Academic Program Features
CMA Holiday Auction - Open to Everyone
Did you know that CMA’s silent auction is open to everyone?
The CMA Holiday Social Fundraiser is a great way to complete your holiday shopping. Please go to our website and make your bid today. Winners can pick up items at CMA and in some cases, vouchers can be emailed.
Interested in CMA for your child next year?
A great way to learn about CMA and our admissions process is to join in one of our virtual Coffee Talk events with Head of School, Mr. Logan, and Director of Admissions, Tracy Keeling. Our next event is Nov 25, 2021 from 10:30 - 11:30 am. For more information and to register please call CMA at 604-390-3262.
CMA Is Growing Even More
A few months ago we announced the exciting news that CMA would be adding a second grade 7 class starting September 2021. Due to the ever-increasing demand for our middle school, we have decided to add a second grade 8 class as well!
Our students will continue to benefit from smaller class sizes but now get to enjoy a larger social group of kids their age as well.
We are now accepting new student applications to join our second grade 8 class starting in September 2021. If you are interested in applying please contact Tracy Keeling, Director of Admissions & Communications at [email protected] You can also learn more about the admissions process and start an online application by visiting coastmountainacademy.ca/apply.
CMA is Growing
After an incredible year of growth and increased interest, we are thrilled to announce that Coast Mountain Academy will have two grade 7 classes for the first time ever this coming September. Big thanks to all of our families who continue to tell their friends, and friends of friends about our school.
Our teachers are already busy planning our programming for next year. We may be growing but we are all committed to delivering the same high-quality education that our families and students value. If you are interested in joining our school we still have room in our grade 7 classes for September 2021, we are currently on waitlist only for grade 8 & 9, we are close to full in grade 10, but have space in grade 11 & 12. For more information please call our Director of Admissions, Tracy Keeling at 604-390-3262 or email [email protected]
'Thinking Classroom' Mathematics
The mathematics program at CMA focuses on conceptual understanding and problem solving; with 'procedural' approaches as a last resort.
Students are provided opportunities to collaborate when problem-solving, going beyond procedures to explore mathematical concepts from different perspectives. Student-driven discussion and examples, hands-on activities, “what if” questions, numeric and geometric problems, and interdisciplinary projects provide multiple entry points to a topic, which provides multiple ways for students to develop the curricular competencies in mathematics. We believe that the most successful problem-solving happens when students can share different perspectives and approaches.
In the Senior School, Math learning targets two distinct kinds of development in students: abstract, rational, and constrained thinking and an independent learning disposition. In university and other formal learning environments, the confidence to learn some things on one’s own terms is liberating, empowering, and effective.
The INQubator program at Coast Mountain Academy is an expression of the school's core academic philosophy that curiosity and wonder are the best teachers.
In grades 7-9, students take part in a year-long course to learn how to explore questions and projects of their own choosing. With the guidance of teachers, students practice refining their curiosities about the world into actionable learning exercises with practical goals and processes. These projects are free-form and not locked into traditional school subjects. Prime examples of student projects in the past have included:
- Motorized go-carts
- Language learning
- Fiction writing
- Business ventures
The work in these courses takes place both at school and at home, and culminates in a formal presentation to the school community about their planning and learning.
In grade 12 students continue the practice of inquiry-learning in Humanities, where they must design and complete three large projects by way of demonstrating learning in their chosen grade 12 Social Science course. The combination of student choice in selecting this course and their foci in it is the culmination of curiosity-learning since grade 7.
One of the most important aspects of creating self-aware students is ensuring that they know where they are on the journey of learning. While report cards have been traditionally focused on grades and performance, Coast Mountain Academy has leveraged current technology to expand the conventional report card into a continuous process of communication.
Faculty contribute assessment scores on an ongoing and timely basis to the MyCMA portal for parents and students to see. Both Formative and Evaluative scores and feedback for every course are presented so that students and parents can see trend in progress. This system leans heavily on CMA's Formative Assessment Model in order to capture students' efforts in a consistent and understandable way.
The ongoing availability of assessment scores means that parents can be more engaged in academic activity, student difficulties are identified sooner, and ultimately the Ministry-mandated formal reports can be a minimal snapshot of the communication occurring all the time.
Through years of development, Coast Mountain Academy implements an exciting 'hybrid' timetable that brings the best of different course-lengths and a varied weekly schedule to subjects that benefit from them.
Year-long "linear", semester, and trimester course-lengths are used in different subjects and grade levels to maximize opportunity for the learning activities that suit those subjects and ages best. At the same time, each grade levels' weekly schedule is carefully constructed to provide diversity, novelty, and a balanced academic load.
For example, Grades 7 and 8 begin the week with an extended Math block on Monday mornings for larger group problem-solving activities. Grade 12s have the option to do classes on Friday remotely. And Grades 7-9 have "Outdoor Connections" all afternoon on Fridays.
In the same vein, Interdisciplinary Humanities courses have a lot of material to cover while Career-Life Connections is most impactful when graduating students are preparing university applications in the Fall. Accordingly, Humanities has a daily course meeting throughout the year, while CLC meets three times a week in the first half of the year only. Meanwhile, to give all Middle School students broad exposure to several flavours of the Applied Design, Skills and Technologies courses (Woodworking, Music, Art), each ADST is a trimester long in Grades 7, 8, and 9.
The hybrid timetable also supports our frequent and varied reporting to parents so that student progress is always in view.
Formative Assessment Model
Coast Mountain Academy is proud to comprehensively implement the assessment approach promoted by the 2018 Ministry of Education curriculum redesign: a philosophy of classroom assessment that emphasizes student self-awareness and repeated efforts that lead to mastery.
Our "Formative Assessment Model" utilizes two different grade scales based on the type of coursework or activity being assessed:
- "Formative" work is given a score on the Formative Scale that encourages learning from weaknesses and failures to promotes resilience, confidence, and a growth-mindset towards learning.
- "Evaluative" work is given a score on the Evaluative Scale that informs the student (and parent!) on their degree of mastery. These scores lead to student's reported grades.
All scores are accompanied by feedback aimed at continued learning and student's ownership of their progress. Student scores and feedback are communicated through the MyCMA portal so that parents have access to timely information and student's can see all their scores in one place.
Click here to read more in-depth about the Formative Assessment Model in practice at CMA.
Coast Mountain Academy's Leadership Expeditions for Academic Discovery has been a cornerstone of the school since its conception. Our situation in one of Canada's outdoor recreation meccas affords us remarkable access to an incredible diversity of activities with which to create meaningful student experiences.
