|EMSB TO KICK OFF CAMPAIGN PROMOTING HIGH SCHOOL NETWORK|
MONTREAL, AUGUST 29, 2005- The English Montreal School will kick off the 2005-2006 academic year on Thursday, September 1 with a new marketing campaign aimed at promoting its much improved high school network.
Media are invited to Westmount High School (4350 Ste. Catherine Street West) at 8:45 a.m. as Principal Claude Dansereau welcomes Grade 7 and 8 students. EMSB Chairman Dominic Spiridigliozzi, Executive Committee and Marketing Chair Sylvia LoBianco, Director General Antonio Lacroce and Regional Director Mario Tirelli will be on hand. Andrew Phillips, editor-in-chief of The Montreal Gazette Newspaper and a Westmount High School graduate (1970), will address the students. Because of a legal strike by support staff unions, the first day of classes has been delayed by one day.
This year the EMSB is placing a strong focus on its diversified high school network. Westmount High School is a perfect example of the much improved standing of the EMSB’s secondary network. The EMSB now has 17 high schools, following the closure of Wagar and St. Pius X in June. It also has a nine outreach high schools, six adult high schools and four in the social affairs category. Details of a new marketing campaign will be unveiled Thursday.
For instance, Westmount High School has become the first public secondary institution in Quebec to offer Advanced Placement Examinations. Previously the only schools within Quebec to offer this elite program were within the private sector such as Lower Canada College, Stanstead, and Bishop College School. Internationally recognized, the Advanced Placement Program or "AP" offers students an opportunity to earn credit or advanced placement in colleges and universities in over 29 countries. The inspiration to introduce this challenging enriched program to Westmount High School stemmed from an article in Newsweek (May 2003) which featured America’s best high schools ("100 top public schools and what we can learn from them"). Bellevue School District in Seattle, Washington had five schools in the top 100 and three in the top 20.
Funded by the Teacher Administrator Scholarship Program, a team of educators from Westmount High School was sent by Mr. Dansereau to Seattle to visit schools offering AP exams and meet with Bellevue educators and the head of the school district, Mike Riley.
Upon their return, a task force was set up within the school to assess the feasibility and requirements needed to set up the Advanced Placement Program at Westmount High School. The teachers jumped on board, and in the fall of 2004 began a pilot project and students in Secondary IV and V were offered the opportunity to take AP examinations in French Language, English Literature, Calculus and Studio Art. Seventeen students responded to the challenge and with the tutelage of some of the school’s French, Art and Math teachers, the students wrote exams in the week of May 2. "The aim at Westmount High School is to build on our success and offer guided preparation to our junior students pre- AP and offer more course options," says guidance counselor Karen Allen. In 2005-2006, Westmount High School will introduce AP Psychology as an elective for Secondary V students as well as pre-AP math and English in Grade 9. "It has truly been exciting for the staff at Westmount High School to join high schools around the world offering AP," adds Allen. For more information log on to www.emsb.qc.ca/westmount or www.collegeboard.com.
Michael J. Cohen