Thursday, December 17, 2020


The official announcement of the new pilot project took place in front of Royal Vale.

PILOT PROJECT FOR REGISTRATION: The English Montreal School Board has announced that Elementary School Registration Week for the 2021-2022 academic year will take place from Monday, February 1 to Friday, February 5. If one child from a family is already enrolled in a particular school, a sibling registration period will take place a week earlier.

This year five schools will be part of a pilot project whereby parents must book a registration appointment online as of Monday, January 25 at 7 am. They are: Royal Vale in NDG, Merton in Côte Saint-Luc,   Edinburgh in Montreal West; Gardenview in St. Laurent; and East Hill in Rivière-des-Prairies. They will be able to do so by going to Over the years these schools have had long lineups, some starting days before registration occurred. Parents will be called to validate their information, told if they got a spot and given an appointment time. As per the EMSB enrollment policy, priority will be given to children residing within the school’s distinct boundary. Royal Vale is an exception since it does not have a boundary nor bus transportation.

Watch this wonderful  report from CTV

See The Gazette

Joe Ortona on CJAD with Aaron Rand

REGISTRATION PROCESS: The proper COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed for all schools when parents enter the building to submit the necessary documentation. 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. 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

KINDERGARTEN AMBASSADORS: For this year’s EMSB Elementary School Registration Week, we would like to introduce you to our three Kindergarten Ambassadors: Mia Fanzolato from Our Lady of Pompei Elementary School in Ahuntsic; Maharli Musgrave from St. Monica Elementary School in NDG and Yuna Kim from St. Gabriel Elementary School in Pointe St. Charles.  Their images will appear on promotional billboards and information flyers in January. They will also be part of a special video and a podcast in January. 

Interim Director General Russell Copeman has prepared this video holiday message for EMSB stakeholders: 

RETURN TO SCHOOL: All classes are scheduled to resume on January 11.  Some 600 devices will be made available to students in need for online learning.

ENROLMENT REPORT: As of September 30, the EMSB had 18,599 students attending elementary and high schools (including 544 in the Virtual School). In addition to that, there are 1,592  students enrolled in   homeschooling   for a grand total of 20,191 students in the youth sector. Due to COVID-19 there has been a drop of 850  temporary stay and international students.

EAST END FACEBOOK PAGE: The EMSB Communications and Marketing Division and Parent Commissioner Maria Corsi are pleased to announce  a new collaborative effort. Ms. Corsi's former 'Save Our East End Schools" Facebook page has been changed to "Focus on East End Schools." A sub-committee of  Michael Cohen and Daniel Smajovits from Communications and Marketing will work with Ms. Corsi, Chair Joe Ortona, Commissioners Pietro Mercuri  and Mario Bentrovato and Parent Commissioner Tony Speranza to grow the page as a promotional vehicle for East End schools. More initiatives will be unveiled in 2021. Please like this page  at

The team at Dunrae Gardens with Christine Long from CTV.

SPIRIT OF GIVING: For more than a decade the EMSB has partnered with CTV Montreal for the Spirit of Giving campaign, collecting non-perishable goods, toiletries and toys to fill boxes to be donated to local charities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign will be collecting monetary donations exclusively online this year. Such a procedure was already in place for the last two years as an option. For more details go to The CTV Spirit of Giving started out over 20 years ago as a food drive for local charities, and included collections from schools, as well as local businesses.  Donations are being accepted until January 3. Some schools are also physically collecting money from various internal fundraisers and plan on making donations at the end of the holiday season.  CTV’s Christine Long filed reports from 10 schools: Roslyn, Gardenview, Michelangelo, LaurenHill Academy, Wagar Adult Education Centre, Carlyle, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Leonardo Da Vinci Academy, Honoré Mercier and Dunrae Gardens.

See this CTV report from Dunrae Gardens

See this CTV report from Leonardo Da Vinci Academy

See this CTV report from Honoré Mercier

See this CTV report from Michelangelo International School

See this CTV report from Wagar Adult Education Centre

See this CTV report from Carlyle

See this CTV report from Gardenview

See this CTV report from LaurenHill Academy

See this CTV report from Roslyn

Packages from Carlyle.

CARLYLE STEPS UP: While the Spirit Of Giving campaign moved to an online format this year, the families at Carlyle were still incredibly generous nonetheless. This year, they donated non-perishable goods to the West Island Food Bank, which serves more than 400 families. Amazing job, Carlyle!

DUNRAE DONATES: During the month of December, Dunrae Gardens focused on giving back to those less fortunate. The intentions were to instill in students, virtues and values of kindness, love, generosity and charity, especially during these very difficult times. Students had the opportunity to select a charity of their choice so they donated with a purpose. Give a Toy for Joy campaign is run by the English Montreal School Board. Every child attending of pre-school age in an inner-city school in our board is given a toy. Students who selected this sent an unwrapped toy for a pre-schooler or a monetary donation to purchase a gift on your child’s behalf. As well, students sent women’s shelters with kids toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.) kids clothes, toys, and non perishable food items.

Principal Michakis and a happy student.

THAT IS HOW WE ROLL: On December 15, Dunrae Gardens held its annual pancake and pyjama day breakfast. "Unlike other years where we eat together as a family, in the gym, students received their individual portions in their respective classrooms," said Principal Despina Michakis "As well, our very first class had to go online for virtual learning just days before the anticipated event. Because we wanted to ensure that no child is left behind, staff members and family volunteers delivered to the homes of our 19 virtual learners.  Students were surprised and happy to be able to enjoy the celebrated event as a class, even if it was online!"

LDVA VIDEO: See this video from Leonardo Da Vinci Academy in RDP, as Principal Nadia Sammarco and Vice Principal Ivan Spilak make special deliveries to each classroom: 

DIVERSE MINDS:  B’nai Brith Canada is proud to launch Diverse Minds 2020/21, its educational initiative that promotes diversity and teaches valuable lessons of inclusion to both elementary and high school students.  Since 1875, B'nai Brith has led the fight for human rights and equality in Canada - and we are proud to constantly be promoting this cause in new and exciting ways.  The Diverse Minds Creative Writing competition invites high school students to reflect on the value of a society rooted in mutual respect, by writing and illustrating a story aimed at elementary school students (Kindergarten - Grade 5).  This contest is about peer-to-peer learning and recognizing that students will lead the way in creating school communities where diversity is embraced. The goal of Diverse Minds is to empower our youth to become role models for each other and understand that their impact reaches beyond their classrooms. Two students from  Royal West Academy in Montreal West were winners in the 2020 competition.

The winning book in each region will be published in a colourful hardcover format and distributed to all local elementary schools and public libraries. Cash prizes will be awarded for the first place English, first place French, second  and third place books, and the Top 10 Finalists will be celebrated at an awards ceremony next September. Info:

Zoom caroling.

BANCROFT CAROLING: Caroling has been a long-standing tradition at Bancroft Elementary School in the Plateau to get together and sing some carols in the weeks before the holidays! This year they have moved the program to Zoom.


MERTON STUDENT SUPPORTS SHRINERS: Emma Ryann Corbett, a Grade 1 student at Merton Elementary School in Côte Saint-Luc, is making her family and school proud. The seven-year-old has helped Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada launch its brand-new $50,000 fundraiser, “Because of you, I CAN!” Born with congenital scoliosis, a condition that creates a curve in the spine, Emma has always been affiliated with Canada Shriners Hospital. She has been “hospitalized a few too many times,” said her mother, Cari Friedman. Emma’s version of scoliosis also affects her lungs, which has meant she is doing virtual school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her mother describes her as “a determined girl who has no limits,” citing as an example that Emma learned to ride a bike in 10 minutes. “Her instructor couldn’t believe it! She got on the bike; the instructor let go. She fell maybe once, got up and took off. She loves it! When she puts her mind to something, she does it!”  See our story as well as in the Summer 2020 edition of Inspirations (p. 12).

Annie is a Merton student.

DIABETES AWARENESS:  Merton Elementary School in Côte Saint-Luc held a Diabetes Awareness Day recently.  Everyone wore blue (tops and bottoms) in solidarity with students and family members who have diabetes. The precise date chosen marked the anniversary of the diagnosis of a Merton student, the beginning of her ability to receive medication and support to live a normal life.  Thanks to Michaella Etienne Krief, the  mom of student Annie and founder of the Association of Parents of Children with Diabetes, here is a video.

As for donations, gift cards for families going through financial hardships when children are newly diagnosed and hospitalized may be sent to: Clinical Nurse Diabetes Educator, The Montreal Children's Hospital. Diabetes Clinic Room: A04 6323. 1001 Boul. Decarie Montreal, Quebec H4A 3J1

PURCHASE OF AIR PURIFIERS: The EMSB Council of Commissioners has approved a plan to install approximately 800 air purifiers in all buildings where mechanical ventilation systems are not in place. Interim Director General Russell Copeman has been authorized to sign a contract and take all of the necessary steps to purchase by mutual agreement, in accordance to the Act respecting contracting by public bodies, these air purifiers with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA). The EMSB Material Resource Department has completed an assessment of all 55 buildings which house schools and adult and vocational education services.  It will cost $1.75 million for the purchase, installation and maintenance of these air purifiers for the 30 buildings identified. The installation in some schools will begin over the Christmas break.   See our press releases.  

Here is a report on Global TV  

Joe Ortona was interviewed  at the  2:36 mark on CBC National Radio's The Current.

ANNUAL REPORT: Public notice is hereby given, in conformity with Section 220.1 of the Education Act that the Board’s Annual Report and Commitment-to-Success Plan will be presented on January 14, 2020 at 7 p.m. by video conference.  You must register by Noon that day with Brigida Sellato at  in order to be sent a link. The annual report was deposited at the December 16 Council meeting. 

Rocco Placentino is interviewed at Gardenview.

FORMER IMPACT PLAYER MAKES OFFER:  As a way of giving back to the EMSB, former Impact player Rocco Placentino is offering free live Zoom sessions with students, with the goal of promoting physical literacy and keeping them active, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The graduate of Gerald McShane Elementary and Lester B. Pearson High has already launched the program at Gardenview Elementary School in St. Laurent, You can see a report from CBC here.  There is no charge and interested schools can email to sign up.


ATHLETES MAKE SCHOOL PROUD:  Lester B. Pearson High School’s Sport-études program is proud to announce that two recent graduates Jasmine Guerber, Class of 2019 (University of Memphis Tigers) and Taylor Henry, Class of 2020 (University of Louisiana Monroe), have both received scholarships with their respective new schools and have signed on to continue their education and soccer in the NCAA. These two young female student-athletes epitomized the purpose of the Sport-études program, excellence both in sport and in study as their hard work and dedication have opened up new opportunities in the pursuit of their dreams.   #PearsonPride.

FEMALE  HOCKEY PROGRAM: Lester B. Pearson High School’s Sport-études program is proud to announce that the GNT Hockey program has started its search for the next generation of female hockey players (Secondary I to V) for the 2021-2022 season.  This will be an addition to the current hockey program that has been in existence since 2003. 

Sara Picone

The female hockey team will be participating in a provincial league. Currently,  Sara Picone has been the lone female to part of the hockey program the past two years. GNT is the initial of the first name of the three gentleman who are running the program this year.  Gianni Cantini, Nick Romano and Tony Bocchicchio. For more information regarding the hockey, please contact Mr. Romano by phone at 514-882-4840 or by email at For information regarding the academics and eligibility, please contact the Sport-études Coordinator, Mr. Gagné at 514-328-4442 ext. 6  or log on to

Pearson students made generous contributions.

ELVES HARD AT WORK: The elves at Lester B. Pearson High School  were hard at work before the holidays collecting $1,400 in gift cards, $2,000 in gifts, $1,500 in monetary donations and 65 boxes of food for the families in their school community in need this season. Twenty percent of the LBPHS community is living in poverty and to help them get through the holidays, Diana Cutrone, Rachela Farella, Tania Greco, Marisa Ruscitti, Valery Ruscitti, Maggie Cocco along with Vice Principal Assunta Caruso spearheaded this drive. In total, families in need will receive three large boxes of food, one large duffle bag full of brand new items and a variety of gift cards. 

GREEN CORRIDOR: For the past seven years, Lester B. Pearson High School and Gerald McShane Elementary School in Montreal North have been part of the Green Corridor project. Please see this excellent video, which sums up the activities.

