New Westminster Secondary School

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New Westminster Secondary School
Address
835 Eighth Street
New Westminster, British Columbia, V3M 3S9
Canada
Coordinates 49°12′56.37″N 122°55′44.40″W / 49.2156583°N 122.9290000°W / 49.2156583; -122.9290000Coordinates: 49°12′56.37″N 122°55′44.40″W / 49.2156583°N 122.9290000°W / 49.2156583; -122.9290000
Information
School type Public, Secondary School
Motto For Leadership and Work
Founded 1960
School board School District 40 New Westminster
Superintendent Pat Duncan
School number 10099001
Principal John Tyler
Staff ~195
Key people Laura Howell, Randy Jaggernathsingh, Erin McGinley[1]
Grades 9 to 12
Enrollment 2066[2] (2014/15)
Language English and French
Area Lower Mainland Metro Vancouver
Colour(s)          
Team name New Westminster Hyacks
Website
Last updated: September 28, 2015

New Westminster Secondary School is a secondary school in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. It is one of the largest high schools in British Columbia.[3] Enrollment of students is open to those within grades 9 through 12. The school is home to various advanced programs such as the International Baccalaureate program, the Advanced Placement program, and is also home to facilities such as an Automotive shop, and plumbing apprenticeship workshop. In 2007, the Fraser Institute ranked the school well within the top 50 secondary schools in British Columbia. This was out of the 279 public and private secondary schools operating in the province.[4] The School is located in Metro Vancouver in BC's Lower Mainland region while the campus is centrally located within the region on the north side of the city of New Westminster. It encompasses an area of three city blocks by two city blocks.

History[edit]

Prior to the 1860s the site of the present school was a public cemetery where many of the prominent citizens of New Westminster were interred. After development in the 1870s the remains of those buried were transferred to the Fraser Cemetery, located elsewhere in the city. During the Second World War the corner of 10th Avenue and 8th, where the present school is located, was leased to the Federal Government. The site served as a soldiers' barracks, used for training and housing the Royal Westminster Regiment. After World War II, the barracks were moved to the University of British Columbia and the rest of the cemetery was demolished. Finally, in 1948 The public works yard was moved and the site was transferred to the New Westminster School Board for the construction of offices and a new high school.

In September 1949 Vincent Massey Junior High was unofficially opened by Premier Bryan I. Johnson. On December 16, 1949, the school was officially opened. The school was named after the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, the eighteenth Governor General of Canada. The adjoining Pearson wing, named after the Right Honourable Lester Pearson, former Canadian Prime Minister, was home to the Senior High School prior to the two becoming amalgamated into the present New Westminster Secondary School.

The Arts[edit]

The NWSS Drama department provides students with exciting opportunities to develop and explore the dramatic arts. Students study improvisation, stage movement, vocal technique, character development, script writing and production. Every second year a major musical is cast and produced by staff and students at NWSS and performed in the historic MASSEY THEATRE. Stage plays are produced in off musical years and range from dramatic to comedic. Senior Drama students take part in NWSS' anti-bullying campaign called "ROCKSOLID". Since 2004 NWSS drama has partnered with the NWPD to help end bullying. Drama and creative writing students write and perform plays to help bring change and to create bully-free communities. New in 2016, NWSS drama students also have opportunities to travel to NYC and other future locations to see plays.

New Westminster Secondary School has an expansive music department with a wide range of bands. These bands are organised by both grade and the style of instruments they use, leading to the creation of various orchestras, choirs, and jazz groups. Some of these musical groups include the grade eight concert band, grade nine jazz and concert band, grade ten jazz and concert band, grade ten jazz choir, grade ten girls choir, the chamber choir, senior two (grade eleven) jazz and concert band, senior two (grade twelve) jazz and concert band, and the viola/violin orchestra. The school has two concerts each year which are presented to the general public at the Massey Theatre. A winter concert takes place in December whilst a concert in June called "The June Review" is performed at the conclusion of the school year. Students taking part in the musical programs at NWSS also gain the opportunity to travel the globe, attending various trips and competitions around the world. For example, the senior bands went to New York in April 2007, and San Francisco in 2008.[5] Local involvement includes competitions at Capilano College and performances in regional malls and schools.

