Student Agenda

Male and female student leaders standing in a hallway

Student Agenda

Be the Best You Can Be 

Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School
1375 Harwood Ave North
Ajax, ON L1T 4G8

General email: NotreDameCSS@dcdsb.ca
Phone: (905) 686-4300
Fax:: (905) 686-4787
Website: http://www.notredamecss.ca

Principal: Ms. P. Sorhaitz
Vice- Principal: Mr. M. Daranjo
Vice-Principal: Mr. S. O'Hare

 

Bell Schedule

Warning Bell

8:05 AM

Period 1

8:10 am - 9:30 am

Period 2

9:35 am - 10:50 am

Lunch

10:50 am - 11:30 am

Period 3

11:35 am - 12:50 pm

Period 4

12:55 pm - 2:05 pm

Dismissal

2:05 PM

 

From the Principal's Desk - September 2020-21

Welcome to Notre Dame Catholic High School for the 2020-21 academic year. 

The success of our school is due to the efforts of our teachers, students, and parents. By enrolling at Notre Dame, you have chosen to become a member of a community committed to academic, spiritual, physical, and emotional growth and well-being supported by excellence in Catholic Education. 

As a Catholic school community, we take great pride in our excellent reputation of established programs and co-curricular activities. We are dedicated to providing for the needs of our students and to foster the expression of the Gospel “through a life which accepts the challenge to be charitable (caritas) and to seek wisdom (sapientia) and harmony (concordia).” 

Thank you for the contributions you have made to our community and for your contributions yet to come.

Have a great year!

 
Our Mission 

CARITAS         SAPIENTIA         CONCORDIA 

In the Gospel of John, it is written that Jesus said to the disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples...” Inherent in this commandment is the earlier instruction from Jesus to love God and to love your neighbour as you love yourself. 

We at Notre Dame will seek to foster this acceptance of the Gospel message through a life which accepts the challenge to be charitable (caritas) and to seek wisdom (sapientia) and harmony (concordia).  We at Notre Dame accept that our community extends far beyond the walls of our building.  Our goal is to reach and serve the broader Ajax community be it through the contribution our students can make via excellence in academics or through Catholic Christian community service.  The staff at Notre Dame will be committed to fostering in our students a love of neighbour by continually encouraging them to serve others: the less able, those in need, the senior community. Our goal will have been reached if all of our graduates can say that they leave us as ‘persons for others.’

Charity     Wisdom   Harmony 

 
Statement of Philosophy 

As a Catholic community, Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School will strive to educate the whole person in a God centered school of Gospel values.

  • Notre Dame is a unique setting wherein our faith is living and active through teaching and learning and where
        the Catholic faith will permeate each and every aspect of the life of the school.
  • In all of our daily activities - study, prayer, action - we will foster a knowledge and love of God and each other
        with a commitment to be of service to one's neighbour.
  • We are committed to the partnership between home, school, parish and community in the development of
        the spiritual, moral, intellectual, emotional, physical and social dimensions with each of our students.
  • We continue to strive to instill in our students a sense of service, based on the teachings of Christ and the
        Church and we will prepare our students to be people of the world and ‘people for others’.
  • We believe in the uniqueness of each student and that each student is a valued individual. Further, we believe
         that all students can learn and experience success.
  • Our staff will champion superior standards of academic excellence while challenging each student to “be the
        best they can be.”

The Notre Dame community is committed to achieving each of the above under the guidance of Jesus, Our Saviour, whose spirit, working in us, can accomplish more than we can ever hope or imagine. (Eph 3:20)

 

 
Our Commitment to Catholic Education

There is an explicit expectation that all students participate actively in the religious life of the school.  In some respects, this active participation is compulsory while in others it is open to selective choice.

  1. All students must be successful in four compulsory Religion Credits in order to be eligible to attend
        Graduation Exercises.
  2. All students must attend school masses, class retreats and other exercises of a Catholic nature.
  3. All students must show respect for the religious dimension inherent in each of the subjects they study.
  4. Students are expected to develop a respect for themselves, for others, for their own property and for the
        property of others.
  5. Students will be encouraged to actively engage in service to others above and beyond the Christian
        Community Service component required for graduation.
  6. Students will be encouraged to be attentive to their faith life in their local parish as well as at school.

In summary, students at Notre Dame will view their faith commitment as one which transcends the school day and the school atmosphere and extends into the home and parish.

 
Services available to Students 

We offer the following services for students:

Faith Ambassador Team 

Led by our Chaplain, the Faith Ambassador team is made up of students Grade 9 -12 with the mission to create a caring, inclusive, compassionate and just community both locally and globally where everyone is valued as a child of God.  

Faith Ambassadors are students who ...

  •  Improves the school community, encourage shared ownership, celebrate our faith & diversity!  
  •  Develops leadership skills and serve as a role model to others
  •  Provides assistance for staff and students by working in conjunction with other school groups 

 

Faith Ambassador Duties .... 

  • Participate in leadership training to have access to exclusive volunteer opportunities!
  • Assist in school & after school events including guest speakers, liturgies and assemblies (Graduation,
        plays, parent teacher interviews, associate school visits, and other formal school functions and co-
        curricular activities). Faith Ambassadors often finish their required 40 hours of community service in just
        one year because of the incredible work they do after school!
  • Facilitate Grade 7 Confirmation retreats & Grade 9 retreats
  • Selected Faith Ambassadors will make up the Faith Ambassador Executive Team (which includes social
        media coordinators and more) to work closely with Student Council and other Executive Teams. 

