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Vancouver Independent School for Science and Technology:
The Our Kids Report > Academics
Grades 8 TO 9 — Vancouver, BC (Map)


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Vancouver Independent School for Science and Technology:
THE OUR KIDS REPORT
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Vancouver Independent School for Science and Technology ACADEMICS & EXTRACURRICULARS

Curriculum Progressive

[Show definition of Curriculum]

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 VISST: Progressive

VISST has a Progressive approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Traditional, Liberal Arts, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf approach).

[Show: About Progressive?]

Progressive (sometimes called "in- quiry-based") curricula attempt to place children's interests and ideas at the heart of the learning experience. Instead of lessons being driven by predetermined pathways, progressive curricula are often "emergent", with learning activities shaped by students' questions about the world. Instead of starting with academic concepts and then tying it to everyday experience, progressive methods begin with everyday experience and work back to an academic lesson. Teachers provide materials, experiences, tools and resources to help students investigate a topic or issue. Students are encouraged to explore, reflect on their findings, and discuss answers or solutions.

Curriculum at schools on OurKids.net:
  Progressive - 32%
  Traditional - 41%
  Liberal arts - 14%
  Montessori - 11%
  Reggio Emilia - 0%
  Waldorf - 2%

What VISST says about their overall curriculum and approach:

Our curriculum philosophy involves a mix of rigorous fundamentals with project-based learning. Projects provide an incredible opportunity for students to pursue their interests, practice teamwork, grapple with ambiguity, and go deeper when their curiosity tugs. On the other hand, we also believe in the value of structured learning to build up fundamental knowledge and skills through practice, continually pushing the boundaries of our students’ capabilities. Our courses, STEM and otherwise, will be delivered through this combination of techniques. We have found that, often, progressive education models come at the expense of rigor. However, there is no need for this tradeoff: a curriculum can be both progressive — incorporating methods like project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, emphasis on self-reflection and mindfulness, etc. — and also highly rigorous. We are aware that an entirely project-based approach may leave gaps in students' knowledge; thus we combine projects with methodical and structured learning to achieve the best of both worlds.


Approach

Focus
Science and technology

Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics

    Equal Balance

    Mathematics approach at VISST: Equal Balance

    VISST has an Equal Balance approach to Mathematics (as opposed to Traditional Math, Discovery Math approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.

    Mathematics at schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 68%
      Traditional math - 27%
      Discovery math - 5%

    What VISST says:

    This information is not currently available.

    Textbooks and supplementary materials:

    This information is not currently available.

    Calculator policy:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Science

    Equal Balance

    Science approach at VISST: Equal Balance

    VISST has an Equal Balance approach to Science (as opposed to Expository, Inquiry approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    Science programs that balance expository and inquiry learning equally will likely have an equal blend of tests and experiments; direct, textbook-based instruction and student-centred projects.

    Science at schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 70%
      Expository - 5%
      Inquiry - 25%

    Teaching approach:

    This information is not currently available.


    Treatment of evolution:

    Subjectoffered
    Evolution as consensus theory
    Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
    Evolution is not taught

    Topics covered in curriculum:

    Subjectoffered
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Ecology
    Geology
    Meteorology
    Physics
    Physiology
    Zoology
  • Literature

    Equal Balance

    Literature approach at VISST: Equal Balance

    VISST has an Equal Balance approach to Literature (as opposed to Traditional, Social Justice approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    These literature programs draw in equal measure from “Traditional” and “Social Justice” programs.

    Literature at schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 75%
      Traditional - 22%
      Social justice - 3%

    What VISST says:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Humanities and Social Sciences

    What VISST says:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Foreign Languages

    What VISST says:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Fine Arts


    Program offers:

    Subjectoffered
    Acting
    Dance
    Drama/Theatre
    Graphic Design
    Music
    Visual Arts

    What VISST says:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Computers and Technology

    Heavy integration

    Computers and Technology approach at VISST: Heavy integration

    VISST has a Heavy integration approach to Computers and Technology (as opposed to Light integration, Medium integration approach).

    [Show: About Heavy integration?]

    A major effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy throughout the curriculum and in everything students do. Digital literacy is understood to be a fundamental skill in the 21st century: it therefore follows, the idea goes, that teachers should find ways to connect every lesson back to technology. Effort is made to ensure the use of technology is meaningful and advances students’ skills beyond what they would otherwise be from using computers outside the classroom.

    Computers and Technology at schools on OurKids.net:
      Heavy integration - 31%
      Light integration - 17%
      Medium integration - 52%

    What VISST says:

    This information is not currently available.


    Program covers:

    Subjectoffered
    Computer science
    Robotics
    Web design
  • Physical Education

    What VISST says:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Advanced Placement courses

    10 courses
    • AP Physics 1
    • AP Physics 2
    • AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
    • AP Physics C: Mechanics
    • AP Statistics
    • AP Biology
    • AP Calculus AB
    • AP Calculus BC
    • AP Chemistry
    • AP Computer Science A
  • Sex and health education

    What VISST says:

    This information is not currently available.

Language English

Learn about Vancouver Independent School for Science and Technology's languages of instruction and enrolment.

VISST offers English as the primary language of instruction.

Language of enrolment include: English

Curriculum Pace Accelerated

[Show definition of Curriculum Pace]

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 VISST: Accelerated

VISST has an Accelerated approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Standard-enriched, Student-paced approach).

