Thursday, 27 June 2019

Transfer of Schools, Major School Change, EMSB budget and Willingdon podcasts

TRANSFER OF SCHOOLS: EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini is deeply disappointed with the decision by Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge’s  to transfer two school buildings – John Paul I Junior High and General Vanier in St. Léonard – to the Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Ile (CSPI). Gerald McShane Elementary School in Montreal North will not be transferred. As requested by the Minister, a copy of the letter explaining his decision has been transmitted to parents and staff of the three schools. Ms. Mancini has announced that a Town Hall meeting only for parents, administrators and Governing Board members from John Paul I and General Vanier will take place next Tuesday evening, July 2 at Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Léonard. At that meeting a contingency plan will be presented. Please read our full press release and the letter from the Minister.

MAJOR SCHOOL CHANGE: The EMSB has formally launched its first Major School Change consultation since 2012 in an effort to assist two French school boards in need of more space for their students. A number of scenarios involving possible school mergers and relocations in the East End have been proposed by the EMSB Long Range Planning Committee. These will now go out for consultation. Schools identified will be asked to present briefs in December, with hearings scheduled for January 2020 followed by a special board meeting to vote on the proposals with any changes to take effect on July 1, 2020. A second Major School Change consultation  may be launched in the spring of 2020. The document will soon be posted on the EMSB website. However, in light of the Minister's decision, some adjustments may be necessary.

EMSB ADOPTS BALANCED BUDGET: On June 26 the EMSB Council of Commissioners adopted a balanced budget for the 2019-2020 academic year.  The Council is pleased to highlight that, according to the budgetary rules, the EMSB has included in next year’s budget, the equivalent of 15 percent of the adjusted June 30, 2018 accumulated surplus.  This will allow the board to benefit from an amount of close to $7.3 million in additional operating monies to support the educational projects in all EMSB schools and centres next year.   Approximately 20 percent of this amount ($1.3 million) will be allocated directly to schools and centres to support local projects and initiatives. Another $1.7 million is invested in direct services to students and for various educational initiatives to support various programs in partnership with the schools and centres. An amount of $2 million is reserved for costs related to relocation of students and expansion of space related to the use of our school buildings.

WILLINGDON EXPANSION: There has been a lot of excitement at Willingdon Elementary School in NDG in recent months as they prepare for the introduction of the Senior Campus. It will debut on Coronation Avenue in September for students in Grades 5 and 6. Meanwhile, Westmount Park Elementary School will close for two years for renovations. Students will be relocated to facilities in Ville Emard and at the Marymount Academy International campus in NDG. Veteran broadcaster Suzanne Desautels has prepared some fantastic podcasts (short radio shows) on the moves. They make for great listening.

Please click on these links.

Students spend some time at their new campus

Suzanne visits Westmount Park Elementary School staff and students on the eve of their move

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

EMSB Adopts 2018-19 budget with $6.6 million in additional operating monies

EMSB BUDGET:  On June  27 the EMSB Council of Commissioners adopted a balanced budget for the   2018-2019 school year.  The Council is pleased to highlight that, according to the Budgetary Rules, the EMSB has included in next year’s budget, the equivalent of 15 percent of the adjusted June 30, 2017 accumulated surplus.  This will allow the board to benefit from an amount of close  $6.6 million in additional operating monies to support the educational projects in all EMSB schools and centres next year.   Approximately 20 percent of this amount ($1.3 million)  will be allocated directly to schools and centres to support local projects and initiatives. Another $1.5 million is invested in direct services to students, and $1.3 million will be allocated via the service departments of the board for various educational initiatives and to support various programs in partnership with the schools and centres.  The Board will be determining the most appropriate and effective use of the non-allocated amount of  $1.3 million at the beginning of the  2018-2019 academic year to further support schools and centres in their educational missions.