Students who wish to join the Faith Ambassador Team should visit the chaplain’s office located through the Chapel or the "street" as soon as possible. Feel free to drop by and introduce yourself! 

Learning Commons 
Our professional teacher-librarian will conduct an orientation for Grade 9 English classes and will be available to students for assistance in locating resource materials. The librarian also runs White Pine Reading Club, Battle of the Books, Reach for the Top, and Accelerated Reader. There is a 3D printer available for student use. See the librarian for the cost to print an item. 
Program Support Department 
Our DCDSB philosophy of inclusion in practice makes every effort to fully include all students with a variety of learning profiles, talents and abilities. Notre Dame's Special Education Teachers and Educational Assistants share the responsibility with all the teaching staff to provide formidable education for every student in their care. The primary focus for the Special Education Teacher is to help support the implementation of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) which may include accommodations, modifications or alternative goals that are made available for students, in order to meet their needs and to access curriculum as it aligns with their learning profile. The Special Education Teacher helps to navigate access to additional resources and specialized staff within the school or draw upon the wider resources of the system as the need arises. Fundamental to this process is the collaboration among educators and support staff to deliver a variety of services, programs and strategies to achieve measurable and successful outcomes for each student's pathway. Documents such as Learning for All, Growing Success, and Special Education guidelines, all located on the Ministry of Education site, are resources that inform our approach to Special Education. 
Guidance Department 

Students at Notre Dame can look forward to a Guidance Department that will dedicate itself to implementing a program that will assist students to grow in their Catholic values and that will allow them to view themselves positively as they move from adolescence to adulthood. 

Guidance counsellors are teachers who are called to assist students to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes to:

  • design a personalized education plan
  • demonstrate effective personal and social skills
  • develop a framework for realistic life and career planning in our constantly changing world.

The following supports are available to students:

  • reference library with university and college materials
  • career resource materials
  • labour trends and job search resources
  • personal counselling
  • Grade 9 Take a Kid to Work Day
  • on-line university/college registrations
  • peer/mediation conflict program

Students access the program through a referral process.

Students wishing to meet with a counsellor should come to Guidance before or after school or on lunch to make an appointment.  Parents can contact the Guidance Department at: 

905-686-4300

Fax 905-686-7617

Email: guidance@notredamecss.ca

 

 

 

 

Our School

Our School's Name 

Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School was chosen by a collection of parents, students, and Board representatives.  “Notre Dame” reflects the devotion of our Ajax-Pickering community to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Catholic Church.  Mary is characterized by her devotion to God and family.  We look to her as our model and intercessor.

 
Our Motto 

Caritas, Sapientia, Concordia 

Our motto is translated Charity, Wisdom, Harmony. We are a school community committed to excellence in education and especially to these three values

 
Symbols in the Crest 

Our crest consists of a circle surrounding a cross. The circle represents the “circle of life”. As it encompasses the cross, we are reminded that we are created in the image and likeness of God; we are all united as one. The choices that we make may have a significant impact on one another and the world we live in. Our motto is clearly labelled, Caritas, Sapientia, Concordia. We are encouraged to make wise and charitable choices to ensure a life of harmony for all. The cross represents our commitment to the teachings of our Catholic Church and those of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

 
School Colours 

These colours were chosen to be distinctive and to mark ‘royalty’.  We must always strive to live our lives with honour and dignity. 

Our School's Prayer

O loving God,

Thank you for the many blessings

And unconditional love you have bestowed upon us.

Give us the strength to overcome temptation.

Inspire us to act as leaders in charity,

Awaken our minds to your infinite wisdom,

And help us to work together in harmony.

Guide us to live for others before ourselves

And to serve others as you so greatly serve us.

Empower us to grow as individuals

And to unite as a community,

With the fire of your love in our hearts.

Notre Dame, Our Lady, pray for us.

Our Mascot: Kai the Cougar 

The name under which our school teams compete is THE COUGARS. This mascot was chosen by the student body. It is an animal with exceptional quickness, and the instincts of both wisdom and caring. The Cougar lives with a sense of dignity and honour as it strives for its well-deserved respect. The Cougar represents the highest standard of excellence and leadership to which we expect our athletes and teams to aspire. Finally, the Cougar expresses pride and confidence with a playful look on the face making us realize that for all its intensity, we cannot take ourselves or our activity too seriously. We must also have fun.

ND has a new and improved version of our mascot! Students voted in 2020 and have renamed our mascot "Kai the cougar".

 
School Uniform Policy 

Our school uniform policy is as follows:

 

Clothing Item

Requirements

Kilt 

Black/Grey/White plaid x-kilt

(Kilts must be worn at a modest length)

Dress Pants

Taupe flat front, embroidered pants (must be from McCarthy's Uniform)

Pants must be worn in the appropriate manner at the waist, and kilts must be worn at a modest length.  Students may be sent home to correct uniform infractions.  Consistent disregard or non-compliance with the uniform will result in disciplinary action.

Golf /Polo shirt – base layer (Mandatory)

Golf shirt, embroidered OR

Short or long sleeved golf shirt, embroidered OR

Long sleeved polo, embroidered

BASE LAYER MUST BE WORN AT ALL TIMES – SWEATER IS OPTIONAL

Sweaters

(Optional)

¼ Black zip sweatshirt embroidered OR

V-neck pullover, embroidered OR

V-neck vest, embroidered

NO SUBSTITUTIONS PERMITTED – SWEATERS WORN DURING SCHOOL DAY MUST BE RJM ISSUE

Hosiery (opaque)/

Accessories

Black Knee Socks plain OR plain Black Tights

Black Leather Belt (optional)

Footwear

Students are to wear black shoes only, no other colours (including white), or markings are permitted on the shoes.  Sandals, flip-flops, high cuts, boots and clog-type shoes are NOT permitted.  Shoes must be entirely black.

