EMSB Focus

EMSB Focus Newsletter - February 2024 Edition

dante kids
Montreal - Wednesday, February 28, 2024

THE CHAIR'S BLOG: EMSB Chair Joe Ortona has introduced his own blog. His first entry focuses on the decision by Concordia and McGill to take legal action against the Quebec government for their decision to impose increased tuition fees for non-Quebec students. You can read it here

QESBA EXPRESSES SUPPORT: The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) is pleased that both McGill and Concordia have decided to challenge the government’s tuition hikes for students from other Canadian provinces. The government of Quebec announced last fall that significant tuition hikes for Canadian students choosing to attend either McGill, Concordia or Bishop’s universities would be implemented for the 2024-2025 school year. The Legault government since rescinded the burden for Bishop’s University in the Eastern Townships but maintained the planned hikes for McGill and Concordia. “This is another unfortunate example of the unconscionable behaviour towards the English-speaking minority community in Québec by trying to decimate our institutions,” said Joe Ortona, who also now serves as the QESBA president.   

You can read the full statement here.

This student shows her healthy apple.

NUTRITION MONTH:  March will once again mark Nutrition Month at the EMSB. Dietician Ariane Séguin is encouraging everyone to celebrate by participating in this year's theme "Bring a Natural Balance to Nutrition,"    highlighting the benefits of having a varied and balanced diet. This year's festivities will  include in-class activities, as well as the launch of resource websites for teachers and students. 

 See all of the details here.

Joe David is congratulated for his award.

STUDENT OF THE MONTH:   Joe David  from LINKS High School in Ahuntsic is  the EMSB Student of the Month for February. Joe is a very responsible, kind, mature and helpful young man. He is a leader in the classroom and always willing to help someone in need and cheer someone up. Through his leadership, Joe   also exudes maturity and responsibility. As a student in the Work Oriented Training Pathway Program, this past summer, Joe  worked as a caretaker at a local summer camp as well as recently, he began working at Pius X Career Centre   as a way to learn new culinary skills. There was a large entourage of staff, students and parents who came to the EMSB Council meeting for the presentation. This included Principal Maria Caldarella, Guidance Counsellor Shannen Ciricillo, teachers Lauren Costello and Nick Vlahopoulos and Student Life Coordinator Myriam Farley. There was even a pizza party at dinner time.

The LINKS family shares this special moment with Joe. 

Joe has gone through many trying times, yet he always stayed dedicated and responsible for his own learning. He kept up with his school and stage attendance, his classwork and homework, and his attitude is never compromised. Through numerous adversities, Joe always chooses to grow stronger and more confident. He is always positive, enthusiastic and motivates other students in class. He truly is a role model!

The official ribbon cutting ceremony at Rosemount High.

ARTS -ÉTUDES : Rosemount High School  inaugurated its new Arts-études program, the first-of-its-kind amongst English high schools in Quebec on  February 15  as part of Hooked on School Week. A total of 165 students across all grade levels (Secondary I to V) are taking part in the five-year program this academic year, with music now playing an integral part of the students’ daily class schedules.   While music instruction has long been a staple at Rosemount, the introduction of the much-anticipated Arts-études program allows for music to be incorporated throughout the school day, as opposed to strictly after-school as a 75-minute extra-curricular course between 3 pm and 4:15 pm. Music classes are now interspersed throughout the day, with students having as many as three for-credit music courses in a single day. The music courses occur in non-traditional classroom settings, such as dedicated band rooms, a percussion studio and on the auditorium stage. All students are assigned their own instrument at the start of the school year, which is theirs to keep and maintain for the duration of the academic calendar. Such instruments include flutes, trombones, trumpets, tubas, clarinets and oboes, among others. Rosemount High’s pre-existing extra-curricular music programs, such as junior and senior jazz bands, are also continuing. 

The Rosemount High Symphonic Winds.

The school’s popular performance ensemble group “Class Act” is also back for its second year. The group, made up of a small group of senior-level students, was the brainchild of  music teachers Debbie Best and  Anthony Cooperwood as they sought to create a student band “with a professional touch” that would embody what is being taught at school. The group performs a variety of music, from classic hits to wedding songs.  Montreal’s Jordyn Sugar, a rising pop star, was the special guest. She is a former Edinburgh Elementary student. Melina Catalano, who graduated from Rosemount High School 12 years ago and made a career in music, has returned as the EMSB’s first Arts-études consultant. 

