Bella Coola Adventist student Mathias Conley enjoying the school’s outdoor classroom component

Bella Coola Adventist student Mathias Conley enjoying the school’s outdoor classroom component

Bella Coola Adventist School faces closure due to lack of students

The school needs several more students to stay open for the remainder of this year and into next

Dear Editor,

The next few weeks are crunch time of Bella Coola’s local Adventist Christian school. Because of a lack of confirmed students going into the next school year, the school may have to close for the year, unless several new students are enrolled. It is because of this situation that I would like to share some background information about this school and the education system it is a part of.

Bella Coola Adventist Christian School is our local branch of the world-wide Adventist education system. With almost 9,000 schools and 1.95 million students, it has been operating schools since the 1870s, and in the Bella Coola valley since the 1920s, and in its current location since the early 70s, where several hundred local as well as out of town students have attended over the past fifty years.

In this Valley, the school has a long history of providing a good quality education with a focus on outdoor experiences and doing our best (with varying results) to mirror the character of Christ to each other, with our students and with our community. This comes out of a commitment to holistic education, in line with our commitment to holistic health and well-being.

Like other schools in the Valley, we encourage high academic standards, and in studies done comparing academic achievement between the students of the Adventist school system and those of various North American public school systems, the Adventist school system averages a half grade advantage in all subject categories, regardless of the students’ social or economic background.

We follow the Province of British Columbia’s curriculum standards, as do other schools in the province, however we have some additional standards we maintain, such as smaller class sizes and some specific training requirements for our teachers beyond regular British Columbia teacher certification.

While Adventist schools in many communities have been growing rapidly in the past few years as a wide range of parents are drawn to the smaller class sizes and the holistic approach to education, Bella Coola Christian Adventist School is currently quite small. Partly this seems to be from a perception that it is a school for Adventist children, rather than a service for the broader community as well.

In most Adventist schools within this province, the majority of students are not Adventist, and in several cases, the majority of students are not Christian. While our school and staff reflect our values, and share the stories and history that have helped us develop them, we are open to all.

Our valley has benefited from having choices regarding the education of our children, both with the SDA School, and later with the establishment of Acwsalcta. It is my hope that all three options remain open to our children going forward.

Sincerely,

Dale McCreery

School Board Chair