I believe that Island Pacific School is like a pair of old leather boots – you have to put them on, walk around on different terrain, and slowly the boots will mould to your feet. As you wear the boots you gradually enjoy their presence more and more, but you start appreciating it less. As the years pass, and your feet grow, you have to buy a new pair of boots, and say good-bye to the old ones. Although saying good-bye to your perfectly moulded boots is difficult trying something new on is always exciting. As the years may pass and you re-visit your old boots – you quickly realize how much you have missed them.

How did IPS prepare you for high school?

IPS prepared me for high school by teaching me how to use my voice. IPS taught me to say what I believe, and not what people want to hear. The students (but mostly the teachers) taught me how to have courage – they taught me how to ask questions, and how to wonder. IPS taught me how to do the right thing, even when it may not be the easiest, and that was a skill I had to use throughout my first year at West Vancouver Secondary.

Attending IPS helped me discover my learning style. I am a very visual person, and in order to learn I need to have high-lighters, markers, and sticky notes in order to grasp a concept 100%. IPS taught me how to make my learning style work for me. I learned how to make notes that I understand, how to analyze what I read, and how to apply my knowledge. The notes I took from Grade 9 at IPS are now helping me study for my Grade 10 Science provincial exam. The many discussions we had in my English class throughout the four years at IPS have helped me immensely with my English 10 course at West Vancouver Secondary. I am a good critical thinker and I can analyze prose very well.

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


Tests, quizzes, and exams were the biggest shock in my transition to high school. However, in the past year IPS has implemented exams for the Grade 6, 7 and 8 students so that will definitely help with their transition into high school. The multiple ways of teaching that are provided at IPS are such a bonus, and are really taken for granted. The small class sizes, and teachers who care, enable you to have different ways of learning (visual, kinesthetic aural, verbal). Once you leave such a small school like IPS and enter “the big time school” (as Mr. Simmonds likes to say) it is a shocker, but one that IPS prepares you for.

What do you miss about IPS?

The things I miss the most, are the things that I took for granted every one of the 1,460 days I attended the school. I miss knowing peoples’ names. I miss knowing the teachers. I miss gathering every day for Morning Stretch. I miss having friends four years younger then me. I miss going on field trips every month. I miss Ultimate. I miss not caring what I wear to school. I miss not having cliques to the extreme that high school does. But the biggest thing I miss is having teachers that care. IPS is such a special environment – one that is impossible to find anywhere else. When you have finished the program you feel like you can conquer anything if you chose to set your mind to it.

Natalie Helm, (’09)