The idea has been around for years, but the new School District 69 (Qualicum) Board of Education took the first concrete step toward the creation of a music academy at their first regular meeting last week.
Though it is still in the idea stage, the board unanimously passed a motion directing the superintendent to support the development and begin looking into more specific steps.
“The board recognized there has already been some work started on this, and there’s a lot of interest from teachers, but the discussion has been more unfocused so far,” superintendent Jim Ansell later told The News.
He said he took the motion as direction to make sure the teachers have the support of the school district.
The idea was spearheaded by Kwalikum Secondary music teacher Dave Stewart — recognized as the province’s Most Outstanding Secondary Music Educator in October — but hasn’t gotten very far due to various complications.
The problem at the moment is that the academy will largely be driven by the teachers who are conducting “teach only” job action at the moment.
“We recognize the current challenge, my instinct would be to call all the music teachers in the district for a meeting but we can’t do that right now,” Ansell said.
He said one of the first steps is investigating existing academies around the province including in some neighbouring districts like Powell River, which he has helped some of the local teachers visit.
Board chair Lynnette Kershaw said as a new member they want to be sensitive about the job action and just wanted to make it clear they support the idea.