Students at ACSS and BGMS will start the school year in September with positive changes at their Aldergrove Campus. (Special to The Star)

Students at ACSS and BGMS will start the school year in September with positive changes at their Aldergrove Campus. (Special to The Star)

Fit Core athletic centre to link Betty Gilbert and Aldergrove Secondary

Langley School District announced new courses such as guitar and digital technology for students

A series of changes aimed at enhancing educational opportunities are coming to both Aldergrove Community Secondary School (ACSS) and Betty Gilbert Middle School this September.

Superintendent Gord Stewart of the Langley School District said these changes are aimed at three main goals – celebrating community, excellence in education, and inspiring healthy living.

“We are so excited to see these enhancements in place. We believe these changes will have an immediate positive impact on student learning but will also be long lasting for younger students in the growing community,” Stewart said.

The physical changes at the Aldergrove Campus include a state-of-the-art outdoor athletic centre known as Fit Core linking the two schools, a new learning studio dedicated to exploration classes at Betty Gilbert Middle School, and aesthetic upgrades to the interior and exterior of both sites.

The small gymnasium at ACSS will have fresh, vibrant murals painted featuring the mascots of both schools.

“These changes will assist us in meeting our mission to inspire all learners to reach their full potential and create a positive legacy for the future,” Stewart added. “Our goal is for students, staff, and families to feel a sense of belonging, identity, and pride at every stage of the learning journey.”

As part of the changes, grade 6 and 7 students will have new explorations courses available on site, taught by the Betty Gilbert staff they are familiar with. Before, these students would walk over to ACSS for their electives.

New courses include digital photography, robotics and guitar. Grade 8 students will continue explorations at ACSS, helping ease the transition to secondary school.

“We want Betty Gilbert students to have the same learning opportunities as their middle school peers across the District,” said principal Jonathan Harris.

“One of our goals is for all students to have enhanced educational opportunities while also facilitating independence and growth in our older students,” he added.

READ MORE: Aldergrove’s class of 2021 to receive diplomas in front of family members

ACSS will thus become the hub for physical health education classes and athletics for both schools. Teachers will become wellness coaches for students, working alongside them to achieve a better body, mind and spirit.

Mike Palichuk, principal of Aldergrove Community Secondary, noted one of their goals is to create enhanced health and wellness learning opportunities for all students.

“The use of the Fit Core outdoor athletic centre will help promote fitness, health and well-being, but also launch new passions for sports and extra-curricular activities for individual students and teams, which is exciting,” he said.

The enhancement opportunities come a year and a half after the District’s Middle School Consultation in 2019. During the consultation, the Langley School Board heard from the community loud and clear that improvements were needed at both schools.

In response, the District and school staff have been working on a strategy that will meet the educational, physical, and social emotional needs of students.

“Having at one time served as principal in Aldergrove, I know it’s a strong, diverse and proud region. Our hope is to celebrate community with these changes,” added Stewart.

As part of this announcement, the District and schools are holding a parent info session on Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m. via Microsoft Teams.

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