Tuesday, February 26, 2019


OVERCROWDING ISSUES RESOLVED: The EMSB Council of Commissioners has arrived at some solutions to address overcrowding problems at two West End elementary schools, Willingdon in NDG and Edinburgh in Montreal West.  Beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year, Willingdon will operate a second building on Coronation Avenue to house Grade 5 and 6 students. Edinburgh, meanwhile, will receive four modular classrooms with the aim of bringing enrolment down to their maximum capacity of 100 percent over a four year period. Mobiles will be reduced by one per year. The Directorate has instructed the Edinburgh administration to limit kindergarten registration to two classes per year until the overcrowding issue is resolved.   In order to accommodate the new senior campus for Willingdon, students from two alternative high schools- Focus and Outreach- will be relocated from the Coronation Avenue facility to their own space at James Lyng High School in St. Henri.  See the complete story here.

Principal Marylene Perron in front of the Ville Émard campus building.
TEMPORARY RELOCATION OF WESTMOUNT PARK: The EMSB will proceed with the relocation of students from Westmount Park Elementary School for two years to Marymount Academy International in NDG and the former St. John Bosco Elementary School in Ville Émard.  Westmount Park Elementary School will undergo major renovations. Due to the scope of the $12.5 million project, this will require that the entire school population   be relocated for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. The more than 700 students will be split between   Marymount and St. John Bosco and both sites will have Pre-K to Grade 6 levels in order not to separate siblings. See this story. 

Nutrition Month is almost here.
NUTRITION MONTH: March is Nutrition Month all across Canada and in celebrating this, Nutrition and Food Services at the EMSB has prepared various nutrition activities. The national theme for this year’s campaign is to Unlock the Potential of Food to fuel activities, inspire children, improve health and bring people together. This campaign aims to promote healthy eating habits on a daily basis by promoting nutrition awareness and increasing nutrition knowledge.  Visit www.nutritionmonth2019.ca for more information. To commemorate nutrition, in-class activities which orient students to read and better understand nutrition labels are in full swing in the East Sector elementary schools. Animated by an EMSB dietitian these “READ WHAT YOU EAT” activities are building blocks for our kindergarten to 6 students for better nutrition knowledge and making healthy food choices. See the complete story.

EMSB teachers learn more about Bob the high-tech mannequin patient at the MUHC.
MUHC PARTNERSHIP: The EMSB and the Research Institute (RI) of the McGill University Health Centre Research Institute (MUHC) will launch an unprecedented formal partnership on  March 12 at the Glen Campus: students collaborating with researchers on a STEAM project (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). At the launch students and staff from six high schools (LaurenHill, Laurier Macdonald, John Paul I, Marymount, Lester B. Pearson and John Grant) will not only have the opportunity to tour the research institute, they will also visit numerous kiosks and speak to different researchers about their projects in order to choose the area which interests them and whom they are most interested to collaborate with. At that point school teams and researchers will exchange information in order to work together on a multi-disciplinary project of their choice. This is a by invitation only event.

Katherine Baker
PHYSICAL LITERACY:  The recent EMSB Physical Literacy campaign garnered a lot of good media coverage. Here are some new  video clips:

Focus Montreal    https://vimeo.com/315262083

PODCASTS: The EMSB launched its first podcast last fall, hosted by veteran radio personality Barry Morgan. Barry filed interesting reports on topics such as cannabis legislation, sexual education and robotics.   Barry was hired in early January by the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. Suzanne Desautels is the new host of the EMSB Podcast: Suzanne was a mainstay on the Montreal  TV and radio scene.  Born in Washington, DC, she says her upbringing gave her a strong background and experience in US Politics. “My broadcasting career has taken me around the world on shows like Travel, Travel while other opportunities have allowed me to interview politicians, actors, and fascinating people from all walks of life,” she said.  “Montrealers know and trust me as I have never tried to be what I am not on the air.  What you see or hear is what you get! I’m a mom with three daughters, a faithful friend and I play well with others.” 

In her first podcast, Suzanne visited Michelangelo International Elementary School in RDP to interview Principal Marisa Mineiro. She was recently named by the Learning Partnership as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals. Please listen to the interview here

Next Suzanne sat down with Katherine Baker. Although she started her post-secondary education in commerce, Katherine soon realized where her passion lay.  As the full time Physical Education & Health Consultant for the EMSB, Katherine is guiding our children to enjoy and appreciate what an active lifestyle brings.  Physical Literacy programs incorporate movement throughout the student’s day. But are the students able to take these notions home from school with them? Katherine believes so and her passion to seeing that happens is infectious! Listen to it here.

Kamala Harris
WESTMOUNT HIGH STUDENTS TALK KAMALA HARRIS: Montreal Gazette city columnist Bill Brownstein returned to his former high school, Westmount High, to talk to students in Robert Green’s Grade 11 Advanced Placement Comparative Government and Politics class about another graduate, Kamala Harris, who wants to become the next President of the United States. They do so on video here  and this column by Brownstein.

MESSAGE FROM PM: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Member of Parliament for Papineau (John F. Kennedy High School and Sinclair Laird Elementary), prepared this video message as part of Spiritual Community Animator Rocco Speranza‘s Embrace your Authenticity project. 

Ann Marie Matheson, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Minister Roberge, Marguerite Bourgeois Chair Diane Lamarche-Venne and  Mayor Valerie Plante,  
HOOKED ON SCHOOL: For the past 14 years Hooked on School Days (HSD), held during the third week of February, have mobilized Quebecers around the educational success of young people. This year’s edition took place from February 11 to 15. This event reminds students, parents, school staff, employers, and all provincial and regional stakeholders that they play a vital role in encouraging young Quebecers to stay in school. EMSB Director General Ann Marie Matheson is the chairman of the program in Montreal. She spoke at the February 11 launch in Verdun. On hand were Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge and football star Laurent Duvernay Tardif, an offensive lineman with the NFL’s Kansas City Chief and a graduate of McGill University’s Medical School. He is this year’s spokesperson. Every year, thousands of HSD activities and events take place in schools and municipalities across Québec. Hooked on School Days are held and organized by Québec’s regional consulting authorities (Instances régionales de concertation–IRCs) on student retention and educational success. These IRCs mobilize hundreds of organizations in all regions of Québec around the importance of taking tangible measures to improve the educational success of youth. This year, the campaign aimed to illustrate the power of small gestures – actions anyone can take. When they’re all added up, they can make a real difference in the success of young people, from pre-schoolers to young adults. Whether you’re a parent; a family member; a friend; an early childhood educator; a child care worker; a teacher; a community, school, or employability counsellor; a professional or manager; an employer; or a municipal or provincial elected official, we can all take tangible actions and make commitments that encourage our young people to stay in school and support their educational success.

St. Laurent Liberal MNA Marwah Rizqy and Principal Donna Manos perform the puck drop.
LAURENHILL HOCKEY EXCELLENCE: A competitive hockey team was revived last year at LaurenHill Academy in St. Laurent and on   February 25  they played before a capacity crowd of just over 1,000 people at Raymond Bourque Arena. LaurenHill was defeated 3-1 byJohn Rennie High School from Pointe Claire in the Greater Montreal Athletic Association (GMAA) Juvenile Division 2 Championship game. Getting this far was quite a feat for the St. Laurent team,   brought back to life in 2017-18 by head coach and mathematics teacher Shawn Sacco after a 15 year absence. Coach Sacco played high level hockey himself in United States prep schools Last year the new LaurenHill squad went all the way to  the semi finals. This year they had an undefeated season until one forfeited game. They won their semi final  vs Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School. All of the more than 1,000 LaurenHill student an at least 100 staff members  attended the game as part of their last period of the day and walked over to the arena.  See this excellent report from Global TV.

Shooting hoops with the Canadian Forces.
CANADIAN FORCES BASKETBALL: As part of Hooked on School Days at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Rosemount, students challenged members of the Canadian Forces (CF) in their annual Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement (SCA) basketball game. The CF members spent time with the students before and after the game, conveying the importance of following one’s dreams and persevering through life’s challenges. This event was part of the “Hooked on School Days” initiative across Quebec and within the EMSB. The service members decided to collaborate with Spiritual and Community Animator Speranza in order to underscore the importance of engaging with the community and encouraging students in their studies.  The basketball game was also a celebration of the vital work of those helping our youth achieve their potential. The special guests, ran into a different kind of adversity at tip-off time, as they were up against a team of students who came ready to play and win, and who were supported by the entire junior student body as well as their cheerleaders.

Cutting the anniversary cake.
CELEBRATING A DECADE OF SUCCESS: Inspirations Newspaper  showcased the talents of the special needs community at the 10th anniversary celebration for the special needs publication  on  February 22  at the Mackay Centre and Philip E. Layton Schools  in NDG. At the event members of the Inspirations family  welcomed friends, colleagues, and supporters, who, together, work towards breaking down barriers and promoting the inclusion of people with special needs. Innovative vocational programs and resources will be showcased at the event. Lunch was catered by Summit School’s TECC Bistro, a full-fledged catering enterprise. Approximately 40 students were  involved in the food preparation and service, providing them with invaluable work experience. Renowned recording artist Martha Wainwright sang with the Mackay Centre School Choir, made up of 10 Grade 4 students, one of which is her son! Master of ceremonies Steven Atme is a columnist for Inspirations, speaks to students across the island of Montreal about living with autism, and runs his own music school, Creaversity.

Martha Wainright performs with her son, a Mackay student.
SAFE COMMUTE TO SCHOOL: In order to avoid sad and tragic accidents, the city of Montreal is aiming to educate citizens on a safe commute especially during the winter period where more heavy equipment is circulating to plow the streets. To enable this, they have developed and broadcasted an animated video on their social media platforms and on screens in the metro stations. We ask that parents, children and teenagers take precaution on their commute. Please see this video.

FACE SCHOOL:  The EMSB welcomes the $11 million investment announced by the MEES in order to prepare a business case and the preliminary plans to arrange the renovations at FACE School and the relocation of the students.  “We highly appreciate the partnership we have with the CSDM at FACE School,” said EMSB Chair Angela  Mancini. “This is an excellent example of collaboration between two school boards. We are grateful to the government for their commitment to fund the renovations that this building requires and we will work closely with the CSDM to relocate our students during the work."

A different kind of exam period.
INNOVATION AT RHS: During the mid-term exam session, January 28 to February 1, Secondary I and II students   at Rosemount High School did things slightly different. They   had to decide which project based activity they would like to participate in and were required to select two of the three options presented. The options were as follows: Budget Bytes (This involved cooking/baking snacks for the students in Grades 7&8 and incorporated French Language Arts and Mathematics); R-H-S Action!  (This involved creating a short PSA and incorporated technology as well as English Language Arts); Some Assembly Required (This involved using various materials in order to make successful presentations and will incorporate Social studies and Art). “The purpose was to present the students with real life situations that would allow them to apply what they have been learning and work together in a fun and interactive way,” said Principal Marco Gagliardi. “We believe this gives students more of a real-life approach to learning.  Over and over you hear students say ‘When am I going to use this?’ so we figured we would give them a real-life situation where they have to use what they’ve learned.   The students were given a time limit as often we’re asked to perform under pressure and come up with results by a deadline. This is often the way it is in “the real world”, and we are glad to say our students did really well.  We are looking forward to continuing this approach to learning and evaluation as part of our schools approach to teaching.”

