St. Gemma’s Catholic School Council (CSC) 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)

CSC 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.”

All parents and guardians at St. Gemma are encouraged to reach out to the *new* CSC 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

Further details regarding the work of CSC is defined in Ontario Regulation 612/00 under the Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.2.

Expenses incurred on behalf of the CSC may be reimbursed using the following template:

Expense Form (submit completed form to the CSC Treasurer)

Image result for Parent Involvement Committee ottawa

Helping hearts and hands are always needed!  If you would like to offer suggestions, volunteer for an event, or get involved in other ways, please come to our next CSC meeting or contact us by email:  

Events & Projects Supported by CSC

Thanks to your kind help and generosity, a number of events and projects have been organized at St. Gemma over the past school year.  Here are some of the highlights:

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 – Picture it: witches, ghosts, and spooooky creatures!  The children wore costumes, danced in the dark, and enjoyed a variety of Halloween games and activities.  Thanks to all the volunteers who helped set up, run, and clean up after this frightening fun event!

Movie Night – Another big turn-out this past November! Everyone came with their pyjamas and blankets, watched “The Lego Movie”, and enjoyed refreshments from the canteen.

Christmas Craft Night – We celebrated the season with family and friends by making crafts, listening to holiday music, decorating cookies, and drinking hot chocolate (yum!).  Thanks to Meredith Tomas for organizing and everyone who brought non-perishable items for the Ottawa Food Bank.

Skate Night - Weston Park was packed!  We skated around the outdoor rink while listening to music, played shinny hockey, and enjoyed refreshments in the field house.  Thanks to the Balduzzi-Vlamis family for organizing.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Breakfast - Students marked the beginning of Lent by eating pancakes in their pyjamas!  Much appreciation to Christine Matheson, Nicole Lavigne, and all the volunteers who showed up with their griddles to help with this annual tradition - the children really enjoyed it.

Parent Workshop – There was a great turn-out for this year’s PIC-PRO event entitled “Helping Your Child Succeed with Technology”.  Our keynote speaker, Kelly Rasmussen provided valuable information about the applications, extensions and websites supported by the Ottawa Catholic School Board.  Thank you to Versna Zaremba for coordinating the workshop and making arrangements for a pizza dinner and child care.

Staff Appreciation Lunch - Families were extremely generous this year and the staff thoroughly enjoyed being treated with all of the yummy treats. Special mention to Kelly Rasmussen and the volunteer crew who helped with set up and take down!

Family BBQ - Our last big event of the year a great success! Thank you so very much to all our volunteers, guests, and sponsors! After jumping in the bouncy castle and racing in the obstacle course, families took a break to look at all the great photos that were taken over the past year.  We then had our pictures taken with special guests Cinderella, Ariel, the Capital Ghostbusters, characters from Star Wars, Sparky, and Big Joe! After that, we enjoyed food, drinks, and treats from the grilling station, canteen and frozen treats cart.  Our faces were painted, we stood in line for balloon art, and also made creative projects at the craft table. St. Gemma’s very own dance troupe performed marvelously and everyone enjoyed listening to live music by the Immaculata Band. We petted a variety of animals at the zoo, visited our local heros from Fire Station 35, and learned about the importance of recycling and clean water at the City of Ottawa’s environmental booth.  Many tried their luck at Lollipop-a-palooza, Punch-a-Prize, and the Treasure Chest Game. Congratulations to all our winners, including those from the basket raffle and classroom art silent auction. With your help, we’re getting closer to achieving our financial goals for a new play structure for the school! Help us to plan next year’s family BBQ by taking this short survey.

News & Upcoming Events 

Notice to Volunteers for 2018/19 School Year:

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.

Next St. Gemma School Council Meeting:

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 | 6:30-7:30pm | Learning Commons

There will be a Tech Presentation following the council meeting on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 (7:30-8:00pm, Learning Commons).  Get a brief overview of the applications, extensions and websites supported by the Ottawa Catholic School Board.

$$$ NEW debit and credit card payment options $$$:

In addition to cash, items at any CSC event can now be purchased using our tap-and-pay debit and credit card reader. For any transaction, simply hold your contactless credit card, debit card, or NFC-enabled smartphone/watch near the reader to trigger payment, or insert your credit card chip into the reader.

St. Gemma Playground Project: 

The school’s playground needs to be replaced over the next few years.  In order to pay for and install new equipment, we need to come up with approximately $50,000.  Please help us by volunteering your time and skills, making a donation, and telling others in the community about this major project.  A Playground Committee has been formed – to find out more and get involved, please come to our next CSC meeting or contact us by email:

 “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”   - Walt Disney


Fundraising Efforts

2017-18 ‘No-Fuss’ Fundraiser: Image result for piggy bank

We are happy to announce that the total amount collected was $3,360!  That’s amazing! Thank you so very much for your continued support to make St. Gemma a better learning, social, and spiritual environment for our children.  In addition to various community-building events and activities, these funds were used for Scientists in the School, bussing to mass, and an assortment of other projects.

St. Gemma Playground Project: Related image

The school’s outdoor play structure will need to be replaced over the next few years.  In order to pay for and install new equipment, our goal is to raise ~$60,000 by the end of June 2020.  Please help us by volunteering your time and skills, making a donation, and telling others in the community about this major project.  Our big Playground Project Kick-Off Meeting will be held in September - stay tuned!

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”   - Walt Disney


The CSC 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.

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 CSC.

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

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

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

September 18, 2018 Council Minutes

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 the 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.