Week of Sept. 17-21

Purchasing Options for Student Technology

As we continue the implementation of Deep Learning across the Board, and increasingly seek out opportunities to leverage digital to support learning, access to enough devices in each classroom is sometimes an issue. Our Board has been investing in technology for many years and will continue to do so, but the demand is rapidly increasing as students are starting to do more and more of their schoolwork online using the collaborative tools available.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a strategy that has been successfully implemented in many of our schools to help support student access to technology. Many families are seeking advice as they consider purchasing a device for their child to use both at home and at school over the next few years. As a result, we have been working with Staples Canada to provide OCSB families with access to an online portal where they can find information and pricing on a few models of Chromebooks that have been specifically recommended by our Learning Technologies Department. These recommended devices are the same durable machines we are using in classrooms, with full keyboards, cameras and touchscreens that also flip over to act as a tablet and were not previously available from Staples.

Minto Construction

I had a meeting with Minto earlier this week as they will soon start some preliminary construction prior to building homes near our school track area. They are hoping to be on-site October 1. We discussed fencing, transportation, and other safety items that Minto are committed to. Actual construction of the homes will start mid-2019 but, as I said, some preliminary work (pipes, road prep, etc) will be done in October through to Christmas. I will be monitoring this work carefully and meeting with Minto as needed, providing updates to the SJH community when relevant. The Minto group are absolutely committed to working with the school to minimize disruption. If you would like to see the site plan, please access: https://www.minto.com/ottawa/new-homes/Harmony/Site-Plan~2075.html . When there click Download Riversbend Site Plan.

Meet the Staff Night

We had a large turnout for our Meet the Staff Night on Tuesday. It was great to meet so many members of our community taking an interest in all that we do here. I know that some parents/guardians had to wait a long time in line to speak with teachers. I have an idea that will be implemented next year to help alleviate this inconvenience.

Jag Jog

Our annual Jag Jog fundraiser, with a percentage donated to the Canadian Cancer Society in honour of Terry Fox, is well under way. We had a great kick-off assembly on Wednesday and my office is full of great prizes that students can win. The Jag-Jog takes place on Thurs. Sept. 27. We are asking students to collect $20, which gets them a t-shirt and participation in a barbecue. The Jag Jog is always an awesome day at St. Joe's and this year will be no exception. Jog, Jags, Jog!!!

School Council Meeting on Monday

Don't forget about our first parent School Council meeting on Monday where elections will occur. The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the school's Learning Commons on the second floor. We are hoping for a large turnout.

School Improvement Plan

I met with our School Improvement Plan team on Thursday as we put the finishing touches on our 2018-19 School Improvement Plan. This plan consists of three components with goals we wish to achieve, being Be Well, Be Community, and Be Innovative. I will be discussing this in more detail at our School Council Meeting on Monday.

To create some consistency across the board, we have changed our Twitter handle to @StJosephOCSB. Please follow us to see what is happening at the school!

There is a great deal of information on the CSPA website regarding information for parents and upcoming sessions. You can visit the website here.

Contact Information

I can be reached personally at don.murphy@ocsb.ca. The school's general mailbox address is Joseph.High@ocsb.ca

Have a great week!

Don Murphy, Principal

Upcoming Events

Monday, September 17: School Council Meeting @7 p.m.

Thursday, September 27: Jag Jog

Friday, October 5: PD Day

Week of Sept. 10-14

Opening Week

We had a great opening week at St. Joe's. Our assemblies gave us an opportunity to speak to students about various things grade-related (eg. grade 9 and 10 EQAO), rules of the school to keep things running smoothly, and some self-regulation strategies and tips if students feel overwhelmed, stressed, or alone. We have a strong tradition at St. Joe's of demonstrating care and concern for each other. This doesn’t happen by accident - we need to continually review our approaches and make sure we are all content both in and outside the classroom.

Unfortunately, we are still awaiting parts for our cafeteria ovens. The cafeteria is able to sell some food but quantities are limited; therefore, it is highly recommended students bring food with them each day so as not to rely solely on the cafeteria. The ovens should be fixed this week. I will let our community know when this happens.

Meet the Staff Night

Parents and guardians are reminded that our Meet the Staff night will take place on Tuesday, September 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. We will gather in the tile floor gym for some quick introductions and then parents and guardians will be directed on where to go to meet their child's/children's teachers. Please make sure you bring a copy of your child's timetable with you so you know what teachers to see.

Jag Jog

Our annual Jag Jog fundraiser, with a percentage donated to the Canadian Cancer Society in honour of Terry Fox, takes place on Thurs. Sept. 27. We are asking students to collect $20, which gets them a t-shirt and participation in a barbecue. The Jag Jog is always an awesome day at St. Joe's and this year will be no exception. Please participate!

