- Board of Trustees
Tips for Supporting Children and Youth after a High Profile Tragic Event
Sudden tragic events involving children and youth who are connected to confirmed or suspected violence or suicide can impact a community greatly and receive wide attention. Social media and other types of media can bring forward information, rumours and suspicions that can complicate grief reactions, creating confusion and fear and alter our sense of safety and security. Below are a series of tips to assist parents and teachers to help children and youth cope with high profile tragic events and maintain a sense of security.
Be a good listener and observer. Let children guide you on what they need. If they are not focused on the tragedy, do not dwell on it. However, be available to answer their questions to the best of your ability. Young children may not be able to express themselves verbally. Pay attention to changes in their behaviour or social interactions.
Give simple, accurate information about what happened.Tell only what you know to be confirmed. Answer questions honestly with limiting details. Invite your child to talk about the death and ask questions. Answer as best you can, using age appropriate language. Recognize that it is normal to ask questions and receiving information helps lessen fears.
Normalize your child’s feelings and reactions and be reassuring.Denial, feelings of fear, guilt, anxiety, anger and sadness are all normal reactions to traumatic loss. Labelling feelings and reactions as normal is helpful. Children may be concerned about something bad happening to themselves, family or friends. Explain the safety measures that are in place (at home and/or school) and reassure them that you and other adults will take care of them. Take children’s concerns seriously andacknowledge their fears.
Monitor and limit exposure to adult news of the event.Adult discussions, social media accounts, news reports, and images of a crisis or tragic event can become overwhelming, especially if heard/read/watched repetitively. Do not allow young children to watch or listen to media coverage of high profile tragic events. Older children/youth may choose to watch or listen to the news or follow information on social media, but be available to discuss what they see/hear/read and help put it into perspective. Avoid fueling rumours.
Limit and monitor your child’s online activity. Think of the Internet as a physical space or world that your child enters. This world does not come equipped with adult supervision or adult controls and there are real dangers. The Internet offers graphic adult themed games, information, images or content that is disturbing and triggering to a young mind. Actively monitor, supervise and restrict your child’s travels on the Internet. A child’s brain cannot differentiate between what is real and what is not real as well as a responsible adult brain.
Invite questions to ease fears. Provide an atmosphere in which children can ask questions as needed and speak freely about their fears and reactions. This may mean being asked the same questions over and over again until the child is reassured. This is normal. Help normalize reactions that you see e.g., “it’s normal to feel scared and worry after you hear about a child dying”. This gives children permission to put their feelings into words and to talk about their own internal experience. It will not harm them to let them know that you experience fear at times as well.
Keep the lines of communication open. Despite your best efforts and the efforts of your child’s school, you may not be able to control what your child hears or sees. Be aware of what kind of information exchange is happening on social media or what rumors are circulating among your child’s friends and classmates so that you can be available to help put things in perspective. Make it okay for your child to share what they have heard with you.
Emphasize children’s resilience. It is normal for parents to want to limit talk about death and loss out of the belief that dwelling on the topic keeps painful memories alive and causes harm. It is also normal to want to keep your children close to you and limit independence after a tragic event. However, children are resilient when caring adults and caregivers actively help them cope and manage. Remind your child about his or her strength and ability to cope with difficult situations. Talking and dealing directly with death, loss and fears helps recovery from grief. Suppressing talk and feelings can lead to prolonged trauma reactions.
Highlight people’s compassion and humanity.High profile tragedies often generate a tremendous outpouring of care and support from around the community. Focus on the help and hopeful thoughts being offered from the community.
Maintain as much continuity and normalcy as possible. Allowing children to deal with their reactions is important but so is providing a sense of normalcy. Routine family activities, returning to school, after-school activities, and friends can help children feel more secure and better able to function.
Increase family time. Being with family is always important in difficult or sad times. Even if your children are not directly impacted, this may be a good opportunity to participate in and to appreciate family life. Doing things together reinforces children’s sense of stability and connectedness.
