Courses

Academics

Shawnigan Lake School provides a learning community that fosters personal excellence for each and every student.

In a School dedicated to a rigorous academic program, we blend the best from traditional education with the contemporary skills of 21st century learning.

With our Learning Centre specialists, Advisor program and low teacher-to-student ratio, we ensure that every student is challenged and supported.

The Shawnigan classroom is a respectful place, where students develop confidence by engaging, by creating and by taking intellectual risks.
 

Advisor Program

The Advisor-Advisee relationship is among the most important relationships at Shawnigan.

From the day students first arrive to the day of their graduation, the Advisor is a key part of a support system designed to maximize every student's potential and resolve any issues that arise.

Advisors support students as they meet the demands of a Shawnigan education. They assist with the decision making process. They communicate regularly with parents and can serve as a valuable first point of contact with the School.

Advisors strengthen the work already being done by House Directors, teachers and coaches, and work to ensure a positive Shawnigan experience for all students.

Courses

List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • AP Capstone

    The AP Capstone Diploma is an advanced university preparation program that equips students with vital independent research, collaborative teamwork and communication skills.
     
    AP Capstone Diploma is comprised of two AP skills-based courses — AP Seminar and AP Research—in addition to four subject-based AP courses that can be taken at any point throughout high school. The Capstone program aims to make AP a cohesive, rigorous and interdisciplinary academic experience that promotes a deep understanding of real-world issues, cultivates independent and collaborative scholarship, and prepares students to make logical, evidence-based decisions.
     
    AP Seminar is a yearlong exploration of two to four relevant issues selected by the student and/or teacher. The course consists of a team project and presentation, an individual research-based essay and presentation, and an end-of-course exam. AP Seminar is a prerequisite for AP Research.
     
    AP Research allows students to design, plan and conduct a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic of individual interest, building a portfolio to document this process. AP Research consists of an academic paper, presentation and an oral defense.
  • Science

    The Science Department seeks to offer its students an excellent grounding in biology, chemistry and physics through first-class teaching in well-appointed instructional facilities and laboratories. It is the belief of the department that this can be best achieved through an appropriate blend of traditional methods, amply supported by modern technology and equipment, and by applying theoretical principles to the natural environment of southern Vancouver Island in particular and to society in general. It is expected that students will develop a thorough understanding of and respect for issues of safety in these endeavours, while remaining aware of our position and relationship to the natural environment as a whole. The Science Department offers students the opportunity to excel in the Provincial and Advanced Placement Examinations and to achieve success in university.

    The Junior Science Program provides students in Grades 8 and 9 with the opportunity to explore and experience a wide variety of science disciplines. Astronomy and space science, changes in matter, changes in the environment, ecology and resource management, energy and life functions constitute the six major components in the students’ junior science experience. Our unique natural setting and our salmon hatchery support an expanded environmental studies program. Partnerships with local industry, the federal government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and British Columbia’s Ministry of the Environment afford us the opportunity to collaborate with external agencies. The more traditional aspects of biology, physics and chemistry retain a crucial place in the curriculum, as they represent the three main options available to students in their Grade 11 and 12 years. Stimulating interest and providing prerequisite background knowledge in each of these areas of study are primary goals of the Junior Science Program.

    Regular and enriched classes of science are offered at each grade level. Every class covers all the core material prescribed by the Ministry of Education, while the enriched classes complete extension exercises and additional material designed to broaden students’ interest and exposure to sciences.
  • Modern Languages

    At Shawnigan, we believe that language learning is about broadening intellectual horizons, opening doors to exciting careers, and connecting with others on our journey. Therefore, all students will have the opportunity to explore at least one other language up to the grade 11 level. We want our students to become confident communicators, to develop a passion for exploring other cultures and to cultivate a life-long passion for language learning. In grade 12, encouraged by a positive and stimulating experience in their earlier years, many will choose to pursue their language study further.

    When you walk into the Olsen Building, expect to hear Latin beats and students dancing in Spanish class, watch and marvel as students learn to write traditional calligraphy techniques in Mandarin class, and hear laughter coming from the French rooms as students strive to accurately reproduce the sounds and cadence of Paris.

