The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district will have new academies for hockey, dance and basketball beginning next fall.
The new hockey academy will be at Samuel Robertson Technical school, and will have an anticipated fee of $1,820. It will have an enrolment of 30 students.
The dance academy will be at Thomas Haney secondary, for 24 students, and the anticipated fee is $272.
The co-ed basketball academy will run at Westview secondary, for 20 students in the first year, with a fee of $385.
Both sports academies will be for Grades 8-12, while the dance academy will be for 9-12.
School Board chair Mike Murray said these academies help students to be motivated about their education, and personalize what they learn.
“Kids are able to pursue their passions, which is huge, and it’s why our grad rates are going up,” said Murray.
The hockey academy will be co-ed and involve players at every skill level. The Pacific Rim Hockey Academy, part of the RPM Hockey Company, will provide instruction. Students will walk from SRT to Planet Ice for their hockey instruction.
There is a similar academy already operating at Pitt Meadows secondary, and RPM founder Craig Millen operates 16 other academies in B.C. that are based on the same template.
The dance academy at Thomas Haney will be operated by Impact Dance Productions, which is owned by Danielle Gardner. Impact already has a dance program at Haney.
Gardner has a background as a dancer, choreographer and adjudicator, and has had movie and music video appearances. She also placed in the top four of the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance Canada.
Students will have 62 studio sessions during the year. The academy aims to expose students to high-level technical training by dance industry professionals, covering jazz, modern, hip hop, Latin and contemporary.
For conditioning, the dancers will take classes in yoga, pilates, barre and boot camp.
There will be auditions for the dance academy in February.
The Westview basketball academy will be based on high performance and elite-level instruction, the board heard.
There will be classes on the court, in the weight room and in the classroom, covering sports psychology, fitness, nutrition, goal setting, leadership.
The board also approved an locally developed Advanced Basketball 10 course. It will include basketball skills, classroom theory, strength and conditioning classes and guest speakers.
“… students will learn about all aspects of being an athlete, including technical skills, tactical skills, mental training, teamwork and leadership and physical conditioning,” said the course synopsis.
The academy and new course has been developed by Westview’s Katie MacLeod, who is a certified Level 3 basketball instructor. She will be running the academy and offering the instruction.
The school district offers numerous academies, including digital arts, equestrian, hairstyling and cosmetology, interdisciplinary arts, soccer and the Microsoft IT academy.