By Editor

May 15, 2024

OCSTA Newswire

Upcoming OCSTA Events:

OCSTA Catholic Education Leadership Series

Social Media Series – Part 3:
Social Media and Supporting Student Well-Being in Catholic Schools:
A CDSB Panel Discussion

OCSTA is pleased to announce that the third session in our 3-part Catholic Education Leadership Speaker Series on Social Media will be a Catholic District School Board Panel Discussion on the topic: “Social Media and Supporting Student Well-Being in Catholic Schools”. This virtual session will take place on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Laurie Corrigan

Laurie Corrigan, Director of Education, CDSB of Eastern Ontario

Paula Mann

Paula Mann, Director of Education, Nipissing Parry Sound CDSB

Theresa Kennedy, Co-Director, School Mental Health Ontario

Panelists will be representatives from the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, including Director of Education Laurie Corrigan, and representatives from the Nipissing Parry Sound Catholic District School Board, including Director of Education Paula Mann.
Theresa Kennedy, Co-Director of School Mental Health Ontario will open the session with a context-setting overview of youth mental health trends and considerations with respect to the use of social media.

The panel discussion will include an examination of CDSB current practices and strategies established to address the impact of social media on students.

OCSTA Conversations
These presentations are part of OCSTA’s priority on encouraging conversations and sharing information with regards to the Catholic identity of publicly funded Catholic education, current issues in education and supporting the role of Catholic Trustees.

The length of each session will be approximately 90 minutes in total, with 60 minutes dedicated to the formal presentation and a further 30 minutes set aside for audience questions.

There is no charge for attending this event and we encourage all Trustees and other Catholic education leaders to register in advance – please see information below to complete registration:

OCSTA Catholic Education Leadership Speaker Series:
“Social Media and Supporting Student Well-Being in Catholic Schools – A CDSB Panel Discussion”

WHEN: Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 6:30 p.m.

FORMAT: Virtual (Zoom) – no fee to attend

REGISTRATION: Click on the link below to complete the registration.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining this OCSTA event.

If you have questions or for more information, please contact Sharon McMillan at


OCSTA 2024 Fall Regional Meetings

Following are the dates and locations for the OCSTA Fall Regional Meetings across the province. Registration details will be provided in the coming days. We invite you to use the information below to save the date and time in your calendar.

Tuesday, September 17
9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Hosted by: Toronto CDSB
Location: Catholic Education Centre
80 Sheppard Ave. East
Toronto, ON  M2N 6E8
Thursday, September 19
9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Hosted by: Ottawa CSB
Location: Catholic Education Centre
570 West Hunt Club Road
Nepean, ON  K2G 3R4
Tuesday, September 24
9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Hosted by: Waterloo CDSB
Location: Catholic Education Centre
35 Weber Street West, Unit A
Kitchener, ON  N2H 3Z1
Saturday, September 28
9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Hosted by: Nipissing-Parry Sound CDSB
Location: St. Joseph-Scollard Hall CSS
675 O’Brien Street
North Bay, ON  P1B 9R3
Friday, October 4
9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Hosted by: Thunder Bay CDSB
Location: Catholic Education Centre – Boardroom
459 Victoria Ave. W.
Thunder Bay, ON  P7C 0A4


Recent Government Announcements

Ontario Government Introduces Legislation to Prevent and Respond to Cyber Security Threats in Public Services
OCSTA President responds – Toronto Star 

Ontario Government strengthens measures to crack down on cellphone use and vaping in schools
OCSTA President responds – News Release


OCSTA 94th AGM and Conference in Niagara Falls

]Patrick Daly
President Patrick Daly delivers his Report to Members.

On May 2nd OCSTA welcomed over 300 delegates and guests to the Association’s 94th Annual General Meeting and Conference in Niagara Falls. This year OCSTA was grateful for the support of three Conference co-host boards: Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic DSB, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic DSB and the Niagara Catholic DSB.

