Changes all about choices

Combined secondary opens doors to students on Tuesday

  • Sep. 6, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Changes all about choices

The biggest change in Mission schools in years officially gets underway on Tuesday, when the reconfigured middle and secondary schools welcome students back.

Mission Secondary will become the district’s lone senior secondary school, with Heritage Park and Hatzic becoming middle schools. MSS will be home to about 1,250 Grade 10 to 12 students. As middle schools, Heritage Park will have 725 Grade 7 to 9 students, and Hatzic at 800. Elementary schools will now be responsible for educating kindergarten to Grade 6 students.

While the shift to a middle and senior secondary education model was controversial with some parents and students, Mission Secondary principal Jim Pearce said the end result will offer students more choices and provide them with enhanced opportunities – both in high school and beyond.

“This will give kids more opportunity for learning, with a personalized learning approach,” he said.

Pearce said a key reason for reconfiguration was locating enough students at one school to offer them significantly more choices.

“We will have at least 12 new courses,” he said. “These were not offered last year in the district.”

Among them will be 3D design gaming, animation and robotics – all courses designed to capture student interest in technology, and offer future opportunities.

There will also be food service courses. MSS has a new cafeteria with a Red Seal chef, and a restaurant and coffee shop. These facilities are part of the learning experience, and students will learn valuable skills in food preparation and serving.

There will also be more specialized courses, such as business law – something that has not been available before.

Advanced placement courses for academic students wanting to go to university will be offered in calculus, literature and language literature. These allow students to collect university credits while still in high school.

Pearce also gave Biology 12 as an example of expanded course offerings. Last year, there were two blocks of Biology 12 offered at MSS. This year there will be six. Students who want to take the subject will have more chances of fitting it within their timetables, with more seats available.

Pearce said teachers to be able to concentrate in teaching their specialties, and not have to take on additional courses to fill their course loads.

“I am very excited about our staff,” Pearce said.

Most of the teaching staff have taught at one of the three secondaries in the past, and secured the new jobs that were posted. There are also a couple of new teachers.

There will also be enhanced sports opportunities at all three schools. There will be a lacrosse academy at Mission Secondary which is already attracting students from out of the district, and enticing some Mission students back from other districts.

The popular Mission Secondary football program will continue, and now there will be football teams at both of the middle schools. Football began at MSS 11 years ago.

There have been some renovations to the 63-year-old building to prepare it for its new role.

While the decision to go to middle schools and one secondary did cause concerns when the board of education made the final decision last October, Pearce said subsequent think tank sessions allowed students and parents to voice their ideas for courses.

“The community has been very involved in the process,” he said.

“Any time there is change, people say ‘oh my.’ But we are doing this to provide learning for all, and we couldn’t say that before. We are now offering the opportunity to learn at a high level.

“Here, we can put in 1,250 students with a couple of adjustments. When a school has under 800 students, you just can’t offer students what they want anymore.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health issued an overdose alert on Jan. 21, 2021 after an increase in overdoses over the past week in Chilliwack associated with a “greeny-blue/turquoise down substance.” (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fraser Health issues drug overdose alert in Chilliwack

Alert comes after increase in overdoses associated with ‘greeny-blue/turquoise down substance’

Mission potbellied-pig sanctuary mourns death of beloved old hog named Roscoe

14-year-old, 800-pound pig was ‘quite a character,’ said owner Janice Gillett

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission schools

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA holds a webinar on Jan. 26 titled Staying Safe Online.
‘Staying Safe Online’ is subject of Fraser Valley webinar

Session on Tuesday, Jan. 26 is hosted by non-profit Circles of Support and Accountability

A door is boarded up following a fire at Pho Xuan restaurant on Yale Road on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
UPDATE: Early morning fire at vacant Chilliwack restaurant was deliberately set

Fire erupted north of the Yale Road overpass at Pho Xuan, which was permanently closed

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Most Read