Island Pacific School embarked on a major transition when Dr. Spear our Founder announced he would be resigning from his position at the end of the school year.We not only need to find a new Head, we needed to transition to an infra-structure where the school community, represented by the Board, truly governed and led the school.
The school governance has evolved, to enable the Voice of the stakeholders to be heard, and encourage their maximum participation. Hence, we are enjoying our 2nd AGM, and the ongoing Senior Advisory Committee. We are also delighted to be entering into our third year with Michael Simmonds. With world class qualifications, he is not only an exceptional administrator, but has a huge heart, and has truly embraced our Island community.
The Board needed to be very clear on our Vision and our Mission- ‘who are we and why are we here?’ Based on the principals set forth by Dr Spear, and through a lot a soul searching the board has clearly articulated a mission and identity we felt we could adhere to as we entered a ‘Ted- free’ zone. We decided to be the best middle school in Canada. This may sound a bit cheeky-but we truly believe we are on our way to achieving this goal. We embarked upon the lengthy process of becoming an IB MYP school, a program in alignment with our Founder’s philosophy. I am delighted to announce that we have in fact achieved this goal. Furthermore we are now members of CAIS and ISA. These are all critical steps in taking our place as a globally recognized, excellent middle school.
In a bold decision by the Board two years ago, we decided that we would raise the bar academically, while easing the strain on the existing staff. We took the financial plunge and increased our head count to include a full time Math teacher. We are delighted with the results- excellent transition to Grade 10, a world class Math teacher, and a more stable staff group.
Our only real challenge is one which has been our Achilles’ heel for a number of years and this is the number of students enrolled in the school. We consistently run the school under ‘break even’ budget. This is clearly not a sustainable situation. We rely heavily on the generosity of our parent community. With our enrollment, the current cost of delivering this program is roughly double what is being charged. We have fought hard to keep the annual fee increases at a moderate level, and deeply believe in continuing to make this educational experience available to Bowen residents. A review our financials indicates that if we do not increase enrollment to approximately 55 students, the school has reserves to run for only another year or two.
We currently have room for an additional 22 students in our current location which would put class sizes at 18.What a positive difference this would make to all involved!
The Board has invested a lot of time considering how to tackle this problem, and indeed it is the number one issue for the incoming Board this year.We created an Advancement Committee and put together a research project to consider building a Residential program in the future. With our unique location, we are doing well at attracting a high percentage of available Bowen students. We feel the vacancies will be filled from off-island.The IB accreditation helps a lot.The water taxi does as well.We know we are on the right track, and with just a bit of a push we can fill the school.
We welcome your input as we continue to find ways to deliver this fantastic program to its fullest capacity. We are enthusiastic to share it with others, so that they too can witness their children cross into adolescence with a sense of wonder, of acceptance of their unique and individual spirits, and with respect for self and others. Where they can learn to make a difference.
Kim Brooks, Board Chair