Monday 3 June 2024

Celebrating a Lifetime of Dedication: Alexandra Zorbas and Her Legacy at Westmount Park Elementary

By Rachel Campbell

Student Intern, Marketing

In the heart of our community lies a beacon of dedication and passion, Alexandra Zorbas, a beloved kindergarten teacher at Westmount Park Elementary School. Her journey with the school is a testament to her unwavering commitment to education and her deep-rooted connection to this school, spanning over 50 years.

Ms. Zorbas's relationship with Westmount Park Elementary began in kindergarten, with her siblings also attending the school. After graduating from here and Westmount High School, she pursued a Bachelor of Education at Concordia University. Returning to Westmount Park Elementary as a student teacher for two stages during her program solidified her bond with the school.

Ms. Zorbas and some of her students.

In late August 1990, just after graduating, Ms.  Zorbas received a call from the principal, Paul Saunders, offering her a   position to replace a teacher on maternity leave. This marked the beginning of her over 30-year uninterrupted career at Westmount Park.

Reflecting on her student days, Ms. Zorbas fondly remembers lunchtime home visits and watching "The Flintstones" before racing back to school. Influential teachers like Carolyn Singman inspired her to become a teacher. She returned to Westmount Park for her teaching stages, drawn to the school's diversity and the challenges of an inner-city environment, feeling a strong desire to make a difference in students' lives.

One memorable teaching stage experience involved a lesson with Grade 5 students using hammers, which taught her the importance of respecting cooperating teachers' boundaries. Ms.  Zorbas's teaching approach has been greatly influenced by her own teachers' dedication and care, and she finds great fulfillment in her career, especially in teaching multiple generations of families.

Among her proudest achievements was an exchange program with a Russian school in the early 1990s, allowing Grade 5 and 6 students to visit Moscow shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This cultural exchange was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that brought two different worlds together.

Ms.  Zorbas attributes much of her personal and professional growth to Westmount Park Elementary School, valuing the numerous workshops and professional development opportunities she has participated in over the years. She cherishes the friendships and professional relationships formed through her connection to the school.

Over the years, Westmount Park Elementary has seen many changes, yet some things remain constant. The school still looks much the same from the outside, though it has been significantly renovated inside. The school has transitioned from the Protestant School Board to the EMSB, and its population has fluctuated, but it remains a Core English school. Ms.  Zorbas is proud of the school's enduring strength and its ability to adapt and thrive.

As Ms. Zorbas continues her remarkable career, the Westmount Park Elementary community celebrates her contributions and the legacy she has built. Her story is a powerful reminder of the impact one dedicated individual can have on a community. Miss Zorbas is not just a teacher; she is a mentor, a guide, and an inspiration to all who have the privilege of knowing her.

Tuesday 16 January 2024


If your child does not take the school bus OR if your child takes an adapted or  another transportation vehicle provided by Transco (#900 – 984), Séguibus inc, Autobus Beaconsfield or Taxi Leblanc, this message is NOT for you. 

We wish  to inform you that the Transco Bus Company and its Drivers still have not reached an agreement.  

Please note that the strike may cause an increase in traffic circulation around the school. We ask that you please be extra vigilant and safety-conscious in the school zone when dropping-off or picking-up your child(ren). 

Your cooperation during this time is much appreciated.  If you have any questions, please contact the administration of your child’s school. 

Yours truly, 
Transportation Division 
English Montral School Board 

Tuesday 31 October 2023

"My Montreal" Conference to feature media personalities, singer Brittany Kennell, educators and more on Nov. 27

Perspectives I & II  Alternative High Schools ( 7770 20th Avenue)  in St. Michel will host a special inspiring event called  “My Montreal” conference on Monday, November 27. 

Christina Capobianco

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, is 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 will 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.  

Vince Lacroce

The program will unfold via  sessions  at  9:30 am , 10:30 am, 11:15 am and 12:40 pm.  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 will have an opportunity to participate in four simultaneous conferences and conversations around the school.

“We are truly honoured to have so many community members from various walks of life support this initiative,"  said Mr. Lacroce. "They will share their personal journeys, emphasizing the importance of resilience, determination, and perseverance in achieving their goals. They will lead discussions on topics such as leadership, community involvement, and the importance of education, and encouraging students to become active participants in their own development.”

