Our Kids
Request a package from: Island Pacific School

I am a:
Student Info:
  • required
  • required

Contact me by:
Special request:

Our Kids

This contact form is brought to you by Our Kids – The Trusted Source for thousands of families since 1998.

Island Pacific School
Island Pacific School
671 Carter Road, Box 128, West Vancouver-Bowen Island, British Columbia, V0N 1G0
Contact name:
Barbara Bingham

Phone number:
(604) 947-9311×
Request a package Website
Island Pacific School

Island Pacific School

671 Carter Road, Box 128, West Vancouver-Bowen Island, British Columbia, V0N 1G0

Liberal Arts,  International Baccalaureate
Grades (Gender):
6 to 9 (Coed)
$14,250 to 19,500/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
12 to 18
Day: 65 (Gr. 6 - 9)

Get more information

Contact Name:
Barbara Bingham

Phone Number:

School Address
671 Carter Road, Box 128, West Vancouver-Bowen Island, British Columbia, V0N 1G0

About this school:


Our distinctly different programs include classes in reasoning, philosophy and ethics; Masterworks, where Grade 9 students publicly defend a self-directed research project; monthly community service; a musical; and hiking, sailing and kayaking expeditions. Small by design, and with a mission to equip and inspire students to cultivate their humanity, IPS fosters critical inquiry, community engagement and leadership.

The Our Kids review of Island Pacific School

our takeIsland Pacific School is unique in some key ways, the most obvious perhaps being that it is limited to the middle school years. It’s intentionally that way, of course, based in a belief that the experiences gained during that time in a child’s development are crucial to success in high school and beyond. Character, stewardship, and responsibility are emphasized, and very noticeably so in the Masterworks program, one that is emblematic of the approach of the school. It’s a research project that grade 9 students complete, and one that builds on what they’ve learned at the school in equal measure to their personal interests and growing sense of self. That program, as all the others offered at Island Pacific, require a lot of the students, not the least of which being the need to present themselves very overtly to the school community through a culminating presentation. The fact that the topic is chosen by the students is validating of their own interests and ideas, something that perhaps doesn't happen enough in the middle years. It has the potential to be a very empowering experience, and indeed, that’s exactly what the Island Pacific program has been created to offer. The ideal student is one looking for a challenge, and able to thrive within a tight-knit community of peers who are looking for the same.

Principal's Message


Dr. Ted Spear, Head of School



Island Pacific School is a small, independent, Grade 6-9 middle school that has operated on Bowen Island for over eighteen years.  Our students come from the local community, Vancouver, and around the world.

We operate on the basis of the following principles:

  • That “middle school matters most,” i.e. that during these crucial middle years, we can either lose students or set them up for the rest of their lives
  • That education encompasses both academics and the development of character
  • That teaching is, in part, a matter of initiating students into the great conversations of human inquiry
  • That schools must not insult students’ intelligence but must instead stretch and challenge them on all fronts
  • That students need specific opportunities to learn to take responsibility for themselves
  • That small schools are very powerful sites in which to create an intentional educational community
  • That our job as educators is to equip and inspire students to cultivate their humanity

The school expresses and realizes these principles by way of a number of core program elements including:

  • The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) which puts a premium on inquiry-based learning
  • Special classes in reasoning, philosophy and ethics
  • A Grade 9 Masterworks program that requires students to complete—and publicly defend—a 15-30 page piece of independent research
  • Hiking, sailing and kayaking expeditions (including a full “Discovery Week” in May)
  • Monthly afternoon excursions to the art galleries, museums, theatre, universities, and work sites of Vancouver
  • Monthly community service activities
  • A cross-grade mentor system where older students look out for, and support, younger ones
  • House system that requires, among other things, that students clean the school

Every year, a number of our alumni students return to the school’s “Rites of Passage” graduation ceremony because they have come to realize that IPS was a defining chapter in their lives. This is precisely our aim: to make a pivotal difference in the lives of our students, so that they might go on to make a difference in the world at large.

Thank you for taking the time to investigate our school. I would welcome and encourage you to set up an interview and a student visit to get an even better sense of who we are and what we do. I think you will be impressed and intrigued by what you find.


Curriculum Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate

Primary Curriculum: Liberal Arts

Secondary Curriculum: International Baccalaureate

What Island Pacific School says: During the middle years, schools can either lose students or set them up for the rest of their lives. Put students in an environment of mediocrity and they will wither on the vine. Create a climate of challenge and expectation, and they will surprise us all. Located on Bowen Island, BC, Island Pacific School (IPS) is uniquely designed to give grade 6-9 middle school students the education they need: an education that challenges and surprises them to become the very best of who they are. Small by design, IPS is an IB Middle Years Program school with a total of 65 students, and is accredited by both ISABC and CAIS.

