I became involved with Island Pacific School over ten years ago. At the time my son was in grade two, years away from middle school age. Dr Ted Spear, the school’s founding director, asked me to stand on the board of directors. I knew several parents and students at the school and I work in the informal education sector planning environmental education programs and services for parks, museums and nature centres, so I saw the potential for connections between my world and this small local school so I said, yes. For the next eight years I had the honor of working on a dynamic team that made up the IPS board and the school’s two talented, visionary head teachers, Ted Spear and Michael Simmonds.
Island Pacific School strongly encourages parental involvement on the board of directors, assisting students on major projects such as the Grade 9 Masterworks program, fund-raising committees, publicity and special events. I find these volunteer opportunities help parents better understand and support their children’s learning.
During this association with Island Pacific School, I became very impressed by the school’s overall program that addresses the whole person and the dedication and quality of the teaching staff and the friendliness and efficiency of its administrative team. Also, I learned how to pick out an IPS student or graduate in our community. If met in any situation, on a street, in a store or at a beach, he or she was a young person who would look you straight in the eye, politely say hello, and be prepared to have an informed conversation on almost any topic.
My son Theo entered Grade 6 in 2004 as an average student who was loosing interest and confidence in learning. Even during that first year things began to turn around for Theo. His marks and self-confidence improved and more importantly, the school had re-kindled his love of learning. Each succeeding year at Island Pacific School was another leap forward. By Grade 9 Theo was top of his class in science, math and social studies. He had developed into an excellent athlete and team player. His class was a tight group of girls and boys that liked and respected each other.
Now that Theo is in grade 11 at West Vancouver High School, I can see him building on the strengths he developed at IPS. He is a happy, confident student with great work habits and has set himself high academic standards. For our family, our investment in sending our son to Island Pacific School has payed off huge dividends.