Our School Story
School context - who are we?
Richmond Secondary School opened in September 1927 and was the first dedicated secondary school in the city. Over nine decades, the school has had a number of different grade configurations, a diverse range of educational offerings and the building has undergone significant renovations and rebuilds. Currently, we are a comprehensive Grades 8 to 12 secondary school operating on a linear timetable offering both provincial and unique programs for students. Richmond Secondary School has deep roots in the community, including an active Alumni Association, and we celebrated our 90th anniversary in the spring of 2018. Please read more about our school history:
Who attends our school?
As of September 2017, 1,203 students are enrolled at Richmond Secondary School in Grades 8-12; including 80 International students. 51% of the combined current student population are male. Similar to the population in the city of Richmond and the Greater Vancouver area, our students come from many places. 45% of our students were born in Canada, while 33% were born in China, including Hong Kong, 8% in the Philippines, 2% in Taiwan, and the other 12% were born in many other countries. Approximately 300 or 25% of our students receive English Language Learning (ELL) support while many more students are from an ELL background. 64 students were identified as having “special needs”, involving all categories defined by the Ministry of Education, including gifted students. The most recent community context data reports that for more than 60% of our students, English is not the primary language spoken at home.
What are our strengths? What are our challenges?
In a modern facility, RHS offers a diverse and comprehensive program of studies and extracurricular opportunities and has a well established ethos of dedicated students who value learning and achievement. Since 1984 we have offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and currently over 240 Grade 11 and 12 students are enrolled in this comprehensive, globally-minded and challenging program of studies. We also have a certified apprenticeship program in professional cook training, a special language acquisition program (LAND) for older adolescents new to Canada, and a young adult parent program. RHS is also home to a diverse special needs population, including students with significant developmental challenges. All students are included in the daily life of our school. Academically, Richmond Secondary School students perform exceptionally well and both Provincial and I.B. Exam averages have been consistently amongst the highest in the District and the province, and for I.B., the world. From 2010 to 2017, the Grade Point Average (GPA) of our graduates has ranged from the 95-99th percentile provincially. The school’s graduation rate ranged from 97% to 98% during this time and in 2017, 82% of our students graduated with honours standing (defined by the Ministry of Education as “maintaining better than a B average in 80-credits.” The number of graduates achieving honours standing in 2016, for all public and independent schools, was 60%). The majority of our graduates move directly to university and other post-secondary studies immediately after high school.
Every five years, our school is required to engage in a comprehensive 12-month self-study, following explicit criteria established by the International Baccalaureate Organization. We completed this last in the 2016-2017 school year. The IBO’s subsequent 28-page analysis of our standards and practices was detailed and very positive. The report included constructive recommendations for growth and no less than 19 commendations for exemplary practices and student results. For example:
"The long-standing inclusive approach philosophy (to programme admission) is exemplary. It has served the students well. The process to determine how to help individuals achieve the diploma is particularly valuable."
"The linguistic diversity of the school community is extraordinary. The school and teaching staff manage this challenge with comfort and confidence."
"Diploma pass rates, average total points and average subject grades considerably exceed world averages. This is a noteworthy accomplishment, especially given the lack of academic criteria for entry into the DP at RHS. It speaks to a strong, dedicated teaching force with an effective support system."
Our challenges include celebrating the unity in our diversity and continuing to move from a very good to an exemplary school. We need to adapt our structures and practices to meet the needs of all of our learners in a rapidly changing world. What is the ‘learner profile’ of an RHS student and a successful person in the 21st century? What knowledge, skills and competencies will our students need? How does this vision align with our daily practices? Can our students articulate these attributes and reflect on and provide specific examples of their strengths in each area? How can we support our students to manage the pressures of post-secondary admissions, rigorous curriculum and a dynamic, changing future with adaptability, resiliency and balance?
Please watch this short video to get a sense of the diverse learning journeys at Richmond Secondary School (2017):