Travis Price at East Hill.
PINK SHIRT DAY ORIGINATOR: Anti-bullying advocate Travis Price, famous for his 2007 pink shirt protest at a Nova Scotia high school, visited five EMSB primary schools from February 4 to 7: Edward Murphy in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve; East Hill School in R.D.P.; Gerald McShane in Montreal North; General Vanier and Pierre de Coubertin in St. Leonard and Our Lady of Pompei in Ahuntsic. Unbeknownst to Price at the time, his protest in 2007 would launch a viral movement whereas students across Canada would wear pink as an affront to bullying. Furthermore, fundraisers associated with Pink Shirt Day have raised over $1.8 million.   The visit was particularly special for students at Edward Murphy as they have embarked upon a year-long project to “Keep Kind in Mind,” which encourages students to spread messages of kindness.  He is grateful to the EMSB and the Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Service, through Rocco Speranza and Alie Procyszyn-Cabelli, for their support and dedication to spreading the message of hope, kindness, and positive mental health. Mr. Price was very excited to speak in Montreal and to start his 2019 Canada tour at the EMSB. 

EMSB students like these from Royal West will be at this year's Science Fair.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FAIR: The annual Hydro-Québec Montreal Regional Science & Technology Fair will take place Sunday, March 24 through Tuesday, March 26, on the downtown campus of Concordia University (1515 Ste. Catherine Street). Organized by Educational Alliance for Science & Technology (EAST), this is the fifth successive year that  the Fair will be hosted at Concordia. During this one-of-a-kind competition, budding scientists aged 13 to 20 will be presenting to visitors scientific projects that bring out passion in them, proving that science and technology can be interesting and accessible.  Hours open to the public and for school visits are 1 pm to 4 pm March 24 and 25 and 9 am to 4 pm March 26. Christie Brown, the executive director of EAST, is urging students, teachers and all of those individuals interested in science and technology to bookmark these dates. “There is no admission charge and so many fabulous projects to see,” she said. “Over the years our students have gone on to win significant prizes at the provincial, national and international levels.”

Mr. Katz and his team.
A GREAT SEASON: Congratulations to Royal Vale Elementary School on a great season in   Led by Norman Katz and parents Mr. Stark and Mr. Weber, the team soared to new heights this year, earning a plaque in the LCC tournament with a record of 2-2-1. Royal Vale is the only public school with a hockey program.

Commissioner Patricia Lattanzio joins students, staff and Rocket representatives.
ROCKET LAUNCH AT EMSB: The future of the Montreal Canadiens met the future leaders of tomorrow as the Laval Rocket   visited Pierre de Coubertin Elementary School   in St. Leonard on   February 4. The event marked the Rocket’s first ever visit to a local elementary school. Students got to meet goalie Charlie Lindgren, forwards Jake Evans and  Michael Pezzetta and team mascot Cosmo. Pezzetta read Roch Carrier’s classic book The Hockey Sweater to Grade 1 and 2 students before playing a ball hockey game against the vaunted Grade 5 team.  The Rocket won 7-6 in a shootout. Team animator Olivier Duclos was on hand to do the announcing. A second visit is scheduled for Gardenview Elementary School in St. Laurent on March 11 (1:30 p.m.) at which time it is hoped Carrier will be in attendance.

EMSB  NIGHT AT PLACE BELL: The first EMSB Night will take place at Place Bell in Laval on Wednesday, March 20 when the Rocket host the Providence Bruins at 7:30 pm. Tickets normally priced at $25 have been lowered to $18 for the EMSB.  Log on here. You will need to use the promo code: emsb19.

CANNABIS POLICY:  The EMSB has adopted a new policy on the Possession and/or Consumption of Cannabis. In view of the recent legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada, the EMSB intends to namely protect the health and safety of its students, employees, elected representatives, volunteers as well as all users of any of the board’s establishments, including its grounds, premises and buildings. Possession and/or consumption of recreational cannabis is strictly prohibited to any person present in any EMSB establishments. Furthermore, possession and/or consumption of recreational cannabis is strictly prohibited to any person performing his duties as representative of the EMSB. Finally, possession and/or consumption of recreational cannabis is strictly prohibited to any person driving or having the care and/or control of a vehicle owned, rented or otherwise used by the EMSB, its students and employees. The EMSB may take disciplinary measures and/or other measures against any employee and/or individual who violates the terms and prescriptions of the present policy. This policy applies to: all  EMSB employees; adult students, parents and visitors of any EMSB establishments, including its grounds, premises and buildings;  any elected representative, volunteer and person responsible for supervising or monitoring the activities of the EMSB; and any educational and/or business partners of the EMSB, their affiliated organizations, employees, representatives or sub-contractors;

This policy applies at all time, including during any activity organized by the EMSB, its departments, representatives, schools or centres in any EMSB establishments, including its grounds, premises and buildings. The EMSB may take disciplinary measures and/or other measures against any employee and/or individual who violates the terms and prescriptions of the present policy. The complete policy can be accessed here the EMSB website.

TOE2TOE: The Elizabeth Ballantyne School ‘CHANGEMAKERS’ have been busy and are organizing more great events for all the students.  In February students have been participating in a friendly competition – challenging each House to collect as many pairs of socks as they can, which will then be donated to homeless shelters. EBS recently had a visit from Chris Costello, founder of Toe2Toe – an organization that collects and donates socks to be distributed to Montreal’s homeless people (http://toe2toe.org/). He explained to the students that it is really important to donate white socks, as dark colours can mask injury or infections. The CHANGEMAKERS want to give the socks they collect to Dans La Rue and Chez Doris. All socks collected will be matched by the partners of Toe2Toe.  We will celebrate this initiative with a ‘sock hop’ – this will be an 80’s themed dance at lunchtime.  The kids will wear funky colorful socks, and the price of entry will be (at least) one new pair of warm white socks to be donated. We hope to collect many, many pairs of socks, which are so important to homeless people –especially at this time of year!

HOPS:   The EMSB Hospital Opportunity Program (HOPS) was recently profiled here  in the Jewish General Hospital bulletin.

ROYAL WEST TEA CLUB: With a wide variety of clubs and extracurricular activities already available at Royal West Academy in Montreal West, it comes as no surprise that new options are being added to the list. Secondary V students Olivia Chevrier and Christina Polichronopoulos have started their very own Tea Club within the school, which they have been running together since last winter. The group meets on Tuesday mornings. Students get to taste different kinds of tea each week and rate them, all while conversing and relaxing with friends before the long school day ahead. According to Olivia, this is exactly what makes her club unique, as it “brings students together in a stress-free environment.” Another interesting aspect of this extracurricular activity is that it was created and is run entirely by students. As heavy tea drinkers, Olivia and Christina jumped at the opportunity when it was suggested to them by Mme Moreau. “It’s really easy to make your own club!” Olivia says. All that’s needed is to find a teacher to be present during meetings.  

SNACK DAY FOR CHARITY: Grade 6 classes at Gardenview Elementary School in St. Laurent are hosting their annual “Snack for Charity Day” on Thursday, April 11 (9:30  to 11 am). Nutrition is a key contributor to good mental health so this class will selling healthy snacks to students in Grades 5 and 6 throughout that morning to raise funds which will be donated to AMI-Québec. Last year they raised over $750 and they hope to do better this year.  All of the food was generously donated by businesses in the area (Costco, Adonis, Maxi, Mourelatos, Walmart, IGA, Avril, etc.). A representative from AMI-Québec  is expected to visit the school that morning.

Lew Lewis and Sandra Reich.
BURNOUT: Sandra Reich, the founder and clinical director of the Montreal Center for Anxiety and Depression, facilitated a workshop organized for all Student Services Department professionals, guidance counsellors and spiritual and community animators at the EMSB Head Office on February 1. It was entitled “Burnout-The Cost of Caring Too Much.” Ms. Reich is   also the founder of Sandra Reich Couple Retreats, the co-director of Empowered Women Workshops and Anxiety Videos, a bestselling author of a self-help book “Once Upon a Time…How Cinderella Grew up and Became a Happy Empowered Woman,” and the host of the international radio show called Straight Talk with Sandra Reich on Voice America.  Her expertise has been featured on many radio and television shows including Discovery Health, Global TV, Breakfast Television, and APTN and recently on Celebrity Damage Control. She is also a regular guest on The Dr. Laurie Betito show called Passion on CJAD. In her presentation she explained that burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands. Symptoms include insomnia, forgetfulness, increased illness, anxiety, and loss of appetite, depression, anger and impaired concentration and/or attention. Burnout doesn’t go away on its own and ignoring it can cause further harm or get worse unless the situation is addressed.  Many strategies can help with a burnout such as taking a vacation or leave of absence, reassessing your goals, practice positive thinking, learning to say no or simply the  basics of good health.  Sleeping, eating and exercise are all part of your well-being. The recommended hours of sleep for an adult are seven to nine hours. Less can lead to anxiety and more can lead to depression. Eating every three hours when awake and 20 minutes of cardio a day can lead to a better lifestyle.

CHEERS TO VOLUNTEERS:   The EMSB will hold its annual Parent Volunteer Appreciation Evening on April 9 at Plaza Volare. Those individuals who have volunteered for five years or more will be among the 500 people invited. "Cheers to 20 years of Volunteers” has been chosen as the theme.

ANIMAL WELFARE CONFERENCE: The 2019 National Animal Welfare Conference is happening at the Hotel Bonaventure Montreal April 14-15, 2019.  All two-day conference registrations come with one ticket to the Opening Social on April 13 and one ticket to the Animal Welfare Leadership & Innovation Awards on April 14. All conference and training day registrations include breakfast, lunch and nutritional breaks for the day(s) you have registered.

STUDY AND GO ABROAD FAIR: All senior high school students are being advised of the annual Study and Go Abroad Fair set for the Palais des Congres on Saturday, March 2 from 1 pm to 5 pm. It includes kiosks and seminars. For more information log on to www.studyandgoabroad.com or email katie@recruitincanada.com

HEART TO HEART: St. Valentine’s Day 2019 was all smiles at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Coordinated by the Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Animation service, five EMSB schools participated in the 15th annual Heart to Heart program, which donates toys to sick children. The schools collected toys and wrote cards in an attempt to cheer up those children who were stuck in the hospital on Valentine’s Day. Acting in the spirit of St. Valentine through his messages of hope, students traveled floor to floor giving gifts, cards and receiving many smiles and thank yous in return. Vincent Massey Collegiate, Edward Murphy, East Hill Elementary, General Vanier and Gerald McShane all donated to this worthy cause.

