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MONTREAL, JANUARY 10, 2007- Five Montreal-area school boards – three French and two English – are embarking upon a unique collaborative activity aimed at increasing public confidence in neighborhood public schools. The English Montreal School Board (EMSB), the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB), the Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM), the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (CSMB) and the Commission scolaire Pointe-de-l’Île (CSPI), will participate in the first Public School Education Week, taking place January 15-19 and the following week for high schools.

Under the theme Following in Their Footsteps, the campaign encourages prominent graduates to return to visit their neighborhood schools to talk to students about the role public school education played in leading them to their present-day success. These individuals now serve as outstanding role models, as do many other prominent Quebecers having or having had a link with area public schools or vocational centres.

The EMSB will formally kick off its programming by showcasing the very unique reverse integration program at the Mackay Centre School in N.D.G. This program allows a limited number of children from pre-kindergarten to Grade 5 the opportunity to attend Mackay Centre School for one year where they learn alongside the physically disabled and deaf children. Canadian rock star Jonas was part of the reverse integration process 17 years ago and on Monday morning January 15 (10 a.m.) he will be welcomed back by his former teacher Debra Colton, staff and students. Jonas was also a member of what is now the EMSB Chorale.

Jonas, a rock phenomenon whose hit records and riveting stage presence have attracted standing room only crowds throughout his Suite Life Canadian concert tour, which concludes Feb. 23 at the Bell Centre, expanded his international profile with the completion of a feature-length DVD in December 2005. Entitled Jonas Live as We Roll, it achieved platinum status almost immediately. In 2004 he opened up the last leg of a Van Halen North American tour. He records under the Deja Musique label.

Mackay Centre School Principal Jacques Monfette says everyone is excited about Jonas' visit. "What a great way to launch Public School Education Week," he said.

The first school for the Deaf in Montreal was started in 1870. Around 1960, the Mackay Institute and the School for Crippled Children both needed a new building. The new "Mackay Centre" was opened in 1964 to serve both populations. In 1977, under the direction of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Affairs, the former Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal was given the responsibility for educating the children. Since that time the Mackay Centre has evolved into an organization in which two different organizations cooperate to meet the needs of deaf and disabled children. The Mackay Centre focuses on rehabilitation while the Mackay Centre School concerns itself with the educational needs of the children.

Here are highlights from the EMSB Public School Education Week schedule:

(Westmount Mayor Karin Marks visited Roslyn Elementary School in Westmount on Friday)

Mon. Jan. 15

9:00 a.m.

Michael Fratino, guitarist, adjunct lecturer at Plattsburgh State

John Caboto Elementary School, Ahuntsic, (8955 Meunier).

10:00 a.m.

Rock star Jonas

Mackay Centre School (Reverse Integration Program), N.D.G., (3500 Decarie).

1:15 p.m.

Luciano Diorio

Edward Murphy Elementary School, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (6800 Pierre de Coubertin).

Tues. Jan. 16

8:30 a.m.

Angelo Pasto, president of Pastolan and Associates Commercial Real Estate

John Caboto Elementary School, Ahuntsic, (8955 Meunier).

9:30 a.m.

Andrea Courey, president, Les Granolas d'Emilie

Dunrae Gardens Elementary School in T.M.R. (235 Dunrae).

9:45 a.m.

Ernie Butler, CJAD radio host and owner of The Comedy Nest

St. Monica Elementary School, N.D.G. (6440 Terrebonne Street).

Wed. Jan. 17

9:00 a.m.

Royal Vale School Vice Principal Suzy Douranos, nurse Effie Rahaniotis and Voula Neofotistos attorney for McMillan Binch Mendelsohn

Sinclair Laird Elementary School, Park Extension, (8380 Wiseman).

10:00 a.m.

Actor Conrad Pla, Montreal General Hospital Trauma Unit clinical nurse Louise Fullerton, retired principal Betsy Kremel, engineer and teacher Melissa Macdonald, country singer Cheryl Nye, former Canadian Olympic wrestler Doug Yeats, Canadian badminton and squash players Katherine and Michael Meredith, water colour artist, children's dress designer,furniture restorer/interior decorator, and landscape designer Jane Prince Water, naturopath Kadija Lefebre Naturopath, social worker Ruth Weber, McGill student and top Canadian ranked squash player Ben Marien, CEGEP student and Dawson College basketball player Louis Marien, Concordia University radio personality Hannah Lusthaus, pianist/organist Ryan Enright and Dr. Lee Tidmarsh, Head of the Autism Clinic at the Montreal Children's Hospital

Elizabeth Ballantyne Elementary School, Montreal West (314 Northview) * Global Television will broadcast live, with reports at 7:40 a.m., 8:10 a.m. and 8:40 a.m..

1:00 p.m.

Domenic Fazioli, reporter for Global TV

General Vanier Elementary School, St. Léonard (4555 Buies).

Thurs. Jan. 18

9:15 a.m.

Roberto Del Papa, Community Relations Officer, Montreal Police Station 1

Laurier Macdonald High School, St. Léonard (7355 Viau).

10:00 a.m.

Maureen Kelahear, Tourism professional

Edward Murphy Elementary School, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (6800 Pierre de Coubertin).

12:30 p.m.

Glen Cambridge, community activist and Beverly Patwell, author, McGill Professor and owner of Patwell Consulting

St. Gabriel Elementary School, Point St. Charles (600 Dublin).

1:25 p.m.

Michael Vathilakis lawyer and Harvard graduate

Gardenview Elementary School in St. Laurent (700 Brunet Street).

1:30 p.m.

John Parisella, former Chief of Staff to the Premier of Quebec, President, BCP Consultants, Special Communications Advisor to the President of Concordia University

St. Brendan Elementary School in Rosemount (6650 39th Avenue).

Fri. Jan. 19

8:15 a.m.

Seeta Ramdas, Public Officer, McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and special effects makeup artist

Coronation Elementary School, Côte des Neiges (4810 Van Horne).

9:00 a.m.

Price Waterhouse Coopers CA Tom Giannoukakis; CTV Montreal news editor Helen Michailidis and Newspaper Publisher George Guzmas

Sinclair Laird Elementary School, Park Extension, (8380 Wiseman).

10:00 a.m.

Mariana Simeone, CBC Television Commentator

St. Dorothy Elementary School, St. Michel (8961 6th Avenue).

1:00 p.m.

Marzia Michielli, Director of Rosemount Technology Centre

John Caboto Elementary School, Ahuntsic, (8955 Meunier).

High Schools

Because many high schools have exams during the week of Jan. 15-19, they were given the option of having their programs on alternate days.

Tues. Jan 23

9:00 a.m.

Montreal Impact soccer team captain Mauro Biello, Groupe Encore ITS CEO Monique Mardinian, Youth World 2002 Day (in Toronto) organizer Paul Kilbertus, clinical nurse Lucia Francescangeli

Marymount Academy, N.D.G. (5100 Côte Saint-Luc Road).

Fri. Jan 26

9:00 a.m.

EMSB Commissioner Angela Mancini

Vincent Massey Collegiate, Rosemount (5925 27th Avenue).

Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213