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:

Monday, 13 February 2017

Schools are open today, despite heavy snow

All five island boards have agreed to stay open today despite the heavy snowfall. It looks like the snow is finished and it is expected to be -4C this afternoon. The bus companies stated that there will probably be many delays,  but it is safe to roll out the buses. 

We are asking parents for patience. Children's safety is our priority, 

Toutes nos écoles et nos  centres  sont  ouverts   aujourd hui.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Reverse Integration Spots Available at Mackay Centre School

The EMSB and the Mackay Centre School in NDG are continuing a joint venture, begun in 1973, in which a limited number of children in pre-kindergarten through Grade 6 are given an opportunity to attend for one year. Reverse Integration students follow the regular curriculum and learn alongside students with physical disabilities at Mackay.

The program boasts small class sizes, smart boards in each classroom, weekly swimming and computer classes, as well as the opportunity to learn and/or play alongside children who use sign language, voice synthesizers, and adapted equipment for recreation and mobility.

If you are interested in having your child/children attend the reverse integration program for a year please complete and submit two copies of the application either by mail or fax (514 485-7254) postmarked by February 13, 2017. Please note that children with special needs or IEP’s are not eligible to apply. Additional application forms are available at your school office or on the Mackay Centre School website.

Please take the opportunity to learn more about our school and reverse integration program by visiting Children eligible to attend the reverse integration program will be invited for a two-day visit in March.  At this time, applicants will be screened and selected based on individual class needs.  Parents will be invited to attend an information meeting on the first day of their child’s visit.  A tour of the school and the classrooms will be organized at that time. 

I interviewed the children that have participated in this year’s reverse integration program at Mackay, and it’s all great feedback. For example, young Ethan (who’s 9 years old), found out about this program from a friend, and knew that this is what he wanted to do. He enjoyed his visits to the Mackay Centre and became a great role model for his classmates.

Ethan and his classmate Charlotte (who has a sister in pre-kindergarten), who’s also an RI student, get involved in their classes and encourage their peers to interact with them and their teachers. They both are very smart and kind kids. Ethan and Charlotte are only in grade 3 but they love to help out their many friends in any way they can.

Ethan and Charlotte, Grade 3. (Photo: Eleni Giannakas)

Autumn, in grade 4, is always eager for work. She has many friends throughout the school and when she’s done her work, she has fun helping her classmates and friends with their work. She’s great at explaining things in different ways to help the others understand what they’re trying to accomplish.

Autumn, Grade 4. (Photo: Eleni Giannakas)

Jaqueline, in grade 6, is the older sister of Ethan. She’s also in the reverse integration program and is having a blast. She’s well adjusted and loves the curriculum. Her favourite class is gym and she has a lot of friends in the school. Her classmate, Asher, told me all about how happy he was that there’s no bullying in the school. He said that everyone gets along great and says, “it’s very inclusive.”

Jaqueline and Asher, Grade 6. (Photo: Eleni Giannakas)

I also talked to some teachers who thought the program was good. Pansy, a pre-kindergarten teacher, says that the RI students “See the other children as friends and regular kids.” She loves that these reverse integration children are able to communicate and go back to their schools with a greet message about what they’ve learnt.

Simon, Simone, Ruby, Ethan, Charlotte, Autumn, Asher, and Jaqueline are great kids in the reverse integration program at the Mackay Centre School. They’re just a few examples of what our community can do if we are open and are willing to learn about equality amongst everyone, disabled or not.

For more information about the reverse integration program at the Mackay Centre School, you can contact Patrizia Ciccarelli (the principle) at (514)482-0001 extension 1600 or Denise Maroun, the vice-principle, at (514)482-0001 extension 1602.

Reverse Integration spots are still available!