Norgate Xwemélch’stn Community Elementary
North Vancouver School District
About us

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Learning At Our School

Norgate Xwemélch'stn Community Elementary School has played a central role in our neighbourhood since 1951 when the school was established.

At Norgate Xwemélch’stn Community Elementary School we aim to provide students a safe, welcoming, inclusive and rewarding learning experience.  Nestled in the Norgate neighbourhood on the un-ceded traditional territories of the Squamish People, our school prides itself on being a strong heartbeat within our community.  Our students and staff members strive together to “Earn Our Drum” by helping each other be our personal best, and in doing so achieve collective success.  We value supportive relationships, collaboration, and inclusion. All members of our school bring their unique gifts to enhance our school community.

Our students develop key core and curricular competencies as they expand their curricular knowledge.  Their learning is further enriched through Indigenous teachings including the First Peoples Principles of Learning.  All students benefit from sharing story, place-based learning, broadening cultural understandings, and learning to achieve and maintain balance within ourselves, with others, and with our environment.

We are proud to share that we are now an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) Candidacy School, and look forward to the rich learning ahead of us as we engage in the process of becoming authorized as an IB World School.  Click HERE or further information about the IB PYP.

The Community

Our school is situated south of Marine Drive in a quiet residential community that consists almost entirely of single family dwellings and town home complexes.  Our catchment area includes the Squamish Nation Capilano Reserve Land, which is just to the west of the Norgate community.

Commercial establishments including restaurants and shopping centres, surround us.  The Norgate community is therefore somewhat isolated and sheltered.  The closest public recreation facilities and library are a distance away.  Despite this, there is a strong sense of community spirit and parental support. Norgate School Community Programs fills that gap for the families and students of our neighbourhood by offering itself as a community “hub”.


We are honoured to have been gifted by the Squamish Nation the name Xwemélch'stn.  This name reflects the importance of the traditional territory on which our school resides:

In the long ago what today is Squamish Nation territory was vast. It stretched from modern-day Vancouver, to Port Moody and past modern-day Lillooet. The area today where Norgate Elementary resides was known as the blueberry fields. Squamish ancestors cultivated this area to always be a place of nourishment through the blueberry plants. It also shares the traditional name of the Capilano reserve, Xwemélch’stn, which in the Squamish Language means the place of the Crazy River or Beautiful River. Squamish people are proud to share their territory of nourishment with the North Vancouver School District.

~ Huy chexw a, Usiyam (Thank you)

“Community” School

Norgate Elementary School received official designation as a community school in 1996.  Community schools, by designation, assure that processes are in place to develop and maintain programs - services - events.  In addition, processes are also in place to empower the community to satisfy needs and provide life long learning opportunities for everyone.

Community Education is a concept that advocates a process for empowering citizens in a community to address local needs.  The underlying values and principles are guided by practices such as:

  • Inclusiveness
  • Self-determination and self-help
  • Shared resources
  • Leadership development
  • Lifelong learning
  • Integrated services
  • Responsiveness
  • Neighbourhood-based action
  • Sustainability

A community school, consisting of students, parents, community residents, and school staff, strives towards bringing the school and community closer together.  We envision a process of voluntary cooperation and mutual aid among the residents of the Norgate community aimed at the creation of improved physical and social conditions.  As one of the few Community Schools in North Vancouver, we are able to offer many valued services including a food access program, and a wide variety of after school, spring break and summer camps, and other community programs.

As a unique community, Norgate relies on the strong backbone and working relations of the Squamish Nation, Parent Advisory Committee and private and public agencies.  Each is devoted to the principles of the community school.

We would like to recognize and thank the North Vancouver District #44 School Board and the Ministry of Education for their financial support.