Having served as Chair of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, has certainly been one of the experiences of my life. I am honored to present this annual reflection, marking a significantyear of transition and change.
The past year has been one of transformation and new beginnings. One year ago, we bid farewell to the dedicated members of our previous board and welcomed a new Board of Trustees, including seven individuals stepping into the role for the first time. Their enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment to our students' well-being have been commendable, and their diverse perspectives have infused our board with renewed energy and vision.
Amidst these changes, we successfully navigated the challenges and intricacies of passing the 2023-2024 Budget, preserving the most essential resources and crucial support systems for our students, despite the funding shortfalls in critical areas, such as special education and transportation. This accomplishment stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to providing the best possible education, and resources for every child in our community. It is a reaffirmation of our pledge to prioritize the needs of our students and ensure that their educational journey is supported by robust and sustainable initiatives.
Furthermore, trustees new and old eagerly participated in the consultation and development of the new 2023-2027 Strategic Plan. Guided by the voices of our community members, we have crafted a strategic plan that reflects their aspirations and concerns, centering learning and education, well-being and happiness, and social and ethical responsibilities. This plan serves as a roadmap for our collective mission, and we are keen to take this forward, turning aspirations into tangible actions for every student under our care.
As we look ahead to the coming year, we remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a nurturing and stimulating educational experience for all, as a leading public education institution in Ontario. Through our collective efforts as trustees - alongside students, families and staff - we will continue to make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of all who put their trust in the OCDSB.
Located on the unceded and unsurrendered land of the Algonquin people, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) is an English public school board, which serves approximately 77,000 students in the City of Ottawa. As the largest school board in eastern Ontario, we are able to provide students with a wide variety of learning opportunities in our elementary and secondary schools and continuing education programs.
Everyone is welcome at the OCDSB. We are proud to support families of various faiths/creeds and students who represent more than 300 ethnic/cultural backgrounds. We believe every student has the right to learn, feel safe and welcome no matter their ancestry, background, ability, race, religion/creed, gender, or who they love.
Early Learning and Child Care supports for families include:
- 67 Licensed Extended Day programs supporting over 4,000 children in 2022-2023.
- 2 Licensed Early Learning Centres (Toddler [18 months] and Preschool [2-6 years]) supporting close to 100 children.
- 8 EarlyON Child and Family Centres supporting caregivers, child care providers and children, offering programs from birth to age 6. Children made an estimated 11,000 visits and adults made an estimated 7,531 visits to the Centres.
- 6 Early Learning Centres to support adult learners in English as a Second Language (ESL), Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC), and Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) programs with on-site childcare. The Centres provide care for 3,600 children.
- Child Care agreements with Third Party Operators in over 28 OCDSB Elementary Schools.
Secondary Programs and Pathways
Secondary students earn credits in a variety of subjects, including English, French (Core or Immersion), Math, and Science, and have the opportunity to learn through a range of pathways and specialized programs.
- International Baccalaureate
- High Performance Athletic Program
- Specialized High Skills Major Programs
- Secondary Alternate Programs
- Adult High School
- A secondary school dedicated to Arts education
- Launch Program
The OCDSB offers a diverse selection of courses and learning opportunities for students to choose from. These courses and opportunities support students in reaching their goals, motivate them to pursue more education, and help them identify and work towards a career pathway.
Each course option and learning opportunity can be seen as a first choice option if it meets the student’s interests and needs, helps them see opportunities available to them, and supports achievement of their goals.
2022-2023 highlights of some of these courses and learning opportunities include:
- Over 4,900 credits earned through part-time, full-time, paid, and virtual Cooperative Education.
- Over 528,545 hours logged working with community partners.
- 52 students enrolled as pre-apprentices or apprentices.
- Over 30 students enrolled in Level 1 schooling blocks across multiple trades.
- 4,600 students engaged in experiential learning opportunities.
- 620 students researched the lives of Black Soldiers and Nursing Sisters in WWI as part of Project True North.
