Tuesday, December 19, 2023




More and more young people are learning to use trusted news brands to check what they see on social media, and say they feel less anxious once they corroborate the story.  The Gazette is that brand. Serving our community for over 245 years, we deliver authoritative, resonant English-language news and commentary about Montreal in a manner that reflects the diversity of its people, culture, politics, institutions, and its unique place in Quebec.  The Gazette is offering all EMSB parents a special rate on a digital subscription here, so that your children can grow up with responsible reporting and reliable news that matters.  Go to  https://montrealgazette.com/subscribe/campaign/emsb/

 - Lenie Lucci, Editor-in-Chief 

Lenie Lucci is joined by City Councillor Despina Sourias, Commissioner Joseph Lalla, Principal Silvana Crigna and students.

ALUMNI VISITS: Two prominent alumni recently visited their former schools to talk to students. Marilena  “Lenie” Lucci is the newly appointed editor in chief of The Montreal Gazette. She attended St. Monica Elementary School  and  Royal West Academy. She is one of  the youngest editors The Gazette has ever had. Ms. Lucci spoke about her love for journalism and how a teacher at St. Monica played an early role in her goal to become a writer. Students had a lot of questions and when her talk was over, a lot of hands went up when they were asked who would like to work for a newspaper one day. There is even talk about launching a St. Monica Gazette. Commissioner Joseph Lalla and City Councillor Despina Sourias were on hand as special guests.

Dr. Christopher Labos (far right) with Dan Laxer, EMSB officials and students.

Dr. Christopher Labos is a noted cardiologist with a degree in epidemiology who graduated from LaurenHill Academy in the very first year of the EMSB 25 years ago. Over the last number of years he has become a frequent commentator on television, radio and in the print media locally and nationally.  He spoke to a full auditorium in a talk moderated by Dan Laxer. Topics included how LaurenHill and the HOPS (Hospital Opportunity Program) influenced his decision to become a doctor, his thoughts on COVID-19 and other illnesses and responses to questions from students. In addition he spoke about his new book Does Coffee Cause Cancer?: And 8 More Myths about the Food We Eat. In this fascinating, refreshingly clarifying book about food, food myths, and how sloppy science perpetuates misconceptions about food,  his character  gets drawn into conversations that answer eight medical questions.

KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION: The EMSB has announced that Kindergarten Registration Week for the 2024-2025 academic year will take place from Monday, February 5 to Friday, February 9.  If one child from a family is already enrolled in a particular school, a sibling registration period will take place a week earlier. Parents are asked to register at the EMSB elementary school nearest their residence offering the French program of their choice. For more information please call (514) 483-7200, extension EMSB (3672) or log on to the Board’s website at www.emsb.qc.ca. Three years ago the EMSB adopted a new format whereby parents could book a registration appointment online at some schools.  As of Monday, January 29 at 7 am, reservations will open at 24 elementary schools – a big jump from the five that launched the original pilot project three years ago.  One only needs to go to  www.emsb.qc.ca/reserve. Over the years some these schools have had long lineups, in certain cases starting days before registration occurred. Parents will be called to validate their information, told if they have 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 and FACE are exceptions, since they do not have boundaries or bus transportation.  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.

PRESS CONFERENCE: The EMSB will kick off its Kindergarten Registration campaign at a press conference on January 9 at Dante Elementary School in St. Léonard.

AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS:   The 2022-2023 audited financial statements of the EMSB were deposited at the meeting of the Council of Commissioners on November 7, 2023. Excluding the ministry investment grant recognized in 2022-2023 to fund the impact of the previous years’ Asset Retirement Obligations (ARO), which is applicable to all government entities, the statements show an operating surplus of $2.2 million.  The EMSB was again able to appropriate (use) the maximum amount from the June 30, 2021 accumulated surplus. In 2022-2023, this was an amount of $9.2 million,  which was used for continued services to directly benefit students, including the continued investment in various initiatives.

YOUTH SECTOR CALENDARS: The 2024-25 Youth and Adult sector calendars have been adopted. The first day of class will be August 29 and the last day June 20. Holiday break will be December 23 to January 6 and March Break, March 3 to 7.

Darlene Kehyayan

PERSONNEL NEWS: Darlene Kehyayan has been appointed as the new  Regional Director, Youth Sector – East. She is presently Assistant Director Human Resources of Human Resources for the teachers dossier. Ms. Kehyayan, who has worked as a school principal, vice-principal and teachers, will succeed Nathalie Lacroix, who is retiring. Angela Vaudry, presently the Principal at FACE School, will succeed Ms. Kehyayan in HR. Donald Allen, who has spent more than 32 years with the EMSB working as a caretaker, in the printing shop and security, is also stepping away.

Donald Allen and Natalie Lacroix.

BILL 23: The Quebec English School Boards Association is pleased with the understanding reached with the Minister of Education, Bernard Drainville, regarding the adoption and implementation of Bill 23: An Act to amend mainly the Education Act and to enact the Act respecting the Institut national d’excellence en éducation, for the English school board network. Minister Drainville has tabled an amendment to Bill 23 which, if adopted, would not implement certain sections of Bill 23 relating to governance of English school boards as a result of our expressing to the Minister they clearly violate section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms “While we maintain that these sections in Bill 23 are unconstitutional, we are pleased with the understanding reached with the Minister to not bring these sections of Bill 23 into force for our school boards,” said EMSB Chair Joe Ortona, who also serves as QESBA president. “While many people recognized that Bill 23 was clearly unconstitutional, including for non-section 23 rightsholders, the government refused to do so, it’s important to recognize that this is a significant step that the Minister is making regarding section 23 and the English-speaking minority’s right to manage and control its school system. Would we have preferred to have been completely exempt? Absolutely, but this is a step in the right direction as far as we are concerned,” concluded the President.

Here is Mr. Ortona on CPAM Radio (video version) talking about the EMSB’s latest court action against Bill 96 

 See this story in The Montreal Gazette

ANNUAL REPORT:  Public notice has been given, in conformity with Section 220.1 of the Education Act, that  the Board’s 2022-2023 Annual Report and Commitment-to-Success Plan was deposited at the December 19, 2023 regular Board meeting and  will be presented on January 23, 2024 at 7  p.m. at St. Pius X Career Centre, 9955 Papineau Avenue, Montreal.

The Annual Report for 2022-2023 showcases the EMSB's remarkable achievements in graduation and qualification success rates. The seven-year graduation rate for the 2015 cohort soared to an unprecedented 92.7 percent, marking a one percent increase from the previous year and positioning the Board as the leader in the province's public sector. With a six-year graduation rate at 91 percent, the Board has not only met but exceeded its target, setting a trajectory to maintain rates above 92 percent. While the gender-based success rate gap persisted at 3.6 percent, there was an increase in the seven-year graduation and qualification success rate for students with exceptional codes, rising from 74.3 percent  to 75.1 percent  in 2022. The EMSB remains vigilant in monitoring student performance across key courses essential for graduation, ensuring alignment with the recently approved Commitment to Success Plan, which encompasses academic goals, school climate monitoring, and the integration of new secondary-level programs. Furthermore, the report outlines objectives aimed at developing the preschool program and fostering digital competency among all stakeholders. These initiatives align with the EMSB's dedication to continuous improvement and inclusive education, driving forward its commitment to academic excellence and holistic development.

MID YEAR EXAMS:  There has been a necessary adjustment to the EMSB academic calendar due to the interruption of services caused by the strike days. After careful consideration and discussion with in-school administrators, it has been decided not to conduct mid-year board exams in January 2024. This does not preclude teachers from holding in-class assessments.  The decision aims to provide teachers with more time and allow students to focus on learning without the added burden of impending board exams. 

JFK students proudly pack their shoeboxes.

SHOEBOX AT JFK: With the holidays around the corner, a special group of students at John F. Kennedy High School - dubbed the Girls Group - came together to pack 100 shoeboxes full of necessities for local women's shelters. Soliciting donations as well as fundraising, students packed each box with a variety of necessities, from shampoo and deodorant to makeup and hand-knitted hats for those cold winter days. To seal each box with love, a hand-written card was placed inside, which will be the first thing that these women in need see when they open their box.  Childcare Worker  CCW Maria Damiano is the coordinator/group leader.   See this video 

The Movember gang.