Shorts (Summer uniform only)

walking shorts, embroidered

 

Summer Uniform

The summer uniform is permitted from May to Thanksgiving. During this time, the school's walking shorts, embroidered are allowed as part of the uniform. 

 

Items not allowed with School Uniform 

There are to be NO additions to the uniform (i.e. scarves, excessive jewellery). Hats, bandanas, head scarves, and other similar headwear, thigh or leg chains are not permitted. Head bands are to be worn for the purpose of holding hair back, must be of a solid colour (black, white, grey) and must be no more than 5 cm. wide.


Non-Uniform Days

On non-uniform days, students must be dressed appropriately as outlined by school administrators as well as conform to modesty expectations of our Catholic School.  Inappropriate attire will not be permitted. No headwear will be permitted. There will be a cost associated with each non-uniform day with the proceeds going to charity.  Students who do not wish to participate in our non-uniform days must be in their complete school uniform.

Notes 

Uniform accommodations for religious/compassionate reasons will be made following consultation among parent/guardian, student and administration.

 

All Dress Code infractions will be addressed with discretion and respect.

School Cash Online
We use this online platform as our preferred method of payment for school-related fees. Parent are encourage to sign up for an account and pay for school fees such as gym uniform, tickets to school events, etc. To ensure accuracy of our records, all student receipts will be cross referenced with the school generated manifest. Only students on the manifest will be permitted to attend prepaid events, participate in nonuniform days etc.
Extra-curricular Activities 

Notre Dame expects to see its students participate in a wealth of co-curricular activities. Students must understand that these activities are a privilege. Success in one’s academics, as well as a willingness to live up

to one’s responsibilities, are a student’s priorities. 

The privilege of participating in co-curricular activities will be revoked if:

  • there is recommendation from a parent and/or recommendation from a teacher /principal if the student is not working to his or her ability, truant from class or school or
  • a student is suspended from school 

If a student has been suspended and wishes to participate or continue to participate in a co-curricular activity, a letter requesting a re-instatement hearing must be submitted to the principal.

ND's 2020-21 Student Council 

Name

Student Council Position

Kainoa Florentino

President

Renuka Premnath

Vice President

Danielle Noronha

Secretary 

Irene Singh

Treasurer 

Shayann Titus

Grade 12 Representative 

to be announced

Grade 11 Representative 

Alexandra King

Grade 10 Representative

to be announced

Grade 9 Representative

to be announced

 Grade 9 Representative

to be announced

Eco Representative

Claire Cappellani

Social Convenor

Sakeena Mohammed

Student Senator

Reign Samson

Student Senator

Annika Dela Torre

Student Trustee

Cafeteria 

There will be two lunch periods at Notre Dame. Food and drink may be purchased in the cafeteria on both lunches.  Food and drink are to be consumed in the cafeteria only.  No food or drink is permitted outside the cafeteria.  

 
Parking

Students may park beyond the first three (3) rows in the parking lot. The first three (3) rows are reserved for staff and visitors. Students must obtain a parking pass or their vehicle may be towed at owner’s expense.

Lockers 

Each student will be issued a locker. Only Dudley locks, provided by Notre Dame are acceptable. Any other locks will be removed. Students will be expected to leave their coats in their lockers. While the contents of a locker are a student’s property, the locker is the property of the school and the administrators reserve the right to inspect a student’s locker.

 
Textbooks

Each student will be issued a numbered textbook.  These books must be returned to the subject teacher prior to the exams at the end of the semester.  If a student returns a book other than the book assigned, or if the book is damaged/defaced it is expected that the student will be responsible for its replacement.

Visitors to the School

Students are not to invite friends or former students to the school. Visitors are not permitted during the school day, or after hours. Any parents or community members who enter the school are asked to begin their visit in the main office. Former students are asked to book appointments with staff they wish to see, and arrive at the designated time, signing in at the main office.

Trespassers

Unwelcome guests are not permitted on school property. If you suspect that someone is an unwelcome visitor, please contact a teacher or report this incident to the main office immediately.

Students are not permitted at any time to be on the J. Clarke Richardson property. Students found on the J. Clarke Richardson property may be suspended and/or issued a trespassing notice. 

 
Transportation 

Eligible Secondary Students (Grade 9 to 12) will be provided Yellow School Bus Transportation.

Secondary Students are eligible for school bus transportation if their primary address is within the designated school’s attendance boundary at a distance of more than 3.2 kilometres. 

Durham Student Transportation phone numbers:

Automated Information Line: 1-866-908-6578 or 905-666-6979

Office Line: 1-800-240-6943 or 905-666-6395

 

 

DCDSB's Safe, Caring and Healthy Secondary Schools

The Durham Catholic District School Board recognizes that a school should be a place that promotes responsibility, respect, civility, and academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment. A positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable, and accepted. It is the responsibility of all members of the school community to work together to create a positive learning environment where all members feel supported.

Access to Premises 

We are always pleased to have parents/guardians visit the school to discuss an issue with teachers or administrators. In keeping with the Board’s Access to School Premises Policy, please remember that anyone coming into the school must first sign in at the office and obtain a Visitor’s badge. All staff members will be wearing photo ID and will question anyone whose presence is not expected. 