IDEAS FOR THE EMPRESS:  Royal Vale High School Secondary V teacher Scott MacLeod has been working on a project with students in his Contemporary World course on creating proposals for what to do with the old Empress Theatre building on Sherbrooke Street West in front of NDG Park. Students submitted online proposals and city was very happy to receive them. They have incorporated some of the student’s ideas and images into the official presentation. Mr. Macleod and some students were even invited to present an overview of their ideas on a Zoom call open to the public. 

Operation Rosie Cheeks was a big success.

OPERATION ROSIE CHEEKS: Students at four east-end EMSB schools have been busily preparing cards and holiday decorations for “Operation Rosie Cheeks Holiday Cards for Frontline Workers,” an initiative to bring some cheer to two Montreal-area hospitals. East Hill Elementary School in Rivière des Prairies and Edward Murphy Elementary School in Hochelaga Maisonneubve, as well LINKS in Ahuntsic and John F. Kennedy High Schools in St. Michel  participated in making festive creations to hang in the elevator and in common areas on the sixth floor at the Hôpital Notre-Dame and in an area at the Jewish General Hospital. The idea started in the fall and was promoted by Spiritual and Community Animator Rocco Speranza, who named the project “Rosie Cheeks” after Hôpital Notre-Dame’s head nurse Rosie. The idea was “to brighten up the days” of doctors, nurses, hospital staff and patients.Mr. Speranza said he’s had positive feedback. An orderly with Hôpital Notre-Dame, Liliane, told him during the “heavy days” of the second wave of Covid-19, “it gives me a ray of sunshine and makes my day” when she sees the decorations on the wall. Another staff member, nurse Abdel said, “It makes me smile knowing that the kids are thinking of me.” 

Jordan Steen
JUMP ROPE GETS STARTED:   Jordan Steen has accepted an invitation to be a special guest for the Royal Vale 2021 Jump Rope for Even. Jordan will represent Canada in the sport of wrestling in next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. Besides Jordan's hard work and dedication to achieve excellence, he has a resume that is quite amazing. He is the son of parents who were both previous Olympians for Canada. His mom competed in the 1984 Olympics in the 400 meter hurdles while his dad (Dave Steen) was the Bronze Medalist in the Decathlon at the 1988 Olympics. This year’s JRFH will ensure safety by way of 21 separate bubble events that will take place the week of April 26. It will take place in the Physical Education classes. Jordan will create a short video for all the classroom teachers to show on their smart boards to promote the event. This will be a "Kick-off Event" starting the week of March 8 as the P.E. Department will prepare students with a six week skipping unit. “We are so excited to have Jordan lead us to success as one of the top fundraising schools in Canada,” says Phys Ed teacher Norman Katz.
St. Gabriel students show their work.

FOR THE VETS: Teacher Michelle Warner's Pre-Kindergarten students at St. Gabriel Elementary School in Pointe St. Charles (above) hold cards that they made for residents of Ste. Anne’s Veteran's Hospital.   

JUST FOR KIDS: The annual Just For Kids Foundation Glee Showdown has been renamed JFK Voices and it will shift online this year, raising money for  ER patients at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Go to: to get started with your crowdsourcing page and practice, practice, practice until you’re ready to record yourself and join the competition. This year’s judges are top-notch talents in their own right: Mark Bergman (The Beat 92-5), Jason Rockman (CHOM), Shannon King (Virgin Radio) and singer-songwriting duo Eric Dick & Celleste in Los Angeles. On our latest podcast, JFK events manager Cory Garfinkle, past participants,   Vincent Massey teacher and Clef Notes coach, Stephanie Rossy along with VCM student Stephania Zambardi. Log on to and Here is the podcast.

VIRTUAL INTERVIEWS: To commemorate Remembrance Day and inform students about the important work and contributions of the Canadian Armed Forces, Spiritual and Community Animator Puynung Choy invited two soldiers for live virtual interviews on November 10, 16 and 17 with a number of classes from five schools: Mackay Centre, Philip E. Layton and Westmount High (satellite class), Carlyle, and St. Raphael’s. The invited soldiers were: Black Watch Piper Sergeant Major Stevens of 32 years of service in charge of operations and training of soldiers; and Major Kenneth Rodzinyak, Air Navigator and Director Space Strategy and Plans (Royal Canadian Airforce). Mr. Stevens, who is from Montreal, joined the Canadian Forces when he was 17 years young and is currently organizing 36 courses for the soldiers. Mr. Rodzinyak, who is from Ottawa, worked for Canadian Forces Military Space organization, flew in a $40,000,000 aircraft (CP-140 Aurora Surveillance), and has a Master’s Degree in Space Operations and English Literature.What made these interviews so engaging and fun, was when the questions and answers intrigued both the soldiers and students, and solicited some giggles and smiles from both sides. While some questions were military related, others were more personal. Examples include: “What was the hardest thing you ever did and saw?” “Did you drive a tank?” “What countries did you serve and work in?” “Do you have animal helpers in the military now?” “What is your favourite food?” “Where do you sleep?” (To which the response was, “same place as where you sleep!” Although the formal indoor assemblies were missed, these live interviews still allowed students to get to know and learn from these dedicated soldiers. It was a fun and safe way enhance the students’ connection to the larger community! 

CARDS FOR VETERANS: Due to COVID-19, this holiday season is one like none other, and it is particularly difficult for  older Veterans, as many have visits restricted in order to keep them safe. A sense of isolation can take a toll on their mental health. The Grades 7 and 8 students at James Lyng High School helped brighten their days by sending homemade holiday cards (shown above) to the Ste-Anne Hospital, offering their best wishes and personal thanks for all that Veterans have done for this country. This project was initiated by Spiritual Animato Veronica D’Agata and assisted by teacher Cynthia Meloche.

CONNECTING WIH ISOLATED SENIORS: Six members of the Spiritual and Community Animation Team (Puynung Choy, Linda Luca, Elizabeth Pellicone, Mary Poullas, Samantha Smith and Danika Swanson) working in collaboration with community partners, West-End Intergenerational Network (WIN) and The East Island Network for English Language Services (REISA), coordinated to bring holiday cheer to isolated seniors across the island. Students from participating schools (John Grant, John Caboto, St. Monica, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Westmount High School, Leonardo DaVinci, Willingdon, Bancroft, Mackay, Sinclair Liard, and Carlyle) created seasonal cards that will be delivered by WIN and REISA in holiday baskets and with meal deliveries to seniors in the community. In total approximately 700 cards were made. WIN Cofounder, Tracie Swim said, “These acts of kindness mean so much to the isolated Older Adults in our communities. For some, these will be the only Holiday cards they will get. Thank you for the tremendous efforts you put into making our communities stronger and more resilient.”

Participants in the pen pal project.

PEN PAL PROGRAM: Students at Marymount Academy International in NDG have been participating in a wonderful pen pal program with senior residents from Providence Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.  The program was created in collaboration with the CJE-NDG, the school's Spiritual Community Animator Linda Luca  and School Librarian Evelyne Beaulieu. This goal of this initiative is to foster a community spirit, empower students, and engage isolated seniors. At the holidays, participating students are sending handcrafted cards, as well as sharing gifts, based on what they have learned from their correspondence with their assigned pen pal.  The program embodies the spirit of the season, while highlighting the importance and benefits of being of service to others throughout the year.


PODCAST ON SHADD PABS: A total of 160 Shadd Health and Business Centre students met the incredible challenge of completing a condensed 375 hour course in patient support this past summer to become PABs. Listen to our podcast as guest host Mark Bergman chats with Principal Joe Cacchione about what it took to put the course together. You will also hear from two graduates, Maria Dhe Paganon and Dave Morin, about their incredible experience in the program and on the field. Here is the link

SOCKS FOR THE NEEDY: Over the past two years, the Social Integration Services /SVIS at the Galileo Adult Education Centre in Montreal North has created wonderful dolls and blankets for women shelters.  Wanting to keep this tradition of giving back to the community, they partnered up with Le Centre Communautaire Multi Ethnique de Montreal Nord in order to offer them some essentials to keep warm during our cold Montreal winters.   Although coming together as a program has been a little more challenging this year, the process of receiving socks and tie-dying them has allowed our students to stay connected from afar!  Symbolically being together through  the dedication of students and staff dedication and passion of creating to give back to our community has lifted our spirits and excitement for the holidays!   Students have exercised their amazing teamwork skills and sharing roles and responsibilities in order to get all of the socks done by December.  Assembly lines were created within our studio space to ensure that there was order to our process.  This helped keep students stay on task, feel responsible for their process, and allow for them to feel at ease with doing one task at a time!  Through the process of soaking the socks, tying them with elastics, and adding multiple colors to the white socks, our students gross and fine motor skills were put into play, as well as their sensorial experiences through different means of touch.  Also, students were able to implement the life skill of how to wash clothing through learning how to use a washing machine and folding laundry.  Therefore, they were able to practice hygiene throughout the experience of creating wonderful donations to share with others!  As with all our projects, our goal is to allow our students to acquire a sense of purpose within their day to day routine; to share their creative abilities, expertise, and unlock their potential skills. Through all the generous donations, the SIS team was able to create 233 pairs of colorful socks for the community!  Teacher Erica Nicole Onofrio and facilitator Lu Termini are very proud.

STUDENTS GIVE BACK: Galileo students sprinkled the gift of giving to Le Centre Communautaire Multi Ethnique de Montreal Nord with holiday cheer by offering them 20 boxes of non-perishable food. As the holiday season quickly approaches, what better way to spread some joy and love than through bountiful donations! The entire school community at Galileo generously collected non-perishable foods during the entire month of November until the beginning of December. Furthermore, the SVIS students expressed that they wanted to be actively involved in the process of giving back. Through generous donations from their friends and families, the students were able to raise $160.  Students were then accompanied to shop at the  local grocery store; a strong Galileo partner, Maxi (Pie-IX); where they purchased the non-perishable food. The students felt empowered by this act of kindness and they also appreciated the responsibility of helping others. Through this multi-disciplinary project, students were able to practice their money skills, read food labels, and shop for items that fit within their allocated budget.


PROJET PILOTE POUR LES INSCRIPTIONS : La Commission scolaire English-Montréal a annoncé que la semaine des inscriptions au primaire pour l’année scolaire 2021-2022 aura lieu du lundi 1er février au vendredi 5 février. Si un enfant est déjà inscrit à une école en particulier, ses frères et sœurs pourront s’y inscrire une semaine plus tôt.

Cette année, cinq écoles participeront à un projet pilote dans le cadre duquel les parents devront prendre rendez-vous en ligne pour inscrire leur enfant, et ce, à compter du lundi 25 janvier à 7 h. Il s’agit des écoles suivantes : Royal Vale à NDG, Merton à Côte Saint-Luc, Edinburgh à Montréal-Ouest, Gardenview à Saint-Laurent et East Hill à Rivière-des-Prairies. Pour ce faire, ils devront visiter le Au fil des ans, ces écoles ont connu de longues files d'attente, certaines quelques jours avant même le début de la période d'inscription. Les parents recevront un appel pour valider leurs informations, les informer s'ils ont obtenu une place et leur fournir un rendez-vous. Conformément à la politique de la CSEM relative aux inscriptions, la priorité sera accordée aux enfants qui résident dans la limite territoriale distincte de l’école. Royal Vale fait toutefois exception à cette règle, car elle n’a pas de limite territoriale et n’offre pas le transport scolaire.