  • International Baccalaureate offered:
    Program = offered
    Primary Years
    Middle Years
    Diploma program
    Career-related program
  • Approach:

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Equal Balance

      These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  

    • What Island Pacific School says: We use a multi-delivery approach that combines direct instruction and blended learning. We stress both a strong foundation in mathematics basics and the opportunity to explore mathematical extensions.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: In addition to standard math textbooks we also use IXL, an online support program.

    • Calculator policy: We encourage the use of calculators as appropriate.

    Writing Equal balance

      Programs that balance systematic and process approaches equally likely have an emphasis on giving young students ample opportunities to write, while providing supplementary class-wide instruction in grammar, parts of sentences, and various writing strategies.
      Learn about the different writing approaches  

    • What Island Pacific School says: We have a writing across the curriculum program that emphasizes a progression of writing skills. In addition to encouraging creativity, we pay particular attention to the development of strong grammatical skills.

    Science Equal Balance

      Science programs that balance expository and inquiry learning equally will likely have an equal blend of tests and experiments; direct, textbook-based instruction and student-centred projects.
      Learn about the different science approaches  

    • Teaching approach: Our science teacher puts particular emphasis on our students learning outdoors.

    • Topics covered in curriculum:

      Subject = offered
    • Treatment of evolution:

      Evolution as consensus theory
      Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
      Evolution is not taught

    Literature Traditional

      In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  

    • What Island Pacific School says: We regard literature as a window into the human condition. We take it as obvious that reading should be an integral part of everyone's life.

    Social Studies Core Knowledge

      Usually focused on teaching history and geography at an early age, the core knowledge approach uses story, drama, reading, and discussion to teach about significant people, places, and events. Breadth of content and knowledge is emphasized. The curriculum is often organized according to the underlying logic of the content: history might be taught sequentially, for example (as students move through the grades).
      Learn about the different social studies approaches  

    • What Island Pacific School says: We complement our core knowledge curriculum with individual explorations. We have a busy excursion and community service calendar to get students out experiencing new communities every second week.

    Humanities and Social Sciences Perennialism

      Perennialism in the humanities and social sciences emphasizes the idea of education being a kind of “conversation” between generations, and so frequently turns to “Great Works” and “Big Ideas” for teaching-content. Perennialist programs approach past works on their own terms; as if they might actually help students understand “today” better. Past works are not viewed as mere historical artifacts, but as gateways to a deeper understanding of the human condition. History (and, by extension, the humanities in general) therefore plays a large role in perennialist curriculums, though social sciences like economics, psychology, and sociology can still be taught. There is a strong Liberal Arts bent to perennialist programs. The key goals are to develop critical thinking, a strong foundation of core knowledge (or “cultural literacy”), and persuasion skills through informed debate and extensive practice in essay writing.
      Learn about the different humanities and social sciences approaches  

    • What Island Pacific School says: This information is not currently available.

    Foreign Languages Communicative

      The communicative method of language acquisition emphasizes the use of the target language in authentic contexts. The approach commonly features interactive group work, games, authentic texts, and opportunities to learn about the cultural background of the language. Drills and quizzes may still be used, but less frequently than with the audio-lingual method.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  

    • What Island Pacific School says: We use the highly effect AIM language learning approach to teach French to grade 6 - 9. It is designed to provide students with quick fluency in practical situations.

    • Studying a foreign language is required until:   9
    • Languages Offered: • French • ESL

    Fine Arts Creative

      Creative arts programs are studio-driven. While historical works and movements may still be taught to add context to the program, students mainly engage in making art (visual, musical, theatrical, etc). The goal is use the actual practice of art to help educate students’ emotions, cognition, and ethos.
      Learn about the different fine arts approaches  

    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Graphic Design
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

    • What Island Pacific School says: At IPS, our Art program focuses on giving our students exposure to a wide variety of artistic practices and mediums. We aim to engage their curiosity and excitement for the arts, while helping them to develop skills, and expand their personal limits. When an IPS student leaves the school, we want them to have an interest in the arts, and the courage to pursue whichever aspect of the arts that appealed to them the most.

    Computers and Technology Medium integration

      Effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy through the curriculum. However, this is not a dominant focus.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What Island Pacific School says: Digital citizenship, digital legacy and digital literacy. These three competencies are the foundation of the digital technology program at IPS. It is designed to reflect, and get ahead of, how information exchange in the world is evolving: socially, in education, in the workplace, and in the way data is stored. Teachers switch gears quickly between paper and digital content reaching for technology to solve problems and model that practice for students. Along with Google Classroom and Drive, teachers are using new tools for assignment distribution and tracking (Doctopus & Remind); data collection through Google Forms; regular correspondence through email; and tracking (internal Teacher Dashboard web portal).

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What Island Pacific School says: Emphasis in our phys ed program is on promoting healthy lifestyles for life.

    Sex and Health Education
    Topics covered in sex and health education: This information is not currently available.

    What Island Pacific School says: This information is not currently available.

    Mostly value-neutral

    By and large, we teach sex education free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. We try not to impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on our students when teaching sex and related issues.