If a parent/guardian needs to pick up his/her son/daughter during the school day, this must be facilitated at the office. Members of the office staff will call the student down to the office to be signed out. If parents need to send a friend/relative/designate to pick up their child, please advise the school in advance and ask the designate to provide photo identification at the office.  If the student returns to school before dismissal, he/she must sign back in at the office so his/her attendance can be monitored. 

 
Attendance Matters 

Did you know?

  • Students should miss no more than 9 days of school each year to stay engaged, successful and on track to
        graduation. That means no more than 4 ½ days per semester.
  • Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a
        bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
  • Research shows that by grade nine, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than
        Grade 8 test scores.
  • Missing 10 percent of a school year (or about 19 days), can drastically affect a student’s academic success. 
  • Students can be chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.
  • Good attendance is an important life skill that will help your child successfully complete an apprenticeship,
        college diploma or university degree. Good attendance is a life skill that will help your child keep a job.

 

Make School Attendance a Priority

  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day, make that the expectation in your family.
  • Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless truly sick. Complaints of headaches or stomach aches may be signs of
        anxiety. Talk to your physician or ask someone at the school (guidance counsellor, principal or vice principal,
        school social worker or child and youth counsellor) where to go for help.

 

Help Your Teen Stay Engaged

  • Find out if your child feels engaged by his/her classes and feels safe from bullies and other threats. Report
        any concerns to the teacher or principal or vice principal.
  • Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary. Make sure teachers
        know how to contact you. 
  • Stay on top of your youth’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without
        many friends can feel isolated. Monitor and limit your youth’s social media activity.
  • Encourage meaningful after school activities, including sports and clubs.

 

Communicate with the School

  • Talk to teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at
        school.
  • Check on your child’s attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.
  • Ask for help from school officials, after school programs, other parents or community agencies if you’re
        having trouble getting your child to school.

 

Absences during Examinations

Should a student be absent from a final examination and final culminating task in a course, a medical certificate or Doctors note must be presented to the vice-principal upon the student’s return. Only students with such medical certificates or Doctors note will be given accommodation regarding the missed exam. In the absence of a medical certificate, a mark of zero may be recorded for the exam.

A VACATION IS NOT A SUITABLE REASON TO MISS AN EXAM. Please check board calendar for exam periods before planning vacations – dates are released one year in advance.

 
Excused Absence During the School Day

In the event that a student must leave the school during the day, he or she should present a note to the attendance secretary prior to 7:45 a.m. that morning. Should a student become ill during the school day he/she should report to the attendance office prior to leaving the school premises to receive a “SIGN-OUT” slip. Parents will be contacted prior to permitting a student to leave the school.

While students will not be penalized for excused absences, they will be responsible for any work missed. This work should be completed in consultation with the classroom teacher.

Lateness 

Students are expected to arrive on time to all of their classes. Being punctual is an important job skill. Students arriving to class late cause an unnecessary distraction to the teacher and fellow students. Once again, the school will use Progressive Discipline interventions for tardiness. However, continued lateness will result in referral to a vice principal. After interventions, a suspension will be at the discretion of the Principal or Vice-Principal. 

 

SAFE Arrival - Automated Attendance System 

The Durham Catholic District School Board uses an automated attendance system called Safe Arrival to report a student absence. Safe Arrival makes it easy for you to report your child’s absence, it allows staff to quickly verify student attendance which in turn allows staff to respond to unexplained student absences.

Parents are able to report their child’s absence quickly and conveniently using three different methods:

1. Parents can log into a website:  go.schoolmessenger.ca to report student absences.

2. Parents can call into the automated interactive telephone system using the toll-free number 1-844-288-7628
    through which absences can be reported.

3. Parents can download the SafeArrival app for iOS and Android smartphones.  Search for the keyword school
    messenger in the Google Play store or the Apple App store.  Select Canada, select sign up, enter your email
    address that is on file with the school, enter a password. 

All three methods are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Future absences, like doctor’s appointments, can be reported ahead of time. For more information, please visit the school website.

 
Restorative Schools 

We believe that safety begins with positive connections between the students, staff and parents.  To foster these relationships, staff in the Durham Catholic District School Board use restorative practices, including classroom circles and small group conferences to build community within the classroom and the school.  Restorative Practice is rooted in the same philosophical approach as Canada’s Native Aboriginal communities.  It rests on the belief that it is best to do things with people, rather than to them.  When conflict arises, using restorative practice engages students in a fair process that responds to behavior in ways that strengthen and repair the relationship.  It is collaborative rather than adversarial in nature.  The aim of restorative practice is to hold individuals accountable for their actions while restoring and repairing any relationships amongst each other and within the community that may have been harmed. 

Catholic Restorative Schools will:

  • Provide opportunities for someone who has done harm to determine the effect of his/her actions and make
        reparations;
  • Provide a voice for the victim;
  • Use a common set of restorative questions both in and out of our classrooms to give the victim a voice and
        enable the perpetrator to determine the effect of his/her actions. “How do you think your actions had an
        impact on others?”  “What do you think you need to do to make things right?”;
  • Use circles, or small group conferences to build community, develop empathy and understanding, and when
        needed, to repair relationships;
  • Celebrate our Catholic community through the Catholic virtues and Catholic Graduate Expectations; and
  • Use think papers and reflective discussion papers aligned with the restorative questions.
 