JFK FOR MOVEMBER: John F. Kennedy High School in St. Michel accomplished an incredible last month for a school its size by raising over $10,000 in Movember donations, reports Social Sciences teacher Steffani Aurora Ruesga. Vice Principal Vito Guerriero Campbell and teacher Raymond Tomasino never imagined the overwhelming support they would receive by setting up the “JFK Mo Bros” page on the Movember website. The annual Movember event encourages men to grow moustaches in an effort to raise awareness of men’s health issues. The JFK Mo Bros page included the profiles of Vito and Raymond, as well as nine other JFK staff members who joined the effort. Together, these 11 men generated tremendous support from the community, all while making their students laugh with their funny moustaches. Within days, the JFK Mo Bros page had received over $1000 in donations and the support continued to pour in.  “Men don’t like to talk about their feelings, or health, for that matter,” says Raymond Tomasino. “I did this because we need to encourage each other to speak up, we need to support each other.”  The JFK Mo Bros did not do this alone. They opened up their initiative to those around them, making it clear that Movember is not just for men. They highlighted the important role that community plays in helping support men through their struggles, whether physical or mental. The JFK Mo Bros arranged dress down days, bake sales, they sold moustaches for a toonie, calling it “stash for cash” in posters around the school. They collaborated with JFK’s Girl’s Group who helped sell the silly moustaches and cupcakes.  “We were blown away by the support from our staff and the community,” Raymond says.  Info: https://ca.movember.com/team/2456855 

The JFK Mo Bros were able to raise significant funds while shining a light on the importance of men’s health as a communal effort. Men should know that they are not alone in their struggles, nonetheless, talking about it is difficult for some.  “The mustaches give people something to talk about,” said  Mr, Guerriero Campbell. “It's an important cause that deserves attention.”

Jon Reider with Principal Joanna Genovezos, VP Mireille Tehbelian
                                     and Grade 6 student Mylo, who lost his mom five years ago.

CHILDREN’S GRIEF DAY: To mark Children’s Grief Awareness Day, which is commemorated every third Thursday in November, Roslyn  Elementary School in Westmount hosted Jon Reider from Myra’s Kids Foundation. Jon spoke to the students about the importance of being present for their friends who are grieving a loss to ensure they realize that they are not alone. Students also participated in a fundraiser for Myra’s Kids Foundation by donating $1 in order to wear blue, the colour associated with the day. 

See this report on CTV

Mashyah Lewis Weekes 

ALOUETTES WINNER: Mashyah Lewis Weekes, a student at Royal Vale High School in NDG, won four tickets to the final Montreal Alouettes home season game on Oct. 28 via an EMSB Express contest.

Students and staff with Fishel Goldig.

HOLOCAUST  MUSEUM VISITS: Secondary V students at Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North have been engaged in a learning process where the understanding of our history, the development of both empathy and compassion, as well as empowerment for the future, have been the objectives.  This learning path began with a novel study of the memoir Night by Elie Wiesel, which was read by LBPHS students in Panagiotis Seremetis` Secondary 5V English classes. The setting for the novel takes place during the Holocaust and follows Eliezer's family`s horrific journey through to Auschwitz. As a part of the learning process, a visit to the Montreal’s Holocaust Museum was organized by Joseph Monachino, Spiritual and Community Animator.  The visit and the presentations made by Holocaust survivors Rae Gropper and Fishel Goldig made the experiences described in Night real for the students and made the novel study even more impactful.  Mr. Monachino stresses that this type of learning opportunity truly enables and empowers each of the students, and it is in this way, and with empowerment such as this, that we can help ensure that events such as the Holocaust never happen again.

Commissioners Julien Feldman, Jamie Fabian, DG Nick Katalifos, Marcia Shuster, Joe Ortona, Maria Corsi and Joseph Lalla.

COMMISSIONERS VISIT: On Monday, November 13, some members of the EMSB Council of Commissioners made an unprecedented visit to the Montreal Holocaust Museum. The EMSB has placed a heavy emphasis on students, notably those from non-Jewish areas, visiting the Museum and learning more about the Holocaust and the evils of antisemitism. Most recently, the Council of Commissioners adopted a resolution calling for Holocaust education to become mandatory in the curriculum. Prior to their visit to the Museum, EMSB Chair Joe Ortona and Director General Nick Katalifos met with Federation CJA President and CEO Yair Szlak,  Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) Vice-President Eta Yudin and Montreal Holocaust Museum Executive Director Daniel Amar.  In the fall, some members of council took part in a professional  development session presented by educators from the Montreal Holocaust Museum.

Listen to this  podcast as Chair Joe Ortona and Commissioner Maria Corsi describe the emotional experience of their visit

GENOCIDE EDUCATION: The EMSB Council of Commissioners have adopted a resolution calling for the Quebec Ministry of Education to consider and implement the inclusion of genocide studies in the history courses offered at the elementary and secondary levels, For the EMSB, the inclusion of genocide studies should encompass a diverse range of case studies, including but not limited to the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide, the Armenian Genocide, and others, to provide students with a well-rounded perspective on the global impact of these events. Resources, teaching materials, and professional development opportunities for educators should be made available to facilitate effective and sensitive delivery of genocide studies in the classroom. The Quebec Ministry of Education should collaborate with experts, educators, and community representatives to develop a curriculum that is inclusive, culturally sensitive, and reflective of the diverse experiences of affected communities.  Periodic reviews and updates to the curriculum should be conducted to ensure the relevance and accuracy of the content in line with ongoing research and developments in the field of genocide studies. Last October the EMSB Council adopted a resolution for Quebec to make Holocaust education compulsory in elementary and high schools.

SUPPORT FOR COTLER: EMSB Chair Joe Ortona  has written to former Quebec Justice Minister Irwin Cotler to express deep concern about the antisemitic death threats he has received, leading to the need for 24-hour police surveillance. “Such actions are not only reprehensible but also an affront to the values of tolerance, diversity, and inclusivity that we strive to uphold in our community,” he wrote.  “As an educational institution committed to fostering an environment of respect, understanding, and unity, we vehemently condemn any form of discrimination, hatred, or violence. Your unwavering dedication to justice, human rights, and the well-being of our society exemplifies the principles we aim to instill in our students.  We want to assure you that the English Montreal School Board stands in solidarity with you and the entire Jewish community during this challenging period. We denounce all forms of prejudice and pledge our commitment to creating a safe and inclusive space for everyone, regardless of their background or beliefs.”  

Nick Katalifos, Chief Dhager and Jack Chadirdjian.

MEETING POLICE CHIEF: EMSB Director General Nick Katalifos and Assistant Director General Jack Chadirdjian met with Montreal Police Department Chief Fady Dhager to discuss issues related to relations with schools. Chief Dhager agreed to visit an EMSB school before the end of the academic year to talk to students.

Joe Ortona makes a point to Marwah Rizqy.

MARWAH RIZQY: EMSB  Chair Joe Ortona and Manager of Marketing and Communications Michael Cohen met with Marwah Rizqy, the Liberal MNA For St. Laurent and education critic, to discuss a wide array of important issues, notably Bills 21, 23, 40 and 96.

David Heurtel is welcomed to EMSAC.

HEURTEL MEETS EMSAC: The EMSB was thrilled to welcome former Minister for Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change and Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion David Heurtel as a guest speaker at the recent meeting of the English Montreal Student Advisory Committee (EMSAC). Heurtel and the students discussed a variety of topics, ranging from climate change to the university tuition increase as well as the vast repercussions of the labor negotiations and ongoing strike. Most importantly, David encouraged the students to get engaged in the political discourse themselves, noting that the only way to affect change is to become involved.

David Heurtel addresses the group.

Please click here and fast forward to the 8:40 mark to listen to Heurtel discuss his visit on CJAD.

NEW EDITON OF INSPIRATIONS: The new edition of Inspirations explores the difference between conflict and bullying and how to address both, and so much more!  Inspirations promotes inclusion and now, mental health and well-being as well. The theme of bullying vs conflict and how to address both weaves throughout this edition, providing important information on the new bill that guide those in need of support, how the new complaints procedure works, and proactive initiatives at the EMSB and in the community.  On each page of the edition, you will find informative stories about special needs and mental health and well-being, inspiring initiatives and concepts that move inclusion forward. From new resources to exciting sporting initiatives, this edition has it all.  All of the articles are available on our website for sharing (www.inspirationsnews.com).Look out for print copies in your school! If you would like a copy mailed to you or have a story, open house or advertisement to share in our Spring edition, email us at info@inspirationsnews.com. Thanks to our title sponsor Simon Chang Concepts Inc., all of our amazing EMSB contributors, our writers, special donors, sponsors and advertisers, and especially, to the EMSB Student Services Department for their partnership and guidance.

 You can read he full edition here

Watch this report on CityNewsMontreal

Samara O'Gorman wades into the audience.

