Island Pacific School, an IB Middle School offers distinctly different programs including classes in reasoning, philosophy and ethics; a self-directed research project called Masterworks, monthly community service; a musical; and hiking, sailing and kayaking expeditions. Small by design, and a mission to equip and inspire students to cultivate their humanity, Island Pacific School, located on Nex̱wlélex̱m (Bowen Island), fosters critical inquiry, community engagement and leadership.
Learning at Island Pacific School during COVID-19
What learning looks like now: The health and safety of our students, staff and their families remains our top priority. Please see our website for most current policies and protocols.
Island 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.
Central to your child's school experience is the underlying curriculum taught in the classroom. "Curriculum" refers to both what is taught and how it's taught. When considering the different curricula outlined in the next few pages, keep in mind that few schools fall neatly into one category or another. Most schools' curricula comprise a blend of best practices drawn from multiple curriculum types. Having said that, most schools do have a general overall curriculum type. These are identified for each school on OurKids.net.
Curriculum approach at Island Pacific School: Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate
Island Pacific School has a Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Traditional, Progressive, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf approach).
[Show: About Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate?]
Liberal Arts curricula share with traditional programs their emphasis on core knowledge-acquisition, but tend to borrow more best practices from the progressive approach. A Liberal Arts program might still feature group work and projects, for example, contrary to the more singular emphasis on tests and essays at a Traditional program.
Curriculum at schools on OurKids.net
Liberal arts - 17%   Traditional - 15%   Progressive - 17%   Montessori - 17%   Reggio Emilia - 17%   Waldorf - 17%
Island Pacific School has a International Baccalaureate approach to secondary curriculum.
Some private schools offer International Baccalaureate (IB) programming. The "Diploma Programme" is offered to students in the final two years of high school, while the "Primary Years Programme" (ages 3 to 12) and "Middle Years Programme" (ages 11 to 16) serve as preparation for the diploma program.
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, Island Pacific School is an IB Middle Years Program school with a total of 72 students, and is accredited by both ISABC and CAIS.
These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.
Mathematics at schools on OurKids.net
Equal balance - 33%   Traditional math - 34%   Discovery math - 33%
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.
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.
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.
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.
Literature at schools on OurKids.net
Traditional - 34%   Social justice - 33%   Equal balance - 33%
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.
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).
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 approach at Island Pacific School: Perennialism
Island Pacific School has a Perennialism approach to Humanities and Social Sciences (as opposed to Pragmatism , Equal Balance approach).
[Show: About 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.
Humanities and Social Sciences at schools on OurKids.net
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.
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.
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.
Effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy through the curriculum. However, this is not a dominant focus.
Computers and Technology at schools on OurKids.net
Medium integration - 33%   Light integration - 34%   Heavy integration - 33%
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).
This refers to the rate at which students move through the curriculum (e.g., topics, textbook material, skills, etc.). Curriculum pace is often defined in comparison to provincial standards.
Curriculum Pace approach at Island Pacific School: Standard-enriched
Island Pacific School has a Standard-enriched approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Accelerated, Student-paced approach).
[Show: About Standard-enriched?]
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.
What Island Pacific School says: This information is not currently available.
Flexible pacing style
Flexible pacing style
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
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.
Through the collective mindset of teachers, administrators, students, and parents, each school develops and maintains its own academic culture. This generally relates to the norms and expectations created around academic performance. Many parents look to private schools because they want a specific type of culture. Some want a rigorous environment that will elevate their child to new heights. Others want a nurturing environment that will help their child develop a passion for learning.
Academic Culture approach at Island Pacific School: Supportive
Island Pacific School has a Supportive approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Rigorous approach).
[Show: About 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.
Academic Culture at schools on OurKids.net
Supportive - 50%   Rigorous - 50%
What Island Pacific School says: Students participate in a wide range of academic, artistic, and recreational pursuits designed to foster critical inquiry, community engagement and leadership. Guided by a highly qualified teaching staff, the middle school programs at IPS are designed to equip and inspire. They provide a foundation for Grade 6-9 students who may wish to pursue International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) programs in high school. At Island Pacific School, our middle school programs are developed to provide opportunities to experience new adventures. We are committed to delivering an exceptional middle school education – one that engages and inspires students for life.
Schools have specific goals regarding how they want their educate and develop their students. This is part of a school's overall philosophy or vision, which is contained in its mission statement. While they tend have several developmental aims, schools tend to priortize certain aims, such as intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, or physical development.
Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced
"Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation."
Secondary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
The goal is to cultivate "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.
