St. Gemma’s Catholic School Council works in cooperation with the school, home, parishes and community to ensure the best for our students. Our mission is “To foster a nurturing environment where all children are encouraged to grow and develop to their fullest potential in a spirit of cooperation and friendship.”  We are fortunate to have a talented, dedicated and hard-working team that:

  • Consults families and encourages parent involvement;

  • Provides recommendations to the principal, Ottawa Catholic School Board, and the provincial government on a variety of matters; 

  • Organizes community-building events and fundraising projects to enrich student learning and well-being; and

  • Builds partnerships with our local parishes and community-at-large.


Rules for our engagement are outlined in our Constitution (approved June 12, 2018) and OCSB policies and procedures.  Further details regarding the work of School Councils can be found in Ontario Regulation 612/00 under the Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.2.

School Council is elected at the first meeting of the school year. We encourage you to reach out to the Parent Members for 2019-2020

  • Meredith Tomas (Chairperson)
  • Michelle O’Brien (Vice-chairperson)
  • Marisa Fusaro (Treasurer)
  • René Marshall (Secretary)
  • Alison Lennon (CSPA Representative)
  • Kim Pinsonneault (Parish Representative)
  • Makayla Munnings (Member-at-large)
  • Alison Lennon (Member-at-large)
  • Lindsay Spires (Member-at-large)
  • Cecille Soberano (Member-at-large)
  • Amanda Adlard (Member-at-large)
  • Lisa Calarco-Hajjar and Kristen Lewis (Hot Lunch Program Coordinators)

We're on social media!  For breaking news and reminders about upcoming events or activities, follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Contact us by email:

Expenses incurred on behalf of the School Council may be reimbursed using this Expense Report (submit completed template and receipts to the Treasurer within 14 days).

Events & Projects Supported by School Council

No-Fuss Fundraiser 2018-19:

We are pleased to report that $2,325 was raised for our main fundraiser of the year!!!   Thanks for your generosity - your donations will make a big difference at the school!

Lunch & Popcorn Program:

Students and staff who are registered to the program receive a main course (rotation of pita sandwiches, pizza or hotdogs) and popcorn. We wish to give a HUGE thank you to Dawn Eady-Dowdall and all her helpers for running this important program each week. School Council is pleased to announce that Kristen Lewis and Lisa Calarco-Hajjar have agreed to coordinate next year - THANK YOU!

Monster Mash:

Students and staff wore their Halloween costumes, danced to some spoooooky music, and participated in lots of fun games and activities.  Many thanks to everyone who organized, set up, and ran the event.

Family Movie Night :

We had a great turn-out to watch Paddington 2 - it was quite the pizza-popcorn-pajama party!  Thanks for coming and remember: “If you look for the good in people, you will find it.”

Plant Sale:

Thanks for supporting the St. Gemma Play Structure Renewal Project - $1,568.04 profit was collected.  We hope you all enjoyed your new poinsettias and succulents!

Christmas Craft Night:

Another lovely community event, making crafts, decorating cookies, and listening to St. Gemma’s Glee Club perform!  Thank you so much for your kind donations of socks, toothpaste, soap, etc. for our friends at Centre 507. See our article in the VISTAS community newspaper (Vol. 38 No. 1 January 2019, page 7).

Bottle & Can Drive:

This recycling initiative generated $611.50 for St. Gemma’s Play Structure Renewal Project.  Much appreciation to everyone who donated and volunteered!

Hockey Game at TD Place:

What a fantastic afternoon - St. Gemma families and friends enjoyed celebrating the Ottawa 67’s 5-3 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs and skating on the ice afterwards! Thanks to all who were able to make it out on such a cold day - $854.08 was generated for St. Gemma’s Play Structure Renewal Project!

Chilli Cook-off: Our participation in the Canterbury Community Association’s inaugural Family Fun Frost Fest went off without a hitch!  A fun time was had by all who enjoyed some hot chili on a snowy day.  Thanks to our wonderful sponsors and kind volunteers, $426.54 was raised for the St. Gemma Play Structure Renewal Project.

Family Skate Night: A big thank you to all of the families and friends who made it out for our annual family skate night. We estimate about 150 people enjoyed the skating party (based on the number of hot chocolates and timbits served)!

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Breakfast: To mark the last day before Lent, School Council served up more than 650 delicious pancakes to students and staff. A big thank you to our awesome batter mixing and pancake flipping teams comprised of parent volunteers. Special thanks to Christine Matheson and Ms. Lavigne for leading this event.

Parent Info Night 2019:  Thanks to everyone who attended our information session about Cyber Safety in April - we learned a great deal about how to keep our kids safe on the internet! Much appreciation to our guest speakers (S/Sgt Guri Dhanoa and Susheel Gupta), childcare providers, and parent volunteers for making the night a great success! Click here for more information about preventing scams and frauds, child sexual exploitation, cyberbullying, and other helpful websites about internet safety.

Staff Appreciation Lunch:  Thank you to everyone who contributed potluck items for last week's staff appreciation lunch! The staff very much enjoyed the variety of delicious lunch options. A special thank you to Lisa Hajjar for organizing the event on behalf of Council as well as Mandy Adlard and Kim Pinsonneault for helping.

News & Upcoming Events

Greetings and Invitation:  We would like to extend a warm welcome to all new and returning families to St. Gemma.  Our school is a vibrant and dynamic community and we consider ourselves blessed to be a part of it!  Read our Greetings and Invitation letter (Sept 2019) and feel free to participate in any of our upcoming meetings, activities, and events.  


