Sunday, 26 August 2018

Back to School Blog - Week of August 27th

I  would personally like to welcome back our entire All Saints School Community to the 2018-2019 school year. There have been a number of new staff who have joined our ranks, and you are welcome to meet them at our “Meet the Staff” evening on September 20th, from 4:30 to 6:30pm. Our Office Administrators and Custodians have been working through the summer to ensure we are ready for our start. We thank them for their efforts in preparing our environment. We have been focusing on elements of our school improvement plan and the initiatives we would like to bring to our students and school community this year. Our Board theme this year, Seek Justice, Love Kindness and Mercy, Walk humbly with God, will provide us with a challenge over the next three years  
to explore our growth in faith in three distinct ways:

YEAR ONE (2018-19): SEEK JUSTICE. How do we live our faith in action? Do we appreciate Catholic Social Teachings and the Social Doctrine of our faith?

YEAR TWO (2019-20): LOVE KINDNESS AND MERCY. How do we live our faith in our relationship with others?

YEAR THREE (2020-21): WALK HUMBLY WITH GOD. We are called to live an authentic faith, close to our God in lifelong discovery leading to transformation.

I am looking forward to sharing my own goals in person with you, however, I will let our students know that I am focusing on the following areas this year:
  1. Facilitating innovative student and staff learning and opportunity.
  2. Participating in staff/student faith development, wellness and safety initiatives.
  3. Networking with other educators and share our All Saints learning approaches
During our grade level assemblies and classroom visits scheduled for the first couple of weeks of school, our school administration team and student services personnel will review common expectations and provide direction for support if students need assistance. I wish all of our students, staff, parents and guardians a great school year!

The Ministry of Education has committed to comprehensive public consultation to inform changes to a variety of education topics including: mathematics, Health and Physical Education, EQAO, Parent Bill of Rights, and the grades 1-8 health and physical education curriculum. Parents have likely heard the discussion of the review of the sexual education component of this curriculum. The Ministry has released a 2018 Health and Physical Education Interim edition curriculum based on the revised 2010 curriculum.

However, Catholic Boards will continue to use the ICE (Institute for Catholic Education) program “Fully Alive” to teach areas of personal relationships for our Gr. 1 - 8 students. At All Saints, our 7&8 religion teachers have been teaching the areas related to human sexuality within the family life curriculum. As noted by the Ontario Catholic School Trustee Association, “Through use of the Fully Alive program materials, Catholic teachers will continue to present the issue of human sexuality within the fullness of a faith-based family life curriculum that teaches the content of our faith, the value of persons, human relationships, commitment, and social responsibility. As has been our tradition in Catholic education, the safety and well-being of students remains our priority and is reflected in the curriculum we deliver in our classrooms.”

First Day of School Procedures

Grade 7 students will go to the Cafetorium and their teacher will call their names and bring the class to their room. Grade 8 students will go down towards the 7/8 wing on the first floor and their names and homerooms will be posted on the wall on the right side of the hall just before entering the 7/8 wing. Student peer helpers will be on hand to help direct students.  Grade 9 & 10 students will check the lists posted in the atrium for the room number of their homeroom. They will go to their homeroom where they will receive their schedule.  Grade 11 students will check the lists posted on the windows in the hall on the second floor (front and back of school) for the room number of their homeroom. They will go to their homeroom where they will receive their schedule.

Grade 12 students will check the lists posted on the windows in the hall on the third floor (front and back of school) for the room number of their homeroom. They will go to their homeroom where they will receive their schedule.

Peer Helpers will be on hand to help students find their homerooms.  A verification sheet, including home contact information, will be sent home with each student on Tuesday - it needs to be carefully checked over and signed by parents and returned on Wednesday.

If your child has asthma please note the Ministry requires you to complete a medical form for your child. You can find the form on our School Website.

Parents are asked to create an online payment account for each of their children at All Saints. The option to use credit cards is now available at You will get a receipt for all payments made. The student fee ($30 per student with a maximum of $60 per family) is due as soon as possible this week and may be paid online. If you have two or more students you just choose one child at a time and choose the option for (first, second, third…) child.