Ask for help if you or your children need it.Staying connected to your community is extremely helpful and reaching out for help when needed is good role modelling for children. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your own reactions or struggling with how to support your child, call a local community counselling agency and ask for written information or resources about adult and child grief reactions, coping tips and strategies to support your child. You can ask to talk to a counselor on the phone or ask to meet in person.
Communicate with your school.Tragic event teams made up of school and community counselling partners are available to support students in the event of a death within the school community. School plans focus on supporting student grief reactions while maintaining normal routines as much as possible. Parents and schools should work together to support children through grief reactions. As a parent, you can let the school know if your child is struggling and together, you and the school can plan the right supports.
Be aware of your own needs. Don’t ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief, and anger. Talking to friends, family members, members of your faith community – whoever you identify as your “rocks” in life is important. It is important to let children know if you are impacted by a tragedy and what you are doing to take care of yourself. You will be better able to support your children if you can express your own emotions in a productive manner.
Resource Information for Parents and School Staff:
- The National Association of School Psychologists on-line resource database (www.nasponline.org):
- Death and Grief: Supporting Children and Youth: http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/...
- Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Traumatic Events/ Tips for Parents and Teachers: http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/...
- Recommended Books for Children Coping with Loss or Trauma: http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/...
Locally, parenting information and support is available through: Children’s Centre Thunder Bay (343-5000), Thunder Bay Counselling Centre (684-1880) and Dilico Anishinabek Family Care (1-855-486-5036). After hours telephone support is available through the C.M.H.A. 24 hour Thunder Bay Crisis Response Service (346-8282).In a case of any emergency, call 911.
Teachers to Run in Boston Marathon
Meet two of our teachers from St. Patrick High School.
They will be representing our city and our Board as they gear up for the Boston Marathon this upcoming Monday.
English teachers, Trevor Zimak and John Power took the time to chat with us about the upcoming race.We bombarded them with questions and loved their sincere and in-depth answers.
New Technology Rollout
Our IT Department has been busy
We are implementing our new 5 year Technology Plan. We'll continue to build on our technological strengths and address areas of need. Wave 1 of the plan has the following 6 schools receiving a technology refresh:
- St. Martin
- St. Elizabeth
- Corpus Christi
- St. Pius
- St. Bernard
- St. Vincent
The new technology, comprising of Google Chromebooks, Chromebases, and Apple iPads (for primary grades), will be supplied directly into the classrooms. Teachers and students will benefit from daily access to technology, rather than having to book technology in advance.
The remaining elementary schools will be completed (Wave 2) in the 2018-19 school year.
Wi-Fi improvements are also in the process, improving coverage and capacity in conjunction with the rollouts.
As a Board family, we honoured the memory of the fallen Broncos. We keep their family, friends and community in our prayers.
We showed our support by wearing green or a jersey. Thank you to all of our schools who participated in various activities and tributes.
Board Meeting Footloose Sneak Peek
At Monday's Board Meeting, students Chiara Belluz-Gerolami, Ashley Belluz-Gerolami, Darcey Khanlarian and Breanne Yesno gave Trustees and guests a sneak peek of their number, "Holding out for a Hero" from the upcoming Footloose production at St. Patrick High School.
Attendees at the Board meeting were overwhelmed with the talent these young ladies displayed. Well done "Ariel", "Wendy Jo", "Urleen" and "Rusty".
- April 30th to May 5th
- Selkirk Auditorium 7:00 p.m.
- Tickets: $20 - Purchased at the St. Patrick High School Office
- All proceeds will be donated to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation
Students Participate in Healing Circle
Grade five students in Ms. Dysievick’s class at Our Lady Of Charity Elementary School participated in a healing circle Monday afternoon.
Students were greeted by guest, Nicole Mckay from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake). Nicole lives in Thunder Bay and is the Land Base Coordinator for Keewaytinook Okimakanak Secondary School Services.
Not only is Nicole an Activity Coordinator, she is also a Drum Carrier. Today she shared songs and stories with the students as part of Walking the Path. Students shared their masks they had painted on a previous day, explaining the colours, symbolism and thought behind their creations. The student's masks are a reflection of who they are and where they come from.
