J.N. Burnett is a comprehensive grade 8-12 secondary school located on the west side of Richmond, with a population of 1178 (87 from the International Program) students (as at May 2013). The school has a diverse population with 6% special needs, 21% ESL and is 47% female and 53% male with 5% residing out of catchment. For 60% of our students, English is not the first language spoken at home. The community is middle class with 22% of the families having an income under $35,000, 27% of parents having a formal post-secondary education, 82% of parents holding a high-school diploma and 14% are single parent families. While 75% of our students pursue some form of post-secondary education within one year of graduation, another 9% do so 2-3 years after graduation. Our Graduation rate remains well above the district and provincial averages, with 96% of all students graduating on time. There are 64 teachers, 7 classroom assistants, 4 clerical staff, 3 lunch hour supervisors, a library technician, a lab technician, a career advisor and 5 custodians. Our timetable operates by semester with some courses offered on a linear basis (Humanities 8, AP Chemistry 12, Yearbook 9-12, Concert Band 9-12 and our on-line offerings). There are 4 blocks daily.
We hold 2 conference days per year, each with a different theme: Social Responsibility (December) and Career Awareness (February). These days directly support our school goals and incorporate some of the PLO’s for the Planning 8-10 program and the Graduation Transitions Plan. We have a very active Parent Advisory Council who has supported the school financially (through gaming funds and parent donations) to ensure that we remain well-equipped, especially in the area of technology. In addition, they have supported our graduates by providing many scholarship opportunities, contributing to Graduation functions and organizing and running a Dry After Grad celebration. They also provide important input in discussions on relevant topics at our monthly meetings (including feedback regarding our new Work Habits Honour Roll). Our school’s strengths include: enhancing academic success rates, encouraging students to be compassionate and responsible citizens, promoting student voice and incorporating their views into our planning, welcoming new students to our school by providing support for all learners, and developing students’ critical thinking skills. The challenges we face include: keeping the lines of communication open between the school and parents, (many parents’ first language is not English), and reducing the pressure many of our students face to achieve exemplary marks while enrolled in heavy academic courses. We are making progress in both of these areas with our counseling services and through information nights for parents and students where we stress the importance of life balance and mental health.
At J. N. Burnett we provide an enriching environment that respects, values, and celebrates diversity, promotes individual growth, and prepares the learner to be a well-rounded and responsible member of the larger community.