Mountainside Secondary School
North Vancouver School District
KEY Program

The KEY Program supports youth in grades 8 – 12. Students pursue their education in an environment designed to help them engage in social, emotional and academic learning.  The program is intended for youth who struggle with the requirements of the mainstream school system, and have difficulty connecting with the traditional classroom environment, structure, and behavioural expectations.


The KEY Program provides intense individual support for students to gain the life skills, self-esteem and social responsibility they need to actively engage in their own learning and development. Students and staff at KEY understand the importance of creating a youth-driven learning environment. At the KEY Program, youth are recognized for their talents and abilities, not their problems and inabilities.

The KEY Program's primary goal is to support each student’s successful transition back to a more mainstream school setting or work experience.  For those students unable to reunite with a more mainstream setting, all effort is made to support the student’s completion of grade 10.  The KEY Program facilitates this process by working together with students to reclaim the following attributes within their lives:

• Belonging. Helping students reclaim their self-esteem.

• Mastery. Empowering students to become aware of their strengths.

• Independence. Challenging students to show they can be successful.

• Generosity. Encouraging students to give back to the community.


Features and benefits of the program

• Individual education program tailored to the unique needs of youth

• Emphasis on the four core subject areas of academics: English, mathematics, science and social studies

• Meaningful activities and discussions to address students’ social and emotional needs and social responsibility skills

• Support and mentorship through life skills coaching

• Substance abuse counselling and healthy decision making sessions

• Opportunities for outdoor recreation and physical education to enhance life experience, self-esteem and wellness

• Flexible schedule includes creative and artistic projects

• Transitional support back to the mainstream school system or pre-employment

• Incorporation of social justice in resolving personal and social problems or issues

• Consistent celebration of student accomplishments


All subjects are taught within the same classroom, with the same teacher, resulting in fewer transitions.  Our program runs Monday to Thursday from 9:30 to 2:00.  Hot meals are provided for breakfast and lunch.  Class size does not exceed 12 students at any time. 


All KEY Program students participate in outreach with PLEA and Hollyburn youth workers throughout the week and occasionally on Fridays.  Outdoor experiential learning activities are also an important part of the program, creating opportunities for students to develop self-esteem, communication and peer skills through healthy outdoor activities. Students come to realize and stretch their capabilities in natural surroundings by participating recreational activities.


Program Partners:

Three agencies (NVSD, Hollyburn, and PLEA) collaborate to provide each student with direct external support services on an individualized needs basis. Staff offer a holistic approach—taking into account the student’s performance at school, as well as the contributing factors of home and community life that affect each student’s outlook. The KEY Program is additionally supported by the following local and provincial organizations:


• Ministry of Child and Family Development

• Squamish Nation

• City of North Vancouver

• Vancouver Coastal Health

• North Vancouver Recreation Commission.


The KEY Program eligibility criteria/referral procedures:

Referrals to KEY are initiated by the School Based Resource Team (SBRT) at one of the 6 mainstream high-schools in North Vancouver. Students coming from out of district will need to first register with the school district at the NVSD Education Services Centre at 2121 Lonsdale Ave. (map link). All out of district requests for Mountainside Secondary School will be screened by the District Resource Team for appropriate fit, with priority given to students from the North Vancouver School District.

Any further inquiries can be directed to Lucas King, Principal of Mountainside Secondary School, at 604-903-3333 or by e-mailing