About Us - Overview
New Westminster Schools is a rich tapestry of cultures, backgrounds, learning styles and needs. Together, we are a caring, inclusive, and committed learning community dedicated to supporting each of our unique learners so they will have the skills and competencies they need to be productive and successful citizens in a rapidly changing world.
Demographics: At New Westminster Schools, we recognize and acknowledge the Qayqayt First Nation, as well as all Coast Salish peoples, on whose traditional and unceded territories we live, we learn, we play and we do our work. The City of New Westminster sits in the centre of the Greater Vancouver Regional District between the larger communities of Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey and Richmond. Despite its location, the city is relatively small and has retained a strong sense of history and community. The total population is approximately 70,000 and is expected to grow to 84,000 by 2021. District schools are, in general, fully subscribed, and a modest increase in student enrolment is expected over the next few years.
Unique Characteristics: The student population is reflective of the city’s population, with a full range of social and cultural backgrounds forming a diverse presence in our schools. In the Kindergarten to Grade 12 system as of 2018-2019, there are about 7,000 students, including approximately:
- 298 Aboriginal students;
- 1,026 English Language Learner (ELL) students;
- 993 French Immersion students; and,
- 524 students with identified Special Needs.
Our learners are taught by more than 550 teachers and supported by over 400 district workers, including education assistants, clerical staff, crossing guards, maintenance and custodians. We have 12 schools: 8 elementary, 3 middle, and one secondary school. With the 2016 opening of Fraser River Middle School, all grade 6, 7 and 8 students across the district are served by middle schools dedicated to programs for this early adolescent group.
Of particular note, the New Westminster Secondary School Replacement Project will see a $106.5 million new home in September 2020 for one of British Columbia’s largest high schools. More than 1,900 grade 9 through 12 students will benefit from a state-of-the-art school designed to provide excellent learning experiences for New Westminster students. This is the largest capital project of its kind to have ever been undertaken by the Ministry of Education in the history of the province. In May, 2018, we also announced a $22.6 million replacement for our 90-year-old Richard McBride Elementary School, with completion expected in 2021.
In addition to our 12 schools in the District, we are proud to offer Youth Alternate Programs, Adult and Online Learning Centres, and a Home Learners’ Program at Hume Park.
Our Programs and Services: New Westminster Schools has an annual operating budget approaching $82.3 million to provide educational programming for our students from kindergarten to grade 12.
We support the academic and social success of all Aboriginal Students in the District, guided by our most recent Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement. We are committed to inclusive education, supporting the need for students to attend school with their peers and receive appropriate, quality programming with a continuum of supports.
Our programs of choice provide a range of options for early and late French Immersion and for Montessori Programs. In addition, highly motivated students can prepare for the rigors of post-secondary education through our International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, as well as the Pre-IB program in grades 9 and 10.
We are proud to offer apprenticeship programs in partnership with post-secondary institutions and the Industry Training Authority (ITA). Students can earn credit towards graduation at the same time as receiving first-level trades certification in piping, carpentry and professional chef programs. Our district partners with the Piping Institute College, BCIT and Vancouver Community College respectively in these programs.
We are also firmly committed to establishing and nurturing community partnerships to offer school-based programs and services that promote the well-being of our children, youth and families. We believe that strong families are critical to the success of our children and youth and, ultimately, our community as a whole.
The Board of Education of School District No. 40 (New Westminster) is committed to creating and maintaining a respectful, welcoming and nurturing environment.
At New Westminster Schools, we strive to be a learning organization, committed to reviewing, refining and reflecting upon our practice to provide the best possible outcomes for students.
There is much to explore in the coming year!