What Makes Westside Special?

Joyful Learning, Innovative Education

First, more than anything, it’s the people that make Westside special - the teachers, students, staff, leadership, and parents.

The Westside Schools is a place where everyone’s contributions are valued and recognized. With a small school like Westside everyone knows each other. This community is the heart of what makes Westside a wonderful place to gain an education.

Westside is an independent school in downtown Vancouver with classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12. We pride ourselves on being a teacher-driven school. Westside’s teachers are passionate, engaged, and motivated to help every student excel.

The best way to get to know Westside is by visiting the school. We encourage you to read through the website and then get in touch with Westside’s Admissions Team to visit the school in person.


The Westside Schools crest represents the schools values.  “To be, not to seem to be”  is our pledge to be honest and forthright in all our actions.

The Westside Schools crest represents the schools values. “To be, not to seem to be” is our pledge to be honest and forthright in all our actions.

History

The Westside Schools was founded in 2004. It’s a not-for-profit independent school governed by the Westside Preparatory Society.

With three centres in downtown Vancouver, providing excellent education at an affordable price to students from across the GVRD, Westside aims to make high-quality education more accessible.

Since its founding, the school has grown from the original campus, now housing the Foundation Years Program, to include the Middle Years Program centre on Smithe Street, and the Miniversity campus on Nelson Street.


Vision

The Westside Schools’ vision is of a school that re-imagines learning for a changing world, is a place of happy excellence, and a leader in learning. 

All our students are provided every support necessary to flourish and succeed, so that when they graduate, they will be ready for the next stage in life.

Mission

The Westside Schools’ Mission is to develop an enquiry-based approach to education that fosters creativity, promotes academic excellence, nurtures human relationships, and inspires a growing passion for learning in every student. 

We aim to be a physically and psychologically safe learning community of creative, joyful, passionate learners who engage in courageous and innovative thinking.

Music in the Morning - Students prepare for the Christmas Concert.

Music in the Morning - Students prepare for the Christmas Concert.


The Westside Schools Core Values

Core Values

Westside’s Core Values are an integral part of everything we do at school.

They are emphasized regularly in our interactions and considered whenever we have important decisions to make.

Westside’s Core Values are Honesty, Effort, Inclusivity, Kindness, Teamwork, and Trust.


Guiding Beliefs

We believe all children can learn well.

We teach children how to learn.

Not all students learn the same way, so we ensure that we know, value, and understand each of our students.

We believe all students are capable of entering and succeeding in university, as long as they’re willing to put in their best effort.

We are an inclusive school. Our admissions are based on the capacity of the program, gender balance, English language ability, and the school’s ability to meet the needs of the individual applicant while maintaining our mandate of individualized education in a group setting.

The Admissions Team works intimately with each applicant to determine if Westside is the right school for the family.

We believe the admissions process should be a collaborative process.

Students who are ahead of the curriculum in terms of skill level may take more advanced courses.

Students who are ahead of the curriculum in terms of skill level may take more advanced courses.


Every student is treated as an individual at Westside.

Every student is treated as an individual at Westside.

Customized Learning Plan

Our teaching and learning are customized to the individual student.

The KEY Program allows students with difficulties in certain areas to obtain extra assistance.

In other cases, there may be the option to take more advanced classes if students are thriving in a particular subject.


Competitive Fees

Westside’s tuition represent extraordinarily good value

The school fees are as reasonable as we can make them. This is because we want to make excellent education accessible to more families. Tuition and fees are also clearly outlined so that there are no surprises and you can create your financial plan accordingly.


Communication

At Westside, effective communication is a priority.

We communicate with our parents and families regularly and effectively.

Parents are important partners who need to be current on the progress of their children. In addition to regular reports, teachers and school leaders are readily available for consultation when requested.

We run several Parent Academies each year to discuss programs, plans, and processes.


Above & Beyond

Westside is always looking to provide greater opportunities for enrichment to our students. We greatly enrich the Ministry of Education’s mandated program

We run an After-School program for Kindergarten to Grade 7 that allows students to engage in fun and educational activities. This is provided with no additional tuition.

The Miniversity is open until 5:00 pm, so students can continue studying in a focused environment with access to teachers. With the support of teachers, Students from Grades 8 to 12 are encouraged to develop after-school clubs that meet their interests.

Chess Club is part of Westside’s Super C program.

Chess Club is part of Westside’s Super C program.


Westside’s U-Track program helps students get into their dream university.

Westside’s U-Track program helps students get into their dream university.

University Track

Westside offer specialist preparation for university.

We offer a specialist program called ‘University Track’ which provides comprehensive coverage of matters that inform decisions about University entry. The program includes regular visits from University Admissions Officers, detailed guidance on application procedures, exploratory visits to Universities, enriched mini-courses to establish a scholarly mindset, and the permanent services of a University Counsellor.


Holistic Education

At Westside, our teachers care about the whole child.