Widely praised by alumni as the most significant aspect of their formal education, LEAD activities and trips are designed to achieve the follow ends:
- Unique and formative personal growth opportunities
- Diverse and authentic leadership situations
- Real-world environments for cross-curricular academics
(e.g. hike to a glacier and use geometry to approximate its volume)
- Experience of hardship, individual resilience, and the elation of success
- Social development within CMA peer groups
- Personal bonds with faculty that enhance classroom learning
Trips follow a scaffolded experience plan that sees destinations and activities grow "from local to global", with the summative Senior trip being outside of North America. Activities over the course of six years at CMA include wilderness hiking and camping, sea kayaking, canoe tripping, ski touring, and potentially others.
Coast Mountain Academy takes a 'blended' approach to the subjects traditionally labeled "English Language Arts" and "Social Studies". At all grade levels these subjects areas are taught in a single course over the entire year. In a nutshell:
We are going to use English to learn about Politics, Philosophy, and Economics so that we can cultivate a full understanding of History using the Arts and Drama.
In practice this looks like Social Studies topics being driven by literature, media criticism, and expressive creativity.
For example, the award-winning novel Three Day Road by Canadian author Joseph Boyden is the story of two young men, indigenous Residential School survivors, who go to fight for Canada in the trenches of WWI. The book's setting, characters, and events provide material and starting points for almost all of the learning outcomes in Grade 10 English and Socials.
PHE Every Day
Inspired by new research into the fields of neuroscience and educational psychology, Coast Mountain Academy teaches Physical & Health Education every morning. This routine of physical activity to start the day ensures that students head to the classroom ready to focus with an activated mind and body.
Taking advantage of the first-class facilities next door, CMA students have year-long programming in a university-sized gym or turf field; as well as periodic access to a fully equipped weight room, Crossfit gym, squash courts, and cardio equipment.
Virtual Coffee Talk - April 27th @ 10:30 am
Interested in CMA for your child or children next year?
- what makes our school unique
- the admissions process and deadlines for next academic year
- qualities we look for in our applicants
- admissions trends
Alumni Profile - Nic Beaulieu Class of '17
Nic is one of the original CMA students, starting with the school in its year of inception. In his 4 years at CMA he made an immense contribution to our school’s culture. He was a positive force on the trails, in the gym, and in the classroom, and holds the prestigious honour of being CMA’s first-ever Valedictorian. Nic is now studying Civil Engineering, Project Management at BCIT.
Q & A with Nic:
1) What made your education at CMA unique?
As a founding student my CMA experience was unique in many ways. I would say the most unique parts were the small school community, engaging learning, and the LEAD trips. The high teacher/student ratio at CMA means that you have to be engaged in every class. It is hard to be a “passenger” and slack off in the back of the class. The teacher/student ratio also meant that teachers had room to tailor certain exercises to work with individual students, keeping us all engaged.
The LEAD trips were especially unique to CMA. Canoeing the Yukon River was my favourite. Looking back on my highschool experience, a lot of my most fond memories came from these LEAD experiences. I enjoyed them so much I actually came back to help guide one after graduating! LEAD also taught me a lot about outdoor stewardship and brought me closer to my peers.
2) CMA Alumni seem to share a great bond even well after they've graduated. Why do you think this is?
Sharing a tight bond is a very accurate assessment of CMA Alumni relationships. There are probably 3 or 4 Alumni from my year and the year below me that I still talk to almost everyday (Leo and I were actually roommates for a semester last year) and I still touch base with almost everyone from my graduating class.
I think these close relationships form due to the small size of the school community and all of the unique experiences that we go through together. In a small school you are seeing your peers in almost every class which means you’re spending around 35 hours a week together. When you are spending that much time with your peers, you start to develop strong friendships. You also grow to respect and care about the people that you weren’t as close to initially, just by virtue of spending so much time together and going through so much together.
LEAD trips, especially, were a great way for students to bond. When you are in the backcountry with no one but your peers, the relationships you build in the classroom are further strengthened. As Alumni we have so many collective memories of both struggles and fun times from these trips that brought, and continue to bring, us together.
We wish Nic the best during his year of study and look forward to the next time we see him.
CMA Senior School Headed to the Yukon
Our senior students in grades 10, 11, and 12 will all be travelling to the Yukon (the land of the midnight sun) for their year-end LEAD trip. This incredible journey paddling down the Yukon River from Carmacks to Dawson City has been a highlight for many a CMA student. In fact, most of our Class of ‘20 alumni reference this particular trip as a highlight from their entire time at CMA. Lots of memorable moments are made on this gorgeous, and historical adventure.
Big shout out to all the seniors who took part in the training day on Alice Lake last week! All students demonstrated development in paddling technique and the weather cooperated to make it a beautiful day on the water. All this practice will certainly come in handy on the Yukon River.
Alumni Profile - Alex Broker Class of '19
Alex came to CMA for her grade 12 year after having recovered from a very serious injury. In a relatively short amount of time she made a huge impact as one of CMA’s most well-rounded students. Alex is now studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria.
In Grade 10, I broke my back and had severe head trauma and neurological symptoms that took me away from everything in my life. It took me over a year to recover enough to go back to school on a semi-regular basis. My experiences during that time confirmed for me that there had to be another way or a different place for me to go to school. One where I could feel inspired. One where teachers were passionate about teaching and students were passionate about learning, and hopefully, where I could learn and be supported by my peers too. It felt like a lofty goal at the time but CMA definitely achieved that for me and I am very grateful for that. – Alex
Q & A with Alex:
1) How did CMA prepare you for university?
I think it is pretty hard to be prepared for university, no matter how many extra university-level courses you take. Although it definitely helps to have been exposed to some of the material in advance, the way we did at CMA. Definitely, the hardest thing to adapt to is the pressure and workload. CMA gave me some really important skills that I hadn’t really practiced at other schools. Most importantly, I actually had the opportunity to do some homework. It also let me practice problem-solving and critical thinking through projects and group discussions/workgroups. With the support of the teachers through those things, I was able to improve and gain confidence in figuring stuff out on my own. This turned out to be very important in university. It also taught me how to coexist with a group of, in general, educated, passionate, and opinionated people. My classmates didn’t always get along but seeing how everyone worked together or didn’t, prepared me more than I expected for group work with other engineers who always think they’re right. I also can’t imagine how different my life would have been without the network of friends and the experiences I gained through the LEAD program.
2) How did CMA help “ignite your spark” for adventure?
I think “ignite your spark” is a little dramatic. I already had a passion for adventure which was one of the big benefits of going to CMA in the first place. However, what CMA did do was introduce me to an environment where everyone else was at least as passionate as I was. Although I had hiked, biked, and paddled before, having a group of people to push and teach me allowed me to really enjoy and improve. I am very glad to have spent hours chasing after the cardio club in mountain biking and having them wait patiently at the bottom for me or show me the lines and encourage me to try new things. I am so happy to have met a group that reintroduced me to whitewater kayaking in a safe way. Because of that, we now have an ever-growing group of paddlers in Squamish, as well as in Victoria, that is mainly all CMA alumni.