    Fairly value-based

    Sex education is sometimes taught from a particular moral or ethical standpoint. Sometimes particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) are invoked when teaching sex and related issues.


    This includes a range of positions. A traditional approach might, for example, go as far as emphasizing the nuclear family and complete abstinence from sex before marriage. Alternatively, this approach might simply involve placing less emphasis on sex outside of the context of marriage and more emphasis on abstinence. Or finally, it might just involve focusing less on sex outside of the context of marriage.


    This might mean more emphasis is placed on the importance of such things as social equality, diversity, and choice in sex education.

    What Island Pacific School says: This information is not currently available.

    Curriculum Pace Standard-enriched

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.

    Flexible pacing:

    Flexible pacing style = offered
    Subject-streaming (tracking)
    Multi-age classrooms as standard
    Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
    Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
    Regular guided independent study opportunities
    Differentiated assessment

    What Island Pacific School says about flexible pacing: IPS incorporates project-based learning in all grades. All students are required to prepare projects for three Open Houses per year. The Masterworks independent study project is compulsory for every Grade 9 student. Students publicly defend their Masterworks and earn 4 credits towards their high school graduation.

    Academic Culture Supportive

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.

    What Island Pacific School says: This information is not currently available.

    Developmental Priorities Balanced, Intellectual

    Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced
    Equal attention is paid to a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social, and physical.

    Secondary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
    Academically strong, creative, and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions.

    What Island Pacific School says: Kids with good heads on their shoulders.

    Special Needs Support Mild difficulties

    Mild difficulties

    Island Pacific School can provide support for mild disablities. Island Pacific School does NOT provide specialized support for moderate-to-severe learning disabilities, developmental disabililties, behavioural/emotional disorders, or physical disabilities.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support

    Gifted Learner Support Moderate


    Island Pacific School offers gifted learner support in the form of inclusive practices -- special, custom arrangements made for advanced learners (who otherwise remain in the regular classroom).

    Dedicated gifted programs:

    Program = offered
    Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
    Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)

    Curriculum delivery: This information is not currently available.

    In-class adaptations:
    Practice = offered
    Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
    Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
    Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
    Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
    Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
    Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
    Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
    Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
    Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

    What Island Pacific School says: This information is not currently available.

    Gifted education: If you want to learn more about gifted education, check out our comprehensive guide. It’s the first of its kind: it covers different kinds of gifted schools and programs, and a whole host of issues parents face in finding the right option for their gifted child.

    Homework Policy

    In grade 9, Island Pacific School students perform an average of 30 mins of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    Island Pacific School 15 mins15 mins30 mins30 mins
    Site Average41 mins54 mins59 mins71 mins

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered grades6 to 9
    Prose (narrative)-based feedback6 to 9
    Academic achievement reporting6 to 9
    Habits and behaviour reporting6 to 9
    Parent-teacher meetings6 to 9

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.

    Recess Policy

    Non-lunch recessFrequency
    Lunch recessAmount

    What Island Pacific School says: This information is not currently available.


    What Island Pacific School says:
    • Excursions
    • Expeditions

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
    • Clubs Offered
      Community Service
      Drama Club
      Musical theatre/Opera
      Outdoor Club
      Outdoor Education

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    Day (Domestic) Day (International)
    Day (Domestic)$14,250
    Day (International)$19,500
    What Island Pacific School says: In addition to the $14,250 for domestic day tuition there is a Discover Week Deposit as follows: Grade 6 - $500 Grades 7/8 - $850 Grade 9 - $1,100 All grades require a $150 Technology Fee.


    Discount TypeEnrollment TypeAmount
    2nd child (sibling)all students$350

    Need-based financial aid

    Grade range that need-based aid is offered: 6 to 9
    Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid15%
    Average aid package size$5,000
    Percentage of total enrollment on financial aid15%
    Total aid available$60,000

    Application Deadline:
    January 29, 2016 Repeats annually

    More information:

    Application Details:

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 65
    Average enrollment per grade16
    Average class size12 to 18
    Grades (gender)6 to 9 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution:

    Day Enrollment16161816



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    Interview6 - 9
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:
    December 04, 2015

    What Island Pacific School says:

    Early admission - December 4, 2015

    Regular admission -  February 19 , 2016

    Late admission - Always welcome http://islandpacific.org/admissions/


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Island Pacific School is looking for: We are looking for students with parents/caregivers who are committed to supporting their children in gaining an education that is worthy of the name. In particular, we need parents who understand that students need specific opportunities to learn to take responsibility for themselves and that students want, and are capable of, acheiving great things.

    Student Entry Points

    Student Type6789
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    16 - 18 (85%)1 - 2 (10%)1 - 2 (10%)1 - 2 (5%)

    Stories & Testimonials


    IPS Grade 9's Raise Awareness and $6403 for Covenant House

    "Don't judge someone unless you have a walked a mile in their shoes".

