Island Oak to offer Grade 8

Island Oak High School, the unique eductional facility on Banks Road, which has always offered Grades 9 to 12, is adding Grade 8 in September 2014.

Communications coordinator Vivi de Graff said that Island Oak is addressing the changing school structure in the Cowichan Valley.

De Graff said parents are looking for options.

"Until now we’ve been a Grade 9 to 12 school, but since the educational structure in the Valley changed, we’ve been urged to add a Grade 8 by parents looking for a more intimate high school experience for their children than they thought would be possible at a large school. Almost any B.C. student can have this education because we admit students based on an interview, not on ability to pay tuition."

Island Oak specializes in small school education and a personalized educational experience. Its community of 40 students, seven faculty members and additional guest teachers focus on an arts, sciences and outdoor adventure program that includes learning innovations inspired by Waldorf education such as handson learning and deep immersion into a single subject for several weeks at a time, according to de Graff.

Parent Lynn Walker is happy with what she’s seen, after moving to Duncan to enrol her son in Island Oak.

"We relocated to this school from a large secondary school farther up the Island, so my son could be motivated to learn and be excited about life again,"

Walker said.

The school will be holding an information session for interested parents and students on March 19 at 6 p.m. at the school on 5814 Banks Rd.

"With up to 100 per cent tuition bursaries available, Island Oak is accessible to most B.C. students who are keen learners, who want a challenging program and a Dogwood Diploma, and who want a more personal, intimate high school experience," de Graff said.