The program will kick off with outdoor adventure leadership. Photo by Tatum Bergen on Unsplash

A unique high school program is coming to Cortes Island this fall, created in collaboration between School District 72 (SD72) and Cortes parents and volunteers.

The program, called Cortes Island Academy (CIA), will provide BC’s core curriculum augmented with place-based education that includes Indigenous learning approaches, hours of outdoor hands-on lessons and direct learning from local experts and entrepreneurs. Facilitators will come from organizations like Reel Youth and Cortes Kayaks.

The pilot program will consist of two 10-week sessions called Our Oceans: Marine Conservation, Leadership and Stewardship in the fall and Elevating Youth Voices in the winter.

According to the program’s website, Cortes Community Economic Development Association as well as Cortes Island Parent Advisory Committee, have reported that the previous lack of high school programming was a major barrier to a resilient local economy and youth continuing in their education.

Listen below to the CKTZ News report with comments from Jeff Lontayao, SD72’s Coordinator of Student Options and Opportunities, and Manda Aufochs Gillespie, who works for both of the program’s partnering organizations — Folk University and Cortes Island Community Foundation : 

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.