- 149 students earned a credit at Algonquin College while working on their high school diploma.
- 45 students graduated through the School Within a College (SWAC) program, earning consecutive OCDSB and Algonquin College credits.
Our Continuing Education department offers a variety of programs for children and adults. Programs include Adult Cooperative Education; International Languages; Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) & Care for Newcomer Children; Non-credit English as a Second Language (ESL); Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) including Academic Upgrading, Workplace Training, and Adaptive Learning; and Night School and Summer School including subject, ESL and equity-based credit courses.
2022-2023 highlights of some of these programs and learning opportunities include:
International and Indigenous Languages Programs (IIL):
- 7,540 students attended the International and Indigenous Languages Program during the school year, summer program, and summer camp (including 7,140 IIL Elementary students and 400 camp attendees).
- 944 students registered in the International Languages secondary credit program.
Summer School and Night School:
- 4,920 secondary Summer School students enrolled (160 in Credit Recovery, 2,830 in Reach Ahead, 1,499 in eLearning, 296 in Co-Op, and 135 in Focus on Youth Co-Op).
- 596 elementary (grades 6-8) Summer School students enrolled.
- 1298 students participated in fall and winter Night School.
Outdoor Education (Bill Mason and MacSkimming Centres):
- 20,517 students attended the OCDSB Outdoor Education Centres (including 6,084 students through the “Every Student Attends” program).
- 796 classes visited the 502-acre classroom.
- 340 Indigenous students attended the Centres through a partnership with the OCDSB Indigenous Education Team.
- 2,197 adult learners participated in the Language Instruction Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program offered online and at four OCDSB locations. Onsite childcare was provided for infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the Care for Newcomer Childcare (CNC) program.
- 2,244 adult learners participated in the daytime and/or evening non-credit English as a Second Language (ESL) program offered online and at five OCDSB locations. Childcare was provided for infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the Ontario Works informal onsite program.
- 280 adult learners participated in the Academic Upgrading and Workplace Training and Adaptive Learning Program as part of Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS). Onsite childcare was provided for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
- 206 students participated in the Adult Secondary Credit Program.
- 2,469 students participated in the Literacy and Numeracy Program (during the school year and in the summer).
- 138 students participated in the Equity-Based programs (Black Youth and Rainbow Youth)
- 266 Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP) students.
STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE
The 2022-2023 school year marked the final year of the OCDSB's 2019-2023 Strategic Plan that was built upon changing practice and culture. This Strategic Plan has proven to be responsive in unexpected and unprecedented times by relying on culture statements in three key focus areas:
- Culture of Innovation
- Culture of Caring
- Culture of Social Responsibility
While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the implementation of the Strategic Plan in numerous ways, we have been able to successfully improve our capacity for change, rethink the 'how', navigate uncertain terrain, and build resilience. This has equipped us with the capacity to respond to a growing number of global and local challenges, such as the discovery of unmarked graves at residential school sites, the growth in understanding of human rights arising out of international and national events, warfare and conflict abroad, protests and their impact on our community, environmental change, and the release of educational studies, directions and reviews. The 2019-2023 Strategic Plan served as a beneficial compass in navigating such events and shaping our actions and reactions, informing our practice, and affecting our progress. In particular, these challenging events have also provided important lessons that informed the development of our 2023-2027 Strategic Plan.
2023-2027 Strategic Plan
The 2023-2027 Strategic Plan emerged through fulsome consultation with the OCDSB community in order to gather stories and feedback that allowed the Board to understand what the community thinks can be done to improve student learning and well-being in light of aforementioned global and local challenges. We gathered these stories through one-to-one conversations, small group conversations, large group meetings, electronic feedback, and school-based consultations. We used a range of strategies, across various formats and geographic locations, with support in multiple languages, to make participation as equitable and accessible as possible. As a result, the 2023-2027 Strategic Plan focuses on three key priority areas:
- Social Responsibility
For more information around this consultation process and the creation of the new Strategic Plan, we invite you to review the OCDSB’s Consultation Report and the Environmental Scan for the 2023-2027 Strategic Plan.
