DCDSB News: October 2021

Posted On Friday October 01, 2021

DCDSB News: October 2021 
A monthly newsletter to keep parents and guardians informed of DCDSB news, events, and highlights.

Message from the Chair of the Board and the Director of Education
Canada is a country that is blessed to experience four beautiful, awe-inspiring seasons each year. As we begin to see the green of summer make way for the vibrant colours of fall, we traditionally pause with family and friends to gather and give thanks.  

As a Community of Faith, there is so much to be thankful for this October. Our students are back in school, learning either in-person or virtually. While the pandemic has had an immeasurable impact on everyone’s lives, we now take notice of the small things like the sound of students’ voices playing in the yard at recess and the joy of being able to reconnect with friends, and colleagues. Please read the full message on our website.

Tulips for Truth
On September 30, 2021 we observed the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day. This day commemorates the tragic effects of residential schools in Canada and the continuing impacts on Indigenous communities while seeking to ensure that the devastating history and ongoing legacy of residential schools is never forgotten.

In recognition of the lives lost, the DCDSB launched Tulips for Truth. As part of this initiative 25,000 tulips were planted in honour of the Indigenous peoples whose lives have been lost due to the residential school system. DCDSB staff, students and families are invited to donate towards the planting of each tulip. All funds raised from the Tulips for Truth initiative will go to The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

DCDSB students will be engaging in further learning about the history of Residential Schools in Canada and the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Please visit the DCDSB’s Residential Schools in Canada webpage and Indigenous Education Resources webpage for further information and suggested resources. 

Community of Faith: St. Mary Catholic Secondary School 
At the Durham Catholic District School Board, the spiritual theme this year calls us to reflect on what it means to be A Community of Faith. At St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, the Retreat Leadership Class is doing just that.

Please click here to view a video with students and staff involved in the Retreat Leadership Course at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School.

Post-Secondary Education Virtual Information Sessions 
Grade 9-12 students and families are invited to learn more about:

  • Post-Secondary Programs
  • Application Processes

Q&A Sessions to follow with Student Recruitment Officers from Ontario Institutions.

Ontario Colleges and Apprenticeships: October 6, 2021 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Click here to access the Microsoft Teams event.

Ontario Universities: October 7, 2021 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Click here to access the Microsoft Teams event.

For further information and to download the poster please visit our website.

Franco-Ontarian Day
Le Conseil scolaire catholique de la région de Durham reconnaît la riche culture des francophones et francophiles vivant en Ontario et leurs contributions importantes dans les communautés de langue française de  notre province. Au soutien de nos communautés francophones, nous avons célébré la Journée des Franco-Ontariens le vendredi 24 septembre 2021. L'école secondaire catholique Notre-Dame a organisé une cérémonie en plein air avec les élèves secondaires et le personnel du programme de français langue seconde où nous avons fièrement élevé le drapeau Franco-Ontarien ensemble.

The Durham Catholic District School Board recognizes the rich culture of Francophones living in Ontario and the significant contributions of the French-speaking community in this province. In support of the Francophone community in Ontario, we celebrated Franco-Ontarian Day on Friday, September 24, 2021. Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School hosted an outdoor ceremony with our French-speaking secondary students and staff, and we proudly raised the Franco-Ontarian Flag together.

DCDSB Student Indigenous Advisory Circle: Learning on the Land
On September 22, 2021, students from the DCDSB’s Student Indigenous Advisory Circle engaged in learning on the land at Cedar Valley Conservation Area in Oshawa. Seven students in Grades 7-12 from across DCDSB joined Beedahbin Peltier who led students in learning about plant knowledge and traditional Anishinaabe plant medicine. Beedahbin started with discussing Gabaa'aagemish (sweet fern, also known as Comptonia peregina) and the ways sweet fern can be harvested and used to heal gut issues and help with digestion and stress. Students were invited to sample sweet fern tea as part of this learning.