THE GIFTED SAMARA O’GORMAN: On December 7, Montreal-based actress, poet and mental health advocate Samara O’Gorman visited Carlyle Elementary School where she received an enthusiastic and warm welcome from students in Grades 4, 5 and 6. Sponsored by Inspirations, Samara was there to share her presentation about ‘The Golden Rules of Leadership. She captured the students’ attention with personal anecdotes, her poetry, and her unique style, which demonstrates how she chooses to be true to herself, every day. Samara’s message encourages anti-bullying, leadership and the importance of kindness. After her presentation, she circulated amongst the students for a vibrant question and answer period. Samara is available for presentations at elementary schools and classroom workshops during Pink Shirt week and year-round. Contact wsinger@emsb.qc.ca for information. 

Commissioner Mario Bentrovato and Simon Chang with some of the happy students.

SIMON SAYS:   Simon Chang and his Foundation were at Edward Murphy  Elementary School on December 18  during the Breakfast with Santa event.  The organization provided gifts to all students with 270 hats and one-size-fits-all gloves. Simon bought all of the gift bags and he and his assistant stuffed them all. Also, on December 19,  a representative from the Mark Edwards Group were on hand  (with a different Santa) distributing gifts to the pre-school and Cycle 1 students.

It was all smiles at the parade.

HOLIDAY PARADE: Despite the dark and rainy conditions, on December 18  the fourth edition of the “Bright Lights, Bright Eyes” Holiday parade took place. Organized by SPVM Police Officer and EMSB Alumni Marco Cerroni, with support from Spiritual and Community Animator Rocco Speranza, the holiday visit and parade aimed to spread joy, light, peace, and love to the young patients, their families, and staff at Le Phare, a unique pediatric palliative care resource in Québec dedicated to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Thanks to students and staff from John F. Kennedy High School, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Edward Murphy School, and École Primaire Brind’Amour from the Centre des Services des Trois Lacs school board, Santa delivered presents, treats, handmade bracelets, and cards to the young patients. Joining the parade were members of Montreal's first responders, SPVM, SIM, Urgences Sante, RCMP, Contrôle Routier Quebec, CP Rail Police, VIA Rail Police, CN Police, The Knights of Columbus 14693, and Montreal City Officials. The annual visit brought magic and brightness on a rainy day, thanks to the presence of all the vehicles, including SPVM cavalry, mascots, and Santa Claus! The goal is to make the holiday season memorable and create beautiful memories for the patients. Melanie from Le Phare noted "This immense mark of solidarity gives us the energy and motivation to continue to support these children and their families with joy until the end. We thank you for your enthusiasm and dedication." Thank you to everyone who took part in making this day memorable for all.  “Seeing the children's bright eyes, smiles and faces light up as the parade filled the air with bright lights and sirens made its way down the street with Santa Claus leading the way with presents in hand, was a precious, and very heart-warming emotional moment," noted Mr. Speranza. Added Mr. Cerroni: “This annual parade truly touches and moves us all.”

Back row: Dr. Léna Moïse, school Psychologist, Ms. Gail Callender, Assistant Director in Students’ Services, Ms. Jackie Alvarado, Behavior Management Specialist, Ms. Cindy Mendez, Behavior Management Specialist, Ms. Michelle Aubin, Educational Consultant, Ms. Kathy Roach, Community Worker at the CIUSSS du Centre Ouest de L’Île Montréal, Ms. Jasmin Skerritt, Behaviour Management Specialist, Joe Anne Désir, Principal; Front row: Grade 3 students, who are a part of Ms. Cimone’s class.

ST. RAPHAEL LAUNCH: St. Raphael School in Park Extension recently launched the PBIS: Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program within the school community. The goal of the program is to create a positive and safe learning environment for students. This is done through a systematic approach of teaching students the expected behaviours in different locations and on the bus. This approach encourages student success through emphasizing good citizenship, autonomy, responsibility, and accountability. These values were selected through a carefully thought out process where parents, staff and students, identified the principles that best reflect St-Raphael school. These principles, which make up the CARe(acc) acronym: Citizenship, Autonomy, Responsibility and Accountability. At St-Raphael we CARe and are accountable. This project was initiated by Gail Callender, former principal (and present-day assistant director of Student Services) and was brought to fruition by the current principal, Joe Anne Désir.

Chantal Clabrough and the Governor General (Photo courtesy of the Governor General's Office).

TEACHER AWARD:   For her exceptional commitment to sharing Canadian history from a new perspective, Chantal Clabrough, a teacher at Westmount High School, has  been named a laureate of the Governor General’s History Awards for Excellence in Teaching— the country's most prestigious history honor.  Administered by Canada’s History Society, this award recognizes and encourages teachers and schools to strive for excellence in the teaching of Canadian history. This year, five other teachers from across the country receive their awards from Her Excellency the Right Honorable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, at a   ceremony in Ottawa.   Ms. Clabrough designed Westmount High School’s Memorial Project to get her 10th grade history students involved in the preservation of their school’s history. From 2014 to 2022, students researched the lives of 141 former Westmount High students who died in service to Canada during the Second World War (1939-1945). After having studied sources from the school, the City of Westmount, and national and international digital archives, the students created profiles of each former student who perished in combat. In so doing, they were able to tell the story of their youth, their hopes, and their lives during the war. The portraits were posted on Westmount High School’s website, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of Quebec’s oldest English-language public school.  “The award honors our school’s former students who served during the Second World War,” explained Ms. Clabrough.  “Today’s students have, become historians highlighting the contributions that students of the past—and that our school—have made to Quebec and Canadian society. I am proud to see that my students were able to learn from the untold stories of Canadians who showed that, together, we can achieve extraordinary things,”. Each award is accompanied by a $2,500 individual prize, as well as a $1,000 prize for the teacher's school To learn more about all of this year’s award recipients, visit CanadasHistory.ca/GGHA2023.  On December 18, Ms. Clabrough brought her Grade 11  contemporary world class to the Montreal Holocaust Museum. 

Students join guests at the launch of the conference.

MY MONTREAL CONFERENCE: Perspectives I & II  Alternative High    in St. Michel  hosted a special inspiring event called  “My Montreal” conference on   November 27.  This motivational summit, organized by Spiritual Community Animator Vince Lacroce, Perspectives staff members Stefano Castricato and Diana Borges, along with Creations Marketing PR Owner Christina Capobianco and Joseph Ruvo of Les Delices Lafrenaie, was a collaborative effort involving local community leaders, professionals, and influencers who are passionate about uplifting the youth in the community. The intent of this event was to provide outreach high school students with valuable guidance and inspiration to unlock their full potential as they navigate through the challenges of life and education.   The program unfolded via  sessions  four rotating sessions.  AIM students  (a program designed to encourage success for small groups of students between the ages of 12 and 15 by teaching the curriculum to their current levels of achievement and understanding) from Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Léonard and  Perspectives I had an opportunity to participate in four simultaneous conferences and conversations around the school. The presenters were paired up to provide their perspectives on life and providing support and a voice for others in need. Guests included: Laura Casella (Morning Anchor at Global Television and radio host on The Beat 92.5), Alessandro Sorin (Canadian Olympic Athlete),  Brittany Kennell (Canadian Country Music Singer), André Durocher (Retired Head of Communications Department of Montreal Police Force), Sandro Piscitelli ( Montreal Firefighter from Caserne 50  | Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie),  Johnathan Sbrollini (Founder of Camp Lift), Sgt. Eric Washburn (Member of the Canadian Grenadier Guards), Dwight Walton former Canadian Olympic Basketball Player and newly appointed General Manager of the Los Angeles Ignite Basketball Team. Sabrina Marandola (Award-winning Journalist and host of CBC’s Let’s Go! with Sabrina Marandola), Anthony Pecoraro (Artist (Teetz) Perspectives High School Alumni), Lee Terki Artist (Jazz musician and Perspectives High School Alumni) and Lina Heid, 27, Program Coordinator, Youth Mentor and Founder of "A Mindful You." 

Pictured here are students Mathias, Atlas and Ronan with their new scarves.

DONATION OF SCARVES: Each year Edna Janco makes scarves and presents them to the EMSB Marketing and Communications Department to provide them to students who can use them to get through our cold winters. This year, students at Perspectives I and II Alternative High Schools in St. Michel were the beneficiaries. 

The intergenerational exchange was a big success.

