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The Quebec Ministry of Education is releasing information regarding preparations and guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year in our ongoing COVID-19 pandemic context. WEHSA is compiling all information regarding the opening of schools on this blog post.
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On April 27, the Government of Quebec announced that elementary schools outside the Greater Montreal area will be reopening on May 11. Student Attendance is optional. Our school will have a PD day on May 11. Classes will start on May 12. If you would like to register your child to return to school you must give the school one week's notice. The deadline for registration is every Monday at 10:00 AM.
We want to thank the school and the teachers for all their hard work and effort to make the reopening as positive and safe for our children. We know this is a very stressful time and you have been placed in a difficult position. We offer our support as you take on this challenge.
All information pertaining to the opening, including the precautions to be undertaken can be found in the files below. You can also find all the information and learning tools that were issued during the school closure on the same blog by clicking here.
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As you are aware, the school will be closed until further notice. The WQSB will be providing updated information as it becomes available, which will be shared with school families by our school principal, Julie. WEHSA will also keep this site updated with all the information shared which you can find below in the attached documentation/files.
You can access the WQSB Backpack: Learing from Home website for a bunch of learning resources and activities for you and your children. The Quebec Ministry of Education's online learning platform, Open School, can be accessed here.
Beginning April 6, the Ministry will provide school boards and schools with optional weekly activities targeted to each grade level. Families will receive updates on how to access these optional activities as they are provided to the school.
Also, if you haven't already heard or seen the clip, the Daily Howl was on CTV news on March 25! See the clip here, the segment is on at 27:12. Thank you to Dale Kerr and Elizabeth Logue for setting it up. You can search Wakefield Elementary Daily Howl on FB and join the Howl on weekday mornings at 8:05 am. Zoom is being used to connect. You can also check out the clips later in the day!
For any concerns regarding your families' health please call 1-877-664-4545 or 811.
For additional information, you can also refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada website by clicking here.
We encourage everyone to follow the advice to safeguard your and our community's wellbeing
Take good care.
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As many of you are aware, year-end activities are organized as part of the Grade 6 Graduation. In past years, the tradition has generally been for the students to spend a day at the Mont Cascade Water Park followed by a sleepover in the school gym.
Recently, we were officially informed that there will no longer be a year-end sleepover at the school, starting with this year's graduating class. WEHSA and the Grade 6 Grad Committee Chair have had different opportunities to discuss this issue in order to find a resolution, but it has not met with a favorable outcome. WEHSA is disappointed in the decision and does not support it.
The above notwithstanding, WEHSA is commited to working with the Grade 6 Grad Committee to make the Grade 6 Grad as positive and memorable as possible.
Should you have any questions regarding the decision, please contact Julie at email@example.com or your child's Grade 6 teacher.
Please note that the next Grade 6 Grad Committee meeting will be taking place this Tuesday, February 4 at 6pm in the Library. We encourage you to attend and to share your ideas on how we move forward.
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On January 28, the WQSB Council of Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the resolution that maintains choice for Wakefield Elementary School students regarding enrolment and transportation to St. Michael's and Philemon Wright/Hadley High Schools. It was a very quick agenda item where the WQSB Director General, Mike Dubeau, thanked all communities for their feedback in the consultation. When it came to voting on the resolution there were no questions, and the Commissioners voted unanimously in support of the motion.
As reported in an earlier post, the resolution as recommended by the WQSB Planning and Review Committee, includes the following enrolment criteria for St. Michael’s and Hadley/PWHS:
WEHSA would like to take this opportunity to again thank the WQSB for undertaking consultations on this important issue and for making a decision based on the feedback they received from our communities.
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Recommendation to Give Back Choice - Proposed Enrolment Criteria and Transportation Boundary for St. Mike's and Hadley/PWHS
At the December 17 Planning and Review Committee Meeting, the Committee decided that it will be recommending to the Council of Commissioners a proposal that would still allow Wakefield Elementary School students to choose between St. Michael's and Hadley/Philemon Wright High Schools. The recommendation comes after weeks of public consultations where affected communities expressed concerns regarding the original proposal that would have taken choice away.
