Mike Gelbart, Co-Founder and Principal
PhD, certified high school teacher
Welcome to the Vancouver Independent School for Science and Technology (VISST). Before founding VISST, I was a computer science professor at UBC where I taught over 25 courses to thousands of students. At UBC I made two key observations. One, that university students are much more comfortable with well-defined short-term tasks than with ambiguity and long-term planning; this, I concluded, is likely a product of our current high school system. And two, I observed firsthand the insatiable demand for computer science at UBC and all universities around the world, which is well beyond our capacity to provide it. This is unfortunate, I felt, because kids are more than capable of learning computer science. Combining these observations with my teaching experience, I decided to create VISST along with a fantastic team. VISST is a non-profit high school in Vancouver that aims to address the struggles I observed in university students and the lack of computer science in high schools.
Our pedagogical approach is to combine project-based learning with rigorous fundamentals. The former builds teamwork skills, long-term planning, and comfort with ambiguity. The latter is an essential component to STEM excellence. An overarching theme of our educational philosophy is to have students interface with the real world as much as possible. Whether it is publishing an article, interpreting data from the news, or partnering with a community organization during a project, real-world experiences are motivating and educational. We would consider it a failure on our part if our students are left wondering, "Why am I learning this?"
Our summer camps follow the same VISST teaching philosophy in a more condensed format. At our camps you will find relevant skills, real-world applications and outstanding instructors. We look forward to having you join us. Welcome to the VISST community.