Image result for Parent Involvement Committee ottawaVolunteering: There are a variety of School Council initiatives that could use your talents and knowledge, even if you just have a little time to offer!  ***You don't need to be a voting member to get involved!***  Please view our list of School Council Volunteer Opportunities for 2019/2020 and send us an email with your selection(s) and/or questions.   All help is appreciated.  



Hot Lunch & Popcorn Program: Starts up at the beginning of October.  For more information, please contact the program coordinators, Kristen Lewis and Lisa Calarco-Hajjar.

Volunteers Needed

Volunteers in OCSB schools

At the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB), our parent and community volunteers help our students learn in the classroom, play on the field, and explore our neighbourhood. We greatly value the assistance and expertise of our volunteers. In our ongoing effort to provide a safe, secure learning and working environment for our staff and students, we have an application process for prospective volunteers, which includes an application form and a current Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC) from the local police. Please visit 

St. Gemma Play Structure Renewal Project

Related imageOutdoor play is essential to a child's physical, mental and social development.  Although the school’s playground equipment has served our students and the community-at-large for many years, it will need to be replaced (at a cost of ~$75,000).  


With your help, School Council has raised $13,612 in capital funds to purchase and install a new play structure (thank you for your support!!!).  For the remaining amount, we are applying for grants from the city ($10,000), the school board ($7,500), and others (TBD).  We are also soliciting corporate and business sponsors, accepting donations, and organizing a few more fundraising events. Help us by volunteering and telling others about our efforts.  Together, we can build a great outdoor space for our kids! 


To help plan and design the project, the St. Gemma Play Structure Renewal Committee welcomes feedback from parents, staff and students. Please take a few minutes to tell us what YOU would like this space to become by answering a few questions in our play structure online survey. Thank you in advance!

Council Meetings

Typically, the School Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month in St. Gemma’s Learning Commons from 6:30 – 8:00pm. You don’t need to be a member to attend - all parents/guardians are welcome – kids too!  We know that childcare and busy family schedules are sometimes a barrier to attending. With that in mind, we encourage you to bring your school-age children, along with their homework, reading, colouring or another activity. Younger children will need to be cared for by the parent/guardian during the meeting, as there will be no formal childcare person to look after them.  

Upcoming School Council Meetings:  

  • Sep. 24, 2019 

Agenda items: Play Structure Renewal Project status update, Annual Family BBQ debrief, Staff Appreciation Lunch debrief, Parent Resource Library update, proposed 2019-20 Activity/Event Calendar, Volunteer Recruitment, and ***Agenda items to include financial report, wrap up of 2018-19 activities, and new council elections***School Council .

  • Oct. 8, 2019 

  • Nov. 12, 2019 

  • Dec. 10, 2019 

  • Jan. 14, 2020 

  • Feb. 11, 2020 

  • Mar. 10, 2020 

  • Apr. 14, 2020 

  • May 12, 2020 

  • Jun. 9, 2020

Annual Report 2018-2019:  An annual report outlining the activities of School Council, including a financial statement.

Approved Minutes:  A record of past discussions and decisions from each School Council meeting can be found here:

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

May 21, 2019 Council Minutes

April 11, 2019 Council Minutes

No meeting was held in March

February 20, 2019 Council Minutes

January 15, 2019 Council Minutes

December 11, 2018 Council Minutes

November 13, 2018 Council Minutes

October 9, 2018 Council Minutes

September 18, 2018 Council Minutes

You do not need to be a member to attend - all parents/guardians are welcome – kids too!  We know that childcare and busy family schedules are sometimes a barrier to attending Council meetings. With that in mind, we encourage you to bring your school-age children, along with their homework, reading, colouring or another activity. Younger children will need to be cared for by the parent/guardian during the meeting, as there will be no formal childcare person to look after them.  

Who benefits when you participate in School Council?

      Children - Research shows that children perform better when parents are engaged in education both at home and at school.  Parent involvement builds a stronger foundation for children to grow and thrive and boosts student achievement.

      Schools - Administrators, teachers, and support staff need our support.  While addressing issues that are important to educators, parents, and guardians, School Council strives to create a positive and caring atmosphere in the school.  Everyone has the same opportunity to suggest changes at the school and have a voice in the activities and programs that have a direct effect on the education of our children, as well as their well-being.

      Communities - Becoming involved with the school allows you to make connections with other parents, church representatives, and community leaders - we all share a common goal of student achievement and well-being.

      You - Volunteering allows you to contribute your skills and knowledge for the benefit of many, as well as gain a broader perspective.   Participation in School Council is also a great way to gain leadership experience, learn from others, and make lifelong friends.

Other ways to get involved in your child’s education

Image result for Parent Involvement Committee ottawaThe Ottawa Catholic School Board Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) is a provincially mandated committee made up of parents, a trustee, OCSB employee(s), a principal and the Director of Education. The purpose of the OCSB PIC is to support, encourage and enhance parent engagement at the school board level in order to improve student achievement and well-being.  Parent members are appointed by CSPA. Learn more at the OCSB PIC webpage.

The Catholic School Parents’ Association (CSPA) is a volunteer group representing the parents in our school board. We are a resource for school councils and the parent community for information on local and provincial education issues.  We provide updates on education in Ottawa & Ontario and share great tips, resources and information to help parents support their children in school. All parents are welcome and encouraged to join our e-mail list, follow us on Twitter, or attend CSPA monthly meetings. Visit the CSPA website to learn more about CSPA and the work we do to support parents and their children in our schools.

(Last modified: September 12, , 2019)