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Island Pacific School

Grades Gr. 6 TO Gr. 9 — West Vancouver- Bowen Island, BC (MAP)

Island Pacific School:

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School address

  • 671 Carter Road, Box 128, West Vancouver- Bowen Island, British Columbia, V0N 1G0 (MAP)
  • Busing not available

Our Perspective

How we see Island Pacific School

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.

School's Perspective

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How Island Pacific School sees itself

The school administration answered our questions

Who are you, as a school?

"Island Pacific School, an International Baccalaureate (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; hiking, sailing and kayaking expeditions. Small by design, and with a mission to equip and inspire students to cultivate their humanity, Island Pacific School, located on Nex̱wlélex̱wm (Bowen Island), fosters critical inquiry, community engagement and leadership."

What do you do differently and uniquely well?

"The core purpose of Island Pacific School is to equip and inspire students to cultivate their humanity. It encompasses all the elements of our core instructional programs to help them help them become confident and caring members of society as a whole. Our middle school education program is about more than pure academic excellence (1st curriculum): it’s a balance between academics and cultivating our humanity."

To your knowledge, why do families choose your school over others?

"Small by design, with a maximum of 72 students (up to 18 per grade), our students are taught by middle school experts and get to participate in a wide range of academic, artistic, and recreational pursuits designed to foster critical inquiry, community engagement and leadership. Our students are are alive and inspired, brave and accepted, and challenged daily to express the best of what it means to be human. They feel a sense of belonging and acceptance and are innovative and resilient."

What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

"Students sometimes learn as much, if not more, from the middle school activities in our extracurricular program. They are part of an intentional education strategy at Island Pacific school that challenges critical thinking, inquiry and the implementation of our values: wisdom, courage and integrity."

What might families find surprising about your school?

"Our students go on two extended trips into the great outdoors during the academic calendar: a fall hiking trip and a spring kayak trip. These expeditions provide physical and critical thinking challenges intended to bring out the best in individuals and the groups in which they work and play; challenges that call on the values on which Island Pacific School is founded: wisdom, courage and integrity.

Our school sport is Ultimate with emphasis the “Spirit of the Game”."

School Facilities

Photo-tour of facilities


School Videos

Insider Perspectives

How people from the school’s community see Island Pacific School

Video reviews of Island Pacific School

Alum, Casey James (2022)

Watch our alum interview with Casey James to learn about the unique experience of attending Island Pacific School.

Written reviews of Island Pacific School


Parent, Bonnie Scorer (2023)

Gr. 6 (current),Gr. 8 (current) — We have been so pleased with Island Pacific School for our two children. They are both very happy! T...

School leadership

Top-down influence on the school’s direction and tone

Message from school leadership

Scott Herrington, Head of School

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
  • 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.

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Island Pacific School

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