PROCÉDURE D’INSCRIPTION: Les protocoles de sécurité COVID-19 adéquats seront appliqués dans toutes les écoles au moment où les parents s’y présenteront pour déposer les documents requis. Les parents qui inscrivent leur enfant pour la première fois doivent fournir son certificat de naissance et son carnet de vaccination à l’école qu’il fréquentera. Les parents devront également remplir des formulaires afin de permettre à l’école en question de présenter une demande de déclaration d’admissibilité à l’enseignement en anglais. En vertu de la Charte de la langue française, une déclaration d’admissibilité est généralement accordée aux enfants qui ont reçu la majeure partie de leur enseignement primaire ou secondaire en anglais au Canada, à ceux dont la mère ou le père a reçu la majorité de son enseignement primaire en anglais au Canada ou à ceux dont le frère ou la sœur a reçu la majorité de son enseignement primaire ou secondaire en anglais au Canada. Veuillez prendre note qu’en raison de la législation linguistique, ce critère exclut les études complétées dans une école privée au Québec. Les parents sont priés d'inscrire leur enfant à l'école primaire de la CSEM la plus près de leur résidence qui offre le programme de français de leur choix. Pour plus d'informations, veuillez composer le 514 483-7200, poste 3672 (EMSB) ou visiter le site Web de la Commission à

SPIRIT OF GIVING: Depuis plus de dix ans, la CSEM fait équipe avec CTV Montréal dans le cadre de la campagne Spirit of Giving dont la mission vise à recueillir des denrées non périssables, des articles de toilette et des jouets pour remplir des boîtes qui seront remises à des organismes de bienfaisance locaux. En raison de la pandémie de COVID-19, la campagne recueillera cette année des dons en argent en ligne exclusivement. Cette option était offerte depuis deux années déjà. Pour en savoir davantage, visitez le La campagne Spirit of Giving de CTV a vu le jour il y a maintenant plus de 20 ans sous la forme d'une collecte de denrées alimentaires auprès des écoles et des entreprises locales au profit d’organismes caritatifs de la communauté. Les dons seront acceptés jusqu'au 3 janvier. Certaines écoles recueillent également des fonds par l’entremise de collectes de fonds diverses réalisées à l’interne et prévoient offrir leurs dons à la fin de la période des Fêtes. Christine Long, de CTV, a réalisé des reportages auprès de cinq écoles : Roslyn, Gardenview, Michelangelo, LaurenHill et le Centre d’éducation des adultes Wagar. 

LA DIVERSITÉ PARMI NOUS : B’nai Brith Canada est fier de lancer l’édition 2020-2021 de « La Diversité parmi nous», une initiative éducative qui fait la promotion de la diversité et enseigne de précieuses leçons d’inclusion aux élèves du primaire et du secondaire. Depuis 1875, B'nai Brith mène la lutte pour les droits de la personne et l'égalité au Canada - et éprouve une grande fierté à promouvoir sans cesse cette cause de manière nouvelle et dynamique. Le concours d’écriture créative « La Diversité parmi nous » invite les élèves du secondaire à réfléchir à la valeur d'une société ancrée dans le respect mutuel, en écrivant et en illustrant une histoire destinée aux élèves du primaire (de la maternelle à la 5e année). Ce concours porte sur l'apprentissage mutuel et sur la reconnaissance du fait que les élèves traceront la voie à suivre afin de créer des communautés scolaires où la diversité est acceptée. L'objectif de « La Diversité parmi nous » est d’outiller nos jeunes pour qu’ils deviennent des modèles les uns envers les autres et de les amener à réaliser que leur impact va au-delà de leurs salles de classe. Deux élèves de l’Académie Royal West de Montréal-Ouest ont remporté les honneurs de la compétition 2020. Le livre gagnant de chaque région sera publié dans un format relié en couleur et distribué à toutes les écoles primaires et bibliothèques publiques locales. Des prix en argent seront attribués pour la 1re place en anglais, la 1re place en français, les livres des 2e et 3e places, et les 10 finalistes seront honorés lors d'une cérémonie de remise des prix en septembre prochain. Pour information :

UNE ÉLÈVE DE MERTON EN APPUI À L’HÔPITAL SHRINERS : Emma Ryann Corbett, élève de première année à l'école primaire Merton de Côte Saint-Luc, fait la fierté de sa famille et de son école. Cette fillette de sept ans a collaboré avec l'Hôpital Shriners pour enfants du Canada au lancement de sa toute nouvelle campagne de financement de 50 000 $ intitulée « Grâce à vous, TOUT EST POSSIBLE! (Because of you, I CAN!). Atteinte d’une scoliose congénitale depuis la naissance, une condition qui crée une courbe dans la colonne vertébrale, Emma a toujours été affiliée à l'Hôpital Shriners du Canada. Elle a été « hospitalisée beaucoup trop souvent », confie sa mère, Cari Friedman. Le type de scoliose dont souffre Emma affecte également ses poumons, ce qui signifie qu'elle est inscrite à l'école virtuelle pendant la pandémie de COVID-19. Sa mère la décrit comme « une petite fille déterminée qui n'a pas de limites », citant en exemple le fait qu'Emma a appris à faire du vélo en seulement 10 minutes. « Son instructeur n'en revenait pas! Elle a enfourché le vélo puis l'instructeur l’a relâchée. Elle est tombée peut-être une fois, s'est relevée et s’est mise à pédaler. Elle adore ça! Quand elle se concentre sur quelque chose, elle réussit! »  

ACHAT DE PURIFICATEURS D’AIR : Le conseil des commissaires de la Commission scolaire English-Montréal (CSEM) a approuvé un plan visant l’installation d’environ 800 purificateurs d’air dans tous ses bâtiments non dotés d’un système de ventilation mécanique. Russell Copeman, directeur général par intérim, a été autorisé à signer un contrat et à prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour acheter d’un commun accord, conformément à la Loi sur les contrats des organismes publics, des purificateurs d’air munis de filtres à haute efficacité pour les particules de l’air (HEPA). Le Service des ressources matérielles de la CSEM a procédé à l’évaluation de l’ensemble de ses 55 bâtiments qui abritent des écoles ainsi que des centres d’éducation des adultes et de formation professionnelle. Il en coûtera 1,75 million de dollars pour l'achat, l'installation et l'entretien de ces purificateurs d'air dans les 30 bâtiments identifiés. Nous vous invitons à faire la lecture de notre communiqué. Cliquez ici pour obtenir la liste des écoles qui recevront cet équipement d’ici la fin du mois de février.

RAPPORT ANNUEL: Avis public est donné par la présente, conformément à l’article 220.1 de la Loi sur l’instruction publique, que le Rapport annuel et le Plan d’engagement vers la réussite de la commission scolaire seront présentés le 14 janvier 2021 à 19 h, par vidéoconférence. Afin de recevoir le lien, vous  devez vous inscrire au plus tard à midi le 14 janvier auprès de Brigida Sellato à Le Rapport annuel a été déposé lors de la réunion du conseil tenue le 16 décembre.

CONTRIBUTION D’UN EX-JOUEUR DE L’IMPACT: Désireux de redonner à la CSEM, Rocco Placentino, ancien joueur de l'Impact, propose des sessions Zoom gratuites en direct avec les élèves dans le but de promouvoir la littératie physique et de les encourager à rester actifs, malgré les défis que pose la pandémie de COVID-19. Cet ancien de l'école primaire Gerald McShane et de l’école secondaire Lester B. Pearson a déjà lancé ce programme à l'école primaire Gardenview de Saint-Laurent. Nous vous invitons à visionner le reportage de CBC à Les sessions sont gratuites et les écoles intéressées peuvent envoyer un courriel à pour s'inscrire.P

PROGRAMME DE HOCKEY FÉMININ : Le programme Sport-études de l'école secondaire Lester B. Pearson est fier d'annoncer que le programme de hockey GNT est présentement à la recherche de la prochaine mouture de joueuses de hockey (de la 1re à la 5e secondaire) pour la saison 2021-2022. Ce nouveau programme vient s'ajouter au programme de hockey actuel qui existe depuis 2003. L'équipe féminine de hockey sera affiliée à une ligue provinciale. Pour en savoir davantage sur le volet hockey, veuillez contacter M. Romano au 514 882 4840 ou par courriel à Pour toute information d’ordre académique ou concernant l'admissibilité, communiquez avec le coordonnateur Sport-études, M. Gagné, au 514 328 4442, poste 6, ou visitez le site

DES IDÉES POUR L’EMPRESS : Scott MacLeod, enseignant de 5e secondaire à l'école Royal Vale, s’est investi dans un projet avec les élèves de son cours Monde contemporain afin de formuler des propositions sur l’avenir de l'ancien bâtiment du théâtre Empress situé sur la rue Sherbrooke Ouest en face du parc NDG. Les élèves ont soumis des propositions en ligne et la Ville a été très heureuse de les recevoir. Cette dernière a intégré dans sa présentation officielle certaines idées et images transmises par les élèves. M. Macleod et quelques élèves ont même été invités à présenter un aperçu de leurs propositions dans le cadre d'un appel Zoom ouvert au public.

SPIRIT OF GIVING : Depuis plus de dix ans, la CSEM fait équipe avec CTV Montréal dans le cadre de la campagne Spirit of Giving dont la mission vise à recueillir des denrées non périssables, des articles de toilette et des jouets pour remplir des boîtes qui seront remises à des organismes de bienfaisance locaux. En raison de la pandémie de COVID-19, la campagne recueillera cette année des dons en argent en ligne exclusivement. Cette option était offerte depuis deux années déjà. La campagne Spirit of Giving de CTV a vu le jour il y a maintenant plus de 20 ans sous la forme d'une collecte de denrées alimentaires auprès des écoles et des entreprises locales au profit d’organismes caritatifs de la communauté. Cette année fut difficile et il importe plus que jamais de donner un coup de main. La CSEM fera la promotion de la campagne dans ses écoles et ses centres et fera appel à la générosité de tous. Les écoles qui se distingueront par leur soutien feront l’objet d’un reportage dans certains bulletins de nouvelles de CTV Montréal. Restez à l'affût pour plus d'informations.

« Les organismes que nous appuyons nous disent qu'à l'heure actuelle, contrairement à la collecte de denrées, les dons financiers contribuent davantage à la lutte contre la faim et la pauvreté dans notre communauté », de dire Jed Kahane, directeur des nouvelles à CTV Montréal. « Grâce aux achats en gros et aux tarifs réduits, nos organismes de bienfaisance peuvent optimiser leur pouvoir d'achat au-delà de ce qu’il nous est possible d’accomplir en tant qu'individus. Chaque 10 $ recueillis permet d'acheter 30 $ de nourriture! De plus, grâce à des achats réfléchis, nous visons à fournir à nos membres des aliments frais, sains, de saison, locaux et peu transformés. Par ailleurs, certains de nos partenaires éprouvent également d'autres besoins en matière de services d'urgence, de santé mentale, de logement et d'éducation ». La campagne Spirit of Giving de CTV recueillera des dons en argent et les répartira 


DES BAS POUR LES PLUS DÉMUNIS : Depuis deux ans, les Services d'intégration sociale (SIS) / Services d’intégration socioprofessionnelle (SISP) du Centre d'éducation des adultes Galileo à Montréal-Nord ont créé de merveilleuses poupées et couvertures destinées à des refuges pour femmes. Désireux de perpétuer cette tradition qui vise à redonner à la communauté, ils ont fait équipe avec le Centre communautaire multi-ethnique de Montréal-Nord afin de leur offrir quelques articles essentiels pour braver le climat rigoureux de nos hivers montréalais. S’il est vrai que la mise en œuvre du programme s’est  révélée plus complexe cette année, la réception des bas et le projet de teinture « tie-dye » ont permis à nos élèves de rester en contact à distance! Le fait d'être ensemble symboliquement grâce au dévouement et à la passion qu’entretiennent nos élèves et notre personnel pour la création et l’entraide communautaire nous a aidés à garder le moral et nous a mis dans l’esprit des Fêtes! Les élèves ont démontré leurs compétences remarquables pour le travail d'équipe et ont partagé les rôles et responsabilités afin que tous les bas soient prêts au plus tard en décembre. Des chaînes de production ont été créées dans notre studio pour que tout se déroule de façon ordonnée. Ainsi, cela a permis aux élèves de rester concentrés sur le travail à accomplir, de se responsabiliser face à leurs tâches et d’être à l'aise pour accomplir une tâche à la fois! Qu’il s’agisse de faire tremper les bas, de les nouer avec des élastiques ou encore d’appliquer plusieurs couleurs sur les bas blancs, toutes les étapes du processus ont fait appel à la motricité globale et fine de nos élèves, et leur ont permis de vivre différentes expériences sensorielles par le toucher. De plus, les élèves ont pu mettre en pratique la compétence qui consiste à faire la lessive en apprenant à utiliser une machine à laver et à plier les vêtements. Ainsi, ils ont pu pratiquer l'hygiène tout au long de ce projet de création de merveilleux dons à partager avec les autres! Comme c’est le cas pour tous nos projets, notre objectif est de permettre à nos élèves d'acquérir le sentiment d’avoir un but à atteindre dans le cadre de leur routine quotidienne, de partager leurs aptitudes créatives, leur expertise, et d’exploiter leurs compétences potentielles. Grâce à tous ces dons généreux, l'équipe des SIS a pu créer 233 paires de bas colorés pour la communauté! L'enseignante Erica Nicole Onofrio et la responsable Lu Termini sont très fières.