As we reflect on the last four years, we will be releasing a final report at the end of this year that consolidates our achievements and lessons throughout our implementation of the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan. In light of that forthcoming report and the launch of the 2023-2027 Strategic Plan, we will continue to embrace an approach which prioritizes listening, leveraging what we hear, and leading with care and purpose.
Promoting Equity and Inclusion
Ensuring our schools remain places where all students feel safe, welcome and a sense of belonging is a prerequisite for learning. The OCDSB Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Oppression team coordinates and leads efforts to address barriers and obstacles feel which prevent students from feeling comfortable at school and able to thrive. This work includes creating resources, leading workshops and developing partnerships with community organizations, faith-based groups and other key stakeholders.
In the 2022-2023 school year, a new Jewish Equity Instructional Coach position was created, to better support students, staff and families. In addition, a new Anti-Hate Toolkit was developed, and released in fall 2023.The new toolkit provides guidelines for addressing various forms of hate and oppression, learning modules for educational supports and supports for teachers and administrators to support students and families through incidents of hate and where harm transpired.
Work continued with our commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable educational environment by outlining a series of initiatives and partnerships aimed at promoting Indigenous, equity, and human rights values throughout the school year. Engaging with our community partners we worked closely with community leaders, including Dr. Sherazi, Rabbi Blum, the National Council of Canadian Muslim, Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship, and engaged in meaningful experiences like the Gurdwara visit and collaboration with the Muslim Working Group and Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
Programs and events
Various programs and events brought our school community together this year such as events like the Black History Month Assembly, celebrating and honouring Black history and culture.The Sankofa Centre served as a hub for Pathways presentations and drop-in resume workshops in collaboration with Jaku Konbit, continuing to empower and guide students towards their educational and career aspirations.
We strived to create identity-affirming spaces where students can feel a sense of belonging and support. These spaces include Google Hangouts, the Muslim Student Association, Gender Sexuality Alliance Club, Black Student Association, Jewish Student Association, and Employee Resource Groups, among others. The Black Youth Forum and Rainbow Youth Forum offered additional opportunities of support and belonging for students.
We proudly participated in the 2023 Capital Pride Parade, demonstrating our dedication to 2SLGBTQ+ rights and inclusion. The "Indigenous, Equity, and Human Rights Road Trip'' initiative was also instrumental in transforming our school cultures for students, staff, and families, exemplifying our commitment to fostering a more equitable and inclusive learning environment.
Resources and workshops
Our efforts extended to creating valuable resources, hosting workshops, and establishing data collection mechanisms, all designed to support our students in embracing the core values of learning, social responsibility, and well-being. We prioritized inclusivity by training spiritual care leaders, Principal Qualification Program candidates, and Aspiring leaders, responding to numerous daily requests from various stakeholders. We fostered partnerships with local and national 2SLGBTQ+ organizations and conducted student workshops (grades 4-12) on "Gender and Sexual Diversity and Allyship." These endeavors underscore our ongoing commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and socially responsible educational community.
Our commitment to capacity building is evident in our staff professional development which included:
- A Teachable Moment on Islamophobia: This virtual webinar explores common myths about Muslims and how Islamophobia is impacting our schools and classrooms.
- Addressing Transphobia, Biphobia, and Homophobia: A virtual webinar that provides OCDSB staff with tools and resources to understand, prevent, and interrupt transphobic, biphobic, and homophobic hate within classrooms, schools, and departments.
- Power of Language: Addressing Bias, Discrimination and Hate in Schools: This in-person workshop explored the impact of harmful language and strategies to interrupt and address harmful language in schools.
- The learning series, "Foundations in Equity and Anti-Oppression". This series was created in collaboration with Nicole West Burns, whose focus is on educational equity issues and dismantling anti-Black racism in education for administrators and their teams.
