Cortes Island Academy

The lack of a high school on Cortes Island has been determined by the Cortes Community Economic Development Association to be one of the largest barriers to creating a resilient local economy and to keeping families on Cortes. It has also been determined by the Cortes Island Parent Advisory Committee to be one of the biggest barriers to keeping youth on the island and in the elementary school. Rural students in Canada continue to underperform their urban counterparts in every measurable outcome, including increasing dropouts. On Cortes Island leaving to seek an education cost more than a $1000 per month. Families are left to choose between leaving their home, community, and culture to seek a high school education or sending their children away to board at great personal expense and loss, or seeing their youth drop-out of school altogether.

The problem is also an opportunity. Cortes Island, the ancestral and traditional lands of the Tla’amin, Homalco, and Klahoose First Nations, is a beautiful, wild, and natural “campus”. The island boasts an amazing community that includes the Klahoose First Nation, numerous nonprofit groups, and a disproportionate number of PhDs, naturalists, educators, ecologists, artists, writers, world-class intellectuals, and local knowledge holders.

The result is the Cortes Island Academy: a truly out-of-the box high school semester offered in partnership with the Campbell River School District providing place-based, project-based, experiential, public education and earning high school credits on Cortes Island. Learn more about our 2022-2023 inaugural semester. The Cortes Island Community Foundation is honoured to have been able to support the needs of the Cortes Island community in such a tangible need and thanks to the incredible response by our community to have been able to initiate this project, provide funding to support its start-up phase, and nourish it until it becomes a sustainable organization of its own.

If you’d like to support this inititiative directly or support other educational initiatives or scholarships please visit our Donate Now page and choose Cortes Island Academy or Educational Scholarships.