Interdisciplinary Humanities

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?

If so, grab your favourite cup of coffee and join our Director of Admissions and Head of School for an hour of conversation about our school and admissions process. Specifically, we will discuss:
  • what makes our school unique
  • the admissions process and deadlines for next academic year
  • qualities we look for in our applicants
  • admissions trends
There will also be lots of time for participants to ask questions. Please pre-register by emailing [email protected] with the full name of each attendee. Once registered, participants will receive the meeting link via email.

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 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 ( 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