    There are four strands within our offerings: French as a Second Language, French Immersion, Spanish, and Standard Chinese. At all grade levels, enriched classes, beginners’ classes as well as regular classes are offered. AP courses are offered in all languages. Flexibility and personal excellence are paramount and almost all students will find something that will match their experience, background or interest.

    All courses emphasize the importance of the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Language is learned through the study of authentic cultural texts across a range of media forms, such as music, poetry, movies, news articles, websites and podcasts and allows language learning to retain its vibrancy. In addition to classroom activities, every opportunity to travel, to reach out, to experience and to enjoy is eagerly seized upon. 

    We are committed to guiding our young charges as they move forward on their ‘Shawnigan Academic Journey’ inspiring them to open doors, build bridges and knock down walls.

    If you have any further questions, please contact me directly on glinn@shawnigan.ca

    Graham Linn
    Head of Modern Languages
  • Social Studies

    The Social Studies Department at Shawnigan Lake School is committed to helping students understand our multifaceted society. This is accomplished in a variety of ways and through a comprehensive number of courses that range from ancient history to modern law and global studies.

    Within this framework we strive to use Canada and British Columbia as our base models and relate our national heritage and historical development to the rest of the world. Grade 8 and 9 courses examine the foundations of our heritage from the Romans through to the late 20th century. Grade 10 and 11 examine Canada from its earliest beginnings to its role in a post-Cold War world. At the senior level we offer Advanced Placement Human Geography, Advanced Placement U.S. History, Advanced Placement European History and History 12 which focuses on 20th century world history. This is augmented by Comparative Civilizations 12 a senior course that examines a sampling of world cultural heritage from prehistoric to modern times. Geography 12 provides a well-rounded approach to respond to contemporary issues on a national and international level.

    The department offers students the opportunity to develop and research topics in any of the above areas. Model UN, debating, library skills, special projects, research papers and field trips are an integral part of each course. A recent focus for our department is the use of technology and intranet research skills.
  • Physical Education

    Shawnigan Lake School’s Physical Education program supports the School’s philosophy of developing the whole person through a complete education. The focus is on providing a safe learning environment where students can develop physical and social skills. Students are introduced to the benefits of active living and provided an introduction to all of the competitive sport programs. Finally, physical education at Shawnigan Lake School provides students with important developmental opportunities in leadership.
  • Mathematics

    Mathematics has an impressive record of contributions to discovery and problem-solving in science and technology, decision-making in business and government and creative expression in the arts. Mathematics teaches logic, inference, critical thinking, techniques of analysis and abstract reasoning. Students today require the ability to reason through a problem, communicate a solution clearly and effectively and to appreciate the applications of mathematics. Our program is designed to provide the skills and concepts that students need for future study at university, but ultimately, it generates a level of excitement about the power of mathematics.

    At Shawnigan Lake School, mathematical literacy (numeracy) is a fundamental goal of our curriculum. Every student is required to take mathematics from grade 8 through grade 11, and over 80 percent of grade 12 students choose Pre-calculus 12 as one of their electives. In addition, a substantial number choose to take calculus in their senior year.

    Regular and enriched classes of mathematics are offered at each grade level. Every class covers all the core material prescribed by the Ministry of Education, while the enriched classes complete extension exercises and additional material designed to broaden students’ interest and exposure to mathematics.
  • English

    The English Language Arts curriculum at Shawnigan Lake School provides students with the opportunity to develop their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills and to think critically, creatively and reflectively. Each teacher in the English Department works to meet these goals in an environment that fosters a positive attitude towards learning, reinforces a positive self-image in every student and encourages all students to strive to achieve their best. As students gain a fuller understanding of language and its uses, they will not only achieve technical competence in their reading and writing; they will also enjoy the pleasures of language in all of its forms, from reading and writing, to literature, theatre, public speaking, creative writing, film and other media.

