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 (statistics from 2021-22):
- The Association of Christian Schools International in British Columbia (ACSIBC) represents approximately 23 evangelical Christian schools with a commitment to instil knowledge, wisdom and a biblical worldview in students trained to love God and contribute to the public good.
- The Associate Member Society of the FISA BC (AMS) encompasses 152 individual schools such as Montessori, Waldorf, IB, special needs schools, First Nations schools, Online Learning schools, speciality-focused schools (Arts-based, STEM-based, International Ed, Outdoor Ed)and religious schools (among them evangelical Protestant, Seventh-day Adventist, Jewish, Sikh, Muslim 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 78 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) is an association of 30 forward-looking schools distinguished by outstanding educational experiences and opportunities; leadership development; preparation for post-secondary placements and nurturing the development of international understanding.
- The Society of Christian Schools in British Columbia (SCSBC) is a service organization for 46 schools of various Christian denominations and organizational models that seek to embody a Christian social imaginary, shaping students for lives of faithful Christian presence.
FISA BC represents 329 schools enrolling 85,818 students. Approximately 95% of the students attending independent schools in British Columbia are enrolled in FISA BC member schools. The five associations that comprise FISA BC select directors to serve on the 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 Independent School Information for Administrators webpage.
To learn how to become a member, please visit the “How to become a FISA BC member” page.