School News & Announcements

Week #9 of Distance Learning

posted May 26, 2020, 5:12 PM by Michelle McGarry

Dear St. Francis Families,

I hope this email continues to find everyone well.  We are disappointed to hear that we will not be meeting as a community again this school year but understand everyone's health is of utmost importance during this time.

Apologies for the later than usual communication but I was hoping to have a firm plan to share with you regarding when and how you can come and pick up your child’s shoes, clothing, and medication.  We thank you for your continued patience with this process as we work to ensure it goes safely and efficiently.  Once Ottawa Public Health and our Board give us the go-ahead, we will ask you in advance to fill out a small form to determine if you will be coming to pick up items. As well, if there are items besides shoes, clothing, or medication that you would like at this time, there will be a spot to indicate this as well. The information will be used to plan our timing more closely as we schedule the families by last names. We do not want you waiting in long line ups, large gatherings or have to come to school multiple times depending on how many children you have. We honour the fact that you have been working from home and supporting your children’s mental health and learning since March. 

Upcoming Events

We would like to invite all of our families to a live-streamed year-end Mass with Fr. Anthony. This will be occurring on June 12th @11:00. As I did with the Catholic Education Mass, I will provide the link closer to this event. We are grateful for our Parish to be hosting this event for us and the surrounding schools!

We will be having a virtual Leaving Ceremony taking place on Friday June 19th at 11:00 for our grade 6 students and their families.  More details about this event and class-specific year-end celebrations during the last week of school will be sent directly to these students in the coming weeks.

As always, please be sure to maintain contact with your child’s educators and myself should you have any questions or suggestions. Please also take the time to fill out the Board survey that was sent to you today. Your feedback helps us improve during this unprecedented time and it helps us when we hear from you.

Messaging from St. Francis School and the Ottawa Catholic School Board will continue to be shared on our website and our twitter account @AssisiOCSB  Should you wish to communicate with me, email is the best method. 

I hope and pray that you continue to be healthy. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Take care,

 Michelle McGarry and St Francis Staff

Week #8 of Distance Learning

posted May 26, 2020, 5:11 PM by Michelle McGarry

Dear St. Francis Families,

I hope everyone had time this past long weekend to enjoy the wonderful weather and take a break from supporting your child’s learning. Many thanks for your ongoing support as we continue to work together during this unprecedented time. Our Board has prepared a #ocsbHowTo YouTube playlist for parents/guardians, these micro-videos answer some commonly asked questions from our OCSB parent community surrounding resources and OCSB digital tools. As well, our Board’s firewalls will only work when students log in when using their student account. Here is some information on how to Keep Google Accounts Separate in Google Chrome to support with sharing of computer devices.

An expected announcement tomorrow should bring further information regarding when schools will reopen. We have been busy planning for our grade six leave taking and for the 2020/21 school year.. This past week we shared information on how to prepare for Kindergarten with our families that will have enrolled in JK for the fall.

We hope you’re doing well and free from worries and the health concerns brought on by Covid-19.Do stay in touch with the school. Messaging from St. Francis School and the Ottawa Catholic School Board will continue to be shared on our website and our twitter account @AssisiOCSB Should you wish to communicate with me, email is the best method.

I hope and pray that you continue to be healthy. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Take care,

Michelle McGarry and St Francis 


Week #8 of Distance Learning

posted May 26, 2020, 5:09 PM by Michelle McGarry

Hello St Francis Families!

A very special Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers!

I hope this message continues to find everyone healthy and navigating these unusual times as best they can. It has been over 8 weeks since we have seen each other in person and had a solid routine. We miss you and can’t wait until we meet again in person. To celebrate #Ignite Hope for this year’s Catholic Education Week, with Mrs Harrington’s expertise, we made this video describing our hopes for your family and to remind you to hope in the Lord because He is mighty and good! He is by our side through our worries that we have been experiencing these last two months and He will guide us.

Emma Paxton, Creator   

Used with permission

Need Some Support?

Our educators are available to support distance learning, suggest routines and strategies for work completion and answer and questions you may have around learning and technology. The Ottawa Catholic School Board also has supports for students and their families through mental health professionals such as social workers and psychologists. Should you require access to board staff supports, or find yourself in need of anything, please send me an email at 

The Catholic School Parent Association has some online events that may be of interest to parents. Registration and topics are released weekly and will be held on May 14, May 21 and May 28 at noon each week. See CSPA to register. These are online events and a LINK will be sent to all those who register. Questions can be sent to


You may have noticed that you have been reimbursed for the money you have paid for milk.  In the coming week, Ms Kerry will also be reimbursing you for pizza and school clothing.