    Because learning for life occurs when students are able to transfer their classroom lessons into a broader context, the English department creates opportunities at each grade level for experiential learning. These opportunities include taking every student to see live theatre each year; entering student writing into external contests, facilitating evening book clubs at each grade level, and organizing evening public speaking showcases. In addition, each grade features a special event, such as the grade 11 student pilgrimage in May following the study of the medieval pilgrimage in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. These experiential opportunities at each grade level contribute to making a Shawnigan English student's learning more meaningful and memorable.
  • Business Studies

    Courses in Planning and Business cover a variety of topics and applications on both the theoretical and practical level.
  • Fine Art

    The Fine Art Department at Shawnigan Lake School offers a broad range of artistic passions that range from the visual arts to the performing arts, and everything in between. Specific curricular programs include: 
    • Art Studio
    • Composition & Production
    • Dance Choreography
    • Dance Technique & Performance
    • Drama 
    • Film & Television
    • Graphic Arts
    • Instrumental Music
    • Media Arts
    • Music Technology
    • Theatre Company
    • Vocal Arts
    • Woodwork
    • Yearbook
    Throughout their Shawnigan Fine Art journey, students will be exposed to a wide variety of the programs offered at the School. In Grade 8, students are involved in a full-grade arts class which not only introduces them to arts, but also introduces them fully and truly to each other; this then moves into two sampler classes in both the visual and performing arts. In Grade 9, students continue to gain a wider range of experiences as they move through a three-term rotation. In Grade 10, this narrows to two half-year classes which finally moves to full-year arts electives in Grades 11 and 12.
     
    All of our programs allow for students to live through experiences in the arts; we participate fully in hands-on projects. We learn by doing and we learn by watching others do as well. Though many of our graduates have gone on to pursue a life in the arts, our goal in the Shawnigan Fine Arts is to produce well-rounded students who appreciate a creative and artistic world. 
     
    From the Hobbies Building to the Hugh Wilkinson Theatre to the Weaver Dance Studio to the AV/Production Facility/Recording Studio, our arts facilities are always a hive of creation and imagination.
Student Timetable

Academic office

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Wendy Milne

    Wendy Milne 

    Assistant Head, Academics, Mathematics
    250-743-6214
  • Photo of Cindy MacPherson

    Cindy MacPherson 

    Academic Assistant
    250-743-6238

Academic News

List of 2 news stories.

  • This I Believe

    Graduating students shared some acquired wisdom as the English department presented This I Believe on Monday evening in the Chapel.
    Read More
  • The Pilgrimage

    Inspired by their study of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the Grade 11 class staged a pilgrimage of their own last Friday.
    Read More
Archive

Daily Schedule

Academic schedule (Monday-Thursday)

8:00 - 9:00 a.m.    Breakfast
9:00 - 10:30 a.m.    Class 1
10:30 - 10:55 a.m. Break
10:55 - 12:25 p.m. Class 2
12:25 - 1:10 p.m. Lunch
1:10 - 3:10 p.m. Class 3 & 4
3:30 - 6 p.m.
Fine Art / Athletics
6 - 7 p.m. Dinner & free time
7 - 8:30 p.m. Reading Hall
8:30 p.m. Back to Houses

Academic schedule (Friday)

8:00 - 9:00 a.m.    Breakfast
9:00 - 10:30 a.m.    Class 1 & 2
10:30 - 10:55 a.m. Break
10:55 - 12:25 p.m. Class 3 & 4
12:25 - 1:10 p.m. Lunch
1:10 - 2:10 p.m. Chapel/Gathering/Advisor
2:10 - 6 p.m.
SOULo
(Student-led Learning)
6 - 7 p.m. Dinner & free time
7 - 8:30 p.m. Interhouse
8:30 p.m. Back to Houses

Saturday schedule 

9:00 - 11:00 a.m.    360 (Fine Art)
11:15 a.m.    Chapel
11:50 a.m. Lunch
1 p.m. Sport period
5 p.m. Dinner
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent co-educational boarding school for ages 13 –18 on Canada’s beautiful West Coast. Our diverse, interdisciplinary and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.