St. Gemma’s Catholic School Council works in cooperation with the school, home, parishes and community to ensure the best for our students. We consult with parents and guardians and provide recommendations to the principal and the Ottawa Catholic School Board on a variety of matters.  Rules for our engagement are outlined in our constitution:  St. Gemma Catholic School Council Constitution (approved June 12, 2018)

Mission statement: “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.”  

School Council is elected at the first meeting of the school year. We encourage you to reach out to the Parent Members for 2018-19:

  • Co-chairpersons: Brent Dowdall and Meredith Tomas

  • Treasurer:  Marisa Fusaro

  • Secretary:  Cecille Soberano

  • CSPA Representative:  Michelle O’Brien

  • Parish Representative:  Kim Pinsonneault

  • Members at Large:  Susheel Gupta, Lindsay Spires, Kristen Lewis, Makayla Munnings, and Renee Marshall

We're on social media!  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Image result for Parent Involvement Committee ottawa

Helping hearts

and hands are always need

ed!  If you would like to offer suggestions, volunteer for an event, or get involved in other ways, please come to our next School Council meeting or contact us by email:  

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.

Expenses incurred on behalf of the St. Gemma Catholic School Council may be reimbursed using the following template: Expense Report (submit completed form to the Treasurer within 14 days )

Vulnerable Sector Check: Beginning September 2018, the majority of volunteers working with students at St. Gemma must complete a vulnerable sector check. This includes parents and guardians taking part in field trips, those working with students in schools, and those volunteering at school council events where they may be in isolation with students even for a brief period of time (eg. meeting in a small area to distribute food/beverages).  Anyone over 18 who wishes to take part in a volunteer opportunity in the school must complete a Level 3 Vulnerable Sector Check.  You can complete the required steps in-person (details can be found here) or online (details can be found here).  To get the fee waived for this process (so long as it is not a same-day record check), you can get a letter from the school. If interested, please contact the office and one will be sent home for you.  Once completed, give the school a copy of your criminal record check so they can create a volunteer database for St. Gemma.

Events & Projects Supported by School Council

Hot Lunch Program – Each Friday, students who are registered to the program receive a main course (rotation of pita sandwiches, pizza or hotdogs) and popcorn.  A HUGE thank you to Dawn Eady-Dowdall and all her helpers for running this important program.

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.”

News & Upcoming Events 

St. Gemma Catholic School Council has a new logo - look for it in all our future communication materials:

School Council Meeting:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 | 6:30-8:00pm | Learning Commons

No-Fuss Fundraiser 2018-19:

There are TWO WEEKS LEFT for our main fundraiser of the year!!!  The No-Fuss Fundraiser was launched at the beginning of October to help raise funds for Council activities and community-building events at St. Gemma (e.g. holiday and sporting events, classroom supplies, and other projects).  We’ve raised $2,020 to date - thank you for your support!  We hope to achieve our goal of $3,500 by November 30, 2018.  Instead of going through the fuss of selling anything door-to-door, collecting money, making or delivering goods, etc., please consider making a donation at and inviting extended family and friends to do so as well (we’re hoping for an average of $12 per child).  Your donation will make a difference at the school and is greatly appreciated! ***Kindly note that this fundraiser is completely separate from our efforts to raise capital funds for a new play structure.***

Call-out for next year’s Hot Lunch Program Coordinator:

CSC is looking for a responsible and caring individual to run the Hot Lunch Program at St. Gemma next year (Oct 2019-June 2020). This program provides inexpensive lunches once a week to over 300 students and staff and is a vital fundraiser for many of the family events and extra-curricular activities we support. Interested parents/guardians may also consider sharing this position with a friend (many hands make light work!). For more information, please contact us:  

Christmas Craft Night:

Thursday, December  13, 2018 | 6:00-8:00pm | Gymnasium

Come one, come all! Make crafts, decorate cookies, listen to carols, and sip on hot chocolate.  Help us celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by preparing ‘blessing bags’ for the less fortunate (e.g. toiletries, treats, socks).  All activities are free and children must be accompanied by an adult.


St. Gemma Play Structure Renewal Project

Outdoor 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 soon, at a cost of ~$65,000.  With your help, School Council has raised $6,728.04 to date in capital funds to purchase and install a new play structure (thank you for your support!!!).  For the remaining amount, we need to apply for grants, gain sponsorships, and organize fundraising events.  A number of initiatives are planned this year - please see details below. Help us by volunteering your time and skills, making a donation, and telling others in the community about our efforts.   Together, we can build a great outdoor space for our kids to play!

2018-19 Fundraising initiatives to raise capital funds for a new play structure at St. Gemma:

FundScrip Campaign: Raise money for a new school play structure simply by purchasing gift cards for your everyday shopping or a special holiday (i.e. groceries, gas, gifts, household items, restaurants, etc.).  For instance, when you purchase a $100 grocery gift card, you receive the $100 gift card in the mail, but in addition, a percentage is donated to St. Gemma’s Play Structure fundraising campaign (e.g. 3% from a $100 Loblaws, Metro or Food Basics gift certificate = $3).  A list of participating Ontario retailers can be found here.  To sign up online, visit and enter the invitation code: U64RLY.  This campaign will run for the entire 2018-19 school year – please tell your family, friends and colleagues about it!  Have questions? Contact the coordinator, Meredith Tomas:  ***PLEASE NOTE:  To get a better return (i.e. no transaction fees), School Council encourages payment by way of an electronic funds transfer or online bill payment (as opposed to using a credit card)***

Plant Sale:  You can now place an order for a farm-fresh poinsettia or succulent plant for yourself or give one away as a holiday gift - different colors and pot sizes ar

e available. Simply fill out the order form and send it back to school, along with your payment in an envelope marked “St. Gemma Poinsettia Sale.” You can pay with cash or write a cheque (made out to “St. Gemma Catholic School Council”). Be sure to place your order before the deadline (November 26, 2018) and don’t forget to pick up your plants at the school on Monday, December 3rd from 4-7pm. Have questions? Send an email to Many thanks for your support!

Bottle and Can Drive: After the Christmas holidays, School Council will be collecting empty bottles and cans and returning them to a recycling depot for the deposit fees.  More information to come in December.

Ottawa 67’s Game: Starting Dec. 4, School Council will be selling tickets for the Ottawa 67’s hockey game on

Saturday, Jan. 19, 2018

@ 2pm, Lansdowne Park (vs. Hamilton Bulldogs)  Save the date on your family calendar!  Tickets are $20 each.


The School Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month in St. Gemma’s Learning Commons.  Meetings begin promptly at 6:30pm – adjournment is at 8 pm.

A record of past discussions and decisions can be found in approved minutes from each meeting:

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.  

Why participate?

·   Connect with other parents.

·   Be the first to hear about important news and upcoming events at St. Gemma.

·   Have a voice in the activities and programs supported by School Council.

·   Learn how students, staff and parishes benefit from our work.

·   Volunteer your time to make a difference in our school community.

Other ways to get involved in your child’s education

The Ottawa Catholic School Board Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) is a provincially mandated committee made up of parents, a trustee, a principal and theImage result for Parent Involvement Committee ottawa Director of Education. The purpose of PIC is to support, encourage and enhance parent engagement at the school board level in order to improve student achievement and well-being.  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. Through our website, Twitter, and email newsletters we provide updates on education in Ottawa & Ontario; plus we 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.