Cedar Walk Program

Organization Sponsor: Vancouver School Board

Organization Partner: Urban Native Youth Association


Program Description

Cedar Walk provides a respectful, safe, and culturally relevant environment to address the needs of Aboriginal students who have an extended history of non-engagement in school. A vocational focus helps students learn pre-employment skills and provides work experience opportunities. Cedar Walk provides social, emotional, mental health, physical and spiritual support to students through sports and recreation, arts and crafts, aboriginal cultural enrichment, field trips, A&D support, life skills and health information.

Aboriginal youth ages 15 - 18 years old in the care of MCFD and/or Aboriginal delegated agency and youth that have ongoing MCFD and/or Aboriginal delegated agency involvement. These youth present social, emotional, behavioural and/or cognitive difficulties, and have been unsuccessful in a regular secondary school or other alternative program. They also require a team approach which includes but is not limited to school staff, Social Worker, Probation Officer, parent/caregiver, mental health worker and/or one-to-one worker to help them to be successful. Students referred to this program meet the Ministry of Education criteria for designation in the “H” category.

Referrals from MCFD or Aboriginal delegated agency Social Worker or Probation Officer are emailed to the MCFD Youth Services Community Liaison. Referrals are accepted on an on-going basis and reviewed by a MCFD/VSB screening committee to determine eligibility, placement and priority.

Cedar Walk enrolls 20 students and has 1 VSB Teacher, 2 Youth and Family Workers, and 1 Program Manager employed by Urban Native Youth Association.

Funding Sources: 

BC Ministry of Children & Family Development and the Vancouver School Board

Strategies For Sustainability: 

The Vancouver School District 39 is a large, urban and multicultural school district that includes some of the most affluent and impoverished urban neighborhoods in the country. This setting provides wonderful opportunities as well as serious challenges.The Vancouver Board of Education (School District No. 39) believes that the neighbourhood school is of prime importance in the delivery of educational services.The Vancouver District offers 24 Alternative Resource Programs in addition to six Adult Education Centres

Impact Of Program: 

To enable students to reach their intellectual, social, aesthetic and physical potential in challenging and stimulating settings which reflect the worth of each individual and promote mutual respect, cooperation and social responsibility.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

Student progress is managed through the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process which involves the student, the parent/caregiver and program staff. Cedar Walk students can complete grades 8, 9 and 10. Adaptations and modifications are made where necessary to meet the needs of the students. Academic upgrading and job readiness skills are an integral aspect of the Cedar Walk Program. In addition to providing educational programming, the program staff is dedicated to working individually with students to focus on their social, emotional and mental health needs. Transition Plans will be developed to provide transition to a senior alternative program, a vocational program, or employment.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

The Vancouver School District is among the most diverse public school systems in Canada with an annual enrollment of approximately 54,000 students in Kindergarten to grade 12. In addition, the Vancouver School District provides educational programs and services to full-time Adult Education and Continuing Education students.
Our programs and services address the extraordinary and complex challenges associated with a diverse district. Our goal is to serve the needs and tap the potential of each of our students so that they may achieve their unique potential.

Length and Stage of Project: 

September 2005

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