February was a busy month for everyone at Lester B. Pearson. Term 2 for our elementary and high schools has come to an end, and our continuing education students have also been working hard. In this report, I will share with you some of the highlights from the past month, many of which focus on various achievements by and recognition of our students and staff.
February is Black History Month, and many of our schools and centres hosted activities to recognize the contributions of people of colour and to reinforce the message that we still have work to do as a society to combat racism, discrimination, and injustice. Many of our schools and centres collaborated with our valued community partners this month to create thought-provoking and inspirational displays and activities, many of which featured music, poetry, and the dramatic arts. Together, they did an incredible job of imparting the values of respect, equity, and inclusion for all.
Across Quebec, les Journées de la Persévérance Scolaire or Hooked on School Days took place February 17-21. It is a time of year when school boards, community partners, and government officials make a conscious effort to reinforce the importance for students to stay in school. In addition to a province-wide media campaign, there are many activities that are organized to promote education and the various pathways to success. This year, a special focus was placed on arts education and the role that fine arts, dramatic arts, dance, and music play in supporting student success.
In Montreal, the week began with an opening ceremony that was held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Representatives from all 5 school boards on the island of Montreal were present as were students from local schools. We were very proud to have a contingent of Lester B. Pearson staff and students on hand to display their beautiful artwork. I would like to say a special word of thanks to Frank Caracciolo, our arts consultant in Educational Services, for inspiring and encouraging our students at Lindsay Place and Horizon High Schools to tap into their artistic selves and create these impressive works of art.
Other student achievements of note come from the world of continuing education. I am proud to announce that we have 7 students who will be competing in the Provincial Vocational Training Olympiad to be held this May in Quebec City. Students will be competing for medals in the fields of professional cooking, electricity, plumbing and heating, professional sales, residential and commercial drafting, and pastry making. We wish our students all the best, and we thank our teachers in these programs for helping our students train and prepare for this next level of competition.
Three of our high schools recently participated in a model United Nations activity, a two-day event that has students research and debate real world issues. The Model UN provides senior high school students an opportunity to practice problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills while simulating the work of the United Nations in the areas of international relations and diplomacy. Congratulations to the students from John Rennie, Pierrefonds Community, and Lindsay Place High Schools for their hard work. I was honoured to be a part of the judging panel at the John Rennie/PCHS event, and I was impressed by the zeal with which our students debated issues related to war and child soldiers. Words of thanks are owed to the administrators, teachers, and staff from all three schools for dedicating considerable time and effort to make these events such rich learning experiences for our students.
One of Canada’s Best Employers by Forbes!
Last but certainly not least, I am excited to share the news that Lester B. Pearson School Board was recently named as one of Canada’s Best Employers by Forbes. We are very proud that we were the only school board in Quebec to be selected for this year’s prestigious list which includes 300 companies and institutions such as Google, Apple, and the University of Toronto. The Forbes ranking is based on an independent survey that takes into consideration the attitudes of employees toward their employer and public perceptions of the organization. This recognition is a reflection of the high levels of passion and commitment that Lester B. Pearson personnel bring to their work daily. At LBPSB, we seek to create working and learning environments that encourage collaboration, personal growth, and caring for others, for these are important to model for our students. I thank the staff in our schools, centres and Head Office for making us one of the most successful learning organizations in Quebec. We are proud to share this accolade with our community.
In closing, I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe March Break. Spring is just around the corner!