Notice: Have your say. Vote for your OCSB Trustee.

Ensuring you have a voice in in the upcoming municipal election means ensuring you are on the voter’s list so that you can vote for an OCSB Trustee. By default, everyone’s school support is automatically directed to the “English Public” school. This means that you may need to proactively change your direction of school support (taxes) to “English Separate” in order to vote for an OCSB Trustee. Update your status quickly and easily at voterlookup.ca. Learn more.

A Message from OSTA (Ottawa Student Transportation Authority)

Please direct parents to complete the Transportation Issue Form, rather than sending emails to OSTA zones. These are prioritized over email. We are finding an unusually high number of emails and we will not be able to respond to them, due to volume and multiple copies.

Tech at St. Joe's: BYOD and School Chromebooks

  • All students have Board-issued gmail accounts. Students should use this account for all school-related activities.
  • Students are encouraged to bring technology to assist in learning.
  • Phones are good for some activities, like photos or quick searches, but keyboarded devices are much better for essays, notes, etc.
  • We love Chromebooks at St. Joe's because their batteries last all day!
  • We do have Chromebooks available in the learning commons and in classrooms, but it's so much better if you don’t have to share! Think about this when making up Birthday and Christmas lists!

Contact Information

I can be reached personally at don.murphy@ocsb.ca. The school's general mailbox address is Joseph.High@ocsb.ca

Have a great week!

Don Murphy, Principal

Upcoming Events

Monday, September 17: School Council Meeting @7 p.m.

Thursday, September 27: Jag Jog

Week of Sept. 3-7


I would like to extend a very warm welcome to our grade 7 students this year and an enthusiastic return to the rest of our grades 8 through 12 school community. We are excited to begin the learning process within our school for the 2018-19 academic year. I look forward to meeting our community at our Meet the Staff evening on Tuesday, September 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. More information on this event will be out shortly.

Our Office Administrators and Caretakers have been working tirelessly to get the school ready for another year and I am indebted to them. Our School Improvement Plan for 2018-19 will be completed shortly and I look forward to sharing it with you. Our Board theme will provide us with a framework for this Plan. Our Board theme this year, being Seek Justice, Love Kindness and Mercy, Walk humbly with God, will challenge us over the next three years to explore our growth in faith in three distinct ways:

YEAR ONE (2018-19): SEEK JUSTICE. How do we live our faith in action? Do we appreciate Catholic Social Teachings and the Social Doctrine of our faith?

YEAR TWO (2019-20): LOVE KINDNESS AND MERCY. How do we live our faith in our relationship with others?

YEAR THREE (2020-21): WALK HUMBLY WITH GOD. We are called to live an authentic faith, close to our God in lifelong discovery leading to transformation.

Once again, I wish everyone a great school year. Go Jags Go!

Cafeteria Ovens not Working

Our cafeteria ovens are currently out of service. A work order has been placed; however, because of this it is recommended students bring a lunch on Tuesday as cafeteria service will be extremely limited. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Grade Level Assemblies

Our opening assemblies will take place on Wednesday and Thursday. Here, our school administration team and student services personnel will review expectations and provide direction for support if students should find themselves in need of assistance. Ultimately, we are a community of faith at St. Joseph Catholic High School and want to ensure we are reaching out and helping those who are in need so no one finds themselves alone in our school.

Ontario Ministry of Education Information

As you may be aware, the Ministry of Education has committed to comprehensive public consultation to inform changes to a variety of education topics including: Mathematics, Health and Physical Education, EQAO, Parent Bill of Rights, and the grades 1-8 Health and Physical Education curriculum. Parents have likely heard the discussion of the review of the sexual education component of this curriculum. The Ministry has released a 2018 Health and Physical Education Interim edition curriculum based on the revised 2010 curriculum.

Important to note, however, the Ottawa Catholic School Board will continue to use the ICE (Institute for Catholic Education) program “Fully Alive” to teach areas of personal relationships for our Gr. 1 - 8 students. At St. Joe's, our grades 7&8 Religion teachers have been teaching the areas related to human sexuality within the family life curriculum. As noted by the Ontario Catholic School Trustee Association, “Through use of the Fully Alive program materials, Catholic teachers will continue to present the issue of human sexuality within the fullness of a faith-based family life curriculum that teaches the content of our faith, the value of persons, human relationships, commitment, and social responsibility. As has been our tradition in Catholic education, the safety and well-being of students remains our priority and is reflected in the curriculum we deliver in our classrooms.”

