Kyuquot Elementary Secondary School (KESS) is a small British Columbia public school in the Vancouver Island West School District (SD #84) with a typical enrolment of between 45 and 55 students in grades 1 – 12, located adjacent to the Kyuquot-Checleset First Nation.
Getting here is both exciting and challenging as the community is accessible only by floatplane or boat (water taxi). Getting larger cargo and greater quantities of belongings here usually involves a trip on the historic vessel “The Uchuck III” (a retrofitted World War II mine sweeper).
The beauty of the area is unquestionable. We are right on the coast, sheltered from the powerful ocean surf, seen in the distance, by an extensive, unique, and magnificent archipelago and surrounded by beautiful North West Coast Vancouver Island wilderness. The climate is West Coast Temperate Rain Forest. However, it seems lately we get more sunny days in winter than the lower mainland. The typically warm winter temperatures are appealing.
Canoeing, kayaking, fishing, beach combing for oysters and clams, exploring and hiking are steps away from the school, and plans for building mountain biking trails have begun.
Nearly all of our students are aboriginal and most of them are from the Kyuquot and Checleset Nations, and reside in the local village of Houpsitas, within the treaty nation (Maa Nulth Treaty signed April 1, 2011). The school’s students are bright, welcoming, and ready to learn. A recent focus on improved student behaviour has been successful. Unsolicited testimonials about exemplary student behaviour while on field trips and within the school itself are now common.
Our school plan now focusses on improving student achievement. This will require improved student attendance, and new ways of teaching and learning. We are excited to begin this phase of school development.
Though we are a small school, we offer a variety of elective courses including Outdoor Education, Spanish, Music, Art, and Technology. We have hopes and plans to add shop technology courses (Woodwork, Small Engine Repair, Metalwork) in the near future.
In addition to our in-house Outdoor Education class we also benefit from the school district’s Nootka Sound Outdoor Program (NSOP). Opportunities for all KESS students, not only those enrolled in the Outdoor Education course, include kayaking, canoeing, caving, surfing, camping, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and camping.
We have a state-of-the-art Fitness Centre for student and staff use, with high quality bicycle, elliptical, and rowing cardio training devices, dumbbells, kettle bells, power rack, functional trainer, strength machines, and boxing equipment. We may be isolated but you can be very fit in Kyuquot!
The school also works with the local community to assist efforts to restore and revive the Nuu-Chah-Nulth language and culture in the local Kyuquot/Checleset dialect. The Kyuquot/Checleset First Nations provide substantial added support to the school. The community itself is welcoming to those who come to teach their children.
For teachers, Kyuquot Elementary Secondary School (KESS) is a great place to work. Your development as a professional will be rapid. In one year here you can learn more here about teaching than you might in a decade teaching elsewhere. Skills are honed here rapidly in a supportive collegial environment. And the degree of professional satisfaction that can be derived from knowing that you are needed and wanted is also well above typical.
Parents/guardians can be assured that KESS is a school where the needs of their child will be met, and that their children will be prepared for a bright future, whether that means staying in Kyuquot as a productive member of the community or seeking post-secondary education in an academic or trades area. With the caring and competent staff, you will know that your students are in good hands.
Welcome to Kyuquot Elementary School! Come see us. Come work here. We look forward to meeting you!