English Parents' Committee Association (EPCA), Montreal, Quebec
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EPCA Press Release 01-15-2020

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English Parents Committee Quebec

For Immediate Release

EPCA elects new leadership

(January 15, 2020) – Montreal, QC

The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) elected a new executive during its Annual General Assembly last Saturday in Montreal.

Board members representing their respective school board Parent Committees elected outgoing Vice-President and English Montreal School Board delegate Katherine Korakakis as President, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board delegate Ailsa Pehi as Vice-President. Pierre Masson, Central Quebec School Board, was elected Treasurer.

Korakakis succeeds Rhonda Boucher who served as President for four years, thanking her fellow directors for their confidence. “I look forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead and working with the diverse and dedicated board members who are the voice of parent stakeholders in Quebec’s English public education network.”

For 10 years, Korakakis has been responsible for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives and projects under the auspices of the Quebec government’s Quebec Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge
program. She has authored and co-authored guidebooks on entrepreneurship education and served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations. Serving as vice-president of PME MTL Centre-Ouest and on the investment committees of PME MTL Centre and PME MTL Centre-Ouest..

Pehi is a former Sir Wilfrid Laurier school commissioner and currently serves as Vice-President of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation, and board Vice-President of the non-profit Centre d’Activités Récréatives et Educatives which serves adults with physical disabilities.

With 16 delegates elected from eight English school board Parent Committees, EPCA has worked with Quebec organizations and associations helping support parent committees with their mandates since 2009. EPCA also helps train Parent Committees and represents stakeholders’ interests to the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur.

For more information contact: Katherine Korakakis (514) 778-3722



(January 15, 2020) – Montreal, QC

The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) elected a new executive during its Annual General Assembly last Saturday in Montreal.

Board members representing their respective school board Parent Committees elected outgoing Vice-President and English Montreal School Board delegate Katherine Korakakis as President, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board delegate Ailsa Pehi as Vice-President. Pierre Masson, Central Quebec School Board, was elected Treasurer.

Korakakis succeeds Rhonda Boucher who served as President for four years, thanking her fellow directors for their confidence. “I look forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead and working with the diverse and dedicated board members who are the voice of parent stakeholders in Quebec’s English public education network.”

For 10 years, Korakakis has been responsible for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives and projects under the auspices of the Quebec government’s Quebec Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge
program. She has authored and co-authored guidebooks on entrepreneurship education and served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations. Serving as vice-president of PME MTL Centre-Ouest and on the investment committees of PME MTL Centre and PME MTL Centre-Ouest..

Pehi is a former Sir Wilfrid Laurier school commissioner and currently serves as Vice-President of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation, and board Vice-President of the non-profit Centre d’Activités Récréatives et Educatives which serves adults with physical disabilities.

With 16 delegates elected from eight English school board Parent Committees, EPCA has worked with Quebec organizations and associations helping support parent committees with their mandates since 2009. EPCA also helps train Parent Committees and represents stakeholders’ interests to the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur.

For more information contact: Katherine Korakakis (514) 778-3722

Press Release November 22, 2019 Bill 40

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Montreal, November 22, 2019
The English Parents Committee Association (EPCA) is denouncing the paraphrasing used by the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge in the National Assembly yesterday on the comments made by EPCA Vice-President Katherine Korakakis during the parliamentary commission on Bill 40.

The Minister of Education used Ms. Korakakis’s statement in his own context. “The Minister of Education used my name to try and promote his bill in the National Assembly in the wrong context,” said Vice-President Katherine Korakakis.

“EPCA is not in favour of Bill 40 and if he had listened through the entire proceeding he would have understood our position as clearly as the other Members of the National Assembly on the Culture and Education Committee.

EPCA sees no added value to student success or to our community with this bill. It should be withdrawn and all education stakeholders should have a voice in the future of our extremely successful public education system,” concluded the Vice-President.