ROBOCUP: Over 4,000 humans and 5,000 robots from 35 countries gathered in Montreal for the 22nd RoboCup International Competition and Symposium at the Palais des congrès de Montréal from June 18 to June 21 (Competition) and June 22 (Symposium).   RoboCup is the world’s largest international competition for intelligent and autonomous robots. The RoboCup Federation and RoboCup communities worldwide inspire students from all ages and more importantly research to excel in the industries of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math through robotics. It fosters talent in fully autonomous robotics, machine learning and every programming language. Both RoboCupJunior and Major competitors competed in the following leagues: Entertainment OnStage; CoSpace Simulation; Rescue; Soccer; Industrial; Manufacturing; Virtual Simulation; @Home; and @Work Logistics. The EMSB played a very prominent role in this year’s RoboCup International as an important event partner.  Five EMSB teams competed, with thousands of students who visited the site and attended professional development at the Innovation Summit during the week: Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary and Vincent Massey Collegiate in Rosemount, Dalkeith Elementary in Anjou, Merton Elementary in Côte Saint-Luc and Cedarcrest Elementary in St. Laurent.  There were 12 Canadian teams competing in the International RoboCupJunior leagues and three RoboCup Major League teams. The EMSB’s Science, Technology and Robotics Consultant, Sara Iatauro served as the RoboCup International 2018 General Chair. Cedarcrest won the Team Spirit Award.

DIRECTOR OF MATERIAL RESOURCES: Mario Cardin (right) will succeed Daniel Hogue as Director of Material Resources. Mr. Hogue, who is also the project manager for the new Mackay Centre/Philip E. Layton complex in NDG, will be retiring soon.

DI FILIPPO MOVES ON: Luigi Di Filippo is leaving his post as Assistant Director of Educational and Technology Services to work for Bombardier.

DIRECTOR OF SCHOOL ORGANIZATION: Sandra Leveille, presently the
Sandra Leveille
Principal of St. Dorothy Elementary School in St. Michel, has been appointed as the new EMSB Director of School Organization. As such she will be responsible for the dossiers of BASE Daycare, registration, transportation and international students.

ENROLMENT: For the EMSB enrolment in the youth sector increased by 200 this year to 19,120. Projects for 2018-19 see that number growing to 19,550. There are more than 23,000 in the EMSB adult sector.

Jacques Rougeau and his championship belts at Hampstead School.
ROUGEAU AT HAMPSTEAD SCHOOL: Legendary former Quebec wrestler Jacques Rougeau brought his anti-bullying program to an English school for the first time on June 22. Rougeau was at Hampstead Elementary School on the last day of class where he delivered his message focusing on bullying, leadership, the importance of sports, staying in school and saying no to smoking and drugs. He has been visiting French schools for the past 18 years.  On Saturday night    August 18,  he will be presenting his very last family show entitled “Le Dernier Chapitre Père et Fils” and it will be taking place at  IGA Stadium in Montreal (Jarry Park).  The objective will be to help the youth by focusing on eliminating ``bullying`` in the schools of  Quebec.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

EMSB to make vacant school building available for refugees

MONTREAL, AUGUST 3, 2017 -   The English Montreal School Board has responded to an urgent request from the Centre intégré universitaire de santé  et de service sociaux (CIUSSS) du Centre-Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, which is responsible for immigration resettlement on the island of Montreal.

On a daily basis, refugees are crossing the border into Canada from the United States and appropriate shelters are in serious shortage. The CIUSS and Ministry of Education have asked school boards if they can help.

The EMSB has responded to this urgent request by allowing a vacant school to be used as a shelter. The building, located on Henri Julien and Cremazie, will be donated temporarily to this cause for a period of up to one year as the EMSB's contribution to this crisis situation. Work will begin soon to prepare the building for its new occupants.

EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini noted that the Board is presently closed for the usual two week summer break, but many directors and staff are working to respond to this call for help.  "I am pleased that we that we will be able to assist," said  Ms. Mancini. "We all want to do our part to help families who need a roof over their heads. At present, the former St. Raphael School building is empty and not being used by our EMSB community.  So we are pleased to be able to allow the Red Cross to use it for the good of others."