Every year a winner is determined for the N-Dub idol event, an imitation of American Idol and Canadian Idol where a student will have a chance to win a prize and gain recognition for their singing talent.

Academics[edit]

Programs[edit]

NWSS has many programs for students who want to study specific categories of interest or are aiming for a specific area of study. These include:

The NWSS Drama department provides students with exciting opportunities to develop and explore the dramatic arts. Students study improvisation, stage movement, vocal technique, character development, script writing and production. Every second year a major musical is cast and produced by staff and students at NWSS and performed in the historic MASSEY THEATRE. Stage plays are produced in off musical years and range from dramatic to comedic. Senior Drama students take part in NWSS' anti-bullying campaign called "ROCKSOLID". Since 2004 NWSS drama has partnered with the NWPD to help end bullying. Drama and creative writing students write and perform plays to help bring change and to create bully-free communities. New in 2016, NWSS drama students also have opportunities to travel to NYC and other future locations to see plays.

  • NWSS Student Leadership Council[6] – The NWSS Leadership is an individualized program for students who are interested in becoming active citizens in the school community. Students will receive training and mentoring in organization, communication and team-building skills. In this course the students will begin to take on leadership roles in the NWSS Student Leadership Council. Due to the nature of this "z" block course, students must be able to meet and to commit to 60 service hours at lunch and after school.[6]
  • NWSS Fine Arts Mini School – The NWSS Fine Arts Mini School is for people who are interested in studying areas involving fine arts, such as design, and movie authoring. Due to the construction of the new school, it is currently not being offered.
  • NWSS School of Tourism[7] – The tourism program allows students to study tourism promotion and related topics. Tourism students can attain certification at various levels of achievement that supports them in entry-level positions and provides transferable skills for use in Tourism Training Programs. This program is approved by the Canadian Academy of Travel and Tourism (CATT)[8]
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Automotive Program – As part of a joint initiative between BCIT and NWSS, this program is for students who meet the BCIT entrance requirements and wants to become an automotive mechanic, to take the first year of BCIT’s Entry Level Trades Training Certificate Program at the same time as completing graduation requirements. This program is offered to grade 10, 11 and 12 students.
  • Plumbing Apprenticeship Course – This new program starts from Sept. 2007 and is offered between NWSS and a post-secondary partner. Details of course include: plan design, install, and service of various types of piping systems; work with water heating systems, water supply & drainage; blueprint reading, drafting & sketching. Students will receive credit for Level 1 Technical training from the Industry Training Authority.
  • Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) – This course is offered to students who are willing to dedicate time to work as an apprentice with an employer on a part-time basis, while attending regular school classes. Students will complete 480 hours of apprenticeship while in secondary school.
  • Advanced Placement Programs – This program offers students an opportunity to study university level courses in Grade 12 or Grade 11 in some circumstances (with permission from instructor). These courses are offered out of class time, usually after school. The school offers the following courses:
    • Literature and Composition
    • Art History
    • European History
    • Human Geography
  • International Baccalaureate Programme – The NWSS International Baccalaureate (IB) program is a rigorous pre-university course of studies, offered at NWSS since the year of 2000.[9] The school offers the Diploma Program (DP) and an unofficial Pre-IB Programme. The Pre-IB Programme contains a course called RIM, or Research in Motion. This course is meant to give students a basis in discussion of ethics and technology useful in the diploma programme. It includes a research paper known as the Long Term Project (LTP), imitable of the 3000 word Extended Essay completed by Diploma candidates. All students must take a qualifications test to enter the Pre-IB program, and may be asked for teacher recommendations for the diploma programme. Currently the highest diploma mark received by candidates at NWSS is 45 (out of 45). The school offers the following IB subjects (as of 2012):
    • Group 1: English A1 Higher Level (HL), English A1 Standard Level (SL)
    • Group 2: French B SL, French B HL
    • Group 3: History SL and HL, Psychology SL and HL.
    • Group 4: Chemistry HL, Chemistry SL, Biology SL, Biology HL, Physics SL, Physics HL
    • Group 5: Mathematics HL, Mathematics SL, Math Studies SL
  • ESL Program – The English Second Language (ESL) Program at NWSS is for students whose second language is English. This program is offered to many International Students.
  • French Immersion Program – The French Immersion program at NWSS is designed to let students enhance their French skills by attending classes purely taught in French. This is the continuation of the Glenbrook Middle School late French immersion program. In this program, students are expected to speak French in most classes and upon finishing it, have almost native fluency. Students frequently go on exchange trips, such as France exchange 2007.