See the full press release here

See the CBC report here

See the Global TV report here

Watch  our podcast 

Listen to our podcast

 See Jordyn Sugar's Instagram post to 86,000 followers

Positive post-its.

ANTI-BULLYING WEEK: As part of anti-bullying week at Rosemount High School, positive post-it notes with uplifting messages were placed on every students’ locker during period 3. There were plenty of smiles during lunchtime as the students read their special messages. 

Dr. Phil Gold gets a warm welcome at Bancroft.

DR. GOLD RETURNS: Eighty-one years after he first enrolled in Grade 1 at Bancroft Elementary School in the  Plateau,  former Montreal General Hospital Physician and Chief Dr. Phil Gold  returned to talk to students about his new autobiography entitled  Gold’s Rounds on  February 22.  In the book  Dr. Gold tells the story of dating and marrying the love of his life Evelyn, studying under the brilliant Sir Arnold Burgen and his discovery of CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) in a clear, fast-moving narrative that grips and fascinates. And there was space allotted for his days as student at Bancroft Elementary and Baron Byng High. The former is where he met nephrologist Dr. Mortimer Levy and the two have remained best friends their entire lives. Dr. Gold, 87,   said he wrote the book primarily for his children and grandchildren.   Growing up on the Main, he shares his brushes with acts of antisemitism. Before deciding to pursue a medical career, he held jobs at Molson Brewery, at a clothing company owned by his dad and selling encyclopedias door to door.  Drs. Gold and Levy entered McGill at the same time and were eyeing geology until they discovered that discipline would require Saturday fielding trips. Not happy with that option, they chose biology instead and the rest is history Dr. Gold’s discovery of CEA, the world’s first marker for cancer that could be used in clinical practice, made him world famous to this day. And he did so remarkably as a resident.  The students had many questions for Dr. Gold about his memories from the school. One asked where the name Bancroft came from: Bancroft Elementary School opened in September 1915 and was named in memory of Rev. Charles Bancroft, the first chairman of the PSBGM from 1846 to 1848. 

See the Global TV report

PINK SHIRT DAY: Inspirations and the EMSB School Climate team (Student Services Department), are pleased to introduce Inspirations’ Ambassador for mental health, Samara O’Gorman. On Pink Shirt Day, Wednesday, February 28, Ms. O’Gorman will share her message of kindness, anti-bullying and leadership with elementary level students at F.A.C.E. School (3449 University Street) in downtown Montreal from 10:30 to 11:30 am.  Ms. O’Gorman, 25, is an actress, singer and Irish Studies scholar. She is recognized in Montreal as a community poet, having spoken and recited her poetry at schools, ceremonies and various public occasions. She was the queen of Montreal’s 2023 St. Patrick’s Day parade. Ms. O’Gorman donates a portion of sales of her debut poetry collection What if The Sun Died to youth mental health and suicide prevention. Encouraging mental health advocacy, poetry, community involvement, anti-bullying, kindness, and leadership, Ms. O’Gorman will be speaking at EMSB elementary schools throughout the rest of the academic year. She offers poetry workshops as well.  

Kiara was a big hit.

TIME WITH KIARA: Spiritual and Community Animator Mary Poullas invited service dog Kiara from Dalkeith Elementary school to spend time with   students at Rosemount High School during lunch on February 13. Anna DiMaulo, a behavioral technician at Dalkeith, accompanied Kiara and explained what the role of a school service dog is. The students were impressed with how well behaved and affectionate Kiara was towards everyone and showered Kiara with plenty of hugs and of course, belly rubs!

The FACE Symphony Orchestra takes a bow.

FACE CONCERT: FACE School’s  Symphony Orchestra  marked its 25th anniversary with a show at the concert hall that's home to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. It was a sellout. Theodora Stathopoulos, who has been steering the ship here since day one, was very proud of her students. She also wishes to thank English sector Principal Jennifer Harriet and  Richard Alexis Kronström, vice-principal from the French side, for their extraordinary cooperation.   

