Inside this Issue

2017 Fall Regional Meetings

While attending the North West Region Meeting Pat Daly and Chair of the Thunder Bay Catholic DSB Bob Hupka admire the new state of the art artificial turf playing field recently installed at St. Patrick’s Catholic Secondary school .

OCSTA’s annual fall Regional Meetings launched in September and will wrap up with the North East Regional Meeting on October 14.

This year’s sessions covered various topics including:

  • The Role of Catholic Trustees: During this session OCSTA Executive Director Nick Milanetti, examined how Catholic trustees fulfill their faith leadership role within Catholic school boards, and OCSTA Director of Legislative and Political Affairs, Stephen Andrews discussed the political role of Catholic Trustees. OCSTA president Patrick Daly set the overall context for this session of the program with the following opening statement from the 2000 OCSTA publication “Witnesses to Faith”:
    • “Catholic trustees are not simply elected politicians with responsibility for an education system. They are rather, believing Catholics called to be the stewards of faith for the children of our schools.”
  • Board Updates: as is our practice at Regional Meetings, each board had an opportunity to present  a brief overview of the major challenges and opportunities they are facing at this time.  Copies of presentations will be collated and sent with a brief OCSTA report to every board.
  • Sharing of Facilities: Nick Milanetti facilitated an interactive discussion on the ideas, concerns and challenges boards forsee on this topic.

All OCSTA Regional Meeting presentations are available online and can be viewed at:

Your membership login credentials will be required.  If you can not locate that information, please contact Ashlee Cabral at acabral@ocsta.on.ca / 416-932-9460.

Together in Faith Campaign

Campaign – Overview

Launched in 2016, the Together in Faith campaign is designed by OCSTA to engage and encourage Ontario’s Catholic community to be more informed and more actively supportive of publicly funded Catholic education in this province. The website – www.togetherinfaith.ca – provides to visitors information about the distinctive faith-based mission of Ontario’s Catholic schools, the Gospel values that infuse every aspect of learning and interaction in the school community, and the outstanding academic and social justice achievements of students and staff in this province’s Catholic schools.

Of course informing the Catholic community about Catholic schools is just one aspect of this campaign, the other key purpose of this campaign is to engage and equip target audiences to take action in their support of the Catholic school system. The Together in Faith social media campaign and website invites audiences to become active supporters of publicly funded Catholic schools and provides campaign subscribers with the tools and messaging needed to promote Catholic education locally and lobby MPPs and the government on the issues that are important to the continued success of publicly funded Catholic schools in Ontario.

Social media provides a significant platform for this campaign as millions of Ontarians use social media every day. To enhance the Together in Faith campaign presence on social media, several updates are published throughout each day on the most popular platforms that include Twitter and Facebook.

Other tools on the website that support community engagement and grassroots advocacy include:

  • An automated web form that provides a pre-written letter to MPPs requesting their support for Catholic education and the Catholic schools that contribute in positive ways to their respective constituencies (letters can be customized and the website provides a tool to locate MPPs by riding);
  • A subscription form for visitors to add their names and email addresses to the fast growing list of supporters of Ontario’s Catholic schools – subscribers will receive special updates and timely newsletters about Catholic schools in Ontario;
  • Template articles that can be shared with parishes for inclusion in the weekly parish bulletin;
  • Pre-written social media posts that can be edited or used as is on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook;
  • Campaign posters and post cards that can be downloaded and printed locally promoting:
    • the unique attributes of Catholic schools
    • student success stories
    • social justice initiatives, and
    • timely events happening in Ontario’s Catholic schools (e.g. Catholic Education Week)

Campaign Partnership

Early in 2017, OCSTA’s partners in the FACE initiative (Friends and Advocates for Catholic Education) expressed their support for this positive campaign. As a result, the Association is pleased to acknowledge that the OCSTA Together in Faith campaign is operated in partnership with the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

With the support of these two essential partners, OCSTA’s Together in Faith campaign can receive the momentum and direction needed to reach and engage as many of Ontario’s 3 million Catholics as possible. Achieving this goal will help to ensure the protection of publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario and strengthen the Church’s essential mission of evangelization.

Become a Together in Faith Campaign Ambassador – Here are your Tools:

Resources to Reach Your MPP

Download the 2017 TIF Catholic School Calendar

Access all downloadable campaign marketing material

Catholic Education Brochure with Key Messaging

Retweet Campaign Updates

Share our Facebook Stories

Your support is greatly appreciated, thank you.

Child Abuse Prevention Month Campaign

Every October, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) and Children’s Aid Societies run a Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM) campaign to educate key partners and the public about the importance of calling Children’s Aid if they have concerns about the safety and well-being of a child. The campaign includes a day of action called Dress Purple Day, based on the purple ribbon which symbolizes the campaign. This year Dress Purple Day takes place on Tuesday, October 24.

For the last two years OACAS and CASs have primarily focused the CAPM campaign on building relationships with boards of education and schools, in recognition that we are key partners in keeping kids safe. (More than a third of referrals are made to CASs every year by teachers and schools.) Last year 37 Ontario school boards partnered with their local CAS in the CAPM campaign, including 19 English and French Catholic boards of education. This partnership included engaging hundreds of schools and students in Dress Purple Day.

