On November 26th, Durham District School Board (DDSB) Grade 8 students and their parents engaged in an information session regarding opportunities available through the Academy for Student Athlete Development (ASAD).
Held at the Abilities Centre in Whitby, students and parents were introduced to the concept of merging high-performance athletic development and academics.
rugby students train with Paul Connelly,
High Performance Manager at Rugby
"It's an opportunity for them to stay in their home school, while still getting the support and training they need to succeed," says Marg Jones, Manager of ASAD. For half of the school day ASAD students attend the Abilities Centre, and the other half they are at their DDSB high school. The students' transportation between the school and the Abilities Centre is provided by ASAD.
The program is offered at all DDSB secondary schools, with support and input from provincial and national sport organizations, as well as Neurochangers and Elite Training Systems. Neurochangers specializes in neurological rehabilitation, physiotherapy, and adaptive fitness. Elite Training Systems trains student athletes with sport-specific equipment, utilizing professionally trained experts, on-ice training programs, and more.
The Best of Both Worlds
|Students in the ASAD program train like the
pros with Elite Training Systems.
ASAD students are considered full-time students and are therefore eligible for post-secondary institutions for both academics and athletics. They still complete their 30 compulsory credits in four years, same as students in a standard secondary program.
"They're still on track," explains Kim Stuart, DDSB Student Success Lead and Principal of ASAD. "Each ASAD student earns credits during the portion of their day at the Abilities Centre. They can keep their sport, social life, and academics and still be the best they can be."
Each student receives an individual performance plan tailored to meet their specific needs. Plans incorporate sport-specific strength and conditioning, sports psychology, sports nutrition, and physical literacy.
In the ASAD program there are two types of streams; individual and team. Individual stream sports, which focus on the strength and skills of the individual, include: auto racing, gymnastics, figure skating, wrestling, soccer, and more. Team stream sports, in which systems and strategies complement strength and skill training, include: basketball (Girls OBA), hockey (Okanogan Hockey League), and rugby.
Stuart adds, "Some of our ASAD athletes already compete for Canada in their sport, and many graduate with confirmations to national and international schools."
Anyone interested in learning more about ASAD opportunities is encouraged to call Marg Jones, Manager of ASAD at 905-665-8500 ext. 123, email
email@example.com or visit online at