    The grade 9's at Island Pacific School practiced flipping their perspectives this year during community service work focused on youth homelessness. Last week grade 9's spent the afternoon volunteering at Covenant House then tried to 'walk a mile' in the shoes of a street kid. After learning about the causes and realities for youth on the street they embarked on the action component. They raised an incredible $6,403 for Covenant House's Sleep Out program by seeking sponsorship and then sleeping outside , effectively taking the place of homeless youth for a night.  The evening started with a budget of two dollars for dinner in Gastown and the East Side.  Students then walked these downtown Vancouver neighbourhoods with the mission of observing their surroundings and trying to understand what it would be like to live differently. Returning to Bowen the same night, the group gathered around a fire and discussed their feelings and observations about what they had experienced that day.  Then they bedded down on thin mats and cardboard and slept behind the school.  As you can see from some of the excerpts taken from their reflections, this experience has opened their eyes and their hearts. A mile in someone's shoes created feelings of compassion and empathy that are theirs to keep.

    "What really upset me is knowing that life was maybe worse for kids -because of abuse -  at ‘home’ and that the street was better or their only option."

    "Our society is really affected by homelessness, and, in most cases it doesn’t even spare a glance, never mind a handful of change. If everyone could do a single sleep out, I’m sure the world would be a different place."

    "Last night I was surrounded in friends. When it struck me that these people really are alone in life it really impacted my thoughts. Now I will think of them with more respect for what they have to face on their own every day."

    "I think this experience with Covenant House will make me look differently at someone on the street. I can look at them knowing that they could have a bright future, even though they have had a bad past."


    Message From the Future: They Grow Up Just Fine

    These reflections from IPS Alumna Parent Colleen O’Neil just may have middle school parents breathing easier about their child’s inherent potential.

    My son Jake just got married this past September. He organized the entire 5-day event, which included 3 major dinner celebrations and a golf tournament. He gave speeches off the cuff for two of those nights and wrote his vows – and spoke in front of 150 people. He was self-possessed, confident, seemingly relaxed (although probably not) and funny.

    My daughter Kathleen gave the speech to the groom (15 minute speech). She was terrified but didn’t appear to be in front of the crowd. It was hilarious and touching and many invitees later reported that it was the best speech they’d ever heard at a wedding. I must agree.

    It’s a little obnoxious bragging about your kids but I do so to make a point.

    I worried about my kids…a lot. They were both very shy. Jake wouldn’t let go of my leg at Family Place. Kathleen couldn’t go to pre-school. Anne Silberman sent her home and told me to keep her back because she was so terrified. They both had a tight network of close friends so socially they were well adjusted, and they came from a large close-knit family who they loved to hang out with. But they were NOT ‘alpha kids’. I first heard that term when Jake was going to IPS. It was in reference to the idea that IPS kids were expected to stand out, speak up, be articulate, be informed, and be impressive.

    But Jake was a very quiet IPS student. He did not stand out. He was a good kid always but did not draw attention to himself and his marks were very average. We needed tutors to get him through math. His masterworks was on the Rwandan genocide, and he did a great job we thought in his presentation, but poor Jake couldn’t answer any of the questions coming from the floor. He was just too nervous to think. His experiences in high school were not much different. He needed tutors for math and needed lots of help at home.

    Kathleen was even more introverted Her marks were always average. She was incredibly reluctant to speak in class, or draw any attention to herself. She often didn’t understand the assignments because she wouldn’t ask for clarification. She was diagnosed with ADD in grade 10. Things turned around in Grade 11 and she finished that year with high honours. But she was a classic introvert like Jake.

    They both went on to University and got their undergrad degrees.

    Kathleen headed off to South East Asia by herself for 5 months after university. Jake spent months biking around Europe after getting his political science degree, raising money for micro financing projects. And last year he spent six months in Africa, one of his ambitions after working for a year on his Masterworks at IPS! They both have a wealth of friendships and interesting work in the world.

    How did these two incredibly introverted kids who were just very average students early on, end up doing so well in their last two years of University and then continue to be inquisitive thoughtful citizens in the world, engaged in social and political issues, often contributing to conversations around the table with friends and family?

    And back to the wedding… here they both were starring in this very public celebration, both of them taking leading roles and the guests were laughing and standing to clap at the end of their speeches. What happened to my introverted kids who needed to be tutored along to finish high school? I sat there so proud and wished I hadn’t worried so much about them in grade school. They just took time to blossom.

    I have had lots of conversations with other parents about our surprise around who our children turned out to be. Gordon Neufeld says the difference between age 15 and age 20 is a chasm. So true.

    I never imagined that Kathleen would be a prominent Vancouver model (which requires actually standing out in a crowd!) And now she’s back to university to upgrade her math and other sciences to enroll in a health related career (medicine or nursing?) Jake is working at a non-profit, continuing in his passion to work for those who are disadvantaged. And that job requires him to speak in various venues around the city raising money for food banks etc. He appears to be quite comfortable speaking in public. Who would have thought?