Students eligible for Presto cards can pick these up at the school on Wednesday.  Those who do not pick them up prior to school starting will be called to the office, however, will need to make their own way to school on Tuesday.

Information regarding Technology use from Our Board
At the Ottawa Catholic School Board, we believe that it is our shared responsibility as educators and parents/guardians to ensure that students are equipped to behave as responsible Digital Citizens in an increasingly complex digital world. It is likely that starting in their elementary years, many children have already gained access to the internet, perhaps even outside of the home or the classroom, in an unsupervised environment, such as through a friend’s phone.

Staff at OCSB work diligently with students each year to ensure that they are using digital tools in appropriate, productive and responsible ways to support their learning. Our Board has developed a series of age-appropriate lessons for each grade level from Kindergarten to Grade 12 through the Samaritans on the Digital Road program. This curriculum is designed to develop students’ understanding that their citizenship and efforts to live gospel values extends to their presence in the digital world.

Please take the time to visit the Samaritans on the Digital Road website at where you can find the curriculum as well as additional resources for parents/guardians to support their journey along the “Digital Road.” Look for an Acceptable Use of Technology Agreement to be sent home before the end of September. Please review it carefully with your son/daughter before signing it and returning it to school.

School Messenger App
We recently informed our school community that our school would soon begin using the SchoolMessenger communication platform. The advantage of SchoolMessenger over our current platform is that SchoolMessenger allows parents to select their contact preferences (contact by phone, email, or both) for each of the following different types of messages: Emergency messages, Attendance messages, General messages, Teacher to Parent messages, and School to Student messages.

There is also a free SchoolMessenger App available for both iOS and Android based phones which enables you to receive notifications of school messages as well as set your contact preferences for each kind of message.

What parents need to do:

Please click the following link and follow the instructions in the School Messenger Parent Account User Guide to create your parent account and choose your contact preferences (contact by phone, email, or both) for each message type. This link can also be accessed by copying and pasting the following URL into your browser:

The School Messenger Parent FAQ provides more information about School Messenger. This link can also be accessed by copying and pasting the following URL into your browser:

Volunteers in Schools
Beginning September 2018, the majority of volunteers working with students in the OCSB must complete a vulnerable sector check (VSC). Here is a link to the revised OCSB criminal record check policy for more information. Applying online is simple and free, with a letter from the school. This does not include same day service. Please speak with your Principal if you need further information.

Student Fee
At All Saints High School, we collect a student fee to augment some of the program, club and activity costs that support student involvement outside of the classroom. Our School Council manages a portion of this fee, and last year they were able to support school greening and recycling, drama activities, professional learning opportunities for staff, student leadership initiatives and many others. Our Student Council has been involved with suggestions for areas of spending, and this year, a portion will support student-led learning in the classroom. In addition, the school uses the funds for
  • school clubs
  • school teams
  • Academic and Athletic Awards
  • Leadership Camp
  • social justice initiatives
  • guest speakers and school-wide presentations

Student Class Organization
The student services departments as well as school administrations at both All Saints and our Elementary schools begin the discussion around student organizing in classes beginning in May of the previous school year. Many factors are taken into account, including French programming and blending classes, specific student needs, gender balance, etcetera. Considerable time and valued teacher input have been invested in developing grade 7 and 8 class lists for the 2018-2019 school. We ask that you please respect this planning process. Student homerooms will not be changed to accommodate friend requests.

School Photo Day
Friday, September 7th is our school photo day. Information for ordering pictures will come home ahead of this date. Students are reminded that even if you aren’t ordering pictures, your photo is required for student identification as well as our yearbook. Edge Imaging provides a variety of photo options to capture your child's true personality, preserving all their school day memories. Photo day flyers will be sent home with students this week. Please return the order form and payment to the school on or before photo day. As these student pictures are used for our student identification program for safety considerations, we ask students not to contribute props or other extravagant dress during their sitting time. Students will have an opportunity for “fun” pictures as part of our yearbook creation. For more information on photo day, please visit for answers to frequently asked questions.