We wish Alex the best during her year of study and look forward to the next time we cross paths on the trails or rivers.
Welcome Ms. Erin Paul!
The CMA team is thrilled to welcome Erin Paul to our school! She will be working with Ms. Moodie and be available to students as she completes the practicum portion of her Masters in Counselling. With a background in teaching Outdoor Education she has a passion for the natural world, exploring wild spaces, and building relationships.
In her counselling practice, Erin strives to be a positive role model for the students she supports through empathy and compassion.
When Erin’s not working with students you can find her enjoying every activity she can outdoors including mountain biking, kayaking, backcountry skiing, hiking, and canoeing.
Adventures in Art this Year to Date
Written by Ms. Marni Harris, CMA Art Teacher
It continues to be a pleasure and a privilege to guide 14 grade, 9-12 students, in art adventures in various mediums. In September, we started with drawing/sketching as the foundation of art of any form, with still life exercises, studio time, and discussions about the elements and principles of design. Students were asked to complete two sketches by early October and to incorporate the principles and elements discussed in their sketches.
Most students submitted sketches, photographs or computer designed images for selection for a CMA art exhibit, which is now up at a Table! (39149 Discovery Way) in Squamish. Thank you to CMA student Emalyn, for collecting and framing the pieces, to a generous soul who donated all the frames, and to Mr. Chang of a Table! who has kindly offered us the exhibit space for the whole school year. We plan to have three different exhibits there over the course of the school year. We will let you know when the exhibits are up so you can check them out.
In October, we explored the medium of sculpture. After a talk about sculpture, sculptors and the myriad of materials that can be used for this medium, students were asked to create their own imaginative pieces of sculpture using wire, wood, clay, aluminum mesh, or fabric. Two students continued to work on their 3D projects on blender. The students produced some engaging, playful, and original works during class studio time.
The photo above features a collaborative sculpture project as the students created a spirit nest. The inspiration came from Jayson Fann of spiritnestcreations.com. We used branches collected from the forest floor near CMA and plan to add to it over time.
We have been exploring with acrylic and watercolour paints for the month of November. We had a fun, collaborative pour painting project adventure (photos below) in mid-November. Students have also been working on their own paintings during studio time.
Having guest speakers is a big part of the art adventures program we are developing at CMA. We are eager for the students to learn what it takes to pursue creative work as a hobby and/or a career, discover techniques, intricate details about different mediums, to connect with, and be inspired by, creatives in the Sea-to-Sky community. We had five speakers in this term. Mural artist and adventurer Jessica Gilbert and British designer, Alex Fowkes, came to speak to the class about mural design, ideas, the mood board, colours, font, working with the client and natural elements. They designed and painted the mural on one of CMA’s shipping containers on campus, and they got a few enthusiastic students engaged in part of the painting process.
Guillaume Hammadi, who is a photographer and software designer, dropped in for a chat with the students who are working on photography. He spoke about photography and editing using the ipad and ipad pencil. Ryan and Kris Harris of Beacon Media Group in Whistler (beaconmediagroup.com) came to speak to the students about filmmaking, photography, entrepreneurship, persistence, determination, and the creative life. We plan to have artist Andy Anissimoff drop by for some inspiration (date tbd). He’s on board, but now has to find the time.
More campus art projects…
We plan to get more students involved in the painting of the picnic tables (flash colours) come the spring. We also hope to transform the now out-of-service bus (also pictured below) into a work/art space come the spring. We encourage any and all to help out with these two spring projects.
Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER – film screening Nov 28th
CMA is pleased to present a special screening of Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER.
Filmmaker and physician Dr. Delaney Ruston takes the conversation around screens and teens to the next level with Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience—a film that examines the science behind teen’s emotional challenges, the interplay of social media, and most importantly, what can be done in our schools and homes to help them build crucial skills to navigate stress, anxiety, and depression in our digital age.
SCREENAGERS: Growing up in the Digital Age—Delany Ruston’s award-winning 2016 film—was the first feature documentary to explore the impact of screen technology on kids and offer parents and families proven solutions. Screened more than 8,000 times (and counting) to 4 million people in more than 70 countries, it has been featured on PBS NewsHour, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and more. What started as a personal story grew into a national movement, helping millions of youth and their families find their way in a world with instant access to screen time.
In Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER, we follow Delaney as she finds herself at a loss on how to help her own teens as they struggle with their emotional wellbeing. She sets out to understand these challenges in our current screen-filled society, and how we, as parents and educators, can empower teens to overcome mental health challenges and build emotional agility, communication savvy, and stress resilience.
We witness Delaney as she finds her way from ineffective parenting to much-improved strategies. We follow other personal stories of families from an array of backgrounds with a spectrum of emotional challenges. We also observe approaches in schools that provide strategies relevant beyond the classroom setting. Interwoven into the stories are surprising insights from brain researchers, psychologists, and thought leaders that reveal evidence-based ways to support mental wellness among our youth. The impact of social media and other screen time is incorporated in all the topics raised in Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER, how it may be impacting our teens’ mental health, and what we can do to help foster youth in the face of struggles.
Facts from Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER include:
- Since 2011, there has been a 59% increase in teens reporting depressive symptoms
- Scientific data shows that 2+ hours a day on social media correlates with a higher chance of having unhappy feelings
- Teens say their main way of coping with stress is to turn to a screen—this is concerning for many reasons and we need to ensure they have other coping skills
We encourage all parents and youth in Sea to Sky to attend this timely film screening event. This event is free and open to the public.
Quest University (Multi-purpose Room)
Thursday, November 28th
7 – 9 pm
For more information about the film and to view the trailer please visit https://www.screenagersmovie.com/nc-trailer
New Admissions Event – Coffee Talks
New this year! Come join the Head of School, Mike Slinger and the Director of Admissions & Communications, Tracy Keeling for a coffee and a chat. They will be ready to answer all your questions about CMA and the application process. This event is best suited for parents looking at CMA for the next academic year.
There will be an opportunity to take a campus tour, but please note teachers will not be available as they will be in class.
Please register for the Coffee Talk of your choice by emailing [email protected].
December 11, 2019 10 to 11:30 am
January 17, 2020 10 to 11:30 am
Scholarships Workshop – Oct 29th
CMA is thrilled to be bringing the amazing Brittany Palmer of Unlock Your Future back to Squamish.