    There were kids at IPS when Jake was there who were stunningly mature and directed and focused and impressive and they continued in their lives to achieve amazing goals. But Jake wasn’t one of them.

    Both my kids didn’t really reveal themselves until they became 20-ish. Some kids seem to be on a track for success early while we worry that our kids aren’t. But they will get there when it’s important to get there: when they’re adults. Right now they’re just kids.


    The Spear Sisters Strive To Promote the Female Voice in Film

    Fiercely committed to expanding and exploring the voices of females in the arts and society, IPS grads Kailey and Sam Spear are making an impact in the film industry in Vancouver BC.

    The identical twins grew up on Bowen Island where they started acting at the Tir-na-nOg Theatre School. The love for acting and the art of storytelling that was cultivated at the school prompted them to expand their work into film. Majoring in Film, they completed BFAs with honours at Simon Fraser University. They co-direct their films and also collaborate on their scripts. Their grad film went on to screen at festivals in Canada, the US, and Britain.

    They recently went back to their theatre roots to direct and produce Hamlet for the stage in Vancouver.  While staying true to the classic dialogue, their re-imagining of Hamlet saw the lead as a young female royal in a modern world. In addition to switching the gender of Hamlet, Laertes, Rosencrantz and Marcellus were also female. The play was greeted with great success in Vancouver with sold out shows, great press, and amazing audience feedback. They plan to take their adaptation to film in the future. 

    The Spear Sisters recently learned that they were among 6 winning directors in a field of 1200 for the The Storytellers: New Voices of Twilight Saga project. Female writers and directors were invited to tell original stories in the form of short films, set in the Twilight universe and based on those characters. Kailey & Sam’s, “Mary Alice Brandon File” focuses on Alice’s human life before she became a vampire. Fans have an opportunity to vote on finalist films in July 2015.


    Rising Above – IPS Grad Liz Williams, Captain, RCAF

    Liz Williams is a Captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force, serving as a First Officer on the CH146 Griffon helicopter at 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Edmonton, Alberta. While she had originally envisioned herself as a fighter pilot, early in training a quick flight in a helicopter completely converted her, and she now feels sorry for pilots who can’t hover. With 408 Squadron, Liz has had the opportunity to travel as far as Las Vegas, NV (transiting an aircraft home from exercises) and CFS Alert, NU, which is the northernmost permanently inhabited installation in the world. Liz plans to become an Aircraft Captain in the coming months, and looks forward to whatever her career will bring her next.

    Liz Williams attended IPS for Grades 7 through 9, starting in 1998. She also attended Island Pacific Odyssey, an experimental Grade 10 program, in the 01/02 school year, before completing high school on the mainland. While at IPS, she enjoyed all of the many trips and experiences offered, particularly hiking and kayaking; but perhaps one of the most life-changing opportunities was the chance to fly in a Cessna 172 aircraft in Grade 8 thanks to the generosity of Mr Ian Henley. This experience first interested Liz in aviation, and she joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets the following year in order to pursue that interest. While in Cadets, Liz learned more about the Canadian Forces and eventually decided to pursue a career as a military pilot.


    Message from the Bridge

    I graduated from IPS in 2005 and went into the IB program at West Vancouver Secondary.  From there things got a little complicated: as I tried to pursue the academics I was interested in, I had trouble seeing the point of them.  IPS taught me the value of learning for the sake of learning and I don’t for a minute regret my history degree. I began a new journey at BCIT three years ago and have almost earned my first marine license of Officer of the Watch.

    I am in school to become a ship’s captain.  I grew up sailing and teaching sailing, and I always knew I needed to be near the ocean, it just took me time to realize it was possible to work on the ocean.

    As part of my training I have worked on a research vessel run by the man who found the Titanic, sailed on BC Ferries’ Queen of Oak Bay and, most recently, joined Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas.  I have traveled all over the world and worked with Captains from three different continents. There’s something about the open ocean that fills me with joy.  At night you can barely see the stars because without light pollution the whole sky is filled with a bright glow. I think my favourite part is the navigation – I love working with the charts, planning routes between little islands and coral reefs. There’s something quite spectacular in knowing that a cruise ship carrying 3000 people is following the course that I drew on a piece of paper.


