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Teachers who inspire

Students in B.C. schools amazed by mentors

Nobody knew exactly what Mr. Ravensbergen, the chemistry teacher, was going to talk about. But the senior boys and girls at Collingwood School, in Vancouver, filed dutifully into their weekly seminar to hear him. Read more


List of British Columbia private schools

 
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Langley, British Columbia — Whytecliff is a safe, empathetic & supportive place for teens with a diverse range of learning needs / personal challenges. Our positive community & high-growth environment pulls each child up to be their very best! View School Profile.


  • Safe, empathetic, supportive community for students with a diverse range of learning needs
  • Low student-to-educator ratio of less than 5:1 lets us really get to know you
  • Each child gets a personalized program tailored to their unique gifts, strengths, and talents
  • Dual-accredited as both an independent school and a Positive Youth Development program
  • Kids love it here! On average, student attendance doubles (vs. previous learning environment)
Grades:
8 to 12 (Coed)
Type:
Progressive
Tuition:
$4,900 to $19,500
Living:
Homestay/Day
Enrollment:
47
Avg. Class:
3 to 6
Whytecliff Agile Learning Centres 4900 HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • K to 7 Coed
  • $12,000

HongDe School provides K-Grade 7 students a Chinese (Mandarin) bilingual education in a safe and supportive learning environment that recognizes the individual needs of each student.

  • Day
  • Traditional
HongDe Elementary School 12000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Maple Ridge, British Columbia
    240th Street/Dewdney Trunk Road
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $24,500 to $34,500

Meadowridge is an IB Continuum World School that supports the development of the whole child in a safe, supportive and challenging environment.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Meadowridge School 24500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • NS to JK Coed
  • $6,450 to $18,420

CEFA is Canada’s leading Early Learning Private School, preparing children ages one to five for kindergarten and for life. CEFA offers the finest start in core education and fine arts.

  • Day
CEFA Early Learning - British Columbia 6450 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    Renfrew Street/Grandview Hwy
  • 10 to 12 Coed
  • $7,200 to $8,800 /semester

LCV High School is a unique place to learn. With a deep history of creative arts education, we have an enhanced modern curriculum that prepares students for success in post secondary education.

  • Day
  • Traditional
LaSalle College Vancouver High School 7200 Day Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
    Richmond Rd/McRae Ave
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $21,095 to $75,360

Independent Kindergarten to Grade 12 boarding and day school in Victoria, BC, Canada focusing on university and life preparation. Find out how a SMUS education can benefit your family.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
St. Michaels University School 21095 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $17,200 to $69,100

St. Margaret's School offers inter-disciplinary and experiential learning from JK3 to Grade 12. Confidence, leadership and academic rigor lead to student success. At SMS, 'She Can'!

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
St. Margaret's School 17200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Richmond, British Columbia
  • 6 to 10 Coed
  • $14,800 to $30,500

Windsor Hall, an IB MYP Candidate school, is the only school in Richmond, BC to offer the IB MYP Programme starting in grade 6. We will be opening in 2021 with our first cohort of grade 6 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Windsor Hall 14800 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • 4 to 12 Coed
  • $9,500 to $52,550

Brookes Westshore, an IB World School on beautiful Vancouver Island, BC, offers grades 4 to 12 and both day and boarding programmes, with an average class size of 12 students.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Brookes Westshore 9500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $26,900 to $27,900

Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School is a centre of excellence in developmentally informed instruction that empowers children with learning disabilities in a passionate, progressive and inspiring learning environment.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School 26900 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Surrey, British Columbia
    86th Avenue/156th Street
  • PS to K Coed
  • $2,500 to $4,000

Authentic Montessori Preschool. Students completing our 3 year program at The Maria Montessori School test extremely well. We balance academics, exploration and skills guided by your child's natural interests.