INTERGENERATIONAL CHANGE: Perspectives I High School is excited to announce its intergenerational exchange event in collaboration with CHSLD Dante, a prominent retirement home located in the heart of the Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie area of Montreal. The event took place on December 5, bringing together the students of Perspectives I High School with the wisdom and experience of CHSLD Dante's residents. The initiative, spearheaded by Spiritual Community Animator Vince Lacroce, Head Teacher Melissa Modica and Special Educators Rachel Cipolla and Nadia Jamali from CHSLD Dante, aims to create a unique and heartwarming experience for both the students and the senior guests. The December program focuses on holiday-based activities, fostering meaningful connections across generations. "We are thrilled to be a part of this initiative that promotes community building and inclusivity," said Mr. Lacroce. "This intergenerational exchange provides an opportunity for our students to learn from the wealth of life experiences the seniors bring while simultaneously offering companionship and joy to the residents of CHSLD Dante." Twenty-five senior guests from CHSLD Dante were welcomed to Perspectives I High School, where students and staff engaged in various holiday-themed activities throughout the morning. The event has garnered support from the community, with sponsorship from  Cindy Mendes, a Behaviour Management Specialist from the Student Services Department. Additionally, the catering for the event was provided by Les Delices Lafrenaies, ensuring a delightful culinary experience for all participants.

Showcasing the mural in the company of WhatIsAdam.

BEAUTIFUL MURAL UNVEILED: The staff and students of Dunrae Gardens Elementary School in Town of Mount Royal   officially unveiled  a beautiful new mural on the west façade of their building at a ceremony on  November 27  with special guests on hand.  Last June, a vernissage event successfully raised close to $8,000 for the creation of the mural. The combined effort was thanks to Dunrae Art Plastiques teacher , Principals Cynthia Canale and  Despina Michakis (presently on sabbatical), the Dunrae staff, the Dunrae Gardens Family Association., sponsor Decarie Motors, special donations from Montreal artists Teetz, mural artist WhatIsAdam and finally the parents and community who helped support and donated to the cause. The idea came when the tree that covered the west facade wall fell, thanks to last April's ice storm. Since that moment, prices were negotiated, plans were made and ideas were collected to create several drafts of the mural. The mural attempts to illustrate the ideas behind STEAM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics)  education. It touches on the floral aesthetics of the Town of Mont Royal and brings a timeless, creative style to an otherwise bland building. Montrealer Adam Vieira, who goes by the moniker WhatIsAdam, worked with the staff, students and parents on the project. He is noted for creating   large-scale murals in Canada, the United States and Britain. With the help of a mechanical lift, spray paint and stencils, the piece took several days to complete. Viera is a grad of the EMSB’s Michelangelo International Elementary School and Vincent Massey Collegiate. Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, TMR Mayor Peter Malouf and members of his staff and council were on hand as was EMSB Chair Joe Ortona.

It was all smiles at the Voices of Olympia launch. (Kris Bennett Photo)

VOICES OF OLYMPIA:  The Voices of Olympia Canada (VOOC) held  its launch ceremony for the 2023-2024 Edition of the School Competition on   December 6   at Royal West Academy   in Montreal West. Students from different schools made presentations on an important topic, transposing into a Canadian context the priority theme that will be discussed at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in March 2024: Feminization of poverty and its impacts on the Empowerment of Girls and Women in Canada. It is of special significance that December 6 was chosen as the date for this ceremony as Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women wascommemorated.  See the full press release

Anna and Magali are pictured in the front towards the left.

RWA GRADS EXCEL IN FRENCH: Royal West Academy grads Anna Molins and Magali Shimotakahara were part of a group of nine students from John Abbott College who went to France to represent Canada for the Goncourt des Lycéens. The latter is a literary prize that happens every year. High school and college students around the world read 16 books in two months and choose a winner through a debate-centered process where different institutions fight for their top choice. Throughout the semester they had an excellent time meeting with our team to strengthen our arguments and discuss the books we read. We are happy to share that our school's top choice "Triste Tigre" by Neige Sinno won the award for 2023. 

The two are both finishing their studies at John Abbott this semester and starting university next fall. Anna is studying social science, and Magali is  in the commerce program. “We both look forward to spending our off-semester traveling since we have a little break before starting university,” says Magali. “Anna and I were both in the langue d'enseignement stream at Royal West. As someone who grew up in a bilingual household, I think Royal West enabled me to deepen my understanding and appreciation for the French language. I had excellent French teachers my entire time at Royal West and think back fondly on my experience in French classes at the school.”

Luba Kalba on the set.

LUBA WAS RIGHT: Dalkeith Elementary School Kindergarten teacher Luba Kalba, who recently appeared on the TV show the Price is Right, was interviewed by Dan Laxer on CJAD. You can listen to that  here

You can watch her on Global TV  right here  

SEXUAL EDUCATION WORKSHOP: On Thursday November 16 and Friday November 17,  Secondary V and II  students, respectively, at LaurenHill Academy in St. Laurent participated in a Sexuality Education Workshop Day. Students were offered a selection of workshops, covering subjects such as gender, domestic violence, respectful communication between friends or romantic partners, microaggressions, digital citizenship, homophobia and transphobia. All students participated in several assemblies on safer sex practices, effective communication, consent, and a Q&A panel made up of workshop presenters on topics of interest to the students themselves. The global message was clear: bodily autonomy, respect for each other, safe relationships, belonging and self-acceptance are deserved by all. Ms. Elizabeth Pellicone (Spiritual Community Animator) spear headed this endeavor with considerable support from Jamie Quinn (Sexually Education Consultant), along with the whole LaurenHill Administration and the teaching staff.

EMSB Parents Committee Chair Katherine Korakakis and EMSB officials.

PARENTS SUMMIT: Chairman Joe Ortona, alongside Director General Nick Katalifos and Assistant Directors General  Pela Nickoletopoulos and Jack Chadirdjian, hosted a Town Hall recently for all EMSB Governing Board Chairs. The annual Town Hall allowed the Chairman and Directorate to update the Governing Board Chairs as well as allow for an open discussion between all parties on the state of the EMSB as well as that of individual schools. Headlining the discussion was a detailed update on all the court challenges that the school board is a party to, including this summer’s sweeping victory on Bill 40 as well as the potential impact of Bill 23. Also present for the Town Hall were Commissioners Maria Corsi, Joseph Lalla and Mario Pietrangelo. 

LMAC students on the set at CTV Montreal.

LMAC MEDIA CLUB: The Laurier Macdonald High School Media Club launched this year and the students have been taking photos and videos to tell the stories happening around the school. With support from LMAC teachers Elisa Casella and Josie Arcobelli, and librarian Paul Grewal, students have been working with media consultant and former CTV reporter and anchor Lianne Castelino, to improve their photography and storytelling skills.  They recently went on a field trip to visit the Bell Media radio stations and CTV News studios where they learned valuable lessons from the various media personalities they met on the Tour. The students were up close and personal during the live News at Noon with Mutsumi Takahashi, were interviewed on CJAD 800 by host Elias Makos  and their parents even received a shout-out from Randy Renaud on CHOM 97.7

Dimitra Thomakos and Lianne Castelino with some of their students. 

MARYMOUNT STUDENT REPORTERS: Led by Marymount Academy International teacher Dimitra Thomakos and facilitated by Lianne Castelino, current radio host and former CTV Montreal reporter/anchor, the program began in the fall. It includes weekly, in-person instruction on reporting, storytelling, photography and videography basics, as well as conducting effective research, interviewing skills development and creating content for publication. Students take the skills learned and apply them, with the goal of having their content published on the school's social media channels, newsletter or other platforms. More than 10 students across all grades are taking part, learning directly from an award-winning journalist, who has worked in media and communications for more than 25 years.

Raphael La Ferrara with staff and students.

MAGICAL ALUMNUS: It was  a magical end to the beginning of the school year for students at Leonardo Da Vinci Academy  in RDP as renowned magician and alumnus Raphael La Ferrara visited the school on  December 19  for a morning of surprises with the students. Mr. La Ferrara has developed a substantial following online with 2.7 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.6 million followers on TikTok – and he amazed and entertain the students at LDVA.  Following his performance, Mr. La Ferrara took the time to show students some of the tricks of the trade as well as answer questions. To view Mr. La Ferrara’s YouTube channel, please follow this link: www.youtube.com/@raphie

CARIBOU MATH CONTEST: Willingdon Elementary School in NDG  is very proud of all the students who participated in the most recent Caribou Math Contest, which took place on November 16. A special mention goes out to Grade 6 student Felix Wiltshire, who placed first at the School Board level and second at the Provincial level. Congratulations, Felix, on this outstanding achievement! Thank you to Dr. Camelia Birlean, who runs the Enrichment program at Willingdon that enables students to participate in inspiring opportunities such as this one, and to Ms. Sarah Lubbe, who helps run the Caribou Math Contest.   