See the full summary and a wonderful CBC TV report here  

See this feature in The Gazette


More and more young people are learning to use trusted news brands to check what they see on social media, and say they feel less anxious once they corroborate the story.  The Gazette is that brand. Serving our community for over 245 years, we deliver authoritative, resonant English-language news and commentary about Montreal in a manner that reflects the diversity of its people, culture, politics, institutions, and its unique place in Quebec.  The Gazette is offering all EMSB parents a special rate on a digital subscription here, so that your children can grow up with responsible reporting and reliable news that matters.  Go to  https://montrealgazette.com/subscribe/campaign/emsb/

 - Lenie Lucci, Editor-in-Chief 

HOLOCAUST CENTRE VISIT: In commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a class of Secondary V students from Vincent Massey Collegiate in Rosemount had the opportunity to visit the Montreal Holocaust Museum. This outing was organized by Spiritual Community Animator, Veronica D’Agata, in collaboration with history teacher Paola Russo. The students participated in a guided tour exploring the various artifacts and reflected on the stories and testimonies of survivors. Students understood the importance in continuing to learn and remember about the Holocaust so we can make a positive difference and help prevent the human tragedy of genocide from ever happening again.

VOICES OF OLYMPIA: Voices of Olympia Canada (VOOC) is proud to announce that for a fourth consecutive year, participants of their School Competition will present their work at the Civil Society Forum NGO-CSW-68, organized during the Sixty-Eighth Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN-CSW-68), which will be held in New York March 11 to 22, 2024.   Discussion at VOOC’s three round tables will explore youth lead solutions that address intersections of: Feminization of Poverty with health, education, gender-based violence, and biased economic policies and practices. There are  two teams from the EMSB headed by Beatrice Agudelo-Restrepo (Marymount Academy International), Sonya-Liboria Bastiaans (Laurier Macdonald High School),Yedda Blanco Caruzzo ( Royal West Academy) and Sae Ah Park (Royal West Academy). VOOC) is a global citizenship learning - based initiative. Through a yearly school competition offered since 2017, we provide a safe and informed discussion space where high school girls in Canada grow as critical thinkers, reflecting on the central theme of gender inequalities and its impacts on the empowerment of girls and women, using a dual perspective of human rights and social justice.   VOOC is a commitment maker for Generation Equality Convened by UN Women, and a member of the following organizations: Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations  (CoNGO), NGO CSW/NY, and Afro Youth Summit.

FEATURE STORY:   CASSA (Canadian Association of School System Administrators) did a feature story on EMSB Assistant Director of Educational Services Anna Villalta  in their newsletter. 

You can find it here, starting on page 3

The Dragons thrive!

SILVER DRAGONS: A big congratulations to the Royal Vale Dragons elementary hockey team. They defied all the odds en route to a silver medal in the GMAA hockey playoffs. Recently, Royal Vale began the playoffs by defeating the mighty Selwyn House squad 4-3 in sudden death overtime, then they took on powerhouse Kuper Academy for gold. Royal Vale forced the game to overtime, but fell short in a shootout. The silver medal is best result in RVS history and Royal Vale remains the only public school in the elementary hockey league. Thank you to the volunteer parents who coach the squad and to all the families and staff that regularly cheer on the Dragons.  

ROYAL VALE TO HOST:  Royal Vale School in NDG will be hosting Robocup Quebec on April 19 and 20.  Stay tuned for more information to come.

James Kromida, Colin Standish and Myrtis Fossey.

CANADIAN PARTY OF QUEBEC: EMSB Vice-Chair James Kromida met with the leader and deputy leader of the Canadian Party of Quebec (CaPQ), Colin Standish and Myrtis Fossey. Ms. Fossey’s three children have each gone through the EMSB system. 

Mr. Kromida briefed them on the EMSB’s efforts to challenge Bills 21, 40 and 96.   The CaPQ describes itself as a representative of  responsible citizens abandoned by the mainstream political parties  and speaking on behalf of people orphaned by the political process: English-speakers, Allophones, French-speakers, Indigenous peoples, and the visible minority.  

Everyone appreciated this inter-generational  activity.