In Anishinaabeg tradition, newborns are provided with the gift of land (such as dirt) in one hand, and a shaker in the other hand. Newborn babies are then wrapped in a receiving towel that is soaked in sweet fern. Babies are wrapped in this way as it mimics the feeling of the womb and introduces them to a specific microbiome.

Students were taught ways to view, respect and learn about the land and plants. For example, students were encouraged to question what communication are these plants telling us? What do they do in nature, where does it live, what lives with it, what does it do for nature, and what does it do for us? An emphasis was placed on respecting nature and looking after it – not just ourselves. Students were encouraged to think about harvesting and interacting with nature in sustainable ways as we want to ensure future generations will still have access to these plants and the land.

Beedahbin discussed ways traditional plant medicines can help keep hormones in balance, ways to access zinc to be used as a natural sunscreen and ways to use plants to heal the itch of a mosquito bite.

Beedahbin also explained that in traditional Anishinaabeg culture, the children’s job is to spread seeds, teen/young adults are there to harvest, adults are to harvest and process, and the elder’s job is to share knowledge and "keep up with the youth"!

DCDSB would like to thank Beedahbin Peltier and our Student Indigenous Education Advisory Circle students for joining us in this learning on the land. Miigwech (thank you)!

The next Student Indigenous Education Advisory Circle will take place on November 25, 2021. We welcome new Grade 7-12 students to join the circle, and encourage students to contact us at IndigenousEducation@dcdsb.ca to learn more.

Working With Your School to Access Support for Your Child’s Mental Health
If you’re concerned about your child or teen’s mental health or general well-being, you can work with your school to help make sure your child gets the support they need. Early identification of mental health concerns can help prevent future problems.

The best place to start is by having a conversation with your child’s classroom teacher. If you’re comfortable, you may wish to share information such as situations your child has dealt with that may impact their mental health; approaches that seem to help your child; and behaviours that you’ve been noticing at home. You may want to ask their teacher if they’ve noticed similar behaviours at school. Having an open and honest discussion will help you figure out together, the best way to help.

Educators and other school staff are trained on how to create mentally healthy classrooms and how to recognize when a student may be struggling and in need of additional help. Educators aren’t mental health professionals; but they do have an important role to play in the circle of support for students.

After this initial step, you or the school may request a School Team Meeting, which would include you, your child’s teacher, school administrator and potentially other school or board-level staff. Together, you can establish a plan for how to support your child. This may include involvement of board-level mental health professionals, and/or some suggestions for where you might seek additional support in the community.

Another venue for accessing support is through the Social Work Access Line. Durham Catholic students and families can call our Social Work Access Line and leave a voicemail with their contact information. One of our mental health professionals will call back and provide support. Note that this is not a crisis line and is not monitored 24/7. The phone number for the Access line is 905-576-6150, ext. 21021, or you can complete the online form on our website

Student Spotlight
Welcome to Student Spotlight, an opportunity to meet and learn about our DCDSB students and how they are promoting Excellence, Equity and Engagement.

This month, we are pleased to introduce our 2021-2022 Student Trustees, Declan Amaral and Sophie Nwaoha. Please click here to view the October Student Spotlight with our Student Trustees.

Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day
Halloween (October 31) or All Hallows' Eve is not a liturgical feast on the Catholic calendar, but the celebration has deep ties to the Liturgical Year. The three days — Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day — call us to remember the Communion of Saints. Saints or holy people are called "hallowed," hence the name "All Hallow's Day." The evening before the feast became popularly known as "All Hallows' Eve" or even shorter, "Hallowe'en." Halloween takes place in advance of the two upcoming feasts of All Saints and All Souls Day! On All Saints Day, we rejoice and honour the saints, canonized and uncanonized in heaven and ask the Saints' intercession for us. On All Souls Day (November 2) and throughout the month of November, we remember and pray for those who have died. Click here to view an All Saints Day Prayer.

ShareLife Poster Competition 
ShareLife is hosting their 14th annual ShareLife Poster Contest. Please visit the ShareLife website for further information.