As well as these programs, NWSS offers other unique courses, such as Social Justice, Law, Ceramics and Sculpture, Comparative Civilizations, as well as hundreds of other electives and exploratory programs. These accompany the regular academic programs that the school offers.

School facilities and resources[edit]

Athletic facilities[edit]

New Westminster Secondary school currently has the following athletic facilities:

  • Three indoor gyms: a gym located in the Pearson Wing, and two gyms in the Massey Wing.
  • An outdoor bubble gym: an outdoor bubble gym located next to Pearson Cafeteria.
  • An outdoor football field: a football field with artificial grass, a track and field course, four natural lighting systems, an electronic scoreboard and a stand for audience. Beneath the stand lie public washrooms and two large locker rooms.
  • Two soccer/multipurpose fields: two fields with goal posts and grass and baseball corner.
  • A skating rink: Moody Park Skating Arena is located on campus adjacent to Massey Theatre.
  • A fitness/weight room: room with many workout facilities.
  • A skateboard park: a concrete park with various obstacles and inversions.

Sports teams[edit]

New Westminster Secondary School has more than 16 sports teams including:

  • Football Team (Grade 9,10,11,12)
  • Soccer Team (Junior, Senior)
  • Badminton (Everyone)
  • Volleyball (Grade 8, Grade 9, Junior, Senior)
  • Basketball (Grade 8, Grade 9, Junior, Senior)
  • Cosom Hockey (Everyone)
  • Field Hockey Team (Girls)
  • X-Country Running (Everyone)
  • Track and Field (Everyone)
  • Cheer and Stunt Team (Everyone)
  • Boys Field Lacrosse (Grades 8-12)
  • Olympic Wrestling (Everyone)
  • Car Racing (Grade 12)
  • Tennis (Everyone)
  • Golf (Everyone)
  • Table Tennis (Everyone)
  • Extreme Chess (Everyone)

Technology and exploratory facilities[edit]

New Westminster Secondary School currently has the following technology facilities:

  • Several Computer rooms
  • An industrial education shop
  • A woodworking shop
  • An electronics shop
  • A metal working shop
  • A drafting room
  • Two home economics rooms
  • An automotive shop
  • A media centre

Academic resources[edit]

New Westminster secondary school currently provides the following academic resources:

  • A tablet PC and LCD projector for each math classroom
  • Eight science laboratories
  • An overhead projector per classroom
  • Internet connection (wired) per classroom (on request of teachers).

Fine arts facilities[edit]

New Westminster Secondary School currently has the following fine arts facilities

  • An auditorium theatre (1260 seat)
  • Two band rooms
  • Four fine arts classrooms (Fine arts section of school)
  • A dance studio
  • A yearbook room

Other facilities[edit]

  • Two cafeterias: a cafeteria in the Pearson Wing (vends food) and a cafeteria in the Massey Wing (does not vend food).

Controversies and issues[edit]

Postponed future development[edit]

The current high school is structurally unstable and also prone to frequent breakdowns. Because of this, the British Columbia Ministry of Education has approved the construction of a new high school and middle school that would replace the old building. The high school would no longer accept grade eight students after the new construction of the Middle School. The plan called for a 3 story building in a smaller footprint to allow room for construction of the middle school on the same campus. Work on the new building was expected to begin in summer of 2005 and be completed in 2007.

In order to sustain enough funds, there has been a proposal to sell parts of the NWSS land to commercial development and housing. In 2005, the school board of NWSS requested for an additional $20 million increase in spending money (in addition to the original $52 million that was approved)[10] for the new school, due to rising construction costs. However, the ministry rejected the request. As a result, the construction of the new school was delayed.