BRIDGING THE GAP: In a celebration of love and community, Perspectives 1 High School in St. Michel is thrilled to announce their intergenerational initiation called "Will You Be My Valentine." This heartfelt endeavor brings together the vibrant spirits of high school students with the wisdom and warmth of senior citizens from CHSLD Dante and Almage Seniors Community Center. The initiative was spearheaded by Spiritual Community Animator Vince Lacroce, Head Teacher Melissa Modica in collaboration with the school's staff, Special Educator Rachel Cipolla from CHSLD Dante, and Mirella Castrechini, executive director of Almage Seniors Community Center. It  aims to bridge generational gaps, fostering connections and creating lasting memories for both students and seniors. The "Will You Be My Valentine" project  involved a series of engaging activities designed to promote camaraderie and mutual understanding. From crafting Valentine's Day cards to sharing stories, dancing, music, and Bingo! Mr. Lacroce expressed his enthusiasm, stating, "We believe in the power of unity and connection. This project not only celebrates the spirit of Valentine's Day but also highlights the importance of intergenerational relationships. Our students are excited to share love and laughter with the residents of Foyer Dante and Almage Seniors Center." The project's kick-off event  took place on February 1 where students and seniors came together to embark on this heartwarming journey. The event has garnered support from the community, with sponsorship from Cindy Mendes, a Behaviour Management Specialist from the Student Services Department. Additionally, the catering for the event is provided by Les Delices Lafrenaies, ensuring a delightful culinary experience for all participants.

Watch the report on CityNews

It was all smiles at Heart-to-Heart.

VALENTINES FOR VETS: This Valentine’s Day, Canadians came together to express their heartfelt appreciation for the brave men and women who have served our country through the "Valentines for Vets" program. Organized by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), this initiative encourages schools, individuals, and organizations across the nation to create hand-made valentines to be distributed to Veterans in long-term care facilities. The inspiration for bringing this initiative to Pierre de Coubertin Elementary came from Patricia Lattanzio, the Member of Parliament for Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel who wished to recognize the importance of showing gratitude to our Canadian Veterans. The program was coordinated by Grade 3 teachers Rosa Siggia and Rosemarie Colannino, with guidance from Spiritual Community Animator Vince Lacroce and the school's Vice-Principal, Lisa Triestino. Mr. Lacroce expressed his enthusiasm for the program, stating, "Valentines for Vets not only allows us to teach our students about the importance of gratitude and kindness, but it also connects them with the broader community. It's a beautiful way for children to learn about the sacrifices made by our Veterans and to express their appreciation in a tangible and meaningful way." The "Valentines for Vets" program at Pierre de Coubertin Elementary embodies the spirit of compassion and unity, reminding us of the importance of recognizing and honoring those who have served.

HEART-TO-HEART: The eighth annual “Heart-to-Heart” Valentine’s Day initiative took place again this year to deliver messages of joy and comfort to those who need it. Coordinated by Clementina Fraga, Gerald McShane School Daycare Technician, and Rocco Speranza, Spiritual and Community Animator (SCA), the initiative was supported by SCAs Mary Poullas and Veronica D’Agata, as well as Marco De Crescentis, Daycare Technician at Edinburgh Elementary School, and respective school staff. The project spreads messages of love and hope, and brings cheer and comfort to children who are in the hospital and care centres during Valentine's Day by delivering cards and handmade gifts, as well as some smiles and jokes during an in-person visit to the Montreal Children’s Hospital and Le Phare Pediatric Palliative Care Centre this year.     Participating schools included East Hill, Edinburgh, Gerald McShane, LINKS, St. Raphael, Sinclair Larid, Edward Murphy, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, John Caboto, and Vincent Massey Collegiate. Together they created hundreds of handmade cards, bracelets, and works of art to be delivered to children and staff in the hospital and care centers. Several schools also planned dress down days to collect funds for new medical equipment and the Healthy Kids Fund.  In addition, the initiative expanded to include Seniors’ Residences, where cards and Valentine’s Day treats were distributed. The students’ efforts helped them build community spirit, cultivate empathy and compassion, and grow into caring citizens. A great big thank you to participating staff, students, communities, and administrations for their continued support. The project aims to instill in students the idea that any act of charity, big or small, known or unknown, is a meaningful act of compassion and kindness that can change the lives of those who receive and those who perform it. 

Alexandru Sorin and a student.

KARATE CHAMP:  Renowned karate champion Alexandru Sorin, the 2015 World Games Karate Champion, visited Perspectives I and II High Schools on February 21 to share his journey and insights on perseverance, resilience, and the essence of being a "Champion for Life." During the interactive session, he emphasized the importance of facing challenges with resilience, using setbacks as opportunities for growth, and talked about life as a Canadian Olympic athlete. The visit was organized by Jouez Gagnant, a Canadian Olympic School Program, Spiritual Community Animator Vince Lacroce and the schools’ staff members. Alexandru promoted his new book entitled Yes, I Can!, and he graciously donated two signed copies of the books to the schools’ libraries. 

Aiesha Robinson tells her story at Perspectives I High School.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: The EMSB's team of Spiritual and Community Animators did a wonderful job coordinating Black History Month activities. Please see our recap here, keeping in mind it will be updated in the coming days with more information and photos.

EAST HILL FRENCH CULTURE: The team at East Hill Elementary School produced a short video to promote Quebec Francophone Culture Month at the EMSB. You can watch it here.

HOOKED ON SCHOOL:   Michelangelo International Academy in RDP undertook  a Hooked on School Week initiative, posting messages and drawings (see above) about perseverance on their social media channels.  Students reflected on why school is important to them and why they love school so much!  

The Superhero staffers.

DALKEITH’S 100: The staff of Dalkeith Elementary School in Anjou, inspired by Kindergarten teacher Luba Kalba,  celebrated the 100th day like  Superheroes.”  It was a  full filled day dressed in capes decorated with 100 items to match the theme. Pre-school and  Cycle 1 spent the morning parading in their costumes, then they worked in superhero stations making a necklace with 100 beads, making a superhero craft, graphing with 100, making a mask and preparing a trail mix of 100 snacks! 

Councillor Sterling Downey and students.

WORLD READ ALOUD DAY: During the week of February 7 for World Read Aloud Day, FACE welcomed two guest readers to read to our Grade 2 classes. Montreal City Councillor Sterling Downey and St. Laurent Liberal MNA and Education Critic Marwah Rizqy were on hand and read to students. The two guests were thrilled to read to the students and celebrate the magic and power of stories!

Tina Filippone and staff Sharks team celebrate their selection.

BEST OF MTL: The Suburban Newspaper recently published the results of its annual  Best of Montreal Magazine. In the Elementary School category, John Caboto Academy in Ahuntsic came  in first and Honoré-Mercier in third; at the secondary level, Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North finished first for the second year in a row. For vocational schools, the Shadd Health and Business Centre came in third.  At John Caboto, Special Education Technician Tina Filippone proudly celebrated with many of the school’s Sharks athletes. She designed the Sharks logo. You can go to www.bestofmtl.ca for more details.

Students make a presentation at the IB-PYP exhibition.

CARLYLE EXHIBITION:  Carlyle Elementary School in TMR held its  annual IB-PYP Exhibition on Feb. 22. Grade 6  students were hard at work, researching discoveries and explorations through time.  

Students at the Welcome Hall Mission.

GENEROSITY AT JAMES LYNG: In the ongoing spirit of celebrating generosity and kindness, on  February 1, James Lyng AIM High students spent their morning volunteering at the Welcome Hall Mission where they helped sort, count, and pack food items that will be distributed to families in need. Through the participation of their teachers, Ms. Manuel, Mr. Devlin, and CCW Ms. Jackie, the element of community service was incorporated into the students’ learning journey. During the visit, students exemplified important values such as generosity, teamwork, and kindness. As a follow-up to their volunteering experience, students will be sharing their personal reflections on the value and impact of volunteering in society. 

Ethan presents his cheque.

CHINESE AND VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR: On Feb. 9, Coronation Elementary celebrated Chinese and Vietnamese New Year with an assembly. The assembly opened with the kindergarteners strutting about with a lion-costumed dance, alongside a student who sported traditional Chinese dress. This led to an elegant dance piece performed by Krossline Chinese Jazz dancers. This genre, recently popularized in China, is a fusion of modern and ancient Chinese poses. Spiritual and Community Animator Puynung Choy said, "At the end, the students danced together with the troupe, having received a mini-lesson from them. Coronation students and staff were mesmerized - only to find out, that they experienced an Asian gala welcoming a happy new year!" 

Braydon Jackson

ST. RAPHAEL GRAD: On Friday, February 16, St.-Raphael  Elementary School students and staff welcomed back one of its former students, artist Braydon Jackson.  He performed two uplifting songs which were received with warm applause from all who were present. He was accompanied by Dwayne Linton on piano, who is also a former behaviour technician at St. Raphael.  Braydon is an 18-year-old student at the James Lyng Adult Education Centre, who graduated from St.-Raphael in 2017.  He has always been passionate about singing and making music. He has released one video which can be viewed on YouTube here.  He continues to work on his music career as well as on finishing high school.  Braydon was included as one of the home-grown heroes recognized by students and staff for the Black History Month focus at St. Raphael. 

Michael Dean Rafferty (pink shirt, beige pants) with staff and students.

A VISON FOR PHILIP E. LAYTON: Businessman Michael Dean Rafferty was a guest speaker at the Mackay Centre and Philip E. Layton Schools.  Mr. Rafferty has a visual impairment - two actually. The first was an injury at birth. He had multiple surgeries as a child and was bullied and ostracized due to his thick glasses. When he discovered skiing, he started to excel at it, and things began to change for him.  He became a racer (his dad would ring a bell to alert him to bumps, etc) and subsequently was on TV and radio. Mr. Rafferty also opened up a ski school up north for kids with physical disabilities. He developed keratoconus three years ago and has been treated. So grateful for his sight, he is now giving back by granting lenses to those with keratoconus that cannot afford them. Mr. Rafferty did a Q&A with host Mark Bergman.  He encouraged students to find their passion and believe in themselves.

THE ECLIPSE: The EMSB has adjusted its school calendar and April 8  will now a professional day, in light of the Solar Eclipse. Only FACE School will be open, since the building is managed by the CSSDM.

AVA ON TV: East Hill Elementary School in RDP is very proud of Ava Furfaro, who was featured on CBC TV about her love for the environment. 

Watch it here.

KIDS HELP PHONE: Kids Help Phone’s free Counsellor in the Classroom program, available to grades 4 to 12 in all Canadian public schools, seeks to provide educators with activities and resources to use in the classroom to begin discussions about mental health and help-seeking. Classes are then given the opportunity to connect with a Kids Help Phone professional counsellor, by telephone call or videoconference, to learn more about the services and resources offered by Kids Help Phone and students are invited to ask any questions they may have about mental health and help-seeking. To read more about the program and / or to register your class, please visit kidshelpphone.ca/get-involved/are-you-an-educator-check-out-counsellor-in-the-classroom/! Info: Nazila Tolooei. Bilingual Project Coordinator, Schools K-12: Nazila.Tolooei@jeunessejecoute.ca.

I LOVE TO READ: The third week of February was I Love To Read Week at Sinclair Laird Elementary School! To kick off the week, on the Monday, at exactly 1:30 p.m., a bell rang which alerted everyone to bring their chairs and books into the hallway and all read together.

Everyone celebrates the exciting news for Emma and her family.

MAKE A WISH: Unbeknownst to Leonardo Da Vinci Academy student Emma Stivaletta,  a long-time wish of hers came true as on   February 23 in the school gym  as the Make-A-Wish Foundation   surprised her with an all-expenses paid trip to Walt Disney World.  At only four years old, Emma was diagnosed with Leukemia and bravely demonstrated courage, strength, and determination to overcome the disease.  Today, Emma is thriving in Grade 4 at LDVA and in June, will be cancer free for 3 years. Emma’s surprise took place at the end of LDVA’s Got Talent, which  marked the end of their annual anti-bullying week. The show allows students to highlight their individual talents and skills in front of their friends, family and school staff.  “Emma lives every single day with joy,” said Principal Nadia Sammarco. “She has never let her cancer journey define her and we are all proud of the person she has become.”

Watch The CTV Report 

Watch The Global TV Report 

A look at some of the clothing at the Thrift Shop.

THRIFT SHOP: Heather Hardie teaches art at Venture and Options Alternative High Schools and she wanted to share an initiative she has started for our students  called "Alternative Exchange.”  They have been collecting donations of clothing from staff and students, and have set up a "thrift shop" where everything is free! Items include t shirts, jeans, sweats, hoodies, jackets, shoes, jewelry and accessories. Students and staff can refresh their wardrobe sustainably by reducing the need to purchase new clothes, thus saving money and reducing clothing waste. Students have been helping to sort, steam, and tag the clothes. Some will be using the clothes to learn about hemming, repairs, and alterations later this spring.  The Thrift Shop is accepting clothing donations year round! In particular they will be looking for spring and summer clothes, as well as semi-formal / formal wear for prom in June. Items can be brought to Alternative Exchange at 1741 rue de Biencourt on the second floor. For any questions  contact Heather at  hhardie@emsb.qc.ca.

MARIHACKS : Registration for the seventh edition of MariHacks is now open to high school and CEGEP students! For those interested in volunteering, mentoring, judging or presenting a workshop, applications for these roles are open as well. MariHacks 7.0, the largest hackathon for high school and CEGEP students in Québec, will take place on April 5 and 6 on the Marianopolis College campus in Westmount. Food and drinks will be provided free of charge, and we will have experienced mentors and workshops on a variety of topics — whether you're a programming expert or would simply like to try your hand at programming, MariHacks is the perfect event for you, so don't miss out! Sign up and find out more at   https://www.marihacks.com.  For details contact  Carolyn Wu at  team@marihacks.com!

STEP PROGRAM:  The Student Training and Education Program (STEP) of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is designed for students interested in a career in health care or who would like to volunteer and learn about working in a hospital. STEP is a great way to meet new people, help your community, learn about hospitals, and acquire skills that will assist you in your volunteer work, school, and life in general. Students have to be at least 16 years old to volunteer.  STEP requires a 30-hour commitment throughout the months of July and August. It is a serious commitment for the summer. In order to complete the program, students must be available during the first two weeks of July for the Step Up to Learning sessions and cannot take more than two weeks of vacation during the rest of the summer.  This is a first-come, first-served process. The application deadline is April 30. Any applications received after that date will be held over for the following year. Spaces are limited and they fill up quickly, so get your application in early!  

Please follow this link 

MARCH BREAK AT PDA:   From March 6 to 9, Place des Arts is inviting families to come enjoy a range of fun and free activities to take full advantage of the school break. Spark your children’s imagination and creativity by introducing them to the lively arts! Curious visitors, young and old, can attend a storytelling show, take part in workshops on the circus arts, origami, and culinary creativity (led by La Tablée des Chefs), and see digital works of art. The perfect family outing and a great way for budding artists to explore their hidden talents! No reservations required. All of the details are here.


At work in the new Student Learning Lab.

NEW LEARNING LAB: The new “Student Learning Lab” at Galileo Adult Education Centre in Montreal North is a multi-use flex space that serves as a hub for 21st-century skills development, helping students become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and effective communicators.  This new lab can be used as a flex classroom, computer lab and/or a quiet study area.   It is equipped with a range of computers, laptops, tablets, and other digital devices that students can utilize for research, multimedia projects. Additionally, it is equipped with interactive whiteboards, audio-visual equipment, and a variety of software programs to enhance learning and engagement.  The Learning Lab can also accommodate different learning styles and preferences, with its flexible seating options and designated areas for group work, individual study, or teacher-led instruction. The space features adjustable desks, ergonomic chairs, and assistive technology tools available. Teachers and tutors can utilize the Learning Lab to deliver dynamic and interactive lessons, provide individualized support, and facilitate collaborative learning experiences. They can also make use of the lab's resources and technology to design innovative and engaging assignments and projects.  This new lab would not have been possible without the innovative and supportive efforts of Galileo’s students, educators, tutors and professionals. Their collaborative vision has reinvented a space where the motivation to learn, grow and succeed can flourish at Galileo! 

WELLNESS: James Lyng Adult Education Centre is on a wellness mission! The new year brings new wellness initiatives, starting with Motivation Monday, where students and staff are greeted with upbeat music – the goal to start the day off with a smile. Motivation cards and fresh pears were distributed to students and staff so that Monday mornings are not so glum. Hot on the heels of Motivation Monday is Wellness Wednesday, where the day is centered around mindfulness and anxiety-reducing activities. A Viniyoga instructor lead students in 30-minute breathing exercises, and our very own CCBE teacher, Sandra Marcovici-Sterling, will lead a tai chi session. James Lyng Adult Centre ends the week with Fun Day Friday, where students and staff participate in team-building games and activities during lunch time – everything centered around reducing anxiety and bringing an element of fun to learning. Stay tuned for what next week will hold, as this is a semester-long wellness initiative!

Teacher Sabina Von Eicken with students Jonalyn Nasaan, Naime Sanita and Louisa Nwogu.

LEARNING FRENCH: A team from the EMSB Marketing and Communications Department visited the French class of teacher Sabina Von Eicken at James Lyng Adult Education Centre. Many of her students are new immigrants to Canada and Quebec and very eager to learn French so that they can use this in their vocations.  

Please watch our video

A scene from the workshop.

HOSTING QUEBEC EDUCATORS: On February 6, James Lyng Adult Centre welcomed over 30 participants from the entire province of Quebec for an English Pedagogical Consultants (EPC) hybrid workshop focused on inclusion! Participants dove into “What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do,” with the purpose of helping teachers meet the needs of students with learning difficulties. Strategies on how to take the learner’s needs into account were discussed as well as the ways in which to approach literacy, in particular with students whose first language is not English.  On February 15, the school also hosted participants for a hybrid Math EPC workshop. The title, “Flexibility Strategies Towards an Inclusive Classroom" with the purpose of exploring digital tools and discovering and share strategies to better support the students’ needs. A special thank you to Lucie Tremblay from SEC, Julie Robitaille and Micheline Ammar from Équipe Choc, Suzanne Bonn from Literacy United, Paulette Cake from RECIT, and Jorge Quiroga from the EMSB 

HOMECARE ASSISTANCE: Shadd Health and Business Centre is starting a new accelerated course for Homecare Assistance, mandated by the provincial government. They are currently interviewing teachers.

 Applications can be made here

Nikki Gouskos (far right) and the students.a Von Eicken with students Jonalyn Nasaan, Naime Sanita and Louisa Nwogu.

INTERVIEW TIPS: Nikki Gouskos, Personnel Management Consultant for Recruitment and Retention in Human Resources, was invited to speak with the Shadd Health and Business  Centre students from the accounting and secretarial program regarding employment opportunities and offered them some tips regarding the interview process.    

CARPENTRY PROGRAM: With a shortage of workers in the construction industry, the Quebec Ministère de l'Éducation (MEQ) has provided school boards with the opportunity to offer  additional vocational programs. The EMSB has now introduced  a new program  in carpentry (STC – Skills Training Certificate). This is being offered under the auspices of Rosemount Technology Centre (RTC) and housed  at Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North. The latter has been  retrofitted to meet the program requirements. Presently, the EMSB Adult  Education and Vocational Services (AEVS) Department offers programs in automechanics, cabinet making, aesthetics, professional cooking, sales and travel, secretarial services, institutional and homecare assistance, pharmacy technical services, accounting, computer graphics, furniture finishing and much more.

HOME SHOW: The Montreal National Home Show presented by EspaceProprio is back from March 7 to 10 at the Palais de Congres. Find inspiration, advice and meet thousands of top experts in the construction, renovation, landscaping and décor industries.  Visit salonnationalhabitation.com for a complete list of show features and exhibitors.  The Home Show has provided  free passes for some staff and students at RTC.

LUNAR NEW YEAR: The St. Laurent Adult Education Centre celebrated Lunar New Year recently.  Said teacher  Nicholas Galanogeorgos: "What a beautiful and truly Canadian Day... Greek, Russian, Arabic, Korean, African, Vietnamese, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Italian and so much more,  all in one classroom, celebrating together and sharing in their friends' cultures. Happy Lunar New Year to all those celebrating! Thank you to this wonderful group for their never-ending enthusiasm, interest, and love of learning!"

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