High Performance Athletics (HPA)

HPA is an OCDSB system program, which provides academic support to students who are striving to compete at the provincial, national and international level in their respective sports. It was put in place in recognition that these talented student athletes required unique academic programming and flexibility so that they may attain the high standards demanded in their field and still receive a high quality education.

Description of the Program:

The philosophy behind the HPA program delivery is based on an “Appreciative Enquiry” and “Whatever it Takes” model. Students’ timetables are individually designed by the program coordinator to meet their needs both academically and athletically. Although the school and its’ staff are not responsible for training or competitive programs the schools delivery system permits student athletes to obtain a high level education while maintaining a program of intensive training and high performance competition.

HPA Student Program:

  • designer timetables – each student has a program designed to meet their individual needs as required for education, training commitments and competitive schedules. This is a four year plan which facilitates their total academic career while attending JMSS with a focus on their desired post-secondary placements and career aspirations.
  • flexible attendance as identified by training schedules and competitions.
  • flexible program completion: semester or less, semester plus extension, year long, summer, independent study.
  • choice of classroom integration with accommodation, integration with accommodation and withdrawal to HPA learning centre, Cooperative Education, PLAR accreditation, Distance Learning or any combination of these programs.
  • support by regular classroom teacher, HPA teacher mentor / coaches / facilitator or a combination thereof.
  • program is subject to yearly review by the coordinator in consultation with students, parents, coaches, teachers and administration

Grade Nine students work in an integrated setting with accommodation as identified by the program coordinator. After grade nine students have the option of working in an integrated model or the HPA Learning Centre model or a combination of these two learning models. The appropriate timetable and learning format is determined after consultation with the student and parents.

The HPA Learning Centre

There are two rooms dedicated to the HPA students as a learning centre. Although our school is now wireless, the centre was so equipped from its inception in 2010. The centre features a computer lab and an alternate learning lab, equipped with various furniture from desks to couches. Program delivery is more flexible within these areas. Rather than the traditional Socratic teacher-students model, it is designed as a shared learning experience - a learning commons, with the student working independently with the support of a mentoring guide.

Features of the High Performance Athlete Learning Centre:

  • Dedicated work area for athletes in the program
  • High speed wireless internet for personal computers
  • Computer lab for individual and small group learning
  • Video / projection equipment
  • Science lab access as required
  • Library website designed to facilitate distance learning.
  • Refrigerator and microwave equipped for special dietary needs
  • Versatile furniture to set a mood of relaxed but dedicated instruction
  • Select staff who work as mentor coaches for the extended delivery program

Learning Resources / Programs

  • Integrated classroom instruction
  • HPA room facilitation
  • E-learning
  • Web Based instruction – Teacher webpages
  • Library website designed to facilitate distance learning.
  • ILCs
  • McCrae Independent Learning Courses
  • PLARs
  • Coop
  • Integration into regular classes with assignment completion accommodation
  • OERB (Ontario Educational Resource Bank)
  • Advanced Placement (AP) opportunities – often required by Universities in the USA
  • Modified time for completion of curriculum
  • Timeline accommodation as required

Now in its third year of facilitating learning the HPA learning centre has proven to be a great success and very popular with students and their parents. Presently the program offers integrated studies in English, Maths and Sciences in grade level 10-12. As numbers in the program continue to grow it is expected that the “centre program” will expand to include other subject areas in the Social Sciences and World Studies program as well as Languages. This neophyte program is teaching us that for many students there may be a better way to learn then the traditional model of our present schools. In this model “individualized learning” is a reality.

Potential Candidates:

  • Must be identified as having the potential to compete at the provincial, national or international levels of performance by a recognized coach or sport governing body official
  • Train / compete a minimum of 14 hours per week
  • Requires school program flexibility
  • Must be able to maintain academic standards and fulfill academic responsibilities

Program Co-ordinator:

The HPA Coordinator (HPAC) as community liaison:

At requests of teams and organizations the coordinator will meet to explain how the program can accommodate those young people they are working with. These meetings may take place during the regular school day or in the evenings depending on the availability of the organizations staff.

The Coordinator meets with prospective student and parents to explain how the program works. He establishes an understanding of the types of accommodation that can be put in place and the responsibilities of the student athlete if accepted into the program. Students must be aware of the criteria which allow them to become an HPA student.

The HPA Coordinator (HPAC) as program developer / counselor

Once a student is accepted into the program, the Coordinator meets with parents, students, coaches / trainers to determine the individual needs of each athlete with relationship to training time and competition demands. This information is then factored into devising a four year educational plan for the student athlete. This plan is then reviewed each year to determine if the student athlete’s requirements have changed from the original plan.

Comments from Parents:

Speaking of her daughter needs and program accommodations:

Having a spare in the morning has been perfect. Since we live around the corner it’s really convenient. If her spare is 1st period she can either sleep in or do her homework. If her spare is second period she comes home to do homework and have a good lunch. Today she came home and had a nap . She was extra tired today since she trained at Mount Tremblant all day yesterday and didn’t get much sleep since we were on the road at 5:00 a.m. and didn’t get home until very late last night.

She likes having a couple ‘regular’ classes since it’s the only time she sees her friends and she said it would feel too isolating if she didn’t have them.

She loves Mr. Toms as a teacher! She says he really knows how to get through to her and how to simplify stuff. She appreciates the fact that she feels it’s one-on-one tutoring since she is the only one in her grade with him.

She is so grateful to the HPA program!

This is my son's first term being in the high performance classroom and the difference has been remarkable.

He was concerned at first with having to work independently but it has turned out to be an excellent environment for him to learn and succeed in. His midterm math mark last year was 50% while this year it has jumped to 80%. This is thanks to the efforts of Mr. Toms and the HPA program. Having a low teacher to student ratio has allowed him to keep up with the concepts being taught and when needed get extra help immediately. With the demands of his schedule and very late practices and games he gets lost in a larger classroom. Also, having his team mates and other athletes in the classroom pushes him to keep up with the group in a healthy competitive way.

The English program is fabulous as they can work along at their own pace. Knowing what he needs to have done in advance has made him take more ownership in his schoolwork and budgeting his time. Scheduling tests and assignments around their schedule has been invaluable.

The opportunity for him to take the Careers and Civics course during the summer to free up a period this term has made the biggest difference. Having a spare in the afternoon has afforded him the time to get his homework done and often leave early for practice not to mention lighten the exam load in January.

I cannot say enough about this program as it has already made a huge difference in my son's life and he very much appreciates how fortunate he is to have it available. For the first time in his life he actually enjoys going to school as it compliments his hockey as opposed to hindering it and now pushing himself to achieve more academically because of it.

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