School's Code of Conduct 
The school's Code of Conduct for students in Grades 9 to 12 is available here
Roles and Responsibilities 

School Boards

School Boards provide direction to their schools to ensure opportunity, academic excellence, and accountability in the education system. It is the responsibility of the School Board to:

  • Model Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • Develop policies that set out how their schools will implement and enforce the provincial Code of Conduct and
        all other rules that they develop that are related to the provincial standards that promote and support
        respect, civility, responsible citizenship, and safety;
  • Review these policies regularly with students, staff, parents, volunteers, and the community;
  • Seek input from school councils, their Parent Involvement Committee, their Special Education Advisory
        Committee, parents, students, staff members, and the school community;
  • Establish a process that clearly communicates the provincial Code of Conduct and School Board Codes of
        Conduct to all parents, students, staff members, and members of the school community in order to obtain
        their commitment and support;
  • Develop effective intervention strategies and respond to all infractions related to the standards for respect,
        civility, responsible citizenship, and safety; and
  • Provide opportunities for all of the staff to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to develop
        and maintain academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment; and wherever possible,
        Boards should collaborate to provide coordinated prevention and intervention programs and services, and
        should endeavor to share effective practices.

 

Principals

Under the direction of their School Boards, principals take a leadership role in the daily operation of a school. They provide this leadership by:

  • Modeling Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • Demonstrating care for the school community and a commitment to academic excellence in a safe teaching
        and learning environment;
  • Holding everyone under their authority accountable for his or her behaviour and actions;
  • Empowering students to be positive leaders in their school and community; and
  • Communicating regularly and meaningfully with all members of their school community.

 

Teachers and Other School Staff Members

Under the leadership of their principals, teachers and other school staff members maintain order in the school and are expected to hold everyone to the highest standard of respectful and responsible behaviour. As role models, teachers and school staff uphold these high standards when they:

  • Model Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • Help students work to their full potential and develop their sense of self-worth;
  • Empower students to be positive leaders in their classroom, school, and community;
  • Communicate regularly and meaningfully with parents;
  • Maintain consistent standards of behaviour for all students;
  • Demonstrate respect for all students, staff, parents, volunteers, and the members of the school community;
        and
  • Prepare students for the full responsibilities of citizenship.

 

Students

Students are to be treated with respect and dignity. In return, they must demonstrate respect for themselves, for others, and for the responsibilities of citizenship through acceptable behaviour.

Respect and responsibility are demonstrated when a student:

  • Models Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • Comes to school prepared, on time., and ready to learn;
  • Shows respect for himself or herself, for others, and for those in authority;
  • Refrains from bringing anything to school that may compromise the safety of others; and
  • Follows the established rules and takes responsibility for his or her own actions.

 

Parents/Guardians

Parents/Guardians play an important role in the education of their children, and can support the efforts of school staff in maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment for all students. Parents fulfill their role when they:

  • Support the values of our Catholic school system;
  • Conduct themselves in an appropriate manner;
  • Take responsibility and support the efforts of school staff in maintaining a safe and respectful learning
        environment for all students;
  • Show an active interest in their child’s school work and progress;
  • Communicate regularly with the school;
  • Help their child be neat, appropriately dressed, and prepared for school;
  • Ensure that their child attends school regularly and on time;
  • Promptly report to the school their child’s absence or late arrival;
  • Show that they are familiar with the provincial Code of Conduct, the Board’s Code of Conduct and school
        rules;
  • Encourage and assist their child in following the rules of behaviour; and
  • Assist school staff in dealing with disciplinary issues involving their child.
 
Code of Conduct on School Bus Vehicles 

All school bus vehicles are considered an extension of the classroom and all school policies such as Safe Schools, and School Code of Conduct apply to the school bus. All transported students whether on a field trip or home to school transportation are expected to behave in a manner on the bus that ensures that everyone remains safe.  Since the bus is an extension of the school, students are accountable to the school principal who has the authority to ensure that student conduct on the school bus is appropriate. 

Due to the nature of the activity of riding a bus, the following are expectations for all methods of school transportation as per the School Code of Conduct. 

All students must:

  • Respect other people’s property and belongings while waiting for the school bus;
  • Treat the driver with respect and follow his/her instructions;
  • Be courteous and respectful to others on the bus at all times;
  • Act appropriately in a manner that does not endanger the safety of oneself or others including, but not limited to:
  • Not engaging in any activity that interferes with the safe operation of the bus
  • Remaining seated at all times, facing forward while the bus is in motion
  • Keeping hands, arms, feet, head and belongings inside the vehicle until the student has exited at his/her
        stop
  • Not distracting or speaking to the bus driver except in the case of emergency
  • Refraining from inappropriate behavior on the bus, e.g., throwing items, swearing, fighting, or bullying
  • Not bringing alcohol, drugs or weapons onto the school bus
  • Not touching safety equipment or emergency exits except in the case of an emergency
  • Not eating or drinking on the bus
 
Report It - Non-Emergency Report System 

Parents and students are encouraged to report incidents of bullying or other school safety concerns as soon as they happen by contacting their teacher and/or school administration.  We recognize that bullying affects a student’s sense of safety and security, and some people may not feel comfortable reporting bullying or other school safety incidents.  To help ease this worry, students and parents are welcome to use the Report It page available on the school website to report incidents of bullying or other safety concerns that have not already been reported. School safety concerns can be reported anonymously or contact information can be given so that appropriate follow-up can occur. The information provided will be forwarded to the school principal for action and a follow-up response if requested.