The specific recommendation is listed below. If approved, the new enrolment criteria and transporation boundary would begin to apply next (2020-2021) school year and be ongoing to future years. Please keep in mind these criteria are periodically reviewed and hence could change in the future. The full presentation to be presented to the Council of Commissioners on January 28 can be found on the WQSB website here. We thank the WQSB administration for taking on consultations and for listening to the concerns of our school families.
Starting from existing elementary school enrolment criteria and transportation boundaries, the following enrolment criteria for St. Michael’s and Hadley/PWHS is recommended:
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WEHSA convened a meeting with Mike Dubeau, Director General, WQSB, on December 12, for a follow-up discussion on the proposed School Transportation Boundaries for St. Michael's and Philemon Wright/Hadley Schools following the submission of WEHSA's letter to the Board. We thank the parents who participated in the discussion.
Mr. Dubeau shared a new alternative proposal that will be presented next Tuesday, December 17, to the WQSB Planning and Review Committee as part of other potential approaches for addressing the school enrolment and transportation issues. The proposal would redraw the boundaries to make Wakefield (La Pêche) and Poltimore neutral zones thereby giving back families the ability to choose between the two schools and to be provided busing where Wakefield would serve as a transportation hub. See the image below for the new alternative boundaries.
Under the proposal the communities of Kazabazua and Chelsea, however, would still lose their ability to choose and would be required to send their children to St. Micheal's and Philemon Wright/Hadley, respectively. However, grandfathering would be respected, where students already attending a school would be able to continue and to get busing. Cross-border applications would also be accepted, where possible. Those families in Kazabazua and Chelsea who may be negatively affected are encouraged to reach out to Mr. Dubeau directly to discuss alternatives.
This alternative proposal was described as a good compromise to address the issues that have been raised at the different consultations. It also helps in setting a needed enrolment criteria for St. Michael's High School in order to address its capacity limitations while at the same time gaining transportation efficiencies. It was stressed that St. Michael's enrollment would need to be carefully monitored as part of the proposal.
Following the meeting next Tuesday by the WQSB Planning and Review Committee, a decision is expected by the Council of Commissioners in January. Mr. Dubeau committed to following-up with WEHSA following the meeting on Tuesday.
WEHSA is encouraged that the Board has listened to the concerns of our school families in coming up with this alternative approach. We also thank Mr. Dubeau for his outreach and for offering to come to meet with our community a second time.
While recognizing and appreciating the WQSB's effort to consult, participants at the discussion stressed the importance of holding consultations earlier in the process when the issue of enrolment and school boundaries is revisited in the future.
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WEHSA reached out to the St. Michael's High School Home and School Association to send a letter to the WQSB to express concerns regarding the proposed School Transportation Boundaries for the next school year. The proposed boundaries splits our community, and has limited choice for our school families given the late consultations and decision on the matter. The letter was forwarded by email to the WQSB Secretary General, Director General, WQSB Commissioners, our MP, MNA, and local mayors. Read the letter below ....
Following receipt of the letter, Director General, Mike Dubeau from the WQSB, reached out to meet with WEHSA. WEHSA will be meeting with Mr. Dubeau to discuss the issue on Thursday, December 12 at 8pm in the school Library. Anyone who would like to join the discussion is welcome to come.
December 6, 2019
Dear WQSB Commissioners and Representatives,
The Wakefield Elementary Home and School Association (WEHSA) and the St. Michael's High
School Home and School are writing this letter to express our grave concern regarding the
proposed school transportation boundary for St. Michael’s and Hadley/Philemon Wright High
The Home and Schools represent a group of parent volunteers who come together to organize
school fundraisers and events at their respective schools. They also represent member school
families and provide a forum where they can raise issues related to our schools. We are proud
to represent over 85 families this school year.
WEHSA and St. Michael's High School Home and School have been following the discussions
of the WQSB proposal with great interest. As parents, we have also been participating actively.
We join the many parents and individuals who have expressed their concerns and signed the
petition calling for the WQSB not to impose the proposed school transportation boundaries.
Based on the WQSB presentations to date, we fail to see the urgency for a decision for the next
While we agree with the WQSB that the lack of a school transportation boundary for the St.
Michael’s and Hadley/Philemon Wright High Schools presents a challenge, we do not agree with
the proposed solution nor its timing.