Annual General Assembly

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Notice

English Parents' Committee Association

Annual General Assembly

(This event is by Invitation-only)


Date: Saturday, November 30th, 2019
Location: 2599 Blvd Alfred Nobel, Saint Laurent, QC H4S 0A9
9:00am Meet and Greet Breakfast
10:00am Annual General Assembly
12:30 Lunch
14:00 Strategic Development Session
On the needs of Parents’ Committees of Québec

A Vital Task for the National Assembly

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Notes for remarks by

The English Parents Committee Association

Regarding Bill 40

To the

Committee on Culture and Education

National Assembly of Québec

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The English Parents Committee Association demands high performance from our schools, teachers and administrators. As parents, our two prime concerns about any given education policy come down to:

1. Will it increase the graduation rate of Quebec schools?

2. Will it make our graduates better equipped to deal with the world?

EPCA is disheartened to see that the government put all its attention and resources into producing a bill that targets neither the quality of education nor the graduation rate in Quebec.

We have, however, taken note of what the government hopes to achieve with this bill, and we would like to offer some comments about these goals, as well as suggestions that might make this bill more effective at achieving its stated goals. In this process we hope that the bill may be amended to make improve educational outcomes.

1. Regarding the government’s goal of providing autonomy for schools and proximity to the community in decision-making: we appreciate and applaud the minister in wanting to bring the parents closer to the decision-making process. However, there are several aspects of the new model that raise concerns and problems for us, and may indeed undermine the stated intention of proximity to the community:

a. The new model provides no specifics regarding representation on the service centre Board of Directors of special needs, elementary, high school and vocational communities. Each of these sectors has its own characteristics and distinct needs and should be represented by parents involved with them. We believe the bill would be more effective if it is amended to specify this aspect of representation on the Board. At a minimum, it is urgent to ensure that a parent of a special needs student is included on the Board.

b. The new model, by contrast, provides very specific criteria for the community representatives who will replace the existing elected commissioners (i.e. one each from the financial sector, sports and leisure, human resources, etc.). We see it as highly unlikely that the people with these backgrounds are likely to step forward spontaneously to run for these positions, particularly in rural areas. Better that the criteria for community representatives be made less specific, and that these representatives be vetted and nominated by the community they serve.

c. For community representatives, there is also no provision for the cost of running a campaign, which will limit the pool of candidates to those who can afford this cost. Better that there should be clear provisions for reimbursement of campaign costs. This way, the diverse range of a community’s interests can be reflected in its representatives.

d. The parents in the territory of a service centre should form the electorate for the parent members of the service centre Board of Directors.

e. The parent members of the Board must also be members of the parent committee of the service centre. While other Board members are supported by their respective organizations and associations, parent representatives are lone agents in this new model. However, as members of parent committees, parent representatives would benefit (in terms of communications, proximity to other parents), and be able to provide more effective representation. 

2. Regarding the government’s intention to reduce bureaucracy, we fear that the outcome will be more likely a hollowing-out of the education system. This bill removes intermediaries between parents and the ministry that have helped us in the past to refine and play a more effective role in the governance of our schools. When there is consultation on new decrees by the ministry, it will fall to the Governing Board to do much more of this work, to go through documentation and articulate their responses. We believe it is important to maintain the existing consultative process through parents committees, as well as Governing Boards. Both parents committees and Governing Boards are being put in a position to fail, asked to do more without the resources or compensation to do this work effectively. 

3. Regarding the government’s intention to remove politics from education, we see the likely outcome as removing democracy from education.

a. While the English sector retains elections at large for community representatives to the service centre Board of Directors, this electoral process is enfeebled and attenuated. The school electoral list for the English minority previously used for this vote must be maintained, and it should be easy to get onto this list; a matter of showing up, identifying and voting.

b.We would have hoped to see the elections integrated with municipal elections, for example, and otherwise reinforced and helped to reach out to the community, rather than narrowing the base of the electorate and limiting the representativeness and legitimacy of these bodies. It is not too late for this Assembly to modify these details of the bill to retain and reinforce the community outreach of this electoral process that has historically been an important event in the English-speaking community. 

4. We come now to the government’s intention to save $45 million over the next four years. In our view, this saving is on the back of parents. The elimination of school commissioners and elections to make these savings will mean more responsibilities for Governing Boards, for example, but there is little recognition of what this means for the individuals in this volunteer ecosystem. We are all working in the system that educates Quebec children, from the Minister to the rookie parent on the local parent committee; but I ask you who are here today at this committee: how many of you could do your jobs effectively if you were working on a volunteer basis and paying your own expenses, your own babysitting costs? If you expect more from this part of the system, you must provide it with adequate resources and compensation.