Schools offer a wide range of approaches and services to support students with special needs. This may include individualized learning, one-on-one support, small classes, resource rooms, and learning aids. These supports may be provided in a number of different environments such as a dedicated special needs school or class, an integrated class, a withdrawal class, or a regular class with resource support or in-class adaptations.
Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
This is a learning disability that can limit a child's ability to read and learn. It can have a variety of traits. A few of the main ones are impaired phonological awareness and decoding, problems with orthographic coding, and auditory short-term memory impairment.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
This is a sound differentiation disorder involving problems with reading, comprehension, and language.
This is a kind of specific learning disability in math. Kids with this math disorder have problems with calculation. They may also have problems with math-related concepts such as time and money.
This is a kind of specific learning disability in writing. It involves problems with handwriting, spelling, and organizing ideas.
Language Processing Disorder
This is characterized by having extreme difficulty understanding what is heard and expressing what one wants to say. These disorders affect the area of the brain that controls language processing.
Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
These involve difficulties interpreting non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. They're usually characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and weaker motor, visual-spatial, and social skills.
Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
A characteristic seen in people with learning disabilities such as Dysgraphia or Non-verbal LD. It can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination.
Refers to a range of conditions that involve challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and speech and nonverbal communication. They also involve unique strengths and differences. For instance, there are persons with both low- and high-functioning autism (some claim the latter is identical to Asperger's syndrome).
On the autism spectrum, Asperger's is considered quite mild in terms of symptoms. While traits can vary widely, many kids with Asperger's struggle with social skills. They also sometimes fixate on certain subjects and engage in repetitive behaviour.
his is associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.
This is a condition characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (e.g., reasoning, learning, and problem solving). Intellectual disabilities are also known as general learning disabilities (and used to be referred to as a kind of mental retardation).
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. These may include growth deficits, facial anomalies, and damage to the central nervous system, which can lead to cognitive, behavioural, and other problems.
roubled teens tend to have problems that are intense, persistent, and can lead to quite unpredictable behaviour. This can lead to behavioural and emotional issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, criminal behaviour, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.
This is a mental health disorder also called "major depression." It involves persistent feelings of sadness, loss, and anger. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in daily activities, such as school, work, or one's social life.
This is a mood disorder involving intense, relentless feelings of distress and fear. They can also have excessive and persistent worry about everyday situations, and repeated episodes of intense anxiety or terror.
This involves persistent thoughts about ending one's life.
Drug and alcohol abuse
This involves the excessive use of drug and/or alcohol, which interferes with daily functioning.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
This is a disruptive behavioural disorder which normally involves angry outbursts, often directed at people of authority. This behaviour must last continuously for six months or more and significantly interfere with daily functioning.
This is a condition of the central nervous system. It affects the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of motor control, memory loss, depression, and cognitive difficulties.
his refers to a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture.
Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder which weakens the body's muscles. Causes, symptoms, age of onset, and prognosis vary between individuals.
This is a condition present at birth due to the incomplete formation of the spine and spinal cord. It can lead to a number of physical challenges, including paralysis or weakness in the legs, bowel and bladder incontinence, hydrocephalus (too much fluid in the brain), and deformities of the spine.
Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
This is a Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Also known as "sensory integration disorder," it affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech.
Visual impairment is a decreased ability or inability to see that can't be fixed in usual ways, such as with glasses. Some people are completely blind, while others have what's called "legal blindness."
Hearing impairment, also known as "hearing loss," is a partial or total inability to hear. The degree of hearing impairment varies between people. It can range from complete hearing loss (or deafness) to partial hearing loss (meaning the ears can pick up some sounds).
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition, which affects the body's respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects young children and adults.
Accommodating a wide range of physical conditions and disabilities.
Schools support students with gifted or advanced learning abilities in a several ways. Whether they offer a full-time gifted program or part-time support, they normally provide some form of accelerated learning (delivering content at a faster pace) or enrichment (covering content more broadly or deeply). Many schools also offer a wide range of in-class adaptations to support advanced learners, such as guided independent studies, project-based learning, and career exploration.
Curriculum delivery: This information is not currently available.
Homework is work that's assigned to students for completion outside of regular class time. There's a long-standing debate over homework. Should homework be assigned to school-age children? If so, in what grades? And how much homework should be assigned? In selecting the right school for your child, it's important to look closely at a school's homework policy.
In grade Gr. 9, Island Pacific School students perform an average of 30 mins of homework per night.
Island Pacific School
What Island Pacific School says about their flipped classroom policy: This information is not currently available.