Requests to Obtain Your Child’s Items from the School:

I can completely understand that there are items in the school that your child has been missing for the last two months.  Unfortunately, we can’t go into the school to find your items or let you come and pick them up until we have approval from Public Health.  We should soon hear from the government regarding the timeline for reopening schools and then we will plan from there. 

Stay in Touch

Do stay in touch with the school. Messaging from St. Francis School and the Ottawa Catholic School Board will continue to be shared on our website and our twitter account @AssisiOCSB  Should you wish to communicate with me, email is the best method. 

I hope and pray that you continue to be healthy. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Take care,

 Michelle McGarry and St Francis Staff

Week #7 of Distance Learning

posted May 7, 2020, 4:05 PM by Michelle McGarry

Dear St Francis families,

I hope this email continues to find your family healthy and navigating these unusual times. If you need support, please don’t hesitate to reach our to your educators or myself.  As always, we welcome your feedback.

Each year, the Catholic community of Ontario engages in a week-long celebration of the unique identity and distinctive contributions of Catholic education during Catholic Education Week

Catholic Education Week celebrates the ongoing gift of publicly-funded  Catholic education. Publicly funded Catholic education has existed in Ontario since 1841 and its graduates have served Ontario and Canada very well. The current generation of students in our publicly funded Catholic schools will serve with the same spirit and generosity as their previous generations.  

This year’s celebration is entitled, “Catholic Education: Igniting Hope and will be celebrated during the week of May 3 – May 8, 2020.  More than 600,000 students in over 1,500 Catholic schools across Ontario normally take part in this special week to celebrate the distinctive contribution their schools make in the lives of our students and the community.  

Sadly, given our current circumstances, all Ottawa Catholic School Board in-person activities have been cancelled, however we would like to take this celebration to a virtual model.  As a Catholic community, we are called to “Ignite Hope” in our community. To support this, the amazing EAs at St Francis have made up a fantastic slidedeck Boredom Busters  to support connectedness and hope amongst our St Francis families!  Feel free to take a look at the activities, enjoy them and add to the deck if you wish!  Additionally, each day, the Board will invite all our families to demonstrate their hope for others and themselves with a Twitter message:  

Monday - For the ones we love - send a message of hope to someone in your family

Tuesday - For the ones who teach us - send a message of hope to your educator(s)

Wednesday - For leaders - send a message of hope to a leader in your community/world

(government leaders, school board leaders, your parish priest, Archbishop Prendergast, Pope Francis) 

Thursday - For those in need and those who care for them - send a message of hope to a nursing home, hospital, The Mission, Shepherds of Good Hope, frontline and healthcare workers

Friday - For yourself - send yourself a message of hope - for today and the future 

How do I do this?

  • Write a message of hope

  • Draw a picture

  • Find a symbol or object from nature

  • Witness an act of kindness in your community

Capture by video or photo and send that hope-filled message to your family and those you love!  Be sure to share your message using the hashtag #ocsbHope and @assisiOCSB.  You can also put it on our Flipgrid

We look forward to celebrating Catholic Education Week 2020 this year with your messages and images of Hope in our community!

Take care,

Michelle McGarry

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Week #6 of Distance Learning

posted May 7, 2020, 4:04 PM by Michelle McGarry

Dear St. Francis Families,

This weekend, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all publicly-funded schools, including all Ottawa Catholic Schools, would remain closed until at least May 31, 2020. The extension is based on expert advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and health officials on the COVID-19 Command Table. We continue to hope and pray for the day we can gather together again as a Catholic community of learners.

As you continue to support your child’s learning at the amount and pace that works for them and your family, please continue to provide feedback to your educators. It is challenging for us to adjust the learning experience since we don’t see the students on a daily basis!  For junior students, we welcome them to communicate their successes and advocate for their learning needs by emailing their teachers directly.

Deep Learning:

Education within the OCSB focusses not only on the mastery of literacy and numeracy skills. Deep Learning seeks to develop the “Six Cs”: character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking, within a faith-filled context. Here are some examples of deep learning in a distance learning context

Citizenship is the skill that allows your child to connect with people with diverse world views and perspectives diplomatically. 

Challenge your child to think about others in their neighborhood and how they might be feeling, things that they might be experiencing that are different from their experience.  

How can we help them?  A prayer, a message in the window, a picture on the driveway...

Character is one of the more apparent skills that your child will need throughout their whole life. 

