The Federation of Independent School Associations in British Columbia (FISA BC) is an umbrella organization of independent school associations formed in British Columbia. FISA BC was founded in 1966 when a diverse group of independent schools indicated that, “providing each of our schools could maintain its independence, there could be definite value in the formation of an affiliation among our schools which could promote common purposes” (Cunningham, 2002, p. 61). In addition to an agenda of common purposes, the founding fathers also considered it their mission to enable parents to exercise the right to choose the kind of education given to their children and to promote the rightful place and responsibility of independent schools within a democratic and pluralistic society (ibid. p. xiii).
A complete history of the formation of FISA BC can be found in a book by Victoria Cunningham, entitled Justice Achieved: The political struggle of independent schools in British Columbia, published by Academy Press in 2002.
There are five member associations within FISA BC:
- The Association of Christian Schools International in British Columbia (ACSIBC) represents approximately 30 evangelical Christian schools with a commitment to instill knowledge, wisdom and a biblical worldview in students trained to love God and contribute to the public good.
- The Associate Member Group (AMG) encompasses over 120 individual schools such as Montessori, Waldorf, special needs schools, and religious schools (among them evangelical Protestant, Jewish, Sikh, and Seventh-day Adventist schools).
- The Catholic Independent Schools of British Columbia (CISBC) is organized into the Archdiocese of Vancouver and the Dioceses of Kamloops, Nelson, Prince George, and Victoria. The focus of the 79 schools in CISBC is to prepare young people for learning and living as global citizens in an ever changing world.
- The Independent Schools Association of British Columbia (ISABC), which is also a member of the Canadian Association of Independent Schools, has 26 schools with a long standing tradition of providing outstanding learning experiences for young people of British Columbia.
- The Society of Christian Schools in British Columbia (SCSBC), which is also a member of Christian Schools International, has 40 schools that teach children and young people the provincial curriculum from an evangelical Protestant perspective.
FISA BC represents 298 schools enrolling approximately 93% of the students attending independent schools in British Columbia. These five member associations select directors to serve on the FISA BC Board of Directors, which formulates the policies with which the organization advances its mission.
Additional information on BC independent schools can be found on the website of the Office of the Inspector of Independent Schools (OIIS).
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