Promoting inclusion and mental well-being | Promouvoir l’inclusion et le mieux-être mental
Inspirations Articles

The promise of a new school for students with specialized needs

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Nick Katalifos

by Nick Katalifos

Spring is in the air, and there is exciting news from the English Montreal School Board that I would like to share with the Inspirations community. A seven-month consultation process has begun to discuss a new, innovative school for elementary students with social-emotional challenges. Slated to open for the 2026- 2027 academic year, the school is proposed being housed in the building of Nesbitt Elementary School in Rosemount-La Petite Patrie. Being a large building, it can accommodate two separate schools.

Nearby St. Raphael School has long been welcoming students with social-emotional challenges, and they have developed strategies that have helped children successfully reintegrate back into their home school. With a growing demand for this type of educational setting, the project proposes to close St. Raphael and open a new school with more space to serve students with these same challenges in an environment adapted to help them develop strategies and coping mechanisms. Students will follow the regular curriculum with special adaptations, if needed – and always with the goal of re-integration back into their home schools.

The idea is for the new school to also be a centre of expertise, by consolidating resources developed at St. Raphael into one location and become a place for parents to meet with school professionals and form support networks with other parents. It could even be a meeting space for teachers from other schools to come together to share information and find solutions.

Consultation will involve input from several stakeholders, including the governing boards of several elementary schools, including Nesbitt and St. Raphael, and committees such as the EMSB Parents’ Committee and the Advisory Committee on Special Education Services (ACSES). As well, input from teacher unions will be an integral part in forming recommendations.

Nick Katalifos is the director general of the English Montreal School Board.