How is your child interacting with others at home?

Have some discussions about the importance of traits like perseverance, resilience, humility, and kindness. Add to our Random Acts of Kindness  Flipgrid

Communication is an essential skill that will help your child interact with others, express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. 

How can your child express their thoughts, perspectives, and opinions in a productive way?  

Schedule some time to work specifically on listening skills.  Make it a game.

Critical thinking is the ability to thoughtfully evaluate information and arguments by seeing patterns and making connections. 

Provide opportunities for your child to ‘figure it out’.  Do not be quick to give them a solution.

Ask them to explain their thinking.  Why might that work?  What else could you try?

Collaboration is a skill that allows your child to work well with others. 

Living in times of physical distancing creates a wonderful opportunity to practice collaboration within the family!

A family game or project can help your child to recognize their own unique talents and abilities while accepting, valuing and building upon the strengths that others bring to the table.

Creativity is a valuable skill that God has placed in each of us. It allows your child to take an idea and turn it into a reality.  Add to our Creativity   Flipgrid

“think outside the box,” be resourceful, and take risks to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to problems.

Ask your child to design a machine that would clean their room, a way to save water, a city that doesn’t need electricity


Next week is Catholic Education Week! Although we will miss celebrating Mass together, our Open House, and a variety of other activities we had planned, we will be highlighting the benefits of Catholic education!


I hope and pray that you and your families continue to be healthy. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Take care,

Michelle McGarry

Week #5 of Distance Learning

posted May 7, 2020, 4:02 PM by Michelle McGarry

Dear St. Francis Families,

I hope this communication continues to find your family healthy and managing these unusual times in the best way possible. As we enter our fifth week out of school we continue to be committed to helping families maintain a predictable routine, modeling wellness, strengthening relationships and being responsive to your family's needs. Please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or any of our staff members if you need help.

Second Round of Device Distribution:

Ottawa Public Health has given us permission to go back into the schools and hand out Chromebooks again. For those families that missed the last deadline, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your educators to indicate your need by this Wednesday morning. They will get back to you with a 10 minute window pick up time at the school for this Friday, April 24th. 

As stated in the update letter from the Board last Friday (and now posted on our school’s website), the Board is currently working with Rogers on an iPad distribution rollout. We will provide more information when it is ready.

Changing French Pathways for next year:

 As discussed in a previous email to families, for those students currently in grade 4 or 5, if you are requesting a change to your child’s French pathway, please do so in writing to the school’s email address. The deadline is the end of this week. 

Renewing Cross-Boundary Transfers

I will be sending out an email this week to those families that will need to have their cross-boundary transfers renewed for next year.  If for some reason you don’t receive this communication by the end of the week, please don’t hesitate to email the school and I will follow up accordingly.

Staying Connected

This week’s Flipgrid topic continues to be  Random Acts of Kindness. Remember, the classes with the highest number of submissions will win 1 indoor recess game for their class and 1 new outdoor recess ball. There will be a prize for each division: Kindergarten, Primary and Junior. 

You will also notice that Ms Kerry is trying something new and doing a weekly morning announcement! She will be announcing the theme for our Friday’s Spirit Day and other relevant information.

This Friday is Wear your St Francis Gear! Feel free to tweet it out (@assisiOCSB) so that we can retweet it!  You can also share a picture with one of your teachers with the understanding that they will tweet it out!

I hope and pray that you and your families continue to be healthy. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Take care,

 Michelle McGarry and St Francis Staff

Week #4 of Distance Learning

posted May 7, 2020, 4:00 PM by Michelle McGarry

Dear St. Francis Families, 

I hope this communication continues to find your family healthy and managing these unusual times 

Happy Easter to all of you!  Christ is risen from the dead and, with Him, we are offered the hope of resurrection, new life and new hope. This is a powerful, fresh hope, and it comes to us this year at a time when we need it so desperately.  May we draw strength from the Easter message during these uncertain days. 

How was the first official week of distance learning for your family?  It is hoped that the establishment of five hours of learning will be a helpful routine within your family. There is no expectation to recreate the school day. Your child should be able to work on tasks with some independence. Please do not permit this to be a stressor at home; feel free to adapt the staff suggestions to your family needs.  Do stay in contact with your child’s classroom teacher should you have any questions or concerns about the learning or the newly added assessment component. We are here to support you.

