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EPCA Newsletter Vol. 12

It has been another long year getting through COVID and fighting for the rights of parents and English speaking students and I am really proud of what we have been able to accomplish together again this year. Students have again showed incredible resiliency in the face of a third year in the middle of change and uncertainty and parents have pulled together within their communities to support the educational needs of our children! Way to go!! 

Over the past year, EPCA has:

  • Created memory aids and tips and tricks for all levels of school to encourage student success;
  • Presented webinars for parents on a wide variety of subjects in partnership with the FCPQ;
  • Developed tips on advocating for students at schools; 
  • Worked with the OMETZ Foundation and The Betty and Bernard S. Shapiro Family Lecture Series to present Dr. Eli Lebowitz; and
  • Described in detail Individual Education Plans (IEPs), Progress Reports, and Report Cards to help parents.

We have also had to contend with serious bullying issues and provided resources for conflict resolution and combating youth violence; you will find in this issue reminders on Digital Citizenship and resources for your and your children. We also continue to fight for English educational rights when it comes to Bill 96 and the impacts this law will have on our children – especially our most vulnerable students – for many years to come.

But for now, I would like to wish you a summer filled with joy and laughter and rest. I look forward to seeing you all in the fall!

EPCA disappointed with new Assistant Deputy Minister appointment

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

QuĂ©bec, January 27, 2022 – The English Parents Committee Association (EPCA) was taken aback when the QuĂ©bec Cabinet announced on January 26th the nomination of the sous-ministre adjointe au rĂ©seau Ă©ducatif anglophone, aux relations interculturelles, et aux Autochtones to the Ministry of Education.

EPCA expresses regret for the manner in which this appointment was made and has great concerns about the new appointee’s professional profile, which includes no experience working in the elementary, secondary, adult technical and vocational systems over her career.

“The English-speaking community has been fortunate to have been represented at the Department by high-calibre educators who are recognized for their leadership and who have understood the growing needs and challenges facing the English-speaking minority community”, EPCA President Katherine Korakakis explained.

“Historically, EPCA and all of our partners have been in the forefront of assisting in the selection of the Assistant Deputy Minister overseeing our education network. We find it disheartening that an appointment of this importance has been made without community consultation” the President said.

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About the English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA)

The English Parents’ Committee Association represents Quebec English-language school boards. With a team of Directors chosen by member Parent Committees, it is the official voice of Quebec’s English public-school parent community, representing more than 100,000 students. Speaking with one voice for parents and their children, EPCA represents parent interests in all dealings with the MinistĂšre de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supĂ©rieur (MEES) and across all levels of government.

For more information contact:

EPCA

Katherine Korakakis – President

Cellulaire: (514) 668-8672

Courriel: president@epcaquebec.org

Where is the Plan?

Press Release

For immediate release

                                                            Where is the Plan?

(January 5, 2022 – Montreal) – With the 17th of January maintained as the day students return to school, the English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) is still unclear of the plan for a safe return to school.

“Today’s press conference left parents with more questions than answers,” Katherine Korakakis, President of EPCA, stated.

Report Cards

EPCA is astounded that the first report card of the school year has been pushed back two weeks to February 11th. Parents rely strongly on information sent by schools about their children; since the beginning of this school year, only one official communication has been sent to parents. ” The report card is an important tool for parents. Parents rely on the report card and the teachers’ comments to know how there child is doing in school. This allows them to make appropriate arrangements as needed in order to better assist their child with their educational success,” explains Katherine Korakakis.

Distance Learning

It is critical to consider vulnerable students, who are disadvantaged the most when school is physically inaccessible. Students with disabilities, in particular, must be able to access the ancillary services to which they are entitled, even when they are not physically present. What remedy do parents have if educational services are not delivered throughout the distant learning period? EPCA is greatly concerned about inaccessibility further impacting these vulnerable students.

Mental health issues and school dropout

Dropout prevention methods must be incorporated into the plan. Young people drop out of school for a variety of reasons, including a lack of desire and the allure of the labour market. Everyone talks about mental health, but there is no plan in place to assist adolescents who are disconnected from their environment, have lost access to their source of inspiration – such as sports or extracurricular activities – or are in despair. EPCA wants to know what the Government will put in place to address these issues.

Ventilation

“We’ve known for over a year and a half that there is an issue with the air quality in our schools, the situation needs to be addressed. What about air filters?” Katherine Korakakis inquires.

We have been living in a pandemic for nearly two years; we must adapt to this reality and develop a concrete plan to ensure that our children can attend school. Where is the strategy? This wait and see approach serves no one and harms both the school system and our most defenceless population – the children of Quebec.

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For more information contact:

Katherine Korakakis – President

Cellulaire: (514) 668-8672

Courriel: president@epcaquebec.org

About the English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA)

The English Parents’ Committee Association represents eight Quebec English-language school boards and is the official voice of Quebec’s English public school parent community, representing more than 100,000 students. Speaking with one voice for parents and their children, EPCA represents parent interests in all dealings with the MinistĂšre de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supĂ©rieur (MEES) and across all levels of government.

New English Parent’s Committee Provincial Leadership Elected

Montreal, Monday, November 22, 2021 - It is with great enthusiasm that the English Parent’s Committee Associate (EPCA) of Quebec announces its new Executive Officers, elected at the Annual General Assembly in November.

