In 2016–2017, Renfrew County Catholic District School Board focused on the key priorities of equity and inclusion, which align with Ontario’s Ministry of Education goals to remove barriers for student achievement and well-being. This annual report provides several examples of RCCDSB’s focus on these priorities, which reflect the four pillars—Wholeness & Wellness, Achievement & Potential, Dignity & Belonging and Witness & Integrity—of our five-year strategic plan.
REACH Day, for instance, was designed to increase Resilience, Empathy, Acceptance, Community and Hope among the students transitioning to high school. The day, which built on the Board’s pillar of Wellness, involved team-building activities with Grade 11 students acting as peer mentors for Grade 8 students, and included community partners who made students aware of services and resources available to them.
The Board’s Mental Health Steering Committee also held a Wellness Week during the year. Titled “Resilience from FAITH in Action!” the week linked Virtue-centred days with resiliency skills from the Eastern Ontario Catholic Curriculum Corporation, and included community-building activities. Morning announcements focused on the daily virtues—1) faith, hope & love, 2) prudence, 3) justice and forgiveness, 3) temperance, and 5) fortitude, which were followed by classroom activities and prayer services.
Other wellness activities included PINK week, and Amplify, a youth summit to motivate and support young people to make positive change in their community. Students could also submit grant proposals to enhance the school experience for all youth through student voice and action.
The RCCDSB’s e-Learning program had more than 120 students from Bishop Smith Catholic High School, St. Joseph’s High School, and across the province enrolled during 2016–2017. In September 2017, the Board began offering a Virtual and Blended Learning School for students in Grades 4 to 12.
RCCDSB school teams also had a string of successes at Eastern Ontario’s Destination Imagination® Challenge tournament in 2016–2017. One of RCCDSB’s elementary school teams received a special recognition award, while a total of five teams qualified for the provincial tournament.
Teaching staff and students at RCCDSB continued to work with the Eastern Ontario Staff Development Network on the Mathematics project for student achievement. The project’s focus on learner profiles for students with learning disabilities is considered a key to equity and inclusion for these students.
The Director’s Annual Report also provides details about the favourable outcomes our students achieved in the provincial EQAO testing.
Building on the RCCDSB’s pillar of Dignity and Belonging, the RCCDSB and the Canadian Office of Professional Employees offered students with special needs an opportunity to participate in a Special Olympics Sports Festival on June 7. Fifty-seven athletes from Grades 1 to 12 participated in the event at Bishop Smith Catholic High School. BSCH students provided leadership to the athletes throughout the day.
A group of Special Education Resource Teachers (SERTs) from the RCCDSB established a Special Education Best Practice Working Group in January 2017. In researching effective inclusion practices across Canada, the group determined that many of the inclusion practices already in place at RCCDSB are cause for celebration.
As well, the Board focused on several Indigenous Education initiatives to promote equity and inclusiveness in 2016–2017. This work continues in 2017–2018 with a designated Superintendent to focus on Indigenous Education programming.
As part of the Board’s focus on the pillar of Witness and Integrity, Catholic Education Week involved a number of activities from a poster contest to gardening and fundraising for charities, prayers and special masses. The Board’s parish priests, school principals and vice-principals also were invited to attend a special session during the week.
“Looking back on the year, we have much to be proud of,” said Director of Education Jaimie Perry. “We are proud of the increased focus on dignity and belonging in all facets of RCCDSB learning.”
November 27, 2017
For further information, please contact:
Jaimie Perry, Director of Education
Renfrew County Catholic District School Board
499 Pembroke Street West
Pembroke, ON K8A 5P1
Phone: 613-735-1031 or 1-800-267-0191