Year-end Retrospective

Important Update Banner

Friday, March 6, 2020. The last day of school before March Break. While the signs of the pandemic were getting more ominous, few of us thought that we would not be in school until at least September. In these unprecedented times, we have asked a great deal of ourselves and others. We have shut down most businesses and services; we have isolated ourselves from all social relationships outside of immediate family; we have experienced fear and loss. Many of these restrictions are still in place as I write.

Simultaneously, we have seen, unmistakably, the signs of the continued mistreatment of racialized populations here and elsewhere. The continuing protests, the calls for justice and equal treatment under the law, have provoked many to consider what Dr. King said long ago — “justice delayed is justice denied”.

With protest and pandemic as a background, YMCA Academy has tried to provide our students and families with access to structure and support to keep their educational momentum going, to provide social opportunities for interaction with their peers, and to experience systems that are thoughtfully designed and considerate of their needs.

It is my hope that our students have learned that while some systems need change, some can be trusted to work towards their best interests. There is still refuge within structures designed and implemented for their care and support.

We hope we have provided such a refuge — a place for thoughtful discussion, impassioned expression, and positive social interactions.

We look forward to continuing this process in September.

Have a safe summer,

Don Adams
Head of School

Distance Learning @ YMCA Academy


 

For ten months each year, YMCA Academy provides vital, daily support for all aspects of our students’ lives. With the closure of all school facilities in Ontario due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the loss of such daily supports could negatively impact the lives of our students and their families. So, during March Break, Academy faculty and staff put a plan into place to continue offering its full range of supports while students remain safely at home. Each Academy course has an online presence. Here, students and teachers can continue to meet. With webcams and microphones, teachers deliver lessons, and students collaborate with their teachers and peers. Our Counsellor and Educational Assistant maintain their support of students in the same manner. We can even monitor physical activity while the gym remains unavailable. We were up and running immediately after March Break!

YMCA Academy and its students are able to move forward in their courses — with changes to be sure, but with little interruption. We are ready and able to continue the school year in this manner as long as is needed. We will be blogging about our experiences regularly, so stay tuned!

COVID-19 update: Temporary school closure


 

Dear Parents & Guardians,

As you might be aware, the Ministry of Education is closing all publicly-funded schools for the weeks following March Break as a precaution to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. We think it is prudent for us to do so as well.

Therefore, YMCA Academy will be closed during the weeks of March 23-27, and March 30 – April 3. In order to support continued student learning, however, we are developing a strategy and schedule for students to continue classes through Google Classroom sites. Teachers will be available on their sites to support student learning, to give lessons, to assess, and to answer questions. We are presently developing the schedule for these online meetings.

I will communicate details about the plan as they are developed over the next few days. In the meantime, please stay safe and enjoy the rest of March Break.

Don Adams
Head of School

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.

Announcing our Grade 7 & 8 Program

Spring Open House Promo

As Head of School at The Academy, I get many opportunities to speak with the parents and guardians of prospective students. Each caregiver has a slightly different story to tell: of their child’s learning challenges, of the supports they might need, and of their previous experience in other schools. In every case, their stories speak of anticipation — their child is moving to a new educational environment, one which is rich in resources to support a wide variety of different learning challenges.

The supports we are able to offer, whether it be laptops available for each student, assistive technologies designed for their specific learning challenges, Certified teachers with Special Education qualifications, and/or our counselor on site, are impressive. The program is so well designed that families often comment to the effect that “we wish all this was available to us in earlier grades!” Such comments have caused us to re-examine our program in this connection.

We are very pleased to announce that we are, therefore, expanding The Academy program to Grades 7 and 8! Earlier introduction to the supports that will enable lifelong learning for each of our students is clearly something to be desired. We feel that we can successfully prepare students in Grades 7 and 8 for success throughout high school and beyond.

To learn more about our program, and to apply for admission, please join us on Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 11 am to 2 pm for our Open House!