[Show: About Accelerated?]

The main curriculum accelerates beyond the pace of the provincial one; ALL students do the work of OLDER public-school peers in tangible and measurable ways. This accelerated pace is maintained by the teachers and school, (through textbook selection, topic selection, grading, assignment standards and expectations, etc).

Curriculum Pace at schools on OurKids.net:
  Accelerated - 18%
  Standard-enriched - 59%
  Student-paced - 23%

What VISST says about their curriculum pace:

VISST’s offers the full BC curriculum augmented with additional STEM offerings. The program involves a mix of acceleration and enrichment. For example, Math & Science are accelerated in the early years, to make time for AP courses, Statistics/Economics/Philosophy, and Work Experience opportunities in the higher grades.


Flexible pacing style

Type Offered
Subject-streaming (tracking)
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
Differentiated assessment

What VISST says about their flexible pacing:

VISST heavily incorporates project-based learning into the curriculum. During projects, students work at their own pace and can dive as deeply into a topic as their curiosity takes them. Outside of projects, VISST provides individualized instruction through small class sizes, expert teachers, and community mentors.

Academic Culture Rigorous

[Show definition of Academic Culture]

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 VISST: Rigorous

VISST has a Rigorous approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Supportive approach).

[Show: About Rigorous?]

A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.

Academic Culture at schools on OurKids.net:
  Rigorous - 51%
  Supportive - 49%

What VISST says about their academic culture:

Students attend VISST because they are looking to challenge themselves. That said, a core value at VISST is balance. VISST students are not expected to sacrifice a good night's sleep due to homework. We want to make the most of students' high school experience, using time effectively, but we recognize the boundaries. We want our students to have both a great education and a happy childhood.

Developmental priorities Balanced

[Show definition of Developmental priorities]

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 VISST says about their developmental priorities:

Balance is a key value at VISST. We view the purpose of school as beyond academics. The primary purpose of school is intellectual development, but school should also help students understand their passions and learn about career options; it should be a time of character development and personal growth; it should be a place where lifelong friendships are forged; and it should be fun! We keep all these purposes in mind when making decisions at VISST.

Special needs support

[Show definition of Special needs support]

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.

A - Forms of Support
Accommodation:
Modification:
Remediation:
B - Environments
Indirect Support:
Resource Assistance:
Withdrawal Assistance:
Partial Integration:
Full-Time Class:

Special NeedNeed
Forms of SupportA
EnvironmentsB
ADHD
  • Learning disabilities
    Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
    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.
    Dyscalculia
    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.
    Dysgraphia
    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.
  • Developmental
    Autism
    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).
    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.
    Down syndrome
    his is associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.
    Intellectual disability
    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).
    Williams syndrome
    This is a rare genetic disorder present at birth. It is characterized by intellectual disabilities or learning problems, unique facial features, and cardiovascular problems.
    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
    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.
  • Behavioral and Emotional
    Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
    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.
    Clinical Depression
    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.
    Clinical anxiety
    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.
    Suicidal thoughts
    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.
  • Physical
    Multiple sclerosis
    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.
    Cerebral palsy
    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
    Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder which weakens the body's muscles. Causes, symptoms, age of onset, and prognosis vary between individuals.
    Spina Bifida
    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.
    Blindness
    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."
    Deafness
    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
    Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition, which affects the body's respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects young children and adults.
    Multiple physical
    Accommodating a wide range of physical conditions and disabilities.

Read our guide to special needs schools and special education


Academic support

TypeOffered
Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties

Mild but clinically diagnosed learning disabilities

TypeOffered
Accommodations
Modifications
Extra support

Additional support

TypeOffered
Social skills programs
Occupational therapy
Psychotherapy
Speech-language therapy

Gifted learner support In-class adaptations

[Show definition of Gifted learner support]

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: Acceleration and enrichment

There is an equal emphasis on acceleration and enrichment.


In-class adaptations

Program Offered
Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

What VISST says about their gifted learner support:

Gifted learners often gravitate to VISST because the school is designed to challenge students. If a student is bored at VISST, we consider this a failure on our part! Gifted and other advanced learners are kept engaged through open-ended projects, multi-age collaborations, mentorships. Furthermore, VISST's teachers are experts in their fields, and able to accommodate learning experiences beyond what is typically considered high school level material.

Homework Policy

[Show definition of Homework Policy]

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.

Nightly homework

In grade Gr. 9, VISST students perform an average of 1 hour of homework per night.

89
VISST60 mins60 mins
Site Average58 mins75 mins

What VISST says about their flipped classroom policy:

This information is not currently available.

Report Card Policy

[Show definition of Report Card Policy]

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.

How assessments are delivered across the grades

TypeGrades
Lettered or numbered gradesGr. 8 to Gr. 9
Prose (narrative)-based feedbackGr. 8 to Gr. 9
Academic achievement reportingGr. 8 to Gr. 9
Habits and behaviour reportingGr. 8 to Gr. 9
Parent-teacher meetingsGr. 8 to Gr. 9

Extracurricular Activities

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.

Sports offered

Vancouver Independent School for Science and Technology competitive and recreational sports information not available.


Clubs offered

Vancouver Independent School for Science and Technology clubs and programs information not available.


THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Vancouver Independent School for Science and Technology

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