Le prochain numéro de Pleins feux sur Fielding sera publié le 27 janvier. La date limite pour soumettre vos articles est fixée au jeudi 21 janvier à midi, par courriel à

LA DIVERSITÉ: B’nai Brith Canada est fier de lancer l’édition 2020-2021 de « La Diversité parmi nous», notre initiative éducative qui fait la promotion de la diversité et enseigne de précieuses leçons d’inclusion aux élèves du primaire et du secondaire.Depuis 1875, B'nai Brith mène la lutte pour les droits de la personne et l'égalité au Canada - et nous sommes fiers de constamment promouvoir cette cause de manière nouvelle et passionnante.Le concours d’écriture créative « La Diversité parmi nous »invite les élèves du secondaire à réfléchir à la valeur d'une société ancrée dans le respect mutuel, en écrivant et en illustrant une histoire destinée aux élèves du primaire (de la maternelle à la 5ème année).Ce concours porte sur l'apprentissage entre les pairs et sur la reconnaissance du fait que les élèves paveront la voie à suivre afin de créer des communautés scolaires où la diversité est acceptée. L'objectif de « La Diversité parmi nous « est de donner à nos jeunes les moyens de devenir des modèles les uns pour les autres et de comprendre que leur impact va au-delà de leurs salles de classe.Nous invitons les élèves des écoles secondaires de la grande région de Montréal à participer à la troisième édition du concours annuel d'écriture créative « La Diversité parmi nous».

Le livre gagnant de chaque région sera publié dans un format relié en couleur et distribué à toutes les écoles primaires et bibliothèques publiques locales.Des prix en argent seront attribués pour la 1ère place en anglais, la 1ère place en français, les livres de 2ème et 3ème places et les 10 finalistes seront célébrés lors d'une cérémonie de remise des prix en septembre.


The next Focus will be published January27.  Deadline for submissions is  Thursday, January 21  at Noon.

Friday, November 27, 2020


NEW INTERIM DIRECTOR GENERAL:  The Council of Commissioners of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) have announced the appointment of Russell Copeman as its Interim Director General, effective immediately.

“The current Council of Commissioners has been in office for less than a month, and we have a full plate of issues to address,” explains EMSB Chairman Joe Ortona . “These include first and foremost ensuring we continue to meet the needs of our students and their families, particularly during the ongoing pandemic. At the same time, our role is to set the strategic plan for the EMSB while hiring a permanent Director General – the one person who reports directly to the Council of Commissioners.

“Russell has the leadership skills and understanding of our education system to guide the EMSB and advise the Council of Commissioners over the next few months. We are fortunate to have a public servant of his calibre on our team.”

Russell Copeman

For the past two years Mr. Copeman has served as  Executive Director of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) where he has provided dynamic and effective leadership on a wide range of issues ranging from opposition to Bill 40, the holding of commissioner elections in the middle of a pandemic and the school system’s response to COVID-19.

“I am excited about joining the school board with one of the highest student success rates in the province and on par with the private sector,” noted Mr. Copeman. “My goal is to work with my colleagues to build on this foundation. At the same time, I think I can be helpful as the EMSB continues to lead the opposition to legislation prohibiting the wearing of religious symbols by our teachers and defends the Quebec’s English community’s right to manage and control our school system.”

Prior to joining QESBA, Mr Copeman was Mayor of Cote-de-Neiges Notre-Dame-de-Grace and a member of the City of Montreal Executive Committee.  He was Associate Vice-President, External Affairs for Concordia University and served as the Member of the National Assembly for Notre-Dame-de- Grace for 14 years.

“I also wish to thank Pelagia Nickoletopoulos for her support and her commitment to doing what is best for the EMSB,” added Mr. Ortona. “She agreed to serve as Interim Director General on a temporary basis while we looked for someone to take on the assignment for a transition period. She is a principled and talented leader who will provide Russell with valuable advice and counsel.”

Mr. Copeman is on loan to the EMSB by the QESBA while the Council of Commissioners proceeds with its search for a permanent Director General, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. 

Agostino Cannavino and Joe Ortona.

COMMISSIONERS RETURN: The EMSB Council of Commissioners were officially sworn in on November 11. You can see the ceremony here

James Kromida and Joe Ortona.

COMMITTEE CHAIRS:  Commissioners vote for committee chairs and membership.   Agostino Cannavino is  Vice-Chair of the Board. More posts will be filled at a special meeting on December 2. For the complete list go to

Caleigh Saucier and her three children.

INTERVIEW WITH NEW CPC CHAIR:  Newly elected as chair of the EMSB Parents Committee, Caleigh Saucier comes into the position with an impressive history of parent involvement .For nine years, on and off, Ms. Saucier has been a parent volunteer, attending monthly meetings of the EMSB Parents Committee (PC), which she now chairs. She started out on the Parent Participation Organization (PPO) at Sinclair Laird Elementary School in Park Extension, from the time her son started Kindergarten until Grade 4. She continued the PPO work at Parkdale Elementary School in   St. Laurent, where he graduated. She helped form its Governing Board, where she was chair for one year and delegate for another, as well as assuming the position of its parent delegate for three years. Ms. Saucier’s son, 13, is currently in his second year at Marymount Academy International in NDG, where she sits on its Governing Board. She is also president of CSAssurance et Associés, where she works as a financial securities advisor and damage insurance broker. She is also mother three year old twin girls. We asked Caleigh Saucier some questions about what motivated her to take on this highest level in parental involvement in school governance and what she hopes to accomplish during her one-year mandate. Please see her full interview with Kristin McNeill here.

ANNUAL REPORT: Public notice is hereby given, in conformity with Section 220.1 of the Education Act that the Board’s Annual Report and Commitment-to-Success Plan will be presented on Thursday, January 14, 2020 at 7 p.m. by video conference.  You must register by Noon that day with Brigida Sellato at  in order to be sent a link.

SCHOOL SCHEDULE:  The EMSB has received new directives from the Ministry of Education regarding the school schedules.

December 17 and 18: At the elementary level, teachers will remain in contact with their students during the two day period via phone calls, home-based assignments, activities, and where possible, video-conferencing through a variety of platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, etc. (this can be on any personal device available to the student – computer, tablet, phone, etc.). As per the Ministry’s directives, four  schools shall remain open (Mackay-Philip A Layton, John Grant, LINKS and St. Raphael) during the two day period due to the specific needs of their students.  Regular daycare services will be cancelled on those days.  A few schools will be asked to keep their daycares open for emergency workers, first responders and medical personnel ONLY (as was done during the initial wave of the pandemic). At the High School level, students will be following their classes from home through virtual learning.

January 4 to 8: All elementary schools shall follow the established calendar and regular classes will resume with students present in class. Daycares will also be open for registered students.   At the High School level, students will be following their classes from home through virtual learning.

January 11: Regular schedule resumes for  High School students.

AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS: The 2019-2020 audited financial statements of the EMSB were deposited at the special Board meeting of November 4, showing an operating deficit that exceeded the authorized deficit by $2.5 million. This represents under one percent of total revenue.  The EMSB was able to appropriate (use) close to $7.3 million in  2019-2020 from the June 30, 2018 accumulated surplus for continued services to directly benefit students, including the continued investment in various initiatives, as well as direct allocations to schools for improvements to schools and centres.  The actual operating deficit of $9.8 million was cushioned by this amount. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant temporary disruptions to the EMSB’s operations. Steps have and will continue to be   taken in the aftermath of these events to minimize their impact. Given that the duration of the pandemic remains unknown, it is not possible to reliably estimate its impact.

SPIRIT OF GIVING: For more than a decade the EMSB has partnered with CTV Montreal for the Spirit of Giving campaign, collecting non-perishable goods, toiletries and toys to fill boxes to be donated to local charities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign will be collecting monetary donations exclusively online this year. Such a procedure was already in place for the last two years as an option.   The CTV Spirit of Giving started out over 20 years ago as a food drive for local charities, and included collections from schools, as well as local businesses.

Last year's Spirit of Giving at Dunrae Gardens.

It’s been a difficult year and lending a helping hand is more important than ever. The EMSB will be promoting the campaign through its schools and centres and encouraging donations. Schools which provide the most support will be featured on some CTV Montreal newscasts. Stay tuned for more information. “Our partner charities tell us that right now financial donations have a greater impact on fighting hunger and poverty in our community than collecting food,” says CTV Montreal News Director Jed Kahane. “Through bulk purchasing and reduced rates, our charitable organizations can stretch their buying power further than we could as individuals. Some of our partners also have other needs dealing with emergency services, mental health, shelter, and other education.”

The CTV Spirit of Giving campaign will collect monetary donations and distribute them equally to all charitable recipients. They contend that financial donations have a greater impact on fighting hunger in our community. Through bulk purchasing and reduced rates, every $10 you donate allows CTV to buy $30 worth of food!  Additionally, through conscious purchasing, we aim to provide fresh, healthy, seasonal, local, and minimally processed food for our members.

Here is the link to the campaign.

Dr.Goddard in the EMSB kitchen.

REMEMBERING DR. GODDARD: Former EMSB administrator Dr. Horace Goddard passed away recently. He served as Director of Community Services for more than 15 years. Trained in education, he taught elementary and high school in Montreal (1977-87), was Vice-Principal of LaSalle High School (1987-90), Principal of Parkdale School (1990-93), then from 1993-1995, was Coordinator of Personnel Services. Dr. Goddard was also active in the community and involved in a number of organizations including Black Community Resource Centre; Quebec Board of Black Educators (QBBE); National Council of Black Educators; Canadian Association of Commonwealth Language and Literary Studies. As a writer, his works included poetry, fiction and children’s stories. He was a patron to students in an orphanage in Kenya, supporting them through their high school years.

STATEMENT ON VENTILATION: The EMSB   wishes to provide an update on the topic of ventilation of school and centre buildings in the system. “We are waiting for an announcement from the Ministry of Education and the recommendations from Santé Publique regarding the purchase and installation of air purifiers in our school and centre buildings,” stated EMSB Chair Joe Ortona. “Until then we will continue to use our mechanical or natural ventilation systems, which continue to be the most effective procedure.  We have always had to air out our classrooms by opening windows and that will not change, even with air purifiers.

Mr. Ortona emphasized that the EMSB is acting prudently and expecting an announcement shortly. “We have already started an assessment on the needs of our network for buildings without mechanical ventilation system,” he said. “We should get the results of this analysis shortly, at which time we will inform our stakeholders of the Board’s position.”

WESTMOUNT PARK BUILDING UPDATE: The EMSB has provided an update on the extensive ongoing renovation project at Westmount Park Elementary School. “While our goal remains to return to the building in time for the start of the 2021-2022 academic year, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays beyond our control to the original construction schedule,” Principal Marco Gagliardi said in a letter to parents and staff. “As it stands today, we cannot exclude a scenario where our return to the building may be delayed.”

Westmount Park School before the renovations began.

The major renovations at Westmount Park include, but are not limited to, roof, interior finishes, accessibility (elevator), mechanical (plumbing, CVAC, sprinklers), electrical (wiring, lights, telecom, fire alarm system, etc.) and exterior (additional accessibility ramp, public utility works, drainage system and foundation waterproofing). Work began in the summer of 2019 and demolition was completed in February 2020. Our contractor and workers are sparing no effort to ensure the smooth completion of the project with the objective to make up for lost time. While measures can namely include double shifting and working on weekends, the evolving pandemic context may continue to interfere with our plans.

“In the event that a September reopening is not possible, we are committed to provide sufficient notice to all stakeholders and share mitigation measures,” stated Mr. Gagliardi. “If necessary, the present arrangement of having our school populations housed at the Marymount Academy International and Ville Émard facilities could be extended. While we are all eager to return to our newly renovated building, it is our primary responsibility to ensure that our student population and school team returns to a safe and secure environmentIndeed, we all look forward to the reopening of what will be a truly state-of-the-art facility.”  