The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) has released board and school level results for provincial assessments conducted during the 2022-2023 school year.
The OCDSB’s EQAO achievement results are largely on par with results across the province. The percentage of students meeting or exceeding the provincial standard in elementary ranges from 1% below the province to 2% above. OCDSB secondary results are slightly higher than the province.
This is the second set of annually released provincial assessment data since several changes in administration of the assessment, and the establishment of a new baseline in 2021-2022. Both datasets are based on a destreamed mathematics curriculum, the new EQAO assessment frameworks, changes in reporting, and electronic administration.
Throughout 2022-2023, the OCDSB provided programming and opportunities to amplify student voices, support safety and well-being, help students explore future pathways, and celebrate the diverse identities that students bring to our District.
Events like Launch 2022, the All About High School Information Session, and the Tech and Trades Exploration Night offered students a chance to explore exciting pathways available to them in high school and beyond. Through the Innovation and Adolescent Learning department, students could engage in hands-on history research through Project 'True' North; gain small business skills in our Entrepreneurship Pilot Project; and meet industry experts through Pioneers of Trades. Meanwhile, our Continuing Education department offered a range of programs including international and Indigenous languages, literacy and numeracy support, and outdoor education.
Students engaged in learning about equity and inclusion by participating in dates of significance including Orange Shirt Day, Black History Month, Pride Month, and many others. To complement this learning, throughout the year, we offered identity-based virtual hangouts, events like the Black Youth Forum, and Rainbow Youth Fourm, an Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Road Trip, and other opportunities for students to share their identities, voices, and lived experiences. In addition, thanks to the advocacy of OCDSB students, the District began providing access to free menstrual products in our schools through the Menstrual Equity initiative.
To build a safe and positive school climate for everyone, the OCDSB launched a new anonymous reporting option in 2022 for students looking to share concerns about the well-being and safety of themselves or others. We have expanded this offering in 2023 with our new Safe Schools Reporting Tool. We also offered resources to support students with their mental well-being, including Mental Health Week tip sheets created in partnership with OCDSB students, and virtual summer Stress Lessons facilitated by OCDSB mental health professionals.
The OCDSB is committed to enhancing parent involvement within schools and across the District. We committed to building equitable and supportive partnerships with parents and caregivers through events, resources, School Council activities, and consultations.
The OCDSB brought together families for our Reconnect & Renew Parent Conference at Ridgemont High School. The event featured a keynote speech on resilience-building by Dr. Michael Cheng from CHEO and workshops in multiple languages. We presented four Speaker Series events with experts who discussed digital parenting, social media, mental health, and nurturing children’s love of learning. Our In Conversation with OCDSB podcast continued to share tips and resources from OCDSB staff, with episodes on the Joy of Reading and Digital Citizenship.
Throughout the year, we supported families through information sessions on speech and language skills, supporting trans and gender diverse youth, transition planning for students with developmental disabilities, and other topics. In addition, the Student Achievement Through Equity (SATE) department held literacy sessions at schools, providing practical tools to help parents build their children’s literacy skills.
The OCDSB strengthened connections between school and home by creating resources for School Councils and providing training on "Creating An Atmosphere Of Belonging At The School Council Table". Councils launched initiatives funded by the Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Grant to engage parents and caregivers and build their capability in anti-racism, equity/anti-oppression, and food sovereignty.
Families had several opportunities to engage in consultations. When setting the direction and developing objectives for our 2023-2027 Strategic Plan, we used a range of consultation strategies, with support in multiple languages, to make participation as equitable and accessible as possible. We also conducted a School Climate Survey, where we heard from more than 8,700 parents/caregivers about families’ experiences in school, specifically in the areas of engagement, environment, safety, and well-being. Finally, families had the opportunity to share feedback on our revised Field Trips Policy and Board Member Code of Conduct Policy.
Growing Our Community
The OCDSB continues to expand to support our growing community.
