During his 28-year career as a teacher and administrator at Pearson College, Jerry Salvador heard the same refrain constantly from the community.
“Locals always asked about being able to have their kids attend Pearson College,” he said on the future site of Brookes Westshore I B World School in Colwood.
Since Pearson only accepts a couple of students from the Victoria area a year, Salvador decided to try and build a school offering an International Baccalaureate program that shared some of the values of Pearson College. Half the students will be from the Capital Region, with the rest coming from other countries, he said.
“I have four grandchildren living on the West Shore and I want to offer them and other students in the community this opportunity.”
The plan calls for a 300-student school to be built on Sooke Road near Royal Roads University, on 2.8 acres of land purchased by the Bank of Montreal. The balance of costs for the $14-million project will come through the network of Brookes International schools and other sources, said Brookes Education Group chairman Graham Brown, Salvador’s son-in-law.
“It’s a really beautiful setting and our aim is to preserve as many of the trees as possible,” he said. “There’s a stream running through the property and we plan to use the surrounding natural environment as part of our educational process.”
Salvador and Brown both said that the more they visited the property, the more convinced they became that it was the perfect location for the new school.
Brown, an associate professor at the University of Victoria, expects construction to begin in April 2017, with the school opening in September 2018.
Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton said it is great news for the community. “We’re excited about the prospect of adding another educational option to the existing ones at Royal Roads and Royal Bay,” she added.
The new school will offer a Middle Years Program for grades 6 to 10, and a Diploma Programme for grades 11 and 12. The IB programs place an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills and give students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to connect globally through actions that tap into their passions. Physical activities, contributing to the local community and dealing with global issues are key focal points as well.
The Brookes Education Group, formerly known as Dwight School Canada, has schools at Shawnigan Lake, in the United Kingdom, the United States and Korea.