News from the Ottawa Catholic School Board

It is challenging to write an upbeat column following a month of deep division in our downtown core, the tragedy of war facing the Ukrainian people and the ongoing displays of hatred shown to people of colour. Yet I have hope and one of the main reasons for that hope is the students of the OCSB. #ocsbhope

Black Student Forum video

I need to look no further than to two Grade 12 Immaculata High School students, Temitayo and Christine, who chose to celebrate community and collective voice with their peers from across the board. These two change-makers and their fellow students participated in a Black Student Forum late last year and plan to make it an annual event. You can hear “their why” for being part of the Black Student Forum by checking out their video message on OCSB’s YouTube channel (

Student award-winning Black History Month videos

February was Black History Month, and our students celebrated on many fronts, including through a video competition. The videos showcased our students’ creativity and dedication to honouring excellence in the Black community. Immaculata High School shared first place with St. Paul High School. You can see all the elementary, intermediate and secondary gold, silver and bronze winners on the OCSB website.


OCSB is a world leader in Deep Learning, which prepares children for the future. Our educators know that students need to do more than memorize facts and figures. They need to create, connect and use information in various creative ways. From February 28 to March 4, OCSB students from kindergarten to Grade 12 participated in our second annual STEAM week, an opportunity to celebrate and explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math through learning activities and virtual events. I am confident that through science, technology, engineering, arts, math and faith, our students will design a better future based on gratitude rooted in joy, and that fills me with hope.

Indigenous Education

At a recent board meeting, I felt hope and confidence in the work underway by the OCSB Indigenous Education Team. Their commitment to listening, collaborating and improving our Indigenous students’ academic achievement and wellbeing was inspiring. Meanwhile, their steadfast devotion to increasing all students’ knowledge and awareness of Indigenous histories, cultures, perspectives and contributions was evident in their words and actions.

Indigenous Lead Alanna Trines told all in attendance that her role was to build relationships with our Indigenous community partners so together we could authentically embed the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action in our curriculum and our classrooms. The OCSB and its trustees are committed to doing that work.

Trines said work was already underway, including expanded Indigenous courses for grades 9-12 students. She noted substantial growth in student participation in these courses, both in-person and virtually. Trines acknowledged that more work needs to be done, but she could feel the support of students, educators, administrators, trustees and the greater school communities.

New initiatives are planned, including after-school programs, mural projects, Indigenous education courses for teachers, video series and OCSB Truth & Reconciliation Week. But the real hope can be seen in what is happening in our schools. Schools are learning about the Hoop Dance and how it acts as medicine for the mind, body and soul. During Indigenous Remembrance Day ceremonies, students reflected on and thanked the Indigenous men and women who fought with Canadian soldiers during the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. Knowledge brings about positive change. Knowledge building is happening in all OCSB schools and will continue to be shared with students of all ages.

As I end this column, I must recognize that OCSB lost a part of its heart on February 5. Trustee John Curry passed away suddenly. He was a vocal advocate for children with exceptionalities. He was a tireless supporter of Catholic education and a huge proponent of parent involvement in their children’s education. John’s death touched me deeply and I will miss him immensely, but I know John is watching over us and hoping we come together in peace and joy.

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