At this engaging workshop, Brittany will lead students and parents through a step-by-step program for navigating the post-secondary scholarship process. Topics will include building your scholarship foundation and crafting a strong personal statement.
Contrary to popular belief, students do not need 95% averages or international achievements to win scholarships. Brittany will debunk common scholarship myths and break down the complete process.
Join us for this free event as part of the CMA Speaker Series:
Tuesday, October 29th
Quest University (Multi-Purpose Room)
For more information on Brittany Palmer and Unlock Your Future please visit keytoscholarships.com.
CSI – CMA’s competency-based approach to scientific discovery
Have you heard about CSI at CMA? It was designed to explore the curricular competencies of science which are prevalent and required in disciplines like anatomy & physiology, chemistry, environmental science, and physics, among others. These competencies include things like:
– formulating a hypothesis and predicting an outcome,
– planing, selecting and using appropriate investigation methods like fieldwork to collect reliable data,
– evaluating methods and experimental conditions, including identifying sources of error or uncertainty, confounding variables, and possible alternative explanations and conclusions.
We believe CSI is not only innovative but also efficient, as all senior students will learn the essential skills of science common to all disciplines in Term 1 together.
CSI will run the entirety of Term 1, after which time students will then disperse into their grade-specific science courses for Terms 2 & 3 for a more focused study in their chosen science. At the very end of the school year, students will synthesize both the skills that they have gleaned from CSI and the content learned in their subjects to create a personalized, independent investigation.
Senior students have now been placed in cross-grade cohorts that will rotate through three interesting scientific explorations; cementing science inquiry, cedar & silviculture investigations, and creating invisible ink. So far, students and teachers have been enjoying great weather for their silviculture study!
Meet CMA’s newest faculty member…
We are very excited to welcome Ms. Rachel Chambers to the CMA faculty team! Ms. Chambers is originally from the UK but now calls BC and it’s majestic mountains home. She has a BA in Geography from Oxford University and Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Exeter University. Before leaving for Canada she worked at Cornwall’s top high school for four years as a Teacher of Geography and Head of Lower School. During this time, she led the school’s mountaineering club and qualified as a Duke of Edinburgh Award Assessor.
Ms. Chambers has worked for several years in the outdoor industry and has taught many sports including surfing, hiking, climbing and recently became a qualified snowboard instructor. She believes that education should be very much centered around interactions with the immediate world and that experiences offer the perfect in-depth learning opportunities.
From an early age, she felt the call of the outdoors and this influences many of her adventures. She has traveled to over thirty countries and particular highlights include backcountry expeditions in the Northern Territories, hiking in the Himalayas and taking her students to Iceland.
Being on her splitboard in the backcountry is her second home. While she eagerly awaits the return of Winter each year she can be found in the Whistler Bike Park.
CMA Valedictorian 2019
Big thanks to Cole Beaulieu, CMA Valedictorian 2019, for delivering a moving address at this year’s Graduation Ceremony held on June 20th at gorgeous Quest University. Your humour and heart-felt thanks were quite moving. For those who missed it, here is Cole’s valedictorian address:
You may not know me, but my name is Cole Beaulieu and after six years at Coast Mountain Academy I am standing here as valedictorian of my class. Today is the day we have all been waiting for – for the past twelve long years. For some of us years of hard work and perseverance got us here, for others, years of patient teachers and a healthy dose of luck and last minute cramming got us here. But no matter how we got here, we all did and today is the day we finally graduate.
Coast Mountain Academy has been the grounds for the good and the bad times and have undeniably shaped us into the people we are today, some of us may still have some growing to do but we are well on our way to becoming responsible, mature, contributing members of society that reflect the forces that shaped us here at CMA. When we look back on our time here; certain events are bound to jump out: Getting to see the breathtaking Garibaldi lake from the top of Panorama Ridge in grade 8, borrowing a book from a certain coastal field station, and more recently being completely out of breath with a pounding headache and an unbelievable view at 5000 meters just a week ago. There were the hot days sitting out on the picnic benches and the rainy ones where we all wished the school would invest in a roof. And we will always remember the work, the anxious waiting as we collected tests and assignments. The bad grades that made our hearts fall but motivated us to study harder and do better, and the good ones that put a smile on our faces and made us feel like we might just graduate some day. And today is that day!
Now, the time has come to thank everyone who have helped us along and those whom we never would have made it here without. First I want to thank the teachers. When people ask me if they should send their kids to CMA the first thing I tell them about is the teachers. The teachers have always had our best interests in mind through thick and thin, and even when we have been completely intolerable the teachers have been there for us and when I say intolerable I mean intolerable. As to make sure that everyone gets out before sunset I won’t go into every teacher that has ever taught us at CMA but I would like to talk about the teachers that have made our grade 12 year unforgettable. Mr. Bauck, Mr. Sharp, Mr. Logan, and Mr. B, you have been more than just teachers for us over the past year. You have been mentors and role models and have helped us navigate the maze of grade 12 math, english and science as well as life experience in and out of school, such as our amazing trip to Peru.
And a special thanks to Mr. Slinger, little known fact he didn’t have a single grey hair when he took the job and came into contact with the class of 2019. A perfect case in point as he patiently waited yesterday to review a speech that hadn’t been written yet. When I say Mr. Slinger will be happy to see us go it is not out of malice, but out of pride to see a group of ragtag individuals turned into the cohesive unit we are today.
As I move onto the parents, there are no words I can use to thank them in full. We would not be here without them, like literally not be here. It is said that it costs around 200,000 dollars to raise a child to the age of 18, and that doesn’t consider 12 years of private school tuition. Thankfully my parents don’t expect me to pay it all back but that only makes me more grateful. The debt to our parents goes so much deeper than that though, they were the ones who pushed us out the door when we didn’t want to, who offered us encouragement and threats in regards to marks, and who tolerated us through our highs and lows. Without you, we would never have made it here. Thank you all moms and dads.
And above all of that, there are my classmates. I can say that we know each other like we are family. From the first ever day of CMA planning uniforms with Noah, the only other founding student graduating today. To making unforgettable memories these past two weeks in Peru. This class is full of amazing individuals from world-class mountain bikers to veritable geniuses (and no Ian they are not the same person). We represent diversity in character that in many schools would have made community difficult but despite all odds, CMA managed the opposite and has bred a tight-knit community. Many of these friendships will last a lifetime and some of them will be refreshed at the reunions that are already being planned. This class is like a family, as much as we may fight and bicker at the end of the day we will always have each other’s backs.
For some of us high school was a breeze and will be a jewel to look back on for others it was a grind but this is the day we have all been working towards. As we exit the auditorium in the coming hours we will all leave with our heads held high knowing a chapter is coming to a close and a chapter will begin anew tomorrow. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Coast Mountain Academy class of 2019. Thank You.
