Aboriginal Education in the Nicola-Similkameen Valleys

School District #58 (Nicola-Similkameen) is proud to serve students from our six local Bands, the Metis Nation and from Aboriginal communities outside of our district.  A rich cultural component is provided by approximately 40% of our students who report Aboriginal ancestry. The Coldwater Band, Lower Nicola Band, Nooaitch Band, Shackan Band, Upper Nicola Band, Upper Similkameen Band, the Metis and School District #58 are mutually committed to the goal of personal success and the best education possible for all First Nations Students.  Improving in the area of Aboriginal Education is a focus of our present work in the Nicola-Similkameen and we are committed to listening and working collaboratively with the First Nations community to do so.

Native History of the Nicola Valley

The Nicola people are a historic First Nations political and cultural alliance in the Nicola Country region of the Southern Interior. We are mostly located in the Nicola River valley around the area of Merritt and are an alliance of Scw'exmx, the local branch of the Nlaka'pamux (Thompson) people, and the Spaxomix, the local branch of the Syilx or Okanagan People. The name Nicola is not a derivation of Nlaka'pamux or its variants but is taken from the name of the chief who forged the alliance, which then included the native communities surrounding Fort Kamloops. Today, surrounding First Nation bands include Upper Nicola, Coldwater, Lower Nicola, Skackan and Nooitch. A "nativized" adaptation of Nicola is in common use today in N'Kwala.

Some of the different Cultural events you can find at KLC

  • soap stone carving
  • Kece Tea picking
  • beading with willard
  • Spatsin gathering
  • roc your mocs
  • Tule gathering
  • wildlife park field trip
  • story telling
  • fall feast
  • winter feast
  • spring feast
  • crafts
  • drum making
  • hide scraping
  • ice fishing
  • snowshoeing
  • orange shirt day
  • drum frames
  • traditional foods
  • potatoe picking
  • medicine walk
  • sage picking
  • traditional games
  • pow wow

About CLC

CLC is an alternative education facility for high school aged and adult students, and is located in the Kengard Learning Centre.

Our first focus at CLC is creating a friendly and safe learning environment for all students and staff. We believe that learning happens best when students feel welcome and accepted.

Another focus of the program is to develop an individual plan to meet the particular needs of each students. The students at CLC are a very diverse group with a very wide range of challenges and goals. Staff work with each student to create the best program.

For school-aged students, we offer a wide range of activities and supports – a full time SEA, First Nations Support Worker, Youth Care Worker, Learning Support Teacher, Transitions and Behaviour teacher, along with a growing group of community support people to help students with challenges at school and in their lives.

We also offer many fun and enriching activities throughout the year. Daily group lunch and cooking opportunities, FoodSafe course, field trips to Kamloops, Vancouver, Kelowna, WHMIS Training, “L” test prep course, PE and Art activities, bowling, PAL and CORE Training, Work Experience support, Girls Club, Level 1 First Aid Training, and many other valuable experiences are available at CLC.

For older students, we can offer great flexibility in working with the more complicated commitments and busy schedules that many adults have.

Students at CLC are working toward graduation, upgrading skills, and pursing personal educational interests. They work individually, in group activities, independently, and with a teacher. They are engaged in a wide variety of educational activities tailored to meet their individual needs.

And above all, CLC is a community. We work, learn, eat, and laugh together.


SCIDES is a fully funded and accredited BC school. It is a public, full-service, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) school, including adult learners. SCIDES offers distributed learning courses to all students in British Columbia.

We offer elementary and secondary students the opportunity to personalize their learning and take control of their own education, and adult learners the chance to upgrade, graduate or take additional courses without ever stepping inside a BC face-to-face high school.

Technically, we provide what’s known as ”distributed learning,” which takes places when a student is primarily at a distance from the teacher, whether studying online at home, within another educational facility, or anywhere else with an Internet connection. Distributed learning students completing their studies will receive their British Columbia Dogwood graduation diplomas.

Though our roots are in the Nicola-Similkameen Valley, today we serve more than 1,700 learners throughout BC in our K-9, high school, and adult learning programs. That includes more than 130 full time K – 9 students, 100 full time 10 -12 students, and 1500 cross-enrolled secondary students, many of whom access our courses online or through a Learning Centre located within bricks-and-mortar BC high schools.

Our comprehensive list of online courses and materials allows our students to choose and design a program that is both flexible in delivery and supportive of their unique learning style. We provide the materials, resources, planning, reports and personal support required, so they can learn from home

Our students come from a wide range of experiences, and we are happy to create a personalized learning environment for anyone, anywhere, in any situation! We support homeschooling families, elite athletes, gifted learners, adult learners looking to upgrade, families abroad for both work and travel, and students with learning disabilities, injuries or with an illness that prevents them from attending regular classes. We also support learners from local schools, looking to supplement their timetables.

Contact Info

Community Learning Centre

Meet the Staff
Location: 2475 Merritt Ave., Merritt, British Columbia
Phone: 1.250.378.2157

South Central Interior Distance Education School

Meet the Staff
2475 Merritt Ave., Merritt, British Columbia
1.800.663.3536 or 250 378 4245

School District No. 58 (Nicola-Similkameen)

Visit Website
Location: 1550 Chapman Street, Merritt, British Columbia
Phone: 250-378-5161 or 1-800-778-3208

District Principal of Aboriginal Education

Shelley Oppenheim-Lacerte

First Nations Support Worker for CLC and SCIDES

Sharon Antoine