The Whytecliff Agile Learning Centre, a BC Ministry of Education-accredited independent school for Grades 8 to 12, is making a big difference in students’ lives.

‘I am worth something’

Unique school is a catalyst for amazing changes

As a young teen, Miranda was bullied so severely she was afraid to return to her previous school. An athlete who especially enjoyed playing hockey, she had lost interest in sports and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in addition to learning challenges.

Her life changed when she was enrolled in Whytecliff Agile Learning Centre, a BC Ministry of Education-accredited independent school for Grades 8 to 12.

During her two years at the Langley school, Miranda made great strides, personally and academically, earning both her diploma and a scholarship from the Township of Langley, for post-secondary veterinarian studies.

“Whytecliff pushed me through my breaking point and made me believe that I am worth something,” Miranda reflects. “I’ve worked hard for where I am today. I always struggled with peer relationships and school; I felt like I was at the bottom of the food chain. Now that I am a graduate, I believe depression, anxiety and any other disability can be overcome.”

Reaching and teaching kids who might otherwise fall through the cracks

Miranda’s story is one of many highlighting the valuable work undertaken at the school, with campuses in Langley and Burnaby.

“A lot of people still don’t know about the program, and a lot of parents have children at home who could really benefit from it,” says Bob Kissner, Executive Director.

“We’re reaching the kids who are falling through the cracks and often have run out of good options. These kids have been everywhere else. They have nowhere else to go and they come here and everything changes.”

While students come to Whytecliff from diverse backgrounds, a common experience of many, like Miranda, is anxiety and depression. They may have had social or learning challenges at previous schools that have led to attendance issues, or may have simply dropped out entirely.

When kids feel safe, and they come somewhere that sees their strengths, everything changes

Operated by non-profit Focus Foundation of BC, funding comes from the province, fundraising and parent/caregiver contributions, based on sliding scale; scholarships are available.

Key to Whytecliff’s proven approach is a deep understanding of the complex requirements for healthy growth and change in children: The right environment, the right involvement, the right relationships, the right experiences, and the right community of learning.

When all these elements come together, supported by a low student-staff ratio, amazing advancements are possible. “It’s setting up the conditions for health – students are at a place where they feel safe, where there’s good, clear communication with people who are invested, compassionate and care for them in the way they want to be cared for.

“It’s an environment that is responsive to whatever challenges a child is ready to tackle that day.”

Building connections in the community is vital and groups like Langley Central Rotary have made such a difference, not only with financial contributions but attendance at events like students’ graduations. Students engage in PE at the nearby Fitness 2000 facility and music through the Sarah McLachlan School. “We’re really enjoying a broad-based support,” Kissner says.

“Whytecliff really exposes the kids to the wide array of community resources based on their gifts, passions and interests.”

More than 100 students graduated through Whytecliff in the last six years, and like Miranda, they share some remarkable results, represented not only in their course completion but in their post-graduation success.

“We did a follow-up study last summer, and graduates report amazing results! … 9.3 out of 10 for ‘being on a solid life path,’ and 9.5 out of 10 for ‘growing as a person,’” Kissner says.”

In his valedictorian address, another student, Kyle, reflected on their remarkable achievement.

“At Whytecliff, us students have learned many life lessons. Here we have leaned how to be more than just a community, but to be a family, to be part of something meaningful.”

Whytecliff has a few spots left in Langley and Burnaby for Fall, and hopes that readers might spread the word to parents and children who could benefit. (To apply for current available spots, visit walc.ca, or call Langley at 604-532-1268, or Burnaby, 604-438-4451.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Thousands attend speech by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leader in Langley

President Russell M. Nelson is accepted by the church as a prophet, seer, and revelator

VIDEO: Rough days for Langley Rivermen

Chilliwack Chiefs proved tough opponents in back-to-back games

Free day at the new Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre

Event held to mark completion of the project coincides with $17K donation by Aldergrove Rotary Club

Langley Rams vanquish Chilliwack Huskers

The highlight of the game was a late game goal line stand

Cloverdale artist finds activism for autism through painting

Margaux Wosk wants to spread the word on what autistic people have to offer

B.C. tent city ‘devastated’ after flash flood

Maple Ridge mayor says that residents shouldn’t have to return to their flooded tents

VIDEO: B.C. tour offers unique underground glimpse of generating station

About 1,250 people expected at sold-out tour on Sunday

Allegations against Kavanaugh pose test for #MeToo movement

Aside from the Ford-Kavanaugh showdown, this has been a tumultuous season for the #MeToo movement

Parents of B.C. toddler who died in unlicensed daycare sue over negligence

‘Baby Mac’ was only 16 months old when he died in a Vancouver daycare

5 to start your day

A man charged in the death of Belgian tourist, a Syrian family feeling safe in B.C. and more

Syrian family can, finally, feel safe after settling in B.C.

Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity White Rock meets sponsored family for the first time

1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang for potentially tough talks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

Most Read