Board approves expansion of McCoy sports academy

At the regularly scheduled meeting for the Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education, trustee David Leahy made a motion regarding sports academy programming at Monsignor McCoy High School. The motion asks senior administration to provide a report making recommendations to the trustees by Sept. 30. The motion also requested students, parents and staff be surveyed and to look at sports academy programming in other schools to discover best practices. The plan is to implement the program for the 2024-25 school year. Part of Leahy’s platform when he ran for a trustee position was to ensure there was specialized district program for all grade levels. He feels it’s time to consider expanding the sports program at McCoy to provide more options for students. The motion was worded in such as way as to not dictate what the program would look like. Leahy says he is interested in understanding what the interest levels are, what the desires of the school are and what can be accomplished. In his discussions with parents, teachers and staff, Leahy says he heard concerns about top-down implementation of programs. “All the special programming we have in the district was initiated in this (board) room or from administration (such as fine arts at St. Michael’s and French immersion at St. Mary’s),” said Leahy. “I don’t have a problem in asking as a board member that administration and the schools, especially McCoy in this instance, explore this kind of programming. I think there is a real opportunity here to provide our students something in the area of wellness and in sports that can have a real impact in their lives. It can also encourage teachers, students and staff to be creative in how this plays.” Leahy also mentioned it would fit in well with the proposed wellness centre. Chair Kathy Glasgo said making the motion was timely given the government has approved design funding for the St. Francis School consolidation. Trustee Dick Mastel said he liked that the motion suggested an exploration of ideas. He wonders about how it will impact staffing and other programs at McCoy, but otherwise was fully supportive. The motion was passed unanimously by the board.

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News