A Kimberley program that’s going places

Kimberley Alternate School offers a different route to high school graduation

Students at Kimberley's Alternate School took a trip to the new Spirit Rock Climbing Centre in Kimberley last week.

Not every student thrives in the atmosphere of a normal secondary school, but that doesn’t have to mean they can’t graduate. In Kimberley, the Kimberley Alternate School offers Grade 8 to 12 students social and emotional support in a small school setting. The program is having its most successful year ever in 2013-2014.

“We have about 35 alternate students this year,” said teacher Dan Clark. “That’s the most we’ve ever had. They are mostly at-risk kids but they come to our school for many reasons.”

The Kimberley Alternate School offers a normal academic course load, delivered differently. It’s is a full-time program with enrichment activities and field trips, and a transitional academic program.

The program offers healthy snacks, daily cardio workouts, regular field trips, career prep and work experience opportunities to students. One of the key elements of the close-knit community of full-time students is the expectation that students participate fully in all activities.

“There are group courses and self-based courses they work on alone,” Clark said. “We have a high staff to student ratio.”

Last week the students had an opportunity to visit the new Spirit Rock Climbing Centre in Kimberley’s Platzl.

“One of the things that really stands out with these kids is that they don’t  have the same opportunities as other kids to do things. We try to do a lot of healthy, lifestyle activities. We are lucky in our community to have so many opportunities for healthy field trips. We have the Nature Park we can hike to right from the school. The Kimberley Alpine Resort is very supportive of our program. The climbing wall we were really excited about. It was another opportunity and it was indoors. Some of these kids are just outside after school, with nowhere else to go.”

Clark said it was fascinating to watch the kids at the climbing wall urging each other on.

“Some of these kids have really tough lives but they were cheering each other. There was so much support and encouragement of each other.”

He says taking the students to places like the climbing centre offers great learning experiences.

“You need trust and leadership in climbing. There are so many great character skills involved in getting to the top of that climb. These are kids who are pretty hard to excite and they were excited that day.”

The school creates a strong community for the kids, a place with structure and support.

“The structure is really key,” Clark said. “There is a reward system for being there but we have high expectations of them. No lates. The doors are locked once class starts and they do rise to the challenge.”

Graduation rates are rising at the school and Clark says younger students learn from seeing the older ones succeed.

For more information on the Alternate School see http://www.sd6.bc.ca/kas/


Just Posted

Quilts of Valour in the East Kootenay

“You gave me hope by what you may see as a simple gift of appreciation…. you have contributed to the healing of the soul of a lost soldier.”

Bears now emerging from hibernation

It’s that time of year when bears start to poke their heads… Continue reading

Another successful year on the rails for Kimberley Underground Mining Railway

The Sullivan Mine and Railway Society, which operates the Kimberley Underground Mining… Continue reading

Kimberley Alpine Resort presents North Star Retro Day

The Spring Splash and the Dummy Downhill events will take place the following weekend.

KRRG international dinner postponed

For the Bulletin Due to unforeseen circumstances, the 3rd Annual International Dinner… Continue reading

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

Russian Embassy calls Trudeau’s criticism of Putin unproductive

The Russian Embassy is firing back at Trudeau for criticizing President Vladimir Putin

Most Read