This year OACAS has worked with Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre and Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society to develop Dress Purple Classroom Resources, in response to feedback from boards of education, schools, and teachers looking for more detailed messaging to provide their students during CAPM and Dress Purple Day. These materials have also been developed to support key recommendations from the Inquests into the deaths of Jeffrey Baldwin and Katelynn Sampson. Inquest recommendations included the need to develop age appropriate curriculum for students about child abuse and neglect, to raise awareness about duty to report with school staff and the public, and to support collaborative projects between CASs and boards of education.

The Dress Purple Classroom Resources will support teachers to engage in conversations with their students about child abuse and neglect and how to ask for help from adults in the community in an age appropriate manner. Ensuring that children are aware of helping adults in their support network offers an important prevention tool for children and youth. This year, Dress Purple Classroom Resources are directed at students in junior kindergarten to grade five classes, with the goal of expanding support to middle and high school grades next year. The classroom resources are built around the theme “It takes a village to keep kids safe.”

Dress Purple Classroom Resources are available at this link.

Durham Catholic District School Board Superintendent Janine Bowyer talks about why her board of education decided to join the Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign here.

General campaign materials, including key messages, are also available on the OACAS website.

Accessibility Ontario: Website Accessibility Workshops

Workshop
How to Create an Accessible Website

November 16, 2017
1:00 – 4:00pm
(Toronto)

This workshop provides a technical explanation of how to create accessible web content. Web developers will come away with a in-depth understanding of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, the AODA requirements for website accessibility, and how to achieve WCAG 2.0 website conformance.

This workshop is ideal for those who have already taken the Introduction to Website Accessibility workshop, or those who already have some familiarity with digital accessibility concepts.

Learning outcomes

By completing this workshop, participants will:

  • Gain an in depth understanding of WCAG 2.0 structure: Principles, Guidelines and Success Criteria
  • Become familiar with established techniques for meeting WCAG conformance
  • Get an introduction to WAI ARIA (Acessible Rich Internet Application) markup
  • Learn about tools and resources for creating accessible content

INCLUDED IN THE WORKSHOP:

  • High quality instruction by a Web Accessibility Specialist
  • Small class size
  • Resource list
  • Complimentary coffee and tea
  • A chance to network with other professionals
  • Official recognition for your participation

 Full workshop description 
Hands-On Workshop
How to Evaluate Your Website’s Accessibility

November 30, 2017
1:00 – 4:00pm
(Toronto)

This hands-on workshop will give participants the knowledge and tools required to gauge the accessibility of web content. The session takes an applied look at Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) by explaining how to assess and implement each web accessibility success-criterion. The workshop includes a hands-on exercise where participants will get a chance to review a website or document against WCAG 2.0.

Learning outcomes

By completing this workshop, participants will:

  • Gain an in depth understanding of WCAG 2.0 Principles, Guidelines and Success Criteria from a testing perspective
  • Be able to identify testable criteria for web accessibility
  • Use testing methods such as operating a site with a screen reader and testing for alternative control navigation
  • Become familiar with testing tools and resources

INCLUDED IN THE WORKSHOP:

  • High quality instruction by a Web Accessibility Specialist
  • Small class size
  • Website Accessibility Evaluation Checklist
  • Complimentary coffee and tea
  • A chance to network with other professionals
  • Official recognition for your participation

 Full workshop description

Accessiblity Ontario is providing discount on registrations and that discount expires on October 4th.

Take both of these workshops and get 10% off by using this discount code: Webwork17

 

OCSTA Short-Video Contest for CDSB Students

2016 CES 2nd place winner, St. Michael the Archangel, York CDSB

We’re pleased to announce that Stewards of Creation is the theme for OCSTA’s 2017 Short-Video Contest for students in grades 4-12 at Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools.

This theme invites students to demonstrate in a 2-minute video how they are protecting and caring for the natural, living environment that God has entrusted to humanity.

A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
Pope Francis
Laudato Si

 Deadline for Submissions: November 27, 2017

REQUIREMENTS

Contest participants are invited to create a 2-minute video about the ways in which they are promoting and caring for the natural, living environment as good “Stewards of Creation.”

Contest guidelines and submission forms are located at:

http://www.ocsta.on.ca/media-centre/2017-short-video-contest/

PUBLIC SCREENING OF ALL SUBMISSIONS!

All submissions that meet contest guideline requirements will be shared with the public throughout the year via the OCSTA YouTube channel. In this way we hope that more parents, students, teachers, parishioners, and friends of Catholic education will be able to enjoy these presentations.

We are pleased to be able to provide the following prizes for the top 3 videos at both the elementary and secondary levels:

 First place:                   $300 Best Buy Gift Certificate
Second place:              $150 Best Buy Gift Certificate
Third place:                  $100 Indigo Gift Certificate

The winning entries will be announced at OCSTA’s annual Catholic Trustees Seminar in January.

We thank the students, teachers and trustees of all our Catholic school boards for their continued support of this celebration and promotion of Catholic education in Ontario.  For more information about this initiative, please contact Sharon McMillan, OCSTA Director of Communications – smcmillan[at]ocsta.on.ca / 416-932-9460, ext. 232.