Participating in the Valentine's Day program.
WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE: In honour of Valentine’s Day, Rosemount and Perspectives I and II Alternative High School students, under the guidance of Spiritual and Community Animator Vince Lacroce, educators Jessika Neri,  Jessica Awadalla and Jessica Ghin, as well as Technicien En Loisirs of Centre D'Accueil Dante  Maria Crecca, held their annual “Will you be my Valentine?” program. This intergenerational program was developed to promote the virtues of love and compassion for those in our community. Over 25 students undertook fundraising for new stuffed animals, Valentine’s Day cards, chocolates and other gifts to be distributed to seniors at Centre D'Accueil Dante. All extra gifts collected were donated to the Montreal Autism Center. On February 13, students from Perspectives I and II High School visited Centre D'Accueil Dante and personally handed out the donated gifts, enjoyed a holiday luncheon, and took a photo with the senior in their Valentine’s Day Photo booth. On February 14, Rosemount High School invited the grandparents of their student community for an interactive afternoon of activities, games, and light refreshments.

Alexandra and Craig Kielburger.
WE DAY: On Monday, February 11, Théâtre St-Denis hosted another installment of WE Day with many EMSB schools in attendance. While all of the students worked hard to earn their place at the event, one went above and beyond and was recognized for her efforts. Vincent Massey Collegiate (VMC) student Alexandra MacDonald-Neves was presented with the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers by WE Founder Craig Kielburger. She received the award for her outstanding commitment to issues at both local and global levels, with a focus on compassion for others, the environment and the importance of remembering our veterans. She has been a huge help with the work of VMC Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Animator Rocco Speranza. Mr. Speranza commented, “Alexandra is an excellent, dedicated and hardworking role model and young adult.”

KINDNESS ASSEMBLY: On February 14, a Kindness Assembly was led by Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Animator Mary Poullas at Gardenview Elementary School in St. Laurent. The focus was to have the student’s gain an understanding of the power of being kind and how simple acts of kindness can play a significant role in our school as well as our community. Random acts of kindness activities followed throughout the month to reinforce the message.

Students take part in Black History Month activity.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Students from Dalkeith and Nesbitt Elementary Schools in Anjou and Rosemount respectively commemorated Black History Month with a unique program developed by Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Animator Vince Lacroce. The “Trailblazing through History” program combined elements from the Amazing Race, whereby groups of students in Cycle 2 completed various tasks and educational challenges throughout the school while learning about the stories, experiences, and accomplishments of both Black Canadian and American Heroes.  The intent of the program was to recognize the contribution of the Black community through the Civil Rights movement in education, government, science, sports, and music. Similarly, in Cycle 1 and at Rosemount High School, students   commemorated Black History Month by creating a “Board of Dreams” that was displayed on the school’s main bulletin board.  The board highlighted the important contributions and achievements of the black community and acknowledge the importance of the civil rights movement and its leaders, such as Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Students will also have an opportunity to reflect and dialog about Dr. King's dreams and their own dreams for the future. The students concluded the in-class workshops by displaying their aspirations on bulletin boards inside the school. Listen to our podcast interview with Vince Lacroce.

The display at Carlyle.
CONTRIBUTORS THROUGHOUT HISTORY:  In honor of Black History Month, a committee at Carlyle Elementary School in TMR put their minds together to produce a piece to acknowledge the many contributors throughout history; past and present.

The EMSB Chorale.
CHORALE SINGS: After a successful fall season and Holiday Concert which helped raise more than $2,000 for the Salvation Army’s Christmas campaign to help Montrealers in need, the EMSB Chorale is now hard at work learning new repertoire for concerts in March, April and May. Spring highlights include participation in the annual spine-tingling Earth Hour concert by candlelight, the En Harmonie 4 Kids benefit concert for Sun Youth, singing in Carmina Burana with Musica Orbium and the chorale’s own Spring Gala Festival. Concert details:

March 30 at 8 p.m. – Earth Hour Concert at Christ Church Cathedral as guests of the Choeur des Enfants de Montréal. Admission by donation.

April 6 at 7 p.m. – En Harmonie 4 Kids at Mountainside United Church. Tickets $15 available at the door.

April 27 at 7:30 p.m. and April 28 at 3 p.m. – The EMSB Senior Chorale joins Musica Orbium under the direction of Patrick Wedd for Orff’s Carmina Burana at Oscar Peterson Hall. The concert will also feature the rarely-performed Les Noces by Stravinsky. Info and tickets: www.musicaorbium.org

May 4 at 7:30 p.m. – The EMSB Chorale Spring Gala Concert at Oscar Peterson Hall. Tickets go on sale March 1st: Regular: $15 – Students: $10 – Children 12 and under: $5
For more information, contact conductor Patricia Abbott at 514-483-7200, ext. 7234 or pabbott@emsb.qc.ca.

WELLNESS EVENT FOR EDUCATORS: DKG Quebec, an organization which promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education, has announced that it will host a special Wellness Event for Educators on Saturday, April 13 at the Novotel Montreal Airport (2599 boul. Alfred-Nobel) in St. Laurent. “It’s My Day!” is the theme. This will mark the first time that teachers and educators will be offered a full day to recharge their batteries with uplifting, inspiring and life-changing workshops created especially for them. Teachers will meet experts in the fields of mental health, life skills, human behaviour, mindfulness, and conflict prevention. It’s My Day! is a day for personal growth. This day is for all those men and women working in a school environment from daycare to university. The cost for the day is $54. This includes a full buffet lunch, refreshments and free parking.   Teachers are welcome to dress comfortably as they may be interested in attending one of the mindfulness workshop sessions offered during the day. There will be an inspiring keynoter and three breakout sessions, with 12 workshops available. Extraordinary door prizes will also be up for grabs. You can access the program here.    “We all know that teachers need help and support as they can often feel discouraged or simply exhausted,” says DKG Quebec President Barb Angus. “Teachers can finally reclaim a day just for them. It’s their day! We want teachers and school staff to return to school refreshed, inspired and re-energized with useful tips and lifesaving resources.” To purchase tickets log on here.  For more information, please contact: itsmydaydkg@gmail.com

CULINARY CAMPS: Learn to cook at Provigo Saint-Jacques’ culinary camps: Is your child interested in the culinary arts? What better place to learn about food and cooking than at a grocery store filled with all of the fresh ingredients needed to make a delicious, healthy dish. Provigo Saint-Jacques, located at 6600 St-Jacques West in Montreal, offers fun culinary programs year-round. This spring break, kids ages six to 11 can learn “All about grilled cheese” (March 4), “Make it Italian” (March 6), “Authentic Greek flavours” (March 7), or “Camp around the world” (March 8). By the end of the week your child will be ready to take over your kitchen!

Kitchen Kids, for children ages six to 11, runs every second Friday evening from 5 to 7 p.m., starting March 1 until June. All sessions feature an innovative theme. Look out for their “Black box challenge for Kitchen Kids on Wednesday, June 26 from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. Inspired by popular TV cooking shows, kids will be tasked with creating a dish within a time limit!

Little Hands, for children ages two to six, runs on various Fridays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. And the whole family can learn to cook together at Family Classes scheduled on March 1, and 29, April 26, and May 31 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Full-day cooking camps are scheduled for April 22, June 27 (Summer flavours), and June 28 (Pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. This hands-on class has the students doing all of the cooking. Provigo teachers are there to help the budding chefs learn simple cooking and baking skills while having fun and meeting new friends. The day will include breakfast, lunch and snacks, and fun crafts and games while the food is in the oven. Students will have the opportunity to explore the world of fruits and veggies and striking a balance of healthy foods and treats.

Summer cooking fun is around the corner with full day or full week cooking camps on weekdays starting on July 2 and running through to August 2, and August 19 to 26.

For more information, contact Grace at 514-481-6959 or csc08808@provigo.ca.

DROP THE PUCK:  Representatives from the EMSB’s Lester B. Pearson High School Sports Études Program and Gerald McShane Elementary School’s Sports Concentration program will have a kiosk at Montreal’s premier hockey exhibition called Drop The Puck Montreal. It takes place on Sunday, March 10 (Noon to 7 pm) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (6600 Chemin de la Côte-de-Liesse). Admission is free there will be some 40 vendors/exhibitors and .various schools /association/ developers, to meet, greet and inform Montreal’s hockey community of the various programs and opportunities available to them. Log on to www.dropthepuckmontreal.com  and on Facebook at Drop the Puck Montreal. For more information or for any inquiries:    contact@dropthepuckmontreal.com


Alan  Rogers bids adieu.
ROGERS RETIRES: Cabinetmaking instructor Alan Rogers retired from Rosemount Technology Centre in January, after twenty-five years of showing students how to keep their tools sharp and build furniture with integrity.   Passionate about transmitting the craft of working wood, he believed that if you tune a machine properly you can make it sing.  He held himself and his students to high standards. Many a graduate – including some who went on to teach alongside him – still feel Alan looking over their shoulder as they set up a machine, warning them against carelessness, keeping them honest and on their toes. “I use the techniques and habits he taught every single day” said one graduate on hearing of his retirement.In his time at RTC Alan taught the fundamentals of building to hundreds of students and led groups in memorable projects including building chairs for the school conference room and installing kitchens for low-income families.  He also loved to share the treasures of his adoptive city, taking students to the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the Botanical Gardens.

“If you love working in this shop” a colleague told students on Alan's last day, “then you owe a big part of that to this man”.  Alan had poured his heart into setting a safe and functional workshop.   And while he is off cross-country skiing or canoeing, his spirit still inhabits the place he did so much to build. 

Assisting the church.
ASSISTING THE CHURCH:  St. George’s Anglican Church is a heritage church in downtown Montreal and is designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. They received a generous donation from Rosemount Technology Centre. Teacher, Chris Honce and his students from the Cabinet Making Program donated their time and talent and with supplies donated by Commonwealth Plywood, they were able to build new cabinetry for the outreach program at St. George’s. Their kitchen serves 50-100 meals a day, seven days a week to the poor and homeless. “ On behalf of St. George’s Anglican Church, I want to say how profoundly grateful we are to Rosemount Technology Centre”, stated The Reverend Canon Steven W. Mackison.


SE RENDRE À L’ÉCOLE EN TOUTE SÉCURITÉ: Dans le but d'éviter de tristes accidents, la Ville de Montréal tente de sensibiliser les citoyens à se déplacer de façon sécuritaire, surtout pendant la période hivernale alors que beaucoup d'équipement lourd circule pour déneiger les rues. Pour ce faire, la Ville a conçu et diffusé une vidéo d'animation sur ses plateformes de médias sociaux et sur les écrans du métro. Nous demandons aux parents, enfants et adolescents de faire preuve de prudence dans leurs déplacements. Pour visionner la vidéo, rendez-vous sur https://youtu.be/7W4JCUus7TE

ÉCOLE FACE: La CSEM se réjouit de l’investissement de 11 millions de dollars annoncé par le MEES afin de préparer le dossier d’affaires et les plans préliminaires pour planifier la rénovation de l’école FACE et la relocalisation des élèves. Madame Mancini a déclaré que la CSEM apprécie vivement le partenariat qu’elle entretient avec la CSDM à l’école FACE. Il s’agit là d’un bel exemple de collaboration entre deux commissions scolaires. La CSEM est reconnaissante envers le gouvernement qui s’engage à financer les rénovations que requiert ce bâtiment et elle travaillera étroitement avec la CSDM afin de relocaliser nos élèves durant les travaux.