In addition to the curriculum, pastoral care is of high importance to us. Pastoral care refers to nurturing each student holistically. A student is not just the sum of their report card. Students are supported emotionally as much as they are academically. Thanks to the small class sizes and dedicated teachers, no student is ever lost or left behind. Every student is given the attention and support they need.

From Kindergarten to Grade 9, all students have a Homeroom Teacher. While at the Miniversity every student is part of a teacher-led Tutor Group. This means students can receive daily support from a teacher who is paying attention to their progress throughout the year.

International students benefit from the attention and care of our International Dean, who is always looking out for the welfare of students who may be away from home for the first time.

Teachers at Westside care about each and every student.

Teachers at Westside care about each and every student.


Poetry Night at Westside’s Miniversity.

Poetry Night at Westside’s Miniversity.

The Miniversity

While you may be coming to Westside at the Foundation Years or Middle Years level, our hope is that your child will aspire to attend the Miniversity, which is Westside’s centre for students from Grades 8 to 12.

Our Miniversity is High School re-imagined. It is one of the most unique aspects of Westside’s education program. With a block system that allows students to focus on one subject at a time, students are able to manage their course load while minimizing the stress which is so common for high achievers and those aspiring to gain an excellent university education.

Students at the Miniversity are highly motivated. While some have their eye on top universities around the world, others are looking to take advantage of the excellent education available within Canada. Whatever the individual student’s goals are, Westside helps guide each one towards a fulfilling and successful future.


Location

FOUNDATION YEARS

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 go to school in Westside’s Foundation Years Centre on Beatty Street, right next to the Terry Fox Plaza.

Here there are classrooms, a library, and a central Learning Commons, all providing a warm and engaging learning environment. Westside has a small gym space on Beatty Street for indoor PE classes that complement the current outdoor offerings.

MIDDLE YEARS

Just one block away, at Beatty and Smithe, stands the beautiful new Middle Years Centre, where students in Grades 4 to 8 go to school. The Middle Years Centre holds classrooms, a dedicated Science Room, Art Room, Music Room, Maker Space, and a Library.

MINIVERSITY

The Westside Miniversity is just one block away from the Middle Years Centre and houses the university prep program for Grades 10 to 12 and the transition program for Grades 8 and 9.

This exceptional facility provides a modern learning environment. There are pop-up classrooms, collaborative learning spaces, a library, tutor rooms, and a Science Lab. It is a unique space which encourages focused learning, independent study, and collaboration.

THE CITY IS OUR CAMPUS

Westside makes great use of facilities in the neighbourhood and throughout downtown and metro Vancouver.

The schools are a short walk from the impressive Vancouver Public Library, Science World, Granville Island, Simon Fraser University and the University of BC downtown campuses. Students take trips to art galleries, museums, farms, media centres, and other educational events throughout the year.

Our Physical Education classes and sports program make use of several local facilities enabling us to engage in field sports, skating, kayaking, swimming, cycling, martial arts, tennis, and dance.

Foundation Years School_MG_9873.jpg

Foundation Years
Centre

788 BEATTY STREET, VANCOUVER

Middle Years-Smithe--Exterior Shots_MG_2285_small.png

Middle Years
Centre

101 SMITHE STREET, VANCOUVER

Westside Miniversity_MG_0033_small.jpg

Miniversity
Centre

211 NELSON STREET, VANCOUVER


Community

Community matters at Westside.

The Westside community is one of the greatest strengths of the school. From parents, to faculty, to leadership, to students, Westside is more like a family than a school.

Some of the ways Westside builds a strong community every year are as follows:

  • Parent Academies

  • Mixed grade events, competitions, and activities

  • Community Pot-Luck lunches

  • Weekly Assemblies

  • Middle Years Alternative Programming Week twice per year

  • Middle Years Camp Week

  • Mixed grade Super Curriculum programming

  • Musical Theatre program culminating in the Spring Concert

  • The Christmas Concert

Westside also does its best to make a positive contribution to the greater Vancouver community as well by participating in some of the following:

  • Performances and companionship for Seniors

  • Purchasing goods and services from local suppliers

  • Providing speakers on education for local clubs and societies

  • Participating in local charity and civic initiatives

  • Encouraging student volunteerism

Students dressed in their traditional clothing for Chinese New Year.

Students dressed in their traditional clothing for Chinese New Year.


Global Partners

The Westside has partnerships with schools in China and Nigeria.

Activities include student and faculty visits, teacher professional development, curriculum development, teacher education, and cooperative student projects.

We regularly cooperate with The High School Attached To Hunan Normal University, The Liaoning Province Shiyan High School, Halifield Schools Lagos in Nigeria, and JunWu Elementary School in Nanning.


Learn More

The best way to get a feel for Westside is to visit the schools. We would be delighted to show you around and answer any questions you might have. Get in touch with the Admissions Department or book a school visit by clicking on the link below.