The School, the Development Fund and the Centre of Expertise, all connected by the same desire to make a difference for students with learning disabilities.
The project that led to the foundation of Vanguard School of Quebec Ltd, was one parent’s search for a school offering services adapted to students with severe learning disabilities.
That parent was Mr. Paul E Zimmerman who, unable to find such services in the Montreal area, sent his son to continue his studies at a Vanguard school in the United States.
Given the lack of suitable local programs and the quality of services available in the United States, Mr. Zimmerman enlisted the help of Doctor Samuel Rabinovitch of the McGill Montreal Children’s Hospital Learning Center. Together they launched a project to bring a Vanguard School to Montreal. The school would offer services in Quebec adapted to both English and French students with severe learning disabilities.
Different organizations worked together to make the project a success. Vanguard School in the United States provided support and guidance. The Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal (PSBGM) along with a McGill University representative also offered support and advice. Financial contributions from Quebec private enterprises helped support the material needs of the school.
The first school opened by Vanguard School Quebec Ltd, in 1973, was the Elementary School. From the beginning, the little school in Cartierville reflected local society by welcoming 30 students from the two main linguistic groups of the Montreal area. Adapted educational services were offered in French and English.
The school later moved to 1150 Deguire Street in 1988 in order to accommodate more students. Over time, the school became known for the high caliber of its innovative practices, notably for strategic teaching.
Today, our elementary students continue to benefit from this expertise, contributing more than ever to Vanguard School’s ever-growing visibility and influence within the field of education.
In 1987, Vanguard Francophone High School opened its doors to offer its students a regular Secondary Cycle 1 program. Occupying a space in École secondaire Letendre, a private school in Montreal, the Francophone High School initially offered courses to 12 students.
In 2001, with 190 students at the Francophone High School, the Vanguard Corporation acquired a school situated at 83 Boulevard des Prairies in Laval.
The Vanguard Francophone High School became the first in Quebec to allow students with severe learning disabilities to follow the challenging high school curriculum with the ultimate goal of graduation with a high school diploma.
The English High School also took shape during the 80’s. The school originally occupied a space in Westmount High School, a local public school. This program, known as the « Project School » at the time, welcomed 12 Secondary Cycle 1 students. The project was launched through the combined efforts of Lansdowne Center, The Learning Centre of Quebec and Vanguard School.
With the acquisition of a building at 175 Metcalfe in Westmount, Vanguard officially opened Vanguard Intercultural High School, in September 1992, with both an English sector (formerly the « Project School ») and a French Sector.
This school soon made its mark, through the staff’s commitment to provide quality specialized instruction that met the needs of all students from Secondary I to V.
The school also demonstrated creativity by developing special programs, such as Interval, a small restaurant program serving the needs of 20 students who wished to develop job skills but who could not follow the regular high school academic program.
In 2012-2013, 343 students follow the regular Ministry program in the hope of achieving great success at the school.
In September 2012, Vanguard School Corporation acquired a building located at 5935 chemin de la Côte-de-Liesse in the borough of Saint-Laurent. The building was designed to maintain a personal ambiance for the elementary and the high school students, while still allowing for an increase in the number of students at all levels of elementary and high school.
In March 2013, the first students to settle into the new building were the elementary school students. In September 2013, all of our students, elementary and high school, began their school year in the new building.
The new site includes:Giving the limited facilities at the schools, and the age of the three school buildings, the relocation of its three schools onto the same site was a part of Vanguard’s 2010-2013 Strategic Plan.
In 1975, two years after the opening of our first school, the founders of the project launched a foundation, Nouveaux Horizons / The New Horizons Foundation, whose mission was to raise funds for school development. At that time, the money raised was dedicated to the survival and basic operation of the new school.
The Vanguard Development Fund is a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise funds for the School’s projects and help the School carry out its mission to educate students with severe learning disabilities.
Vanguard School, throughout the years, has collaborated with the university milieu in numerous research projects, has published its own educational materials and has worked with thousands of students. Since the beginning, the School has been approached to share its expertise and offer workshops and training sessions, but a lack of resources and an established structure to support this initiative prevented the School from being able to respond to the requests from schools, school boards, associations and universities.
To meet the numerous requests and to continue to develop its practices, the School established, in the fall of 2012, a Centre of Expertise, offering direct services to students with learning disabilities as well as services to the educational community.
The mission of the Vanguard Centre of Expertise (VCE) is to make the expertise, proven methods and strategies developed by the Vanguard team accessible to those with learning disabilities and to those who work within the field of education.