The Conference theme was “Catholic Education: Fulfilling the Promise” in recognition of the 5th anniversary of the poignant and guiding pastoral letter “Renewing the Promise” authored by Ontario’s Bishops in 2018. The gift and “Promise” of publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario was elaborated upon during the keynote address delivered by His Excellency, Bishop Gerard Bergie, President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario. Members are invited to listen to the recording which is in the Members’ Centre of the OCSTA website (

His Excellency, Bishop Gerard Bergie speaks with Trustee Marisa Hall of
the Durham Catholic DSB, following his keynote address.

President Patrick Daly delivered the final President’s Report of his term which included an outline of the key work and priorities of the Association over the last quarter. Looking ahead, President Daly also spoke of the importance of “reading the signs of the times” and “interpreting them in the light of the Gospel (Guadium et Spes – December 7, 1965).

He further noted that ‘Fulfilling the Promise” will require Trustees to continue to “Place Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church at the Centre of students’ learning experiences.”

OCSTA welcomed the highest number of student trustees at an AGM ever during this year’s event. Included in this picture with students is OCSTA President Patrick Daly, Director of Education, Anne O’Brien, and former Student Trustee Alumni Award Recipient and Conference Speaker Ben Verboom.[/caption]

Message from the Minister of Education

In a letter to OCSTA members that was included in the Conference program, the Minister of Education, The Hon. Stephen Lecce shared this message:

“As Minister of Education, and a proud alumnus of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Elementary School in Vaughan (which is part of the York Catholic District School Board) I join you in celebrating OCSTA’s 94 years of successful advocacy for publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario.

Our government understands the critically important role that Catholic schools play in Ontario’s education system, and we consider OCSTA to be a valued partner in the delivery of publicly funded Catholic education.”

Workshop Highlights

Community Safety Zones:

From left to right: Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB Director of Education, David DeSantis, Chair Terry Shea and Superintendent of Education, Carey Smith-Dewey.

The tragic loss of an elementary student, struck by a motor vehicle in front of the school at dismissal time, sparked an eye-opening review of school zone safety standards in the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB. This review demonstrated a lack of consistency regarding what schools do to address pedestrian safety. It also revealed the barriers that exist to acquire the human, financial and physical capital necessary to provide the resources to equitably address the needs of all.

Representatives from the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB, including Chair, Terry Shea, Director of Education, David DeSantis and Superintendent of Education, Carey Smith-Dewey, lead an emotional but informative workshop that highlighted the processes they have established with stakeholders to standardize safety regulations to address the unique safety challenges schools are left to mitigate on their own, with the goal of ensuring that collaboration with municipalities across the province of Ontario remains a top priority.

Code of Conduct, Integrity Commissioners and Other Bill 98 Considerations

Rick Petrella, OCSTA Director and Chair, Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic DSB, moderates questions at the Code of Conduct Workshop featuring presenters (l. – r.) Julia Nanos, Hicks Morley; John-Paul Alexandrowicz, BLG (Title Sponsor) and; Melissa Eldridge, BLG[/caption]

This workshop focused on best practices and key objectives related to Code of Conduct, Integrity Commissioners, and promoting positive Trustee-to-Trustee dialogue related to these matters.

To review the full list of workshops and sessions download the program here. Plenary sessions have been recorded and are in the Members’ Centre of the website.


The Association is pleased to announce that Michael Bellmore, Chair of the Sudbury Catholic District School Board, was elected President of OCSTA following elections held during the AGM.

We are also pleased to announce that the Chair of the Wellington Catholic District School Board, Marino Gazzola was elected Vice-President of the Association and will serve with President Bellmore and Past President
Patrick Daly on the OCSTA Executive.

OCSTA Board of Directors Commissioning Ceremony at St. Patrick Church, Niagara Falls.

The following trustees were appointed to the OCSTA Board of Directors for the 2024-2026 term:

Region 6 – Toronto CDSB: Trustee Joseph Martino and Trustee Garry Tanuan
Region 7 – Dufferin-Peel CDSB: Chair Luz del Rosario and Trustee Shawn Xaviour
Region 8 – York CDSB: Trustee Jennifer Wigston
Region 12 – Ottawa CSB: Chair Mark Mullan
Region 13 – Halton CDSB: Janet O’Hearn-Czarnota

Region 12 OCSTA Director Mark Mullan was re-elected by the membership to represent OCSTA on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association.