EXPO-SCIENCES: L’Expo-sciences régionale 2019 se déroulera du 24 au 26 mars à l’Université Concordia (1515, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, édifice EV). https://technoscience.ca/programmes/expo-sciences/tout-savoir/les-expo-sciences-cest-quoi/. Les heures d’ouverture pour le public et les écoles sont de 13 h à 16 h les 24 et 25 mars, et de 9 h à 16 h le 26 mars.

RELOCALISATION TEMPORAIRE DES ÉLÈVES DE WESTMOUNT PARK: La CSEM relocalisera les élèves de l’école primaire Westmount Park, pendant une période de deux ans, à l’Académie internationale Marymount à NDG et à l’ancienne école primaire St. John Bosco à Ville-Émard. Des travaux majeurs de rénovation seront effectués à l’école primaire Westmount Park. Devant l’ampleur du projet de 12,5 millions de dollars, l’ensemble des élèves et du personnel devront être relocalisés durant les deux prochaines années scolaires, soit 2019-2020 et 2020-2021. L’effectif scolaire qui compte plus de 700 élèves sera réparti entre Marymount et St. John Bosco. Des classes de prématernelle à la 6e année seront offertes aux deux endroits afin d’éviter de séparer les enfants d’une même famille.

NOUVELLE ANNEXE : Devant le débordement des écoles primaires dans l’ouest de son territoire, le comité de planification à long terme de la CSEM avait initialement proposé d’ouvrir une nouvelle école primaire Français Plus au 4850, avenue Coronation à NDG. Les écoles d’immersion surpeuplées dans ce secteur sont Edinburgh (127 pour cent de sa capacité) à Montréal-Ouest, Merton (107 pour cent de sa capacité) à Côte Saint-Luc et Willingdon (90 % de sa capacité) à NDG. Dans le but d’établir cette nouvelle école, la CSEM avait alors recommandé que les effectifs de deux écoles secondaires innovatrices, soit Focus et Outreach, soient relocalisés dans le bâtiment de l’école secondaire James Lyng à Saint-Henri. Cette dernière a conclu un bail avec le Collège Centennial, lequel prendra fin le 30 juin 2019.

Le conseil des commissaires a accepté une nouvelle proposition du comité de planification à long terme selon laquelle l’une des écoles surpeuplées (Edinburgh, Merton ou Willingdon) établirait un campus junior (de la prématernelle à la 2e année) dans le bâtiment de l’avenue Coronation de manière à désengorger sur-le-champ l’école en question ainsi que les deux autres écoles aux prises avec le même problème dans ce secteur. Qui plus est, l’école qui installerait son campus junior dans ce bâtiment pourrait également offrir le programme Français Plus. Le premier programme d’immersion Français Plus serait offert de la maternelle à la 4e année (plutôt que de la maternelle à la 2e année) et le programme bilingue (50 % en anglais et 50 % en français) serait offert en 5e et 6e année.

CANNABIS: La Commission scolaire English-Montréal (CSEM) a adopté une nouvelle politique sur la possession et/ou la consommation de cannabis. Dans la foulée de la légalisation récente du cannabis récréatif au Canada, la CSEM entend protéger la santé et la sécurité de ses élèves, employés, représentants élus, bénévoles et toute autre personne qui utilisent les établissements de la Commission, notamment ses terrains, ses locaux et ses bâtiments. Il est strictement interdit à toute personne qui se trouve dans un établissement de la CSEM de posséder et/ou de consommer du cannabis récréatif. De plus, il est strictement interdit à toute personne de posséder et/ou de consommer du cannabis récréatif lorsqu’elle exerce ses fonctions comme représentant de la CSEM. Enfin, il est strictement interdit à toute personne de posséder et/ou de consommer du cannabis récréatif lorsqu’elle est au volant ou lorsqu’elle a la garde et/ou le contrôle d’un véhicule appartenant à la CSEM, ses élèves et employés, loué ou utilisé par ces derniers. La CSEM pourra prendre des mesures disciplinaires ou d’autres mesures à l’endroit d’un employé ou de toute autre personne qui déroge aux modalités de la politique. Cette politique s’applique à tous les employés de la CSEM; à tous les élèves adultes, parents et visiteurs qui se trouvent dans un établissement de la CSEM, incluant ses terrains, locaux et bâtiments; à tous les représentants élus, bénévoles et responsables de la supervision ou du contrôle des activités de la CSEM; et à tous les partenaires de la CSEM du domaine de l’éducation et des affaires, leurs organismes affiliés, leurs employés, représentants ou sous-traitants.

Cette politique s’applique en tout temps, y compris durant toute activité organisée par la CSEM, ses services, ses représentants, ses écoles ou centres, que ce soit sur un terrain, dans les locaux ou les bâtiments de tout établissement de la CSEM. La CSEM peut prendre des mesures disciplinaires et/ou d’autres mesures à l’endroit d’un employé ou de toute autre personne qui déroge aux modalités de la présente politique. Nous vous invitons à consulter l’intégral de la politique sur le site Web de la CSEM : https://az184419.vo.msecnd.net/emsb/emsb-website/fr/docs/gouvernance/politiques/res-hu/hr-18-policy-on-the-possession-and-or-consumption-of-cannabis-fr-.pdf 


UNE RETRAITE BIEN MÉRITÉE POUR ALAN ROGERS: Alan Rogers, enseignant en ébénisterie au Centre de technologie Rosemont, a pris sa retraite en janvier au terme de 25 années durant lesquelles il a enseigné aux élèves à bien affûter leurs outils et à fabriquer des meubles avec intégrité. Passionné par le travail du bois et par la transmission de son art, Alan a toujours fixé des attentes élevées envers lui-même et ses élèves. Plusieurs diplômés – y compris certains devenus eux-mêmes formateurs à ses côtés – ont encore l’impression qu’Alan pose son regard sur eux lorsqu’ils s’affairent à régler une machine, pour leur rappeler d’être prudents et vigilants. « J’utilise les techniques et les trucs qu’il nous enseignait chaque jour », a déclaré un diplômé lorsqu’il a appris qu’Alan se retirait.

Pendant toutes ces années au Centre de technologie Rosemont, Alan a enseigné les règles fondamentales de la construction à des centaines d’élèves, notamment la fabrication de chaises pour la salle de conférence du centre et l’installation de cabinets de cuisine pour des familles à faible revenu. Il adorait également faire découvrir aux autres les trésors de sa ville adoptive, et amener les élèves au Centre canadien d’architecture et au Jardin botanique. 

Lors de la dernière journée d’Alan au centre, l’un de ses collègues a déclaré aux élèves : « Si vous aimez travailler dans cet atelier, sachez que c’est en très grande partie grâce à cet  homme ». Alan s’est investi corps et âme pour créer un atelier sécuritaire et fonctionnel. Et même s’il passe maintenant son temps en ski de fond ou en canot, son esprit est toujours présent dans cet endroit où il s’est donné à fond.    

The next EMSB Focus will be published on March 27. Deadline for submissions is Friday, March 22 at Noon to mcohen@emsb.qc.ca. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Editor:                 Michael J. Cohen
Translation:         Manon Bourassa
EMSB officials and Physical Literacy ambassadors gather after the press conference. 
PRESS CONFERENCE: On the eve of Kindergarten and Elementary School Registration Week (February 4 to 8), the English Montreal School Board (EMSB)  showcased its programs that support the development of physical literacy. Special guests, media and small contingents of students from six EMSB schools were invited to Hampstead Elementary School on January 25 to learn more about physical literacy through numerous activities and presentations on the subject. Hampstead School is one of the elementary institutions which has assumed a leadership role in this area.

EMSB mascot Bumble gets into the exercise theme.
Physical literacy is about developing the competence, confidence and motivation to be active in a variety of ways and environments. The idea is that by being confident in  physical activity, students benefit in their overall physical, mental and emotional health. Physical Education plays a critical role in developing physical literacy – in Phys. Ed. classes, students develop their movement competence, and Physical Education teachers are also careful to structure their classes to encourage confidence and motivation, two important components of physical literacy. The benefits of regular physical activity are already well documented: sustained long-term health, increased social connectedness, improved general mental and physical well-being and better quality of life. But children who are more physically literate have more access to these benefits, which is central to their success as students.   You can also go to www.emsb.qc.ca/fl  to read all about this initiative.

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau School delegation.
VISITING SCHOOLS:  Students and staff from Royal Vale, Elizabeth Ballantyne, Parkdale, East Hill, Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Pierre de Coubertin Schools were on hand and took part in the launch.

The Gazette's Stu Cowan talks to Kavis Reed, Rick Green and Kim St. Pierre.
AMBASSADORS: The EMSB was pleased to greet a number of Physical Literacy ambassadors who spoke to students in their classrooms:  former Montreal Canadiens defenceman Rick Green; Kavis Reed, William Stanback and Jean-Gabriel Poulin from the Alouettes;  former Impact player and a Gerald McShane and Lester B. Pearson High School grad, Rocco Placentino;  former Canadian Olympic women’s hockey team goalie Kim St. Pierre;  Gardenview and LaurenHill grad Steve Frischman,  a former football player for the Concordia Stingers, former head coach of the Madrid Bears Football Team and served as a professional strength and conditioning coach for professional athletes; Director of Athletics and Recreation at McGill and a fitness columnist for The Montreal Gazette, Jill Barker; Geraldine (Gigi) Cabillo-Abante of the McGill Martlets;  the head coach of the Concordia University Stingers basketball team Rastkco Popovic; a member of the Concordia basketball team Sami Ghandour; Liberal Member of Parliament for the Mount Royal Riding and a competitive swimmer who has won multiple medals at the Maccabiah Games in Israel,  Anthony Housefather;  the founder and executive director of the Champions for Life Foundation,  who has been giving physical literacy workshops at the EMSB and beyond, David Arsenault; the
William Stanback and Jean-Gabriel Poulin along with Amy Walsh visit a Kindergarten class.
Champions for Life Program Director for English Schools, Joanne Lawson; a student supervisor at John F Kennedy Adult Education Centre in St. Michel, but well-known as a former professional basketball player in Europe and  a member of the Canadian Olympic mens basketball team in the Seoul Summer Olympics, Dwight Walton; a former student at Elizabeth Ballantyne Elementary School in Montreal West and at age 71  the 16th person  to climb the highest volcano on every continent (he may now be recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest person to climb both the Seven Summits and the Volcanic Seven Summits), Ted Fairhurst; the commander of local police Station 9 and a one-time offensive guard for the McGill Redmen football team,  Luis Oliveira; a former Gerald McShane Elementary School student,  who now plays  forward with the Junior AAA Montreal North Arctic,  Elio Dimeo; a former professional hockey player and currently a colour commentator for Laval Rocket broadcasts  on TSN 690,  JP O’Connor; a former midfielder for the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team and a member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, Amy Walsh; a  Grade 10 student  from LaurenHill Academy and elite wrestler with his sights set on the Summer Olympics, Nolan O’Rourke; and a former professional basketball player and a member of the Phys Ed staff at Hampstead School, Shawn Brown.