Roslyn Elementary School students with a talent in mathematics have been offered, once again this school year, the opportunity to engage in the Caribou International Competition lead by Dr. Birlean and facilitated by Sarah Lubbe in the Student Services Department at EMSB. While Roslyn School community is proudly celebrating its students’ effort in this competition, special congratulations go out to Noam Caron, in Grade 4, who scored first  at the provincial, national, and international level!  

Dr. Birlean,Michael Marciante and Penelope Moon.

The team at Dunrae Gardens Elementary School, notably Resource Teacher Despina Kouremenos, would like to congratulate each and every participant in the Caribou Math International contest. They are aware of the time and effort all participants placed into practicing for this competition and are very proud of their achievements!   Special congratulations go to Grade 4 student Michael Marciante, who scored first at the provincial, national and international levels! (tie with another EMSB student from Roslyn Elementary School). Hats off to Michael on his astounding achievement! Also, a special mention is extended to Grade 2 student Penelope Moon, who ranked first at the school board level! 

Amelio Santini is congratulated by ADQ Jack Chadirdjian, Commissioner Joseph Lalla, Chair Joe Ortona, Principal Otis Delaney and DG Nick Katalifos.

STUDENTS OF THE MONTH:  Amelio Santini from Royal Vale School in NDG is the EMSB Student of the Month for December. Amelio is a star on and off the ice. He is an honour roll student at Royal Vale while developing into an elite hockey player. On the ice he plays Midget AAA hockey for the Lac St. Louis Lions and is a candidate for Team Canada to represent our country at the upcoming Youth Olympic Games, which will take place in Gangwon, China in 2024.

Commissioner Fabian, Gerard and Principal Greg Watson.

JOHN GRANT STUDENT: The EMSB Student of The Month  for November was Gerard (JJ) Blaize Buakasa from John Grant High School in Côte Saint-Luc. In the past, JJ has struggled with regulating his emotions and making good decisions under pressure, however, he has truly begun to demonstrate changes which has positively affected his personal educational journey and those around him. Recently, on more than one occasion, he has demonstrated that he is capable of stepping back from potential conflict and redirecting his frustration towards finding an appropriate solution. Furthermore, he has stepped up as a leader in the John Grant community by drumming up interest amongst his classmates for a basketball program. We’re all proud of JJ and his transformation. Commissioner Jamie Fabian visited the school and presented him with a certificate and a gift bag.

Showcasing their Christmas cards.

CHRISTMAS CARDS: Being in the hospital at any time is difficult, but especially during the holidays. The Dalkeith elementary Grades 5 and 6 students, with their Spiritual Animator, Mary Poullas, wanted to spread joy and put a smile on the children's faces by creating handmade holiday cards.

MUSIC WITH NO FINANCIAL BARRIERS: The Montreal Cello Ensemble, based in NDG, provides intensive music training to talented Montreal children. Its goal is to ensure that children show talent, dedication, and a love for music can receive the highest level of music education with no financial barriers. Every child admitted into the program receives either a full or partial scholarship that includes instruction, the use of an instrument, and accessories. They pursue their studies as well as perform with cellists Genevieve Guimond and Gary Russell of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, educator Josh Fink, pianist Sandra Hunt, and Montreal Conservatory students Elliott Tsai and Emmanuel Marquis-Pelletier.  No prior musical experience is necessary. In fact, almost all of the students they admit have no prior musical training. Applications for free music lessons (instruments provided) should be sent in as soon as possible. This opportunity is for children aged four to eight from families who would otherwise find it difficult to afford music lessons. You can find the application for here    See this video.

Learning about Homelessness.

SUMMIT ON HOMELESSNESS: On December 4 and 6, Leonardo Da Vinci Academy and Nesbitt Elementary welcomed local homeless shelters and charities in the community to address and educate the cycle 3 students about life on the streets of Montreal, as well as to encourage them to become proactive citizens through volunteerism, empathy, and citizenship. The "Hope in Hands" summit was spearheaded by Mr. Lacroce and consisted of testimonials by homeless Montrealers, shelter representatives, and volunteers that addressed the stigma of mental illness, statistics about homelessness in Montreal, and reintegration programs offered to the community. Participating in this sensitization program were representatives from Dans La Rue, Chez Doris, Old Brewery Missing, and Sun Youth.

HOLIDAY EVENTS: As the holiday season approaches, many families continue to struggle to find the resources to meet their needs. In order to give back, John Caboto Academy, Michelangelo International, and Vincent Massey Collegiate, in collaboration with Spiritual and Community Animator Veronica D’Agata, all participated in the Sun Youth Food & Toy Drive. Thanks to the generous donations from our school communities, the holiday season was made that much brighter!

In addition, Vincent Massey Collegiate (VMC) held a casual dress day fundraiser benefiting St-Brendan’s parish. All proceeds were used to purchase grocery gift cards and toys for local families in need. Furthermore, several VMC art classes through the guidance of their wonderful teachers  Leigh Anne Cline, Kanella Dimopoulos and Matthew Thomson, worked on the creation of almost 200 Holiday cards for the Almage Senior Community Centre. 

Through the guidance of Ms. D’Agata, several students within the Vincent Massey We Care Club handmade over 30 bracelets and personally distributed them to the pediatric patients at Le Phare / The Lighthouse, as part of the “Bright Lights Bright Eyes” holiday parade. The goal of this campaign is to spread joy, love, and holiday cheer!

This year John Caboto Academy, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary, and Michelangelo International School participated in the “Sox in a Box” campaign, organized through the Spiritual and Community Animation Department, in collaboration with Spiritual Animator Veronica D’Agata. Students generously donated adult and children’s socks for those less fortunate in the community. All socks collected will be delivered to The Old Brewery Mission, Sun Youth, Dans La Rue, and Chez Doris.

PEACE POETRY: Peace, an ever-relevant topic deserving continuous exploration, was the theme of the poetry hour on Thursday, November 30, at James Lyng. Facilitated by the Spiritual Community Animator Ibrahim Abou Arab,and the librarian, Katie Gariepy-Saper, students were invited to partake in a celebration of peace through the art of poetry, accompanied by warm cups of hot chocolate and cookies. During this enriching poetry hour, students read and engaged in deep reflection on the profound meaning of peace, both within themselves and in their immediate surroundings. Through a series of guiding questions, students embarked on a journey of self-discovery, identifying actionable steps to cultivate internal peace. Topics ranged from fostering self-love and establishing healthy daily routines to setting individual boundaries. The dialogue extended beyond the personal realm as students delved into discussions on how peace could manifest itself in their classrooms, homes, and society at large. This multifaceted exploration served to equip students with a greater understanding of peace and the practical steps they can take to foster it in their lives.

A learning experience from the Missing Children's Network.

MISSING CHILDREN'S NETWORK: The Missing Children’s Network will be conducting a series of workshops in collaboration with Spiritual and Community Animator Vince Lacroce for the students of Pierre de Coubertin Elementary, Nesbitt Elementary, and Leonardo Da Vinci Academy. This  two month long initiative led by Intervention Officer Brenda Phosavath will provide students with the opportunity to role play, animate, and problem-solve difficult situations. The first session of workshops will provide students with general information about the Missing Children’s Network organization, an overview of current missing children statistics, some examples of real-life cases and the philosophy regarding safety issues and the prevention of disappearances. The second sessions, Shine Junior and Shine Senior depending on the age of students, will provide students with the tools and resources to help them develop positive self-esteem and effective communication skills, and learn about virtual boundaries, internet safety, and the importance of respect, both for themselves and for others.

It was all about kindness at Sinclair Laird.

WORLD KINDNESS DAY: Cycle 3 students, SCA Rocco Speranza, and teachers from Sinclair Laird school teamed up with the daycare Le Futur, located in Park Extension, to promote literacy and art. The first visit took place in early November and centered around the theme of kindness. Students read books, did arts and crafts, and played social skills games together. This interaction created wonderful bonds among the children. To show their appreciation, students from Le Futur visited their friends from Sinclair Laird once again on World Kindness Day and presented their artwork creations of kindness. The daycare students were very happy to meet their new cycle 3 friends once again. To thank them for their generosity, Sinclair Laird School students gifted stuffed animals to each Le Futur student. These gentle acts teach the children about the importance of kindness at a young age.

Experiencing Diwali.

DIWALI: The students of Dante and Gerald McShane elementary had fun learning about the traditions of the Hindu festival of Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, with Spiritual and Community Animator, Mary Poullas. They lit diya lamps and danced to Indian music.