The complete list of trustees on OCSTA’s Board of Directors can be viewed at 

OCSTA Awards Program

The Association was pleased to acknowledge outstanding Catholic education leadership and service to others through the annual OCSTA Award Program. This year’s awards recognized the following individuals: 

2024 OCSTA Trustee Award of Merit Recipients:
Trustee Dan Dignard, Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic DSB (view profile)
Vice Chair Jim McDade, Huron-Perth Catholic DSB (view profile)

2024 OCSTA Special Award Recipient:
Nancy Bodsworth-Boss, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic DSB (view profile)

2024 OCSTA Student Trustee Alumni Award Recipient
Luke Willson, Windsor-Essex Catholic DSB (view profile)

25-Year Service Recognition Award
OCSTA was pleased to recognize Catholic Trustees with 25 years of service and presented the 25-year service pin to Sue Wilson, Chair of the CDSB of Eastern Ontario.

Closing Presentation

Ben Verboom with Peterborough Victoria Northumberland & Clarington Catholic DSB Trustee, Mary Ann Martin

The many graduates of Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic education system continue to make the world a better place through their faith-filled actions and service others both close to home and around the world. The closing speaker for OCSTA’s 94th AGM and Conference, Ben Verboom is a graduate of the Durham Catholic DSB, a former recipient of the OCSTA Student Trustee Alumni Award, and an Oxford Lecturer on Global Health. Ben delivered to the assembly a deeply moving and important presentation on the topic “Reflections on Loss, Hope, Social Action and Healing.”

Ben grew up in Ajax as part of a large and loving Irish Catholic and Dutch family. When Ben was a young teen, his family was struck by the sudden and devastating death of his 40-year old father Tim to suicide. During this talk Ben shared the story of his family’s complicated grieving process and how he found hope and healing by taking action and speaking out about suicide in Canada. He spoke about the role of his family, the Catholic education community, and Parish in this journey and shared reflections on the transformative potential of an educational approach geared towards global citizenship, political awareness and social action.

Listen and View 2024 AGM and Conference Plenary Presentations

To listen to audio recordings and view slides from the 2024 OCSTA AGM and Conference please visit:

You will require your user name and password to enter this “Members’ Centre” of the OCSTA website – if you need assistance, please contact Ashlee Cabral at

Catholic Education Week

From May 5 – 10, Catholic School Boards across Ontario celebrated Catholic Education Week in schools and parishes. Resources developed by the provincial Catholic Education Week committee asds utilized for classroom and board wide liturgies, learning activities, performances and other related special events.

The annual Ontario Catholic Student Youth Day took place on Wednesday, May 8 and is always a key event for students in all boards during Catholic Education Week. Provincial Catholic Student Trustee leaders, including the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association (OSTA-AECO) Catholic Student Trustee Vice President, David Beshai, worked with OCSTA to develop a seminar this year for students. This year’s Seminar was planned around the theme of advancing Truth and Reconciliation goals through education, and was selected by the Catholic Student Trustee provincial council.

The keynote speakier for this year’s OCSYD Seminar was former Chief of the Cowessess First Nation, Cadmus Delorme who discussed acknowledging Indigenous history and perspectives, relationship building, and meaningful communications as some of the strategies that will support achieving Truth and Reconciliation goals.

The closing session of the OCSYD Seminar featured a presentation prepared by student trustees that profiled “Indigenous Influencers”. The presentation brought awareness to the successes and achievements of Indigenous people in Canada.

Provincial Mass

A central part of Catholic Education Week is the Provincial Mass which this year was celebrated on May 8th by His Excellency, Bishop Gerard Bergie at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria in
St. Catharines. The Mass was attended by many provincial Catholic education partners and local schools and staff from the Niagara Catholic District School Board. A live stream connection for this Mass was made available to allow students and staff to participate from Catholic schools around the province.

OCSTA Year in Review

OCSTA’s annual Year in Review documents the key initiatives, advocacy priorities and special projects of the Association. The 2023-24 Year in Review was released at the OCSTA 94th AGM and Conference and is also available online in an accessible format. To view, please click on the following link:








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