|EMSB PONDERS SOLUTION TO OVERCROWDING PROBLEMS IN ST. LEONARD HIGH SCHOOLS|
MONTREAL, SEPTEMBER 25, 2002- Strong student numbers at the English Montreal School Board’s (EMSB) two St. Leonard high schools, John Paul I and Laurier Macdonald, has raised the possibility of consolidating the International Baccalaureate (IBO) Program in only one of the facilities.
St. Leonard has shown unprecedented growth in recent years. Overcrowding at the elementary level resulted in a new school, General Vanier, being introduced in 2000-2001. It is also the only area on the EMSB map which has junior (Secondary I and II) and senior (Secondary III to V) high schools. John Paul I Junior High’s student population has grown to such an extent this year that approximately 100 students needed to be relocated to nearby Laurier Macdonald.
Both schools have students registered in the IBO and the regular program. The IBO program provides a curriculum, which allows students to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to participate effectively in the 21st century. Fundamental concepts include intercultural awareness, holistic education and enhanced language and communication skills. Five areas of interaction give the program its distinctive core. They are: approaches to learning, community service, health and social education, environment and homo faber. These themes are integrated in the subjects at all five levels through interdisciplinary teaching, projects and special programs. Marymount Academy in N.D.G. is the only other EMSB IBO-sanctioned school.
In the case of John Paul I, its building on Pré-Laurin Street has a capacity for 575 student places. Over the last five years its enrolment has increased from 497 to 620 students. Laurier Macdonald has the capacity for 875 student places and presently has close to 800 students.
The existence of an IBO program and the modification of the traditional feeder schools upon the creation of the EMSB on July 1, 1998 have contributed to the increase in students at John Paul I. This has resulted in more students living outside the St. Léonard area enrolling there. The combined capacity of John Paul I and Laurier Macdonald is 1,450 student places. The demand is expected to exceed that number by 2004-2005.
There are a number of options the Long Range Planning Committee intends to present to the governing boards of the schools affected by this situation:
The Long Range Planning Committee has made another recommendation aimed at easing the enrolment numbers at John Paul I. That would involve the students attending the four elementary schools in St. Léonard being given priority for registration at John Paul I in the regular program, exclusive of the IBO. The governing boards of John Paul I, Laurier Macdonald, Rosemount High School, John F. Kennedy High School, Vincent Massey Collegiate and the elementary schools that send students to John Paul I (Dalkeith, Dante, East Hill, Edward Murphy, Frederick Banting, Gerald McShane, Honoré Mercier, Leonardo da Vinci, McLearon, Michelangelo, Nesbitt, Our Lady of Pompei, Pierre de Coubertin, St. Brendan) will all be consulted on these proposals and be invited to present their views on the matter at a Board Hearing on December 4, 2002. A final decision will be taken on December 18, 2002.
While devoting much energy to the consolidation of the elementary network of schools and the reorganization of school boundaries, the Long Range Planning Committee has also carefully analyzed the high school network. In 1998-1999, the EMSB closed Father MacDonald High School in Saint-Laurent and consolidated the enrolment at LaurenHill Academy, with a junior and senior campus, that now has a population of approximately 1,400 students. In 1999-2000, the EMSB relocated two high schools; John Grant to the Wagar facility in Côte Saint-Luc and Paul VI to the Lester B. Pearson facility in Montreal North. In 2001-2002, the EMSB merged the enrolments of Sir Wilfrid Laurier High School and Lester B. Pearson in the latter facility to create a new school, which caters to more than 1,100 students in Secondary I to V. In so doing, the EMSB has addressed the high school situation in the northwest and northeast sectors of the territory as well as the two high schools with a special education vocation.
In October, the Long Range Planning Committee will discuss the possibility of introducing an outreach high school program in the St. Michel area.
Michael J. Cohen