Ontario Tech University STEM Opportunities for Students
Ontario Tech University has a variety of STEM clubs and opportunities available for students. To learn more visit the Ontario Tech University Engineering Outreach website.

Upcoming Events 
October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary, Autism Awareness Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month, Dyslexia Awareness Month, Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, Principals Month, K-12 Cyber Awareness Month and International Walk to School Month.

Important dates and upcoming events in October 2021 are listed below:

  • Oct. 1 - Deadline to submit self-nomination form for the Durham Catholic Parent Involvement Committee (DCPIC)
  • Oct. 1 - Deadline to apply for the Métis Nation of Ontario Christmas Gift Program
  • Oct. 2 - National Custodian Appreciation Day
  • Oct. 4 - Vigil in Honour of the Lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Gender Diverse People
  • Oct. 4 – 8 - Safe and Accepting Schools Week
  • Oct. 5 - World Teachers' Day
  • Oct. 5 - Special Education Advisory Committee Meeting
  • Oct. 6 - Post-Secondary Education Virtual Information Session 6:30-8:30 p.m. Topics: Ontario Colleges and Apprenticeships. Access via Microsoft Teams.
  • Oct. 6 - Pop-up Walk-in COVID-19 Second Dose Vaccine Clinic at St. Mary CSS at 4:30 - 5:30 p.m
  • Oct. 7 - Post-Secondary Education Virtual Information Session 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Topic: Ontario Universities. Access via Microsoft Teams.
  • Oct. 7 - National Walk to School Day
  • Oct. 7 - Victim Services of Durham is hosting a Parents and Prevention: Sex Trafficking During COVID-19 Workshop from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Registration is required.
  • Oct. 7 - Durham Catholic Parent Involvement Committee (DCPIC) Meeting
  • Oct. 7 - Pop-up Walk-in COVID-19 Second Dose Vaccine Clinic at Monsignor John Pereyma CSS at 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 8 - PA Day for both Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Oct. 10 - World Mental Health Day
  • Oct. 11 - Thanksgiving (Statutory Holiday)
  • Oct. 14 - Pop-up Walk-in COVID-19 Second Dose Vaccine Clinic at Father Leo J. Austin CSS at 4:30 - 7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 18 - Pop-up Walk-in COVID-19 Second Dose Vaccine Clinic at Archbishop Denis O'Connor CHS at 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 22 - Pop-up Walk-in COVID-19 Second Dose Vaccine Clinic at Father Donald McLellan CSS/ Arch. Anthony Meagher CCEC Ajax at 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 18-24 - Waste Reduction Week in Canada
  • Oct. 23 - School Mental Health Ontario/Wisdom2Action: Let’s Get (Lit)erate on Mental Health virtual forum
  • Oct. 24-30 - Spiritual and Pastoral Care Week
  • Oct. 25 - DCDSB Board Meeting
  • Oct. 25 - Pop-up Walk-in COVID-19 Second Dose Vaccine Clinic at Arch. Anthony Meagher CCEC Whitby at 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 26 - Pop-up Walk-in COVID-19 Second Dose Vaccine Clinic at Arch. Anthony Meagher CCEC Oshawa at 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 27 - Dress Purple Day in support of child abuse prevention
  • Oct. 29 - Chaplain's Appreciation Day
  • Oct. 30 - School Mental Health Ontario/Wisdom2Action: Equity and Identity X Mental Health at School virtual forum
  • Nov. 1-5 - Treaties Recognition Week
  • Nov. 2 - All Souls Day
  • Nov. 3 - Grade 9 Virtual Take Our Kids to Work Day (note: Grade 9 students will attend classes as scheduled at their school and will have access to virtual resources and materials. Further details will be shared with Grade 9 students and families from their school)
  • Nov. 4 - Durham Catholic Parent Involvement Committee (DCPIC) Meeting

Please visit our calendar for more important dates and upcoming events.