In January 2023, students and staff moved into Shingwàkons Public School in Stittsville. We also announced the name of our new elementary school in Barrhaven’s Half Moon Bay community, Wazoson Public School. This school will officially open for students and staff in January 2024. Later that year, a new high school will open in Stittsville.
This comes in addition to further construction underway. In the spring of 2023, the Ontario government granted approval to proceed to award the tender for construction for two new schools. With these much anticipated approvals, the OCDSB was able to move forward with the construction of a new elementary school in Findlay Creek and a new high school in Riverside South.
To welcome families into the OCDSB and help their children prepare for their education journey, we held more than 120 Kindergarten and High School Information Nights across the city. During these sessions, schools opened their doors to the community, introduced families to the staff team, answered questions, and provided information to help families navigate the transition to kindergarten and high school.
We also opened our Outdoor Education Centres to the public during Open Trails days in the fall and spring. The MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre and Bill Mason Centre provide students with 550 acres for outdoor learning adventures. Our much-anticipated Open Trails events allow the community to experience these unique, biodiverse environments.
Collaborating with Staff
Throughout 2022-2023, the OCDSB grew and supported its staff team through a wide range of professional development sessions, resources, engagement opportunities, and recruitment strategies.
During Professional Activity Days, staff engaged in training about topics including student mental health and well-being; anti-human sex trafficking; online safety and cyber protection; fostering student voice and agency; addressing learning challenges; supporting multilingual learners; and more.
Additional professional development opportunities included a Learning About Leadership series to build leadership capacity; a session on Building Thinking Classrooms with author Peter Liljedahl in support of destreaming; sessions focused on identifying and addressing antisemitism, Islamophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia; Power of Language workshops on addressing harmful language in schools; and other training opportunities.
A new staff edition of the "In Conversation with OCDSB" podcast series was launched to provide resources, ideas, and inspiration to support staff in helping students reach their fullest potential. The first episode featured a discussion by OCDSB staff on speech and language disorders and tips for the classroom.
The District also regularly shared resources to support staff with embedding equity in their daily classroom learning, leveraging technology tools, engaging classes in conversations about mental health, and more.
The OCDSB Educator School Climate Survey invited Principals, Vice-Principals, school-based educators, and educational support staff for Kindergarten through to Adult Education to share feedback about the experiences of students and families in their school with things like engagement, safety, and bullying. More than 2,100 staff completed the survey, helping us understand how our school communities are doing, so that necessary improvements can be made to the learning environment.
Careers - Make a real difference at the OCDSB
At the OCDSB, we believe that every staff member, regardless of role, identity, or background, can make a real difference to support student learning. While education staffing remains a challenge across Ontario, the OCDSB has undertaken significant efforts to address this issue.
Throughout the school year, we have continued to hire casual and occasional staff, augmenting the pool of available replacements.
In our pursuit of sustainable staffing solutions, a minimum of one permanent occasional teacher position was established in all elementary schools, along with permanent Educational Assistant (EA) positions in select schools. This strategic allocation allows for flexible deployment to fill behind absent employees.
To diversify our talent pool, we reached out to retired staff, inviting them to consider casual work. In addition to central lists, schools have created emergency lists of replacements for situations where the absence cannot be filled through the usual replacement processes.
In our commitment to fostering leadership, we introduced the Aspiring Leaders Development Program, engaging teachers interested in advancing their careers within the OCDSB. To better understand our applicant demographics and inform future recruitment practices, we have implemented the collection of voluntary self-identification data in the principal and vice-principal selection process.
Collaboration with partners plays a crucial role in connecting with students and potential staff at the outset of their careers. Our partnerships include initiatives with Queens University and the Eastern Ontario Staff Development Network, offering opportunities for completing a Bachelor of Education while working in a French classroom assignment. We have also collaborated with the Ministry of Education in a pilot project involving French-speaking teachers from France working in OCDSB classrooms.