During the week of November 13th, K – Cycle 1 students from over 16 different elementary schools across the EMSB joined the Spiritual and Community Animation Service for a special Virtual Story Time in celebration of Diwali with local author Mitali Banerjee Ruths. Mitali shared her journey from dreaming of being an astronaut, to becoming a doctor, and now an author, as well as an overview of Diwali before reading her book, Archie Celebrates Diwali. Thank you to Mitali for sharing her story with us and to all our wonderful teachers and students who were able to join! Learn more about Mitali and her books here

These lucky students and staff got a preview of the World Figure Skating Championships.

FIGURE SKATING: With the World Figure Skating Championships coming to Montreal next year, recently, more than 200 students from Royal Vale, Pierre de Coubertin, Gerald McShane and Nesbitt schools participated in on-ice and off-ice sessions at Doug Harvey Arena in N.D.G. Organized by the GMAA and Patinage Quebec, the students spent time on the ice as well as had the chance to hear from Kelly Ann Laurin and Loucas Étheir, the fourth ranked figure skating pair in Canada. All students who participated will also be invited in to attend the official practices as part of the World Figure Skating Championships this March.

TOUNDRA: Basketball fans,  get ready to immerse yourself in the electrifying world of Montreal Toundra basketball! The  2024 season kicks off on January 6 at 7 p.m. at the Centre Pierre-Charbonneau, right next to the Olympic Stadium.  This winter, bring the whole family to where the magic happens. Take advantage of our special offer—kids under 12 get in for free! It’s the perfect way to create lasting memories and enjoy some quality time together. Just picture the pure joy in your children’s eyes as they see their basketball heroes up close and live in action! Tickets start at $10! This is your chance to watch elite-level professional basketball in a venue filled with passionate fans like you. Secure your seats at mtltoundra.com/billets today and take part in winter’s most exhilarating action! General Manager Juan Mendez is an EMSB grad and present-day parent.

CHRISTMAS DINNER: The NDG Community Christmas Dinner will be held on Christmas Day in the St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish Church Hall, 4455 West Broadway, north of Sherbrooke, from 1 to 7 pm. All NDG citizens are welcome and warmly encouraged to attend, there is no charge and we do not solicit donations at the Dinner. The Christmas Dinner has been held continuously since 1988 and, in that first year, 125 people participated. Thirty-five years later we are serving over 1,000 meals which include turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, hot vegetables, baked goods for dessert, juice for the children and coffee. Alcoholic beverages are not served nor are they permitted in the hall.

The Christmas Dinner is an informal, all-volunteer activity (we number about 200) that we start planning around mid to end October. We don’t hold meetings, there are no committees and we don’t have a president. Nor do we seek individual recognition. We just, sort, of get together and get going.   The turkeys are bought, roasted and delivered to the Church by NDG citizens. Desserts are baked, also, by NDGers and delivered to the Church. All the other food items are bought with money raised through donations received during the year. This year, no thanks to inflation and rising costs of food and most other necessities, food insecurity has touched all corners of NDG and, so, we are asking for your help. They  need roasted turkeys, desserts, volunteers and donations. If you are able, and would like to donate a roasted turkey, please contact Paul at 514-895-6337, e-mail paulshubin@sympatico.ca. Anyone who likes to get flour all over themselves, and would like to do some holiday baking, should contact Sharron at 514-262-6411, e-mail sharron.schwartz@gmail.com. They need volunteers in both the kitchen, the hall and for other “tasks” on the 24 and 25. If you’ve got some time and would like to spend it in a friendly, festive atmosphere call Paul for kitchen duties and Kathryn, e-mail santashelpersndg@gmail.com for hall, and the various other, activities—and there are many! Finally, those wishing to make a donation should make it payable to the NDG Community Council, 5964 NDG Avenue, Suite 206, Montréal, Québec, H4A 1N1, and specify that it is for the Christmas Dinner.

SAVE THE DATE: Just a quick note to let you know the coordinates for the EMSB "What's Your Story?" Storytelling Festival. We didn't let you know about it last year and would like to be included in the Focus this year.  East Sector, Honore Mercier, Thursday  April 4, 2024;  West Sector, Willingdon Senior Campus, Friday   April 5, 2024.


NEW VOCATIONAL PROGRAMS: With a shortage of workers in the construction industry, the Quebec Ministère de l'Éducation (MEQ) has provided school boards with the opportunity to offer  additional vocational programs. In early 2024 the EMSB will introduce  a programs in carpentry (STC – Skills Training Certificate).  This will be offered under the auspices of Rosemount Technology Centre and housed  at Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North. The latter is being retrofitted to meet the program requirements. The EMSB has consulted with the Lester B. Pearson High School governing board, the Rosemount Technology Centre governing board and the EMSB Parents’ Committee.

Presently, the EMSB Adult  Education and Vocational Services (AEVS) Department offers programs in auto mechanics, cabinet making, aesthetics, professional cooking, sales and travel, secretarial services, institutional and homecare assistance, pharmacy technical services, accounting, computer graphics, furniture finishing and much more. “Quebec needs skilled workers and we are proud to be  assisting the province in meeting these needs,” said EMSB Chair Joe Ortona.

Nick Katalifos (third from the left) with organizers of the conference.

PROCEDE: The Provincial Organization of Continuing Education Directors, English (PROCEDE)  held conference at St. Pius X Career Centre in Ahuntsic on November 10. PROCEDE was established in 1976 and supports the development and delivery of adult, vocational and service to business training to Quebec’s nine English-language school boards. The objective of the conference was to assist member boards build bridges with industry representatives with whom the English boards have not historically built partnerships. It falls in line with the provincial government’s recent announcements to modernize vocational training  and to intensify efforts to meet the labor shortages in various sectors including in the construction trades. Representatives from the following organizations were present:  Commission des partenaires du marché du travail (CPMT); Comité sectoriel de  main-d’œuvre (CSMO); Fédération des centres  de services scolaires du Québec (FCSSQ); commissions scolaires anglophones du Québec (CS anglophones); Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec (MEQ); Comité consultatif québécois des personnes d’expression anglaise (CCQEA); the Provincial employment round table (PERT); Centre de services scolaires du Québec (CSS); Société de formation à distance (SOFAD); Centre d’élaboration des moyens d’enseignement du Québec (CEMEQ). CPMT President Jean Lortie   addressed the conference   and presented some of the strategic issues facing the labor market, such as productivity, the green transition and digital transformation, to name but a few, while illustrating the ecosystem in which we all work together.

 From left to right : Tommaso Maffei, Skills/Compétences Canada Alumni, Nick Katalifos, Director General, English Montreal School Board, Elder Niioieren, from Kanien'kehá:ka nation, Cynthia Gauthier, Monster Jam Rider, and Dr. Patrick Rouble, President, Skills/Compétences Canada, attend NSTTW 2023 GNW

JFK HOSTS EVENT: Skills/Compétences Canada (SCC)   celebrated the 19th National Skilled Trade and Technology Week (NSTTW), aimed at raising awareness to students and educators about the incredible skilled trade and technology career opportunities available across Canada. SCC hosted an event to highlight NSTTW on November 8, at John F. Kennedy High School and John F. Kennedy Adult Education Centre. Special guests included: Dr. Patrick Rouble, President, Skills/Compétences Canada; Nick Katalifos, Director General, EMSB;  Cynthia Gauthier, Monster Jam Rider; and Tommaso Maffei, Skills/Compétences Canada Alumni and Bronze Medalist in Secondary Cabinetmaking at the 2023 Skills Canada National Competition, in Winnipeg. Skills/Compétences Canada was also happy to announce that the 2024 Skills Canada National Competition will be hosted in Quebec City, on May 30 and 31, at Expocité. Following the official program, approximately 400 students from local schools participated in around 15 Try-A-Trade® and Technology activities hosted by educators and industry experts. These activities ranged from cooking, welding, to car painting, just to name a few. Throughout the day, students learned about the interesting and important educational pathways and career opportunities in several different trade and technology sectors. Also highlighted at the event was the importance of Reading, one of the Skills for Success identified as fundamental to working in the skilled trade and technology industries. For more information on the Skills for Success visit the Skills for Success Website.  “National Skilled Trade and Technology Week is a key date for Skills/Compétences Canada as it raises awareness of the rewarding careers that exist in the skilled trades and technologies to Canadian youth. There is a growing demand for skilled workers in our country, and events like these allow us to promote these excellent career pathways to our future workforce,” said Shaun Thorson, Chief Executive Officer of Skills/Compétences Canada. See this video produced by the EMSB.  

