Studying in Montreal
About the EMSB

The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is located on the island of Montreal. Montreal is a very safe, clean, bilingual, vibrant multi-cultural city surrounded by beautiful lakes, mountains, and ski hills.

The EMSB, which is the largest public English School Board in Quebec, has 35 elementary schools (pre-kindergarten to grade 6), 17 high schools (grades 7 to 11), and 11 adult and vocational education centers serving approximately 34,000 students.

As the population in our high schools are smaller (400 – 850 students) than the average high school population, our international students benefit from individualized attention.

The English Montreal School Board is very proud of its graduation success rate, which is over 89.4%. Our success is due to the dedication of our teachers and administrators, the enthusiasm of our students, and the support of our parents and community.

In addition to the educational aspect, extracurricular activities and enriched half day, full day, or overnight excursions are organized for both the elementary and high school level. Our students have the opportunity to visit and experience many of the vibrant and historical museums and landmarks throughout Montreal and Quebec.

The EMSB is very proud of its multicultural population. We welcome and respect the ethnic and cultural diversity of all our students. Our goal is to foster mutual respect and understanding among the more than 100 cultural groups that make up the EMSB family.

High School Life / Daily Schedule

Most high schools start their day between 8:00AM - 8:30AM and end their day between 3:00PM – 3:30PM. Classes are held Monday to Friday.

There are a total of 300 teaching minutes per day, either 6 periods of 50 minutes, or 4 periods of 75 minutes. Lunch is approximately 50 minutes. Each school determines its own schedule.

People in the school/International Students Department

School staff are eager to help international students adjust to the new learning environment.

Principal The principal is in charge of programs at the school and works closely with staff, students and parents.
Vice-Principal (VP) The vice-principal assists the principal in running the school and looks after discipline. Smaller schools do not have a VP.
Office Secretaries They assist in registering students, do the school’s office work and answer phone calls and questions from the students and parents, directing them to the appropriate person if she/he are unable to handle the situation.
Teachers Students have different teachers for different subjects. You can call the teacher Mr. Ms. Or Mrs. As appropriate and the person’s surname (e.g. Mr. Smith), rather than “teacher”.
Resource Teacher Person who help students that require additional assistance in a specific subject.
Guidance Counselors They provide the students with personal, academic, and career counseling. Assist in planning students’ timetables and applying to CEGEP. They can tell you about other programs in the schools and in the community.
Spiritual & Community Animator Teaches life-long skills and the tools required to approach everyday challenges with confidence.
Programmer Writes computer programs and programs our computers.
Caretaker Who keep schools clean and makes sure the building is operating safely and properly.
Text Books

Text books are supplied to you without charge. These books are the property of the English Montreal School Board and must be returned to the school at the end of the school year or upon withdrawal from the school. Any lost or damaged books must be paid for by the student. This applies to library books as well.


There are two sets of formal exams for all high school students. They take place in January and June. The pass mark for all subjects is 60%. In addition to the two sets of formal exams, Secondary 4 and 5 students have ministry exams in June.

Projects, home assignments, written work, and periodic class tests form a percentage of the final mark.

Report Cards

Most schools issue a progress report card in November and formal report cards in February and June. For the exact date please refer to your school calendar.

Parent/Guardian Interview Night

There is a “Meet the Teacher Night” in September. Formal Parent/Guardian/Teacher interviews are held in November and February. For the exact date and time, please refer to your school calendar. Should your guardian have concerns about your progress, please have them contact your school at any time.

Fitting In

Most international students worry about fitting in at their new school. Sometimes it takes longer to fit in than you would hope. 

It's common for a new student to feel like an outsider for the first few weeks of school. Even if you are nervous, try to smile, say hello and ask questions. As you get used to your new school it will become easier and easier to fit in.

The Classroom

Look around you, is there anyone who sits near you whom you can talk to at lunch or after school? Do you participate in group activities in class? If so, try to join a new group every time.

Extracurricular Activities

Over and above the academics, extracurricular activities are an integral part of the learning experience. Each of our schools offer activities that interest their particular clientele. Some of the most popular are a variety of sport activities (soccer, basketball, volleyball, badminton, etc.), fine arts (dance, music, art, drama, etc.), robotics, leadership programs, student clubs (chess, photography, debate, etc.), and challenging local, national, and international competitions.

The learning experience is further enriched through organized half day, full day, or overnight excursions. Our students have the opportunity to visit many of the historical sites throughout Montreal and Quebec, as well as experience what is considered Quebec traditions. Some of these include apple picking, Sugar Shack (how our world famous maple syrup is produced), experiencing the annual Quebec City Winter Carnival, and visiting many of our historical and culturally rich museums and landmarks.

Student Code Of Conduct

Each school has its own Code of Conduct. It is important for you to read your school’s agenda carefully to familiarize with your school’s rules and regulations. Below are some key elements that all the schools include. Students are expected to:

  • Treat all people with kindness, consideration, and respect
  • Respect the school environment and help keep the school clean
  • Respect school property as well as the property of others
  • Accept diversity, promote co-operation, and encourage mutual respect
  • Use appropriate language, which shows respect for others, including peers
Attendance and Absence

Attendance is compulsory. You need to arrive at school 10-15 minutes before the bell rings. Should you need to be absent, your guardian/homestay parent must call the school office to advise them as early as possible. Each school has its own procedures.

You are expected to arrive to school on time. Should you arrive late without a valid reason (such as a medical appointment), you will get a detention. If you are given a detention you are required to stay after school for a certain amount of time. Should you have a valid reason for being late, your guardian/homestay parent must call the school office first thing in the morning to advise them. You will then not be given a detention. Each school has its own procedures for dealing with late arrivals.