Opening Day Procedures

1. Students are to report to the following:

Grade 7 - Cafeteria

Grade 8 - Alpha List located across from main entrance to Cafeteria

Grade 9-12 - Alpha List will be posted in atrium indicating homeroom location

2. This will be a regular DAY 1 with regular times for grades 9-12. Grade 7’s and 8’s will follow this timetable so they can have extra time to locate buses at the end of the day:

HR/P1 - 8:00 - 9:45

P2 - 9:50 - 10:30

P3 - 10:35 - 11:15

P4 - 11:20 - 12:00

Lunch - 12:00 - 12:45

P5 - 12:45 - 1:25

P6 - 1:30 - 2:00

3. TIMETABLES – Gr. 9-12 – Course changes will not be permitted during the first week as Student Services are dealing with new registrants, incomplete schedules, and students needing pre-requisite courses; hence, students are to be present in all courses scheduled on their timetable.

Technology use from the OCSB

At the Ottawa Catholic School Board, we believe that it is our shared responsibility as educators and parents/guardians to ensure that students are equipped to behave as responsible Digital Citizens in an increasingly complex digital world. It is likely that starting in their elementary years, many children have already gained access to the internet, perhaps even outside of the home or the classroom, in an unsupervised environment, such as through a friend’s phone.

Staff at OCSB work diligently with students each year to ensure that they are using digital tools in appropriate, productive and responsible ways to support their learning. Our Board has developed a series of age-appropriate lessons for each grade level from Kindergarten to Grade 12 through the Samaritans on the Digital Road program. This curriculum is designed to develop students’ understanding that their citizenship and efforts to live gospel values extends to their presence in the digital world.

Please take the time to visit the Samaritans on the Digital Road website at samaritans.ocsb.ca where you can find the curriculum as well as additional resources for parents/guardians to support their journey along the “Digital Road.” Look for an Acceptable Use of Technology Agreement to be sent home before the end of September. Please review it carefully with your son/daughter before signing it and returning it to school.

School Messenger App

We recently informed our school community that our school would soon begin using the SchoolMessenger communication platform. The advantage of SchoolMessenger over our current platform is that SchoolMessenger allows parents to select their contact preferences (contact by phone, email, or both) for each of the following different types of messages: Emergency messages, Attendance messages, General messages, Teacher to Parent messages, and School to Student messages.

There is also a free SchoolMessenger App available for both iOS and Android based phones which enables you to receive notifications of school messages as well as set your contact preferences for each kind of message.

What parents need to do:

Please click the following link and follow the instructions in the School Messenger Parent Account User Guide to create your parent account and choose your contact preferences (contact by phone, email, or both) for each message type. This link can also be accessed by copying and pasting the following URL into your browser: http://bit.ly/smParentGuide

The School Messenger Parent FAQ provides more information about School Messenger. This link can also be accessed by copying and pasting the following URL into your browser: http://bit.ly/smParentFAQ

Volunteers in Schools

Beginning September 2018, the majority of volunteers working with students in the OCSB must complete a vulnerable sector check (VSC). Here is a link to the revised OCSB criminal record check policy for more information. Applying online is simple and free, with a letter from the school. This does not include same day service. Please speak with your Principal if you need further information.

Student Fees

At St. Joseph High School, we collect a student fee to augment some of the program, club and activity costs that support student involvement outside of the classroom. The school uses fees for such things as:

  • school clubs
  • school teams
  • Academic and Athletic Awards
  • Leadership Camp
  • social justice initiatives
  • guest speakers and school-wide presentations

Student Class Organization

The Student Services Departments as well as school administrations at both St. Joe's and our elementary schools begin the discussion around student organizing in classes beginning in May of the previous school year. Many factors are taken into account, including French programming and blending classes, specific student needs, gender balance, etc. Considerable time and valued teacher input have been invested in developing grade 7 and 8 class lists for the 2018-2019 school. We ask that you please respect this planning process. Student homerooms will not be changed to accommodate friend requests.

School Photo Day

Wednesday, September 12th is our school photo day. Information for ordering pictures will come home ahead of this date. Students are reminded that even if you aren’t ordering pictures, your photo is required for student identification as well as our yearbook. Edge Imaging provides a variety of photo options to capture your child's true personality, preserving all their school day memories. Photo day flyers will be sent home with students this week. Please return the order form and payment to the school on or before photo day. As these student pictures are used for our student identification program for safety considerations, we ask students not to contribute props or other extravagant dress during their sitting time. Students will have an opportunity for “fun” pictures as part of our yearbook creation. For more information on photo day, please visit www.edgeimaging.ca for answers to frequently asked questions.

