Langley School Board Chair Megan Dykeman at D.W. Poppy. Consultations will take place in the fall, including whether the building should become a middle school. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s D.W. Poppy could become middle school: district

The district will consult with parents before making a decision

D.W. Poppy Secondary could be transformed into a middle school, with high school students for a large swathe of rural and central Langley heading to Aldergrove Secondary within a few years.

The Langley Board of Education voted Tuesday to begin consultation on options on possibly transitioning to a middle school. Staff are to report back in December.

The board softened a motion that could have pushed more strongly towards the middle school model for D.W. Poppy in favour of exploring all options. Staff had recommended the middle school option for Poppy.

In 2017, a district report recommended creating a middle school within D.W. Poppy. Students from Grade 6 to Grade 12 would attend the school, with changes to the facility to keep the middle school and secondary students separated.

“The focus was centre-stage on the students,” said assistant superintendent Woody Bradford.

However, those changes to accommodate both streams in one facility would have required capital funding from the provincial government. It would have taken two to four years to make changes to the school.

“In order for this to happen, we had to have financial support to get to a place of being able to convert the middle school, the facility, the way we wanted it,” said Bradford.

However, no construction funding was forthcoming from the province.

“We’ve now made two requests for ministry funding, and we haven’t yet received that money,” Bradford told the school board Tuesday.

That left three options to be considered by a Transition Committee that was looking at the middle school plan.

• Ask the Ministry of Education for construction funds yet again

• Place portables on the Poppy site to accommodate at least one grade group

• Transform Poppy into a stand-alone middle school feeding into Aldergrove Secondary

The committee recommended the third option.

Considerations included impacts on the busing schedule and extracurricular activities for students, as well as staffing issues.

The D.W. Poppy Parents Advisory Council (PAC) was briefed by the school’s principal on the options on Tuesday night, said PAC president Marlene Yakabuski.

“There were a lot of questions, some concerns,” said Yakabuski.

She said the main hope is that the district does a thorough consultation.

She noted the change could shorten bus trips for some students while lengthening them for others.

“D.W. Poppy already is a very large catchment,” Yakabuski said.

The consultation is to involve parents and staff from both the ACSS and D.W. Poppy school regions.

School board Chair Megan Dykeman said no hard deadline has been placed on drafting a report from consultation with the Poppy and ACSS school communities.

The district will pull together a consultation team over the summer and begin speaking to staff and parents after school resumes in the fall.

While schools in Willoughby have numerous portables and new schools are being built every few years, rural areas have seen slowly declining enrolment since peaks in the 1980s and 1990s.

Enrolment in Aldergrove, including Aldergrove Community Secondary (ACSS) has been relatively static, and has 614 students this year. A 2017 district report noted it had a significant amount of underutilized space.

D.W. Poppy had 841 students this year, with an operating capacity of 1,125.

If ACSS became the primary high school, it could have about 1,100 students.

About 130 students from the Aldergrove catchment already attend Poppy.

D.W. Poppy has by far the largest catchment area of any secondary school in Langley. It includes the rural lands from Zero Avenue in the south to the Fraser River in the north. Fort Langley, Glen Valley, the Otter and Harmsworth areas, all currently feed into Poppy.

READ MORE: Thousands celebrate Langley Secondary School 110th anniversary

READ MORE: New Langley elementary school to open in 2021

Just Posted

LETTER: Langley pool staff outstanding

A Langley woman thanks the team at Al Anderson Memorial Pool for all they do

LANGLEY’S WHAT’S IN STORE: Entrepreneurs make the shortlist

Know of a new business in town, one expanding, moving, or hosting a community event, let us know…

Otter Co-op breaks ground on bigger and better gas bar in Aldergrove

‘Green’ fuel coming to the gas bar following four months of renovations

PHOTOS: One of Langley wildlife artist’s last gallery shows

Lifelong painter Norman Jorgenson is being recognized in the Langley Arts Council gallery

Cadet Camp sees Langley Mounties share fun and tips with kids

The camp included everything from self defense and first aid to meeting the bomb squad

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read