    A Thirst for Knowledge

    I graduated from IPS with a thirst for knowledge and I was taught not to be afraid to ask questions. I still look around in my university classes wondering why no one else is putting up their hands sometimes. I believe IPS also took me a lot of places. I was the third IPS graduate to receive a scholarship to a United World College (following Cristina Dos Santos and Paula Hay). In my interviews I talked about some of the basic values that IPS taught me (integrity, courage and wisdom), experiential learning (all those fun trips!), and being grounded in a small supportive community. In fact, I still talk about those values in interviews, but I think I have added one more--compassion. Some of those earlier lessons about being a good person (€“that gluteus maximus award we were always hoping to receive). I fill my life with all sorts of academic and personal engagements (like back-country ski trips!), but I never forget to add in meaningful volunteer work (right now I do a children's environmental education program at UBC farm). A balanced life does not mean being busy though. I went to Costa Rica for eight monthes on exchange and then on an internship with The Nature Conservancy in some rural communities where I developed a volunteer program. Probably one of the most critical things I came back from that trip with was being stress-free and taking time for the most important things in your life. Usually I have to re-learn those values and how to relax every time I go off somewhere! Speaking of which, going to the Arctic was another fantastic opportunity where I fell in love with the magic of the tundra, and the generosity and spirit of the Inuit people. I think my advice is to be open to everything in life, windows are waiting to be opened... IPS grads have the courage to open them, the wisdom to learn from the new experiences, the ability to act with integrity in difficult situations, and compassion to reach out to others. Robyn Hooper ('03) ...

    What IPS Gave to Me

    The four years I spent at IPS were some of the most exciting and rewarding years of my life. I was hard pressed to find anyone in later schooling who could say that they had hiked Mount Garibaldi; kayaked from Bowen Island to Anvil Island and back; spent a “Solo” night alone in the woods with only the most basic survival gear; gone on various cross-country skiing expeditions at Manning Park; flown an airplane; learned about history’s greatest philosophers and applied their ways of thinking to critical discourse on current issues; or defended a thesis for a Masterworks project in front of their fellow students, teachers, and greater community. Furthermore, I would not have been able to find anyone who had done all of these things in their early teenage years and with the same close-knit group of classmates and teachers. IPS taught me how to think critically, think globally (and act locally), and think with an open mind. This helped shape my personality and worldview at a very critical age in my life. I know this to be true of other students as well, and I believe this is why many of the friends I made at IPS remain my closest friends today. It was through IPS that I learned about Global Education at WVSS - a class that I took in Grade 11. As a class of about twenty students, we learned about global issues; fundraised for a trip to Nicaragua by selling fair-trade coffee and chocolate; and went for three weeks to Nicaragua to do development work, learn about sustainable agriculture practices, and experience another culture. This trip, in combination with IPS’ focus on global stewardship and exploration of other cultures, resulted in my decision to focus on International Development in my further education. My experience gained at IPS also helped me during my travels in Europe this past year. Firstly, I would not have been nearly as able to communicate with people in France had it not been for the AIM French program that I went through in IPS. Secondly, when my journey continued on to L’abri in England, the open mindedness (particularly toward other cultures’ ideals and lifestyles) that IPS instilled in me helped me greatly as I lived in a house for three months with about twenty other people from very different places and cultures around the world. I cannot imagine the person I would be today had I not attended IPS, but I can tell you that without having gone there, some of the greatest experiences of my life (both during my middle school years and afterward) probably would not have happened. For that I can only say thank you to IPS for making my middle school years truly remarkable, and for setting me up for the rest of my life. Emily Allan ('06) ...

    Why I choose IPS for my son.

    My son Theo entered IPS in Grade 6 in the fall of 2004 as an average student who was loosing interest and confidence in learning. Even during that first year things began to turn around for Theo. His marks and self-confidence improved and more importantly, the school had re-kindled his love of learning. Each succeeding year at Island Pacific School was another leap forward. By Grade 9 Theo was top of his class in science, math and social studies. He had developed into an excellent athlete and team player. His class was a tight group of girls and boys that liked and respected each other. Now that Theo is in grade 11 at West Vancouver High School, I can see him buildings on the strengths he developed at IPS. He is a happy, confident student with great work habits and has set himself high academic standards. For our family, our investment in sending our son to Island Pacific School has payed off huge dividends. ...

    Spring Reign Tournament in Seattle the Ultimate Experience

    Our trip to Seattle for Spring Reign was a great experience on all fronts. Of course, one of the absolute best parts of it was going to the Experience Music Project Museum before playing in the tournament. I had been looking forward to going there all week because I had heard great things about it. For example, you can go in to a sound proof room with a few of your friends and jam with three instruments. You can also record a song you played and take home the CD. I thought it was a great experience not only for me, but for my friends as well. The Jimi Hendrix Exhibit was really cool as well because they had one of the guitars Jimi Hendrix smashed after a concert. I think that the trip to the museum was a great start to the week. Spring Reign not only helped the team come together as a whole and participate, but also helped us improve vastly on both our catching and throwing skills. The weather in Seattle improved our playing and our spirits as it was a major step forward from the weather we left on Bowen Island. Coming back home from Seattle, knowing that I had just played Ultimate from about 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. for two days really lifted my confidence. The trip also brought me closer to my friends and let me experience 3 days spent solely with people from IPS. I think that my favourite part would have to be making a catch and hearing my team cheer me on. Hearing your team mates assuring you that you made a great catch or throw really lifts your spirits. At the end of the last day in Seattle the winners were announced and our school won the spirit award. As soon as that was announced we all cheered. I think how loud we cheered proved to the rest of the schools at Spring Reign how much we deserved the award. It showed how dedicated we were to the sport and how much team spirit we really had. Spring Reign was definitely one of the best experiences I've had all school year. An article was even published about our international trip in 'The Undercurrent'. Noah, Grade 6 ...

