MONTREAL, Aug. 27 /CNW Telbec/ -
Welcome back! On behalf of the directors and staff of QESBA and our nine
member school boards, we want to offer our warmest wishes for a
stimulating, safe and productive 2009-2010 school year. In the coming
days, some 110,000 students will begin another chapter - or start a first
one - in their educational life within the 340 schools, vocational and
adult centres of the QESBA English public school network across Quebec.
Our principals, teachers, professionals and support staff will be there
to accompany them each step of the way.
It is a formidable challenge to ensure that every student is given the
daily opportunity to discover their full potential. Meeting that
challenge requires an active school partnership with parents, strong and
accountable elected school board leadership and steady communications
between all of us. QESBA has every confidence that those pre-requisites
are in place.
There are some particularly challenging issues that will engage all of us
as our public schools reopen. This year marks the final stage of
implementation of the new Quebec Education Program. Students entering
Secondary V this year will have been the pioneers of the "reform" at each
successive year in their schooling. As they now complete the process,
they will have in hand - finally -every English textbook required, and
without delay. QESBA and its education partners have worked extremely
hard to end the unacceptable gap of up to two years in receiving English
texts for our students. The situation remains frustrating (a number of
the texts will not be final versions and will arrive, in some cases, in
various stages) but the long delays have been basically eliminated.
Education Minister Michelle Courchesne has been instrumental in
correcting this problem, as has the LEARN consortium, where QESBA and all
our nine boards are partners. QESBA will address promptly any remaining
problems that occur this year and is committed to keep on top of the
textbook issue whenever new programs or courses are introduced.
School completion rates are a subject of much discussion in Quebec. Our
English public school boards have always stressed that the successful
completion of high school is Job #1. Of Quebec's top seven
school boards, measured by the percentage of students who successfully
completed high school in 2008, six were English public school boards. The
average completion rate in the English public school sector is 80 per
cent, substantially higher than that in the French sector. However,
everyone would agree that we cannot rest on our laurels, there is still
so much more to be done. Each of our member boards is actively focused on
and committed to further reducing the drop-out rate. From early
intervention programs to peer tutoring strategies and alternative
programs, our school boards are tailoring approaches to maximize student
success across the province.
Our schools are not only public, they are a public trust. Your school
board, comprised of school commissioners elected by universal suffrage,
answers to parents and all members of the tax-paying public. The future
of your public schools, the programs and services they offer are
everybody's concern. QESBA is committed to promoting the greatest
possible transparency and accountability in public education. With the
adoption of Bill 88 last Fall, there are some major changes coming to the
governance of schools and school boards in Quebec. QESBA has made
numerous representations to the Ministry of Education, Recreation and
Sports with a view to ensuring that the law actually improves the
delivery of public education services. We will be watching closely, and
reporting progress to you in this important year of transformation.
This year we once again begin the process of negotiations towards the
renewal of collective agreements in education and throughout the public
sector. QESBA and its negotiating partner, the CPNCA, will be striving
for a framework that will maximize the ability of our system to respond
to changing educational needs and to the distinct realities of our
English public school network.
Of course, the health and security of our students and staff is a
priority in every school year; as we all track developments related to
the H1N1 virus, your school and your school board will be providing you
with concise and up-to-date information and guidance at every step. QESBA
and the Association of Directors General of English School Boards of
Quebec are both represented on the provincial committee overseeing H1N1
protocols for schools. Those protocols are being painstakingly developed
in concert with provincial, national and international health
Finally, this year marks an important anniversary for QESBA, the voice of
English public education in Quebec. The association has spent the past
eight decades providing steady elected leadership and promoting
innovation, accountability and excellence in public schooling. We look
forward to working with our educational partners to strengthen English
public education in Quebec for many decades to come.
For further information:
For further information: Kimberley Hamilton, Director of Communications
and Special Projects, (514) 849-5900, ext.: 225, (514) 919-3894, cell.