Information


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.

 

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, Michelle O’Brien (Co-Chairperson)
  • Marisa Fusaro (Treasurer)
  • René Marshall (Secretary)
  • Alison Lennon (CSPA Representative)
  • Kim Pinsonneault (Parish Representative)
  • Makayla Munnings (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)

For breaking news and reminders about upcoming events or activities, follow us on social media: Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.  Have questions or comments? Contact us by email: stgemma.council@gmail.com.


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.


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).


Volunteering: 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!***  If interested, send us an email with your contact detail and/or questions - all help is greatly appreciated.



Programs, Projects, and Events


For a list of planned events/activities/fundraisers and dates, please consult our St. Gemma School Council 2019-2020 Calendar.  

 

Related imageSt. Gemma Play Structure Renewal Project:  Although it has served us well for many years, the school’s existing play structure will be removed by the summer of 2021.  Learn more about this $80,000 project here.

***Please note that, from now until the end of June 2020, whenever you place a takeaway or home delivery order at Boston Pizza (2980 Conroy Road), please give the code word “St. Gemma” and 10% of your receipt will go towards the project.  Feel free to tell your friends and extended family members about this fundraising initiative.***

 

Family Resource Library: Our collection is housed in the school office and includes a wide range of topics to help support St. Gemma parents and guardians.  For more information, including how to sign out a book and what titles are available, please click on this link.

 

Community and Student Support:  Throughout the year, we support a number of initiatives to help our students and others in our community (e.g. Grub-Tub snacks, Christmas Hampers).  We also aim to improve academic achievement (eg. funding for Scientists in the Schools; bursaries for each teacher/support staff member) and support spiritual growth (eg. bussing to masses; sacrament celebrations). 

Hot Lunch & Popcorn Program: Registered students receive a main course (rotation of pizza, pita sandwich, or hot dogs) and popcorn every Friday. For more information, please click on the following link.

Pizza Kit Fundraiser:  On occasion, we team up with Little Ceasar’s to raise money for various school council projects.  Families can order pizza, cheese bread kits, and cookies. More details available here.


Monster Mash - Each Halloween, parent/guardian volunteers decorate the gymnasium, set up a variety of activities, and play music for the students.  Participants and volunteers are encouraged to wear costumes that day. Click on this link for more information.


Family Pizza & Movie Night:  Bring your pyjamas, pillows and blankets and get comfortable!  Pizza, snacks and drinks can be purchased at the canteen and we’ll have a draw during the intermission for prizes. Click here to get details about this event.


Dine with St. Gemma Community Supper:  Get to know others in our community while supporting a great cause!  On this day, 10% of all restaurant receipts are donated to our play structure renewal project.  For more information, please click on the following link.


Poinsettia and Plant Sale:  During the Christmas season, we sell poinsettias, succulents and ferns. More details available here.


Christmas Craft Night:  Families and friends gather together to decorate cookies, create crafts, listen to music and work on projects to help others in need (accepting donations of socks and toiletry items).  Use this link to find out more about this special event.


Skate Night:  Each winter, we host a free, family-friendly event at Weston Park.  All children must wear helmets and be accompanied by an adult - remember to dress warmly!  Hockey permitted (shinny pucks only please). Please click here for more information.


Winter Carnival: On Family Day, families are invited to Playfair Park to take part in a variety of fun, free activities and help support School Council projects.  More details can be found here.

 

Pancake Breakfast:  Each year on Shrove Tuesday, St. Gemma parent/guardian volunteers serve delicious pancakes to students and staff. Use this link to find out more about this event.

 

Parent Information Night:  School Council hosts a series of parent engagement nights to provide families with knowledge and tools that help improve student achievement and well-being. More details available here.


First Eucharist Reception:  In keeping with St. Gemma tradition, the families of Gr. 2 celebrants contribute potluck items and Gr. 3 parents/guardians “pay it backward” and help out at this special celebration.  Click here to get more information.


Staff Appreciation Luncheon:  To show our gratitude to all our amazing staff members, St. Gemma families and School Council host an appreciation lunch (i.e. potluck) at the end of the school year. Use this link to find out more about this event.


Annual Family BBQ:  This is our BIGGEST event of the year! Join us (rain or shine) for games, food, fun and so much more…  More details available here.



Council Meetings and Minutes

Please join us at our next meeting!  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.


Approved Minutes and Upcoming Meetings:  School Council meetings usually take place on the second Tuesday of every month from 6:30 – 8:00pm in St. Gemma’s Learning Commons. Here is a record of past discussions and decisions and the scheduled meeting dates for 2019-20:


Who benefits when you participate in School Council?

  • Students - 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: March 9, 2020)