  • Day
  • Montessori
The Maria Montessori School 2500 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $18,500 to $23,000

Our rigorous, personalized programme and strong teacher-student relationships enable us to cultivate each student's talents, helping them build on strengths and discover the joy of learning.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Alcuin College 18500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Richmond, British Columbia
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $20,040 to $22,400

We emphasize critical thinking, as well as innovation, inspiring joy, and curiosity.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • Reggio Emilia
Pythagoras Academy 20040 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mill Bay, British Columbia
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $31,500 to $82,000

Brentwood is a truly co-educational, progressive day/boarding school for Grades 8 to 12 located on an oceanfront campus on Vancouver Island, BC. Tuition runs from $31,500 to $59,000.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
Brentwood College School 31500 HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
    Feltham/Tyndall
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $1,600 to $6,250

ArtsCalibre Academy empowers students through creativity, mindfulness and leadership. We offer comprehensive educational programs for Preschool through Grade 12.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
ArtsCalibre Academy 1600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Surrey, British Columbia
    152 Street/Highway 10
  • K to 7 Coed
  • $17,000 to $18,250

We understand the importance of developing a well rounded individual. Our Tech, Art and Sport Expert Streams are integrated with the Academic curriculum to amplify our students’ growth into capable and confident adults.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Glarea Elevated Learning 17000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia
    Harbourside Drive/
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $25,250 to $47,725

Bodwell High School in North Vancouver is a boarding school that enrolls 650 students. Tuition starts at $21,500. We provide Education for a Changing World. The school's motto is "Strength in Diversity."

  • Homestay/Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
Bodwell High School 25250 HighSchools Homestay Day Boarding Coed
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $22,600 to $25,100

Brockton School is an independent, co-ed, non-denominational, IB World School. Brockton hosts an Early Learning Years program, a Junior School, and a Senior School, with students from Junior Kindergarten to grade 12.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Brockton School 22600 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
    Upper Levels Highway/Cypress Bowl exit
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $20,000 to $25,000

Mulgrave School offers programmes from Preschool to Grade 12 in West Vancouver to all genders. Its average class size is 20 students with teacher to student ratios of 1:8.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Mulgrave School 20000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    West Broadway/Stephens Street
  • K to 9 Coed
  • $17,270

Pear Tree is a progressive elementary and high school located in Kitsilano, Vancouver. A Pear Tree student is one who has lifelong confidence to pursue their passions and tackle life's challenges.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Pear Tree Elementary 17270 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Duncan, British Columbia
    Brownsey Avenue/Government Street
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $5,450 to $52,330

Queen Margaret's School is a gender inclusive independent day/boarding university preparatory school in Duncan, BC that focuses on preparing young trailblazers...no two journeys are the same.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
Queen Margaret's School 5450 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    West Hastings St./Granville St.
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $16,500 to $22,800

Alexander Academy is a private high school offering the BC Dogwood High School Diploma and a unique University Transfer Program in a culturally rich and academically challenging environment.

  • Homestay/Day
  • Progressive
Alexander Academy 16500 HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Kamloops, British Columbia
    Summit/McGill
  • 10 to 12 Coed
  • $22,950 to $38,750

MLWS offers a unique high school model - a high school located on a university campus. We offer “dual acceptance” that allows for students in grades 11 and 12 to receive conditional acceptance to our partner university.

  • Day/Homestay/Boarding
  • Traditional
Maple Leaf World Schools - Canada 22950 Day Homestay Boarding Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    W 8th Ave/Laurel Street
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $7,800 to $19,200

We are an arts-based, hands-on, creative high school in Vancouver (grades 08 to 12) that has already established a record of excellence in getting students admitted to some of the best arts universities in North America.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Canada Royal Arts High School 7800 HighSchools Day Coed
  • Surrey, British Columbia
    152nd Street/24th Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $3,500 to $20,000

WRCA exists to inspire and cultivate citizens of Godly character who transform their world for Christ. We do this through integrated faith based teaching and the International Baccalaureate programme for JK - grade 12.

  • Homestay/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
White Rock Christian Academy 3500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Lantzville, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $13,475 to $39,240

Aspengrove School is the only independent, non-denominational, co-educational school in Nanaimo, BC. Our school teaches the International Baccalaureate Curriculum through a team of passionate faculty to JK - Grade 12.