During the week, SCC’s provincial/territorial Member Organizations across the country will host a series of events to promote skilled trade and technology activities in Canada. For more information, visit the NSTTW webpage on the SCC website. According to Statistics Canada’s latest estimate, about 700,000 skilled trade workers are expected to retire between 2019 and 2028, creating an ever-growing need to recruit and train thousands more.

Celebrating the Recognition Awards.

RECOGNITION AWARDS:  On November 16, Galileo Adult Education Centre held its Academic Recognition Awards for the 2023 fall semester.  Students in the academic stream were recognized for their perseverance, commitment to their studies and overall achievement in subjects such as mathematics, English, French, Contemporary World and computers.  Awards and a small token of appreciation were distributed, after which students and staff were treated to lunch. Congratulations to all recipients! 

There is a lot of enthusiasm for karate.

KARATE:  École Autisme Karaté is back at Galileo encouraging SI/SVI students to create an overall healthy lifestyle. By participating in this weekly activity, students have had the opportunity to exercise regularly, further develop their gross motor skills, increase their concentration,  encourage muscle memory development and build confidence in self.  As André Langevin, owner and karate instructor, says, a healthy lifestyle allow students to feel good about themselves and, above all, live a happy life.  Thank-you to Andre and donations from  Alice Abou Khalil, MP for Fabre, Madwa-Nika Cadet, MP for  Sauvé-Bourassa and Marc-André Morin, MP for L’acadie, which have allowed this activity to be offered at Galileo for free of charge to students.  To learn more about Andre and the wonderful work of Autisme Karate, visit www.autismekarate.com

LIFE UNREHEARSED: Matt Del Vecchio had EMSB Assistant Director of Adult Education and Sophie Katz-Milo of Dressed For Success on his CJAD Life Unrehearsed program. The  EMSB Service to Business Group (SBG) has  a partnership with  Dress for Success Montreal, which empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and development tools, at no cost, in order to help women thrive in work and in life. SBG provides customized training to businesses, aiming to provide creative, advanced, and modern training practices designed to assist companies build better performance and productivity within their corporate structure.  These tailor-made instructional packages are specifically customized to meet each business’s training needs.   Instruction can be done in person or online. In October, clients of Dress for Success Montreal began participating in a series of five workshops at an EMSB adult education centre on how to use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. For further information go to the  SBG website at  www.sbg.emsb.qc.ca or call 514-483-7200 ext. 7724. You can listen to the segment here


INSCRIPTION: À ses débuts il y a trois ans, le projet pilote d'inscription en ligne à la maternelle de la Commission scolaire English-Montréal (CSEM) regroupait cinq écoles, il en compte désormais vingt et une. Cette initiative, qui a initialement vu le jour dans cinq écoles primaires – Merton à Côte Saint-Luc, Royal Vale à NDG, Edinburgh à Montréal-Ouest, Gardenview à Saint-Laurent et East Hill à RDP, avait pour but d’éliminer les longues files d’attente et d’éviter que les parents ne dressent leur tente à l’extérieur des établissements quelques jours avant le début de la période d’inscription.  Dans la foulée du succès remporté par ce projet pilote, le nombre d’écoles participantes est passé à  24. Il sera possible de réserver une place dès 7 h le lundi 29 janvier 2024 à https://www.emsb.qc.ca/emsb/reserve. La semaine des inscriptions à la maternelle se déroulera du 5  au 9 février 2024. Les parents n’auront qu’à remplir un formulaire disponible sur le site principal de la CSEM, de même que sur les sites des écoles participantes. L’heure sera indiquée pour chaque réservation. Les directions d’école procéderont ensuite à la validation des informations avant de fixer les rendez-vous. Il est à noter que pour toutes les autres écoles, les inscriptions continueront de se tenir en personne au cours de la semaine du 5 fevrier.  Vous trouverez la liste complète des écoles au www.emsb.qc.ca/reserve.

LAURÉATE DU PRIX D'HISTOIRE DU GG: ¨Pour son engagement exceptionnel à faire connaître l’histoire du Canada sous un angle nouveau, Chantal Clabrough, enseignante à l’école secondaire Westmount, a reçu l’un des Prix d’histoire du Gouverneur général pour l’excellence en enseignement – la plus haute distinction canadienne en histoire. Administrés par la Société Histoire Canada, ces prix récompensent et encouragent les enseignants et les écoles à viser l’excellence en enseignement de l’histoire canadienne. Cette année, cinq autres enseignants d’un bout à l’autre du pays ont reçu leur prix des mains de Son Excellence la très honorable Mary Simon, gouverneure générale du Canada, lors d’une cérémonie tenue récemment. « L’histoire est un précieux outil pour comprendre le monde qui nous entoure », de dire Melony Ward, présidente et directrice générale de la Société Histoire Canada. « Ces enseignants ont créé pour leurs élèves des occasions enrichissantes et stimulantes de faire des recherches, de se renseigner et de réfléchir sur le passé, tout en s’attardant à la façon dont il continue d’influencer notre présent. Leur engagement à favoriser une meilleure compréhension de l’histoire du Canada est à la fois inspirant et inestimable. »  Madame Clabrough a élaboré le projet commémoratif de l’école secondaire Westmount afin que ses élèves d’histoire de 4e secondaire puissent prendre part à la préservation de l’histoire de leur école. De 2014 à 2022, les élèves ont mené des recherches sur la vie de 141 anciens élèves de l’école secondaire Westmount qui ont perdu la vie au service du Canada pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale (1939-1945). Après avoir dépouillé des sources issues de l'école, de la Ville de Westmount, et des archives numériques nationales et internationales, les élèves ont créé les profils de chaque ancien élève tombé au combat. Ils ont ainsi pu raconter l’histoire de leur jeunesse, de leurs rêves et de leur vie en temps de guerre. Les biographies ont été publiées sur le site Web de l’école secondaire Westmount, à l’occasion du 150e anniversaire de la plus ancienne école publique anglophone du Québec. Info ici

DÉVOILEMENT D'UNE MURAL A DUNRAE GARDENS: Le personnel et les élèves de l'école primaire Dunrae Gardens de Ville Mont-Royal ont dévoilé une magnifique nouvelle murale sur la façade ouest de leur établissement lors d'une cérémonie tenue le 27 novembre, en présence d'invités spéciaux. En juin dernier, un vernissage a permis d’amasser près de 8 000 $ pour la création de la murale. Cet effort collectif a été rendu possible grâce à Michael Venditti, enseignant d'arts plastiques à Dunrae; aux directrices Cynthia Canale et Despina Michakis (actuellement en congé sabbatique); au personnel de Dunrae; à l'Association des familles de Dunrae Gardens; au commanditaire Decarie Motors; aux dons spéciaux de l’artiste montréalais Teetz, du muraliste WhatIsAdam et enfin grâce au soutien et à l’appui financier des parents et de la communauté pour cette cause.Le projet a vu le jour lorsque l'arbre qui recouvrait le mur de la façade ouest est tombé à la suite de la tempête de verglas en avril dernier. À partir de ce moment, des devis ont été négociés, des plans élaborés et des idées recueillies dans le but de créer plusieurs ébauches de la murale.La murale vise à illustrer les thèmes liés au programme STIAM (sciences, technologies, ingénierie, arts et mathématiques). Elle évoque l'esthétique florale de Ville Mont-Royal et confère un style intemporel et créatif à un bâtiment autrement terne.Le Montréalais et diplômé de la CSEM Adam Vieira, connu sous le pseudonyme Whatisadam, a travaillé sur ce projet en compagnie du personnel, des élèves et des parents. Il est reconnu pour ses grandes murales au Canada, aux États-Unis et en Grande-Bretagne. Il aura fallu plusieurs jours pour réaliser l'œuvre à l'aide d'un élévateur mécanique, de peinture en aérosol et de pochoirs.

TOUNDRA DE MONTRÉAL: Préparez-vous à plonger dans l’univers électrisant du basketball du Toundra de Montréal ! Notre saison 2024 débute le 6 janvier à 19 h au Centre Pierre-Charbonneau, juste à côté du Stade olympique. On a hâte de vous voir dans les gradins pour encourager l’équipe !Cet hiver, amenez toute la famille vivre la magie du sport. Profitez de notre offre spéciale — les enfants de moins de 12 ans entrent gratuitement ! C’est le moyen parfait de créer des souvenirs mémorables et de passer du bon temps tous ensemble. Les yeux de vos enfants s’illumineront en voyant leurs héros du basketball de près et en direct ! Les billets sont disponibles à partir de 10 $ seulement ! C’est votre chance de voir du basketball professionnel de haut niveau dans une enceinte remplie d’adeptes passionnés comme vous.Joignez-vous à nous pour célébrer l’esprit du basketball et de la communauté. C’est bien plus qu’un simple match ; c’est une expérience rassembleuse.Réservez vos places dès aujourd’hui sur mtltoundra.com/billets et participez à l’action la plus exaltante de l’hiver !Merci d’être les vrais champions de notre équipe. Nous avons hâte de vous voir au Centre Pierre-Charbonneau — là où chaque match raconte une nouvelle histoire et place chacun d’entre vous au cœur de l’action. 

