Regional Roundtables on Student Persistence - Montréal Region: Building consensus for schools!

    MONTREAL, May 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Some 550 stakeholders and partners from
the school, community, health and social services, economic, political, and
academic sectors have come together today at Rosemount High School to take
part in the first Regional Roundtables on Student Persistence (Montréal
region). The attendees will share their views and practices in an effort to
improve their own strategies and find out how others concerned with the issue
of student retention are tackling the problem. This joint action testifies to
the priority that student retention has become in the Montréal region.
    The roundtables, which are part of a province-wide series of regional
roundtables on student persistence launched in fall 2008 by Fédération des
commissions scolaires du Québec (FCSQ), will be held under the theme Building
Consensus for Schools! They will help serve as models by showcasing the many
partnerships that have been created to promote and support the development of
solutions through collaboration and dialogue:

    - Partnership between French-language (Montréal, Marguerite-Bourgeoys,
      and Pointe-de-l'Ile) and English-language (English Montréal and
      Lester B. Pearson) school boards, joining forces for the first time
      around a problem with realities common to all of them, notably in terms
      of the territories they cover.

    - Partnerships of all shapes and forms promoted by school and community
      actors who have developed some twenty student retention projects that
      are being tested in schools, vocational training centers, and adult
      education centers.

    - Partnership with Commission scolaire de Laval, which is in an
      increasingly similar situation to Montréal and which, despite having
      recently held its own roundtables, wanted to share its own experience
      and profit from the dialogue with its Montréal counterparts.

    "I am convinced that with all the resources we have here in Montréal, we
can step up to this challenge. We, more than any other sector, are all
concerned by retention. We need to focus our efforts on students to make
Montréal a student retention zone," states Diane De Courcy, chair of
Commission scolaire de Montréal and spokesperson for the French-language
school boards at the roundtables.
    Marcus Tabachnik, chair of the Lester B. Pearson School Board and
spokesperson for the English-language school boards, echoes her words: "The
strategy is to tackle the complex issue of student retention as a challenge
that concerns the entire community (including education leaders, community
organizations, businesses, and families) and provide the leadership and
motivation needed to overcome difficulties. Thanks to the joint efforts that
are being brought to light at the roundtables, we should soon see tangible
results in the improvement of student success rates."
    The partnership theme showcased by the roundtables will also be the
backdrop for the launch of the Montréal Hooked on School
( network consisting of twenty partners from
Table des partenaires pour la persévérance scolaire à Montréal and Carrefour
de lutte au décrochage scolaire and connected with the five school boards on
the Island of Montréal.
    This new action-oriented group will continue to deliver the services
developed by Carrefour, namely awareness and development activities and
referral services, while ensuring the implementation of the strategic
priorities developed by the Table, namely the development of a societal
message and the introduction of pilot projects in target neighborhoods.
"Montréal Hooked on School is a response to the need to step up collective and
concrete efforts to help our young people create their own dreams and keep up
their motivation to stay in school," notes Caroline Chassé, interim executive
director of the new network. "The interest and energy shown by our members in
this regard is clear."
    Manon Barbe, chair of Conférence régionale des élus (CRE) de Montréal,
applauded the creation of the Montréal Hooked on School network, adding that
CRE has made education one of its strategic development priorities. She
pointed out that CRE is committed to working to set up a financial partnership
to support the action and activities of Montréal Hooked on School. "We all
have a role to play in meeting the challenges of student retention and
success. The creation of the Montréal Hooked on School network is a chance to
pool the strengths of as many stakeholders as possible. And CRE plans to be
actively involved in these efforts."
    These Regional Roundtables on Student Persistence (Montréal region) are
intended as a springboard for a stimulating regional collaboration and
dialogue. In their welcoming addresses to the 550 attendees, the chairs of the
six school boards summed up what is at stake here with a simple yet sobering
equation: "Today's school inequalities are tomorrow's social inequalities."

    For more information on the Roundtables, on Montréal Hooked on School, or
for an interview with a spokesperson, please contact Audrey Filion.

For further information:

For further information: Audrey Filion, CASACOM, (514) 286-2145, ext.
223, (514) 726-7520; Sources: Regional Roundtables on Student Persistence
(Montréal region); Montréal Hooked on School

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Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys

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Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Île

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