All Saints Catholic School Council
The first general meeting of the All Saints School Council will take place on Monday, September 24th at 7:00pm in the school learning commons (library). We hope to see many new parents at our meeting at the end of the month. If you are interested in running for a position on the council, you may review the information required in the following forms and send the information required in an email to All Saints High School (

School Council Parent Nomination FormSchool Council Parent Self-Nomination Form

School Transportation
Student transportation information is now available on the OSTA Parent Web Portal Please re-verify transportation information the week prior to school start-up as stop timings may have changed.

Transportation for students in a joint custody arrangement and having two homes
OSTA has developed a new policy & procedure to deliver transportation services to students in a joint custody arrangement and having two homes. An application process and other requirements need to be met for parents to receive this service, and the homes in question must meet all other eligibility requirements. The deadline for new applications or changes to existing applications for September start up transportation was June 1. All other applications will be reviewed after September 15, and prior to October 1. More information can be found on our website:

Applications for Seat Availability
Students who had been approved to access service under the Seat Availability provision for 2017-18 will need to re-apply for service for the 2018-19 school year. The “Application for Access to Empty Seats on School Bus Vehicles” form is available on the OSTA website at and should be sent to OSTA directly. All applications will be reviewed and seats assigned after October 1. We ask that parents and school staff NOT put students on the bus prior to assignment to a bus route, for the students’ own safety.

Changes to Cannabis Legislation and Schools
Cannabis (marijuana) is a drug that comes from a flowering hemp plant. It is used for both its psychotropic and therapeutic effects. Cannabis contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidol). THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. CBD is not psychoactive and is believed to have medical benefits, such as inflammation and pain control.

There are health risks to anyone who uses cannabis heavily and/or regularly. These risks increase for people under 25, because their brains are still developing, and include: problems with memory, coordination, learning, impulse control. Cannabis use can increase anxiety and depression, and can increase the likelihood of developing schizophrenia. This is more likely for people who have a family history of this condition.

Following the legalization of Cannabis use this fall for those 19 years of age and older, public consumption of cannabis will not be allowed. The smoking of cannabis falls under the Smoke Free Ontario Act. That is, by law, one cannot smoke or hold lighted tobacco in any enclosed workplace, any enclosed public places and specifically designated outdoor places (eg. school grounds, area around daycare centres) in Ontario. The same applies to cannabis. The smoking of recreational cannabis will only be allowed in private residences. Vaping and smoking of medical cannabis is prohibited on school property. Possession, use of, and being under the influence of non-medical cannabis will remain prohibited in schools.

Additional information can be found at the following sites:

Cannabis: What parents/guardians and caregivers need to know

Cannabis - Ottawa Public Health

Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH)

Article from American Psychological Association

40 hours of Community Service
Since 1999, the Ministry of Education has required all students to complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities as part of the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) (As stated in Ontario Secondary Schools, Grades 9 to 12: Program and Diploma Requirements, 1999).

The purpose of the community involvement requirement is to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play and the contributions they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities. The Ottawa Catholic School Board has always encouraged this community service to take place in the Parish, School, or wider community. There is a list on the back of the Community Service form that all students complete that highlights many of the eligible activities that students may complete to fulfill this graduation requirement.

When the expectation around community service was introduced by the Ministry of Education, they developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as community involvement activities and that are therefore ineligible activities. Included as part of that list of those expectations outlined by the Ministry is an activity “that would normally be performed for wages by a person in the workplace”. As your son/daughter works toward this graduation activity, we would encourage them to review the list of accepted activities to ensure they are meeting the proper requirements. You will find a link (below) to the All Saints community service hours form, with a list of appropriate activities on page 2. Hard copies of this form are available in our student services department.

Community Service Hours Form - All Saints

CANImmunize App
Keep kids in school with the CANImmunize App - CANImmunize is a digital tool for Canadians that securely stores your vaccination records and helps you get vaccinated on time. Avoid school suspensions with vaccination reporting to Ottawa Public Health. Visit for more information.

There is a great deal of information on the CSPA website regarding information for parents and upcoming sessions. You can visit the website here.

Check out our blog – and our twitter @AllSaintsCHS (Mr. Kelly’s - @seankellyottawa) as well as our website for all that is happening at All Saints!

The OCSB 2018 - 2019 School Year Calendar has been approved by the Ministry of Education! Mark your calendars now with all the important dates for next year.

Coming Up:
September 4th - First day of school