I recently met with a number of recent IPS graduates about their experience transitioning into high school. Here is what Fiona McTaggert (’08) had to say.  Michael Simmonds, Head of School

How did IPS prepare you for high school?

Academically, IPS prepared me extremely well for essays. After writing countless in-class essays (and being tested over and over again to make sure my arguments were sound) I found that I was able to write good essays in high school because the WVSS teachers assume that students have no experience writing arguments and position papers. I also found that IPS prepared me exceptionally well socially for high school. I used to be a bit of a chameleon and would sort of change personalities depending on who was present, but IPS gave me a very good grounding in myself so I could avoid being sucked into high school clique life. It’s weird for me to be one of the only people in class now who actually questions things. I don’t take the teacher’s word for law. I’m a lot more comfortable in the classroom and with interacting with my high school teachers than most other students.

What do I miss about IPS?

There are a lot of things I miss about IPS, but there are two things I miss the most. One is the safe and comfortable environment that IPS provides. When I’m at IPS, even if I’m just visiting, I feel like I can relax a lot more. I can let my guard down. People know each other well–especially my grad class. We were all okay with who everyone was. The second biggest thing I miss about IPS is the relationships I had with the teachers. Maybe I didn’t notice so much while I attended, but it’s nice to have teachers who care about you and about what you think. At WVSS, I find that the teachers don’t really care about what you think and your opinion is not really important. Just having teachers you can trust and talk to is an exceptionally big thing to have; something most IPS students take for granted until you loose it.

What skills do teachers need to emphasize in IPS students in order ease the transition into high school?

Math is my hardest subject this year, but I’m not sure what there is you can do to make that transition easier. Try and get the students to keep their notes! I know that I must have been told a million times last year to do so, but I didn’t anyway and I’m wishing that I did.

What recommendations do you have for current IPS students that would help them be successful in high school?

Learn to take good notes! I was always terrible at taking notes even when they were just written on the board, so when I arrived at West Van with their lecture-style teaching, I was at a complete loss at how to decide what was important enough to write down and what wasn’t while listening at the same time. Once again, I recommend students keeping their notes because you will find that high school teachers cover some of the same material you did last year and it’s really helpful to be able to go back and find notes where everything was carefully explained.

Fiona McTaggert, IPS Class of 2008; Grade 10 student at WVSS