Another 1st for CMA
On Thursday May 17th the graduating class of CMA were celebrated in style at our first ever grad formal and dinner. This uniquely CMA event brought students, parents, friends, teachers, staff, and Board together at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler for dinner, music, magic, storytelling, and some hilarious roasts.
More than one parent noted how special it was to have such an intimate event for a high school grad class – everyone together celebrating and wishing our 18 grads the best as they set out on their next adventure.
Congratulations to the students and parents of the CMA Class of 2019!
We are hiring!
Coast Mountain Academy is looking for qualified candidates to fill a senior school STEM faculty position. If you are a certified teacher, with an interdisciplinary approach to STEM courses, and a love of the outdoors, this position could be the right fit for you!
For more details please visit the job posting at: https://coastmounatin.wpengine.com/about/#work .
First ever CMA Model UN Conference a success!
After two days of lively debate, we have wrapped up the first-ever CMA Model UN Conference. Students represented their countries with pride and demonstrated the utmost respect, except for the odd assassination attempt!
What an incredible experience in research, public speaking, and politics for all involved.
Big thanks to our student organizers Sierra, Jacob, and Arthur.
Until next year…..
CMA application deadlines, tuition, and fees for next academic year…
As in years past, we are asking all applicants to submit their completed student application forms by January 31st to ensure they are considered in our first round of admission offers for the 2019/20 academic year. You still have a few weeks to get those applications submitted, for more details and the application form please visit our Apply to CMA webpage.
Our tuition and fees, as well as payment plan options, have changed for next academic year. To get acquainted with the costs of attending CMA and the payment options please visit our Tuition and Fees webpage.
Feel free to call the CMA office with any questions at 604-390-3262.
Community Christmas Care
From day one, giving back to our community has been part of the very ‘fabric’ of CMA! Our students and staff take an active role in many fundraising campaigns throughout the academic year, but none are as popular or embraced as dearly as the annual Community Christmas Care event. We are proud to announce that CMA has collectively donated over 500 toys and non-perishable food items, and over $500 in cash and gift cards this year. These donations will help fill Christmas Hampers for Squamish families in need this holiday season. Big congratulations to Sky Pilot House Team for raising the most, and representing us at the big wrap-up event with Mountain FM and McDonalds Squamish.
Tis the season!
Happy Holidays from all of us at CMA.
CMA Open House
Curious about what Coast Mountain Academy has to offer our students and families?
Join us for our 6th Annual Open House event on Saturday, November 24th from 10 am to 2 pm. Drop-in for the opportunity to meet all of our teachers and staff, take a campus tour with a CMA student and share a coffee with a CMA parent. This is a family-friendly event featuring fun activities for young and old.
No pre-registration is required. For more information please call CMA at 604-390-3262.
Highlights from a LEAD Trip ‘Newbie’
Early September Mr. Logan asked if I was interested in joining the House Team LEAD Trip to Garibaldi. I quickly said yes, but then the reality set in as I realized I had not done a multi-day trip in many years, in fact, 10 years! Well, I am so glad I pushed through the nervousness and took part as the experience was truly breath-taking and reminded me of what makes CMA such a special community.
The weather certainly was in our favour (sorry Skookum and Elaho – I know it was a different story for your teams). The scenery was beautiful and I did enjoy my daily hot chocolate, but the highlight for me was the kindness, compassion, and encouragement that a select few of our seniors repeatedly displayed for our newest and youngest students. On numerous occasions, I saw these seniors lightening younger student’s backpacks. On our last day, two senior students carried other student’s entire backpack along with their own! From cheering on our grade 7 students to tending cuts and scrapes these senior’s behaviour was genuinely heart-warming.
I encourage us all to remember the power of simple acts of kindness. What if we all behaved in this way? I will leave you with a quote below that really resonated with me…
Can’t wait for my next adventure!
“Together we can change the world, one simple act of kindness at a time.” – Ron Hall
5 Tips for Managing Back to School Anxiety
There can be a lot of anxiety for both students and parents at this hectic time of year! CMA Counsellor, Ms. Melahnie Moodie shares some tips for managing anxiety below:
1) Eat 3 balanced meals a day ESPECIALLY breakfast. Studies show that balanced blood sugar levels and regular meals help your brain focus and your nervous system stay balanced.
2) Get into direct sunlight and move your body within 10 minutes of waking up.
3) Restful sleep, with screen-free time before bed, and do NOT reach for your phone first thing in the morning, give your brain and system at least 20 minutes before allowing the worlds distractions in.
4) Throughout the day when you see children getting antsy, tired or talkative get them moving. Studies show that brain breaks throughout the day help students learn better, listen more and helps balance their mind.
5) Leave room in your schedule for “Free Time”.
Our culture LOVES to have everything scheduled but children and adults all need time to have unstructured time, to relax if they need to, and to do whatever they need to do in the moment. Being able to listen to one’s body and emotions is one of the best gifts we can give to our children and is very beneficial for a healthy mental-emotional state.
CMA students and parents are invited to book time with Ms. Moodie to discuss anxiety and coping strategies. She is here to help! She can be reached for bookings at [email protected].
We are looking for a Director of Finance!
Are you looking for an exciting new opportunity to sink your teeth into? Well, the CMA team is looking to fill a new role – Director of Finance. Visit our employment page for all the details but do not wait too long – the position closes September 7, 2018. Check out the job posting here on our employment webpage.
It’s Not Too Late to Apply to CMA
At this time of year, it is common for our staff to get a frantic phone call or two with the same question “Is it too late to apply to CMA for September?” Great news, it is not too late, but we are only accepting applications for grade 8, 9, and 10. All other grades are on waitlist only.
If you are interested in CMA for September please contact our Director of Admissions, Tracy Keeling at [email protected] to let her know you intend to apply. Following that please complete the student application form and return it along with the admission fee and supporting documents as soon as possible. All final admission interviews for September start will be taking place on August 15th.
The student application form can be found here: Apply to CMA
Enjoy the summer sun,
The CMA Team
Another Year of LEAD Wraps Up this Week
What a year it has been for our LEAD (Leadership Expeditions for Academic Discovery) program! After a year of preparation and training, all of our students have completed their year-end LEAD Trips as of Sunday, June 17th. Big thanks to all the teachers and parent volunteers who made the following trips a reality for our students!
