Brighton school district forges new partnership with Total Package Hockey


By Michael Caples –

The Brighton School District will have quite a few new hockey players enrolled in the fall of 2017-18.

They won’t mess with the classroom sizes, however.

Brighton has formed a new partnership with Total Package Hockey, bringing all the Center of Excellence students in Canton and Hazel Park under the school district’s tutelage.

The CoE participants will be full-time Brighton students, taking online classes and receiving support from Brighton teachers on-site at the two hockey academy locations.

“We are excited to offer this new educational opportunity to our student-athletes, because of the increased academic support it provides them,” said TPH Detroit director of Hockey Brandon Naurato. “TPH has always emphasized academics as our No. 1 priority and this new relationship is a testament to that commitment.”

The transition will be guided by a former principal with experience creating digital classrooms, as Bill Simms has joined TPH as its new Chief Academic Officer. Simms, who is transitioning to TPH from Lee M. Thurston High School in Redford, is not only an educator, but also a parent of two TPH Canton student-athletes.

“What was really impressive is how committed TPH is to not only bringing a premier, high-quality on-ice and off-ice training program to students, but they really care deeply about the quality of the educational experience and customizing the education for the kids in the classroom setting,” Simms said. “TPH clearly invests a tremendous amount of time and resources into continually improving the student’s academic experience, and I am excited to support a program that is on the cutting edge of changing how athletes learn and train.”


Simms has implemented virtual elements into his current school, and he said he’s excited to work with Brighton in cultivating TPH’s new educational model.

“In my own experience, I helped develop and incorporate alternate learning methods right into the curriculum. I started an online school that’s part of our current school that runs parallel to our school right now, so we actually serve hundreds of students with online courses as well as traditional courses. What I’ve found that works really well in that situation, the very best way to utilize these resources is in what we call a hybrid educational experience for the student. Meaning that you mediate the online course and the online teacher by putting a live teacher who serves more as a coach or a mentor for the students with them. It’s essentially like a tutor for them who is there on-site.

“What we did with TPH is that we were able to develop a partnership with Brighton Schools. The students are now going to be enrolling as full Brighton High School or middle school students, with all the rights and privileges of their program. They will be working with Brighton teachers on-site in the classroom at their TPH locations, and we’ll be utilizing mostly online courses for their classes, so that gives them that flexibility on how they can portably travel with their classes but they work with them during school weekdays. A lot of these days travel, they’re gone four or five days at a time, so it allows them to continue with that work when they’re on the road and to pick up with it or manage the workload. We’re also adding in an elective course that’s on-site with the teacher, essentially like a leadership class, an opportunity to work with an advisor in that capacity, and they earn an elective credit with that. It gives them more of that true hybrid experience.”

As parents with a unique perspective – Simms’ wife is a middle-school teacher in Northville – they have been pleased with the educational experience for both their children. Their son has been enrolled in the program since its inception three years ago, while their daughter joined in the second semester of the 2016-17 year.


“It’s challenging with the travel. That’s exactly what happened with my daughter this semester, she was in Quebec with her boys’ Compuware AAA team for 10 days, and then the next month she was in Europe for another 10 days, so we realized that we needed to do something. She’s an all-A student, and it was really adding a lot of stress to her and her teachers on how to manage the coursework and the make-up work and staying ahead.

“The transition to the online school was smooth for her, giving her the access to the portable coursework, but what I really liked to accentuate about the experience I’ve seen with my own kids is the idea of personalizing learning in a way that, this is evolving but it’s allowing the student to realize maximize the time that they have on their schoolwork doing the curriculum and the schoolwork. With my son’s case, what I really liked about it is that he was really accountable for all of the curriculum. He had to respond to the questions that his teachers had. It wasn’t like, hey I didn’t get called on in class today, and he was the guy that might sit back and hope he didn’t get called on. Now, all of a sudden, he has to respond.”

About the Total Package Hockey Center of Excellence:

The TPH Center of Excellence is a leading academic and athletic training program for student-athletes in grades 6-12. During the academic year, student-athletes enrolled in the Center of Excellence spend part of their school day in classes provided by an accredited, proven leader in virtual programs. For the other portion of their day, student-athletes train on-ice and off-ice with Total Package Hockey’s world class coaching staff.

Over the past three school years the TPH Center of Excellence has produced the following:

20 NCAA Committed Student-Athletes
29 USHL Draft Picks & Tenders
4 NTDP Rostered Players
9 NTDP Tryout Camp Participants
22 OHL Drafted Players
6 OHL Rostered Players
14 NAHL Draft Picks & Tenders

For more information and how to apply, click here.

MiHockey Staff

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