The St. Paul Gallery
The Year Two Kindergarten students at St. Paul School held an Art Exhibit in the Library!
This artwork is extremely special, as it will be delivered to Gifu Japan.
Teacher Laura Sutton and Early Childhood Educator Riley Speziale, along with their students have been working diligently in preparation for an international art exchange. Kindergarten Artwork will be exchanged with the Kaguya Second Kindergarten Students in Gifu.
Both St. Paul School and Kaguya School will be exhibiting each other’s art as part of their international friendship and sister city connection.
Way to go St. Paul School, we absolutely loved your art exhibit!
St. Ignatius 50th Anniversary!
St. Ignatius High School has announced their upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations!
This morning, CKPR’s Morning show hosts Laura Zaina and Danny Foresta made the surprise announcement live from the School Atrium. Organizers of the anniversary found it extremely poignant to have Zaina and Foresta broadcast live for this occasion, as Foresta is a St. Ignatius Graduate.
Former St. Ignatius Principal and Director of Education, Pino Tassone is excited to celebrate:
“St. Ignatius will always have a special place in my heart. As a teacher and Principal I enjoyed my time at St. Ignatius with my students, and my staff. I am proud to have worked with so many great people, and to see so many of our students go on to do wonderful things and good works within our community and beyond. I would like to invite all of our fellow falcons to return to the nest, and celebrate with us.”
Anniversary committee organizers have an exciting evening planned with a barbeque, school tours with memorabilia on display, an alumni soccer game on the new turf and a social to follow at Tony and Adams.
“This is a chance for current students and staff, alumni, retirees and anyone who was part of the St. Ignatius family to come together and celebrate. We’re looking forward to hearing people’s stories, sharing memories and enjoying the celebrations together.” Say teachers and organizers, Laura Nigro and Caterina Tolone.
The Anniversary will take place at St. Ignatius High School on Friday, May 25th beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Community Use of Schools
Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board believes that schools are the hub of communities. The Community Use of Schools Program offers an effective use of taxpayer investment, by providing citizens and groups with a place to come together, to volunteer, build skills, access programs, become physically active and develop strong and healthy communities.
To learn more, and access the Community Use of Schools Expression of Interest Form, click here.
Geography and Animal Tracks
Students in Ms. Bernardi's grade 9 class at St. Patrick High School went on an adventure this week.
Keith Hautala, educator at Confederation College led the grade 9 Geography class on a fun expedition outside.
Keith kindly donated his time to help teach the St. Patrick High School students about identifying different types of animal tracks, properly documenting them and discussed how to integrate gathered information into GIS programming.
St. Martin Recognized by EQAO
Within the last four years, St. Martin Catholic Elementary School has raised the bar and increased their literacy scores for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
This year, the school has been recognized by the Education Quality and Accountability Office, as a recipient of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement Award.
EQAO results from recent years identified various schools that demonstrated continuously improving percentages of students with IEPs meeting the provincial literacy standard, with St. Martin being one.
Principals and Educators at St. Martin have successfully utilized data to foster a culture in which students receive the support they need to succeed. Together they continue to work with their students, assisting them in areas of reading and writing – an overall emphasis on literacy.
Principals Letizia Tremonti and Alma Provenzano along with Teachers Michelle Lemmetty, Maggie Redfern Pucci, Christine Traer and Michelle Gale have been invited to the EQAO Forum this week in Toronto, where they will receive their award. They will also have the opportunity to join interactive workshops and presentations, which further their understanding of utilizing data to advise constructive change for students across the country.
Director's Annual Report
Our Director's Report is available now! Click here to view.
Please read the December edition of In Touch. An update from the Board Leadership team.December 2017 In Touch
Why choose a Thunder Bay Catholic School?