Rocco Placentino in action.   

FORMER IMPACT PLAYER LAUNCHES SCHOOL PROGRAM: It may be nine years since Rocco Placentino last suited up for a professional soccer game. Many of the memories, however, are still fresh in his mind, as if they happened just yesterday. Mr. Placentino still thinks back fondly on his six years spent playing for Italian soccer clubs and his experience representing Canada at the Under-20, Under-23 and Senior levels. There were also, of course, his two separate stints playing for his hometown Montreal Impact, winning a USL First Division league championship in 2009, and playing a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match against Mexican club Santos Laguna in front of over 55,000 people at the Olympic Stadium on Placentino’s 27th birthday, among other highlights. He attributes much of that success to his time spent at the EMSB’s Gerald McShane Elementary School and, later, Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North.  As a way of giving back to the school board, he is offering free live Zoom sessions with EMSB students, with the goal of promoting physical literacy and keeping them active, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The in-class workouts are being offered as a pilot project at Gardenview Elementary in Saint-Laurent, with the ultimate goal of expanding the program to other EMSB classrooms.  He will be at the school (700 Brunet) on Thursday, December 3 (9:10 am) to do his first live workout with a physical education class and streamed throughout the school.  “Then we will go live on Zoom every Thursday at the same time,” said Interim Principal Gaetano Sifoni. “He will do those ones from home and stream into all the classrooms.”

For more details click on our story here.

EXCITING NEWS FOR INSPIRATIONS: The Fall 2020 /winter 2021 edition of Inspirations Newspaper is hot off the press! This edition has a new, fresh look. Start on page 3 with “In this edition,” which shares a snapshot of each section in the publication and where to find the articles you’d like to read first, be it a new resource, timely advice from one of our EMSB Student Services Department specialists, Sports, a Netflix or Apple TV+ review, or our new feature “A spotlight on some of Montreal’s awesome parents.” Read about our new sponsor, Simon Chang of the Simon Chang Foundation for Change, and our new Simon Chang Difference Maker Award, which has been awarded to Bradley Heaven and Dan O’Connor of All Access Life. Check out our photo gallery on page 7 to see all of the EMSB students that Simon Chang met with when he visited our schools prior to the pandemic. 

Simon Chang with students from L.I.N.K.S. High School last year.

Thanks to our EMSB Student Services Department specialists for sharing their knowledge and timely advice, which is especially needed during the pandemic. This edition includes articles on “Heartfulness: Practicing Loving-Kindness meditation” by Danika Swanson, “Managing quarantine exhaustion through self-care, problem solving and coping strategies” by Despina Vassiliou and Janet Perlis, “The EMSB’s new Centre of Excellence for the Physically, Intellectually and Multi-Challenged” by Claudia De Luca, Sarah Lynch and Sophia Orfanos, “Scrap the shaming, instead use sleuthing skills to understand what’s behind the behaviour” by Stephanie Paquette, “Language classes support students at the EMSB” by Elisabeth Christe, “Galileo provides tips to improve students’ mental health during the pandemic” by Lisa Trotto and Felicia Nardolillo. In addition, don’t miss Nick Katalifos’ column on the exciting launch of Polaris Enterprise at Wagar Adult Education Centre. Read a touching tribute to Jordan Smith, who was an autism spectrum disorders consultant at the EMSB, written by Tania Piperni, and Sebu Baghdassarian, who was a student at Galileo, written by Lisa Trotto and Caroline Jelovcic. 

You can read the edition here and visit us on Facebook @inspirationsnews. Email to have print copies delivered to you, or if you have a story idea to pitch for the Spring / Summer 2021 edition. 

Please see this wonderful TV report on Simon Chang and Inspirations on CityNews Montreal. 

Ms. Pia

MISS PIA:  During the pandemic, Our Lady of Pompei Elementary School daycare educator Pia Di Bacco-Falconi has been absolutely amazing at keeping her students in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten safe and entertained. Despite everything going on, she ensures that the students sing songs about positivity, and keeps them moving to catchy songs that all the students enjoy! Ms. Pia is also well-known at Our Lady of Pompei for her catchy phrase "We don't want any double bubble trouble." This phrase reminds the students that everyone should stay in their bubble, in order to avoid trouble!  The youngest students at Our Lady of Pompei are able to maintain social distancing while having fun!  The school also purchased Ms. Pia a T-Shirt with her famous slogan!  

STUDENT ASSOCIATION: The English Montreal Student Advisory Committee (EMSAC) meetings have moved online for the 2020-21 school year and we just wrapped up our second meeting! EMSAC is made up of two student representatives from each high school across the network of schools. Sector Director Nathalie Lacroix-Maillette and Interim Director General Pela Nickoletopoulos, Commissioner Joseph Lalla, Vice-Principals  Andrea Dillon (James Lyng)  and Peter. McKelvie (Vincent Massey) and Lester B. Pearson High School teacher Paul Karpontinis serve as its mentors. Every month, students in EMSAC meet in order to consider and deliberate topics that are important to youth across the EMSB and beyond. As formal student representatives to the EMSB, members voice their opinions and declare their recommendations on matters received for consultation. In addition to empowering our members as the student voice of the EMSB, participation in EMSAC fosters leadership development and networking of our students. 

Some of the participants in the last EMSAC call.

“We have already covered a lot of ground in just two short meetings,” says Mr. Karpontinis. “The year began with ice-breaking activities, a mini workshop on what EMSAC is all about and how parliamentary style meetings are conducted. Our first discussions surrounded recent developments in Bill 40, COVID-19 and its impact on education and systemic racism and its implications in our schools."

A student strikes a pose for the campaign,.

NATIONAL CHILD DAY: November 20th was National Child Day in Canada, Lester B. Pearson High School’s Student Council took its annual Vow of Silence as part of its Social Justice Crusade. Members sacrificed their voices to draw attention to the plight of those who have been oppressed, bullied or exploited around the world. Students collected pledges for their hours of silence which will be donated to our global charitable initiative and used social media and badges to draw attention to global social injustices that are dear to their hearts. #PearsonPride  

MEDIA CLIPS: CBC Radio Noon did a program about the Christmas break, with some focus on how it will impact schools.  You can listen here. Go to the  26:50 mark  to hear teacher Robert Green from Westmount High and the 43:40 mark to hear  Vincent Massey and EMSAC  Grade 10 student Liam Leduc Boyle.

MADAME VICE-PRESIDENT ELECT:  The staff, students, parents, and commissioners of the EMSB wish to express their sincerest congratulations to Westmount High School graduate Kamala Harris on becoming the Vice-President elect of the United States. ‘This is a moment of extreme pride for the EMSB and the public-education system in general,” stated EMSB Chairman Joe Ortona.

Students show their support for Kamala Harris.

Mr. Ortona and  Assistant Director General Evelyne Alfonsi joined staff and students outside of the school on November 9 to celebrate this great moment in history. Ms. Harris attended Westmount High from 1978 to 1981. On November 7 she became America's first female, first Black, and first South Asian vice president-elect. She was previously a California Senator and Attorney General.  “From the moment Kamala Harris became a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, her story was integrated into discussions of the  American electoral system in some classes at  Westmount High School,” noted Ms. Alfonsi. “In the weeks leading up to her historic swearing in ceremony, this teaching moment may very well spread to more of our schools.”

It might be a lofty dream, but Mr. Ortona hopes that during the four year mandate of the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration that any Canadian visit by the future Vice-president could include a visit to her former high school where a hero’s welcome would await.  Prior to the election results being announced, Westmount High Vice-Principal Matt Shapiro, teacher Robert Green and student Kaleesia Bailey were guests on Toronto’s Breakfast Television.

INTERGENERATIONAL PEN PAL PROJECT: Social connection is important at every age. This school year Mélissa Bergevin's Grade 7 Enriched English class at Westmount High School  is embarking upon a journey that will build connections between multiple generations.  Students will be assigned a pen pal who is an older adult from the Cummings Centre in Snowdon. Every month between November and May students will write one letter and receive another as they build a relationship through writing. At the end of the year, students and seniors will meet virtually and finally put a face to the name they've gotten to know throughout the year. 

Building connections.

The project was launched the week after Thanksgiving with a presentation on dementia led by Joanne Baskin and Michelle Moore-Torman of the Cummings Centre, with the support of the Public Health Agency of Canada. This presentation helped students develop an understanding of those experiencing memory loss and gave them insight into what questions to ask their pen pals. The project's conception comes from the four year relationship between the West-End Intergenerational Network (WIN) and the EMSB Spiritual and Community Animation Service. 

Some pages from the book.

CHORALE NEWS: On November 14, the EMSB Chorale launched its beautiful keepsake book entitled Recipes & Memories in celebration of its 40th Anniversary. It was in 1980 that Arts Consultant Georgie Crawford set up the PSBGM Children’s Chorus as a Special Project of what is now the Educational Services Department. Renowned conductor Iwan Edwards was the first artistic director. The Children’s Chorus became the PSBGM Chorale and, with the restructuring of the school boards, the EMSB Chorale. Over the years hundreds of elementary and high school students have participated, performing as ambassadors for the school board throughout Montreal and the province, across Canada and internationally. The virtual launch was well attended by current and alumni members of the choir, as well as parent volunteers, and former Junior Chorale conductor Erica Phare and former accompanist Daniella Bernstein, joining in from Victoria, BC and Sherbrooke, QC respectively. All four decades of the choir were represented. Also attending the launch were Interim Director General Evelyne Alfonsi, Educational Services Department Director Anna Sanalitro and Assistant Directors Athina Galanogeorgos and Anna Villalta. The 72-page book features choir history and memoirs, 59 colour photos, and 37 delicious recipes submitted by choir members and their families, including dishes and desserts that have been favourites at our fall camps and end-of-season potluck banquet dinners. To order a copy ($20), or for more information on the EMSB Chorale, contact conductor Pat Abbott at or at 514-483-7200, ext. 7234.

The ceremony at St. Raphael.

REMEMBRANCE DAY: EMSB schools had a wide variety of Remembrance Day ceremonies for Remembrance Day, embracing a virtual format. Here is our detailed  story.

Mark Bergman filed this podcast with Spiritual Animator Rocco Speranza and some John F. Kennedy High School students about the Pass the Poppy campaign. Mr. Bergman is part of 92.5 FM The Beat's morning show and contributes to the EMSB Communications and Marketing Division.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose federal Papineau constituency includes JFK High, sent this video message.

Bergman (top left) talks podcasting.

JFK PODCAST: Six secondary five students at John F. Kennedy High School and  Mr. Speranza are teaming up with Mr. Bergman to start their own podcast.  It will serve as a way for students and staff to stay connected, share common interests, and shed light on current issues. “Despite the pandemic this is a way to bring the school community together,” noted Mr. Speranza. “The students taking part are naturals."  The students were put on the spot as they were asked to come up with an intro and conclusion and several questions, all in under five minutes, to ask the surprise guest invited by me. Stay tuned for the podcast to find out who was interviewed.” Their slogan and motto for the podcast are R & R Radio, JFK Knightsline: One Voice, One School, One Community.  

TWENTY-ONE DAYS: Rosemount High School and Perspectives I & II Alternative High School will be partnering up with Roberto Leclerc and Fatiha Guemiri from REISA ( and Tony Alfonso from AMI Quebec ( for a two-part virtual program on mental health, coping strategies for anxiety, and stress management. This 45-minute virtual presentation called 21 Days will take place via Zoom and will be facilitated by trained professionals from AMI Quebec and Spiritual Community Animator Vince Lacroce. The presentation will cover topics such as self-care, healthy relationships, peer pressure, and include weekly motivational challenges, as well as testimonials from AMI Quebec. The program will be spearheaded by Resource teacher Jacklyn Di Genova and Mr.  Lacroce. Their goal is for students to come up with a personal or professional goal and to take action to meet that goal for 21 straight days. After three weeks, the hope is that whatever action students have been undertaking in pursuit of their goal will have become a habit. Once a positive habit is established, students will be challenged to keep it up for another 90 days, at which point, it should become a permanent lifestyle change.

