Yukon the Facility Dog at the YMCA AcademyYMCA Academy teachers and staff go above and beyond every day to support the well-being of our students and their families. Through constant communication, the Academy team builds personalized strategies to help students meet their socio-emotional needs and break down barriers that could otherwise impact their academic and personal growth.

Here are a handful of our many resources for providing wrap-around support.

Student Life Counsellor

Alison Bett provides personal and responsive counselling to students. She assists students with developing and practicing skills including problem solving, emotional regulation, self-advocacy, and impulse control. Alison supports students to make informed choices that will lead toward their personal growth, development and well-being. Her office, strategically positioned overlooking the school’s central gathering space, is a haven for students in need of socio-emotional support, and her experience, no-nonsense approach, and insights are vital and valued — by students, families, and Academy staff and teachers alike.

Staff Collaboration and Communication

Academy teachers and staff are highly collaborative, and use a combination of large- and small-group meetings and productivity tools to ensure that no student “falls through the cracks.” Teachers and staff regularly receive and provide updates about new and ongoing challenges students are facing, within and beyond the classroom. Informal discussions happen many times each day, and the entire team meets weekly to collaborate around student needs.

Facility Dog

Yukon is a highly trained Assistance Dog who specializes in supporting students with disabilities. He spent two years training at COPE Service Dogs in Barrie, Ontario, and joined the school in September 2018 under the watchful eye of handler and Special Education Supervisor Susan Couprie. Students can visit with Yukon, and he and Susan also make regular classroom visits. There are also leadership opportunities for students who wish to learn more about his training and would like to assist in ensuring that his skills continue to meet the public access standard.

Community Connections

The Academy is part of a robust network of organizations and practitioners who work together to support our students and their families. These include mental health professionals, counsellors, tutors, occupational therapists, educational psychologists, and advocacy organizations from across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.