Island Pacific School – The Off-Island Student Experience

Island Pacific School (IPS) is a distinctively different type of middle school located on Bowen Island, BC. Roughly half of our students are not Bowen Island residents, which means they must make the commute over from the mainland to attend our school every day. So, how does this work?

Our incredible team of parents collaborates to create a carpool system on the North Shore to get the kids to and from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. We are extremely lucky that BC Ferries has gone the extra mile to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for the students travelling with them, and that the low-traffic ferry run during this time creates a peaceful, safe journey.

“Our son loves the carpool! Yes, it’s an early start, but you soon get used to it and adjust!  We have a carpool (organized by a North Shore Island Pacific School parent) which is made up of four Island Pacific kids in grades 6 and 7.  In both years that we’ve been carpooling to this school, I found that the kids quickly bonded and became friends.  Having the carpool really helped when our son started in grade 6, and also helped two grade 7’s who joined the school and the carpool this year.”

  • Jennie W., Island Pacific School Parent

These lucky students gain extra useful life experiences during their scenic 20-minute ferry rides each morning and afternoon. There is no set curriculum during the commute, however, the students often cultivate an appreciation for the nature they see as they travel and enjoy watching the changing seasons. Some students use this time to work quietly on homework or read a book, while others choose to socialize with their peers.

The roughly 20 students from grades 6 to 9 who commute together each day share incredible, lifelong bonds with each other and create some very special memories. The older kids are proud to act as a mentor to the younger kids, showing them the ropes, answering any questions they have about the school, and helping to ensure they feel safe.

“It’s a very communal event where you know it extends the social time for the kids, the parents get to know the students better — that you wouldn’t otherwise know because the kids don’t necessarily socialize with each other after school hours — very sort of intimate environment, you hear the chit chat amongst the kids. It was a very intimate environment, we established a community around a shared need, but really what grew out of the community was extra time, getting to know each other better. That played out at school too, they just knew each other better.”

  • Jennifer M., Former Island Pacific School parent, and Carpool creator

Even after over 25 years of seeing students commute, we at Island Pacific School are always amazed to see the growth and confidence in these kids as time goes on. Plus, it’s always fun for us and the other on-island students to hear the stories of exciting wildlife and sea creatures seen during their ocean cruises.

Island Pacific School is excited to announce that we are offering tours of our school to give families a chance to ask any questions and learn more about our high-level and specialized academics. We also invite you to plan a student day visit for your child to give them valuable hands-on experience to know what it’s like to learn and explore with us.

Our Current Issue

Island Parent June/July 2022

GRAND Spring 2022

Family Resource Guide