Conseil supérieur de l'éducation
 
THE CONSEIL’S VISIT IN MONTRÉAL

The members of the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation held hearings in Montréal on December 13, 2001, in order to consult representatives of the Montréal region’s education community. The morning was devoted to meetings designed to familiarize the members with the specific characteristics of the Montréal milieu.

In the afternoon about fifty people, including school and school board administrators, teaching and non-teaching professionals and parents, participated in four workshops on the implementation of the reform.

The hearings

First, Gilles Lamirande, interim regional director at the Ministère de l’Éducation, painted a detailed picture of the island of Montréal, which gave the members of the Conseil a clear idea of the situation. He was accompanied by Lyne Martin and Suzanne Dyotte, who presented the Supporting Montréal Schools Program and the orientations of the Policy Statement and Plan of Action on Educational Integration and Intercultural Education.

Next, Francine Ladouceur and Chantale Richer, respectively principal and former principal of École Bienville, and Jean Archambault, an education consultant, gave an eloquent talk on the implementation of the reform. École Bienville is one of the 16 elementary schools that tried out the Québec Education Program before its definitive implementation.

The members of the Conseil also met with Johanne Lavoie, vice-principal of École Édouard-Montpetit, and three teachers, Anne-Marie Lafleur, Nadia Nouali and Jacques Chaput, who gave an enthusiastic report on the Agir autrement project, which was implemented last September. The means used in this program to prevent students from dropping out have already produced encouraging results, including a drop in the rate of absenteeism and a reduction in lateness, as well as a 70-percent parental attendance rate at the first parent-teachers meeting.

Finally, Charles E.E. Levy, director-general of the English-Montréal School Board and Elizabeth Speyer, director of instructional services at Lester-B.-Pearson School Board, of the Groupe corporatif d’implantation de la réforme dans les commissions scolaires de l’île de Montréal (Corporate committee for the implementation of the reform in Island of Montréal school boards), presented an extremely interesting progress report on the introduction of the reform in the schools of the Montréal region.

The members of the Conseil all remarked on the high quality of the presentations.

The workshops

The workshops addressed the following themes: "Becoming familiar with the reform"; "The governing boards and their evolution since their introduction"; "Strategies for change"; and "The implementation of the reform—favourable conditions and obstacles."

Concerning the theme "Becoming familiar with the reform," most participants stressed the need for more information. The reform involves changes at several levels—a new curriculum, a different way of organizing instruction, and new learning conditions and academic organization—and the workshop participants insisted that they needed time to assimilate the reform.

With regard to the governing boards, the participants mentioned that it was difficult to obtain parent representation. They also criticized the heavy responsibilities attributed to the school governing boards, which are relatively new institutions.

The multiethnic character of the Montréal region makes it a major challenge to inform parents about the changes associated with the reform. Indeed, in some schools, 80 percent of the students’ parents do not speak French or English.

These discussions were extremely fruitful. They gave the members of the Conseil new insights, which will guide them in their ongoing work.

In conclusion we wish to recall that the Conseil is preparing two briefs on the reform for the fall of 2002. One will bear on the adaptation of the reform to local conditions in secondary schools, and the other on the cycle-based organization of learning in elementary schools.

Panorama • Volume 7, Number 1 • February 2002

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image représentant le théme de la Accès à la trousse : Pour une école riche de tous ses élèves