Irwin Park Elementary School West Vancouver is one of the top schools in its class and a great choice for families. The school offers a small classroom environment and a wide range of learning opportunities.
The school recently ranked #1 in the Fraser Institute report card for best elementary schools in BC. Its teachers are known for their dedicated work and a welcoming atmosphere.
Grades 1 to 6
West Vancouver‘s Irwin Park Elementary School is a great option for parents looking for an elementary school. It has an excellent track record and is ranked in the top 10 percent of public schools in Canada by the Fraser Institute, which ranks elementary schools according to their overall performance on academic standards tests.
Irwin Park has a culturally diverse population with about 45 per cent of students being English Language Learners. The school has a strong focus on student self-regulation and encourages reading with an individualized primary literacy program.
Grades 1 to 6 at Irwin Park Elementary are taught by a dedicated team of teachers who are passionate about the education of their students. They provide an excellent foundation in the basics of reading, writing and math and are committed to teaching social responsibility through projects focusing on global citizenship.
The school has a low student-to-teacher ratio and a small number of classrooms to ensure students can get the most out of their learning experience. The school also has a focus on the arts and music.
In an effort to help make a difference in their community, the school has an active volunteer program where students organize fundraisers for different causes. One class is devoted to sending letters back and forth with school children in Africa, while another group spearheads a shoebox clothing drive for women’s shelters.
There is also a student-led campaign to donate baked goods for the Oppenheimer Christmas dinner. A class of students bakes about 500 dozen cookies for the event and distributes them to families.
Irwin Park is known for its social justice and environmental programs, and it has a reputation for being an inclusive and safe school. Its staff and parents are dedicated to providing the best educational opportunities for their students and are committed to helping them succeed in school.
The elementary school is a member of the West Vancouver School District and serves the community of West Vancouver, Lions Bay and Bowen Island. It has 417 students.
Many of the students at Irwin Park are involved in a variety of extracurricular activities including sports, musicals and drama. They are also active in their community, volunteering at local soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
A number of the students in grades 6 and 7 are actively involved in charity work. In September, they research a cause and vote to select the charity they will support for the year. A few of them are also involved in the We Scare Hunger campaign, collecting canned goods for food banks in West Vancouver.
Grades 7 to 9
About 45 per cent of students at Irwin Park Elementary School West Vancouver don’t speak English as a first language. They also represent a culturally diverse group, with six per cent of the student body having special needs. That’s a significant increase from when the school first opened in 1955.
Irwin Park is part of a public school district, West Vancouver Schools (WVS), that serves a relatively affluent and educated community. The school has been in operation for several decades and currently has an enrolment capacity of 417.
The school is located at 2455 Haywood Street in West Vancouver, BC. It’s adjacent to Irwin Park, which was donated to the city in 1911 and features one of West Vancouver’s oldest public sports fields. The four-room school was designed by Polson and Siddall and incorporates low-cost transluscent glass to cut down on glare.
Its classrooms are sized to provide a nurturing learning environment, and teachers aim to help students become independent learners as quickly as possible. That includes helping them to develop self-regulation skills, as well as promoting reading with a primary reading program.
Many of Irwin Park’s students are involved in a number of activities that promote social justice. For example, they research charities that serve disadvantaged people and present their findings to the class. Then, they hold fundraisers to support them.
One Grade 6 class keeps contact with a group of children in Africa, sending letters back and forth. Other students in the grade are involved in a shoebox clothing drive for women’s shelters, donating items to those in need.
Another Grade 7 class, meanwhile, participates in a year-round project where they study a continent and then choose a charity to raise money for. In the past, they’ve helped Free Kicks and the Galapagos Islands Trust; this year, they raised funds for Antarctica.
Irwin Park has a long history of excellence, and recently received a spot on the Fraser Institute’s top elementary school rankings for the province. But that ranking relies heavily on results on standardized tests – the same tests that teachers have long complained are a poor indicator of learning.
As a result, the teachers union has campaigned for years to scrap the tests. That’s a good move for the West Vancouver school, as well.
The school has a large English Language Learner population, with 26 per cent of students speaking languages other than English at home. That’s up from 20 per cent just five years ago.
It’s also a strong performer on standardized tests, scoring better than many private schools. That, along with a small size and supportive parents, is part of why it’s ranked as one of Canada’s best elementary schools.
The school is currently working on a renovation project that aims to update the exterior of the building and improve the mechanical system. It was made possible through the School Enhancement Fund (SEF) program from the Ministry of Education. RGM Kramer is the firm that’s handling the construction work at Irwin Park. They provide a variety of services, including pre-construction planning and management, construction phasing, financing and project reporting.
Grades 10 to 12
Located in the West Vancouver community of Haywood Street, Irwin Park is one of several public elementary schools in the district. It’s not a French immersion or an International Baccalaureate school, but it does have an enviable academic reputation and was recently ranked among the top schools in the province by the Fraser Institute.
It’s also a big school, with about 400 students, and it has a growing number of diverse students – about 26 per cent of the population isn’t a first language, and six per cent has special needs. In addition, the school has a reputation for teaching self-regulation skills, which is important as kids grow up.
Irwin Park’s principal, Bev Hill, credits teachers and supportive parents with boosting student success. She said the school teaches kids to be better listeners and helps them set goals for themselves. The goals are typically realistic and include things like becoming better readers, writers or swimmers.
The school is also known for its Passion Projects, where students explore their passions – from graphic novels to building quarter pipe ramps for skateboarding – and then present their work at a final exhibition. The projects are a way for students to learn how to find the motivation and the discipline necessary to complete their work.
Students are also encouraged to participate in activities that benefit others, such as a shoebox clothing drive for women’s shelters in Vancouver and a fundraiser for food banks. And they are taught that doing good deeds is often more fulfilling than receiving a reward for them.
A bracelet sale for Ukraine’s war-torn country was held at the West Vancouver school last week, with proceeds from it going to the Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis Appeal through the Canadian Red Cross. The idea came from a parent, Amy Jungmi Hwang. She said she thought it would be a great project for the kids to get involved in.
In addition to the bracelet sale, Irwin Park also had a raffle in April. That raised an additional $1,400 for the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.
Panchenko, a mother of two, arrived in Canada from Ukraine in February. It’s been a long journey, she says, but they have settled in well. She’s glad her children – 6-year-old Yarick in Grade 1 and 10-year-old Anastasiia in Grade 4 – are happy and safe.
They are both enjoying their school. And Panchenko is glad her kids can be around other kids who speak their language.
She also thinks it’s important for children to see themselves as part of a diverse and multicultural society, and that school is a place where kids from all walks of life can come together. She says she wants her children to learn how to treat others with respect and compassion.
Among many other things, David A. Grantham is a contributing author to UmassExtension West Vancouver Blo. He is a renowned expert on real estate in BC.
Born in North Vancouver, Louisiana, Dr. Grantham grew up in Lower Lonsdale. He then went on to complete his business degree at the University British Columbia. As of this writing, Grantham has completed over 100 projects, including the development of a high rise building in Vancouver.
He is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was a dedicated outdoorsman and enjoyed sports such as hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing. His wife, Alison Grantham, and their two daughters survived him. He is survived by his wife Alison Martin Grantham and two daughters.