FACE School (in English, Fine Arts Core Education and in French, Formation Artistique au Cœur de l'Éducation) is a bilingual kindergarten, elementary and high school in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is run jointly by the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) and the Commission Scolaire de Montréal (CSDM). FACE was founded in 1975 with the name Fine Arts Core Elementary School (F.A.C.E.S.) and occupied the Victoria School building, now part of Concordia University, before moving to its current University Street location, to the East of McGill University's main campus in downtown Montreal. This was previously the home of the High School of Montreal, which had closed in June 1979.
FACE currently has over 1,300 students enrolled.
Students at FACE have extra arts courses in addition to the academics required by both school boards. With over three more hours of class time per week in high school, the dismissal time varies from 2:30 to 2:50 to 3:45. Even then, students are sometimes required (or elect of their own free will) to stay after school for extracurricular courses and projects.
Each grade at FACE is typically divided into four groups: three of them French, and one of them English; however in some of the lower grades, due to varied numbers of students, there are sometimes two to three English groups or two to four French groups. The groups are identified by the number of the grade, followed by E or F, for English or French, and then by a number when there is more than one group of its language (e.g., the English side group of Grade 10 is 10E, and the French side group of Grade 10 is split into 10F1, 10F2 and 10F3). The population of the school has grown over the years requiring new groups to be added such as 1F4 and 1E2.
In Grades 1 to 3, students must play xylophone and recorder, after which, in Grade 4, students are tested playing trumpet, strings, clarinet and flute for five weeks each. Each student is then placed in a band or orchestra class where he learns to play his or her instrument for seven and a half years until graduation (although some students change instruments partway through). The students showcase their efforts in performances held in the school auditorium at least twice a year.
From Grades 1 to 11, all students participate in a choir class, where students sing a selection of classical pieces and contemporary favorites. This class combines all groups in the grade into one large classroom of approximately 120 to 150 people, with five teachers, one or more of whom plays piano. The choir class also performs at least twice a year in the school auditorium or churches.
Starting in Grade 3, students have a Drama class where they learn theatre skills. Once in grade 10, the students are required to put on a public play, everyone in the class must participate whether they act or work in tech. The performances are held in either the school auditorium or the "P-scène", a smaller auditorium in the basement of the school (see Facilities below). The grade 11 students also have to opportunity to put on a student production, which is extra-curricular and put on entirely by the students. There can be up to two of these per year.
Students participate in visual art classes starting in Kindergarten until grade 11.
The FACE building is situated across the street from the main campus of McGill University.
While principally an art school, FACE has also had its fair share of athletic successes. The school's students consistently do well in school board badminton tournaments and have one Division Three basketball title to their name. The school is quickly becoming a powerhouse in both outdoor and indoor soccer having won a title in both since 2006 and in 2009, the Jazz clinched their first ever playoff berth in Division One basketball. The Jazz men's basketball team advanced to the finals, after finishing first in their division for the first time in 1999.
FACE is divided into five floors, from the basement to the fourth. The kindergarten classes are all on the first floor. Grades one to three generally occupy most of the second floor, while Grades 4 and higher have classes on all floors. There is also a sub-basement.
There are four staircases going through the basement to the 4th floor. They are called "red stairs, "green stairs", "blue stairs" and yellow stairs". The Yellow stairs lead to the sub-basement. Another staircase, called the black stairs (by students) at the bottom of the blue stairs leads to the sub-basement. The stairs are being repainted and are no longer representative of their name.
FACE contains basic school facilities, such as an office, a cafeteria, a library, four gymnasiums, many science and computer laboratories, and teacher's lounges. However, to suit the school's artistic program, there is also a large auditorium on the first floor which hosts numerous plays, concerts and a fashion show, as well as a smaller one in the basement dubbed the "P-Scène" by students, a word play because the room was once host to a swimming pool, which translates to "piscine" and is now principally a stage, which translates to the French "scène". North of the building, a small, abandoned yard was planted and transformed into an "urban forest" where teachers can take their classes for an outdoor teaching experience. It was baptised "Forêt Frédéric-Back" and inaugurated in 2016.
- A scene from film Abandon with Katie Holmes was filmed in the FACE auditorium.
- Two episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? were filmed in the P-scène.
- FACE's motto is "Be Proud to be Part of FACE, Strive for Excellence, Nothing Less."
- The music video for Montreal indie rock band The Stills's 2006 single "Destroyer" was filmed in the FACE auditorium with a few high school students.
- The outdoor scenes of the videoclip of the song "College Boy" (performed by Indochine, director Xavier Dolan) take place in the FACE School yard.
- FACE School
- FACE Foundation web site
- English Montreal School Board: FACE I & II
- English Montreal School Board: FACE III & IV & V