To conclude, we note that this bill has not emerged from any white paper or clear intention to improve education in Quebec. It offers no metrics that matter to us, such as improving the graduation rate and the quality of education.

The existing School Board system is a community-based intermediary between the school and the Education Ministry, and an important institutional support to parents; and we see the new service centres proposed to replace them as having uncertain legal status, with leadership clearly answerable to the ministry before parents, teachers or administrators. Without amendment, this bill is a disaster for our schools and the communities they support.

We encourage this Assembly to look long and hard at this bill, and to be ready to amend it in the interest of the quality of education in Quebec. 

10 tips to help your teen get smart about tests

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Choose the summer program that’s right for your child

Choose the summer program that’s right for your child


Here's how you can help your child succeed on tests and make sure that tests are tools for learning at school.

by: GreatSchools Staff
Your child is used to taking tests, but beginning in high school the results carry higher stakes. Tests may determine whether your child progresses from algebra to geometry, graduates from high school or is admitted to the college of her choice. It’s no wonder parents worry that their kids are test-stressed.

You can help your child learn to take tests and use tests to learn with these 10 tips:

1. Monitor your child’s progress on homework and classroom tests.
It may seem obvious, but good study skills are the best test preparation. It can be challenging to keep track of your tween or teen’s progress in school. Your child is learning to be independent – a good thing – and may resist your efforts. And you don’t want to get so involved that you’re the one doing his homework. How much supervision you need to provide depends on your child’s age, maturity and how he’s doing in school. Find out the best times and ways to contact his teachers (Email makes this a lot easier!) Check in with them regularly for feedback and ask how you can help your child at home.
Learn more: Read Study skills for middle school and beyond and How to take great notes on GreatSchools.org.

2. Help your child learn from tests.
Go over tests with your child to see if there are concepts he still doesn’t understand and give him a pat on the back if he did well. Ask your child if he knows how he was able to achieve the grade he got or how he can get a better grade next time. If he gets an 80% on an essay test and the teacher’s only comment is “good job,” that’s not much information. What was good? What does he have to do to get 100%? Many teachers use “rubrics,” or scoring guides, to show students the difference between A, B and C work. Rubrics can break down a more subjective area, such as writing, into components that students can more readily understand.
Learn more: Read more about the use of rubrics in middle school in this article on Middle Web, a resource for teachers and parents.

3. Talk to the teachers or principal about how test results are used.
Ask how the teacher uses test results to adjust her lesson planning or methods of instruction. Does the teacher go over tests after handing them back so that students get a chance to learn from them? Ask the principal how the school uses standardized tests to improve learning and instruction, and how achievement gaps between groups of students are being addressed.

4. Find out how students are prepared for standardized tests.
Do they understand the purpose of a test? Is preparation a separate activity, done in the last week or two, using old editions of the test? This focus on the superficial features of test-taking is what gives test preparation a bad name.
Students should be given some classroom tests in the same format as the standardized test they will take. “We’re not talking about getting old copies of the test,” says Dr. Christopher Tienken, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in New Jersey and a professor at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. “If a test format calls for a written response, you shouldn’t be seeing only multiple-choice tests.”
Good teachers integrate the test-taking skills and strategies into their instruction on a regular basis. For example, the skills needed to successfully answer questions on a reading comprehension test – time management, understanding the question being asked and distilling the main point of the passage to be read – are those your child will need to complete assignments in many classes in the years ahead.
Learn more: Read What’s so bad about teaching to the test? on GreatSchools.org.

5. Find out what other ways the school assesses students.
Tests don’t give a full picture of your student. They don’t measure her ability as an artist or creative thinker. For this reason, some schools also use portfolio assessment to evaluate students. Students collect samples of their story drafts, research projects or lab reports into portfolios. The student’s reflections and evaluations of what she has learned are part of the portfolio, which she presents to classmates, teachers and in some cases, parents or community members. Portfolio assessment is not widely used because portfolios are more time-consuming to grade than standardized tests. A number of colleges also accept academic portfolios for admission. Whether or not your child’s school uses a variation of portfolio assessment, she should be assessed on more than test results. Your child should be given a range of assignments, from research papers to creative writing to science projects to help her become an engaged learner and to practice skills that tests may not reflect.
Learn more: Here’s a description of portfolio assessment from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement.
Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, is one college that allows students to skip the SAT and submit a portfolio. Applicants have to send in four samples of graded work from their junior and senior years in high school, including teacher comments.