Catholic schools are a successful part of publicly funded education in Ontario. Our schools and school boards consistently meet or exceed provincial expectations in student achievement, program delivery, class size and character development. Our curriculum is purposely designed to produce graduates with good moral character who are responsible citizens, caring family members and collaborative contributors to the common good of Ontario's society. These are values that we celebrate and share with all Ontarians.Learn More
They say it takes a village to raise a child. In this case, it is taking the efforts of an entire region to address a very serious issue in our schools. Eight district school boards in the Thunder Bay Region are working together to address a problem that is having a profound effect on student achievement – persistent student absenteeism. The “HERE” attendance campaign was launched at the Spring meeting of the Northern Ontario Education Leaders (NOEL) on Tuesday, May 9. The campaign was designed to build awareness around the attendance issue in Northwestern Ontario and to provide communications support tools to Boards and schools to help improve attendance.
According to data collected in the 2013-14 school year, students in the Thunder Bay Region (from Kenora to Manitouwadge) had the highest rates of persistent absenteeism in the province. Students are considered persistently absent if they miss 10% of the days they were expected to be in school. In the Thunder Bay Region, the rate of persistent absenteeism was 21.6%. A recent study, Every School Day Counts: Persistent Absenteeism in Ontario, 2016, indicates students who miss an average of two days per month in elementary school stand a 60% chance of dropping out in grade nine, potentially impacting their opportunities for success in the future.
“While the reasons for student absences are diverse and varied across the region, the issue of persistent absenteeism is creating significant consequences for both students and schools,” says David Tamblyn, Director of Education for Superior Greenstone District School Board and NOEL Representative. “If the absenteeism trend is allowed to continue, this issue will greatly impact students and their ability to achieve and prepare for their futures. The time to act is now. “
The reasons for persistent absenteeism across the region are diverse and varied and can include:
- Mental health issues
- Poverty issues
- Sporting events
- Medical appointments
- Family travel
- Family commitments
Persistent absenteeism is a multi-faceted issue that affects diverse groups of students and families. In order for solutions to be effective, they must be focused towards sparking action amongst key influencers including students, parents, school, staff and the community at large.
“Fortunately, the eight district school boards are HERE for our students and their families,” says Tamblyn. “We recognize that there is a not a one size fits all solution to solve the issue of persistent absenteeism and we have worked collaboratively to develop a campaign with communications resources that can be used in all parts of the region.”
The HERE campaign is supported by the development of the HERE website – heretoolkit.com. School board and school staff will be able to log into the site and access the following resources to support their efforts to address attendance issues within in their Boards and schools:
- Print ad templates
- Digital ad templates
- Social Media ad templates
- Radio ad template
- Roll up displays and Banner
- Toolkit newsletter template
- Presentation Template
The HERE website will also provide background information on the issue of persistent absenteeism, guidance on how to use the resources, a section for school staff to share best practices on improving attendance and a section where school staff can receive answers to questions about the HERE campaign. In addition, each NOEL Board will receive a special Here Toolkit Box containing posters, buttons, jump drives loaded with resources including the video and special HERE lanyards.
“The efforts to address persistent absenteeism does not start and end with the HERE attendance campaign,” says Colleen Kappel, Lakehead Public Schools Superintendent of Education and HERE Campaign Team Member. “Through the Managing Information for Student Achievement (MISA) initiative, we have also started a persistent absenteeism research project with a Lakehead University Researcher to take an in-depth look at the issue and the related causes and effects. It is anticipated that the findings will provide the basis for further opportunities to address the issue.”
For more details please check out this video
Keewatin-Patricia District School Board
Kenora Catholic District School Board
Lakehead District School Board
The Northwest Catholic District School Board
Rainy River District School Board
Superior-Greenstone District School Board
Superior North Catholic District School Board
Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board
Board Improvement Plan
Catholic education addresses the search for meaning and the desire of the person to understand human life as an integration of body, mind and spirit. Rooted in this vision, Catholic education fosters the search for meaning as a lifelong spiritual and academic quest.
We are committed to building equitable, inclusive and engaging environments in which all students have the opportunity to learn. In classrooms, this is expressed through the inclusion of every learner, using differentiated instruction and student voice as well as culturally sensitive models of pedagogy and assessment for learning.See Our Plan