Minister of Education Mike Bernier came to New Westminster on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, to announce the long-awaited funding approval for the New Westminster Secondary School replacement project. The $106.5 million replacement of New Westminster Secondary School is anticipated to be completed in 2019. Upon its completion, the new school will be home for over 1900 grade 9 to 12 students. The new school will be designed to meet today's standards for safety, accessibility and modern learning. The school is largest public school capital project in BC history.

Asbestos incident[edit]

On April 26, 2005,[11] part of the school was demolished in the anticipation of building a new school. However, due to the age of the school, asbestos was found to be in the floor of room 138, the room being demolished.[12] Because of this incident, the school district was fined by WorkSafeBC, who claimed that the school district did not provide enough information to the workers about the asbestos. While the workers themselves claimed that they were not aware of the asbestos, former principal Joey Sahli stated in a school assembly that the workers had this responsibility to find out. The cause of the incident still remains debatable and unclear.

Within a month, the part with asbestos was blocked off in an attempt to prevent it from spreading. While the area was closed, there was a potential of students who were exposed to asbestos, having studied in that area. Drama students and teachers were potentially affected due to the location of the asbestos directly in the Fine Arts section of the school. As a response to this, the school district has conducted many surveys and health checks to assure the safety of the students and staff.[13][14][15]

Drinking water incident[edit]

Drinking fountains were bagged and the cafeteria was shut down on November 17, 2007[16] after a test determined that the water at New Westminster Secondary School could have contained a bacterium found in fecal matter. The school has conducted tests on May 3, 2007 after the water was seen to be murky in the second floor of Massey Wing, but at that time the problem was not evident. More tests were conducted in October, but only until November were the results informative. According to a Ministry of Environment report, the presence of coliform bacteria indicates contamination of water with fecal waste that may contain bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Drinking water contaminated with coliform can cause stomach and intestinal illness including diarrhea and nausea, the report states. The school responded to this by flushing out the water in both ends of the school and provided bottled water for two days, while warning students about the unsafe water in the announcements. Notices were sent home on November 20, 2007 explaining the situation.

On November 21, 2007, the water in the school was reported to be safe to drink. Second tests shown that the school's drinking water did not contain coliform.[17] According to Michael Ewen, school board chair, the A.C.M. Environmental Corporation, which tested that water and prepared the district's asbestos management plan, has made a mistake when it uncovered unacceptable levels of coliform in the water from samples taken on October 26. He states that "A second company tested the water and found that the water is fine and safe and always was" and that the coliform was found in taps from chemistry labs.

Tuberculosis incident[edit]

On December 4, 2007, school administrators were informed that an NWSS student had been diagnosed with infectious tuberculosis (TB).[18] While the identity of the 9th grade student could not be released, over 200 peers and teachers who came into contact with the individual were notified, and voluntary testing was carried out in room 149 starting on December 11. Responding to the incident, superintendent John Woudzia stated: "It's a significant issue, (but) I'm convinced we have a good plan in place." Most forms of TB are currently treatable with antibiotics, but drug-resistant strains are becoming more common. As a follow-up procedure, the school tested these students and teachers once again on February 13, 2008.

School lockdown incident[edit]

New Westminster Secondary School was locked down on Thursday April 10, 2008 by police as officers tried to confirm reports of a handgun being seen there.[19] Police were looking for a 14-year-old male after a report of a handgun at New Westminster secondary school Thursday afternoon.

Police said the teen, a refugee from Rwanda, was spotted with a gun by another student, a Grade 9 girl. The teen did not seem to attend NWSS.[20] She reported the gun to the school's police liaison officer who then ordered a lockdown. At approximately 1:40 p.m., a school wide lockdown was announced by the principal, stating that the incident was "not a rehearsal". Prior to this incident, the school has conducted several lockdown drills in the beginning of the year, especially after the Virginia Tech massacre.

New Westminster Police responded to the incident with full force and called in the Integrated Municipal Emergency Response Team and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Emergency Response Team (ERT), Burnaby RCMP, the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service and Delta Police Department to assist. There were several helicopters spotted circulating the school. Concerned parents were told to gather at Century House in Moody Park, where they are being briefed about the situation at the school. Victim Services was also on location while police used Moody Park Arena as the command centre.

