sleeping habits are essential for positive mental health and optimal academic functioning.

It’s critical that we find fun and creative ways to include regular, enjoyable physical activity in our day. Additionally, building in frequent movement breaks, for example, going for a walk after a period of sustained desk work or taking a ten minute break from homework to jump rope or shoot baskets, is important for maintaining focus. 

To learn more about the connection between physical activity, learning, mental health and stress management, read: Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr. John Ratey (Little, Brown and Co., 2008)

Diane Mullane
DCDSB Mental Health Leader
Experiential Learning
Learning 21st Century Competencies via Cooperative Education
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School student,  Shanice Seivwright-Adams completed her cooperative education placement at Complete Performance Center (CPC), a rehabilitation, strength and conditioning center where people with injuries go to gain back their full strength and range of motion post surgery/injury.

Members of sports teams receive training to make them fit and more agile in their sport. Physiotherapy and massage services are also available.

The three 21st century competencies Shanice learned through her placement were - communication, collaboration and problem solving. 

As part of Shanice's placement, she had to talk with clients, ask them how they were feeling, what pain or swelling they were experiencing and what they did on the weekend. 

During her placement, Shanice was required to work with the other cooperative education students and come up with exercises for clients. Being able to brainstorm ideas with colleagues allowed Shanice to come up with new ideas and work with others to ensure the best treatment plan for clients.

Problem Solving
Shanice used her problem solving skills when coming up with treatments for clients after their workout sessions or when identifying an alternative exercise for clients.

The most rewarding and satisfying part of Shanice's placement experience was being part of a family and developing new knowledge about the body and anatomy. "My co-op experience has given me a head start in the Kinesiology course I'll be studying this year," said Shanice. "I’m sad that my placement is over, but grateful for the experience and opportunity."
Female student working at a rehabilitation clinic standing by equipment
Group of male and female students wearing green and white and holding the Franco-Ontarian flag.
Celebrating Franco-Ontarian Day

Beginning in 2010, September 25 has been formally recognized as Franco-Ontarian Day in our province to highlight the contributions of Ontario's Francophone community. As a group, Franco-Ontarians have greatly impacted the cultural, historical, social, economic and political context of Ontario. 

September 25 also marks the anniversary of the first raising of the Franco-Ontarian flag in Sudbury in 1975. The flag is divided into two halves, the fleur-de-lis representing the Francophonie, while the trillium symbolizes Ontario. The colours of the flag are also very symbolic with the green representing summer and the white for winter. Franco-Ontarians are proud of their flag, the language that they speak, their culture, and the province in which they live. With over 400 years of Francophone presence in Ontario, the French culture and the number of French speakers has grown significantly. Today, Franco-Ontarians represent the largest number of Francophones living outside of the province of Quebec. We are proud at the Durham Catholic District School Board to support the Franco-Ontarian community and strive to learn more about their culture and to promote the French language in our Core French, Extended French and French Immersion programs. 

On September 25, 2017 schools across our Board took part in celebrations that highlighted the long lasting impact of the French presence in our country and more specifically, in our province. At the Catholic Education Centre, Director O'Brien, along with members of the Sr. Admin team and the Board of Trustees proudly welcomed the St. Patrick Catholic School choir directed by Mme Oakes and Mme Pegorin. The students sang "O Canada" and "Mon beau drapeau" as the Canadian and Franco-Ontarian flags were raised. 
Student Achievement
Advanced Placement (AP) English Students at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School continue to Raise the Bar with their Success Rates

In May 2017, the AP English class at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School wrote the AP English exam in an attempt to achieve a University credit while still attending high school.

Eighteen students wrote the AP English Exam last Spring and an astounding 17 of those students – or 95% of the class – passed this difficult and challenging 3 ½ hour exam. To put that success rate in perspective, usually less than 60% of students across North America pass the exam. Notre Dame’s success rate is 35% above the North American average. That’s a tremendous result!

Moreover, 3 students in the class achieved a perfect score of 5 on the exam, meaning 17% of our students scored perfect – the North American rate for perfect scores is typically 1%-2%. Even more amazing, 13 of our 18 students achieved a score of 4 or 5 on the exam, and Universities across North America offer full credit for a minimum score of 4 out of 5.

AP Exams are offered annually by The College Board with almost half a million students writing the English Exam, but few schools have achieved the success that Notre Dame enjoys. This is certainly a testament to both the hard work and dedication of our AP students, but also the experience and knowledge of the entire English Department staff at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame will offer AP English again in February 2018 as we continue to build on our success.
Establish Your Goals Now for the 2017-2018 School Year
We all have dreams, but how do we turn our dreams into reality? Companies, sports teams and people around the world achieve success by establishing their short and long-term goals. The same can be applied to your success as a student.

Now is the perfect time to sit down and determine your goals for the 2017-2018 school year. Taking time now to identify your goals will help you to focus on what you want to achieve in the next month, six months, year and beyond.

Use the SMART goal method to establish your steps to personal or professional success.

Make sure your goals are focused and clear. You don't want to create vague goals.

Set goals that you can measure. Look at your goals weekly - Are you on track to meet your goals?

Make sure your goals are attainable within this school year. For example make a goal for semester one and another goal for semester 2.

Make you goals realistic. Can you reach your goal within 6 months or a year? We all wish to win the lottery, but that's not a realistic goal.

Put a time frame on all your goals. Have short-term and long-term goals.

In closing, creating a visual reminder of your goals is another way to keep you on track. Make a goal card and keep it in your wallet or locker. A quick look at it everyday is a simple way of reminding you to stay focused and on-track so you can achieve success.
Students holding a WE sign outside of WE Day Toronto
Students holding We Gen signs at WE Day Toronto
Empowering a Generation of Change-Makers at the Durham Catholic District School Board

On September 28, 2017 students from across the Durham Catholic District School Board attended WE Day Toronto. WE Day is a celebration of young people committed to making a difference. WE Schools are the year-long program that nurtures compassion in young people and gives them the tools to create change in their local and global communities.

Durham Catholic, WE Schools continue to make an incredible impact in the local community and beyond. In 2016-2017, 34 Durham Catholic schools participated in the WE schools program. Our schools’ We to Me and Social Justice Clubs have:

  • supported 130 organizations;
  • impacted 9,610 youth;
  • volunteered 669 hours;
  • donated 7,529 lbs. of food; and
  • raised $29,783.33.

Congratulations! This is a great example of how our students are call to help others during this Year of Service. #DCDSBService.
Upcoming Events
Check out these upcoming Post Secondary education events and add them to your calendar:
St. Mary Catholic Catholic Secondary School's Post Secondary Fair
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: 1918 Whites Road, Pickering, ON

Ontario College Information Fair : www.ocif.ca
Dates: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. and
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: Enercare Centre, Toronto, ON

The New OSAP: Ontario’s Student Financial Aid Program Transformed
Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m.
Location: Pope Francis Centre – Durham Catholic District School Board
This presentation is open to any Durham Catholic parent or student in Grade 11 and 12. Another presentation will be offered to parents and students in Grades 9 and 10 in the spring.

University Information Program : www.ouf.ca/uip  
Date: November 8, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Clarington Central Secondary School, Bowmanville
Durham Catholic District School Board
650 Rossland Road West,
Oshawa, ON
Phone: 905-576-6150 | Visit us at dcdsb.ca