 
Community Threat Assessment and Intervention Protocol - Fair Notice 

The Durham Catholic District School Board is committed to providing safe learning environments for all students, staff, school visitors and community members. When student behaviours pose a potential threat to safety or serious harm to self or others, all schools in the Durham Catholic District School Board follow the Community Threat Assessment and Intervention Protocol

(C-TAIP), which outlines how a school responds immediately to threatening behaviour. This protocol involves supports from various partners, including community agencies, hospitals and police services. Personal information shared throughout this process will always respect and balance each individual’s right to privacy while ensuring the safety of all. For more information, please refer to the school website or ask the principal for more information. 

 
Search and Seizure

According to the Police/School Board Protocol for Durham Catholic District School Board, it is the right and authority of the Principal or designate to search school and personal property, such as lockers, desks, backpacks, purses, etc., without notice or permission of any person as long as the Principal or designate has reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a breach of school regulations and that the search would reveal evidence of that breach.  Police may from time to time be invited onto school premises to conduct their own searches, also without prior notice to or permission of any member of the school community.

 

Community Partners

Through outreach, school and community partnerships already in place may be enhanced and new partnerships developed with community agencies and other groups within the community (e.g., Kinark Family and Child Services, Aboriginal Elders). Community agencies are important resources that schools can use to deliver prevention or intervention programs. Protocols are effective ways of establishing connections between boards and community agencies and formalizing the partnership. These partnership agreements must respect all applicable collective agreements and Board policies. 

Durham Regional Police Service Partnerships

The Durham Regional Police Service plays an essential role in making our schools and communities safer. The police investigate incidents in accordance with our Police/School Board protocol. This protocol is based on the provincial model developed by the Ministry of Education.  The Durham Regional Police Service are instrumental in supporting our schools with all emergency preparedness procedures and Safe Schools initiatives.  Each of our schools has regular access to a School Liaison Officer.

Emergency Response Plans

Each September, as part of our Police/Board protocol we practice our emergency response procedures so all staff and students are well prepared in the event of a real emergency.  Using newsletters and the school website, we will provide all families with details of our practices and the role that parents play in supporting a school’s emergency response.

Emergency response practices include:

Fire Drills: Students practice the appropriate way to exit the building when they hear a fire alarm.  Practices are held when students are in class, at recess and where an exit might be blocked.


Lock Down:
Students practice the appropriate way to respond to a threat of danger inside the school using the R-SAFE acronym.  Students are taught to get to the nearest and safest location as quickly as possible, what to do when they get there and the importance of remaining quiet.


Hold and Secure:
Students practice how to respond to a threat of danger outside the school.  In the case of a Hold and Secure, all exterior doors remain locked and students remain inside, away from exterior doors and windows until the Hold and Secure has been lifted.  In most cases, the need for a Hold and Secure is at the request of the police, based on a situation in the neighbourhood.  In these cases, the school must wait for the police to lift the request for a Hold and Secure


Shelter in Place: Students practice how to respond to an environmental danger, like a hurricane.  In most cases, the response will be a Hold and Secure with specific directions based on the environmental concern.


Bomb Threat: Students are taught the appropriate response to a bomb threat which includes never touching a suspicious package and listening carefully to the directions of the teacher or the administration if an evacuation is warranted.

How Parents can Help? 

Parents can help by following the procedures associated with each of plans should they be present during a drill or should a real situation occur. School administration must follow the direction of the police as soon as they become involved in an emergency response. As such, Parents must understand that schools are unable to release students during an emergency response without the expressed permission of the police.

Parents can also assist the school by emphasizing with their children the importance of closely following the direction of the staff during a drill or a real emergency. Parents should encourage their children to share any information they may have about a threat of violence toward a school or information they may have after a violent incident. It is everyone’s responsibility to help keep our school safe.

 
Permission for Photo and Video Sharing at School 

As we try to keep pace with social media that is so much a part of our students’ lives, it is important to be reminded of people’s right to privacy. While taking photos or videos at various school events, please be mindful that it is illegal to post/upload/share photos or videos of anyone other than yourself your child on the internet or anywhere without the expressed consent of the person or their guardian. Sharing photos or videos of others without their consent is a privacy violation.

 
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) 

BYOD allows students to bring electronic devices to school for educational purposes.  Students are expected to use devices responsibly, and only with the permission and direction of teachers or other staff members.  Research indicates that the use of technology increases engagement, which leads to improved student success.  The following are reasons why BYOD works well:

  • Students are usually experts in their own device and can customize it to suit their learning needs
  • Students can use it to learn anytime, anywhere;
  • Students can collaborate and work anytime; before school, after school, and at lunchtime; and
  • Student-owned devices are often more up-to-date than those provided by the school due to the cost of
        replacing hardware for the entire system.

Our students are going to live and work in a world where people use electronic devices regularly. They need to learn how to use devices in a respectful, responsible and ethical manner. The Durham Catholic District School Board’s BYOD procedures, School Codes of Conduct and Ontario Graduate Expectations will guide teachers in the process of teaching students what it means to be good digital citizens. 

Not every parent can or wants to send their child to school with an electronic device. Teachers will continue to plan lessons that do not require the use of a personally owned device. Teachers are encouraged to give advanced notice when they plan to incorporate electronic devices into a lesson. Students without devices will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students or borrow a school device. 

Students are required to use the Board’s wireless network, which they can access at no cost while at school. They will not be permitted to access their paid data plans while in school. The Durham Catholic District School Board’s network filter will help prevent students from accessing inappropriate web content while they are logged in at school. 

Schools will have plans in place to help students keep their devices secure. Ultimately, students are responsible for lost, stolen, and/or damaged personal electronic devices, just as they are for other personal items brought to school.