The presenters will be paired up to provide their perspectives on life and providing support and a voice for others in need.

Cousin Vinny

Session 1: Laura Casella (Morning Anchor at Global Television and radio host on The Beat 92.5), Cousin Vinny (Morning Host on Virgin Radio), Alexandru Sorin (Canadian Olympic Athlete), and Brittany Kennell (Canadian Country Music Singer). 

Brittany Kennell

Session 2: André Durocher (Retired Head of Communications Department of Montreal Police Force), Sandro Piscitelli ( Montreal Firefighter from Caserne 50  | Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie), and Pamela Pagano-City News Reporter and EMSB East End Schools Media Advisor.

Session 3: Johnathan Sbrollini (Founder of Camp Lift), Sgt. Eric Washburn (Member of the Canadian Grenadier Guards), and Dwight Walton former Canadian Olympic Basketball Player and newly appointed General Manager of the Los Angeles Ignite Basketball Team and Sabrina Marandola (Award-winning Journalist and host of CBC’s Let’s Go! with Sabrina Marandola).

Session 4: Anthony Pecoraro (Artist (Teetz) Perspectives High School Alumni), Lee Terki Artist (Jazz musician and Perspectives High School Alumni), Lina Heid, 27, Program Coordinator, Youth Mentor, and Founder of "A Mindful You" 

For more information, please contact Spiritual and Community Animator Vince Lacroce at .

Thursday 5 October 2023

Royal Vale's Truth and Reconciliation Committee marks Orange Shirt Day

Royal Vale School's hallways and classrooms were full of orange t-shirts on Friday September 29. That is because the school's  Truth and Reconciliation Committee prepared age appropriate videos for all grades (K-11) that were shown in every classroom Friday morning. 

All classes were provided with Every Child Matters stickers so that the entire Royal Vale community could show its solidarity with the victims and Survivors or residential schools. Across all grade levels and subjects, and throughout the week, different activities ranging from art activities, reading comprehensions, interactive Google maps, library installations, learning stations and classroom discussions helped students understand the historical events of residential schools as well as the ongoing impacts they have on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities. 

The RVS Truth and Reconciliation Committee installed a new Survivors’ Flag alongside their existing installation recognizing the Royal Vale community’s ongoing commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. The Survivors’ Flag was created by the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation in collaboration with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Survivor’s of residential schools. The flag contains many symbolic elements pertaining to Survivors as well as wider Indigenous culture. It is the goal of the RVS Truth and Reconciliation Committee to use each of these symbolic elements as a theme to guide their learning each year as the school continues to mark Truth and Reconciliation Week as well as Orange Shirt Day. Their larger project, which they are currently working on, is collaborating with an Indigenous artist and students to create a mural based on these symbolic elements in a multi-year art project. 

In addition, RVS Truth and Reconciliation Committee and Royal Vale staff will also be engaging in their own professional development on the topic of residential schools. Specifically, they plan to look at how teachers can help achieve the Calls to Action outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report on the topic of education and how to deal with hard questions by embracing a culture of humility.

The RVS Truth and Reconciliation Committee are very thankful for the support of the administration, staff, and entire Royal Vale community for embracing Truth and Reconciliation Week. It is the Committee’s hope that as the community continues to be open to learning about our past, that Truth and Reconciliation Week will also be a time to think critically about the injustices Indigenous people face today that prevent reconciliation and also be a celebration of the vibrant cultures that exist today all across Canada. 



Thursday 29 June 2023

Special Report: Balanced budget adopted; appointment of principals and vice-principals - La CSEM a adopté un budget équilibré


On June 29, 2023, the Council of Commissioners of the English Montreal School Board adopted a balanced budget, with revenues of just over  $410  million for the 2023-2024 academic year.

As permitted by Budgetary Rules, the EMSB has included in next year’s budget the equivalent of 15 percent of the adjusted June 30, 2022 accumulated surplus.  This will allow the board to benefit from an amount of  $8,956,113 of additional funds.


