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Kenny MacDougall, right, headmaster, and Stephen Champion, director of curriculum development, are busy preparing to open the Mount Academy this fall in Charlottetown.
©Jason Malloy/The Guardian
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Kenny MacDougall looks around the empty room and sees potential — not only to provide a service not currently offered in Prince Edward Island, but also to help young people reach their potential.
MacDougall is the headmaster of the new Mount Academy, a private school opening in September for Grade 9 and 10 students with plans to become a Grade 7-12 institution in the near future.
“Having worked in the public school system and also being heavily involved in athletics, I think there’s an opportunity there to provide an unprecedented flexibility for student-athletes to pursue their dreams and prepare them for professional leadership roles in sport and in society,” MacDougall said. “I also think there’s an opportunity there for academic excellence that can be pursued in the private setting.”
The Mount Academy will be housed in the same building as the Mount Community Care Facility at 141 Mount Edward Rd. in Charlottetown. Initially, students would study and train at the facility during the day and join their club hockey teams for the practices and games. MacDougall said it could expand to include its own club team, the Mount Saints, would be their name, and grow to other sports as well.
While private schools, some of which offer a specialized athletic component, exist elsewhere across the country, this will be the first of its kind in Prince Edward Island.
“I do have a strong motivation in keeping our young students in our province as long as possible and being able to provide an affordable option for those people,” MacDougall said.
Tuition, covering academic and athletic costs, will be $7,500 for the year. If students are coming from another province, MacDougall said they would look at a billet system, but added the possibility of a dorm exists in the future.
The Mount Academy will have certified teachers and instructors and follow the provincial curriculum. It received Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture approval a couple of weeks ago.
“We have the utmost ability to provide a top-notch academic experience for students,” MacDougall said. “We have the opportunity to go deeper and broader into the curriculum. It’s more of an enhanced, enriched experience academically.”
MacDougall, who is currently the principal at Stratford Elementary School and has 15 years of administrative experience, said it is looking at about 15 students for the first year.
“We’re going to have an opportunity to have smaller teams of students which allows teachers to provide more individualized teaching, coaching and mentoring,” he said. “We’re looking at creating a secondary school environment with high expectations, more similar to the university experience.”
There will be an open house at the facility on June 24 from 10 a.m. to noon.