Shawn Brown and some of his students.
HAMPSTEAD THRIVES: Hampstead Elementary School was the site of a whirlwind  and active day January 25 at a press conference by the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) showcasing physical literacy.  Chosen to host the event, Hampstead School is a leader in developing physical literacy among its students through various physical education and physical activity-related programs. The school is providing creative and simple ways to allow for and encourage the natural inclination of children to move. Principal David Lee, a keen supporter of outdoor activity, says the school is providing more and more ways to incorporate movement in the everyday life at school.  Beyond the Physical Education and Health (PEH) classes offered as part of the curriculum are creative ideas such as “brain breaks,” which are sunshine-yellow plastic boxes affixed to hallways walls that contain a game or activity. One student or a pair can ask for a 10-minute hallway pass from their teacher, which gives them permission to leave the classroom and do something active in the hallway. The boxes can contain a soft football or soccer ball for a passing game. Providing the freedom to get up and move “can help a child reset,” says Mr. Lee, allowing them to return to class refreshed.

SIXTY MINUTES A DAY: The EMSB now counts 15 elementary schools which have opted to participate in a Quebec government health initiative called À l'école, on bouge! The objective  is to transform school culture toward an active one, specifically by ensuring that students are provided with the opportunity to accumulate at least 60 minutes of physical activity during each school day. Be it for cognitive functioning, social or physical health, this initiative allows students to experience the multiple benefits of physical activity throughout the school day and encourages teachers to be strategic with using movement to benefit learning and classroom management. Launched by the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur (MEES) in the 2017-18 academic year, several EMSB schools are already in their second year participating in the 60 Minutes initiative. They are: Elizabeth Ballantyne in Montreal West, Hampstead, Royal Vale in NDG, Parkdale in St. Laurent, St. Raphael in Park Extension, St. Dorothy in St. Michel, Michelangelo and East Hill in RDP, Edward Murphy in Hochelaga Maisonneuve and Pierre de Coubertin  in St. Leonard. Newer participants, currently active in the initiative this school year, include Leonardo Da Vinci in RDP, Edinburgh in Montreal West, Sinclair Laird in Park Extension, Pierre Elliott Trudeau in Rosemount and Merton in Côte Saint-Luc.  The EMSB hopes to expand this program to more schools

SPECIAL NEEDS:  The EMSB strives to support the development of physical literacy for all students, no matter what challenges they face. Physical literacy is a journey upon which children and youth, and everyone, develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to enable them to participate in a wide variety of activities. From Mackay Centre School students that have motor, language and communication disorders, and those that are Deaf and use American Sign Language to communicate, to Philip E. Layton (PEL) School students that have many of these same issues in addition to visual impairments, or students with autism and intellectual difficulties that attend many EMSB Schools, the Physical Education and Health teams are adapting their programs to focus on the abilities of their students as they progress along their individual physical literacy journeys.

Students display their Physical Literacy foam barbells. 
INITIATIVES: The EMSB is proud to partner with a number of outside organizations to offer students at both the elementary and high school level opportunities to develop their physical literacy  through different programs and activities.  The EMSB would like to highlight the following programs and/or partnerships:

GMAA PARTICIPATION: A total of 242 EMSB teams are participating in the Greater Montreal Athletic Association’s (GMAA) sporting events this school year, and students are reaping the benefits both in and out of the classroom. The GMAA is dedicated to the belief that sport is a key educational tool, helping young people grow physically, emotionally and intellectually. The EMSB is committed to this belief as well. The GMAA is a school sports organization devoted to the promotion of athletics in English schools of the Greater Montreal region. An affiliate of Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), GMAA organizes over 30 sporting activities during the school year, serving 60,000 students in elementary and high school.  The GMAA coordinates three scheduled sport seasons (Fall, Winter and Spring). This gives high school students from the EMSB, Lester B. Pearson School Board, and 23 private schools in the Greater Montreal area the opportunity to try a new sport each season, learn a varied skill set, and have multiple experiences in a team setting.

Ryan Oxley from the B.A.S.E. Program shows some students how to operate the bike blender.
BIKE BLENDER: This academic year, the B.A.S.E. Daycare Program has introduced two Bike Blenders into its stock of equipment to service our schools.  The EMSB Before and After School Enriched (B.A.S.E.) Daycare Program is excited to introduce Bike Blenders into schools on a rental basis. The bikes have been modified to propel a blender that can make simple smoothie recipes. Students will have the chance to pedal a bike and blend their own smoothie while also creating their own recipe. It is an excellent tool for educators to use in animating activities with their students as part of Pedagogical Day activities, Harvest Parties, school events and fundraisers. The Bike Blenders provide opportunities to increase educational competencies while engaging students in a positive social experience. In particular, Bike Blenders are an excellent tool to use in teaching children about Nutrition, Physical Education and Health and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). The Bike Blender can be used as a tool for highlighting nutrition through creating healthy snacks. It was a big hit at the Physical Literacy launch. .
John Pevec and his former student Joey Alfieri.

LIVE  BROADCAST FEEDS:  Vincent Massey Collegiate graduate Joey Alfieri broadcast live interviews from the the  press conference on TSN 690 and CJAD 800.  Mr. Alfieri had a chance to engage with Regional Director John Pevec, who was his vice-principal when he attended VMC.

Here is the TSN 690 commercial that ran in advance.

Here are the links to the live remotes:

Hampstead Phys Ed & Health teacher Michael Creamer  on CJAD

Michael Creamer on TSN 690

Katherine Baker on CJAD

Katherine Baker on TSN 690

Myrianne Lusignan on TSN 690

Michael Brown on TSN 690

CBC RADIO ONE:  Shawn Appel of  Radio Noon on CBC did an entire program on the press conference and theme.  Please give it a listen here.

The RBC volunteers.
RBC VOLUNTEERS: A thank you to Marisa Volpe and her team at the Royal Bank for providing volunteers for the press conference and for sponsoring the lunch. The RBC staffers, many of them bank managers, executives and financial planners, greeted guests and facilitated classroom sessions. It is all part of their mission to become involved in the community.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL REGISTRATION WEEK: Elementary School Registration Week for the 2019-2020 academic year will take place from Monday, February 4 to Friday, February 8. If one child from a family is already enrolled in a particular school, a sibling registration period will take place a week earlier. Parents are asked to register at the EMSB elementary school nearest their residence offering the French program of their choice. For more information please call (514) 483-7200, extension EMSB (3672) or log on to the Board’s website at www.emsb.qc.ca. All pupils registering for the first time are required to provide a birth certificate and vaccination records to the school the child will be attending. Parents will be asked to fill out forms which will allow the school to apply for the certificate of eligibility for English schooling. Under the Charter of the French Language, a certificate of eligibility is generally granted to children who did the majority of their elementary or secondary studies in English in Canada; whose mother or father did the majority of his/her elementary studies in English in Canada or whose brother or sister did the majority of his/her elementary or secondary studies in English in Canada. As a result of language legislation, this criteria excludes studies completed in the Quebec Private School system.

TV COMMERCIALS:  This commercial promoting Elementary School Registration Week,  has been airing on CTV Montreal. The production took place in November at Royal Vale School, where the entire K to 11 experience could be caught on camera. The EMSB will also have this advertisement running on CTV.  Here is the commercial on Global TV, recorded  at Roslyn School.

ON RADIO:   The Beat 92.5 FM ran this commercial
One of our billboards.
PROMOTIONAL BILLBOARDS: Seventeen  promotional billboards now appear all over our school districts promoting Elementary School Registration. Here are all of  the billboard locations:  Laurentien Boul. (Rte 117) and Gouin Boul. West; L’Acadie Boul. and Chabanel St.; St-Michel Boul. and Port Royal St.; Côte-des-Neiges RD and Chemin Bedford; St-Jacques St. and Old Orchard Ave.; Somerled and Cavendish; St-Jacques St. and Melrose Ave; Van Horne Ave. and St. Laurent Boul; Wellington St. and Butler St; Saint-Patrick St. and Laprairie St; Souligny Ave. and Desautels St.; Notre-Dame St. East and Rougemont Ave.; Rivières des Prairies Boul. and Martinière St.; Autoroute 15 and Henri Bourassa Boul; Henri Bourassa Boul. and Autoroute 13; Boul. Pie IX and 47th St; and St-Michel Boul. and Charland Ave.

Marisa Mineiro

OUTSTANDING PRINCIPAL: While Michelangelo International Elementary School in RDP might be tucked away at the eastern edge of Montreal, Principal Marisa Mineiro will soon be thrust into the national spotlight as she was recently named as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals. The announcement was made by the Learning Partnership.

Overall, 30 educators across the country were chosen by The Learning Partnership as Canada’s Outstanding Principals of 2019. This marks the sixth time that an EMSB educator was amongst those chosen.  Ms. Mineiro follows Lester B. Pearson High School’s Joseph Vitantonio (2018), Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School’s Anna Sanalitro (2017), Westmount Park Elementary School’s Marylene Perron (2016), retired principal Claude Dansereau (2015) and LaurenHill Academy’s Donna Manos (2011) as winners.

“I’m very honoured, but I cannot take all the credit,” said Ms. Mineiro. “It’s a team effort here at Michelangelo International Elementary School. I did not do this on my own.”

Ms. Mineiro has been an administrator at the EMSB for seven years, the last three at Michelangelo International Elementary School. Her first foray into administration came under Ms. Manos at Honoré Mercier Elementary School in St. Leonard. Her full-time teaching career began in 2002 at the former Frederick Banting Elementary School before moving to Michelangelo from 2004 to 2012.

Dr. Laurie Betito
DR. LAURIE AT MERTON: Dr. Laurie Betito will be holding a lecture on What we Should Mean by “Sexuality Education” on Tuesday, February 12 (7 pm) at Merton Elementary School in Côte Saint-Luc. Dr. Betito is a clinical psychologist who specializes in sexuality with a post graduate training in sex therapy and is Montreal’s #1 sex expert. She graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work and Psychology and continued at Université de Québec à Montréal to receive her PhD. She works in private practice and has been hosting a radio show weeknights at 10pm on CJAD 800, for the last 20 years about sex and relationships. She is also the author of “The Sex Bible for People Over 50: The Complete Guide to Sexual Love for Mature Couples.”

SINGING CHEF: Samantha Calabrese also known as local television’s “The Singing Chef,” is a 14 year old  Secondary III student at  Rosemount High School.  Samantha always dreamed of being on television and when she won the contest Cook for a Cure, everything fell into place.  On May 10, 2017, Samantha presented her dish at the Cook for a Cure event organized by Spiritual Animator, Vince Lacroce.  Alongside her godfather, the poached pear dish won dish of the night! The prize was to appear on Breakfast Television, but little did she know it would be the start to much more!  Samantha has been cooking since the age of two and continues to do so at home with her mom and family.
Samantha Calabrese

While on  the show, she was asked if she had any other passions other than cooking. Singing was one of them and she was asked to do a presentation. She proceeded  to sing    Rolling in the Deep by Adele. That’s when her singing talent was discovered and she earned the title of “The Singing Chef.”  Although she loves cooking, singing is her passion and this began because of her sister who also likes to belt out a tune. She loves music from previous generations such as Michael Jackson and The Beatles. Samantha is a natural born star, she loves being on television and for her it comes so naturally.  See our full story.   Here she is on Breakfast TV. 