Stein Valley hiking and camping- grade 7 students
Marble Mountains hiking and camping – grade 8 students
Spring Island sea kayaking – grade 9 students
Juan de Fuca Trail hiking and camping – grade 10, 11, 12
Yukon River paddling and camping – grade 10, 11, 12
Ecuador service trip with Me to We – grade 10, 11, 12
For more on our LEAD program please visit https://coastmountainacademy.ca/academics/leadership-expeditions-for-academic-discovery-lead/
Science and more in the CMA S.T.E.M. Times
CMA Faculty, Mr. Ross Petersen has pulled together the first edition of the CMA S.T.E.M. Times. Ever wondered what our students are up to all day? Have a read to find out! Thank you to Mr. Petersen for all his efforts in the classroom to provide a stellar science program for our students, and for all his time spent putting this newsletter together!
New admission deadlines for 2018!
New for 2018: to be considered in our first round of admission offers we are asking all applicants to submit their CMA application and supporting documents by January 31, 2018. For all the details please visit coastmounatin.wpengine.com/admissions/#apply
Join us for CMA’s Open House!
Curious about Coast Mountain Academy? Families are invited to join CMA staff, faculty and families for our annual Open House on Saturday November 25th from 10am to 2pm here on campus. The event is family-friendly so bring the kids and grandparents if you like!
Guests can take part in campus tours lead by current CMA students, share a coffee or hot chocolate with current CMA parents, and learn more about our unique schedule and programs from our engaging team of teachers.
[email protected] Dates for 2017/18 have been released!
Our signature [email protected] events continue to be very popular! What better way to determine if Coast Mountain Academy is the school for you and your child then for them to come spend the day with us? Visiting students take all classes, breaks, and lunch with current students. They get to meet all the teachers and get a taste of what it is really like to be a CMA’er. Our line up of dates for the 2017/18 academic year include:
Thursday October 12, 2017
Wednesday November 15, 2017
Tuesday February 6, 2018
Thursday March 8, 2018
Wednesday April 11, 2018
Tuesday May 15, 2018
For more information please visit https://coastmounatin.wpengine.com/admissions/#apply
To register please call Tracy Keeling, Director of Admissions at 604-390-3262 or email [email protected]
From Ecuador with Love…
As part of CMA’s L.E.A.D. (Learning Expeditions for Academic Discovery) program, our senior students in grades 10 through 12 had the opportunity to join Me to We for a service trip to Ecuador. We just go this message from the Amazonian jungle and thought we would share it with you. Can’t wait to see the pictures!
Hola! From Ecuador.
We just wanted to send you a quick update to let you know how our trip is going. We welcomed your world changers at the airport in Quito, on our first night, and everyone arrived happy and healthy. The next day, bright and early we departed for the Amazon. After a very long ride with multiple stops we arrived at Minga Lodge. Minga Lodge is our accommodation that we are calling home for the days together.
So far everything is going well. We have started to talk about issues happening in our communities and around the world. We have also been talking about leadership skills and goals.
Today we had the opportunity to learn about lack of access to clean water here in Ecuador. We took a very short canoe ride across the Rio Napo to be greeted by Don Vargas. Don Vargas welcomed us to his farm and shared with us his life story, and the impacts of his family not having access to clean water.
We are looking forward to the next few days. Adios!
For more on Me to We please visit: https://www.metowe.com/volunteer-travel/
For more on CMA’s L.E.A.D. program please visit: https://coastmounatin.wpengine.com/academics/#lead
One last [email protected] for the year!
CMA is hosting one more [email protected] for this academic year! If you are a student currently enrolled in grade 6 through 11 and interested in learning more about our great school please join us on Tuesday May 16th. Visiting students take all classes, breaks and lunch with our current students. What better way to determine whether CMA is a good fit for you?
For more information please visit https://coastmounatin.wpengine.com/admissions/#apply.
Pre-registration is required, please call Tracy Keeling, Director of Admissions at 604-390-3262 for more information and registration.
Join the CMA Team – we are hiring!
Faculty – Middle School – Generalist (Math, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, French, PE, Career Education, Explorations)
We have an exciting opportunity for a new Faculty member for the 2017-2018 school year. We are seeking a dynamic and inspirational middle school level teacher who is both qualified and certified to teach in British Columbia. If you are looking for an opportunity to work in an innovative independent school, with a collaborative faculty, in one of the most beautiful locations in the province, this is the position for you.
As a middle school teacher at Coast Mountain Academy you will be part of a collaborative team of teachers that strive everyday to provide our grade 7 – 9 students the best learning environment possible. Our program requires teachers to be familiar with the new BC Curriculum, project based learning, inquiry, interdisciplinary studies and current assessment practices. Additionally, faculty members will be expected to provide enriched experiential education opportunities to bring the curriculum to life for the students. The successful candidate will also participate in our outdoor education and experiential education programs (some overnight and weekend requirements). Experience in outdoor activities is desirable.
To apply, please send a cover letter and CV by email with the Subject: “Posting 2017 – Teacher Name” to Mike Slinger, Head of School at [email protected]
Application Deadline: Sunday, April 30th, 2017
Exclusive [email protected] for grade 6 students only!
Join us Wednesday April 19th for an exclusive [email protected] for current grade 6 students in the Sea to Sky corridor.
As with every [email protected], participants get to experience our innovative approach to education by taking all classes, breaks, and lunch along side current CMA students. This day is special though, in that it is only for current grade 6 students. What better way to determine if CMA is a viable option for your grade 7 year?
CMA transportation is available free of charge on April 19th for participants who live in Whistler, West Vancouver, Bowen Island, and Furry Creek.
For more information please visit our [email protected] information page here: https://coastmountainacademy.ca/admissions/day-cma/
CMA Ski Team places well at NSSRL Championships
Congratulations to the CMA ski team for their performance at the North Shore Schools Race League Championships (NSSRL). CMA grade 10 students Amanda and Caitlin raced in the Grand Slalom experienced division. Caitlin placed 14th of 46 racers with the best time of 1.00.41, and Amanda placed 17th with a best time of 1.04.23. Grade 7 students William and McKinley raced in the Slalom Novice division. William placed 2nd of 12 racers with a best time of 22.13, and McKinley placed 7th with a time of 23.54.
CMA team members displayed great sportsmanship at the races and we are proud of the way they represented our school. Great work Owls!
Parents as Preventers: Understanding and Responding to Teen Substance Use
Wednesday February 1, 2017
7:00 – 9:00pm
Quest University – Multi-Purpose Room
Join Coast Mountain Academy for this very important presentation by Robb McGirr. It is open to all parents, but will be of particular interest for parents of grade 7-10 students as this represents the highest risk period for first-use.
Robb McGirr is an Addictions Counsellor specializing in school-based prevention and early intervention. Robb has a long history with both schools and community groups having worked as a Port Moody Police Officer for 20 years, and a youth substance use prevention specialist for the last 11 years.
While Robb recognizes that the support provided to students at school is important, he does believe that the most effective prevention strategies start at home, with parents and families. During his presentation he will highlight:
- Drugs of choice: What are they? What are their risks?
