Gifted & Exceptional Learners enrichment programs mark a successful academic year

group of kids
Montreal - Thursday, August 18, 2022

At the start of this last school year, Gifted and Exceptional Learners Consultant Dr. Camelia Birlean sought to meet the needs of bright and talented students across the English Montreal School Board network by providing enrichment initiatives and acceleration strategies inside and outside the classroom. It proved to be a resounding success

“We’re teaching our children in schools to be problem solvers, but research shows the best contributors to society are those who are thinking creatively,” said Dr. Birlean. “They are able to find creative solutions to real problems and that is what we want our children to do.”

Debating with a Purpose

Following up on a successful debate last past April between Willingdon and Roslyn Elementary School, it was the turn of  Dunrae Gardens and Gardenview  to do the same. Students from both schools took part in a 13-week Debating and Public Speaking Program in the spring to learn and develop skills vital to the art of debating. It culminated in a live debate on June 15 using Canadian Parliamentary structure between both junior and senior debaters at each school, centering on whether school should start later for pre-teens and teens (aged 12 and up). Gardenview’s Annabella Popescu and Luna Melo (proposition) tied with Dunrae Gardens’ Ann Xia and Mèlie Tzanetakos (opposition) at the junior level, while Dunrae Gardens’ seniors Leyla Fernandez and Maria Roussis (proposition) bested Gardenview seniors Olivia McFarlane and Eleni Giannoukakis (opposition). Winners received a $30 Indigo gift card, with all other participants earning a $20 Indigo gift card.

Nationwide Recognition in Science

EMSB students shined in the Let’s Talk Science National Competition, held last May. The program, held annually since 2005, featured students in Grades 6 to 8 from more than 300 schools nationwide. The goal of the event is to “engage youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning outside the classroom.” This  competition was held virtually, with 44 EMSB students from four different schools preparing for the competition via fun interactive quizzes since mid-February.

Teams from Roslyn School, comprised of Eve Karamchandani, Marc Anthony, Felix Chadwick, Dylan Maio, Kieran Smalley, Laura Davies, Zakary Fernandes and Alessia Di Gennaro, as well as Vincent Massey Collegiate (VMC), made up of Liam Bredeche, Meghan 

Summer, Aparna Padinjare, Kaleb-Wolf De Melo Torres, Owen Lemay, Julia Pellegrino and Jayden earned second-place honors in the final question and answer competition. The competition tested students’ knowledge of the theory and came following weekly preparatory quizzes. Roslyn’s team was a finalist for the Lorna Collins Spirit Award, a prize recognizing team spirit, commitment, fun and creativity. Meanwhile, Gaspar Silva Mendes, a Secondary I student from VMC, earned the Participation Award for weekly participation in the quizzes.

Students also participated in Design and Build Challenges, a more hands-on component whereby students submitted videos of their projects via short Flipgrid videos. Weekly winners of the

Above & Beyond Awards were:

Megan Summer, Secondary II, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Biology

Anais Comte, Ramona Ciccarelli and Gabriella Varrichio, Secondary I, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Physics

Gabrielle Wahba, Liam Bredeche, Abigail Grad and Victoria Chasse, Secondary I, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Physics

Abigail Grad, Carrera Marateo, and Livia Lemay, Secondary I, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Math

Gaspar Silva Mendes and Adriano Hudon, Secondary I, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Math

Gabriella Wahba and Victoria Chasse, Secondary I, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Math

Felix Chadwick, Zakary Fernandes, and Dylan Maio, Grade 6, Roslyn, Earth Sciences 

Alessia Di Gennaro, Eve Karamchandani, and Laura Davies, Grade 6, Roslyn, Earth Sciences

Willingdon’s Science Enrichment Team Vulcan, Boat 2 (Maggie, Amaru, Ezra, Hayley, Kaya, Zoe, Filippo, and Luc) Grade 6, Earth Sciences

Environmental Sciences (soil sampling) 
Ezra, Amaru and Filippo (Willingdon, G6)
Anais, Ramona and Gabriella V. (VMC, Sec 1)

Space Sciences (climate satellite) 
Zak and Dylan (Roslyn, G6)
Kieran and Mark (Roslyn, G6)
Felix (Roslyn, G6)
Team Vulcan (Willingdon, G6)

Two additional teams also earned $35 Indigo gift cards for their participation in the Design & Build Challenge:

Aparna Padinjare, Kaleb-Wolf De Melo Torres and Megan Summer, Secondary II, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Water Turbine Design

Frédéric (Marcus) Rego, Matias De Santis, and Nathan Bailey, Grade 6, Dunrae Gardens

Celebrating Knowledge

A virtual Knowledge Fair event was held on June 16, 2022 to celebrate the learning processes and achievements of 14 talented students, from grades one to eleven (see presentation schedule below). Students presented their independent enrichment projects to teachers, administrators, classmates, family, friends and other special guests. Each student was awarded a $35 Indigo gift card for their efforts. 

Students at Willingdon and Dunrae Gardens also benefited from Math Enrichment Centres in a handful of classrooms, while East Hill and Willingdon each had French Learning Centres available to students. These centres offered students who completed the regular curriculum at a faster speed with activities designed to target higher levels of thinking.