Speaker Series

The OCDSB Speaker Series offers free information sessions to the parent community and seeks to provide parents and educators with access to leading ideas in education that will allow us to work collaboratively to better support student learning and well-being.

The series is sponsored by the District's Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) and supported through Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Grant funding from the Ministry of Education.

Upcoming Speaker Series

Session on Vaping with Ottawa Public Health
February 2019

Further information to come.

UNSTOPPABLE YOU with Unstoppable Tracy Schmitt
Thursday, March 5th, 2019, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

No matter where you are in life, sometimes you just need to be inspired. Join us and “Unstoppable Tracy” as she shares how you can use humour and motivation to crush your obstacles and soar to the top!  

Autism: An Information Night for Parents
April 2nd, 2019, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The session will feature a keynote speaker who will address a specified topic. The ASD Team will also be present to provide mini workshops for parents regarding supports and services within the district. These sessions are aimed at providing information on services and supports that are available through the Autism Spectrum Disorders Team within the OCDSB.  

Indigenous Education with Cindy Blackstock
April 23rd, 2019

Further information to come.

Previous Speaker Series


Protecting Your Child: Reducing the Risk of Sexual Abuse
Karyn Kibsey, Canadian Centre for Child Protection
Thursday, 10 October 2019, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Earl of March Secondary School
4 The Pkwy, Kanata, ON K2K 1Y4

This informative session, that had close to 100 participants, focussed on helping parents/guardians better understand the issue of child sexual abuse. The topics covered included the scope of child sexual abuse, personal boundaries, adult supervision; children’s use of internet-enabled devices, concerning sexual behavior in children, what to talk to your child about, and reporting. 

Given below are resources for this topic:
PDFs: 1. Commit to Kids at the OCDSB 
             2. Protecting Your Child (Canadian Centre for Child Protection)


Concussion Management  - Dr. Andree-Anne Ledoux
Wednesday, 25 September 2019, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School
149 Berrigan Dr, Nepean, ON K2J 5C6

Attendees had the opportunity to learn the causes of a concussion, how to recognize a concussion, neurobiology of a concussion, symptoms, recovery trajectory and concussion management protocols on return to learn and play. You will find the presentation here.

When Technology Takes Over: Navigating Through the Teen Years

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Sir Robert Borden High School - 131 Greenbank Road

This session offered parents practical strategies to encourage healthy use of technology in teens. It was led by Liz Parsons and Matt Young, Youth Service Managers from Rideauwood Addiction & Family Services.

Liz and Matt emphasized that technology addiction' is a general term that can include excessive behaviours related to playing video games; accessing social networks such as Instagram and Snapchat; watching videos on YouTube; excessive texting; smartphone overuse, and more.

They encouraged parents to try to acknowledge the good as well as the bad in conversations with their kids, so that the conversations aren't only about the negative. It's also best to set an example for the kids; if they see their parents on their phone constantly, then it will be harder to reinforce boundaries on the kids' phone use.

Another important point was that there is no set time limit for overexposure; it differs from person to person. However it is best to monitor the behaviour and routine of the youth, and see if there are any changes from their time spent online. If they continue a healthy routine of social activity, sports, and school, then their use of technology is likely not altering their behaviour.


Autism: An Information Night for Parents
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Sir Robert Borden High School - 131 Greenbank Road


Supporting the Mental Health of Students with Autism - Jonathan A. Weiss, Ph.D., C.Psych

Individuals with autism often struggle with managing anxiety, anger, or depression, and increasingly, interventions are being used to help address these difficulties. However, these treatments are best provided within a context of promoting thriving and positive growth more generally in people across the spectrum.

How can we promote positive outcomes in youth with autism? We can promote positive outcomes by focusing on indicators such as happiness, satisfaction and resilience on the school level, parent/ family level and individual level.

  • At the school level: support the development of a school culture, policy and practice that promotes school connectedness. A focus on making the school feel inclusive regardless of label.  
  • At the family level: connectedness and affect regulation. Parent efficacy in managing emotional reactivity. Promote adolescents capacity for regulation. Improve parent-adolescent attachment.
  • At the individual/student level: participating with other positive peers (ie: mentorship programs). 

Additional presentations were given on the following:
ABA in Schools
Planning for Successful Transitions
Social Emotional Learning Programs
First Steps to School Success
IEP & IPRC; and
OCDSB Autism Team

UNSTOPPABLE YOU with Unstoppable Tracy Schmitt
Thursday, February 28th, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 
Earl of March Secondary School 
4 The Parkway, Kanata


Tracy Schmitt, appropriately known as Unstoppable Tracy is four way amputee from birth, brings "inspirational" to a whole new level!

In a very dynamic presentation, she shared with us the 3 keys to becoming an unstoppable you - her "Limb-it-less" Secret:

  • Exceed uncertainty
  • Embrace possibility
  • Earn independence

Tracy reminded us about the need to set high expectations and to take extraordinary action to achieve success. Some top take away thoughts from her presentation:

  • Who you surround yourself with is who you become;
  • We are never alone, there are lifelines all around us, we just need to use them.
  • Don't avoid failure;
  • What you focus on grows (positively or negatively);
  • A good excuse limits you; when you have no excuses you have no limits;
  • When people see you in action; they act!
  • The kinds of questions you ask determines the kinds of answers you find!

Cannabis Parent Information Nights

Recreational cannabis was legalized on October 17, 2018 by the Federal Government. Ontario’s Government for the People has put rules in place to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth, keep our roads safe and combat the illegal market. You must be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board remains committed to maintaining school and work environments smoke-free. Recreational cannabis possession and/or use is not and will not be permitted anywhere on OCDSB property.

For answers to common questions, check out this  Facebook Live video or visit the Ottawa Public Health - Parenting website. 

Cannabis Resources

Concussion Management

In honour of the first Rowan’s Law Day, we were extremely privileged to have Gordon & Kathleen Stringer and Dr. Vassilyadi; Pediatric Neurosurgeon, CHEO; Founder, CHEO Concussion Clinic; Ottawa Chapter Director for ThinkFirst/ Parachute; join us for our first Speakers Series of the school year. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from Rowan’s parents, who have driven Ontario to take the lead in concussion awareness and prevention, and to learn about concussion management, causes, symptoms, and recovery from Dr. Vassilyadi. We'd like to thank everyone who came out and made our first session of the year successful.

Please click here for Dr. Vassilyadi's presentation and here for the Stringer's presentation. 

Self-regulation for Children and Parents 
April 19, 2018 and November 30, 2017
Dr. Susan Hopkins of The MEHRIT Centre

Chris D’souza
Equity in Action
April 5, 2018

Mary Alexandrou from CHEO’s YouthNet and Natalie Markoff from PLEO 
Understanding Mental Health and Addiction in Youth – Coping and Resilience
March 1, 2018

Paul Davis
Social Networking & Online Safety
October 5, 2017

Eva Olsson
Speaking out against Racism and Intolerance
April 12, 2017

DJ Cunningham, Learnstyle
April 7, 2016

Dr. Michael Vassilyadi
Understanding Concussions — Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms
October 29, 2015

Canadian Foundation for Economic Education
Talk With Our Kids About Money
April 15, 2015

D Stuart Shanker
Developing Self-Regulation in Children
March 27, 2

Dr. Susan Hopkins of The MEHRIT Centre
Dr. Susan Hopkins of The MEHRIT Centre

Contact Us

  • Parent Involvement Committee (PIC)

    133 Greenbank Road, Ottawa ON, K2H 6L3
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