JPPS/Bialik President Arnold Cohen and Head of School Laurence Fhima have sent a letter to parents, confirming steady rumours in the community about what can only be described as the biggest merger in local Jewish day school history.
The letter comes at the same time that the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) has announced that it will be accepting applications beween February 7 to 18 for a potential new high school (initially for Secondary I only) in the former Wagar High School building. If there is sufficient interest, the school could begin operating next year.
Below are the extraordinary details of the planned mega-merger. It will be interesting to see what the reaction is from present-day and future parents who have chosen between the two schools for a reason.
The priority of your Board of Directors is ensuring that JPPS-Bialik remains a centre of
excellence, providing students with a pathway to Jewish life and with the foundation to
thrive bilingually in Quebec and modern society.
At our meeting on Wednesday evening we will be sharing our proposal with you for the
strengthening of our school system through a merger with UTT/Herzliah while ensuring
that the next generation of Jewish Montrealers continues to benefit from dynamic Jewish
Informal conversations between the volunteer leaders of our two school systems led to an
understanding that we are facing common challenges and a decision to work together
towards a bold new future. We envision drawing from the best of both systems in order to
create a new, unified school that offers Jewish students of Montreal an enriched
educational opportunity designed for engaged learners who will face the challenges of an
ever changing 21st Century.
The bringing together of JPPS-Bialik and UTT/Herzliah will take a few years. We are
planning for a new middle school (Sec I and Sec II) to be built over the ‘Y’ and for the senior
grades (Sec III – Sec V) to be housed on the Bialik site, all effective August 2013. We are
also proposing to combine the JPPS and UTT elementary schools on a fully renovated (UTT)
St. Kevin site and to create a brand new Sec I through V high school on the West Island. We
should point out that the search for an appropriate site on the West Island is underway.
We appreciate that rumours have led to speculation and concern within our school
community. I am sure that you will appreciate that we could not be more forthcoming
until we had some certainty that our proposal is achievable. We are pleased to report that
Federation has now assured us that we will have access to the significant funds required to
invest in our staff and our facilities. Furthermore, we believed that it was essential and
appropriate for faculty and staff to learn of the proposal from us first, which occurred
The JPPS-Bialik Board has established a recommended path, but our ultimate success
depends on your support and active involvement. With that in mind, we are now launching
a consultation process. If we are to build a true centre of excellence, we need to benefit
from the wisdom and input of faculty, parents, students and the entire JPPS-Bialik family.
The meeting on Wednesday evening is the first step in what we hope will be an ongoing
and productive dialogue. We look forward to seeing you there.
Signed by Arnold Cohen and Laurence Fhima