The Knights Roundtable

October 2020 v.2

Dear Families,

The Knights Roundtable is the Diversity, Equity, and Unity newsletter created for DJO students, family, and community. Each month will center around a theme. The initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Unity is key to the ability of Bishop O'Connell to fulfill its mission and to have a positive effect on society. This fact has been evident in the past year as our nation has faced a series of incidents, tragedies, and challenges that have had a profound effect on us. As we struggled to learn, to lament, to heal, to disrupt, and to acquire wisdom, we came together as students, alumni, parents, faculty, and administration in efforts to implement change. Sit back, grab a snack, and enjoy reading about current events, student stories, and how to be involved in making O'Connell a place that all students feel proud to say, we are family. GO, KNIGHTS!

Learning & Ability Diversity Awareness Month

A Note from our Expanded Services Team

Considering Communication - There is more than meets the eye.

Students with high verbal communication skills often have unseen processing issues affecting their understanding of written or spoken language.

Students with impaired verbal communication skills often have higher receptive language skills and understand far more than they verbally communicate.

Even as special educators, we are repeatedly reminded of this reality among our students. Verbal skills can be misleading!

While we teach to students’ strengths in considering expressive or receptive language skills, we also work to put supports in place for the areas of deficit.

Here are some supports that we are currently implementing, These tools are great for ALL students! Reach out to Mary Desmarias or Ally Santini to learn more!

  • Google Read&Write (Chrome extension - free for teachers! The Vocab list builder is awesome!)

  • Read&Write text to speech feature or Natural Reader text to speech (another FREE Google Chrome extension - Easy to use and SUPER for students with visual process impairments or lower reading levels.)

  • JamBoard - interactive white board (WOW!)

Disability History

Looking for a good read? Gail Saltz a psychiatrist and best selling author explores the profile of famous geniuses who have been diagnosed with all manner of brain "problems"-Including learning disorders, ADD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism--and sharing stories of lay people to illustrate how particular deficits in some parts of the brain are directly related to the capacity for incredible talent. Saltz demonstrates how the very circumstances that lead people to encounter problems at school, in social settings, at home, or at work are inextricably tied up with imaginative, educational, artistic, empathetic, and cognitive abilities. Check out Gail's book below

Big picture

What's Happening at the roundtable?

  • Over 40 students have signed up to be a part of the Diversity, Equity, and Unity student council. Interviews were conducted on October 12-15, 2020.
  • Suggestions boxes are in and will be going up in three locations around the school, we want to hear our students.

Grants available for Hispanic Students

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation's (HHF) 2020 Youth Awards educational grants program is now accepting applications! Our 22nd Annual Youth Awards will award students who are in the graduating Class of 2021 with up to $1000 in educational grants to fund their higher education or a community-based project.


  • Be currently enrolled in high school and graduating in the spring of 2021
  • Must have a minimum unweighted 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale or 7.5 on a 10.0 scale
  • Must enroll at an accredited higher education institution in 2021-2022
  • Be of Hispanic heritage (includes Spain, Brazil, Philippines)
  • If selected, attendance to virtual regional awards ceremony is mandatory
  • Be a U.S. permanent resident, U.S. citizen, or qualify under the DACA

DEADLINE DATE: December 6, 2020

For more information please click LINK HERE

Student and Family Resources

What Can Catholics Do to Overcome Racism?

In this brief 17-minute video Fr. Mark-Mary asks Fr. Pierre Toussaint about his experience of racism and division in the Church. Fr. Mary makes the comment “if we are not uncomfortable, we are not in touch with what is happening”.

Did you miss September's newletter?