ÉTATS FINANCIERS VÉRIFIÉS : Les états financiers vérifiés 2022-2023 de la CSEM ont été déposés lors de la réunion du conseil des commissaires du 7 novembre 2023. À l'exclusion de la subvention d'investissement du ministère comptabilisée en 2022-2023 pour financer l'impact de l’obligation liée à la mise hors service des immobilisations (OMHS) des années antérieures, qui s'applique à toutes les entités gouvernementales, les états affichent un excédent d'exploitation de 2,2 millions de dollars. La CSEM a de nouveau été en mesure de s’approprier (d’utiliser) le montant maximum du surplus accumulé au 30 juin 2021. En 2022-2023, le surplus s’établissait à 9,2 millions de dollars, lequel fut affecté au maintien des services qui profitent directement aux élèves, notamment les investissements continus dans diverses initiatives.

NOUVELLE DIRECTRICE RÉGIONALE : Darlene Kehyayan a été nommée au poste de directrice régionale – Secteur est. Elle est présentement directrice adjointe des Ressources humaines chargée du dossier des enseignants. Mme Kehyayan, qui a travaillé comme directrice d'école, directrice adjointe et enseignante, succédera à Nathalie Lacroix, qui part à la retraite. 

PROJET DE LOI 23 : L'Association des commissions scolaires anglophones du Québec est satisfaite de l'entente conclue avec le ministre de l'Éducation, Bernard Drainville, sur l'adoption et l’application du projet de loi 23 : Loi modifiant principalement la Loi sur l'instruction publique et édictant la Loi sur l'Institut national d'excellence en éducation, pour le réseau des commissions scolaires anglophones. Le ministre Drainville a déposé un amendement au projet de loi 23. S’il était adopté, certains articles du projet de loi 23 relatifs à la gouvernance des commissions scolaires anglophones ne seraient pas appliqués par suite de notre déclaration, au  ministre, qu’ils violent clairement l'article 23 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. « Nous soutenons que ces articles du projet de loi 23 sont inconstitutionnels. Or, nous sommes satisfaits de l'entente conclue avec le ministre selon laquelle ces articles du projet de loi 23 ne seront pas mis en vigueur pour nos commissions scolaires », d’affirmer Joe Ortona, président de la CSEM et de l'ACSAQ. « Bien que de nombreuses personnes aient convenu que le projet de loi 23 était clairement inconstitutionnel, notamment pour les non-ayants droit en vertu de l'article 23, le gouvernement a refusé d’en faire autant. Il importe donc de reconnaître que le ministre fait un pas significatif quant à l’article 23 et au droit de la minorité anglophone de gérer et de contrôler son système scolaire. Aurions-nous préféré être complètement exemptés? Absolument, mais il s’agit d’un pas dans la bonne direction en ce qui nous concerne », de conclure le président.

Vidéo sur CPAM Radio où M. Ortona discute du plus récent recours judiciaire intenté par la CSEM contre le projet de loi 96 

RAPPORT ANNUEL: Avis public a été donné, en conformité avec l'article 220.1 de la Loi sur l'instruction publique, que le Rapport annuel 2022-2023 et le Plan d'engagement vers la réussite de la commission scolaire ont été déposés lors de la réunion ordinaire du conseil du 19 décembre 2023 et seront présentés le 23 janvier 2024 à 19 h, au Centre de carrières St. Pius X situé au 9955, avenue Papineau à Montréal.

ÉPREUVES DE MI-ANNÉE : Un ajustement au calendrier scolaire de la CSEM s'est avéré nécessaire en raison de l'interruption des services causée par les journées de grève. Après mûre réflexion et discussions avec les directions d'école, il a été décidé de ne pas administrer les épreuves de mi-année de la commission scolaire en janvier 2024. Il est à noter, toutefois, que cela n'empêche aucunement les enseignants de tenir des évaluations en classe. Cette décision vise ainsi à fournir au personnel enseignant plus de temps pour permettre aux élèves de se concentrer sur leurs apprentissages, sans avoir à se préoccuper des épreuves imminentes de mi-année. 

CALENDRIERS : Les calendriers des secteurs jeunes et adultes de la CSEM ont été adoptés pour l'année scolaire 2024-2025. La rentrée des classes se fera le 29 août. Le congé des Fêtes aura lieu du 23 décembre au 6 janvier. La relâche scolaire est prévue du 3 au 7 mars et le dernier jour de classe sera le 20 juin.


NOUVEAUX PROGRAMMES À LA FORMATION PROFESSIONNELLE: Face à la pénurie de main-d’œuvre dans l’industrie de la construction, le ministère de l’Éducation du Québec (MEQ) a accordé aux commissions scolaires la possibilité d’offrir des programmes supplémentaires à la formation professionnelle. Au début de l’année 2024, la CSEM ajoutera des programmes en charpenterie (AEP – Attestation d’études professionnelles), en électricité (DEP – Diplôme d’études professionnelles) et en chauffage et plomberie (DEP – Diplôme d’études professionnelles). Ces formations seront dispensées sous l’égide du Centre de technologie Rosemont et se tiendront à l’école secondaire Lester B. Pearson de Montréal-Nord. En effet, cette école est en train d’être réaménagée pour répondre aux exigences du programme. La CSEM a consulté le conseil d’établissement de l’école secondaire Lester B. Pearson, le conseil d’établissement du Centre de technologie Rosemont et le comité de parents de la CSEM. À l’heure actuelle, les Services d’éducation des adultes et de la formation professionnelle (EAFP) de la CSEM offrent des programmes en mécanique automobile, en ébénisterie, en esthétique, en cuisine professionnelle, en vente et voyage, en secrétariat, en assistance à la personne en établissement et à domicile, en assistance technique en pharmacie, en comptabilité, en infographie, en finition de meubles, et bien plus encore. « Le Québec a besoin de travailleurs qualifiés et nous sommes fiers d’aider la province à répondre à ces besoins », de s’exclamer Joe Ortona, président de la CSEM.

PROCEDE: L’Association provinciale des directeurs des services de l’éducation permanente, secteur anglophone (PROCEDE) a tenu une conférence au Centre de carrières St. Pius X, à Ahuntsic, le vendredi 10 novembre. PROCEDE a été créée en 1976 et soutient le développement et la prestation de formations à l’éducation des adultes, à la formation professionnelle ainsi que des services aux entreprises dans les neuf commissions scolaires anglophones du Québec. L’objectif de la conférence était d’aider les commissions scolaires membres à établir des ponts avec des représentants de l’industrie avec lesquels les commissions scolaires anglophones n’ont pas historiquement noué de partenariats. La journée a été organisée dans la foulée des récentes annonces du gouvernement provincial visant à moderniser la formation professionnelle et à intensifier les efforts pour contrer les pénuries de main-d’œuvre dans divers secteurs, notamment dans les métiers de la construction. Des représentants des organismes suivants étaient présents à cette occasion : Commission des partenaires du marché du travail (CPMT); Comité sectoriel de main-d’œuvre (CSMO); Fédération des centers de services scolaires du Québec (FCSSQ); commissions scolaires anglophones du Québec (CS anglophones); ministère de l’Éducation du Québec (MEQ); Comité consultatif québécois des personnes d’expression anglaise (CCQEA); Table ronde provinciale sur l’emploi (PERT); Centre de services scolaires du Québec (CSS); Société de formation à distance (SOFAD); Centre d’élaboration des moyens d’enseignement du Québec (CEMEQ). Le président de la CPMT, Jean Lortie, s’est adressé à l’auditoire et a présenté quelques-uns des enjeux stratégiques du marché du travail, comme la productivité, la transition verte et la transformation numérique, pour n’en citer que quelques-uns, tout en illustrant l’écosystème dans lequel nous travaillons tous ensemble. 

Le prochain numéro de Pleins feux sur Fielding sera publié le 23 janvier 2024. Prière de soumettre vos articles au plus tard le 19 janvier à mcohen@emsb.qc.ca.

The next Focus newsletter will be published on January 23, 2024. Deadline for submissions is January 19 to mcohen@emsb.qc.ca 

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