Le 29 juin 2023, le conseil des commissaires de la Commission scolaire English-Montréal (CSEM) a adopté un budget équilibré, dont les revenus atteindront un peu plus de 410 millions de dollars pour l'année scolaire 2023-2024.Tel que permis par les règles budgétaires, la CSEM a inclus dans son budget de l'an prochain l'équivalent de 15 % du surplus accumulé ajusté au 30 juin 2022. La commission scolaire sera ainsi à même de bénéficier de fonds supplémentaires totalisant 8 956 113 $.


A number of administrative appointments have been made for the 2023-24 academic year.


Returning from sabbaticals and to their former schools are: Carmen Nicolas (Willingdon Elementary School in NDG) and David Lee (Gerald McShane Elementary School in Montreal North). Resuming her role as Principal at St. Monica Elementary School in NDG is Silvana Crigna.

Civita Tudino (third from the left) at  Teacher Award ceremony in May.

Schools getting new Principals are:  John Caboto Academy in Ahuntsic, Sonia Marotta (previously at Honoré Mercier in St. Léonard); Honoré-Mercier, Patrizia  Tummillo (previously at John Caboto); FACE School,  Angela Vaudry, (previously at Royal West Academy and on sabbatical this past year); Dunrae Gardens Elementary in TMR,  Cynthia Canale (previously vp at East Hill in RDP);  and James Lyng Adult Education Centre in St.Henri,  Tina Spiridigliozzi (previously vp at Laurier Macdonald Career Centre). Retiring is Civita Tudino from James Lyng Adult Education Centre. Taking a sabbatical is Despina Michakis at Dunrae Gardens. 


Andrea Dillon


Schools getting new vice-principals are Carlyle Elementary in TMR, Mario Benvenuto (previously vp at Michelangelo International in RDP);Nesbitt Elementary in Rosemount, Miranda Serrecchia (previously vp at Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Léonard); Royal Vale in NDG, Jessica Monti (previously vp at Pierre de Coubertin Elementary in St. Léonard);  Pierre de Coubertin, Lisa Triestino (previously vp at LaurenHill Academy in St. Laurent);  LaurenHill Academy, Alex Kulczyk (previously replacement principal at Gerald McShane) and Andrea Dillon (previously vp at James Lyng High School); FACE School,  Jennifer Harriet (previously replacement principal at this school); Parkdale Elementary in St. Laurent, Jennifer Martins (previously vp at  LaurenHill Academy);  James Lyng High School, Cristina Voggas  (previously vp at Honoré-Mercier and on sabbatical this past year);  Wagar Adult Education Centre in Côte Saint-Luc, Bernard Osei-Asamoah (previously vp at this school); Galileo Adult Education Centre in Montreal North, Antoinette Scrocca (previously vp at St. Pius X Community Schools);  St. Pius X Community Schools, Danica Lewington (previously acting principal at Wagar); St. Laurent Adult Education Centre, Peter Byron (previously vp at Laurier Macdonald Career Centre); Rosemount Technology Centre,  Danny Midlash (previously a teacher at Laurier Macdonald Career Centre); Laurier Macdonald Career Centre,  Réal Heppelle (previously vp at Rosemount Technology Centre);  Lester B. Pearson High School,  Christina di Sorbo (previously a teacher at Vincent Massey Collegiate); Willingdon Elementary, Peter McKelvie (previously replacement principal at St. Monica) and Westmount Park Elementary School,  Chrisoula Pappas (continuing as replacement vp).

"Pride" at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School.


The English Montreal School Board embraced Pride Month in June, with a number of schools organizing activities.

See our full story here.


 La Commission scolaire English-Montréal (CSEM) a souligné le Mois de la fierté en juin avec diverses activités organisées dans certaines écoles.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Happy Holidays from the EMSB and some "Inspirations" /Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année 2023


INSPIRATIONS: It’s here and ready to be shared! Montreal’s only special needs newspaper, promoting inclusion and accessibility. And we’ve expanded! Now, get more with every edition of Inspirations, as we incorporate mental health and wellness into our mandate. In this edition, you’ll meet two special teachers at Parkdale Elementary School, plus inspiring individuals. You can read the full edition by clicking here.