The school conducted a controlled evacuation at approximately 4:00 p.m. in which classes were evacuated one by one while being escorted by heavily armed police officers. ERT officers were standing and patrolling in NWSS's hallways along the way. Students and staff were instructed by the principal to follow ERT officers' directions to leave the school in the quickest way possible. The top floor of Pearson wing was evacuated first, followed by the top floor in Massey wing, and then the bottom floors of Pearson wing, and Massey wing.

All classes on that day and the day after were canceled.[21]

The 14 year old was arrested on April 11, 2008, but released because there was not enough evidence to charge him.[22]

Lightning strike[edit]

The school was hit by lightning on September 18, 2007 at approximately 4:00pm during a thunder storm. The school was evacuated and no one was hurt. The lighting caused a failure in a school's heating system, leaving the entire school unheated the next day.

Future development[edit]

The New Westminster School District has announced the plans for the replacement of the New Westminster Secondary School (NWSS). NWSS will continue to be the biggest school in the Province of British Columbia with this largest and most complex construction project in the history of the province.

Minister of Education Mike Bernier came to New Westminster on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, to announce the long-awaited funding approval for the New Westminster Secondary School replacement project. The $106.5 million replacement of New Westminster Secondary School is anticipated to be completed in 2019. Upon its completion, the new school will be home for over 1900 grade 9 to 12 students. The new school will be designed to meet today's standards for safety, accessibility and modern learning.[23]

Notable alumni[edit]

Filming location[edit]

  • New Westminster Secondary School was the main filming location for the five-season television series 21 Jump Street[27]
  • New Westminster Secondary School is the main filming location for the videos used in the Premier Go Program[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://district.sd40.bc.ca/schools/new-westminster-secondary
  2. ^ http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/reports/pdfs/student_stats/04040008.pdf
  3. ^ Lockdown at NWSS - CTV: 14 year old arrested. on YouTube
  4. ^ "Economic Freedom of the World" (PDF). 22 December 2016. 
  5. ^ "NWSS Music Department » Blog Archive »". 
  6. ^ a b http://www.nwssleadership.ca
  7. ^ http://www.nwss.ca/04/course_sel/tourism/12_school_tourism.html
  8. ^ http://www.cthrc.ca/eng/catt/pdf/2006_CATT_Scholarship_Criteria.pdf
  9. ^ "New Westminster Secondary School". 
  10. ^ "Annual Service Plan Reports 2004/05 -- Ministry of Education - Major Capital Projects". www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca. 
  11. ^ http://www.sd40.bc.ca/sbo/Miscellaneous/letter%20to%20NWSS%20Parents%20re%20Asbestos%20Jan%2030%202007.pdf
  12. ^ NWSS School Damage on YouTube
  13. ^ "Voice New Westminster" (PDF). Voice New Westminster. 
  14. ^ "Shaw Communications". members.shaw.ca. 
  15. ^ http://www.sd79.bc.ca/administration/school%20board%20meetings/Open_Minutes_2007_04_04.pdf
  16. ^ "School's drinking water unsafe" – via Canada.com. 
  17. ^ "Secondary school water is safe to drink" – via Canada.com. 
  18. ^ "Students screened for TB" – via Canada.com. 
  19. ^ "CTV Vancouver News - Local Breaking News - Weather & Traffic". www.ctvbc.ca. 
  20. ^ "New Westminster secondary school locked down" – via Canada.com. 
  21. ^ "Burnaby NewsLeader - Your Best source for Local Community News delivered in print or online". 
  22. ^ "News1130 - ALL NEWS RADIO". 
  23. ^ "Annual Service Plan Reports 2004/05 -- Ministry of Education - Major Capital Projects". www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca. 
  24. ^ "Justin Morneau Stats, Fantasy & News". Major League Baseball. 
  25. ^ "Bill Ranford". www.hockeygoalies.org. 
  26. ^ "Peter Julian". www.facebook.com. 
  27. ^ "21 Jump Street" (1987) at the Internet Movie Database
  28. ^ "- YouTube". ca.youtube.com. 

External links[edit]

Official school websites[edit]

News reports[edit]

Other[edit]