SAINT MICHAEL’S MISSION:  Rosemount High, Nesbitt Elementary  and Honore Mercier Elementary will be participating in a virtual workshop called “Saint Michael’s Mission: More than a Bowl of Soup.” This 45-minute virtual presentation will be led by Chantal Laferrière, Director of Saint Michael’s Mission and Mr. Lacroce and feature a testimonial from someone who is currently homeless and benefiting from the services offered by the mission. The presentation will cover the following topics: the services and programs offered to the homeless community by Saint Michael’s; the impact of COVID-19 on the homeless community; reintegration programs; stigmas around mental illness; and the winter challenges that are up ahead. The program will be a perfect segue to upcoming annual holiday fundraising campaigns from each of the schools.

SOX IN A BOX CAMPAIGN: As we get closer to the holiday season, the Montreal homeless community will be preparing for another difficult winter. It is for this reason that Rosemount High School, Perspectives I & II Alternative  High Schools, Nesbitt Elementary  and Honore Mercier Elementary will be embarking upon their annual holiday campaign called "Sox in a Box." The campaign will be spearheaded by the administration teams of each school and Mr. Lacroce. 

The intent of the project is to encourage students and staff members to donate new socks (for all ages) to four shelters in Montreal. The following organizations will be benefiting from the school donations: Dans La Rue (benefitting teens and young adults), Chez Doris (benefitting adult females), St. Michael’s Mission, and The Benedict Labre House (benefitting adult males). Each school will create personalized holiday gift boxes containing new socks with bilingual messages of hope for the holiday season. Donations will be sanitized and kept in a clear bag. To ensure the safety of our beneficiaries, all donations will be quarantined for a period of 14 days before being picked up. Over the past six years, the Sox in a Box campaign has collected over 45,000 pairs of socks for those less fortunate in the community.

UNITED AGAINST VIOLENCE: Despite the pandemic, Edward Murphy School in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve  continues to celebrate acceptance, non-violence, kindness and caring. For over 12 years now, the school and Mr. Speranza have teamed up with local socio-community officers to take part in the program, United Against Violence. Officially the city and SPVM are not able to run the program this year.  However, thanks to Principal Rania Delis, who purchased white t-shirts for the Grade 5 students, and teachers, the program will continue.  Students will be designing their new group logo on the t-shirt to accompany the motto, “At the EMSB we express ourselves. Connect, Care, Compassion, and Community.” The Care Rangers and United Against Violence groups will join forces this year. This initiative will be led by Mr. Chris, the school Special Ed. Tech, and Mr. Speranza. In addition, Mr. Speranza will work on creating and implementing a similar program for Kindergarten to Grade 4 students.

ONLINE RISKS WEBINAR:  The Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s (C3P) new webinar: Online Risks and Emerging Trends took place on November 26, in conjunction with the EMSB’s Department of Student Services. Every available spot was filled. “We are excited to be the first Quebec school board to host this online forum with the C3P,” said Daphna Leibovici, EMSB Student Services Consultant for Violence Prevention, Bullying & School Climate. “Our students’ access to technology and social media has presented a host of privacy and safety-related concerns. Many parents rely on schools for information and for help with issues or situations that involve problematic online behaviors.”

The webinar was an extension of a longstanding relationship between the EMSB and the C3P. The national charity first presented to the EMSB in January 2015 on the issue of self/peer exploitation (sexting). The EMSB has since implemented the C3P’s Kids in the Know personal safety education program. The program is designed to build skills and help students to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations, reducing the likelihood of victimization on and offline. 

See our article.

Leo works on his project.

STEAM SUCCESS AT LHA: Rachel Rolbin and Leo Papazogolu, Secondary III students at LaurenHill Academy in St. Laurent, have been faced with new protocols and guidelines previously foreign to them prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the wearing of masks and regular sanitization of their hands, Secondary III students now only attend school every other day. They also no longer roam from class to class throughout the school day, instead remaining in a single classroom at pre-assigned desks.  Rolbin, Papazogolu and their peers have made the most of this new reality, adding personalized touches to their learning space. “I realized I had no room for my water bottle, my pencil case and my books on my desk,” said Rolbin. “I designed a mini-shelf for the corner of my desk to store my pencil case and water bottle.”

STEAM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, is an enriched-level program offering students the opportunity to apply what they are learning in the classroom to tackle real-world problems. “The program teaches students extra skills that they wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to do if they weren’t in the program,” said Magy Dimitry, a science teacher at LaurenHill. “There’s a nice cohesion between the kids, because they have been together for three years. It’s almost like a family. Everybody knows each other.”

You can see the full article here

Leigh-Anne and her parents.
CELEBRATION AT ST. MONICA: St. Monica Elementary School in NDG presented 2019-2020 Grade 6 graduate Leigh-Anne Cloutier with the PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation Scholarship for consistently excelling academically and being at the top of her class.  The pandemic closure delayed the usual distribution of the scholarship and the school wanted to invite Leigh-Anne’s family to share the pride and joy of her achievements. Principal Silvana Crigna stated: “Her dedication to her academic success as well as her leadership abilities have been a great example for other students and a positive contribution to St Monica.”

ESSENTIAL LIFE SKILLS: L.I.N.K.S High School in Ahuntsic DÉFIS A teacher Gail Bernstein and After School Program Myriam Farley are witnessing firsthand the transference and generalization of essential life skills. L.I.N.K.S is an alternative high school providing quality educational programs to students aged 13 to 21 who have been diagnosed with learning difficulties. DÉFIS A students are fully engaged in the wide range of courses offered, including functional academics, Home Life, Preparation for the Job Market, On the Job, Leisure and Personal Growth.  The long-term objective for our students is for them to be able to participate as actively and independently as possible in the community and at home. “The L.I.N.K.S team is always creating ways to enhance the lives of our students beyond the classroom,” said Ms. Bernstein. Please see the full article here

Cooking for success.

SHINE ON: Despite the challenging times, The Missing Children's Network (MCN)  joined together with school staff and administration from East Hill School, Edward Murphy School John F Kennedy  High School , L.I.N.K.S. and SCA Speranza  to take part in the pilot virtual workshops MCN workshop entitled “S-H-I-N-E ”  Self-Esteem, Healthy relationships, Independence, No means no, Empowerment ! for cycle 3 s and Secondary I and II students  The interactive workshop was structured to provide students with the necessary tools, understanding, and knowledge to aid with ways to develop healthy and equal relationships, respect one’s body, setting boundaries, and focus on building positive self-images. "The workshops are very informative, easy to understand, and allow for the students to share their opinions and ideas. It really empowers them to be confident about themselves and lets their inner light shine through" noted Mr.  Speranza. “Working together with the MCN allows us to keep our students and youth safe by teaching and empowering them how to be aware of their surroundings, and confident.”

REACHING OUT: Royal Vale School students have been reaching out to the community at heart nearing the holiday season. Grades 3 and 4 students prepared letters, stories, cards, and origami bookmarks for eighty seniors that are part of Joy Fyckes’s Reclaim Literacy network. Their work was in both English and French but most importantly in the language of care. A special thank you goes out to school librarian Annette Macintyre, who offered origami workshops in preparation for the initiative.

DANCE FOR ALEX: Every year, Royal Vale School in NDG celebrates the memory of one of their former students, Alex Porter-Rozmovits, who passed away 11 years ago due to a rare disease. He had just finished his last day of kindergarten. As a memorial they hold a “Dance for Alex” event. In previous years, large events were held in the gymnasium with all the elementary classes together, as well as parents. This year will be different. The Physical Education and Health   Department will prepare 21 separate “Dance for Alex” events. Each class will remain in their bubbles. The events will be spread over the P.E  classes during the week of November 30 to December 4. Each event will feature a few choreographed songs, as well as some freestyle elements, which Alex loved the most.  

OPTIONS FOR BREAKFAST: The team at Options Alternative High School in Ville Émard  wish to send a huge virtual thank you to the Breakfast Club of Canada as well as big shout outs to Coodinator Amanda Imbriglio  and Principal Craig Olenik for their help to make this happen.  They’re providing  students with a healthy breakfast while Marie Helene Gagnon is making sure the students start their mornings right. The school has   received a brand new fridge and two freezers. 

PROFESSIONALS IN EDUCATION: Education Professionals’ Week was marked November 16 to 20. It represented an opportunity to recognize the vital contribution of education professionals, who are an essential part of academic success. In this year’s exceptional context due to the pandemic, their presence is more meaningful and necessary than ever. Education professionals work in 35 types of employment, assisting students, providing educational support, and participating in administrative services. Whether it is a psychologist or a guidance counselor who supports students in distress, a librarian who supplies tools to teachers or an educational consultant who accompanies them towards distance learning, an engineer or an architect who seeks ways of improving school ventilation systems, they all contribute through their actions to students’ well-being and success. For more on the campaign click here.

STORIES SHAPE OUR WORLD: Last year the Educational Services Department of the EMSB  launched a new approach to storytelling that enabled teachers to evaluate talking authentically. Students explored and edited personal stories through discussion, games, peer and teacher support. They prepared and shared a personal story that they built through talking, not writing. Re-telling a previously published story was removed from the festival. To support these changes in the storytelling process Educational Services produced a comprehensive “What’s Your Story?” Resource Kit in both French and English that included videos, paperwork and a teacher’s guide. Each EMSB elementary school received several kits in English and French for their Grade 5 and 6 teachers. In light of the pandemic, this year the Storytelling Festival will go online.   Each school will host a virtual in-school event in the spring to choose their two best-told tales (one in English and one in French). The winning students will then be invited to tell their stories at a live regional virtual event. Each of the four events will be recorded for podcasts that will be posted on the EMSB website. Info:   Julie Tytler at   

DKG EVENT: DKG is an International Society was founded in 1929 in Austin Texas. It brings together key women educators, whose aim is to unite women educators with the goal to advance their professional interest and position. DKG Quebec joined the DKG International Society in 1956. DKG Quebec established and continues to support two scholarships at McGill: the DKG Dr. Mildred Burns Award for Leadership in Education, and the DKG Sarah Paltiel Award for Excellence in Education.  They also offer the DKG World Fellowship Grant which provides opportunity for women at McGill from any country except the United States of America and Canada. As well, they have  established the Evelyn Eaton Award, to honour their first president. DKG Quebec is a federate member of the Montreal Council of Women (MCW). Several of our members have been and are very active in MCW:  Dr. Mildred L. Burns, Georgie Crawford, Frema Engel,  and Beverly Townsend have all been successful in winning the Woman of the Year Award. DKG Quebec will hold its next Professional Development Community Virtual Event on Tuesday, December 1 (7:45 p.m). This special event - Hey Educators! Let’s Have a Laugh with Comedian Joey Elias will surely be a morale booster for Educators in these very challenging times of COVID-19.   To register: Send an email to: saying I WANT TO REGISTER FOR THE DEC 1 event.  


WAGAR PROJECT: During his many years as a principal, vice-principal and teacher in the education system, Nicholas Katalifos has heard his fair share of misconceptions surrounding those on the autism spectrum. “A lot of people automatically assume that a person on the spectrum can’t work,” said Mr.  Katalifos, Principal at the EMSB’s Wagar Adult Education Centre and chair of Giant Steps School and Resource Centre. “That is just completely wrong.”

A replica grocery store section set up at Wagar.

To the contrary, Mr. Katalifos says those with autism offer added benefits to their employers. “Most companies find they are exceptional employees,” said Mr. Katalifos, who is also the father of an 18-year old son on the spectrum. “They do their jobs well and they are happy doing their jobs. They might need different kinds of support, but they’re excellent employees. They are very reliable, very loyal and they’re happy to work, which helps the atmosphere at any company or organization.”

Mr. Katalifos is hoping a new pilot project at Wagar, resulting from a partnership with  Giant Steps, the Transforming Autism Care Consortium (TACC), Weston, and the federal government, will bring these traits to the forefront. The program recently had its official launch and you can see it here. Nine Wagar students, ranging in age from 21 to 62, are enrolled in an intensive nine-month bilingual work training program. Students meet daily with a Wagar teacher and two job coaches as they integrate and prepare them for future employment opportunities within the retail and supermarket distribution centre setting.