 
Secondary School - Acceptable Use of Technology Agreement 

Student will follow our acceptable use of technology agreement, listed below: 

  • I will respect the dignity of others and contribute to the common good.
  • I will only use social media in a manner that respects the dignity of others.
  • I will use the internet, computers and personally owned electronic devices in a manner consistent with the
        Catholic Graduate Expectations.
  • I will respect the intellectual property rights of others and not pirate or plagiarize.
  • I will protect my digital identity, my passwords, and others’ right to privacy online.
  • I will only use personally owned electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, tablets, iPods) during class time when it
        is allowed by my teacher.
  • I will not take pictures, videos or audio recordings of people without their permission.
  • I will not use an electronic device in private areas (e.g., washrooms, change rooms, and administrative
        offices).
  • I understand that inappropriate use of personally owned electronic devices make me subject to discipline as
        noted in the Board’s Acceptable Use of Information and Communication Technology Administrative Procedure,
        Code of Conduct Policy and Student Discipline Policy.
  • I will remember Jesus’ message do unto others as I would have done to me.
 
DCDSB's Concussion Policy 

All school boards in the Province of Ontario are required by law to have a Concussion policy and school board administrative procedures in place so that students, school staff and parents/guardians understand their role in preventing, managing and reporting suspected or diagnosed concussions. 

A concussion is the term for a clinical diagnosis that is made by a medical doctor or a nurse practitioner. The definition of concussion below is adapted from the definition provided in the concussion protocol in the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines. 

A concussion:

  • is a brain injury that causes changes in the way in which the brain functions and that can lead to symptoms
        that can be physical (e.g., headache, dizziness), cognitive (e.g., difficulty in concentrating or remembering),
        emotional/behavioural (e.g., depression, irritability), and/or related to sleep (e.g., drowsiness, difficulty in
        falling asleep);
  • may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, or neck or by a blow to the body that transmits a
        force to the head that causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull;
  • can occur even if there has been no loss of consciousness (in fact most concussions occur without a loss of
        consciousness);
  • cannot normally be seen by means of medical imaging tests, such as X-rays, standard computed tomography
        (CT) scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

 

A specific concussion protocol and tool now exists in all Durham Catholic District School Board schools that includes responsibilities for Board and school staff, students and parents/guardians. Additionally, health units and sports and fitness organizations in Durham are using this protocol to raise awareness to help prevent and manage concussions.  

It is important to note that all suspected concussions must be reported and a medical doctor or nurse practitioner make a diagnosis and participate in the Return To Learn and/or Physical Activity documentation process.

The concussion tool noted in this student agenda is a resource for school staff, parents/guardians and students. Parents/guardians and students are encouraged to contact your school principal for more details about the new concussion management and prevention safety protocols that exist to promote student safety and success. 

For more information about the Board’s Concussion protocols, please see the Board’s Concussion Policy (PO614) and the Concussion Administrative Procedure (AP614).

 

 

School Work

Students experiencing difficulty in a subject are asked to see the teacher involved and may also arrange for assistance from a Program Support Teacher. Peer tutoring is available through the Guidance Department.

Expected Behaviour 

Students are expected to be diligent in attempting to master the program in which they are enrolled, and to participate fully in all class endeavours. Students are responsible for being prepared for each class by having on hand all materials (texts, notebooks, pens, etc.) necessary for class participation. All work should be completed for due dates and preparation for tests and exams should be thorough and complete.

Students must recognize that assigned work is to be complete even though students may have been unavoidably absent. 

Reasons for Behaviour

Full preparation and participation in classes is a key to success. To get the most from each class, it is important that the student be well prepared so that their attention can be focused on each lesson. As well, students should develop a sense of pride in their work and take responsibility for completing work on time.

 
Consequences of Misbehaviour 

Students who come to class without necessary materials, and with inadequate preparation will find it difficult to keep up with the day’s lesson.  If there is a continual neglect of school work, a student’s grades and future success may be in jeopardy.

 
Late and Missed Assignments/Evaluations 

Our evaluation policies are in accordance with DCDSB policy and the document Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools which states, “it must be made clear to students that they are responsible for providing evidence of their learning within established timelines, and that there are consequences for cheating, plagiarizing, not completing work, and submitting work late.”(p.42)

Assignments are to be submitted on the pre-determined due date. Extenuating circumstances around deadlines and assignment completion must be communicated to the teacher, when possible, in advance of the due date. Failure to submit assignments on time may result in (ie.) late penalties of up to 10% per day. In cases where legitimate extenuating circumstances exist, teachers are to apply their professional judgement reflecting the Board’s Catholic context in addressing this issue with students.  Late penalties will be waived when legitimate extenuating circumstances occur.

Students who are absent on the day of a test or performance-based (summative) evaluation will be required to provide a note from a parent/guardian acknowledging the missed evaluation, and citing the reason for the absence. Students who miss evaluations must arrange to complete them in collaboration with teacher. Missed evaluations will be graded only after the legitimate reason for absence has been documented. The teacher may request medical documentation for repeated absences on evaluation days.

 
Academic Honesty 

Catholic educators have the responsibility of formally teaching students in developmentally appropriate ways, about the definitions of plagiarism and cheating and about measures they must take as responsible and self-regulating learners, to avoid academic dishonesty.

Students have the responsibility of ensuring that all work submitted is their own. Student work that is determined to be plagiarized will not be evaluated. Teachers will take into consideration a variety of factors in determining how academic dishonesty will be dealt with. Students should be aware that the submission of plagiarized work may be assigned a mark of zero, without opportunity to resubmit.

