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Supporting Montréal Schools Program

1) Category:
• General program

2) Issues Behind the Program:
• In 1996, the Conseil supérieur de l’éducation and the Commission for the Estates General on Education both recognized the urgent need for special measures to support Montréal schools, in particular in disadvantaged neighborhoods.1 At that time, the situation on the Island of Montréal was characterized by the following factors: o o o o o • a wide range of success rates; a wide range of graduation rates (from 59.8% to 95.9%, depending on the school); a marked academic delay among students from disadvantaged neighborhoods; a concentration of immigrant families (most of the young people from cultural communities attend school in Montréal); the cumulative and combinatory effects of the factors involved.

This specific situation brought about the creation, in 1997, of the Supporting Montréal Schools Program.

3) Objectives:
• To promote the personal and educational success of all students from disadvantaged neighborhoods, while taking into account their needs and resources and contributing to the creation of a committed education community.

4) Environment:
• Primary schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Montréal

5) Target Group:
• Students from 5 to 12 year old from the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in Montréal and who are attending one of the targeted schools from the five school boards on the Island of Montréal.

6) Key Words:
• Supporting Montréal Schools Program, cœuréaction, school-family-community partnership, general program, disadvantaged neighborhood, immigration, MELS, collective mobilization, reading, writing, guidance-oriented approach, professional development, culture, intervention

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(Conseil supérieur de l’éducation, La réussite à l’école montréalaise : une urgence pour la société québécoise, February 1996).

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/.

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7) Description:
• The objective of the Supporting Montréal Schools Program is to support the most disadvantaged schools on the Island of Montréal in order to ensure school and educational success for as many students as possible. The program consists of seven measures recognized as having a significant impact on the educational journey, learning and motivation of students in underprivileged communities. Target schools must see to it that the measures are implemented, taking into account their own specific situation and needs. The measures, which should be seen as an integrated whole serving to improve the students’ situation and their learning, are interdependent and should be combined with the means being jointly implemented to achieve most of the priority objectives chosen by the school and to ensure development of the competencies prescribed in the Quebec Education Program. These measures are: 1- Adapted actions: Recognize the ability to learn of every student and create conditions for ensuring that they do so. 2- Development of the reading competency: Ensure that all students are immersed in a culture of writing and develop their reading competency. 3- Guidance-oriented approach: Prevent the social and occupational exclusion of children from disadvantaged communities by giving them access to various learning and life experiences regardless of their circumstances. 4- Professional development of school administrators and the school team: Increase knowledge about poverty and its possible effects on learning and develop teaching practices consistent with the community. 5- Access to cultural resources: Instil in students a taste for the arts and sciences and promote visits to cultural organizations. In addition, enrich education by creating ties between classroom teaching, cultural objects and people involved in the arts and sciences. 6- Cooperative links with students’ families: Set up effective ways of bringing schools and families together and of promoting the collaboration of parents in their children’s educational success. 7- Links with community organizations: Ensure that participants from the school and family, as well as other community partners (community, social, cultural, institutional and economic organizations), work together to put in place the conditions necessary for the students’ overall development. • The program brochure provides the theoretical basis for each of the measures, courses of action or food for thought, and references for the theme covered. In addition, tools are suggested at times.

8) Steps:
I. The schools are targeted based on two deprivation indexes provided by the Direction de la recherche, des statistiques et des indicateurs of the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport: socioeconomic environment index and the low-income cut-off. Under the Program, a supplementary annual allocation is granted to primary schools in Montréal’s most destitute neighborhoods. The amount is earmarked for the seven measures of the Program. Program activities are overseen by a coordinating committee composed of the director of the Direction régionale de Montréal of the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, as well as the directors general of the five school boards concerned. The committee defines the Program’s aims and objectives and the collective services offered to the schools, distributes the resources, and sees to Program evaluation.

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This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/.

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IV.

A professional team composed of members of Montréal’s education community, chosen based on their expertise, are tasked to support measure implementation. Apart from the training offered under the Program, the team can provide either ongoing or ad hoc support to school teams, principals, instructors, childcare staff and professional staff for: o o o o o understanding the Program; understanding a specific measure; information about the features of poverty and their impact on learning; establishing a professional development network; creating a network of partners.

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The target schools must report annually on the implementation of the seven measures.

9) Activities/Actions:
• Program implementation occurs as follows: o Support for the school teams and their partners: The work of the professional team basically consists of creating certain activities offered to the schools and their partners to optimize implementation of the Program measures. The support is delivered through a series of actions on an ongoing basis. Ad hoc support is provided under exceptional circumstances. Contribution to establishing an education community engaged in the professional development of the players represented by teaching staff, school principals, non-teaching staff, childcare staff, and cultural and community partners: The Program contributes to creating a learning community. The professional development activities involve every player and form the nucleus of the learning community. Development of the measures in collaboration with the schools and their partners: The development of measures is varied, but the goal in all cases is to enhance expertise in disadvantaged communities and to back initiatives aimed at support, coaching and the production of tools that take better account of context and needs. Given the complexity of the issues, an ongoing process is favored. Research activities aimed at evaluating the Program and improving it: The framework for Program evaluation covers a variety of aspects, such as establishment, implementation, relevance and effectiveness, thereby making it possible to highlight the different effects and to make any required adjustments.

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10) Resources Required:
• Human resources: o o o o Coordinating committee (director of the Direction régionale de Montréal of MELS and the directors general of the five school boards concerned) A professional team (composed of people from Montréal’s education community, chosen for their expertise on poverty) School teams Parents and community partners

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/.

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11) Roles of the Participants:
• School teams: o o o o o • o analyze the situation of the community based on student characteristics and needs; implement the seven measures of the Program; participate in the process of professional development; support family action with a view to better support for students; work with the community partners. participate in Program activities and work with the schools on different projects.

Parents and community partners:

12) Scientific Basis or Validity:
• A number of findings are presented in the 2009 Brochure, notably, a longitudinal study of the effects of the Program on perseverance in school. The results confirm that the students who attended the target schools did not drop out as much as the control group (schools in communities with the same deprivation index but that did not participate in the Program). The average gap is wide enough to be considered significant. The Brochure has a chapter on the research conducted in recent years. Some outcomes are presented and illustrate the Program`s relevance and impact (see pp. 42-50).

13) Program Material:
• • • Website: http://www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/ecolemontrealaise/ [in French only] Brochure A Handbook for Project Development Process (School-team document suggesting various tools to help the teams design, monitor and evaluate projects under the Program)

14) Additional Information:
• The information contained in this factsheet was taken, in whole or in part, from the following: o o o o http://www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/sections/publications/publications/EPEPS/Coord_inte rv_milieu_defavorise/ProgSoutienEcoleMontrealaise_Brochure2009_f.pdf; http://www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/ecolemontrealaise/pdf/Brochure10eAnn_f.pdf ; http://www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/ecolemontrealaise/ ; Bringing Families and Elementary Schools Closer Together. Companion Guide: http://www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/ecolemontrealaise/pdf/Rapprocher_familles_prim/Co mpanion_Guide.pdf; Strengthening Ties between Schools and Communities. A Key Measure to Support the Educational Success of our Youth: http://www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/ecolemontrealaise/pdf/strengtheningtiesschoolscommunities.pdf.

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This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/.

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15) Contacts:
• Chantale Richer, Coordinator Supporting Montréal Schools Program Édifice de la CSDM 3737, rue Sherbrooke Est, 4e étage, aile Ouest Montréal (Québec) H1X 3B3 Tel.: (514) 596-7977, extension 7974 Email: richerc@csdm.qc.ca

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/.

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