School Council

The first general meeting of the St. Joe's School Council will take place on Monday, September 17th at 7:00pm in the school Learning Commons (library). We hope to see many new parents at our meeting. If you are interested in running for a position on the Council, you may review the information required in the following forms and send the information required in an email to St. Joseph High School (Joseph.High@ocsb.ca)

School Council Parent Nomination FormSchool Council Parent Self-Nomination Form


Student transportation information is now available on the OSTA Parent Web Portal https://ostabusplanner.ottawaschoolbus.ca/StudentLogin.aspx Please re-verify transportation information the week prior to school start-up as stop timings may have changed.

Transportation for Students in a Joint Custody Arrangement and Having Two Homes

OSTA has developed a new policy & procedure to deliver transportation services to students in a joint custody arrangement and having two homes. An application process and other requirements need to be met for parents to receive this service, and the homes in question must meet all other eligibility requirements. The deadline for new applications or changes to existing applications for September start up transportation was June 1. All other applications will be reviewed after September 15, and prior to October 1. More information can be found on the OSTA website:


Applications for Seat Availability

Students who had been approved to access service under the Seat Availability provision for 2017-18 will need to re-apply for service for the 2018-19 school year. The “Application for Access to Empty Seats on School Bus Vehicles” form is available on the OSTA website at http://www.ottawaschoolbus.ca/policies-procedures/empty-seat-seat-availability-provision-2/ and should be sent to OSTA directly. All applications will be reviewed and seats assigned after October 1. We ask that parents and school staff NOT put students on the bus prior to assignment to a bus route, for the students’ own safety.

Changes to Cannabis Legislation and Schools

Cannabis (marijuana) is a drug that comes from a flowering hemp plant. It is used for both its psychotropic and therapeutic effects. Cannabis contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidol). THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. CBD is not psychoactive and is believed to have medical benefits, such as inflammation and pain control.

There are health risks to anyone who uses cannabis heavily and/or regularly. These risks increase for people under 25, because their brains are still developing, and include: problems with memory, coordination, learning, impulse control. Cannabis use can increase anxiety and depression, and can increase the likelihood of developing schizophrenia. This is more likely for people who have a family history of this condition.

Following the legalization of Cannabis use this fall for those 19 years of age and older, public consumption of cannabis will not be allowed. The smoking of cannabis falls under the Smoke Free Ontario Act. That is, by law, one cannot smoke or hold lighted tobacco in any enclosed workplace, any enclosed public places and specifically designated outdoor places (eg. school grounds, area around daycare centres) in Ontario. The same applies to cannabis. The smoking of recreational cannabis will only be allowed in private residences. Vaping and smoking of medical cannabis is prohibited on school property. Possession, use of, and being under the influence of non-medical cannabis will remain prohibited in schools.

Additional information can be found at the following sites:

Cannabis: What parents/guardians and caregivers need to know


Cannabis - Ottawa Public Health



Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH)


Article from American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/11/marijuana-brain.aspx

40 Hours of Community Service

Since 1999, the Ministry of Education has required all students to complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities as part of the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) (As stated in Ontario Secondary Schools, Grades 9 to 12: Program and Diploma Requirements, 1999).

The purpose of the community involvement requirement is to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play and the contributions they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities. The Ottawa Catholic School Board has always encouraged this community service to take place in the Parish, School, or wider community. There is a list on the back of the Community Service form that all students complete that highlights many of the eligible activities that students may complete to fulfill this graduation requirement.

When the expectation around community service was introduced by the Ministry of Education, they developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as community involvement activities and that are therefore ineligible activities. Included as part of that list of those expectations outlined by the Ministry is an activity “that would normally be performed for wages by a person in the workplace”. As your son/daughter works toward this graduation activity, we would encourage them to review the list of accepted activities to ensure they are meeting the proper requirements. You will find a link (below) to the All Saints community service hours form, with a list of appropriate activities on page 2. Hard copies of this form are available in our student services department.

Community Service Hours Form

CANImmunize App

Keep kids in school with the CANImmunize App - CANImmunize is a digital tool for Canadians that securely stores your vaccination records and helps you get vaccinated on time. Avoid school suspensions with vaccination reporting to Ottawa Public Health. Visit https://www.canimmunize.ca/en/home for more information.

There is a great deal of information on the CSPA website regarding information for parents and upcoming sessions. You can visit the website here.

Contact Information

I can be reached personally at don.murphy@ocsb.ca. The school's general mailbox address is Joseph.High@ocsb.ca

Please follow us on Twitter at @StJosephCHS

Have a great first week back!

Don Murphy

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, September 11: Meet the Staff Night @6:30 p.m.

Monday, September 17: School Council Meeting @7 p.m.

Thursday, September 27: Jag Jog