When Brett Logan first heard about the mission of Coast Mountain Academy (CMA), a small independent school for grades 7 to 12 located on the Quest University campus, he knew he needed to be a part of bringing its programs to life.
“I have a firm belief in the powers of experiential education,” Logan says.
“The goal of CMA is to take a subject and bring it to life. For us, that means taking students into the community and showing them how these things work in real life. We offer a lot of project-based learning to bring the curriculum to life, and as a result, there is a higher degree of retention for our students.”
Logan began teaching at CMA six years ago and was recently named Head of School. He has a passion for outdoor education and has played a significant role in establishing a number of the unique programs CMA offers, including the Leadership Expeditions for Academic Discovery (LEAD) program.
“Two of our big goals are leadership development in students and academic discovery, using the outdoors as a venue for increased understanding in the classroom,” Logan says.
LEAD is a local to global outdoor education program that gives students the knowledge skills and attitudes to appreciate the natural world and become stewards of it while developing interpersonal leadership skills.
All students from grades 7 to 12 participate in the scaffolded program that starts out with simple, local backcountry adventures that transition into more ambitious expeditions as students age. In Grade 11, students paddle the Yukon River, and Grade 12 students go to Peru.
“These trips are a great chance for independence building for students. And they bring to life the topics they’ve learned in school,” Logan says.
That same experiential learning philosophy can be found in CMA’s engineering and entrepreneurship programs.
The engineering program is geared toward students in grades 7 through 9 and features weekly challenges, such as balloon-powered race cars. For the entrepreneurship program, middle school students are given the change to increase their financial literacy by connecting with mentors in the community and pitching their business ideas in a Dragons’ Den style setup.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to think independently and learn about what goes into running a business,” Logan says.
To learn more about Coast Mountain Academy, visit the school online at coastmountainacademy.ca.