Our concerns over the proposed school transportation boundaries reflect those that have been
articulated in the discussions to date, including:
• Divides the Wakefield community, its families and its students; creating a very negative and
• Removes choice between two very different schools that meet different student needs which
is critical particularly for students with special needs, as well as for students looking for
enhanced programs such as French Immersion and/or Sport Etudes.
• Effectively removes alternative school choices for affected families given the lateness in the
discussions as registration deadlines to other schools/programs are now passed.
• Jeopardizes the viability and sustainability of St. Michael’s High School by limiting student
enrollment from its two main feeder schools in Wakefield and Chelsea which account for the
main growth of the school and saved the school from being closed.
• Disporportionately disadvantages families who are not able to transport their children across
• Rising level of anxiety among our Grade 6 students and families who are now faced with
having a school choice imposed on them and who have had very little warning or time to
• Does not adequately consider the complexity of the issue and its impact on affected students,
families and communities.
While the proposed change to the school transportation boundary issue is said to be done in the
spirit of creating equity, we would argue that the proposal put forward is creating important
inequities by taking away choice and leaving families with little to no opportunity to look for
alternative schooling for their children. While we are pleased that discussions are taking place;
regrettably, they have come very late, leaving families next to no time to prepare for alternative
school choices than the one in the WQSB proposal. From this standpoint alone, we would
strongly recommend that a decision be postponed.
We are also very concerned about the impact of the proposed school transportation boundary to
the sustainability and viability of St. Michael’s High School. Wakefield and Chelsea elementary
schools are its primary feeder schools which has led to its growth and survival as a school. The
WQSB proposal would significantly limit student enrollment from these schools. We fail to see
the logic of how the Board expects St. Michael’s to maintain its student numbers and to continue
to grow as a school if it can no longer rely on its main feeder schools. The timing of such a
decision is also difficult to understand as it so closely follows a major capital investment with the
building of the new gym. We would argue that it would be a poor decision with respect to the
use of public funds.
At this important juncture of the school's history, the WQSB should be capitalizing on
St. Michael's recent success, and look for opportunities and creative solutions to enhance its
capacity as well as its programming in critical areas such as French immersion. The
presentations to date have been silent in this regard, limiting the issue to one of transportation.
The discussions to date have raised some of these broader issues, as well as provided
constructive feedback and other potential solutions for the school transportation boundary issue
in question, including creating transportation hubs in Wakefield and Chelsea, as well as
examining alternative bus routes and partnerships with the French school board and affected
municipalities. Consideration could also be given to a more targeted approach to address the
capacity issue at St. Michael's rather than stripping choice from students. Goodwill has also
been demonstrated by parents who are ready to work together with the WQSB and other
partners to develop solutions that would be mutually agreeable and beneficial.
Given the lateness in the discussions, it is our view that there is too little time to give due
consideration and analysis of the issues raised at the public discussions as well as potential
solutions to address the school transportation issue prior to the meeting of the Council of
Commissioners in January 2020, where a decision would need to be taken in time for next
year’s school registrations. In light of the complexity of the issue and its very broad impact, a
decision in January would be premature and very divisive.
While we understand that the WQSB would honor ‘grandfathering’ of students who presently
attend a school, this does not take into account all those students who do not benefit from
having a sibling in their preferred school. Moreover, given the limited capacity of St. Michael’s
High School, cross-boundary applications would also appear to be restricted, thereby raising the
potential of splitting families between two schools.
Moreover, while we also understand that transportation boundaries are periodically reviewed
and can be changed at any time, we would strongly caution against the Council of
Commissioners from taking a decision in January to move forward with the proposed school
transportation boundary on the assumption that another solution could be worked on for the
2021-2022 school year. This would place our current grade 6 students at a great disadvantage
as well as create unnecessary anxiety and other potential mental health issues. Furthermore, it
would greatly jeopardize the goodwill that has been fostered in the discussions to date and
willingness to work together with the WQSB on a more equitable solution for all parties involved.
Given the goodwill to work in partnership as well as the valid arguments to date against the
proposed school transportation boundary, we are hopeful that the WQSB and the Council of
Commissioners will decide to postpone its decision in favor of working together with parents and
other partners to find a more equitable and mutually beneficial solution.
Lana Noel, WEHSA President
Maggie Holmes, St. Michael's High School Home and School President
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