This week’s Flipgrid topic is  Random Acts of Kindness. You are encouraged to make someone else’s day by doing an act of kindness without being asked. ( Make someone’s bed, load the dishwasher, clean up toys you did not play with, take care of all your pet’s needs for the whole day,  write a handwritten letter or card to a relative and send it to them via the mail, or anything else of your choosing - anything kind counts if this is not already an assigned chore).  Share your deed so we can all have great suggestions regarding ways we can help each other out! The classes with the highest number of submissions will win 1 indoor recess game for their class and 1 new outdoor recess ball. There will be a prize for each division: Kindergarten, Primary and Junior.

All school activities that are in addition to classroom learning have been canceled through to the end of May (i.e. sports teams, presentations, retreats, field trips, Mass). Currently, access to the school is strictly limited to days allocated by Ottawa Public Health for strict purposes. Last week, the school was opened to prepare Chromebooks for distribution to families that were without any access to distance learning. Contactless distribution went smoothly with much waving and messages of Happy Easter!  The school has been beautifully sanitized since then and one has to remain optimistic that our beautiful community will be back together soon. 

School Board personnel were in last week to pick up boxes of latex gloves to be shared amongst first responders.  We anticipate our School Board personnel will be in this week to pick up our 3D Printer to assist in the making of face shields. 

Do stay in touch with the school. Messaging from St. Francis School and the Ottawa Catholic School Board will continue to be shared on our website and our twitter account @AssisiOCSB  Should you wish to communicate with me, email is the best method. 

I hope and pray that you continue to be healthy. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Take care,

 Michelle McGarry and St Francis Staff

Week #3 of Distance Learning

posted Apr 6, 2020, 5:35 PM by Michelle McGarry

Hello St Francis Families, 

It is our hope and prayer that your family and loved ones continue to be healthy as we navigate these unprecedented times together. We hope you are enjoying the blessings of spring as well as finding some peace as you prepare for the coming of Easter. 

Our staff is all healthy and are missing your children, especially so as we journey through Holy Week. It is a special time when we often gather together as a faith-filled community to celebrate the great mysteries of our faith: Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection and your children bring these special times alive for us!


You will notice on our school’s website, links to the following information/ resources:

  1. NEW - Online registration for our school’s for next year. Pass the word in the neighbourhood for those families looking to register at St Francis for the next school year!

  2. Family Updates from our Director, Denise Andre - these updates contain a lot of information. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

  3. A link to our Board’s learning resources for students & families  as well as the Ministry Learn at Home suggestions should you be looking for learning experiences in addition to the ones that have been provided by your child’s teachers. 

Extension of School Closures to May 4th:

Due to the extended closure, we are moving to providing five hours of specific distance learning per week. Families are invited to be flexible - to do the amount you can, when you can. Let your teachers know if you have concerns.  Even though the learning is becoming more formalized, we continue to encourage students to read, be physically active and take the time to be mentally well. If your child has a passion, do not hesitate to give them the time to explore it and share their learning with their teachers or myself! If you have a chance, share your creativity on our Flipgrid (Code:******).


Distribution of Devices for Families in Need of a Device:


Last week, teachers were in contact with all families to ask if  technology is available in your home since this is essential to distance learning. If you are in need and haven’t had a chance to let us know, please let your teacher know ASAP. 


At this time the emergency measures do not permit students or parents to enter our schools. Working with Ottawa Public Health, we hope to have a protocol in place by mid-week to safely distribute devices to those families in greatest need. Should this protocol be approved, an email will be sent to each family with a specific pick-up time at the school, tentatively the morning of Thursday, April 9th.

Supports from Divine Infant Parish: A Message from Fr & Holy Week Liturgies

Dear Friends in Christ,

I am writing to you at this time of struggle and uncertainty to reassure you of our prayers and love. Even though our churches and parish offices are closed, the radiance of Christ love and mercy goes beyond the walls of our temples and permeates every heart and reaches out to everyone offering comfort, hope and peace. Let us stay united in prayer and thought. Try to think of a specific name, moment you shared with each other, particular need of your brother or sister and let us pray, pray and once again pray. You can start your own novena, special devotion or you can fast, it can be done together as a group over the phone or internet. We all need to feel God’s presence at this time but we also need to encourage and reassure each other, do it often by all means available to you. All of us here at the rectory keep you in our prayers and in our daily celebration of the Holy Eucharist. 

 Every day I will pray the rosary at 9am for your intentions and well-being. I invite you to join me in this prayer at your own places,  let us create this great spiritual bond of hearts and minds. At the beginning and at the end of your prayer please say this special invocation: 

    Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.

At times of struggle and grave danger Christians everywhere would always turn to God and plead with Him to show mercy and to take the danger away. Dear Friends, stay strong in your faith, stay strong in your love for each other and stay strong in your hope.

