A New Era.

Academy Logo

We have taken a momentous step! As of June 30, 2018, YMCA Academy was incorporated as a charity separate from the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

There are many reasons for this!

  • We have been established for more than 15 years, and we believe the time is right to provide YMCA Academy with a higher profile and independent identity.
  • We believe this will help us build awareness about the Academy as an independent school for students with learning challenges and learning differences.
  • It will facilitate the recruitment of students.
  • It will assist with garnering financial support for the school.

While our greater independence is important, it is also important to recognize that the support of the YMCA of Greater Toronto has been, and will continue to be, of fundamental importance to our school. We will continue to have access to these supports moving forward.

Frequently asked Questions:

Why did the YMCA of Greater Toronto incorporate YMCA Academy as a separate charitable corporation?

  • With more than 15 years of success behind the YMCA Academy, the YMCA of Greater Toronto considered it time to foster a higher profile and independent identity for the school.
  • To help facilitate enrolment and teacher recruitment
  • To help garner financial support based on the unique stories of YMCA Academy
  • To more clearly align with independent schools in Ontario
  • To differentiate the school program from youth support programs offered by the YMCA of Greater Toronto

Will YMCA Academy continue to be a charity? Will I be able to make charitable donations directly to YMCA Academy?

  • YMCA Academy will be an independent charity, with a unique Charitable Registration Number. Donations can be made directly to YMCA Academy, or directed donations can be made through the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

Will the school still have a Board of Directors?

  • The school will have a board of directors, who will be members of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

How will the school experience change for my child?

  • There will be no change – your child will continue to experience the same high standard of education at the YMCA Academy, with access to the same range of YMCA of Greater Toronto facilities and programs we presently enjoy.

How will the teachers and staff of YMCA Academy be affected by this change in status?

  • The Head of School, teachers, and staff of YMCA Academy will remain as employees of the YMCA of Greater Toronto, seconded to YMCA Academy.

How will this affect my tuition and other fees?

  • There will be no direct effect on tuition and fees. As in past years, families can expect incremental increases in tuition on a yearly basis.

How will this affect the status of YMCA Academy as a Ministry of Education-inspected independent school?

  • The Academy will continue to be inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Education bi-annually.

Food and Nutrition Class Potluck

On Friday, March 2nd, The Food and Nutrition Class had a potluck. We had this potluck so we could learn how to cook and bring in our meals to show to the class. The whole class was there and some of the other teachers outside of class like Dayna, Zoe, Luka, Andres, Zee and others came to try our food. Everyone enjoyed it. It was exciting to see what other people had made and to try everyone’s meals and to bond as a class and watch a movie while eating. Some of the meals that people brought in included:

  • Mac And Cheese (Rosie)
  • Crusty French Bread (Charlotte)
  • Pizza Rolls (Owen)
  • Pizza (Logan)
  • Grilled Cheese with Ham (Adrian)
  • Beef Stir-fry and rice (Spencer)
  • Addie brought some delicious mac and cheese It Was LIIIIIIT.

After having a huge buffet, I think everyone was stuffed at the end! There were leftovers and we ate them at home over the weekend. We are really looking forward to the next potluck, in April. Yum yum!

Blog post written by: Students of the Food and Nutrition Class

Professional Development – Applied Behavior Analysis

On Friday, February 16th, Chloe Scott, Behaviour Consultant for the Geneva Centre for Autism spent the morning with the staff facilitating a PD session on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is a scientific approach to understanding behavior. Through research, the field of ABA has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning.

The workshop focused on:

  • Why behaviors happen
  • How to make a plan to reduce unwanted behaviors
  • How to teach replacement behaviours
  • How to change the consequences
  • How to evaluate the behaviour change

The staff at The Academy would like to thank Chloe for sharing her expertise with us.

Some Professional Development resources from the Geneva Centre for Autism:

  1. Free Online Series – Introduction to Autism
  2. Group and Transition Services – Registration

Extracurricular Clubs Schedule

The YMCA Academy hosts a multitude of extracurricular after school and lunch time clubs throughout the week. This year we have added several new clubs to the roster as well as clubs that have taken place in previous years. Here are some of the highlights!