While all schools measure individual progress and achievement in students, they have different ways of doing this. For instance, many traditional schools gauge progress through report cards, which give students lettered or numbered grades. Other schools, meanwhile, measure progress in other ways, either in addition to or instead of giving grades. For instance, they may offer prose-based feedback (i.e, comments), academic achievement reporting, habits and behaviour reporting, and parent-teacher meetings. In choosing the right school for your child, take a close look at its policy for measuring the individual progress of students.
While academics remain the priority for most private schools, many also place a strong focus on a well-rounded education and encourage participation in extracurricular activities such as sports, music, arts, or clubs. Involvement in extracurriculars helps stimulate students in their studies, makes them more motivated to learn, and can make school more enjoyable and fulfilling. Extracurricular activities can also provide students with a much-needed break from the stresses of academics, while helping them to develop skills and allowing them to take part in valuable social situations.
What Island Pacific School says:
Excursions: We think it important that students get out and see the world around them. So, once a month we take students on excursions, or field trips. These experiential learning outings are meant to give students academic, cultural and fun experiences they could not get within the confines of a regular classroom setting.
Expeditions: Middle School Education includes taking our students on two extended trips into the great outdoors during the academic calendar: a fall hiking trip and a spring kayak trip.
Ultimate Team Sport & Tournaments: Island Pacific School’s sport is Ultimate, a low-contact frisbee game originally invented by high-schoolers. Rules are enforced by the players themselves, who rely on the “Spirit of the Game” for fair play.
Competitive sports: N/A Recreational sports: N/A
Legend: Competitive offered Recreational offered
Track & Field
Island Pacific School offers 8 clubs and extracurricular programs.
This can depend on a number of factors, including the type of school, living arrangements, what’s included in tuition, school location, resources, and facilities. Many private schools in Canada have tuition that ranges between $6,000 and $12,000 a year. While some schools, such as schools which provide room and board, can be more expensive, many of these schools provide ways to defray the costs of tuition. For instance, they may offer merit-based scholarships or needs-based financial aid (often referred to as “bursaries” or “subsidies”).
Day (Domestic)Day (International)
What Island Pacific School says about their tuition: 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.
2nd child (sibling)
Need-based financial aid
Grade range that need-based aid is offered:
6 to 9
Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid
Private schools come in all shapes and sizes. Some larger schools have enrolment numbers in the thousands, while some smaller schools have only a few dozen students. Boarding schools tend to be on the larger side, while alternative schools, such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Waldorf, are normally smaller. Besides the overall size of school, there are other important facts you’ll want to know about a school’s enrolment. For instance, here you can learn about a school’s enrolment for separate streams (if they have them), such as day and boarding, its average class size, and its average enrolment per grade.
Gr. 6 to Gr. 9
Average class size
12 to 18
% of international students (total enrolment)
Number of different nationalities within student population
Private schools in Canada have admissions policies. All schools have some required application materials, though these vary between schools. These may include letters of application, application fees, essays, and exams (such as the SSAT). Many schools also require interviews with prospective students, either with their parents, on their own, or both. Schools also have different standards and priorities when evaluating student applications, different acceptance rates (which may vary between grade levels), and target different kinds of students. To improve your child’s chances of acceptance, you should find out everything you can about a school’s admissions policies and how they assess applicants.
This is the percentage of applicants typically accepted into the school. So if 50 students are admitted out of 100 applicants, the school has an overall acceptance rate of 50%.
Student Entry Points
This shows approximately how many openings there are likely to be in each grade in a typical year, as well as the estimated acceptance rate for each grade level.
Day Acceptance (Acceptance rate)
16 - 18 (85%)
1 - 2 (10%)
1 - 2 (10%)
1 - 2 (5%)
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.
Island Pacific School is a small, independent, IB Grade 6-9 middle school that has operated on Bowen Island for over twenty-five 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
A 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.
Does Island Pacific School have good reviews? You can read 1 review about Island Pacific School via this link.
What is the acceptance rate at Island Pacific School? The overall acceptance rate at Island Pacific School is 85%. This rate varies depending on the grade. More details about acceptance rates per grade are here.
What is the curriculum pace at Island Pacific School? Island Pacific School has a Standard-enriched approach to curriculum pace (as opposed to Accelerated or Student-paced). Learn more about curriculum pace here.
How many students attend Island Pacific School? There are 72 students enrolled at Island Pacific School from Gr. 6 to Gr. 9. More details about enrollment are available here.
Do students at Island Pacific School wear uniforms? Yes
Join the Our Kids roundtable discussion about Island Pacific School. Alumni and current parents are answering questions and sharing their insights—about the school’s culture, strengths, and weaknesses.