ANNUAL REPORT: Article 220 of the Education Act requires each school board to report on its partnership agreement in its Annual Report. The EMSB Partnership Agreement Annual Report informs all of its stakeholders in its territory with an account of the implementation of its strategic plan and the results obtained with regard to the goals and measurable objectives set out in the partnership agreement that was entered into with the Minister of Education on July 1, 2010. The annual report informs the reader of the board’s objectives and targets set, the context as to why they were set, the results obtained, the board’s interpretation of the results, and the adjustments or corrective strategies to be implemented as a consequence of the results. The report also analyzes the degree of success of the strategies employed and their contribution to the attainment of the objectives. This allows the Board to identify strategies that are less effective and need to be modified or discontinued. Where there is insufficient progress, the board re-examines once again its educational and organizational practices and determine what new strategies should be developed to increase student success.  This is the last year for the report on the Partnership Agreement. As of next year, the board will be reporting in a very similar way on its Commitment to Success Plan. A formal presentation of this documentation was made at a public meeting on January 10.

RELOCATION AND FRANÇAIS PLUS: The EMSB will proceed with the relocation of students from Westmount Park Elementary School for two years to Marymount Academy International in NDG and the former St. John Bosco Elementary School in Ville Émard. Meanwhile, plans to create a new Français Plus primary school in NDG has been delayed in order to consider another option for the intended facility. Westmount Park Elementary School will undergo major renovations. Due to the scope of the $12.5 million project, this will require that the entire school population   be relocated for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. The more than 700 students will be split between   Marymount and St. John Bosco and both sites will have Pre-K to Grade 6 levels in order to not separate siblings.    With West End elementary schools bursting at the seams in terms of enrolment, the EMSB Long Range Planning Committee had originally proposed the opening of a brand new Français Plus primary school at 4850 Coronation Avenue in NDG. The specific over-crowding of immersion schools in this area extends to Edinburgh (127 percent capacity) in Montreal West, Merton (107 percent capacity) in Côte Saint-Luc and Willingdon (90 percent capacity) in NDG. In order to accommodate the new school, the EMSB had recommended that two alternative high schools – Focus and Outreach – have their population relocate to the James Lyng High School facility in St. Henri. The latter presently has a lease with Centennial College, which concludes on June 30, 2019. 

The Council of Commissioners has accepted a new proposal from Long Range Planning for one of  the schools experiencing overcrowding (Edinburgh, Merton or Willingdon)  to take over the Coronation Avenue facility as a Junior campus (Pre-k to Grade 2) in order to immediately alleviate overcrowding in their own school and in the other two West End schools. In addition, the school that takes over the building as their Junior campus could also offer the Français Plus Program. The first Français Plus immersion program would operate from Kindergarten to Grade 4 (instead of from Kindergarten to Grade 2) and 50 percent- English and French - in Grades 5 and 6. See the full story: http://www.emsb.qc.ca/emsb/articles/special-board-meeting-to-decide-upon-francais-plus-school-in-ndg-and-relocation-of-westmount-park-elementary-school-students. A decision will be made at a special board meeting on February 20.  See this report on Global TV.

Brian Ewenson
OUT OF THIS WORLD PODCAST:  On a recent EMSB  podcast, Barry Morgan spoke with EMSB robotics consultant Sara Iatauro and aerospace educator Brian Ewenson, who visits EMSB schools as a guest speaker.  Ms. Iatauro was the chairman of the RoboCup International Competition and Symposium held in Montreal this past June. Mr. Ewenson is a rocket scientist, astrophysicist and an elementary school teacher. He's worked with almost all of our top Canadian Astronauts.  Together, they discuss space exploration, robotics and what the near future could look like.    Here it is . We would like to thank Barry for his service. He has now accepted a position in the public health system. We will introduce our new podcaster shortly.

Mike Cohen with The James Lyng delegation.
STUDENTS CHEER ON HABS: For the Montreal Canadiens game on January 23 at the Bell Centre vs. Arizona, the EMSB was fortunate to receive some generous donations of tickets.

The Willingdon group.
Grade 6 students Dylan Allison and Madison McGravie  from Willingdon Elementary School in NDG sat in the private loge  of Paysafe   with Principal Carmen Nicolas and Interim Vice Principal Maya Doughan;  Grade 11 students Fazle Ahmad and James Yaxley Junior  from James Lyng High School in St. Henri sat in the  Club Desjardins section thanks to CTV Montreal with Principal Lino Buttino and his son Nicolas, a Grade 5 student at Honore-Mercier Elementary School in St. Léonard.  This marked the first time ever each student had seen a Habs game at the Bell Centre. Paysafe is a Montreal-based corporation which provides simple and secure payment solutions to businesses of all sizes around the world

Coach Norman Katz and his team.
BASKETBALL TEAM SETTING RECORDS: The girls basketball team at Royal Vale School is setting records, as they’re closing in on their second straight undefeated season. RVS finished their 2017-18 season 20-0 and so far, are off to a 10-0 start in their 2018-19 campaign. "What impresses me the most is how humble they are," said head coach Norman Katz."Congrats to our leaders Jaime and Melissa who lead the team on and off the court."
Julian Haber Photography for the picture.

Corey Fleisher is warmly greeted.
ERASING HATE: Corey Fleisher brought his #ErasingHate message to LaurenHill Academy Junior Campus recently, inspiring students with his incredible work to rid Montreal and the world from hate-filled graffiti and messages. Fleisher spoke to students about his journey from elementary school and how a chance drive down Monkland Ave. led him on the path to becoming a world renowned figure, spreading his message of tolerance and positivity. 

SUBSIDIES FOR JEWISH CAMPS: Jewish overnight camp gives kids the chance to explore their connection to Judaism in a meaningful way, all while having the summer of their lives! Thanks to Federation CJA’s Generations Fund Camp Initiative, your child may be eligible for up to 1000$ off Jewish overnight camp. Simply fill out the application form at www.generationsfund.ca to find out if you are eligible.  Many EMSB families in the past have taken advantage of The Generations Fund Camp Initiative. It  was created to help children in Montreal experience the transformative impact that Jewish overnight camp can provide by offering grants, multi-year subsidies, and incentives to families in our community.

Check out the One Happy Camper first-time camper incentive grants, as well as Federation CJA’s CAMPS Access Grants designed to make Jewish camping experiences accessible to more children in our community. See the complete story here. For all other questions, please contact info@generationsfund.ca, or  log on to www.generationsfund.ca.   

FOOD COLLECTION: During the month of December, Vincent Massey Collegiate students, many from the Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Animation “Be The Change” Committee, gave up their day off from school to volunteer at St. Brendan's Food Bank. 
They prepared over 240 food baskets that included both perishable and nonperishable items and over 400 personalized new presents for needy families in the community, many who have children that attend EMSB schools.   A good portion of the students also volunteer their time on a monthly basis to aid with the food banks BROWN BAG project. This is all part of VMC's S3 S.H.A.R.E. initiative.  
Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Animator Rocco Speranza noted that, “This type of activity allows our students to see where their donations go, and provides them with an opportunity to spend time with community members. It is more than just dropping off nonperishable food items in a donation box at school. Through this activity, they become more aware and more connected to the issues that community families face and deal with on a daily basis. 
Volunteering and helping made everyone feel the importance of this SEASON of LIGHT and JOY. .  

FOOD BANK GRATITUDE: St.  Brendan's Food Bank would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the EMSB schools and adult centers for their continuous partnership and support during their Holiday S.H.A.R.E. Campaign. This year marked the 20th consecutive year that the EMSB has provided much needed support.  “Your generosity allowed the food bank to provide a two week supply of food and provisions to over 230 families across the island of Montreal, including 460 adults and 434 children,” Food Bank officials wrote. “Many of the children attend EMSB schools. This support is truly a blessings during the holiday season.”

WEBSITE CHANGES: Changes on the EMSB Website have been made concerning the news, check out our new layout! Our News Archives is now called “EMSB News Headlines” which can be found on the Parents & Community drop-down menu.

Westmount High students have some fun.
WACKY OLYMPICS: Westmount High School held their very first Wacky Olympics 2.0! This event was held for the Leaders on Wheels, Mackay’s Satellite class at WHS involving students in wheelchairs. Jana Lawlor, currently a Secondary IV student at Westmount High School, is the brains behind this operation. Alongside C.J. Turner (Staff Head of Student Council), Rose Sondola (teacher) and 20 some students from Student Council and the Leadership program, the seven Mackay students had a great time! Seven rotating activities were prepared which were all going on simultaneously. Close at hand with the “Best Buddies” chapter, the helpers assisted in cheering them on and were present in case of assistance, but these activities were adapted to the various need of the students so that they could perform on their own. Mackay adults and students made the cars during art class, which would eventually be placed over the wheelchairs. They had been planning this since the end of November 2018 and had been working extremely hard since the return of Christmas break.

CHEERS TO VOLUNTEERS:   The EMSB will hold its annual Parent Volunteer Appreciation Evening on April 9 at Plaza Volare. Those individuals who have volunteered for five years or more will be among the 500 people invited. ``Cheers to 20 years of Volunteers” has been chosen as the theme.

MENTAL ILLNESS INITIATIVE: Rosemount High School will be embarking on a new mental illness initiative called ¨Small Talk, Big Result¨. The intent of program is to engage students in an open discussion about mental illness, offering new ideas, eliminate the stigma of mental Illness, and hope for those who may be struggling.  The initiative will be spearheaded by Spiritual Community Animator Vince Lacroce. The launch of the program will be on February 7,  with a candid two-part interactive presentation called “Life after Addiction: A Story of Perseverance.” Youth Intervention Worker Gerry Tullio, alongside Mr. Lacroce, will share Mr. Tullio’s story of addiction and overcoming his battle of mental illness. The follow-up session will consist of a presentation from Laurie Baum, Youth Counsellor at Chabad Lifeline, who will address the importance of defining mental illness triggers and ways to obtain support.   This month long initiative will be culminated by an informative presentation from the Partners for Life Foundation. The aim of their program is to prevent psychological distress in adolescents. Students will have an opportunity to sign up for two presentations: "Depression is reversible," which educates young people aged 14 and older about depression and their new pilot project which will promote good mental health among students in Grades 7 and 8.

ANIMAL WELFARE CONFERENCE:  The 2019 National Animal Welfare Conference is happening at the Hotel Bonaventure Montreal April 14-15, 2019. Conference registration will open in December 2018. All two-day conference registrations come with 1 ticket to the Opening Social on April 13 and 1 ticket to the Animal Welfare Leadership & Innovation Awards on April 14. All conference and training day registrations include breakfast, lunch and nutritional breaks for the day(s) you have registered. EARLY BIRD RATES, Until January 31, 2019 $330: Two-day conference registration (Humane Canada members and students).$385: Two-day conference registration (general attendee). More  info here.