  • Homestay/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Aspengrove School 13475 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $26,200

With over 120 years of excellence in all-girls’ education, our rigorous academic program is complemented by strong arts, design technology and athletic programs. Financial assistance is available.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Crofton House School 26200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $19,475 to $69,995

GNS is an independent JK-12 International Baccalaureate boarding and day-school in Victoria, BC, that challenges and supports each of our students to do their best through truth and courage in learning and in life.

  • Day/Boarding/Homestay
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Glenlyon Norfolk School 19475 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Homestay Coed
  • Summerland, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $11,275 to $53,500

UNISUS was founded by the leaders of the top Private Schools in BC. Based on IB Education/Innovation/Technology, Entrepreneurship/ Outdoor Education. Boarding, Sports Academies and Global Partnerships/Opportunities.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Unisus School 11275 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    West Georgia Street/Robson Street
  • 10 to 12 Coed
  • $22,900

We aim to create the opportunity for students to achieve their learning goals. In collaborative learning spaces, students explore content, ideas and perspectives to better understand the world around them.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Lowell High School 22900 Day Coed
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $22,800 to $27,150

Collingwood creates opportunities for our JK to Grade 12 students to excel. Our four strand approach is delivered through a comprehensive educational experience that in collaborative, interdisciplinary and relevant.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Reggio Emilia
Collingwood School 22800 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • 12 Coed
  • $1 to $58,000

The UWC National Committee of Canada and Pearson College UWC represent the United World Colleges in Canada. We are seeking daring young Canadians who aspire to make the world a better place.

  • Boarding
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
UWC Canada 1 Boarding Coed
  • Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $31,625 to $79,630

Beginning in Grade 8, our unique Shawnigan journey purposefully guides students through a distinct, unparalleled and bold educational experience on our stunning waterfront campus on Canada’s beautiful West Coast.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
Shawnigan Lake School 31625 HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    Cambie/Nelson
  • K to 6 Coed
  • $16,580

Claren Academy is a future-focused independent school located in the heart of Vancouver. We give students the tools to be creative, competent, and happy in their changing world.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Claren Academy 16580 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed

"How many of you have families that have been affected by cancer?" he asked. About a quarter of the students put up their hands. What about close friends? Three quarters.

Then James Ravensbergen launched into a talk about his search for a cancer cure. He had spent two years in the early '90s at the University of British Columbia and the B.C. Cancer Research Centre trying to come up with a compound that would help radiation tell the difference between malignant and healthy cells. He didn't find one, but his work wasn't for nothing - others have since picked up his master's thesis and are improving on his research.

Since that spring lecture, students have looked at Ravensbergen differently. He is no longer simply Mr. Ravensbergen, the chemistry teacher, but a flesh-and-blood example of how chemistry class can lead to something much more meaningful.

"It seemed to me he was speaking from the heart," says head boy Christian Hordo, who is at university this year in a castle in East Sussex, England, as part of the study-abroad program at Montreal's McGill University. "I know that if I wanted to get into that specific field, I know I could turn to Mr. Ravensbergen for help."

You don't have to look hard in B.C.'s private and independent schools to find people like Ravensbergen - teachers whose unique accomplishments in other fields give their teaching a "real-world" legitimacy in the eyes of students. Whether they've searched for a cancer cure, represented Canada on the playing field or published award-winning poetry, these teachers have the capacity to inspire young minds. Of course, you can find such role models in public schools, too, but their prevalence in even the smallest private schools is striking enough to make you wonder if they are being actively recruited.

Ravensbergen was offered his job at Collingwood a mere five days after seeing a posting for it in a newspaper. Would the public school system have been so quick to hire him? His master's degree would have put him in a higher salary bracket than a teacher without one, so a school district facing budget pressures would have had reason to favour a less well-educated candidate - teaching ability and all other things being equal, of course.

Most private schools, however, would welcome the higher degree. A candidate with such credentials might cost a little more, but the investment is worthwhile when you're competing with other schools for students. An interested family on a one-day visit might like to meet a biology teacher with world-renowned expertise on the Galapagos Islands, or a business teacher who made millions in the private sector before "retiring" to teach.