Friday, 30 June 2017

Special Edition of the EMSB Update for June 30, 2017

EMSB BUDGET:  On June 28 the EMSB Council of Commissioners adopted a balanced budget for the 2017-18 school year.  The Council is pleased to highlight that, according to the Budgetary Rules, the EMSB has included in next year’s budget, the equivalent of 15 percent of  the adjusted June 30, 2016 accumulated surplus.  This will allow the board to benefit from an amount of approximately five ($5) million dollars in additional operating monies to support the educational projects in all EMSB schools and centres next year.  Over one-third of this surplus amount ($1.7 million) will be allocated directly to schools and centres to support local projects and initiatives.  Another $600,000 will be allocated via the service departments of the board for various educational initiatives in partnership with the schools and centres.  The Board will be determining the most appropriate and effective use of the non-allocated amount of $2 million at the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year to further support schools and centres in their educational missions.

LIBRARIAN RETIRES: Deborah Novack may be accustomed to turning pages in treasured texts, but the precious chapter she concluded June 2017 covers 29 significant years as a librarian at Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Leonard.  As a working mother of two daughters, one in medical school and the other a recent graduate of UBC, she empathizes with mothers juggling households and careers.

Deborah Novack
Ms. Novack credits her mother, a school librarian for telling her to take typing lessons in the 1970s in order to assume a summer job preparing the library for the fall term. Those were the days before personal computers, the Internet, social media and smart phones; therefore, touch typing proficiency was essential. When it came time for university, Novack applied for law and library science at McGill. She opted for library school because they accepted her first. “After a year of library studies, I was hooked,” recalls Novack. She attained a Master’s degree in Library Science from McGill University in 1981 and subsequently served as librarian in various elementary and high schools under La Commission Scolaire Jêrome Le-Royer (now part of the English Montreal School Board).  

“The tools are different today and students have a lot more ways to access information but the challenge is to teach them to do more research than simply turn to Google or Wikipedia,” she said, alluding to the importance of seeking truth, referring to multiple texts and respecting Intellectual Property. “They must be knowledgeable because it takes a critical eye to evaluate the material, not just copy and paste. The catch phrase today is alternate truth and it’s so easy to fall into it.” 

YA WRITERS CONTEST: The winners of YA Media’s YA Writers Contest were announced at a red carpet event on Sunday, June 25  at the Leonardo Da Vinci Center in St. Leonard. Students from the EMSB and the Lester B. Pearson School Board attended to celebrate their story-writing talents. YA Magazine’s YA Writers Contest invited students from Grades 1 to 11 sfrom the EMSB and LBPSB to submit handwritten, original, illustrated stories that were no longer than 12 pages, to Giancarlo Mirabelli, YA Magazine editor and teacher, and Carolyn Flower, published author and head of Entrerprises Global. Of the 1,000 entries submitted, 40 students from three grade categories at each school board were selected as finalists. These students were invited to attend the gala, walk the glamorous red carpet, and enjoy the award ceremony hosted by local comedian Guido Grasso. 

Winners from John Paul I Junior High School showcase their certificates.
Winners from the EMSB were: Sara Lijoi, Grade 4 (Dante School); Thomas Proctor, Grade 4 (Gardenview); Neve Leblanc, Grade 3 (Royal Vale); Sydney Schnurbach, Grade 4 (Merton); Jaime Kunin, Grade 4 (Merton); Clara Dilazzaro, Grade 6 (Leonardo Da Vinci); Gianna D'Amico, Grade 5; Liem Yiep, Grade 5 (Willingdon);  Sandro Lijoi, Grade 6 (Dante); Alyssa Guaragna, Grade 6 (East Hill); Jenny Gagne, (JFK); Cecile Castro, Grade 10 (John F. Kennedy); Erica Nudo, Grade 8 (John Paul I); Alexander Meleras, Grade 9 (Royal West Academy); Cosimo Nicita, Grade 7 (John Paul I). Stories were judged by Concordia students, journalism professionals and literary experts. The winningstories will be compiled in an e-book titled Ya! Storybook, which will be available worldwide on Amazon in November. Congratulations to these soon-to-be-published authors. See our photo album from the ceremony.

UNIVERSAL WASHROOM: An official ribbon cutting ceremony took place at Lester B. Pearson High School (LBPHS) of the EMSB in Montreal North on June 19 for  the inauguration of its universal washroom.