ENGAGE: Students from Royal West Academy spent 10 hours at the Montreal SPCA working with animals waiting to be adopted. As part of their extra-curricular program hours, the students learned about animal welfare and carried out projects in the shelter which provided mental stimulation to cats, dogs and small mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. Youth programming at the Montreal SPCA is offered by ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to building empathy among youth. To request a Montreal SPCA youth program for your students, contact: Colleen Ovenden, 514-999-9465, colleen@engageanimal.org. As promised, attached is a text and some photos of our RWA program for the next edition of the EMSB Focus Newsletter. As well, here is a Facebook link to the album of photos.

COLLECTION: Before the holiday break, many students were busy as can be. Under the guidance of Spiritual Care & Guidance & Community Involvement Animator Rocco Speranza, several schools, Edward Murphy, East Hill, Mountainview and Vincent Massey Collegiate, collected thousands of hats, mitts, scarves, blankets, shoes, socks, soaps, and tooth brushes. As well, they made over 800 holiday cards for Montreal’s homeless as part of the, “Baby its Cold Outside” and S.H.A.R.E. The Warmth projects.   In addition, the Pre-K and Kindergarten students from Our Lady of Pompei BASE Daycare Program, with  Pia DiBacco,   Agatina Nicita, and supported by School Principal Steven Rebelo, Jenna Tafuto, and Secondary IV students Celo and Julien from VMC, were busy as bees creating pure sweetness. They worked on their community service project entitled, "Pay it Forward: Hope for the Homeless the Gift of Giving.” They created over 70 Peace Canvas Bags (filled with socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and soap). An alumni of Our Lady of Pompei School, Jenna Tafuto, has been helping out with this project for years. “Children are a bright light in the world,” noted Mrs. Pia and Mr. Speranza.  The S.H.A.R.E. (Spreading Hope, Acceptance, Respect, and Equality) campaign came to be several years ago. Students worked hard not only to collect new socks, scarves, shoes and snow boots, they also came together on the weekend of December 22 to prepare and deliver over 1200 meals to the city's homeless. They worked with other community groups such as the Knights of Columbus and Cents of Hope. As Ms. Pia noted, “Creating awareness -well tis the season for caring acts of kindness.” By sharing, we help others, we help ourselves, and we make a difference.  

SPIRIT OF GIVING: During the week of December 10, St. Dorothy Elementary collected in style for the Spirit of Giving canned food drive. Coordinated by French Language Arts Teacher Sandra Gloria, English Language Arts Teacher Katia Lyng, and Child Care Worker Marco De Crescentis, each day of the week featured a different food collection event. On Monday, they hosted a Grandparents Day where grandparents were invited to take part in games and decoration activities for the price of one food item. On Tuesday, they organized a Spirit of Giving ceremony which explained where the food was going and who it was helping. On Wednesday, students created cards for patients at Sainte-Justine Hospital. On Thursday, a hockey tournament took place and on Friday, the students designed ornaments that reflected what giving truly means. As well, each classroom took part in a food collection competition. All of these fantastic events truly paid off as over 20 boxes of food items were collected for the needy.

Arctic players, VP Lina Di Giovanni and their General Vanier opposition

Four players from the Montreal North Arctic, along with team vice-president Lina Di Giovanni and marketing director Alexia Perretta , visited General Vanier Elementary School in St. Léonard.   Cedric Lariviere, Christiano Paterno, Felix Bouchard and Benedic Jobin spoke to the students about staying in school, answered questions and played a friendly scrimmage against the Grade 6 students. General Vanier scored a surprising 7-6 victory, delighting Principal Joe Schembri and physical education teacher Francesa Acuri.

Students mob the players.
General Vanier students were given tickets to an upcoming Arctic game at the Garon Arena.

VIRTUE OF GENEROSITY: Practicing the virtue of generosity during the month of December, students at FACE Elementary School and Lauren Hill Academy (LHA), joined forces to bring some warmth and comfort to the young patients at the Montreal Children’s Hospital during the holidays. Lauren Hill students volunteered to sew pillows under the guidance of LHA Special Education Technician Glendora Sealy, while the Grade 1 and 2 English classes at FACE, under the guidance of Spiritual and Community Animator Elizabeth Pellicone, wrote individual cards expressing their empathy towards the sick children living in the hospital during the holidays. The pillows and cards were dropped off, and, consequently, the students did not receive any direct communication from the children recipients at the Children’s Hospital. As a result, Lauren Hill and FACE students were fulfilling an act of generosity by giving to others without reciprocity. The students came out of the activity feeling good, helping their community with no expectations; instead, acting simply for the sake of being kind.

LaurenHill students are welcomed to Chez Doris.
HELP A SISTER OUT:  The Small Acts/Big Impact club at Lauren Hill Academy (senior campus), ran a campaign called “Help a Sister Out!” where the club held a bake sale and asked students and staff to bring in gently used women’s clothing. The clothing was sorted and exchanged for cash at the consignment store, Empire Exchange. The money raised (108$) was donated to Chez Doris, a women’s only day center located downtown. They provide therapeutic counseling, financial planning, free clothing and toiletries, food baskets, medical services, daily meals and opportunities to socialize and rest. The money raised by the bake sale $35 was used to purchase deodorant for Chez Doris’ clients. The students of Small Acts/Big Impact were fortunate to receive a tour of Chez Doris on January 18, 2019 and learn about their many contributions to the betterment of women’s lives in Montreal. The club is facilitated by Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Animator Elizabeth Pellicone and Educator Sunita Fowsar. 

Photos from the collective project.
FACE PARTNERSHIP:   It is always nice to see the students working in partnership to create a collective project. Among others, this year  EMSB teacher Jasmine Kuldip and CSDM  teacher      Veronique Barnwell's created their very own "Monstrerie."  The idea was inspired by the books of Elise Gravel, a bilingual Montreal author. The Grade 2 and 3 classes worked together in a true bilingual environment and came up with creative projects. 

WESTMOUNT GRAD RUNNING FOR US PRESIDENT: (FROM AFP NEWS SERVICE) In the yearbook photo of the 1981 graduating class at Westmount High School, the left hand of a beaming Kamala Harris is resting on the right shoulder of Hugh Kwok. Kwok went on to run a Montreal car business with his father. Unbeknownst to him, Harris went on to be a U.S. senator. She’s now announced  a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. When Kwok was asked in December for his thoughts on his old pal’s potential run, he answered a reporter’s question with a question. “She’s running for president of what?” he asked in a tone that suggested he thought the answer might be the local Rotary Club. Informed that it was the presidency of the United States, his voice rose. “No way. Oh my goodness. I can’t believe it,” he said. Then he decided he was supportive of this idea. “We could use a good president,” he said. “She was a sweet, kind person. Very happy, very social. I’m just very excited for her, if that’s what she wants to do with her life.”

It is now possible that Westmount, the 145-year-old public school where singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and hockey legend Art Ross also studied, will produce a U.S. president before it produces a Canadian prime minister. Harris returned to her native U.S. for university, and she long ago lost touch with most or all of her Westmount acquaintances. But some of them have traded delighted texts and Facebook posts about her ascent. And they are generally not all that surprised.  They remember the California senator, now 54, as an assured, cheery teenager who thrived both in school and on the dance floor. They say she maintained an easy popularity across the subtle divides of a racially and economically diverse student body that drew from both wealthy and lower-income neighbourhoods.

Inside the Vehicube.
GRAND DÉFI PIERRE LAVOIE:  The Vehicube of the Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie touched down at Dante Elementary School in St. Leonard recently.   Since November 2008, the tour has been visiting elementary schools in the province to motivate young people to adopt a healthier lifestyle and to enter the friendly contest which takes place in May. A spectacular caravan, the Vehicube is the nerve centre of the operation and a true playground for children. Dante students will take part in the Energy Cubes contest in April.
FORMER GUIDANCE COUNSELLOR RELEASES BOOK: Mary Ann Lichacz-Karwatsky released her first book in September 2018, “My Father’s Store and other stories.” Mary Ann started working for the Montreal Catholic School Commission in 1969 and retired in 2008 as a guidance counsellor. She majored in Psychology and Sociology at McGill, holds a Master of Education in Counselling Psychology and also took English Literature courses given by Hugh MacLennan and Louis Dudek who she greatly admired for their fascinating interpretations of poetry and novels. “My Father’s Store and other stories” is a novel captivating the memoire of Mary Ann growing up in Montreal in the post-war-years. Her parents bought the building in 1946 and it was the first store serving a wide variety of customers such as English, French, Ukrainian and Polish. Not only did they sell canned goods and everyday foods, but they also sold pierogis, cold cuts such as kielbasa and Vienna sausages and fresh hot breads from a Polish baker.

Mary Ann Karwatsky with son Paul , husband Walter Karwatsky, brother, Peter Lichacz  and publisher, Domenic Cusmano. 
Mary Ann was inspired by growing up in a store filled with colorful characters who often spoke to her as a young child and later in adolescence. As she served customers and helped her parents, she was captivated by the beauty of Rosemount which was a newly unfolding area in Montreal in the 1950’s. The Blue Bird Snack Bar, just under her bedroom window as a teenager, was always filled with students from Rosemount High School dropping in for snacks, local customers and people who got off the cream-colored Beaubien trolley bus whose terminus was right in front of her father’s store. “Remembering the customers laughing as my father told them jokes, especially about the old country speaking in Polish or Ukrainian or English, was like watching a movie every day”, she stated.  Working on her novel part-time over several years, she was also inspired by creative writing teachers from the Quebec Writers Federation workshops such as Joel Yanofsky, Elaine Kalman Naves and Taras Grescoe. She currently has a repertoire of stories that she has written over time, but they have yet to be published. She plans to expand and hopefully present a new book.  

YAD VASHEM SCHOLARSHIPS: Canadian Society for Yad Vashem  (CSYV) Holocaust Scholarship Program is designed to educate Canadian educators, from Jewish and non-Jewish schools, and equip them with the right academic tools to teach about the Holocaust. More information can be found at https://yadvashem.ca/csyv-holocaust-scholarship-program/  Applications are being accepted until February 15, 2019.  Please contact me with any questions.

MCGILL WINTER FAIR: McGill University is happy to announce the second edition of the Winter Fair (www.mcgill.ca/winterfair) on Saturday February 2 from 10  am to 2  pm. Parents and students will have the opportunity to meet current students, speak with admission officers, and connect with program advisors. There will also be an admissions overview for high schoolers and faculty specific information sessions for Medicine and Law. This event is open exclusively to Quebec High School students and CEGEP students and we ask participants to register for the event on the website.


