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Rencontres interregionales sur la perseverance et la reussite scolaires

Rencontres interregionales sur la perseverance et la reussite scolaires

September 27, 2011 10:00 ET

More than 700 Decision-Makers Expected in Quebec City on October 19 and 20: Continuing to Mobilize to Reach the Goal of 80 percent of Quebecers Under 20 Having a Diploma by 2020

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 27, 2011) - The Groupe d'action sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires today announced the program for the second edition of the Rencontres interrégionales sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires, to be held at the Quebec City convention centre on October 19 and 20.

More than 700 decision-makers from the fields of education, health care and social services and from community organizations, the private sector and the Quebec government are expected to attend, including Education, Recreation and Sports Minister Line Beauchamp and Health and Social Services Minister Yves Bolduc. Coming from all regions of Quebec, the participants will identify and share new experiences and promising initiatives for increasing student retention with an eye to putting them in use across the province.

"The first edition of the interregional meetings on student retention and success, which took place in 2008, encouraged various stakeholders concerned about Quebec's high dropout rate to mobilize," said L. Jacques Ménard, chair of the Groupe d'action sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires and of the second edition of the Rencontres interrégionales. "While great strides have been made in the intervening years, our objective of seeing, by 2020, 80 percent of young people under 20 in Quebec obtain their high school diploma will be achieved only through the continuous mobilization of all players active in the field and of communities that make it their priority."

Several round tables, workshops and lectures will be held during the two days. Leading experts will discuss, among other things, the social, economic, political and regional aspects of the dropout phenomenon, the school-family relationship and the role of community organizations and businesses in raising the graduation rate of young Quebecers in every region of the province.

"All effective initiatives in the field of student retention and success share a number of traits including community involvement, the establishment of a relationship of trust between young people and the people coaching them, and excellent coordination among the stakeholders in the various sectors," explained Michel Perron, professor at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi and holder of the Chaire UQAC-Cégep de Jonquière sur les conditions de vie, la santé et les aspirations des jeunes (VISAJ). "A large gathering like the one to be held in October will enable us to share our best practices, study promising initiatives and align our actions, all to the benefit of Quebec's young people."

For his part, Richard Desjardins, president of Réunir Réussir (R2), an organization founded after the previous gathering in 2008 and whose mission is to support regional initiatives aimed at encouraging young Quebecers to stay in school and achieve academic success, said: "For R2, contributing to student retention means working closely with each region to ensure that their young people's needs are well understood and that the actions taken by each group have maximum impact. By December, a large majority of regional groups will have developed an up-to-date vision of their youths' needs and of the services to be offered in their area. R2 will provide financial support to such actions in every region of Quebec. We consider it essential to participate in this event so that everyone can experience the energy of the mobilization, the regions can connect and an overall game plan can be developed that will change the situation and change it sustainably."

According to Josée Bouchard, chairwoman of the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec (FCSQ), this major event shows that lowering the dropout rate will happen by increasing the perceived value of public schools, which cannot be achieved by the education sector alone. "When companies and socio-economic organizations agree to work with or even set up projects that encourage student success, they help increase the perceived value of schools and clearly affirm the importance of education for developing society. Student success is at the core of every school board's mission. But it is by adopting an attitude of openness, attentiveness and dialogue with our partners from every sector and field that we will reach our shared goal, that of ensuring that the largest possible number of students succeed," said Ms. Bouchard.

"There is no way to overstate the significance of staying in school – to the healthy development and growth of our young people and to the very future of Quebec," noted Debbie Horrocks, president of the Quebec English School Boards Association. "Setting the classroom conditions for student success begins with our teachers and the school boards that support them but it cannot end there. That message has been made clear over the past few years, and in no small measure, due to the work of Jacques Ménard. This second summit will be a vital opportunity to renew the exciting partnerships that are building across Quebec in support of our students and our future."

"Student retention and success are the business of all society, because every young person who graduates is also a success for his or her entire community," said Mr. Ménard. Aim well and aim far—that is what the participants at the second edition of the Rencontres interrégionales sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires will be encouraged to do.

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