Community / Press Release

MIND High School will now welcome students for Secondary I and II

MIND students with admin
Montreal - Tuesday, January 24, 2023

For the first time since its establishment in 1975, MIND High School in the Plateau will begin welcoming Secondary I and II students for the 2023-24 academic year.

“Students interested in attending MIND will now be given the opportunity to start and end their high school years in one place,” said Principal Myrianne Lusignan. “Those students who are interested in an alternative approach to education by the end of elementary school will now have a Secondary I option within the EMSB. Over the years, parents have often contacted us looking for an alternative school at the junior high level, only to be disappointed we did not offer those grades. We are excited to finally be able to open our doors to Secondary 1 and II students!”

MIND is an alternative special status high school for Secondary I to V students who are independent, socially engaged  and seeking to enrich their academic experience by becoming actively involved in their own education and their community’s development. Students at MIND thrive beyond the regular curriculum through cross-curricular and community-based projects. They are given opportunities to apply the academic, digital, analog and soft skills they learn in class to develop their sense of creativity, autonomy, responsibility and agency.

MIND is considered as  the ideal space for the creative, industrious student  who wants to meet expectations rather than follow specific rules. All prospective students are interviewed prior to being accepted.

The unsuspecting passerby would not notice anything out of the ordinary when walking past the layered brick walls of the Plateau-Mont-Royal’s MIND high school. They might catch a flicker of activity behind one of the ground floor’s stacked windows or hear shrieks and giggles emitting from the courtyard belonging to children who attend the building’s attached elementary school. Though on the top floor of the inconspicuous building MIND students and staff have created a microcosm where it feels more like a non-conformist intellectual and artistic community than a high school.

MIND’s  alternative approach to teaching fosters individuality and openness, drawing in motivated and inquisitive students. Each stage of the educational process at MIND is performed with flexibility, from involving students in the designing of their assignments to extending classes and merging subjects.

Head Teacher  John Panetta  says that flexibility lets animated class discussions continue without interruption, allowing for the pursuit of deeper analysis. He adds that is all possible because the students take responsibility for their own learning and are committed to doing the work. When it comes to assignments, Mr. Panetta says students aren’t simply told what to do. Those decisions are made together through dialogue and exchange.

Small class sizes facilitate a healthy rapport between staff and students. While academic determination is not in short supply at MIND, the student-teacher relationships are encouraging. “The teachers are excited for you to succeed,” Secondary IV student Emma Buckeridge said. According to Ms. Buckeridge, a positive feedback loop is created because they are not afraid to ask questions, then those questions lead to learning, and learning leads to more excitement.

The curriculum is designed to cover all the topics in the education ministry’s standardized exams. It also includes additional material added at the discretion of each teacher. They may decide to include a novel outside the Quebec literary canon to introduce ideas from other parts of the world. A Leo Tolstoy book can be found on the history teacher’s desk next to a table sprawling with Marvel comics.

Not all learners will profit from the methods and approaches used at MIND. A selection process including a written submission and an interview determines whether applicants will be a good fit.    

One of the school administration’s priorities is preserving the unique culture inside MIND’s walls. Students describe feeling a sense of liberty to be themselves, free of judgement or bullying from staff or their peers. Secondary V student Oliver Randy is trans and has autism, and said they never once felt unsafe in the school due to either of those things. In Randy’s experience, their teachers have been excellent allies.

Principal Myrianne Lusignan says that culture stems from caring. “Caring about the empathetic atmosphere we’re creating together with our students,” she said. “Caring to ground learning in real life and truly collaborate with our students to explore, learn, and innovate. The care is palpable when you come. Our small student-to-teacher ratio also  eases the transition into the Quebec education system for international students and students from other parts of Canada.”

To apply for the school please go to  https://www.mindhighschool.com/ or call 514-842-0792. MIND is located at 4563 St. Urbain Street, in the same historic building as Bancroft Elementary School.

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 73 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at www.emsb.qc.ca.

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