Celebrating the launch of the Universal Washroom.
Lester B. Pearson High School’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) student members worked in collaboration with Principal Joseph Vitantonio and Guidance Counsellor Natasha Krsteski to provide students with a washroom that is accessible to all.This unique new washroom is gender neutral and universally accessible. It includes two stalls, one of which is wheelchair accessible. It was important for the students to make this washroom as comfortable as possible. “School is our second home. Everyone should feel safe,” shared LBPHS student and GSA member Sonia. This thoughtfully planned washroom is also a place to learn and share. On the sink counter rests a rack of pamphlets that inform on relevant topics, from sexual orientation to contraception. A poster in one of the stalls sends a message about changing the way people are treated online, and encourages students to post positive messages.

The entrance door to the universal washroom is beautifully painted with stars and planets, thanks to art teacher Ms. Koranteng. A plaque hangs beside the door indicating the washroom is accessible to men, women, and has wheelchair access. This information is provided in Braille on the plaque. EMSB Regional Director Evelyn Alfonsi was thanked by Principal Vitantonio for providing the funding for the universal washroom.  EMSB Vice- Chair and Commissioner Sylvia Lo Bianco and Spiritual, Religious and Moral Education Consultant Frank Lofeodo were present for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Guests all enjoyed a reception to celebrate this important accomplishment.

Showcasing their new community garden.
WILLINGDON'S 375 PROJECT:  To mark Montreal’s 375th anniversary, Grade 6 students at Willingdon Elementary School in N.D.G., along with science specialist Dr. Kathleen Usher and Urban Planning student Myriam Fakhri, embarked on a project that spoke to the needs of the school and surrounding community. Called Design 375 and funded by Youth Fusion, students chose to install benches, bike racks, plant a community garden and trees as well as paint two murals with welcoming messages of peace and hope. Neighbours can now use the lovely benches to read or picnic under the shady canopy of the apple and birch trees. Students can arrive at school and enjoy the colourful mural as they stow their bicycle for the day, teachers can use the site as part of an outdoor classroom to read, draw, garden and enjoy, and parents can chat on the benches as they wait for their children at dismissal. Next year, the project will be expanded with the planting of native fruit bearing trees to help urban wildlife as well as the school’s colony of honey bees.  Principal Carmen Nicolas wishes   to thank Vice Principal Vito Guererro and the Grade 6 teachers for their help ensuring the project was completed by the end of the school year. 

Pierre Elliott Trudeau staff and students with Johnny the Robot.
ROBOCUP LAUNCH: The City of Montreal will host the 22nd Robocup International Competition and Symposium  one year from now, June 15 to 22, 2018. EMSB Science and Technology Consultant Sara Iatauro is the local organizing committee chair.The RoboCup Federation, a distinguished non-profit research and development organization, annually hosts an international event with intelligent and autonomous cutting-edge robots developed by students world-wide. This federation is backed by industries, professionals and researchers from 35 countries who pioneer innovative new autonomous robotic and AI technologies. The Canadian RoboCup delegation is pleased to have been awarded their bid to host this prestigious event at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. This further  supports Canada’s position as a leader in AI and reinforces the government mandate to advance scientific research and innovations. At  the RoboCup International 2018 Montreal Canada Launch, several schools and universities will be showcasing their robot prototypes three of which will be competing in the RoboCup International 2017 event in Nagoya, Japan this summer. The EMSB qualifying schools in their RoboCup Leagues are:  Merton Elementary, Rescue JUNIOR League; Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary, OnStage JUNIOR League; and Royal West Academy, Soccer JUNIOR League.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau will be participating this summer in Nagoya, Japan. See this press release on the launch.

O CANADA WINNER: Congratulations to John Caboto Academy in Ahuntsic, winners of the Breakfast TV Montreal O Canada contest. See this link.