Inspirations est une publication semi-annuelle, à but non lucratif qui couvre les défis et les réalisations d’enfants et d’adultes aux besoins particuliers. En tant que seule publication anglophone couvrant les besoins particuliers (avec contenu accru et distribution en français) pour la région du Grand Montréal et des environs, Inspirations comble un grand besoin. 


Tuesday 8 November 2022

Practicing flex-time in the Adult Education language classroom

 By Anna Panunto

In general, one can agree that perception of time can create the biggest clashes among people.  As an Adult Education teacher, the world enters my classroom.

 Although this is a culturally enriching experience, the challenge has always been   having my adult learners conform to North America’s linear time culture as “learners.”  What does it mean to be punctual and to respect deadlines?  Most of my students come from a Flex-time culture and this means that in their native countries, time is elastic and so delays are not only anticipated but also, tolerated.  The notion of “late” is not punishable as it is here in North America. Now, having been an adult educator for over 20 years, this has been my greatest challenge in the classroom. My perception of time is rigid and this is due to my learned behaviour as a North American.

 Late assignments in the 1980’s and 1990’s  were punished and not even accepted at times. Class attendance was mandatory and punctuality was not only expected, but demanded as a sign of respect.   For example, an 8:30  am class, was exactly that and the teacher began to lecture at 8:35am. In an Adult Education language  class, that is  usually not the case.  An Adult Education  teacher has to anticipate that students may trickle in late  and plan his or her class accordingly. Over the years, I  learned to adapt to  a  flex time culture and found innovative  ways to still have an effective and efficient class without relying on a rigid time schedule.  People coming from a linear time schedule ( North Americans)  follow a time table and time is of the essence. We define success by how productive we are with” time.”   But, what does being productive really mean?  In a Flex time schedule, time is perceived differently and so, the notion of what conduces a successful class is also perceived differently.  So, perception of time equals different notions of success.

In a Flex time culture, people capitalize on priorities and the changing needs of the students as it comes.  For instance, a student in the class may have an urgent matter that he or she would need help on and so, the content of what has to be learned in the classroom on that day, needs to be compromised. Over the last two decades I learned how to organize a class  with an in between type of schedule that I  like to call, Flex-linear schedule. This means that students for instance, have a 48 to 72  hour time frame to submit assignments.  The daily agenda of the class has also changed over the years. I never start teaching new material in the first 30 minutes. 

 Reviewing learned material in creative ways has become the goal in ensuring student success. Bear in mind that most language classes allow teachers this  opportunity  and this may not be the case for other subject areas.   What has also worked beautifully in almost all of my language classes has been allocating   15 to 30 minutes of class time to freestyle discussions – whatever the need may be on that particular day.  Over the years, I discovered  that  adults do not like to be rushed into  the learning process. Putting pressure on them to learn this and that by this specific date has not always resulted in student success. Hence, a teacher’s course outline  also needs to have some flexibility. 

I have learned over the years to prioritize core content (what needs to taught at that level according to the school curriculum) in accordance to space content ( what needs to be taught in that particular class environment) . For example, one can teach an Advanced  E.S.L  class  in variation – ie:  depending on the number of students,  linguistic ability of the students , particular socio-cultural needs of the students, etc …  Moreover, adults, need a safe haven  to express their daily challenges as parents,  spouses, adult children, employees, etc…   The socio-economic pressures of the outside North-American world – where linear time is enforced upon them  on a daily basis . This in itself has a tremendous impact on their notion of success as income earners and  learners.  

All this to say, that an Adult Education language class becomes a mid-way point  to North American adaptation. The teacher allowing this fluidity of time gives students the opportunity to breathe a little bit and gradually process   the North American monochronic culture wherein scheduling and appointments consume the daily lives of all adults. 

Anna Panunto was born and raised in Montreal.  She completed her Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Educational Studies, both at McGill University. She is of Italian origin and speaks three languages: English, French, and Italian.  Anna is an Adult Education teacher at HSM Adult Education Centre and freelance writer by profession. She has been a course lecturer at McGill University and an Adult Education teacher at the EMSB for over 20 years.

Celebrating a Lifetime of Dedication: Alexandra Zorbas and Her Legacy at Westmount Park Elementary

By Rachel Campbell Student Intern, Marketing In the heart of our community lies a beacon of dedication and passion, Alexandra Zorbas, a belo...