    Danielle Alan ('04) Addresses Class of 2009

    Good evening everyone. I was very honoured to be asked by Michael a couple months ago if I would speak at Rights of Passage. IPS has meant a lot to me and to my family, so I’m really happy to have the opportunity to be here tonight. I was thinking about the last time I spoke in front of this many people, and I think it was during my own Masterworks presentation. I wasn’t able to see any of the presentations this year, but I’m sure you all worked very hard and did very well. Congratulations. It may not have been easy, but hopefully it was something you are able to look back on and be proud of. It has been five years since I have been a student at IPS. I still have great memories of being here, playing ultimate, and going on the expeditions. It was amazing four years, and, looking back on it, I know that IPS had a huge role in shaping me into who I am today. IPS and Bowen Island have been great communities for me to have grown up in. I want to talk to you today about community and relationships, and what an important role those things can have throughout your life. IPS is definitely a unique community, and you may never find one like it again, but no matter where you go in life, or what you do, being surrounded by a community is something that can offer you support and care. Communities can help you when life doesn’t go according to plan. You’ve probably already had some experience with this during your time at IPS. On my grade 9 Quebec trip, I had a great time, but I also had a bit of an accident involving a zip line and a tree and I ended up breaking my leg. In Quebec, I felt a lot of support from my teachers and friends, who all took turns pushing my wheel chair and saying “Run, Danielle, run.” I had surgery when we got back to Vancouver, and was recovered enough to go on the kayak trip. I was still on crutches as we walked up the path to our solo spots. I had help setting up my tarp, but I spent the night like everyone else. I am really glad that I was able to experience my solo, and it was the community around me that made it possible. Next year, you are all going to high school. West Van is over 30 times as large as IPS. For some of you, the transition may be easy, for others, maybe not. For me, it wasn’t the best time of my life, but I want to share with you an experience that made it a lot more enjoyable for me. I first heard about the Global Education program from some IPS alumni who came back to the school to share about their trip. It is a course that allows students to experience first-hand what it is like to work in a developing country, specifically Nicaragua. The three-week trip at the end of the course was one of the most challenging and amazing times of my life. Not only did our class help out small communities in Nicaragua, but I also formed lasting relationships with some of the people on the trip. These people remain some of my closest friends today. I would encourage you to get involved in something at high school and to be connected to a smaller community – it’s a great way to form lasting relationships. The other thing I experienced firsthand in Nicaragua is that you can make a difference in your community and other communities around the world. One of my other great friends Megan was in Ghana a few months ago. She was living at an orphanage and taking care of some of the kids there. She also got to deliver the letters that some of you wrote for the kids. All of your help and fundraising, while it may not be enough to help every single person in Africa, or even in Ghana, still makes a difference for that community. Some of the best initiatives have started with one person, like Ryan Hreljac, who, at the age of 6, started raising money to build wells in Africa. The Ryan’s Well Foundation has now built over 500 wells and has provided water to more than 600,000 people. That’s just one example, but all it takes is one committed person – you can make a difference. So take the experiences you have had here at IPS and use them to make a difference wherever you may end up in the future. A community should be more than just the sum of its parts, and if you recognize this and contribute in what ways you can, you will live in a way that is the very best of what it means to be a human being. Danielle Allan (’04) ...

    IPS Alum, Kathryn Ovenell-Carter (’03)

    When Kathryn was still in Grade 10, her Bowen Island friends kidded her for quite a while after she confessed that her favorite Christmas present that year was a book about DNA. Now the Governor-General bronze medalist is delighted to be studying molecular biology, biochemistry, and philosophy at SFU. The WVSS graduate passed up scholarships from McGill and Queen’s for the opportunity to study in Neil Branda’s chemistry lab in her first year, and she is eagerly anticipating the time when she can do a term in International Co-op. ...