GALILEO STUDENTS HEAR FROM INTERESTING SPEAKER: On Wednesday, November 18  the Galileo Adult Education Centre's Social Integration Students (SIS) were visited by Michael Gioia, a young adult who was a victim of bullying in his youth and who knows firsthand how to overcome obstacles related to disability. Michael  was diagnosed with Autism when he was 15 and this diagnosis came with a lot of unanswered questions. Michael did not accept his disability at first and it took time for him to understand what it fully means to be on the autism spectrum. He explained how life is an ongoing journey of self-discovery and how important it is to take the time to find true self-acceptance.

Michael Gioia chats with a class.
As Michael grew up, he realized that he did not want to be defined by his disability, instead he learned how to make it work to his advantage. In fact, today, he considers his autism a gift to be treasured. Our special needs learners had the opportunity to prepare questions for him and his answers provided them with hope and reassurance for the future. He encouraged our students not to hide their true selves and to be proud of who they are. He also advocated that we should celebrate our differences. He is a true inspiration to special needs students, and they were able to relate to him a great deal. SIS students are lucky to have spent an afternoon with Michael and he said he would be happy to return to the school.  

EXTRA SPECIAL HOLIDAY BASKETS/ DONATIONS: The Galileo  SIS/ Sociovocational Integration Services (SVIS) students created a variety of festive baskets for the holidays with the generous help of Friends 4 Cause. During the beginning of the month, the students alongside this non-profit organization were hard at work assembling these beautiful gift ideaa. To date they have created 50 baskets! Furthermore, students were able to apply their work skill abilities in creating these baskets: organization, sorting, application process, repetition, analyzing dimensions, and recall skills.   Galileo also received a generous donation of $5,000 from fundraisers that took place during the last school year. These fundraiser activities included: bowling, holiday baskets, along with personal donations. All the money raised will be donated to the SIS/SVIS program in order to purchase items that can be further used to stimulate our students’ educational needs in the classroom. One example of their donation is our phenomenal Sensory Room which has allowed all Galileo students to benefit from the therapeutic effects and a safe  space which assists them in developing coping skills from external stimuli. 


COMMISSAIRES: Les membres du conseil des commissaires de la CSEM ont été officiellement assermentés le 11 novembre.

ÉLECTIONS DANS LA CIRCONSCRIPTION 3 : La CSEM tiendra des élections pour le poste de commissaire dans la circonscription 3 (Westmount, Sud-Ouest, Ville-Marie Ouest). Le président et les neuf autres commissaires ont déjà été élus par acclamation. Le vote par anticipation aura lieu le 12 décembre, et l'élection le 19 décembre. Le commissaire sortant Julien Feldman de l’équipe Ortona et le candidat indépendant Irwin Rapoport s’affrontent dans cette circonscription. Le vote par correspondance est réservé aux personnes vivant en CHSLD et dans les résidences privées pour aînés qui sont inscrites auprès du ministère de la Santé du Québec. Vous pouvez également voter par correspondance si vous êtes en quarantaine, si vous présentez des symptômes de COVID-19 ou si vous êtes en attente d’un résultat au test de dépistage.

En vertu de la loi 40, les élections scolaires ont été abolies dans les anciennes commissions scolaires francophones. Cependant, elles ont toujours lieu dans les commissions scolaires anglophones, les tribunaux ayant décrété que la loi 40 ne peut être appliquée au système anglophone tant qu'un jugement final n’aura pas été rendu sur le fond de la contestation judiciaire. Vous devez être inscrit sur la liste électorale de la commission scolaire de votre circonscription. Si vous avez déjà voté lors d'élections scolaires antérieures, votre nom figurera sur la liste électorale. Pour vérifier si votre nom y est inscrit, visitez le site Web de votre commission scolaire. Les parents dont l’enfant fréquente une école publique anglaise sont automatiquement inscrits sur la liste électorale. Si votre enfant fréquente une école publique au secteur francophone, vous ne pouvez pas voter lors de l’élection d’une commission scolaire anglophone. Une fois que votre enfant aura terminé ses études dans une école publique au secteur francophone, vous pourrez voter à l’élection d’une commission scolaire anglophone. Depuis 2007, les jeunes électeurs diplômés d’une école secondaire anglaise sont inscrits sur la liste électorale de la commission scolaire francophone de leur circonscription. Ces électeurs peuvent présenter une demande afin de voter à l'élection du 20 décembre.

PRÉSIDENCE DES COMITÉS: Les commissaires ont procédé à l’élection des membres et des présidents des divers comités. James Kromida est président du comité exécutif et Agostino Cannavino, vice-président du conseil. Pour la liste complète, consultez le

ÉTATS FINANCIERS VÉRIFIÉS: Les états financiers vérifiés 2019-2020 de la Commission scolaire English-Montréal ont été déposés lors de sa réunion extraordinaire du 4 novembre, affichant un déficit d'exploitation supérieur au déficit autorisé de 2,5 millions de dollars. Cela représente moins d'un pour cent des recettes totales. La CSEM a été en mesure d'affecter (d'utiliser) près de 7,3 millions de dollars en 2019-2020 à même le surplus accumulé au 30 juin 2018, et ce, afin de maintenir les services qui profitent directement aux élèves, notamment les investissements continus dans diverses initiatives ainsi que des allocations directes dédiées à l'amélioration des écoles et des centres. Ce montant a permis d'amortir le déficit de fonctionnement réel de 9,8 millions de dollars. La pandémie de COVID-19 a entraîné d'importantes perturbations temporaires des activités à la CSEM. Des mesures ont été et continueront d'être prises à la suite de ces événements pour en minimiser les répercussions. La fin de la pandémie n’étant pas connue, il nous est impossible d’en déterminer l’incidence de façon précise.

SPIRIT OF GIVING: Depuis plus de dix ans, la CSEM fait équipe avec CTV Montréal dans le cadre de la campagne Spirit of Giving dont la mission vise à recueillir des denrées non périssables, des articles de toilette et des jouets pour remplir des boîtes qui seront remises à des organismes de bienfaisance locaux. En raison de la pandémie de COVID-19, la campagne recueillera cette année des dons en argent en ligne exclusivement. Cette option était offerte depuis deux années déjà. La campagne Spirit of Giving de CTV a vu le jour il y a maintenant plus de 20 ans sous la forme d'une collecte de denrées alimentaires auprès des écoles et des entreprises locales au profit d’organismes caritatifs de la communauté.

Cette année fut difficile et il importe plus que jamais de donner un coup de main. La CSEM fera la promotion de la campagne dans ses écoles et ses centres et fera appel à la générosité de tous. Les écoles qui se distingueront par leur soutien feront l’objet d’un reportage dans certains bulletins de nouvelles de CTV Montréal. Restez à l'affût pour plus d'informations.

« Les organismes que nous appuyons nous disent qu'à l'heure actuelle, contrairement à la collecte de denrées, les dons financiers contribuent davantage à la lutte contre la faim et la pauvreté dans notre communauté », de dire Jed Kahane, directeur des nouvelles à CTV Montréal. « Grâce aux achats en gros et aux tarifs réduits, nos organismes de bienfaisance peuvent optimiser leur pouvoir d'achat au-delà de ce qu’il nous est possible d’accomplir en tant qu'individus. Chaque 10 $ recueilli permet d'acheter 30 $ de nourriture!  De plus, grâce à des achats réfléchis, nous visons à fournir à nos membres des aliments frais, sains, de saison, locaux et peu transformés. Par ailleurs, certains de nos partenaires éprouvent également d'autres besoins en matière de services d'urgence, de santé mentale, de logement et d'éducation ». La campagne Spirit of Giving de CTV recueillera des dons en argent et les répartira également entre tous les organismes. »

VENTILATION: La Commission scolaire English-Montréal souhaite faire le point sur la ventilation dans ses établissements scolaires. « Nous sommes dans l’attente d’une annonce du ministère de l’Éducation et des recommandations de la Santé publique concernant l’achat et l’installation de purificateurs d’air dans nos écoles et nos centres », a précisé Joe Ortona, président de la CSEM. « D’ici là, nous continuerons à utiliser nos systèmes de ventilation mécanique ou naturelle, qui demeurent l'option la plus efficace. Nous avons toujours aéré les salles de classe en ouvrant les fenêtres et cela ne changera pas, même avec des purificateurs d’air. » 

M. Ortona a souligné que la CSEM agit avec prudence et s’attend à une annonce imminente. « Nous avons déjà entrepris une évaluation des besoins de notre réseau pour ce qui est des bâtiments sans système de ventilation mécanique », a-t-il ajouté. Les résultats de cette analyse devraient nous parvenir sous peu. Nous informerons alors nos parties prenantes de la position de la commission scolaire. »

MISE À JOUR SUR LA RÉFECTION DE L’ÉCOLE WESTMOUNT PARK: La Commission scolaire English-Montréal a fait le point sur le vaste projet de rénovation en cours à l’école primaire Westmount Park. « Bien que nous ayons pour objectif de nous réapproprier notre école à temps pour la rentrée scolaire 2021-2022, force est d’admettre que la pandémie de COVID-19 a entraîné des retards indépendants de notre volonté par rapport à l’échéancier initial des travaux », a déclaré le directeur Marco Gagliardi dans une lettre adressée aux parents et aux membres du personnel. « Dans l'état actuel des choses, nous ne pouvons pas exclure le scénario d’un retour à une date ultérieure à celle prévue au départ. »

Au nombre des travaux majeurs effectués à l’école Westmount Park, mentionnons la réfection de la toiture, la finition intérieure, l'accessibilité (ascenseur), des travaux d’ordre mécanique (plomberie, CVC, gicleurs) et électrique (câblage, éclairage, télécommunications, système d'alarme-incendie, etc.) ainsi qu’à l'extérieur (rampe d'accès supplémentaire, travaux d'utilité publique, système de drainage et imperméabilisation des fondations). Les travaux ont débuté à l'été 2019 et la démolition a pris fin en février 2020. Notre entrepreneur et ses ouvriers ne ménagent aucun effort pour achever ce projet et rattraper le temps perdu. Or, malgré les heures de travail prolongées en semaine et durant les fins de semaine, l’évolution de la pandémie pourrait continuer d’entraver la réalisation du projet.

« Dans l’éventualité où une réouverture en septembre ne serait pas possible, nous nous engageons à en informer suffisamment à l'avance toutes les personnes concernées et à leur communiquer les mesures d'atténuation », a renchéri M. Gagliardi. « Si nécessaire, la relocalisation actuelle de notre effectif scolaire à l’Académie internationale Marymount et dans les installations de Ville-Émard pourrait être maintenue. S’il est vrai que nous sommes tous impatients de réintégrer notre école nouvellement rénovée, il nous faut d’abord et avant tout nous assurer que nos élèves et notre équipe-école puissent évoluer dans un environnement sain et sécuritaire. »

L'administration de la CSEM fournira des mises à jour fréquentes sur l’évolution de la situation. 
« Il est clair que nous attendons tous avec impatience la réouverture de ce qui sera sans contredit une école à la fine pointe de la technologie », de dire M. Gagliardi.

ASSOCIATION DES ÉLÈVES: Les réunions du comité consultatif d’élèves de la Commission scolaire English-Montréal (English Montreal Student Advisory Committee – EMSAC) ont lieu désormais en ligne pour l’année scolaire 2020-2021. La deuxième réunion s’est tenue tout récemment. L'EMSAC est composé de deux représentants parmi les élèves de chacune des écoles secondaires du réseau. La directrice de secteur Nathalie Lacroix-Maillette, la directrice générale par intérim Pela Nickoletopoulos, le commissaire Joseph Lalla, les directeurs adjoints Andrea Dillon (James Lyng) et Peter McKelvie (Vincent Massey) de même que l’enseignant Paul  Karpontinis à l’école Lester B. Pearson, en sont les mentors. Chaque mois, les élèves de l'EMSAC se réunissent afin de réfléchir et de délibérer sur des thèmes importants pour les jeunes de la CSEM et d'ailleurs. En tant que représentants officiels des élèves à la CSEM, les membres expriment leurs opinions et formulent des recommandations sur les questions qui leur sont soumises pour consultation. En plus de donner à nos membres les moyens de se faire entendre en tant que représentants des élèves de la CSEM, la participation à l'EMSAC favorise le développement de leurs compétences en leadership et le réseautage.