Having some fun in St. Laurent.
TAKING THE PLUNGE: St. Laurent Adult Centre Principal Daniela Lattanzio took the plunge to implement the theatre program as an option course for Academic Students. The program director, Lina Maiorano,  is relentless in preparing her students in a step by step program of study towards building a professional performance.  Students attended class every day for three months and all took the responsibility of being each other’s understudy and carried their own main role with pride.
The students performed four short plays written by Lina Maiorano and the themes covered were: Anti-Bullying; education is the road to success; not being in a relationship is okay; and correcting bad behavior. The audience was in awe and shared their positive feedback with the cast. Lina enjoyed sharing her knowledge of theatre with her students and is forever gratified to Ms. Lattanzio and the EMSB for allowing her to share her expertise.

Two Laurier Macdonald  Secondary V students won the  Fonds 1804 Bursaries for school perseverance: Vanessa Marzano and Alissia Gomes,  seen above with Vice-Principal Miranda Serrecchia.

CONCERT TO BENEFIT CATS AT WAGAR:The Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC) will hold its annual benefit concert on Tuesday, August 22 (7:30 p.m.) at the Syd Wise Auditorium (5785 Parkhaven) of the Wagar Adult Education Centre. Featured performers will be the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (, conducted by Joseph Milo. Noted soprano  Fairouz Oudjida  will  also present a solo performance The selection of music will be light classical pieces around the theme of Dance. Funds raised will go towards the CSLCC’s Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program. The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (MWSO) was founded in 2006 . This one of a kind orchestra is composed of 55 musicians: about 80 percent of its members are from 15 countries around the world, while the remaining 20 percent are natives of Montreal who successfully facilitated the integration of the newcomers. Tickets are only $12 each (tax included) and can be purchased now at the following locations: the main desk at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library (5851 Cavendish Boulevard); the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Avenue); and the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals (7930 Baily Road). Tickets can be purchased at the first two locations by credit and debit card or cash and cash only at the Animal Hospital.  You can also contact Mike Cohen at

Thursday, 16 February 2017

John Grant High School students create wonderful mural project on lockers and walls

Marie Francis, a teacher at John Grant High School in Côte Saint-Luc, says she wanted to get rid of the depressing “prison gray” walls in the building and instead  brighten up the school hallways and  do so in a creative way.

John Grant is a high school in the EMSB that targets students who have academic struggles or who have mild to severe intellectual impairments. It focuses on getting some students a Pre-Work Ministry Certification, instead of a high school diploma.

Ms. Francis assigned 21 of her students to create a mural along the lockers and walls of the hallway on the third floor of John Grant. Her student teacher, Sinthia Cousineau, took charge of this project and worked alongside artist Marcio Melo.

The John Grant mural project was carried out February 13 to 15.  Students were eager to work on this for three days and it built up their will to learn about the theme, aboriginal culture and art.

Part of the mural at John Grant High School (Photo credit: Eleni Giannakas)

Sara, a student partaking in this project, says, “My favourite part was brainstorming. This art and creativity comes out of our hearts.” She was very happy to talk about the project, showing me her favorite sections of the mural. Selena, Allison, and Maurine are students of Ms. Francis and are also working on the mural project. They all agree that they love it and they wish it could continue. All three girls liked different aspects of this mural such as painting, drawing, and designing.

Allison partaking in the mural production (Photo credit: Eleni Giannakas)

Mr. Melo, an architect by profession,  took part in this project. This added to the 170 murals he’s already done around Quebec. He moved from Brazil to Montreal to start his career and to follow his passion of art. “This projects allows everyone to collaborate and share space with each other,” he said. “The students can express themselves as they are in the present moment.”

The 21 students created beautiful murals across lockers and walls on the third floor. This will be a three-year production, as they will continue across the whole corridor to brighten up the lives of the students and their environment. They hope this will become a trend in schools so that everyone has a chance to express themselves creatively.

 “This mural project has a community collective impact,” says Ms. Cousineau, who despite only have been student teaching at John Grant for a few months has developed a close connection with her students and enjoys what they’re doing together.

Ms. Cousineau  jumped at the opportunity to do this mural and guided it towards Canadian aboriginal cultures. Ms. Francis agrees that this project is indeed wonderful for everyone.

Sinthia Cousineau, Marie Francis, and Marcio Melo (Photo credit: Eleni Giannakas)

You can view the mural in process video made by Sinthia Cousineau here:

Or visit her website:

Visit Marcio Melo's website: