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EMSB marks first day of classes for 2019-20

Montreal - Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The English Montreal School Board  kicked off the 2019-2020 academic year with a celebration at the new Westmount Park Elementary School South campus  in Ville Émard on Tuesday, September 3. This new campus was formerly St. John Bosco Elementary School before it closed seven years ago.

The 105-year-old Westmount Park facility, at 15 Park Place, will be closed for at least the next two upcoming academic years (2019-20 and 2020-21) to complete a $12-million project of renovations and repairs. In the interim, its 700 students have been directed to the former St. John Bosco and Marymount Academy International in NDG (Westmount Park North Campus) facilities.

The ceremony brought EMSB administrators, local politicians, and the Westmount Park community together. In attendance was EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini, Commissioners Julien Feldman, Joseph Lalla and Mubeenah Mughal, Liberal MP and Federal Justice Minister The Honourable David Lametti, Borough Commissioner for Émard-St-Paul-St-Henri West Alain Vaillancourt,  EMSB Director General Ann Marie Matheson, Deputy Director General, Education, Evelyne Alfonsi, Deputy Director General, Administration, Maître Benoit Duhême, Regional Director, West Sector, Pela Nickoletopoulos, Director of Educational and Technology Services, Sandra Furfaro, Principal of Westmount Park David Lee, Vice Principal Giovanni Iammarrone, and St. John Bosco alumni and EMSB employee Anthony Roberts.

Students were excited for the first day of school in their new campus, enjoying fun and games with EMSB mascot Bumble and the Ville Émard Bagel’s mascot before hitting the books. The gymnasium was buzzing, with CJAD’s Andrew Carter broadcasting his morning show and CITY TV reporting live. Jimmy Rennie from Ville Émard Bagel sponsored this historic first day at the new campus with baskets of bagels.

Chairman Mancini addressed the media and welcomed students to their new campus, wishing them a wonderful school year. She thanked the EMSB head office, Westmount Park  staff and governing board, and everyone who worked hard to prepare the new building for the first day of school.

Mancini addressed new developments for the 2019-2020 school year. “At 9:35 am, the bell will ring for your first recess. This year, we’re going to have two recesses,” said  Ms. Mancini. To promote the overall development, health and academic success of elementary school students, the EMSB has adopted the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur’s (MEES) plan to implement two full 20-minute recess periods during the school day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. To accommodate for this extra period, each elementary school has extended their school day by 15 minutes. 

In addition, Ms. Mancini shared that the EMSB is welcoming 16 new Pre-Kindergarten classes funded by the Ministry of Education. Prior, the EMSB has 12 Ministry funded Pre-Ks. 

Ms. Mancini spoke of the challenges the EMSB and other boards are facing this year, including Bill 21: “The whole school system suffers from the implementation of this bill, especially at the EMSB where we pride ourselves on diversity. We are in a precarious position as a school board and council, and there is more to come as our Human Resources department examines this further.” 

On the Quebec government’s impending reform to be announced this year that will impact the ability of school boards to govern their own schools, Ms. Mancini shared: “Passing the bill will work against our rights as a minority. There are interesting and challenging times ahead.”

Emcee and EMSB Marketing and Communications Specialist Michael Cohen gave each VIP a moment to share their thoughts and advice to students on the first day of school. Ms. Nickoletopoulos advised students to talk to one new student today and make a new friend.  Mr. Lee added: “I liked getting to know kids from all over the world when I was in school. Take time to get to know your fellow students as they come from all over the world!”

Ms. Matheson told students that no teachers sleep the night before school begins. “I was always nervous and excited for the new school year. Clap loud and hard for your teachers, principal and vice principal. They worked very hard to get your school ready for you,” said Matheson.

All were united in wishing the students a great year in their new building.

CJAD’S Andrew Carter broadcast his morning show live from the school.

Breakfast TV’s Alyssia Rubertucci was also on site live:  https://www.btmontreal.ca/videos/teachers-going-back-to-school-at-westmount-park/

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