Wednesday, 25 July 2012

JFK/JFKBC Update: January 2013 return now expected

Here is a memo from EMSB Director General Robert Stocker regarding the latest news on when sgtudents at John F. Kennedy High School and Business Centre can expect to return to their St. Michel facility:


Dear Parents and other Stakeholders,

Though the construction holidays and the concurrent EMSB shut down are upon us, the EMSB team has been working non-stop to try to move this project as quickly but as safely as possible.

In the last update, you may remember that we stated that a tender would be put on the SEAO on June 29
th with a July 16th closing. In fact, due to a small delay needed to prepare the tender, it was posted on July 2nd with a closing date of July 18th. We hoped that as stated in Update #3 that:

October 10th: Earliest date that the project will be completed. Should unforeseen problems arise the projected date of completion may be altered.

A work schedule of 6 weeks (plus 2 weeks for mobilisation) was envisioned to expedite the reintegration of staff and students back to the JFK facility. However, we did say that this was the earliest expected date. We also stated this timeline was dependent on having no unforeseen problems.

Six firms picked up the tender documents from the SEAO but only one firm bid on this project.

All legal protocol was followed to open this sole bid effectively on July 19, 2012.

This bid received from the firm for the amount of $5,555,900.00 (taxes included), was judged extraordinarily excessive with respect to the estimate prepared by the engineering firm mandated for this project.

The engineering firm was requested to repost this offering again on the SEAO (a second tender) upon the recommendation of administration and the Director General with the following changes which should generate more competitive and fair pricing:

This project has been put out to tender on July 20, 2012 with a closing date of August 20, 2012 (which includes construction holiday);


A 10 week work schedule was included versus our initial offering of 6 weeks (this change should alleviate the issue of available and qualified manpower for the contractors-Many potential contractors voiced concern that the original timeline was too tight and that the trained individuals who could carry out the work would be difficult to engage on the original timeline. You will also remember that we were trying to meet the request by parents and staff to return to the school as soon as possible by scheduling as tightly as possible).

Project to be completed no later than November 23, 2012;


November 23, 2012:
Earliest date that the project will be completed. Should unforeseen problems arise the projected date of completion may be altered.

January 7th, 2013: Student, staff of JFK High School and JFK Business Center will be able to conduct classes as normal if November 23rd date of completion is maintained.

We acknowledge that when we first met with you three days after the discovery of the asbestos, that at the time, our intention was to get you back into the facility before the start of the next school year. But as time progressed and we got more information from the experts it became clear that with the enormity of the task and with some of the unforeseen factors that it would not be possible. We are extremely disappointed that we could not get you ‘home’ for August as was our intention.

We continue to work tirelessly to have the facility ready as soon as possible. Until then, as promised we will keep you informed of any further developments as they occur.


R. A. Stocker

Director General


Saturday, 21 July 2012

EMSB responds to June 2012 exam results

Here is a memo prepared by Alessandra Furfaro, the Director of  Pedagogical Services for the English Montreal School Board, concerning the recent Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sports (MELS) June exams results.

This year, unlike past years, the marks on the June report cards for English Language Arts, French Second Language, Mathematics, Science and Technology as well as History are school marks only.  All Secondary IV students wrote MELS uniform exams in these courses in June.  The school mark and the exam mark are each worth 50% of the final mark appearing on the student’s Achievement Record. 

For the reasons specified below, the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) may use two procedures called conversion and moderation, which can affect final examination results. 


To ensure that the examinations are fair, the MELS endeavours to prepare examinations of comparable difficulty from one year to the next. 

Despite the customary precautions taken during the development of the examinations, abnormally high failure rates may occur. In this case, the MELS may either take corrective measures--for example, by removing a poorly worded question--or it may convert the results. Conversion is a procedure that involves raising all the scores of an examination slightly, thereby lowering the failure rate. In this respect, the first paragraph of section 470 of the Education Act stipulates that, "The Minister may, to avoid penalizing students unduly, revise the results obtained by them in the examinations he imposes, to compensate for any error or ambiguity in the examinations brought to his attention after they are taken." 


To ensure that all candidates are treated fairly, and in accordance with the Education Act, MELS strives to make marking as comparable and objective as possible. However, the marks given by different schools are not always comparable because evaluation policies vary widely from one school board to another, from school to school, and even from one teacher to another. In addition, the degree of difficulty of the various local examinations varies from one educational institution to another. It is within this context that MELS uses moderation. Moderation involves adjusting each student's school mark upward or downward, on the basis of a comparison between the average school mark of all the students in the same teacher-group and the average mark of the same group on the uniform examination. This moderated school mark is used to calculate the final mark.
It is important to note that moderation cannot result in the failure of any student who has obtained a pass mark both from the school and on the uniform examination.                                                                                                                                                                  
Final Mark

For the uniform examinations, the final marks are made up of the students' moderated school marks and their results (converted or not) on the June uniform examinations.

Processing error in the left column of the achievement record

An error has occurred in the section Unités acquises à l’égard des conditions supplémentaires pour le diplôme d’études secondaires J5, found on the left hand side of the achievement record.

Even though students may have obtained a mark of 60% or higher, no credits have been associated with either of the following courses:

-          555-444  (Science and Technology)
-          557-444 (Applied Science and Technology)
This is in the process of being rectified and a new achievement record will be issued as soon as possible.

Should any further information and/or clarification be required, please contact us at Laurier Macdonald by phone at (514) 376-6000 or in person at 7355 Viau Street, St-Léonard until August 3rd after that date please contact your school. Be assured that all calls or messages left on answering machine will be dealt with promptly.

Thank you for your continued collaboration.

Alessandra Furfaro
Director, Pedagogical Services