Hard at work,
STUDENTS GIVE BACK : The Galileo Adult  Education Centre’s new School of Sudz welcomed ICI Montreal’s Nick and Silvana to their workshop on   January 18, to share their process in making lip balms and scented soaps and candles. The Social Integration Students ( SIS),  together with their teachers Miss Lisa and Miss Natalia, named their new sensory project The School of Sudz. It all began  via a  soap making  class introduced last year and took off without a hitch!  The students actively engaged in the different processes from beginning to end.  They participate in everything from choosing scents, colors and molds for our soaps, and finally the end product of packaging.  The precision in weighing all the oils, pouring the batter of soap into molds, and packaging/sealing the soaps, teaches them valuable work skills.  It also promotes self-confidence when they see their end product and what they have accomplished.   ICI Montreal was present not only to film the students’ process in making these products, which are made with 100 percent natural oils. They were there to celebrate a special collaboration between Galileo Adult Centre and non-profit group Italiani di Montreal E Amici, which raises funds for the Cedars Cancer Foundation, Giant Steps School and Galileo Adult Centre. After filming SIS students preparing their products, Italiani di Montreal E Amici presented Galileo with a cheque in the amount of $4,000. These funds were raised at a recent Bowling for Autism event and will fund the SIS students visit to a therapeutic horse ranch this coming June. Galileo is grateful for this partnership and is showing their appreciation by giving back to their community. They are preparing beautiful gift baskets that include all of their products. Italiani di Monteral E Amici is selling these baskets for Valentine’s Day. All proceeds will be donated to the Cedars Cancer Foundation. If you would like to purchase a gift basket, call 514-322-1030.


LITTÉRATIE PHYSIQUE: À l’aube de la semaine des inscriptions à la maternelle et au primaire (4 au 8 février), la Commission scolaire English-Montréal (CSEM) a présenté ses programmes qui favorisent le développement de la littératie physique. Des invités de marque, des médias et un petit nombre d’élèves provenant de six écoles de la CSEM ont été conviés à l’école primaire Hampstead dans le but d’en apprendre davantage sur la littératie physique grâce à diverses activités et présentations sur ce thème. Hampstead est l’une des écoles primaires ayant joué un rôle de premier plan à ce chapitre. 

La littératie physique vise à développer les compétences, la confiance en soi et la motivation pour être actif de diverses façons et dans une multitude d’environnements. En développant leur confiance en leurs aptitudes physiques, les élèves améliorent en général leur santé physique, mentale et émotionnelle. L’éducation physique est essentielle au développement de la littératie physique. Dans les classes d’éducation physique, les élèves développent leurs habiletés motrices et les enseignants d’éducation physique structurent soigneusement leurs cours de manière à stimuler la confiance et la motivation, deux composantes clés de la littératie physique. Les bienfaits associés à la pratique régulière d’activités physiques sont déjà bien documentés : maintien de la santé à long terme, accroissement des liens sociaux, amélioration du bien-être mental et physique et meilleure qualité de vie. Or, les enfants qui ont un plus grand savoir-faire physique tirent davantage profit de ces bienfaits, ce qui est essentiel à leur réussite scolaire. 

La force de la CSEM en matière de littératie physique repose sur quatre piliers : ses solides programmes d’éducation physique et à la santé, son programme qui préconise 60 minutes d’activité physique par jour (fondé sur l’initiative du gouvernement du Québec « À l’école, on bouge! »), sa participation active aux sports interscolaires et sa programmation complémentaire d’activités extérieures et de vie active.

La CSEM s’efforce d’aider tous les élèves afin qu’ils réussissent. Pour y parvenir, il importe d’appuyer le développement de la littératie physique par l’entremise de divers programmes. Qui plus est, l’ajout d’activités physiques à l’horaire quotidien de l’école se traduit généralement par une meilleure participation et un plus grand enthousiasme de la part des élèves. 

INITIATIVE SANTÉ DU GOUVERNEMENT: La CSEM compte désormais 15 écoles primaires ayant choisi de prendre part à l’initiative santé du gouvernement du Québec intitulée « À l'école, on bouge! » L’objectif vise à dynamiser la culture scolaire en s’assurant principalement que les élèves ont la possibilité d’accumuler au moins 60 minutes d’activité physique à l’école, chaque jour. Des habiletés cognitives aux compétences sociales en passant par la santé physique, cette initiative permet aux élèves de tirer avantage d’une foule de bienfaits liés à l’activité physique tout au long de la journée de classe et incite les enseignants à utiliser le mouvement de façon stratégique afin de favoriser l’apprentissage et la gestion de classe.

Cette initiative, lancée au cours de l’année scolaire 2017-2018 par le ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur (MEES), vise plusieurs écoles de la CSEM qui en sont déjà à leur deuxième année de participation : Elizabeth Ballantyne à Montréal-Ouest, l’école Hampstead, Royal Vale à NDG, Parkdale à Saint-Laurent, St. Raphaël dans Parc-Extension, St. Dorothy à Saint-Michel, Michelangelo et East Hill à RDP, Edward Murphy dans Hochelaga-Maisonneuve et Pierre de Coubertin à Saint-Léonard. Au nombre des nouvelles écoles qui ont adhéré cette année à cette initiative, mentionnons : Leonardo da Vinci à RDP, Edinburgh à Montréal-Ouest, Sinclair Laird dans Parc-Extension, Pierre Elliott Trudeau à Rosemont et Merton à Côte Saint-Luc.
La CSEM souhaite étendre ce programme à un plus grand nombre d’écoles.

WESTMOUNT PARK: La Commission scolaire English-Montréal (CSEM) relocalisera les élèves de l’école primaire Westmount Park, pendant une période de deux ans, à l’Académie internationale Marymount à NDG et à l’ancienne école primaire St. John Bosco à Ville-Émard.  Des travaux majeurs de rénovation seront effectués à l’école primaire Westmount Park. Devant l’ampleur du projet de 12,5 millions de dollars, l’ensemble des élèves et du personnel devront être relocalisés durant les deux prochaines années scolaires, soit 2019-2020 et 2020-2021. L’effectif scolaire qui compte plus de 700 élèves sera réparti entre Marymount et St. John Bosco. Des classes de prématernelle à la 6e année seront offertes aux deux endroits afin d’éviter de séparer les enfants d’une même famille.

NOUVELLE ÉCOLE: Le projet de création d’une nouvelle école primaire Français Plus à NDG a été reporté dans le but d’examiner une autre option concernant le bâtiment visé. Devant le débordement des écoles primaires dans l’ouest de son territoire, le comité de planification à long terme de la CSEM avait initialement proposé d’ouvrir une nouvelle école primaire Français Plus au 4850, avenue Coronation à NDG. Les écoles d’immersion surpeuplées dans ce secteur sont Edinburgh (127 pour cent de sa capacité) à Montréal-Ouest, Merton (107 pour cent de sa capacité) à Côte Saint-Luc et Willingdon (90 % de sa capacité) à NDG. Dans le but d’établir cette nouvelle école, la CSEM avait alors recommandé que les effectifs de deux écoles secondaires innovatrices, soit Focus et Outreach, soient relocalisés dans le bâtiment de l’école secondaire James Lyng à Saint-Henri. Cette dernière a conclu un bail avec le Collège Centennial, lequel prendra fin le 30 juin 2019.

Le conseil des commissaires a accepté une nouvelle proposition du comité de planification à long terme selon laquelle l’une des écoles surpeuplées (Edinburgh, Merton ou Willingdon) établirait un campus junior (de la prématernelle à la 2e année) dans le bâtiment de l’avenue Coronation de manière à désengorger sur-le-champ l’école en question ainsi que les deux autres écoles aux prises avec le même problème dans ce secteur. Qui plus est, l’école qui installerait son campus junior dans ce bâtiment pourrait également offrir le programme Français Plus. Le premier programme d’immersion Français Plus serait offert de la maternelle à la 4e année (plutôt que de la maternelle à la 2e année) et le programme bilingue (50 % en anglais et 50 % en français) serait offert en 5e et 6e année.

Les trois écoles primaires actuellement surpeuplées dans le secteur ouest seront maintenant consultées dans le but de savoir si elles accepteraient ce qui suit : s’implanter sur l’avenue Coronation et ouvrir un campus junior à compter du mois d’août 2019; offrir un programme Français Plus dans leur école au cours des 18 prochains mois; et accueillir le trop-plein d’élèves provenant des deux autres écoles primaires étant donné qu’elle disposerait dorénavant d’un plus grand nombre de salles de classe réparties entre les deux bâtiments.

RAPPORT ANNUEL: En vertu de l’article 220 de la Loi sur l’instruction publique, toute commission scolaire doit rendre compte de sa Convention de partenariat dans son rapport annuel. La Convention de partenariat contenue dans le rapport annuel de la CSEM informe la population de son territoire de la réalisation de son plan stratégique et des résultats obtenus en fonction des objectifs mesurables et des cibles que comporte cette convention conclue avec le ministère de l’Éducation le 1er juillet 2010. Le rapport annuel présente au lecteur les cibles et les objectifs fixés, leur raison d’être, les résultats obtenus, l’interprétation de la Commission de même que les rectifications ou les correctifs à apporter à la lumière de ces résultats.

Le rapport contribue également à analyser le niveau de réussite des stratégies déployées et leur contribution à la réalisation des objectifs, ce qui permet à la Commission d’identifier les stratégies moins efficaces de manière à les modifier ou les supprimer. Lorsque les progrès ne sont pas à la hauteur des attentes, la Commission revoit ses pratiques éducatives et organisationnelles et détermine les nouvelles stratégies à mettre en place pour accroître le taux de réussite des élèves. La Convention de partenariat est présentée pour la dernière fois cette année. À compter de l’an prochain, la Commission utilisera un format très similaire pour dresser le bilan de son Plan d’engagement vers la réussite. Ce document a officiellement été présenté lors d’une réunion publique tenue le 10 janvier.

PANNEAUX PROMOTIONNELS: À l’approche de la semaine des inscriptions au primaire qui se tiendra du 4 au 8 février, 16 panneaux promotionnels ont fait leur apparition sur le territoire de la CSEM. Ces derniers demeureront en place jusqu’au 3 février. Vous trouverez ci-dessous l’emplacement de tous les panneaux promotionnels :

1. Boul. Laurentien (Route 117) et boul. Gouin Ouest
2. Boul. de l’Acadie et rue Chabanel
3. Boul. Saint-Michel et rue de Port Royal 
4. Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges et chemin Bedford
5. Rue Saint-Jacques et av. Old Orchard
6. Rue Saint-Jacques et av. de Melrose
7. Av. Van Horne et boul. Saint-Laurent
8. Rue Wellington et rue Butler
9. Rue Saint-Patrick et rue de Laprairie
10. Av. Souligny et rue Desautels
11. Av. Rougemont et rue Notre-Dame Est
12. Boul. Rivière-des-Prairies et rue la Martinière
13. Autoroute 15 et boul. Henri-Bourassa
14. Boul. Henri-Bourassa et autoroute 13
15. Boul. Pie IX et 47e Rue
16. Boul. Saint-Michel et av. Charland

VÉHICUBE: Le 17 janvier dernier, Le Véhicube du Grand défi Pierre Lavoie est débarqué à l‘école Dante. Le Véhicube fait la tournée des écoles primaires afin de faire vivre une expérience interactive hors du commun aux élèves. Ces derniers apprennent les rudiments d’une saine alimentation pendant l’atelier Manger mieux et pédalent en peloton dans un univers complètement éclaté pendant l’atelier Bouger plus. Les élèves et le personnel de l’école s’en sont donnés à cœur joie lors des différents ateliers présentés par une équipe du tonnerre. « Nous ferons partie du Grand défi des cubes au mois d’avril prochain »,  a déclaré Elaine Frenette, enseignante.

The next Focus newsletter will be published on February  28. The deadline for submissions is February 22.