6. Help your child learn the questions to ask before the test.
The path to a good grade shouldn’t be a mystery. At the beginning of the school year or semester, the teacher should make clear how students will be graded.
Some teachers give points for homework, quizzes and projects and add them up to calculate a grade. Others count only major assignments. Some reward effort, which makes hard-working students feel better but should also be a warning flag: Grades from teachers who give lots of credit for effort don’t give an accurate picture of the skills students have mastered.
Before a test, your student should know the specifics: the test format, the scope of material covered, whether he needs to show his work for math problems and whether he’ll be penalized for guessing on a multiple-choice test. If a teacher isn’t providing enough information to help your child prepare, make an appointment to speak with the teacher, and if you need to, talk to the principal.

7. Before the test, go over strategies with your student.
•   Remind him to do the following:
•   Preview the test before he starts work on it, noting the number of points for each question. Then, he should quickly figure out how much
    time to spend on each section.
•   Read the question carefully so he understands what he is being asked to do. On a multiple-choice test, a question that asks “Which of the
    following does not…..” has a far different answer than “Which of the following does….” Talk about how the answers would be different if
    your child is asked to:
•   Compare (identify similarities and differences)
•   Contrast (show differences)
•   Summarize (give a concise account without detail)
•   Prove (support a point of view with facts)
•   Answer the easiest questions first. Then go back to the tougher ones.
•   Make educated guesses on multiple-choice questions. If points are deducted for guessing, it’s better to leave an answer blank than to make
    a wild guess. But if your child can eliminate one or more incorrect answers, or if there is no penalty for guessing, it’s a good idea to guess.
•   On questions that require matching, he should read all the items before he writes any answers so he can get an idea of all the possibilities.

This is less time-consuming than going back to erase and change an answer.
•   For short-answer questions, keep in mind that the teacher has something specific in mind from the assigned reading or her lectures.
•   Know that first impulses are usually correct, so be careful about going back to change answers.
•   Use all of his time. If he finishes, he should check his answers. If he’s checked the answers once, he can cover up his answers and think
through the question again to see if he should rework his answer.

Learn more: Read Timed writing: techniques for success from the College Board.

8. Remember that all tests are tests of reading ability.
If your student struggles with tests, talk to the teacher about whether she may have a reading problem. She may be able to read individual words but struggle with the advanced reading skills middle and high school students need to summarize, analyze and predict. Keep books, magazines and newspapers at home to encourage your child to read, and let her see you reading, too. Older children still look to parents as role models, even if they aren’t quick to admit it!
Learn more: Read Get ready for middle and high school reading and Get ready for college reading on GreatSchools.org.

9. Help your child get physically and mentally prepared.
Try to make sure your child has a well-balanced diet and is well-rested. Make sure he knows how the results of a test will be used and encourage him to take it seriously. Talk to him about any fears he has about a test if he seems overly anxious. But then remind him that the test is only one measure of what he can do.
Learn more: Check the GreatSchools.org Healthy Kids guide for healthy food and fitness ideas.

10. Learn more about tests.
Find out what a test is designed to measure. Don’t draw conclusions from a single test score and question any decision the school makes about your child based on a single test. How your child feels physically on test day or the way she feels about the teacher can affect her results.
Tienken says that his district has moved away from using a single test to determine a child’s placement in a program for gifted students or in a particular class. A student’s past achievement, current report card and test scores are now taken into account before a decision is made, he says.
“Parents should ask, ‘What are your criteria for student placement decisions?'” Tienken advises.
If your child’s results on several different tests are relatively consistent, you should pay attention and discuss any worrying trends – as well as newly emerging talents – with the teacher or counselor.
When looking at your school’s test scores, assessing whether the school’s scores have improved or declined over time is more useful than looking at the results of a single test.

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