Outreach efforts extend to post-secondary institutions, encouraging the hiring of students completing practicums and co-op placements as emergency replacements. Partnerships with post-secondary institutions were formed to increase student placements for Teachers and Early Childhood Educators. And, we've hosted job fairs and participated in career events across Ontario and beyond, engaging with potential candidates.
These collaborative endeavors are instrumental in shaping the future of education at the OCDSB.
Across the District, school communities offered innovative learning activities, nurtured a sense of social responsibility, and created caring environments that fostered equity and well-being. Visit our Classroom Chronicles page to read stories of students, staff, families, and community partners who made an impact in OCDSB schools and beyond.
Board of Trustees
The twelve trustees of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board are elected for a four-year term through the municipal election process. The current Board of Trustees was elected in October 2022 and will serve until November 2026. The Board also has two student trustees.
The Board helps shape public education by setting priorities for student achievement and well-being. The Board does this through its strategic plan, the development of policies, and the adoption of the annual budget.
OCDSB Welcomes Newly-Elected Trustees
In November 2022, we said goodbye to our previous Board of Trustees and welcomed a new Board. The trustees were sworn-in at a public meeting on November 15th and serve a four-year term.
As part of our process to introduce trustees to the OCDSB, the five returning and seven newly-elected trustees participated in an extensive orientation program throughout the entire school year to learn more about their roles and responsibilities under the Education Act. Learn more.
OCDSB Submission: Bill 98, Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, 2023
In April, the Ontario government put forward Bill 98: Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, 2023 which proposed sweeping changes to the Education Act, with increased provincial direction in a number of areas. As part of the legislative process, Board Chair Lyra Evans spoke to the draft legislation at the Ontario Standing Committee on Social Policy on the various components of the Bill. On behalf of the Board, the Chair expressed concerns about the scope and breadth of these changes and their potential adverse impact on the local autonomy of school boards to act in the best interests of their communities. Read our full submission.
Bill 98 passed later in the spring. The Board of Trustees will continue to work with the Ministry as government moves forward with the next stages of this legislation which was passed in the spring of 2023.
Board of Trustees Approves 2023-2024 Budget
The 2023-2024 OCDSB operating budget of $1.1 billion and capital budget of $140.3 million was approved. Highlights include:
- $10.8 million for school renewal and $51.7 million for school condition improvement.
- An increase of 173.43 staff for a total of 8,500.38 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff.
- $2.0 million increase in spending on special education bringing the total to $139.8 million.
- $500,000 investment in wellness and training for staff.
- $300,000 investment in green/composting initiatives.
- $300,000 investment in student learning supports.
In 2006, the Ontario Education Act statutorily established the role of the student trustee. In the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, there are two student trustees. Elected by the student body, the student trustees represent the voices of all students within the district.
The student trustees for the 2022-2023 academic year were Antong Hou and Tabarak Al-Delaimi. Antong Hou was a Grade 12 student at West Carleton Secondary School and Tabarak Al-Delaimi was a Grade 12 student at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School.
Through the course of the school year, the student trustees were actively involved in a number of areas, including Student Senate restructuring, gathering feedback to advance equity and inclusion, providing student perspectives during staff professional development, and engaging with students via social media.
The student trustees are part of the Student Senate. This is an official OCDSB committee composed of one Student Senator from each secondary and alternate site. The Student Senate is responsible for representing the views of secondary school students to the OCDSB, meeting monthly to advise the student trustees on issues affecting students.
Throughout the 2022-2023 academic year, the Student Senate has discussed the potential implementation of a mask mandate, Menstrual Equity Initiative, OCDSB Cares, 2023-2027 OCDSB Strategic Plan, 2023-2024 OCDSB Budget, OCDSB Composting Initiative, and more.
Student Trustees 2022-2023
Student Trustees 2023-2024
Director’s Executive Council 2022-2023
This year's report serves as a testament to our resilience, adaptability, and unwavering dedication to providing the best possible educational experience for our students.