Katherine Korakakis, representing the English Montreal School Board, was re-elected as President for her third year. Ms. Korakakis has been instrumental in advocating for English School Board students and their parents and has forged many relationships with educational, governmental, and social groups across the province.

Joining Ms. Korakakis on the Executive Officers’ Committee is Trina Hubley, representing the Western Quebec School Board, moving into the Vice President position after being the Communications Committee Chair for the last year, and Victoria Chavez from the Riverside School Board, who was elected as Treasurer / Audit Officer.

Ms. Korakakis, Ms. Hubley, and Ms. Chavez look forward to continuing to support the English public education students and their parents by advocating on their behalf and working hard to provide support to ensure success in education.

For more information or for media contacts:
Email: President@epcaquebec.org

Annual General Assemblies

Montreal, August 11, 2021 – The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) welcomes the announcement of a more normal return to school this year. However, questions remain.

School is also a social net for young people; however, we recognize that steps must be taken to make sure that reopening the schools is done in a safe way. Services to students including tutoring and mental health services must be offered to all students in need, with easy access.  

Students have had difficulties during the pandemic, not only on an academic level, but also on a social and personal level. That is why the announcement of additional liaison officers to contact dropouts is welcome. 

One of the significant concerns of EPCA is the fact that neither parents nor school staff were given directives on what to do if an outbreak or a single case occurs in their school. It is essential for parents to be well informed so that they can act quickly, without having to search for information when they need it. 

As well, the implementation of an immunization passport in high schools in order to participate in certain extracurricular activities that are deemed high-risk is worrisome. No details have been provided in regard to what constitutes a “high-risk” activity, nor about considerations for students who will not be able to participate. We know the role that these activities have in motivating young people and we eagerly await additional information on the topic. 

 “We were hoping to get a solid picture of how the next school year would be run. Today’s announcement does provide some guidance, but not enough to answer all parental concerns and questions,’” said Katherine Korakakis, President of EPCA.  

EPCA is looking forward to receiving additional information on the impending return to school.

Parents Need More Information

Montreal, August 11, 2021 - The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) welcomes the announcement of a more normal return to school this year. However, questions remain.

School is also a social net for young people; however, we recognize that steps must be taken to make sure that reopening the schools is done in a safe way. Services to students including tutoring and mental health services must be offered to all students in need, with easy access.  

Students have had difficulties during the pandemic, not only on an academic level, but also on a social and personal level. That is why the announcement of additional liaison officers to contact dropouts is welcome. 

One of the significant concerns of EPCA is the fact that neither parents nor school staff were given directives on what to do if an outbreak or a single case occurs in their school. It is essential for parents to be well informed so that they can act quickly, without having to search for information when they need it. 

As well, the implementation of an immunization passport in high schools in order to participate in certain extracurricular activities that are deemed high-risk is worrisome. No details have been provided in regard to what constitutes a “high-risk” activity, nor about considerations for students who will not be able to participate. We know the role that these activities have in motivating young people and we eagerly await additional information on the topic. 

 "We were hoping to get a solid picture of how the next school year would be run. Today’s announcement does provide some guidance, but not enough to answer all parental concerns and questions,’” said Katherine Korakakis, President of EPCA.  

EPCA is looking forward to receiving additional information on the impending return to school.

What is Normal? A response to the Quebec Government’s Back To School in 2021 plan

Montreal, Wednesday, June 2, 2021 — It is with reservations that the English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) receives the government's announcement today of the measures to be put in place for the start of the next school year. EPCA is very concerned about what this means for the children in the English-language school system given that it doesn’t appear to address all parental concerns about back to school.

“Getting to a new ‘normal’ is what everyone wants, but this should not be done without due consideration of all variables. There are no plans in place for vaccinations of students under the age of 12. What the Minister announced today is a full return to what was considered normal before the pandemic, which is problematic and unachievable in the near future,” explains Katherine Korakakis President of EPCA.

Although it is good news that high school student would return to normal if a 75% vaccinations rate are achieved, the province’s plan does not reflect significant concerns is lacking an achievable plan for students under 12, taking into consideration the fact that vaccinations for this age group have not yet been approved. The fact that this is not addressed leaves parents feeling like there is no strategy for this group other than to hope that all goes well. The thought of going back to the improvised decision-making by the government that we have had to endure for the previous fifteen months is deeply troubling. “Parents have had a hard fifteen months filled with anxiety. The uncertainty inherent in this plan, particularly the fact that there is no specific consideration for unvaccinated students under 12, does not help ease that anxiety,” concludes Ms. Korakakis. 

EPCA learned about these new provisions for the start of the 2021 school year from the media (in contradiction to what the Minister claimed this morning). As such, EPCA now calls upon the government to exercise caution and not to forget about the past fifteen months and return to schools as if the pandemic did not happen. Experiences over the past fifteen months must be considered and precise plans need to be put in place that consider all of the variables and possibilities. EPCA will continue to remain vigilant and work with parents and the educational system to ensure Anglophone children – and those looking after them in schools – remain safe.

For more information or for media contacts: 
Email: President@epcaquebec.org | Cell phone: 514 668-8672