REVIEW OF Island Pacific School BY parent, Bonnie Scorer
- Date of Review
January 23, 2023
- Child 1
Gr. 8 - Gr. 9 (Male, Current Day Student)
- Child 2
Gr. 6 (Female, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
We have been so pleased with Island Pacific School for our two children. They are both very happy! The small class size is fantastic for focused teacher support on academics and for building community. Our children have made lovely friends and the teachers have been excellent at connecting with the students and their families. Both the principal and the educators have gone above and beyond in providing a positive atmosphere with many activities for students to develop both in their studies and socially. They are supportive of individual children's personal growth. Our children look forward to attending school each day, completing their projects, and participating in events and activities that the school holds with excitement. They are independent, responsible, engaged learners which is what is encouraged there!
(5) School Leadership
The school's principal communicates weekly with families through emails giving a heads-up for upcoming events, as well as hosting get-to-know-you experiences and other ways for parents/guardians/caregivers to connect. He is approachable and communicates issues should they arise with parents and students in a positive, collaborative manner. He is friendly, and professional and seeks to create positive experiences for students attending and their families as a whole. He is continuously working towards creating a warm, caring atmosphere and moving the school forward. The principal participates in teaching the children, and running extracurriculars and therefore has a good knowledge of each and every one of the pupils and who they are. This is his intention and the relationships that are built assist in creating a connection and respect.
The teachers at the school are knowledgeable in both subject matter and teaching methods. They create interesting experiences for the students in a variety of ways. They communicate with parents and equip the students with life-long skills. Because of the small nature of the classroom size (creating a low teacher-to-pupil ratio), the children get specific, guided instruction and feedback to help them achieve their potential. Our children's transition to Middle School or Junior High has been really positive because of how the school is structured with a cohesive atmosphere and individual attention. The teachers are friendly and exhibit a love of their career, putting in extra time and effort to make the school a positive, welcoming atmosphere for students to learn and grow.
The school strives to provide the students with the "why" and "how" of learning, not just the "what" in engaging ways. Our children have been challenged and have grown during their time at IPS. They are inquisitive learners and active participants because of the style of instruction at this International Baccalaureate school. There is a focus as well on being active members of the school and the broader community, contributing to society. They are able to devise, execute and revise their ideas, present their knowledge in a variety of ways, and communicate with their peers. They are able to determine what they have been successful at and how they might improve their understanding and presentation, or how they might extend an experience. Thus, they are able to identify and reflect on the process of learning itself.
Our children have had all sorts of diverse experiences through clubs, teams, excursions, and trips. We are really appreciative of the time that the teachers and administration put into extracurriculars and that there are a variety of offerings for different interests. Parents are actively encouraged to be a part of this process, whether it be sharing their knowledge of music, entrepreneurship, technology, cooking, running, crochet, etc. with the school's Monday Enrichment Program. Our children have benefitted not only from the connections that they get to form with other children's parents but the exposure to a wide range of skills, knowledge, and experience! This is a great way for families to continue their involvement in their children's education and to have meaningful connections with their child's peers.
The student body is close and cohesive due to the small class sizes. Our children have developed positive relationships both inside and outside of class and we are grateful for that. There is an emphasis on team building and positive interactions. Parents and/or guardians often hold activities outside of school for the children in the class for them to get to know each other better and bond. The school's pupils are supported to deal with any issues that may arise through mediation so that conflicts may be resolved, however, these are few and our teens have had such a wonderful time with their peers. Our experience is that the student body is comprised of families that are both committed to their child's education and the community as a whole.
(5) School Life
Our children LOVE Island Pacific School! We have been very happy with the experience, particularly as the transition to Junior High/Middle School can be quite difficult for some students. They feel confident, challenged, and part of a community. We can not thank the school enough for the experience and we would not hesitate to recommend the school to other families. Our nephews both attended IPS for their junior high experience and had the same feedback. Their classmates have gone on to do a range of neat things and the teachers obviously were so caring and connected to them that they remember all sorts of wonderful details about them to this day! The school has an excellent reputation on the island and we certainly valued the positive "word of mouth" recommendations in making our decision to apply.
Families are involved with the school and they have relationships that continue on outside of the school as well. Parents are welcome and encouraged to share their knowledge, and experience and to be a part of the many activities (Like the Monday Enrichment Program as described above). They are welcome to volunteer for House Lunches with a variety of themes. Parents can be involved in excursions, trips etc. Our children often comment on the dedication of the community- that families readily and excitedly volunteer and are welcome in their child's Middle School experience. We have found it to be a really lovely bunch! Therefore, we can say that community life contributes to the children's experience and that parents also benefit as well, developing friendships with each other (Many alumni parents still participate once children have moved on!) .
(5) School Location
The school location is stunning! Bowen Island is just beautiful and the school takes advantage of the atmosphere connecting students to the environment. Our impression of the island is that it is safe, connected, and welcoming. Some children from Vancouver attend by commuting on the ferry from Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver). Children then walk or ride to school. The school's facilities are in good condition and the students take care of the space to keep it this way. Many families on the island send their multiple children to school. This has been nice for our children in that they then have friendships with other sibling pairs. The school is in process of building a new field house over the next few years.
The admission process was thorough, without being intimidating. There was a focus on learning about each child to not only see if they were a match for the school's community and philosophies but also to gain a better sense of them as a learner and provide any support should they need them. Students get referral letters from previous teachers, submit current reports and meet for a pre-assessment to determine their prior knowledge, experiences, and areas in which they might need further attention to. Our son also met with the principal so that he could get a sense of our child and who they are as a person. For parents seeking financial support, there is a process to do so. Children can attend a tour and a day to see what they think of the school and if it is the "right fit" for them.