The Director of Education’s senior team, known as the Director’s Executive Council is composed of two Associate Directors, two Executive Officers, 10 Superintendents both on the business and instructional side, General Counsel and the Human Rights and Equity Advisor.
Student, Community, and Staff Awards
The OCDSB takes great pride in acknowledging the achievements and contributions of staff, students, families, and community members. Each year, we present award programs – the Student Recognition Awards and Excellence in Equity Student Recognition Awards; the Director’s Citation Awards and Employee Recognition Awards; and the Community Recognition Awards – to celebrate the positive impact that these outstanding individuals have made in the OCDSB community.
Education Foundation of Ottawa
What is the Education Foundation of Ottawa?
The Education Foundation of Ottawa, or the “EFO” as you may hear it called, is in place as the independent charitable arm of the OCDSB. Our mission is to reduce economic barriers impacting student learning and well-being through financial and in-kind support for students within the Board.
We do this work by providing access to food security inside and outside of school hours, other basic needs including clothing, school supplies, and vision care, and we also support OCDSB students with access to recreational and enrichment opportunities.
Why is this work so important?
With the OCDSB serving 50% of Ottawa’s student population, approximately 75,000 students, you can imagine that many students are in need. One in five students in our city live in poverty and this level of need is forever changing. Students who weren’t in need before are finding themselves in need now, and those who were in need before are still in need now, and then some. We know many factors contribute to student success, and they all don’t have to do with academics. A lot of the time, we know that these external factors take precedence before students even step foot in the classroom.
What were some significant highlights from last year (2022-2023)?
We made a significant impact in 2022-2023. Here are a few examples:
- The Education Foundation of Ottawa processed over 1500 requests for support in the total amount of almost $300,000.
- Two thousand backpacks with school supplies were delivered to 20 schools for students in need.
- We increased the amount of funds provided for awards and bursaries to support post-secondary studies and school projects by $7000 to total over $60,000.
- The EFO was able to provide $28,000 to students in Autism classes to learn important water safety skills.
- Our Eyes to A's Vision Care Program hosted seven vision clinics in OCDSB schools to provide students with free vision screenings and glasses.
- Our 2023 Toonie Tuesday campaign raised $60,438.70 with 91% of our schools participating in our annual signature fundraiser.
Can you share a specific example of how you were able to help a student in need last year?
It is difficult to choose one story, but here is an example: There was a student who was admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario with a rare condition. The parents were self-employed and had to take time off work to be with their child while in hospital. Considering they did not have 3rd party insurance and to help alleviate some financial stress during this difficult time, the Education Foundation of Ottawa was able to provide a gift card for groceries. Even though we couldn’t take all of their stress away, they reported that they were very grateful for the support.
Can you briefly describe some exciting activities you have planned for the year ahead?
In the 2023-24 school year, we want to increase the community’s knowledge of the Education Foundation of Ottawa. Not only is it important for families to know how to access support, but it is crucial for our sustainability that individuals and groups know how to contribute to the work of the Foundation. We have many students in need and due to the climate of our economy, more and more families are relying on the Education Foundation of Ottawa for help.
We also want to encourage the collective effort of OCDSB employees enrolling to enroll in the payroll deduction program as a way to extend our reach and anticipate our level of support. As Coretta Scott King once said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members."
Donate now or Learn more about the Education Foundation of Ottawa.
The Ottawa-Carleton Education Network (OCENET)
The Ottawa-Carleton Education Network (OCENET) is a recognized leader in international education for its innovative programs in promoting intercultural competency. OCENET is a nonprofit organization which serves as the international education division of the OCDSB.
For over 20 years, the OCDSB has hosted more than 12,000 students and educators from all corners of the world in its elementary and secondary schools. OCENET is committed to providing cross-cultural opportunities for the international students who come to study in Ottawa and to developing intercultural competencies amongst OCDSB students and educators. Because of its many innovative and unique initiatives, OCENET is widely acknowledged as a leader in international education within Canada and around the world.