The YMCA Academy is an alternative high school and middle school, designed to support the academic and socio-emotional needs of students with learning disabilities and learning style differences.
The majority of students who attend the YMCA Academy have been diagnosed with a learning disability (70% in 2017-2018), and all have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) in place.
The Academy is committed to providing students identified as exceptional through the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) with all of their accommodations. Our Special Education Supervisor implements a student’s current IEP immediately upon receipt. Each year, amendments are made to the student’s IEP based on feedback from students, staff, parents/guardians, and professionals and medical resources (doctors, Psychological Education Reports, etc.).
Supports available at the YMCA Academy include a wide array of assistive technologies, specialized classes, and personalized programs.
- Laptop computers (1 laptop for every student)
- Tablets for mobile classroom use
- Headset microphones
- Cameras with video options for lesson recordings
- Google Classroom + G Suite for Education (including Google Speech-to-text)
- TextHelp Read & Write for Chrome
- Kurzweil 3000 + Firefly by Kurzweil
- Microsoft Office Suite Speech-to-text
Teachers alter their teaching style based on a student’s preferred learning style. This allows students to experience lesson delivery through a variety of lenses. Assessment and evaluation is equally student-centred.
Remediation courses (if required):
Remediation is offered as a non-credit class for students requiring remediation in two areas: language and mathematics. In this class, a language and mathematics remediation specialist on staff works with students who have demonstrated difficulties with language, mathematics, or both on a daily basis to help the student achieve grade level literacy and numeracy.
Resource courses (if required):
Our non-credit Resource class enables the Academy to meet students’ individualized needs by supporting daily coursework with a focus on skill building. This might include, but is not limited to:
- extra time for projects, tests and quizzes;
- additional one-to-one attention/instruction;
- access to and instruction in the use of computers and software programs (see "Assistive Technology" for details);
- access to a scribe; and
- organizational support.
Recommendations for this course may be made by students, staff, or parents/guardians. Content is determined on an individual basis.
Individualized attention from teachers:
Staff is committed to meeting students’ needs. This is possible with small teacher-student ratios. Teachers are available for individualized assistance during and outside of class time.
The YMCA Academy hosts a regular after-school Homework Club, supported by Academy staff and volunteers. Students have the opportunity to receive one-on-one assistance. Staff is also available for individual support upon request.
Motivation to succeed
My daughter started in Grade 9 this year, and it is the first time in six years that she loves going to school. Her self-esteem and self-confidence has grown immensely. For the first time in her school life, she can tell me what she is studying in each class. Previously she was never given any homework or assignments, now she willingly sits and does any work needed, including wanting to study for upcoming tests. Her motivation to succeed has skyrocketed.