Cooking Club meets once a week on Wednesdays after school to create delicious and healthy snacks/meals. Each week students work together to follow a recipe and practice their culinary skills. It is an opportunity for students to spend time with their friends outside of class and enjoy tasting the food they helped to make. Students learn about the benefits of making healthy choices and are encouraged to step outside their comfort zone to try new foods. Sometimes the recipes are themed for holidays or the time of year and cooking club has also made special snacks for school events such as cookies for study hall and treats for a school dance. Last year the club put together a cookbook with students’ favourite recipes from the club and those contributed by all Academy families. The cookbooks were sold to raise money for the school and will be available this year as well!

Dungeons and Dragons Club is underway at the Academy. Students work together to navigate a magical world created through shared storytelling and teamwork. Students engage in solving puzzles, unraveling devious plots, exploring mysterious locations, and challenging corruption, while pretending to be heroic characters within a story of fantasy and magic. Playing Dungeons and Dragons exercises the mind, beyond simply imagining a fantastic world: players take part in numeracy, literacy, problem solving, divergent thinking, memorization, social interaction, team building, conflict resolution, planning, systems thinking, critical analysis, effective communication, and spatial reasoning skills. Much more than the pop-culture image of nerds in a basement; the benefits of the game can nearly match the excitement of playing it.

The YMCA Academy’s newest club (N.E.R.D. – Neophytes Engaging in Random Discussions) is a club born out of what a group of students already do throughout most lunches, discuss “nerdy” topics that are interesting to them. Each week (either on Tuesday or Friday) the N.E.R.D. club will pit Marvel vs. DC comics, superhero vs. superhero, discuss how to survive a zombie apocalypse, or look into various science theories.

The Video Game Club, Gamers’ Guild, is an opportunity for students to get together after school, socialize, and have fun playing video games. All games are multiplayer and students often have a choice between playing cooperatively or competitively. It is a great way to meet new students, make new friends, and engage in fun, friendly competition. The video game club relies on students bringing their own consoles and games which is not always easy. I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the students who have contributed and kept the club running through their generosity. As the new school year unravels, we will look at expanding the club beyond just video games. Currently, there is a plan in the works to include board games such as Codenames, The Resistance, and Exploding Kittens in hopes of attracting a wider audience.

The Basketball Club takes place on Fridays at lunch. All students and teachers, regardless of skill level, are welcome and encouraged to participate. It is a nice way to get in some exercise, hang out with friends or make new ones, and have fun doing it. Usually we start off with a basic shoot-around and then move on to quick pick-up games or play the popular basketball game called “Bump.” We have access to a great gymnasium and I feel it is important that both students and teachers take advantage of it. Additionally, it gives students the opportunity to interact with their teachers outside of the typical classroom environment which can often be refreshing.

Full Schedule:
DayLunchtimeAfter School
MondayHomework Club
TuesdayN.E.R.D Club
WednesdayDungeons & DragonsCooking Club & Gaming Club
ThursdayRunning ClubHomework Club
FridayN.E.R.D Club & Basketball Club

Youth Exchange Canada: Haida Gwaii – Day Five

On Friday, our last day, we went surfing and swimming in the Pacific Ocean. The wetsuits were very hard to get on. Before we went in the water, we got instructions from the surfers. The water was cold and when you go underwater, you get salt in your eyes. Surfing was hard to do because it was hard to control the board. It was hard to get back to shore because the waves made it hard to control, but we had fun trying out this new experience.

After surfing, on the way back to Skidegate in Kim’s car, we drove to Crow’s Nest to buy a couple of snacks. Then some of us went back to our cabins to get ready for the potluck dinner while others did some shopping for souvenirs. We met at the Living and Learning school to have some free time before eating. We enjoyed food from our Haida friends including lots of fresh fish. We were surprised when Denise and her students presented us with the war canoe paddle that we had worked on earlier in the week and was now painted and signed by our friends.

We had an amazing time doing the traditional Haida dances with the beautiful view of the ocean behind us. It was upsetting, but it was time for us to say goodbye to our YMCA youth exchange friends. Overall we had a great experience and hope one day we can go back to visit Haida Gwaii.

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

Blog written by: Liam and Spencer