- Understanding and responding to ‘first-use’ risks as your child transitions from middle school to highschool.
- Parental influence: How to support safe and healthy choices for your child.
- How to recognize and respond to a ‘drug-curious’ child.
- How to recognize and respond to a child who may be ‘drug-active’.
- Social Media: Where are your children getting their information?
For more information on Robb McGirr and Front-Line Prevention Services please visit www.frontlineprevention.com.
This event is free and open to the public. Hope you can join us!
E3 – Problem Solving with Gary Fitzpatrick, Q.C
On November 4th CMA took part in a Problem Solving E3 exercise that involved a learning activity with Gary Fitzpatrick, Q.C. Mediator of Fitzpatrick and Co. Gary’s work is in the area of dispute resolution and his career started in the court system as a lawyer and has moved into the realm of mediation.
Mr. Fitzpatrick presented a scenario to our students derived from a situation he would see in his workplace. Our students participated in a simulation role play that had them acting in parts as companies involved in a dispute and the mediator assigned to help the parties create a solution to the given problem. In this particular case the parties were companies with a similar product that had merged together in order to produce a higher quality product. As the project continued both parties were upset about how the product was evolving, and not meeting the expectations of the client. The students worked together to come up with a solution rather than a dissolution of the companies’ work together.
This simulation was great learning experience for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it demonstrated that the experiences that the students have in their various group work projects here at school are similar to scenarios that they will also encounter later in the workplace. The group work skills they practice now will be transferable for doing efficient work as they enter the workforce. Secondly, it introduced the students to different avenues of dispute resolution and gave students a picture of alternative careers in the field of justice. CMA is grateful for Gary’s time and expertise that he generously shared to enhance our learning.
Written by guest blogger: Ms. Alysa Patching, Co-ordinator of Innovation & Learning
CMA Open House – Saturday November 19th
Join the CMA team for our Annual Open House event on Saturday November 19th. Guests will enjoy; tours led by CMA students, personal introductions to our unique outdoor education program and INQubator program, and learn how we infuse technology into all of our learning. This is a family-friendly event, please drop-in anytime between 10am to 2pm.
How do we make report cards meaningful?
How Can We Make Reports & Assessments of Student Learning Meaningful to both Parent and Student Stakeholders?
On October 26th, CMA will be distributing a digital Interim Report to all of our parents via email. This report is one way to communicate with parents about their student’s learning in the classroom. Each report is a snapshot that describes a measurement of that child’s performance regarding the content in a particular subject at that point in the year. The first report ends up being a baseline from which progress is made. It is good educational practice (and mandated by the BC Ministry of Education) to report in a way to parents that is timely and responsive throughout the school year.
Every year we try to improve the quality and efficiency of our reporting process. Our intention is to communicate with families about their student’s learning in a way that reflects our care for the student, is personal to the student, and motivates the student to progress and take the next step forward. The ideal report is a piece of communication that includes all stakeholders in the student’s learning; teachers, student, and parent(s) or guardians. It should inform all parties of the student’s level of understanding, and give direction (as well as action) regarding how to best support student progress.
Head of School, Mike Slinger, has asked CMA Faculty to consider the question: How can we communicate timely and meaningful assessments of student learning to parents in a better way? This is an investigation we are taking on this year that will evolve as the year progresses. Parents can anticipate an invitation for their voice as stakeholders in the CMA system of reporting.
My upcoming blog post will be an overview of assessment as a part of the teaching process. If you’ve ever wondered about how a teacher goes about assessing student understanding, be sure to keep your eye open for it.
Submitted by guest blogger Ms. Alysa Patching, CMA Faculty and Co-ordinator of Learning & Innovation.
Love the Skin You’re In by Brie Mathers
This week we had body-image activist Brie Mathers visit our parent and student community. Brie is an activist whose work is focused on liberating youth from the messages driven by media about what qualities make someone attractive and lovable. She helps to deconstruct ideas influenced by the media’s focus on sexualized external beauty and highlights the beauty of inner strength, character, and brain power.
Last night Brie Spoke with the parents and gave some useful tips about having good conversations with your child about this topic. She recommends using teachable opportunities to have authentic conversations. For example when you are shopping, watching movies or commercials on TV, magazines that might be lying around your house, passing billboards when you are driving; you can prompt conversation by wondering about how the images are manipulated, what the message to the consumer is about masculinity or femininity, who wins from the message, who loses, and what are the alternatives.
Some great books and movies to stimulate conversations that she recommended were:
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth about Guilty Pleasure TV Programming
I’m Like So Fat: Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight-Obsessed World by Dianne Neumark-Sztainer
The Body-Image Work Book by Thomas. F Cash
The Mask You Live In
The True Cost
Big thanks to Brie for sharing her passion, recommendations, and message of love with us! For more on the amazing Brie Mathers please visit lovetheskinyourein.net.
Games as a learning tool
Students in Science 7 class have been studying geological time this past week. They were challenged to create board games that highlight key events in the evolution of life, and other important moments in geological time. Students came up with some creative, fun, and very informative games that we enjoyed playing in class.
“Love the Skin You’re In’ with Brie Mathers Oct 19th at 7pm
Join body image activist Brie Mathers for a dynamic multimedia presentation called ‘Love The Skin You’re In’. Through exposing the pitfalls of media influences, we invite those supporting the healthy development of young people to explore a powerful evening of education. It is guaranteed to be impactful, helping to reinforce or change the mindset of those who often feel society’s negative lure towards a single focus on sexualized external beauty. We will seek to discuss the difficulty of this ever changing culture where younger generations can feel they are swimming upstream if focusing on inner strength, character, and brain power. This evening will inspire parents to support their sons and daughters to find power in connection over looks-based comparison and competition.
“Love the Skin You’re In’
Wednesday October 19th
Quest University, 3200 University Blvd. Squamish
*Doors open at 6:30pm, presentation starts at 7pm.
**Please note that the presentation takes place in the Quest (MPR) Multi-Purpose Room located below the Quest Cafeteria.
***Admission is free, but donations for the Squamish Food Bank are welcome!
Problem Solving Fridays
A new initiative this year at CMA is Problem Solving Fridays. The purpose of this block is to come together and collaborate as multi-grade learning teams around problem solving activities. Students are learning to work in diverse groups while employing various problem solving skills. Over past couple weeks we have been working together to solve problems in the discipline of math. Students have used mathematical strategies such as looking for patterns, making charts and tables with data, guessing and checking, drawing pictures or models, acting out scenarios, solving simpler related problems, and working backwards. These strategies are extremely valuable as they transfer outside of the discipline of math.