« Nous avons déjà parcouru beaucoup de terrain en seulement deux brèves réunions », de dire M. Karpontinis. « Nous avons entamé l’année avec des activités pour briser la glace, un mini-atelier sur l'EMSAC et sur la manière dont les réunions de style parlementaire se déroulent. Nos premières discussions ont porté sur les récents développements entourant le projet de loi 40, la COVID-19 et ses répercussions sur l'éducation, de même que sur le racisme systémique et ses implications dans nos écoles. Nous sommes ravis de travailler ensemble au cours de cette nouvelle année scolaire et nous attendons avec impatience nos réunions mensuelles. »

ÉLECTION AMÉRICAINE: Les membres du personnel, les élèves, les parents et les commissaires de la Commission scolaire English-Montréal (CSEM) souhaitent adresser leurs plus sincères félicitations à Kamala Harris, ancienne élève de l'école secondaire Westmount, élue vice-présidente des États-Unis. « Il s’agit d’un moment de très grande fierté pour la CSEM et le système d’éducation public en général », a déclaré le président de la CSEM Joe Ortona. Monsieur Ortona et Evelyne Alfonsi, directrice générale par intérim, se sont joints au personnel et aux élèves à l’extérieur de l’école le 9 novembre afin de célébrer ce grand moment historique.

Madame Harris a fréquenté l’école secondaire Westmount de 1978 à 1981. Le 7 novembre, elle est devenue la première femme, la première femme noire et la première femme d’origine sud-asiatique à accéder à la vice-présidence des États-Unis. Elle était auparavant sénatrice et procureure générale de la Californie. « Dès le moment où Kamala Harris est devenue candidate à l'investiture démocrate pour la présidence des États-Unis, son parcours a fait partie des discussions sur le système électoral américain dans certaines classes de l’école secondaire Westmount », a souligné Evelyne Alfonsi, directrice générale par intérim de la CSEM. « Au cours des semaines qui mèneront à son assermentation historique, cette page d’histoire pourrait très bien être enseignée dans d'autres écoles de la commission scolaire. »

Même s’il s’agit d’un rêve ambitieux, M. Ortona souhaite qu’au cours du mandat de quatre ans de l'Administration Biden-Harris, la future vice-présidente puisse s’arrêter dans son ancienne école secondaire lors de l’une de ses visites en sol canadien, où elle serait alors accueillie en véritable héroïne.

DES NOUVELLES DE LA CHORALE: Le 14 novembre, la chorale de la CSEM a lancé son superbe livre souvenir intitulé Recipes & Memories (Recettes et souvenirs) à l’occasion de  son 40e anniversaire. C'est en 1980 que la conseillère en arts Georgie Crawford a fondé la chorale des enfants de la CEPGM dans le cadre d’un projet spécial des Services éducatifs. Le chef d'orchestre renommé, Iwan Edwards, en a été le premier directeur artistique. La chorale des enfants est devenue la chorale de la CEPGM puis, à la suite de la restructuration des commissions scolaires, la chorale de la CSEM. Au fil des ans, des centaines d'élèves du primaire et du secondaire se sont produits en tant qu'ambassadeurs de la commission scolaire à la grandeur de Montréal et de la province, au Canada et à l'étranger. Ils ont été nombreux à assister au lancement virtuel, notamment les membres actuels et des anciens de la chorale, des parents bénévoles, de même que l'ancienne chef d’orchestre de la chorale junior Erica Phare et l'ancienne accompagnatrice Daniella Bernstein, venues respectivement de Victoria, en Colombie-Britannique, et de Sherbrooke, au Québec. Les quatre décennies de la chorale étaient représentées. Evelyne Alfonsi, directrice générale par intérim; Anna Sanalitro, directrice des Services éducatifs; Athina Galanogeorgos et Anna Villalta, directrices adjointes, ont également assisté au lancement. Le livre de 72 pages renferme l'histoire et des souvenirs de la chorale, 59 photos en couleur et 37 délicieuses recettes soumises par les membres de la chorale et leurs familles, y compris les plats et desserts préférés lors de nos camps d'automne et des repas-partage à la fin de la saison. Pour commander un exemplaire (20 $), ou pour plus d'informations sur la chorale de la CSEM, contactez la chef d'orchestre Pat Abbott à ou au 514 483 7200, poste 7234.

WEBINAIRE SUR LES RISQUES EN LIGNE: Le nouveau webinaire du Centre canadien de protection de l’enfance (C3P) intitulé Online Risks and Emerging Trends a eu lieu le 26 novembre, en collaboration avec les Services aux élèves de la CSEM. « Nous sommes ravis d'être la première commission scolaire au Québec à accueillir ce forum en ligne avec le C3P », a déclaré Daphna Leibovici, conseillère en prévention de la violence, intimidation et climat scolaire au sein des Services aux élèves de la CSEM. « L'accès à la technologie et aux médias sociaux a suscité une foule de préoccupations liées à la vie privée et à la sécurité des élèves. De nombreux parents comptent sur les écoles pour obtenir de l’information et de l'aide en lien avec les comportements problématiques en ligne ».

Le webinaire s'est voulu le prolongement d'une relation de longue date entre la CSEM et le C3P. L'organisme de bienfaisance national a fait une première présentation à la CSEM en janvier 2015 sur la question de l'exploitation des pairs et de l'auto-exploitation (sextage). Depuis, la CSEM a mis en œuvre le programme d'éducation à la sécurité personnelle « Kids in the Know » du C3P. Ce programme est conçu pour développer les compétences et aider les élèves à reconnaître et à éviter les situations potentiellement dangereuses, réduisant ainsi leur vulnérabilité en ligne et hors ligne.

DANSE EN L’HONNEUR D’ALEX: Chaque année, l’école Royal Vale de NDG honore la mémoire d’Alex Porter-Rozmovits, décédé des suites d’une rare maladie il y a maintenant 11 ans. Il venait de terminer sa dernière journée de maternelle. Pour commémorer sa mémoire, l’activité Dance for Alex a lieu tous les ans. Par le passé, les grands événements se tenaient dans le gymnase où se réunissaient toutes les classes du primaire ainsi que les parents. Cette année fera toutefois exception. En effet, les enseignants d’éducation physique et à la santé prépareront 21 séances distinctes de Dance for Alex. Ainsi, chaque classe demeurera dans sa bulle. Les séances auront lieu dans le cadre des cours d’éducation physique au cours de la semaine du 30 novembre au 4 décembre. Il y aura quelques chansons chorégraphiées ainsi que des segments libres où chacun pourra improviser, chose qui plaisait le plus à Alex.  

PROFESSIONNELS DE L’ÉDUCATION: La Semaine des professionnelles et des professionnels de l’éducation a eu lieu du 16 au 20 novembre afin de souligner l’apport essentiel du personnel professionnel, dont la contribution à la réussite scolaire est vitale. En cette année exceptionnelle de pandémie, leur prestation est plus importante, nécessaire et utile que jamais. Les professionnelles et professionnels œuvrent dans 35 corps d’emploi en service d’aide aux élèves, en appui pédagogique ou encore en organisation scolaire. Que ce soit un psychologue ou une conseillère d’orientation qui soutient un élève en détresse, une bibliothécaire qui outille un enseignant ou une conseillère pédagogique qui l’accompagne à pourvoir l’enseignement à distance, un ingénieur ou un architecte qui cherche des façons d’améliorer la ventilation d’une école, tous par leurs actions contribuent au bien-être et à la réussite des élèves.

DES HISTOIRES QUI FAÇONNENT NOTRE UNIVERS: L'année dernière, les Services éducatifs de la CSEM ont lancé une nouvelle approche en matière de narration qui permet aux enseignants d'évaluer la compétence orale de manière authentique. Les élèves ont exploré et modifié des histoires personnelles par l’entremise de discussions, de jeux, du soutien par les pairs et les enseignants. Ils ont préparé et partagé une histoire personnelle, oralement et non par écrit. Le volet qui consistait à adapter un conte existant a été retiré du festival. À l’appui des changements apportés au processus de narration, les Services éducatifs ont produit la trousse « What’s your Story?/Raconte-moi ton histoire! » disponible en anglais et en français. Celle-ci renferme des vidéos, des outils et un guide à l’intention des enseignants. Chaque école primaire de la CSEM a reçu plusieurs trousses en anglais et en français destinées aux enseignants de 5e  et 6e année. En raison de la pandémie, le Festival L’Art de conter se déroulera en ligne cette année. Au printemps, un événement virtuel sera organisé dans chacune des écoles afin de choisir leurs deux histoires les mieux racontées (un en anglais et un en français). Les élèves sélectionnés seront ensuite invités à raconter leur histoire lors d'un événement virtuel régional en direct. Chacun des quatre événements sera enregistré sous forme de balados publiés sur le site Web de la CSEM. Pour informations, veuillez communiquer avec Julie Tytler à   
Consultez le site Web sous l’onglet « Storytelling ».

DKG: Fondé en 1929 à Austin au Texas, DKG est un organisme international qui regroupe des éducatrices dans le but de faire progresser leur intérêt professionnel et leur position. DKG Québec s’est joint à la Société internationale DKG en 1956. DKG Québec a créé et continue d’appuyer deux bourses d'études décernées à des étudiantes de l’Université McGill : la Bourse DKG Dr.  Mildred Burns pour le leadership en éducation et la Bourse DKG Sarah Paltiel pour l'excellence en éducation. Mentionnons également la Bourse DKG World Fellowship qui offre des opportunités aux femmes de McGill qui proviennent d’un pays autre que les États-Unis et le Canada. De plus, la Bourse Evelyn Eaton a été instituée en l'honneur de leur première présidente. DKG Québec est membre fédéré du Conseil des femmes de Montréal (CFM). Plusieurs de nos membres ont été et sont encore très actives au sein du CFM : Dre Mildred L. Burns, Georgie Crawford, Frema Engel et Beverly Townsend ont toutes déjà remporté le prix de la femme de l'année. DKG Québec tiendra son prochain événement virtuel sur le perfectionnement professionnel le mardi 1er décembre à 19 h 45. Cet événement spécial intitulé « Hey Educators! Let’s Have a Laugh! » avec la participation du comédien Joey Elias saura assurément remonter le moral des éducateurs en ces temps très difficiles marqués par la COVID-19. Pour vous inscrire, il suffit d’adresser un courriel à et de mentionner que vous souhaitez vous inscrire à l’événement du 1er décembre.  


PROJET WAGAR: Au cours de sa carrière à titre de directeur, directeur adjoint et enseignant dans le réseau de l’éducation, Nicholas Katalifos a entendu toutes sortes d'idées fausses sur les personnes atteintes d'autisme. « Beaucoup croient automatiquement qu'une personne autiste ne peut pas travailler », fait remarquer M. Katalifos, directeur du Centre d'éducation des adultes Wagar de la CSEM et président du conseil de l'école À pas de géant et du Centre de ressources. « Or, c'est tout simplement faux. »

Au contraire, M. Katalifos affirme que les autistes offrent des avantages supplémentaires à leur employeur. « La plupart des entreprises s’entendent pour dire que ce sont des employés exceptionnels », poursuit M. Katalifos, lui-même père d'un fils autiste âgé de 18 ans. « Ils font bien leur travail et ils sont heureux de le faire. Leurs besoins en termes de soutien sont peut-être différents, mais ce sont d'excellents employés. Ils sont très fiables, loyaux et heureux de travailler, ce qui est favorable au climat de travail au sein de toute entreprise ou organisation. »

M. Katalifos ose espérer que le nouveau projet pilote à Wagar, découlant d'un partenariat avec l’école À pas de géant, le Réseau pour transformer les soins en autisme (RTSA) et le gouvernement fédéral, contribuera à mettre ces traits en avant-plan. Le programme a récemment été lancé officiellement et vous pouvez le voir ici. Neuf élèves du Centre Wagar, âgés de 21 à 62 ans, sont inscrits à un programme intensif de formation professionnelle bilingue de neuf mois. Les élèves rencontrent quotidiennement un enseignant de Wagar ainsi que deux conseillers en emploi qui veillent à leur intégration et les préparent en vue d’occuper de futurs emplois dans le domaine des centres de distribution en grande surface et de détail. 

The next Focus will be published December  16.  Deadline for submissions is  Friday, December  11 at Noon. Le prochain numéro de Pleins feux sur Fielding sera publié le 17 décembre. La date limite pour soumettre vos articles est fixée au 16 décembre.