|LAURENHILL ACADEMY’S CLAUDE DANSEREAU NAMED ONE OF CANADA’S TOP PRINCIPALS|
MONTREAL, JANUARY 27, 2015– Claude Dansereau, the principal of the English Montreal School Board’s LaurenHill Academy in St. Laurent, is the only Quebecer to have been selected as one of The Learning Partnership’s Canada’s Outstanding Principals™
The program recognizes the unique and vital contributions of principals in publicly funded schools. This year, 40 principals representing every province and territory were chosen by a national selection committee on the basis of their exceptional contributions to their respective schools and communities.
Mr. Dansereau is the dynamic leader of 1300 students and close to 130 staff members at the EMSB’s largest high school, spread over two campuses. Under his leadership, LaurenHill has consistently been one of the top schools and graduates over 90 percent of its students each year.
“Claude is a true pedagogical leader who engages his staff, students and parents in working towards their collective vision for their school,” said EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini. “He believes in building capacity and using evidence based strategies to produce sustainable changes in his school. He is always looking to meet the needs of his multi-ethnic community of students who have a wide range of intellectual abilities.”
Mr. Dansereau worked to establish professional learning communities within each of the subject domains to analyze the students’ data in order to determine teaching strategies that were effective. The staff engages in thoughtful and reflective discussion and analysis.
“Mr. Dansereau’s team of administrators and staff, under his leadership, are risk takers and love to think outside the box to propose innovative programs that respond to their students’ needs,” said EMSB Director General Robert Stocker.
As an example, Mr. Stocker cited a 2013-14 request for a Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sports (MELS) derogation to offer a special program, called Cycle 1 Allongḗ, for Cycle I, students. Mr. Dansereau believes that programs need to be differentiated to meet the needs of all students. “Students, who needed extra time to appropriate the skills they would need to be successful in Cycle 2 of high school, would have the opportunity to cover the material generally covered in two years over a three year period,” Mr. Dansereau explained. “This program has been very successful for students who just need more time and support to succeed. This is the second year of the program and this cohort of students is happy and is doing well.”
LaurenHill offers enriched courses for the students who are outstanding scholars. Mr. Dansereau believes it is important to challenge students who are gifted. The Advanced Placement Program has been offered for more than 10 years now thanks to him/
Mr. Dansereau and his team believe in preparing students for 21st century learning and that is why the staff and students are preparing for the new era of Bringing Your Own Device (BYOD) to School. In fact, his school is the first BYOD school in the EMSB. Students and staff have devised their own Acceptable Use Policy for the school.
LaurenHill also offers a specialized drama and dance program. Mr. Dansereau works exhaustively, organizing the classes, hiring teachers and coordinating the performances that make drama and dance another specialized feature for the school. For three consecutive years, Broadway musicals were featured. Mr. Dansereau believes it is important for the principal to get involved in his school. He, himself, participated in the end of year dance show making a cameo appearance on stage. He surprised everyone and this was extremely motivating for the students and staff.
Mr. Dansereau encourages the well-being of his students (healthy body, healthy mind). He worked to gather resources to equip a fully functional fitness gym with all the latest equipment so that students could work on their physical conditioning. The academic excellence demonstrated by LaurenHill despite the fact that it has a significant population of students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds earned LaurenHill the title of “Beacon School.” LaurenHill casts a large light on how to teach using winning strategies despite the many obstacles.
In order to provide enough supervision over two campuses, Mr. Dansereau has four vice principals. He is conscientious in his role as a mentor. He strives to guide his administrators into becoming effective leaders. “The administrators who have gone through Mr. Dansereau’s ‘finishing school’ have gone on to be first class leaders in their own schools,” says Deputy Director General Roma Medwid.
Mr. Dansereau is currently president of the Association of Montreal School Administrators representing over 100 administrators. Prior to his arrival at LaurenHill, he was credited for his work in completely turning around Westmount High School into a prominent and respected high school that responds to the needs of all its students and continues to do so today. Before this Mr. Dansereau assumed the role of principal of the Social Affairs Schools affiliated with Batshaw Youth and Family Services, as well as in psychiatric wards and hospitals. He developed the Hillroy Fellowship Outreach School Connections for at risk students.
On February 24, Mr. Dansereau will attend a gala for all of the winners at the Westin Habour
Upon hearing that he was a recipient of this award, Mr. Dansereau remarked: “ I am humbled by this award. I am so happy to be part of a profession that helps students become responsible and contributing members of our society and more importantly good human beings. This award is shared with a group of dedicated educators that work with me and helped create innovative programs. I strongly believe in empowering my team. To receive an award for this is truly amazing.”
Michael J. Cohen