Dasmesh Punjabi School (DPS), now a Group 1 Independent School, actually began in February 1983, with 142 registered students, as a week-end school teaching the Punjabi language. The Khalsa Diwan Society of Abbotsford, in its efforts to preserve the Punjabi heritage in the Fraser Valley, was instrumental in the formation of the Dasmesh Punjabi Educational Association that was to manage the School.
In September 1986, under the direction of Mr. Dalip Singh Gill as the pioneer Principal (a District Education Officer from Punjab, who had retired from his job to bolster the efforts of the Association), Dasmesh Punjabi School became a full-fledged English-medium school teaching the regular BC Ministry of Education curriculum as well as two additional courses: Sikh Studies (Traditional religious music- Shabad Kirtan) and Punjabi language. It had 11 students from Grades 1 and 2, two teachers (Mr. Dalip Singh Gill and Mrs. Evelyn Budzinski), and two classrooms adjoining the South Fraser Way main Gurdwara (temple).
The School’s three basic aims were:
- Provide quality education with English as a medium of instruction.
- Teach two additional subjects apart from the regular BC Ministry of Education mandated curriculum. These were Punjabi and Sikh Studies.
- Impart education in a Gurmat environment that would be free from smoking, drinking, and drugs.
The Schools growth rate has been very positive.In light of this, the DPS Association purchased an unused District 34 school building on 4th Ave. close to the US (Sumas) border. This second Campus-the Intermediate Campus-opened its doors in September 1995 to grades 4-8 children (grade 8 added for the first time) under the Vice-Principal, Mrs. S. Chand, who had joined the School in 1989 after immigrating from the South Pacific.
In July 2005, the DPS Association came full circle when it bought Valley Christian School, a relatively new school complex, that stands on land between Mission and Abbotsford. With Waheguru’s Blessings, the DPS Board is working with Principal Dalip Singh Gill’s able and experienced direction once again. It plans to consolidate and expand educational facilities on this one site. Grade 3-10 moved there in September 2006, Kindergarten-Grade 2 joined them in September 2007.
The school started the 2008-09 year with four Kindergarten classes for the first time.
Mr. Dalip Singh Gill officially announced handing over the principal’s duties at the May 9, 2008 Opening Ceremony of the Matsqui Campus to Mrs. S. Chand. On January 5, 2009 Sandeep Kaur Lidder also assumed Mr. Gill’s administrative functions at the School. Mr. Gill was awarded an Honorary Ph.D. by the University of the Fraser Valley in June 2009. Dr. Dalip Singh Gill now continues to serve the community as well as the school through the Council of the British Columbia College of Teachers and as a DPS volunteer, respectively.
The new 2009-10 year began with additions of new programs to enhance our curriculum even more. Notable among these are the 3 L’s Program for Learning Assistance and Literacy Enhancement for K-Grade 4, and the extension of core French instruction, starting right from the Kindergarten level.