 
Progressive Discipline Strategies 

Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School will use progressive discipline strategies as listed below wherever possible:

  • Contact with parents
  • Verbal reminders
  • Review of expectations
  • Written work assignment with a learning component
  • Volunteer service to the school community
  • Peer mentoring
  • Conflict mediation and resolution
  • Meeting with parent, pupil and principal
  • Referral to community agency for anger management or substance abuse counseling
  • Consultation with:
    • Guidance
    • Chaplain
    • Social Work
    • Teachers
    • Child and Youth Worker
    • Supply Teachers
    • SERT/Program Support
    • Coaches
    • Student Success Teacher
    • Student Success
  • Withdrawal of privileges
  • Withdrawal from class
  • Detention
  • Restitution for damages
  • Restorative practice
  • Transfer
  • Peer Mediation or at another person in a position of authority
  • A student may be suspended for a minimum of one (1) school day and a maximum of twenty (20) school
       days.
 
Occurrences Requiring Police Involvement or Response 

The following incidents must be reported forthwith to the police if they occur on or in school premises or are in any way related to the school or school related activities:

  • physical assaults causing bodily harm requiring medical attention
  • sexual assault
  • robbery
  • criminal harassment
  • weapons offences
  • drug offences (e.g. trafficking in illegal or controlled drugs or substances).
 
Other Occurrences that may Require Police Involvement or Response 

Issues related to matters which may require the involvement of police services will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis as determined by the principal/principal designate. These "other school related matters" may include but not be limited to:

  • hate and/or bias motivated incident
  • gang related incidents
  • extortion
  • threats of serious physical injury
  • possession or threat to use an incendiary device
  • vandalism
  • trespass to property/access to school premises

internet and electronic media activities (cyber bullying, threats, privacy)

Although the above circumstances and those listed in this document include most circumstances under which the police should be called, there may be other situations where in the opinion of the school administration or designate, it is advisable that the police be contacted.  Such situations will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.  Staff from both police services and school districts are encouraged to consult and discuss situations related to the issues listed above, particularly where patterns or trends seem to be occurring. 

Police may be called for any actions that are in violation of the Young Offenders Act and/or Criminal Code.  The Police Community Liaison Officer assigned to the school may also be contacted for assistance in serious negative and/or illegal activity. At the sole discretion of the Principal, a Limited Expulsion or recommendation to the Expulsion Hearing Committee may be the consequence for any behaviour not subject to a Mandatory Expulsion if the behaviour is deemed to be very serious.

Students who are charged may be faced with the additional consequences of a Police charge including:

-   Getting a job                    - Job promotions

-   Ability to be bonded          - Canadian citizenship

-   Adoption                          - Mortgage approval

-   Apartment rental              - Educational opportunities

-   Volunteer work                 - USA employment

-   USA travel

Police Liaison:

At Notre Dame, we are very fortunate to have an excellent partnership with the Durham Regional Police Department.  To that end, a Community Liaison Officer has been assigned to Notre Dame in conjunction with the other secondary schools in Ajax and Pickering.  The function of the Community Liaison Officer is to provide support to school and community officials with regard to legal and safety issues.  We also encourage students and staff to use the CRIME STOPPERS program hotline: 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).  This line is answered 24 hours per day 7 days per week.  Call display is not used.  You never have to give your name, meet police or go to court. Callers may be eligible for a cash reward.  IF YOU WITNESS A CRIME IN YOUR SCHOOL OR COMMUNITY, CALL CRIMES STOPPERS AND MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE.

 
Tobacco and Vaping

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) prohibits smoking tobacco, vaping or holding lighted tobacco anywhere on school property which includes but is not limited to school parking lots, school driveways, or inside cars located on school property. This law applies to everyone including students, staff, parents and visitors. The Durham Region Health Department has adopted a zero tolerance policy with respect to smoking, vaping, or holding lighted tobacco for any person on school property. The SFOA also prohibits the sale or supply of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 19 anywhere in Ontario including school property regardless of the age of the supplier. SFOA violations will be reported to the Durham Region Health Department. A first offence for smoking/holding lighted tobacco or vapes on school property carries a maximum fine of $1,000. A first offence for selling/supplying tobacco or vapes to a person who is less than 19 years of age carries a maximum fine of $4,000. This law is in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

Alcohol/Drugs 

Student use/possession of drugs or alcohol is forbidden at any time on school property. This also applies to all school related functions. Any use or possession by a student will result in a student being suspended. Trafficking in illicit drugs will subject a student to expulsion.

Physical/Verbal Aggression 

Physical or verbal aggression directed at a staff member or student is unacceptable. Students will be encouraged to respond to conflict in a non-aggressive way. Strict discipline is mandated for persons who are verbally or physically threatening to others.

 
Weapons 

No school member is to be in possession of a weapon. Any object used to threaten or intimidate another person is deemed to be a weapon. Strict discipline and police involvement are mandated for persons in possession of a weapon. Any use or possession of a weapon will subject a student to suspension and possible expulsion.

 
Gambling 

Students are not permitted in gambling activities on school property i.e. dice/poker. Consequences for such behaviour will be dealt with severely. 

Student accident or injury

Students should report any accidents or injury to their Teacher immediately. The school board does not carry any accident insurance.  Insurance forms are supplied in September. We recommend that parents subscribe to this insurance for student coverage. This insurance is particularly useful in cases of incidents involving dental injury and students involved in high risk activities, such as skiing, sports, snow or skateboarding. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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