    Class of 2008 - Valedictory Address

    Good evening ladies and gentlemen, students and alumni, friends and guests: I would like to begin by thanking my family who helped me through my time at IPS. My mom always believed in me, and encouraged me to try my hardest. My dad consistently pushed me to make good choices. I am grateful that my parents were forgiving when I did make mistakes, and that they helped me to learn from them. My friends have also been a constant support and I am thankful for their friendship, belief in me, and everything I have learned from them. Malcolm Forbes once wrote, “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” In many ways over the past four years, IPS has done exactly this. IPS is different from other schools in many ways. Because it is a small school, there are strong relationships between the students and teachers. There is a high degree of respect for the teachers, and a sense that they really care about us. In the middle school years, most students just want to fit in, and avoid standing out in the crowd. At IPS everyone knows who you are, and it’s a good thing. There is no such thing as anonymity here. On every piece of IPS clothing it says: Wisdom, Courage, and Integrity and Learning To Make A Difference – the school’s mottos. Unlike some schools, we live by these words. By living with wisdom, courage, and integrity, we are able to find out who we really are. We discover our strengths by being pushed out of our comfort zones. Beyond just academic challenges we are expected to be leaders, especially in Grade 9. We are also challenged physically with our annual kayaking trip to Anvil, our hiking trip up Garibaldi, and our crosscountry skiing trip at Manning Park. In Grade 9 we are also put to the test emotionally with our overnight solo. Through this process, we may also discover our weaknesses, but at IPS we have the support and encouragement to transform them into strengths. IPS inspires you to work hard to be the best you can be. We have also learned to make a difference in the world around us. For example, The school participated in the 30-hour famine to raise money for food and water for children in Africa. We have learned that by each one of us doing something small, together, we can make a big difference. My hope for the Class of 2008 is that each one of you “makes a difference”. In the future, I would like to pick up a newspaper and see that someone from this graduating class built an energy efficient car, found a cure for cancer, or won the Nobel Peace Prize. I want the Grade 9 class to live fully and not be afraid to believe in themselves. We are often limited by a little voice in our head that tells us that we can’t achieve great things. IPS teaches us to block that voice out. My wish for IPS is that it keeps on expanding so that more people can benefit from the experience it offers. My advice to the younger students is to stick with it and go all the way through because it is worth it. Even though it may feel really hard at times, you always have the support you need. At this point I am stepping into a new chapter of my life but I know that what I have learned from IPS is always going to stay with me. I have gained the courage to face life’s many challenges, the wisdom to make good decisions and do the right thing and, I have a better understanding of what integrity means and how important it is. With these skills I believe that all of us will succeed at anything we set our minds to achieve. Thank you, Juliette Day, Class of 2008 ...

    Why I choose IPS for my daughter.

    Going to IPS was not our daughter's choice, it was one of those decisions that we, as parents, made on her behalf. As she fought us those first couple of years, we questioned whether or not we had made the right choice for Juliette. During her final year, we could see just how important this decision was and how lasting the beneifts were going to be. Hearing her valediction at graduation, we knew that she felt and knew it too. She continues to be enormously greateful for her four-year term at IPS and credits the school and her teachers with her growing self confidence (she has since delivered two lectures at UBC to future teachers), her broader sense of global responsibility (she continues with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards program) and her success academically and in life (she is doing well and is happy!) ...

    An international student reflects on IPS.

    What I like about IPS is that everyone is so bonded together like a family. IPS helps you to get involved in a lot of school activities, such as Ultimate, House Lunch, Assembly, Community service, etc. IPS helps you to find wisdom, courage, and integrity. The best thing about IPS is that it helps you to find who you really are so that you do better in the future. In IPS there is a subject called practical reasoning which really helps you to understand the world. Kevin ('08) ...

    An international student reflects on IPS.

    I am Juny from Korea who attended IPS from Grade 6 to Grade 8. I now attend high school studying at the Hawaii Preparatory Academy. When I first came to IPS, I was very nervous about meeting people from a different country, speaking a different language, and settling into a new school. For the first few weeks, I was homesick, of course. But the teachers and students at IPS welcomed me so well that I made my first foreign friend in just a one day. I learned many different things both in school and out of school such as ultimate frisbee, hiking and skiing. The friends at IPS were so nice and friendly to me that I became friends with all of them in just a few weeks. I was excited to go to school every single day. At the Rites of Passage, Graduation Ceremony, I cried. I'm not a guy who usually cries from sad movies and sad situations. But somehow, tears fell out of my eyes. All my friends cried too. That's how much I loved and enjoyed IPS and my friends. Here I am in Hawaii, in another island and a great school having fun. But I will never forget people in IPS and how much they loved me. Juny ...

    In the News


    February 26, 2016 - IPS Grade 9's Sleep Out Raises Awareness and $6403 for Covenant House

    “Don’t judge someone unless you have a walked a mile in their shoes”. Grade 9's Slept Out with Vancouver's Eastside's Covenant House. ...

    April 10, 2015 - A Night In the Cold to Understand Homelessness

    This past February, grade 8 & 9 students from IPS opened their hearts and minds to the devastating world of youth homelessness. ...

    February 6, 2015 - IPS Annual Science Fair and Open House Wed Feb 11, 2015

    This family-friendly event is an opportunity to view creative middle school science projects at Island Pacific School. Open to the community ...


    • International Baccalaureate (IB) Associations
    • Independent Schools Association of British Columbia (ISABC) Associations
    • Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) Associations

    Social Feeds

    Get more info

    Contact Name
    Barbara Bingham

    Phone Number:
    click to view number

    logo Get more information on Island Pacific School     Request a package   Website