Meet OCENET: Donna Bass

Donna Bass, Academic Advisor

1. What are some of your main roles at OCENET?

As an academic advisor for international students at 10 OCDSB secondary schools, I am the main liaison between OCENET and the students and staff at those schools.

Since the pandemic began a year ago, I'm grateful that my role hasn't changed drastically - apart from not being able to visit schools, which I miss the most. I've found, however, that keeping in touch with school staff by phone and email is proving to be quite efficient. Less contact in-person with students is certainly the most disappointing aspect of Covid-19 safety measures, but luckily I'm able to monitor academic progress regularly through my contact with school staff and by reviewing students' report card results each quadmester. I share information about student progress with my OCENET colleagues and communicate directly with students, education agents, custodians, and family. Strong links between all stakeholders is critical to OCENET programming and in encouraging student success.

Another key role I have at OCENET involves initial assessment of newly-arrived international students to the OCDSB. This year has been quite challenging, but I'm proud that OCENET has worked diligently to develop an effective online assessment process.

2. What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?

I most enjoy my interaction with OCENET colleagues, school staff, and students. Working to ensure student success in schools; and participating in, and contributing to, various OCENET initiatives is extremely rewarding.

3. What have been some of your accomplishments at OCENET that you are most proud of?

I'm proud of the contributions I've been able to make in developing a robust initial assessment and intake process at OCENET for secondary students arriving from all around the world. It's especially satisfying to then observe how well most of these young learners settle in to life in Ottawa, adapting to and thriving in a new environment.

Knowing that the vast majority benefit greatly from studying here - whether short term or for graduation - I feel proud of the role I've played in their positive OCENET experiences.

4. What are some of your interests outside of work?

I've been an avid reader my entire life, and so I tend to “inhale” books on a regular basis. Keeping up with current events is another interest, along with watching favourite TV shows and movies.

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