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EMSB SET TO LAUNCH UNIQUE ELEMENTARY STUDENT-ATHLETE PROGRAM WITH FOCUS ON HOCKEY

MONTREAL, MARCH 31, 2004— The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) hopes to launch a unique program in 2004-2005 for students in Cycle III (Grades 5 and 6) that would offer a quality education and the opportunity for elite athletes to develop their skills in ice hockey. Plans call for it to be based at an elementary school on Cote Vertu (Holy Cross) in the borough of St. Laurent, representing a good central location.

The organizers anticipate that at the outset 20 to 40 students would be interested and eligible to register. This program will be offered to elite students in the sport-students recognized as having attained a certain skill level as determined by the West Island Hockey Academy and the Lac St. Louis Lions hockey organization, which is based in the West Island but represents the territory of the EMSB. Candidates will be expected to maintain a high academic standard in order to be considered for, and to continue within the program.

Instructional hours will meet Ministry of Education requirements. Modifications will be made to the daily timetable of these students to permit them to receive intensive instruction in basic hockey skills after school hours. The responsibility of such instruction will be assumed by the Lions.

Discussions are underway for the actual hockey instruction to take place at the Raymond Bourque Arena in St. Laurent. For that reason, the designation of a school in the western section of the Board is necessary.

The project will be supported financially by the participants and their sponsors. All transportation costs will be assumed by the parents.

The Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) has initiated a similar program this year at École St. Arsène, offering a number of sport options.

An elementary school with a Student-Athlete program, is a partnership between the School Board, the school, and the sport federation(s). The principles on which this Student-Athlete program is based are as follows:

  • The school board, school, sport federations, and local community clubs concerned must recognize the primary importance of the athlete's academic success while he/she is specializing in his/her sport.
  • The school must develop an adapted academic program and must organize the student-athletes within their cycle (school grade level).
  • The Sport Federation and local community clubs are responsible: to show that the student-athlete(s) is/are deserving of such a program in order to help them in the development of their sport and to select the student-athlete(s) by using the parameters described by their plan;
  • The School Board and the Sport Federation have the right to limit the number of Student-Athlete programs recognized in their Administrative Regions so as to ensure the establishment and maintenance of a program that requires a critical number of participants for the program to be viable.

    The project follows the same principles as the Sports Études Project at the secondary level, which is now in its second year at the EMSB’s Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North.

    The student-athlete project includes four hours and 35 minutes per day doing academic courses. The school day begins earlier – at 8 a.m. instead of 8:30 a.m. Lunch is from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Students are bussed to their different club centres for their practices (1:30 to 2 p.m.) and parents pick their children up after practice.

    Schools form a partnership with each club. Contracts are signed by the student, another by the parent and a third contract by the club. Each group has criteria that they must respect.

    Robert Nelson, an EMSB parent who is spearheading the projects, hopes that once this is up and running planning can begin to expand it to the Secondary level. Parents seeking more details should call the West Island Hockey Academy at 636-5624 or e-mail: info@wiha.ca.



    Michael J. Cohen
    Communications and Marketing Specialist
    English Montreal School Board
    Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
    Fax: (514) 483-7213
    E-mail: mcohen@emsb.qc.ca