Matthew McNair is a comprehensive Grade 8 to12 secondary school situated in East Richmond operating on a semester calendar.
McNair Secondary is a culturally and socio-economically diverse population of 904 students. Our student population includes 56 students who receive English as a Second Language support (Levels 1 through 5), 78 students who are identified on the Ministry 1701 form as Special Needs students and 23 Aboriginal students. Our International Student program enrolls 92 students. School demographics as reported in the Ministry of Education School Data Summary Report (April 2014) indicates that of the 50% of students whose home language is not English, the most commonly spoken languages are Punjabi (9.5%), Mandarin (10.3%), Cantonese (7.5%), and Tagalog (6.3%).
Choices for Learning
McNair offers a range of learning opportunities designed to meet the needs and interests of the school population.
Coupled with a strong academic program which includes Advanced Placement Calculus, English Literature and Studio Art, McNair offers a very strong Performing Arts Program, a Culinary Arts Program, the district Auto Apprenticeship Program, Integrated Academics, and the McNair Mini School.
McNair’s Performing Arts Program offers a wide range of courses in theatre and music including Career Preparation, Theatre, Stagecraft, Strings, Jazz and Concert Band, and continues to win competitions and produce professional quality Theatre productions. These programs are complemented by a Visual Arts Program offering courses in Photography, Drawing and Painting, Ceramics and Sculpture and Advanced Placement Studio Arts.
The McNair Integrated Academics Program is an alternative academic program designed to meet the learning needs of students in Grade 11 and 12 who have not achieved success in the regular classroom. Students must be capable of writing all required provincial exams and complete learning outcomes in a smaller class grouping.
McNair’s Culinary Arts Program runs a teaching cafeteria serving two meals a day to the school community as well as taking on outside catering. Students learn ‘hands-on’ food service within a working, teaching kitchen. McNair is also home to the Richmond District /Kwantlen College Auto Apprenticeship Program. This program allows students to apply hands-on auto mechanic work experience toward their graduation while earning credit toward their post-secondary apprenticeship program.
The McNair Mini-School, with a cohort of 30 students in each grade, this program is designed for highly motivated students and provides enriched academic, social, and leadership opportunities with a focus on outdoor education. Since 2000, McNair students have received 27 Gold, 48 Silver and 65 Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards, recognizing young individuals worldwide for their commitment to achievement, citizenship, community service, and physical training.
Opportunities for Leadership and Involvement
The McNair Student Council fosters leadership with participation in a variety of leadership conferences including the school district’s Table 38 program. The council plans and facilitates social activities (such as spirit week activities), awareness activities (such as Earth Day awareness and Anti-bullying-Pink Shirt Day), and fundraising activities such as the annual Wake-a-thon which is raising money to help build a school in a developing country. They are also involved in raising awareness and funds to support Cancer Research and other such causes.
The Marlinaires are a group of students whose goal is to promote Social Responsibility. They sponsor the annual Multicultural lunch and dance event, serve as ambassadors and hosts for a variety of events in the school and community and promote social responsibility by modeling positive behaviour throughout the McNair School Community.
The Athletic Council provides leadership and supports a healthy athletic program at McNair. Students organize the Terry Fox Run, Run for the Cure, the annual Grade Seven basketball tournament and the Year End Athletic Awards Banquet. McNair has a healthy Physical Education enrollment and offers a comprehensive list of extracurricular athletic opportunities.
In keeping with our school motto, “A Caring Community”, many of our extracurricular student clubs and councils focus on community service. This year the groups mentioned above as well as a number of smaller student groups have supported a tremendous interest in raising money for a variety of charities and causes including the Ride to Conquer Cancer, The Canadian Red Cross, The Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, Canuck Place, the Victor Ghirra Toy Drive, Free the Children, a local homeless shelter and the Richmond Food Bank. In total students have raised $7000.00 for various causes this year.
McNair has a dedicated PAC executive and our monthly Parent Advisory Council meetings are an important venue for sharing information about progress towards our goals. PAC has been instrumental in applying for and securing gaming funds to support student programs in the school. In addition, we have a large turn out of parents to our athletic events, performing arts evenings and mini school activities.
Our school community acknowledges the importance of high levels of social responsibility and its impact on creating a safe, connected learning environment. In addition, empowerment through student leadership is a prominent feature of our school.
The retention and success rates of our students is very good and our parents are extremely positive about our school. The parents are the people who are in the building and communicating with students and staff. There remains, however, in the larger community, among those without current personal connections, some negative perceptions about McNair that stem from events occurring over a decade ago. Our challenge continues to be identifying ways to communicate the positive work and accomplishments of our students and staff and making the perceptions of McNair more accurate. We are proud of our students and our staff, of their work ethic, of their caring and of their many accomplishments.
McNair offers a wide array of program offerings to students. We believe it is important to continue to expand the number of options available for students that lead to success for all. McNair is a strong, well-balanced comprehensive school where students continue to provide energy and appreciation which sparks the enthusiasm of staff. With the support of the parents, this school will continue to offer a wonderful education to the McNair community.
McNair is a caring school where students, staff and parents learn together in a safe environment based on trust and mutual respect. Our purpose is to provide opportunities for all learners to realize their potential and pursue their goals.