Testimonials from parents of former CELP Program students

“…I can truthfully say that these programs are worth their weight in gold… I am continually amazed at their insight regarding the environment and the well being of others. I tell my friends who have kids heading to high school to look at the CELP program, they will not regret it. It changes people, makes them well rounded individuals, teaches and encourages great morals, and they come away with new friends, and an acute awareness of what is around them.”

– Stew McWade

Parent FAQs

How do students and how does the application process work?

Please see the “applying” part of this website for details on the application procedure. All parents of successful CELP and applicants will be emailed an invitation to a mandatory meeting in June. At this time, parents and students will view a slide show about the semester, receive a list of important dates, a list of clothing for trips, and will fill out permission forms for the semester. This also gives us a chance to answer questions you may have.

Will students be behind in school if they take CELP?

CELP courses are all Ontario Ministry of Education Standard Curriculum courses that are taught in all high schools. In CELP they are combined into a four credit “package” that allows us to have the same 26 students all day for the whole semester and to teach the credits “off-site” where we students learn leadership and environmental sustainability skills in a hands-on manner in a “community” setting.

Who are the teachers and what qualifications do they have?

All CELP teachers are employed by the Upper Grand District School board through Centennial Collegiate.

Katie Gad has a degree in Geography and Biology from Queen’s University and an Education degree from Queen’s with a specialty certificate in Outdoor and Experiential Education. She has been teaching CELP since 2006. She is past chair of the Environmental Issues Committee for the UGDSB and has volunteered for Green Teacher magazine and Everdale Environmental Learning Center. She has worked for Katimavik and the Toronto District School Board Environmental Education Department in the past. 

Joel Barr’s formal education is a Master’s degree in Canadian Native history and many years of incredible teaching and coaching memories at CCVI. With his return to CELP in 2010 (having taught a semester with Mike in 1996 and winter tripped for years with the program), Joel is returning to the roots of his childhood spent tagging along with a zoologist father in a cedar strip canoe in Algonquin park. Merging this connection to the natural world with a love for hands-on teaching he is excited to create young leaders to challenge society’s social and environmental issues. Joel has his Wilderness First Aid, ORCKA Tripping Level 3,  and NLS certificates and is keen to use his CAN-BIKE training to get students using this incredible form of alternative transportation.