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 PARENTs and BOARD employees are elected/appointed at the first meeting of the school year and serve a one-year term. We encourage you to reach out to the Parent Members for 2020-2021

Co-Chairs: Marisa Fusaro and Renee Marshall Secretary: Magdalene Creskey Treasurer: Katrina Meikle Parish Representative: Kim Pinsonneault Community Representative: Michelle O’Brien CSPA Representative: Lisa Calarco-Hajjar Communications Specialist: Kristen Lewis Members-at-Large: Alex Sarabura, Cecille Soberano, Meredith Tomas, and Anne Wiecek

Special mention and much appreciation to: Hot Lunch Program Coordinators: Lisa Calarco-Hajjar and Kristen Lewis

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:

Rules for our engagement are outlined in our Constitution (approved July 14, 2020) 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).

Fundraising and Events

Some events, activities, and fundraisers for 2020/21 have yet to be scheduled. If you have ideas you’d like to propose, please speak to a school council member, attend our next meeting, or send us an email at

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.


This year we have teamed up with Papa Jack, FundScrip and FlipGive to help raise money for our school and to support initiatives to help our students, their families and others in our community, while adhering to current Public Health guidelines.

Papa Jack:

● Go to

● Add items to your cart

● Enter coupon code STGEMMA on the checkout page of your order.

This fundraiser only applies to orders placed online, not in-store.


● Go to

● Click on “Support Your Group”

● Enter code U64RLY


● Join our team by clicking here

● Enter code MLSZBG

For more detailed information on how you can participate in the FundScrip and FlipGive fundraisers, click here.

Remember to use FlipGive before you shop online so that we earn cash back. Make a purchase within the first 14 days of joining and we'll receive an additional bonus ($5 per team member)!


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.


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). 

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.


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.


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.

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! School Council meetings usually take place on the second Tuesday of every month from 6:30 – 8:00pm (on-line via Google Meet or in St. Gemma’s Learning Commons).

● Virtual meetings: To receive log-in details for an online Google meet, please send an email to Mr. Cinanni with the subject line: “ Request for School Council link”.

● In-person meetings: 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 Meetings and Approved Minutes

Here is a list of scheduled meeting dates and our record of past discussions and decisions:


October 13, 2020

November 10, 2020

December 8, 2020

January 12, 2021

● February 9, 2021

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: September 6, 2020)