Barriere Secondary is the smallest grade 8 to12 school in District #73. I hear informally that students' exposure to opportunities at small, rural schools are limited. Students "miss out on course offerings, special programs and a range of extra curricular possibilities". In contrast to these claims, I would like to highlight what I have observed in our 177 students, 12 staff members and 9 support staff small rural school. For the past two weeks, I saw:
- Development and implementation of an academic intervention program that is highly effective.
- (This program intervenes with students who require more time or support in their academic program)
- A breakfast program that serves all students and is funded by the community. (Staff comes in early Tuesday’s and Thursday’s to prepare breakfast for our students).
- 40 students attending a career fair at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).
- 5 students being accepted to the Heavy Metal Rocks program.
- Our senior basketball teams placing 2nd and 3rd in the West Zone.
- Our junior boys basketball team placing 4th in the West Zone.
- 5 participants posed to attend the Skills Canada Competition.
- Adjudication and collaborative assessment of the grade 8 and 9 literacy examination. with invitations from the school for district wide curriculum support staff visiting the school too.
- TRU academic advisor attended Barriere Secondary School and met with grade 12 students all day. Her response...”The most polite and respectful students she has had the pleasure of working with this year”.
- Olympic gold medalist Katie Weatherson addressed our student student body on goal setting (Funded by PAC).
- Ministry of Child and Family Development, Indian Friendship Center, Simpcw Social Worker providing in school support two days a week for both aboriginal and non aboriginal students.
- Cross country ski lessons provided by community members with our grade 8 physical education classes.
- Economics of Staying in School for all grade 8 - 10 students.
- Tom Laroche self defence classes as a part of our physical education program (Funded by PAC).
- Continuation of staff collaborative time.
- Science World presentation to all grade 8 and 9 students.
- Students attending a TRU Student Leadership Conference workshop for young women.
- Girls groups made up of grade 8’s and 9’s dealing with girls issues.
- Community members supporting our students through tutoring services (FREE!)
- Basketball intramurals.
- Scholar's Team - promoting enrichment!
All of these activities have been undertaken while staff have continued to teach core and elective courses. I am proud of the staff members who have engaged and continue to engage in these activities. Equally, I am proud of the students and community for ensuring Barriere Secondary School remains a vibrant, rich and diversified educational experience. Often it is easy to unfairly criticize the current public educational system. It is easy to look for all that Barriere Secondary School does not offer.However, for the past two weeks it is hard not to see all the great things taking place at this small rural school.
Makes you wonder, are students at Barriere Secondary really missing out?