“I plead with you--never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”  St. Pope John Paul II

In Christ,

Fr. Waldemar


In an effort to provide for the spiritual welfare of our faith community, Divine Infant will be live streaming the Holy Week liturgies.  The link can be found on our parish website or

God is with us through this ordeal and we hope this opportunity to spend time with him in prayer as a community will provide comfort throughout Holy Week and in the days ahead.


Have a blessed Holy Week and joyous Easter. 

May God Bless You and Keep You Safe.


Michelle McGarry & St Francis Staff

Week #2 of Distance Learning

posted Apr 6, 2020, 5:33 PM by Michelle McGarry


I hope this email continues to find you and your family well.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or your child’s educators if we can help out. I have included some helpful links at the bottom of this email.

Our Focus This Week:

Public Health data is informing the decision of when schools will be opened. As of yet, this has not been determined. You will be informed through the media, communication through email from the Board and through links on the OCSB website and our school’s website when this information is determined. We are all looking forward to the day when we are back together at school!

In the meantime, the Ontario government will be continuing to add to their learn at home resources and on Monday our Board will also have well-being and learn from home items on each school’s website

Educators will continue to remain connected with their students and provide opportunities for distance learning. The learning this week and last week will not be assessed so do as much or as little as works for your child and your family. We will have an additional focus, this week, on overcoming barriers that some families may have as we continue to move forward with distance learning. Please take a moment to fill out this form if you would like an opportunity to provide feedback.  Please note, for those families that do not have access to the internet, you are welcome to sign in to our internet from our school parking lot.  Your educator will be able to provide you with the password.

Additionally, Public Health has closed all playgrounds which includes our school’s as well.  They have also asked the pubic to not have any car parades.

New Topics on Flipgrid (and you can always add to last week’s:

Creativity: One of our main focuses this year at St Francis has been Creativity. Even though our 20% Project is on hold, you may have the time now to create. Show us the project you are working on and/ or how you have pursued new ideas and problem solved solutions while you have been living through this unique time in history at home!  Your novel idea might even make it onto our CREATIVITY sign in our main foyer when we return!

Thanks to our essential workers: Hey St Francis! Show us your signs that you are using to send messages of thanks to our essentials workers (medical workers, first responders, pharmacy workers, grocery workers, bank workers, journalists, mail carriers).  As well you can video you and your family making some noise (voice, hands or instrument) outside your house on Wednesday between 6:30 - 6:45 pm. 

Feel free to also add items on twitter and use @AssisiOCSB 


Here are some links that may be helpful.

Ottawa Food Bank

Ottawa & Region 24/7 Distress Center Helpline 

Ottawa Public Health 

211 Ontario 

City of Ottawa

Applying for COVID-19 Emergency Assistance

Week #1 of Distance Learning

posted Apr 6, 2020, 5:29 PM by Michelle McGarry


I hope and pray this email finds all of you safe,  healthy, and navigating these unique times in an upbeat spirit. My family and I are doing well and like everyone, working hard to keep ourselves and our community healthy. What a unique situation we all find ourselves in; potentially balancing working,  caring for sick family members and supporting children that are out of routine and in “indoor recess mode” all day long without playdates. The staff at St Francis is here to support you and are looking forward to the day that our great school is back open.

Until that time, there is a way to keep in contact via short videos! If you would like to participate, please go to Flipgrid and enter the following flip code *****  The first topic is sharing what you are grateful for. Gratitude at times like this is a great way of staying mentally well and I can’t wait to see student’s video posts! As you can see from mine, videos don’t need to be perfect and are maximum 1 minute in length. I will post other topics daily so that we can continue to stay connected as a community.

Early in the week,  educators will be in touch with each student/ family; to reconnect and to answer any questions you may have about learning (ie. how to read with your child, access to your child’s Google account, Hapara, and/or any of the great apps on the student portal, etc..). We will continue to tweet about learning opportunities (@AssisiOCSB ) and have compiled an ever growing list of educational sites in this doc (many thanks to Mrs Harrington!). These supports are to provide learning choices and are not meant to overwhelm families. We understand that being well is top priority and that learning takes many forms. Please keep in mind that we are just beginning this journey of distance learning and will be making modifications and communicating along the way.

Lastly, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or your educators if you have any questions or concerns or are struggling.  We are blessed to have such a wonderful school community and we are here to support you.

Take care, stay healthy and I look forward to the day where we gather together in our school.


Michelle McGarry

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