"I still think it's most important that, besides the depth of their subject knowledge, teachers really have a good pedagogical background, which means they have to have a real understanding of child development and how people learn," says Gail Ruddy, Head of School at York House School in Vancouver.

"Even if you've been an expert in an area, that doesn't necessarily mean you can give that back to kids. If (an applicant) has both, then you sure would want the person that has that kind of cachet for the kids, because they do look up to people. They like people who have accomplished things."

Over at Vancouver's St. George's School, math teacher Pat Palmer presides over silence as a dozen students sit hunched over their textbooks preparing for final exams. Palmer is a quiet, bespectacled man of about 40, who speaks in the soft, measured tones of a librarian. Gavin Berman and Michael Landels might be the only students in the room who know that he could once elicit roars from a stadium full of 50,000 rugby fans.

Berman and Landels play for the St. George's rugby team, which Palmer has coached since about the time he made his debut on the wing for Canada's national team in 1983. Palmer retired from international play 11 years later, having scored more tries than any national team member in history.

He doesn't advertise his accomplishments, but the boys have heard the whispers.

"I heard he ran the 100 in 10.6," says Landels, his voice low enough to avoid embarrassing the teacher.

Palmer, a St. George's grad, coached at the school for several years before he was hired as a teacher following the 1987 World Cup. His rugby accomplishments and "old-boy" status helped him get his foot in the door, but his way with the kids kept him there.

"Everyone on the team has so much respect for the guy. There's almost a feeling that we want to win for him more than for us," says Berman. "And it carries over to the classroom. You look at the guy and how modest he is and all he's done, and there's just so much respect."

The new creative writing teacher at St. Michaels University School in Victoria, BC, gets similar respect from his students. Terence Young is a published poet who moved to SMUS from a nearby public school, Claremont Secondary, two years ago. His first collection, The Island In Winter, was nominated for a Governor General's Award in 1999. His first book of short fiction, Rhymes With Useless, was published by Raincoast Books in August.

"I think it's important that you model in your own life the things that you are preaching," says Young. So it's not that the subject is just something you get paid to teach, but something that you believe in, that you are engaged in and take seriously."

His reasons for switching schools were simple: Claremont's program had become so strong and well-supported that it would survive and thrive without him, and he wanted a new constituency in which to spread his enthusiasm for writing.

Ruddy has some accomplished teachers on her staff at York House, an all-girls' school not far from St. George's. Thelma Wright, for example, is a two-time track-and-field Olympian and a member of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. But York House's most significant role model might be Ruddy herself.

From her office window, Ruddy can watch girls from the junior school swarm the playground equipment during their breaks. She remembers when the equipment was being installed, and the contractor asked her if she wanted him to modify the original design - you know, to accommodate girls.

Ruddy would have none of it. Little girls can do anything little boys can, she reasoned. And York House students don't have to look any further than their administration for proof. Five of the school's six senior administrators are women, which means no student at York House grows up thinking it's unusual for women to be in charge.

"The nice thing is we don't even have conversations about it, like, 'Oh, those are women up there,'" says Carol Thompson, a graduating student who is taking arts at Columbia University in New York City this fall. "We just know. It's just part of our mindset, and it's part of how we look at ourselves."

Stephanie Tait, also a Grade 12 student at York House, says a big reason Ruddy's leadership has such an impact is because she doesn't do it from a distance.

"She gets very involved in students' lives," says Tait. "I went through some really difficult times, and she was really interested on a personal level, like 'Stephanie, how are you?' She approaches you in the hall, puts her hand on your shoulder, really looks you in the eye and wants to know how you are. And that's really what counts. When they reach you on a personal level, that's what helps you grow into who you really are, which is kind of what York House is all about."

And that's what bringing role models into schools is all about. It's more than an opportunity for students to be taught by people in the know - it's a chance to make human connections that remain in their memories and inspire them throughout a life of learning.

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