This past Friday we worked with a problem called Marbles in a Box. Imagine a 3 dimensional Tic Tac Toe game. The students were to find out how many winning combinations there were. In a period of 30 minutes they were able to come up with several different strategies to present to their peers. CMA students were even able to develop a formula that transferred over as the box increased in dimension. Please see the pictures below for some examples of student explanations.
Many students are noting the advantage of working with people with a variety of experience and ways of thinking about things, but also the challenges. As we forge ahead we will continue to work on mathematical problems, but may also start to look at some challenges that cross into other domains. Hopefully we will even be presented with some ‘real world’ scenarios. Some of these scenarios will connect to our E3 activities. Perhaps you have a scenario in your workplace to present to our kids to do some creative problem solving around?
An example of some students transferring authentic problem solving activities into real world scenarios comes from some work done in School District 43’s Inquiry Hub. The students in this program noticed that the process of taking attendance was eating into their valuable learning time. A group decided they were going to develop an app so that students could sign in for the day with their phones so that they could eliminate cumbersome process and be more efficient with their time. A construction company heard about the app the students developed and felt that it could also be used in their workplace to record sign-in and working hours for their employees. The company ended up buying the app from the students and is now using it for this purpose. Wouldn’t it be awesome for some of our CMA students to be able to have such a meaningful and rewarding learning experience? If you have a workplace scenario you think our CMA students could take stake in please contact [email protected].
Inquiry Based Learning, Core Competencies, and the revised BC curriculum at CMA.
This upcoming year we will be doing a lot of school wide work in Inquiry Based Learning. One of the outcomes of this style of learning and teaching is the opportunity to develop and practice the 21st century skills that have been identified as the most important competencies for students to acquire in their schooling. The BC Ministry of Education articulates these skills in the new mandated curriculum as “Core Competencies”. These core competencies span and support the content of the learning in each subject area and have become a focus in the updated curriculum.
CMA teachers spent the day becoming familiar with these competencies and how they are woven into the revised curriculum. More professional development work will be done when it comes to recognizing how we are already addressing these competencies, new ways to infuse them into our practice and including them in student assessment. A description of the Core Competencies can be accessed at https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/competencies.
Guest Blogger – Ms. Alysa Patching, CMA Coordinator of Innovation and Learning
A Week to Build Community at CMA
As in years past, we started the academic year at Camp Summit. CMA students and faculty eat, live, and play together for 4 days straight. Our adventures at camp build trust, respect, and most of all a sense of community and friendship. What a way to launch the academic year and our uniquely CMA outdoor education program!
Website Renewal Completed
With our third year of operation a huge success, I was determined to spend some of my available time this Summer to finally update CMA’s website.
While our previous online presence was sufficient, it was much more oriented toward’s its original purpose: announcing to the world that CMA existed and what it would be. Now that we have been through a few years, put mileage on our buses, and graduated our first student, our website needed to better reflect the living community CMA has become.
After quite some effort and deliberation, therefore, I present to you CMA’s illustrious updated website! A new look and feel, some sought-after information tools (e.g. the prominent Google-powered School Calendar!), tighter social media integration, and a host of improvements on our end which will allow staff to make this an authoritative source of information for current and prospective families.
I invite you to use social media to give us feedback on the new site and to share it far and wide!
Mr. Slinger’s Kenya Adventure with Me to We
My wife Leanne and I had the opportunity to travel to the Maasai Mara in Kenya on an educator’s scouting trip with Free The Children and a group of 20 educators from all over North America. What an amazing trip it was on so many levels. I would like to share a few of my takeaways.
Free the Children works with communities in areas where the cycle of poverty is very evident. When the organization agrees to work with community leaders they do so with a framework of support to strengthen five pillars of community – Education, Clean Water and Sanitation, Health, Agriculture and Food Security, and Alternative Income and Livelihood. Establishing a foundation with these pillars is the beginning of breaking the cycle of poverty for these communities. You can read more about the pillars and why they are so important by clicking here.
For the sake of time I will just comment on our experiences with the education pillar while in Kenya. Where we were in the Maasai Mara was the village that Free The Children has been working in the longest (over 15 years). So, we had the opportunity to see the type of impacts the five pillars can have on a community over time. On our trip we visited a few schools that Free The Children has built – Emorijoi Primary School (Gr. K-8), Kisaruni School for Girls (Gr. 9-12) – and spent the better part of two days working at the build site for the Ngulot Mountainview All Boys Secondary School for Boys (Gr. 9-12) which will hopefully be open for classes in January of 2017.
Emorijoi was the first school we visited on our trip. We had an opportunity to tour the school and visit with the teachers and students. The first thing that struck us as we were walking down the long dirt road towards the school was that all of a sudden, these little kids dressed in their school uniforms started climbing through the barbed wire fence to run out and join us. They would run up to us with big smiles and laughter, say nothing, grab our hands and walk with us the rest of the way to the school. Once there, we started to speak and play with the students (English is the language taught and spoken at school). We had a great big soccer game on the field which was lots of fun, especially trying to dodge the cow pies and the cows!!
Kisaruni School for Girls was definitely one of the highlights. The visit really helped re-establish in me the importance of education and how much we take for granted in our society. The girls all begin classes at 5:00am and carry on with a packed learning schedule until 9:00pm. They then have some individual learning time until lights out at 10:00pm. However, many girls stay up with flashlights reading until late into the night. These girls respect and value education like no students I have ever seen before – the alternative for the them is to be married off by their parents in exchange for a dowry of goats or cattle. Yes, if not in school they would most likely be married and having kids at 14 years of age. The girls are all committed to their studies as they see education as a way for them to help their families and community.
Ngulot was another great experience as we were able to get our hands dirty helping to build the future high school that will allow boys in the community to carry on their education. We were given the task to dig the foundation of one of the school buildings so they would be able to pour the foundation. The trenches had to be 4 feet deep and all of them dug out with pick axes and shovels. One of the days we teamed up with a Free The Children youth group on the build site. It was great to chat with the students and hear their stories about how Free The Children has impacted them personally and what they have been working on to make a difference in the world themselves. Very powerful.
Below you will see a sampling of our photos from the trip. There are some photos from our school visits with the students, from the build site, one of me doing a water walk (another story in itself), Leanne and I with our Maasai Warrior guides and some local mamas, and a shot of the leopard we saw on our safari.
I am very excited for CMA to continue to develop a relationship with Free The Children and continue to build on our commitment as a school to community service locally, nationally and internationally. Our international service trip to Ecuador with Free The Children in June 2017 is going to be an incredible experience for our Gr. 10, 11 & 12’s that participate. If my trip to Kenya is an indication, I would expect that the global perspectives of all who participate will be transformed.
Yours in education,