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.


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

    The tenet of the Modern Languages Department at Shawnigan Lake School is that the skill to function in more than one’s native tongue will broaden intellectual and cultural horizons. In all courses, we insist that students develop competence with the four language skills in the target language: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Accordingly, the final examination of the year and the mid-term examination contain separate oral and aural components, along with the written and reading comprehension paper. No one text or approach is used exclusively, as only a multifaceted approach allows language instruction to retain its vibrancy. TV, Internet, music, movies and computer programs have become essential tools used in each course. Our fully digital language laboratory allows access to myriad Internet resources. More importantly, it enables students to practice their speaking and listening frequently and effectively and to progress at their own rate.

    Currently, the department offers a full program for French as a Second Language (grades 8 to AP), Spanish (grades 9 to AP), Standard Chinese (grades 10 to AP) and German (grades 10 to AP). Within each program, enriched as well as regular classes are offered at all grade levels. Advanced Placement courses in French, Spanish, Mandarin and German provide further opportunities to improve fluency and to gain additional credits for university entrance. To accommodate the growing number of students with French Immersion backgrounds, we also offer a separate program that allows these students with advanced aural, oral and reading skills to be challenged at their level of competency. Immersion students who stay with the program to the senior grades may qualify for the Francais Langue 12 credit.

    We are committed to improving each student’s ability to communicate in another language.
  • 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 encompasses both the visual and the performing arts. Specific curricular programs include: Art, Choir, Drama, Woodwork, Graphic Design and Dance.

    All students in Grades 8 and 9 are exposed to the various arts offered at the School through a term exploratory program. In grades 10 – 12 students may select one or more of these specific programs as a half or full-year elective. All of the fine art courses operate on a studio basis. Full, hands-on participation is expected from all students.

    Involvement in the Arts provides students with an opportunity to explore their creative potentials, to connect with cultural pasts and to participate in shaping current art trends. Although a number of students will seek to pursue the Arts as a career, most will find continued pleasure and appreciation on a life-skills basis.

Daily Schedule

Academic office

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Wendy Milne

    Wendy Milne 

    Assistant Head, Academics, Mathematics
  • Photo of Cindy MacPherson

    Cindy MacPherson 

    Academic Assistant

Academic News

List of 2 news stories.


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.
(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 boarding school for Grades 8-12 on Canada's West Coast. Our diverse and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.