Can't make it to one of these admissions events? Don't fret. Contact us to ask any questions or get further information.
At Halifax Independent, education is focused on the whole child: intellectual, emotional, physical and social. We understand that a happy child learns best and that each child learns and develops in many different ways. Our small, multi-age classes allow teachers to challenge and support each child in ways that recognize the uniqueness of individuals while emphasizing co-operation and respect for others. Learning and loving it happens hand-in-hand with a sense of discovery and enjoyment.
Our curriculum is thorough in all areas, solid and time-tested, allowing each child to fulfil the desire to know, see and do more – and to consistently reach their potential along the way. The theme-based learning that we pioneered forty years ago, and which is now a major international approach in education, is the core of our academic programmes. It emphasizes active, experiential learning as a means to ingrain the basics and explore the world.
We know that an integrated approach and a love of learning are the best ways to address the needs of the whole child. A Halifax Independent School foundation bears fruit as our students become confident, socially adept and motivated learners – a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Theme learning is the in-depth study of various topics, under the umbrella of a larger “theme topic” and in which all the traditional core subjects are integrated. The themes are of broad interest, appropriate for any age group and are chosen to reflect a balance of science and social studies sub-topics. Language arts and math skills are built into all topics as students report and explore.
Using the theme approach, children see no barriers to their learning or interests; one interest and one subject discipline can naturally flow into the next. Each theme study involves an extensive investigation of concrete situations and materials, including use of community resources. An essential goal of our theme studies is to foster an appreciation of the community and environment in which the children live.
In working through theme, the children learn how to question, analyze, classify and communicate their discoveries. The sense of ownership and pride that naturally flows from these learning experiences benefits our students for life.
Halifax Independent School's Board of Directors has begun the search for a new Headteacher. The successful candidate will continue the school's strong tradition of excellence in education supported by a strong community of parents, teachers, support staff and friends.
Our school provides co-educational day school for children from age 4 (Pre-Primary) through Grade 9. Here are just a few of the things that set us apart within the educational landscape of Halifax:
- Our Origins: A Curriculum Lab school at Dalhousie University
We continue to be the only local member of the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS).
- Our Expertise: Inquiry-based, Child-centred Learning Through Integrated Studies
We consider ourselves and our students to be lifelong learners. We create a learning environment in which cross-curricular connections abound.
- Our Approach: Relational
This is second nature to us, but we never let it slip. Developing strong relationships is entrenched within our curriculum, our discipline policies, and our daily practices and routines. Our commitment to relational teaching is consistent and unshakeable.
Our educational vision is ambitious. We are confident that excellent teaching and love of learning are inseparable. We honour the experience of childhood and respect the children in our care.
Our Headteacher dynamically and persuasively communicates the vision of the school, and promotes a healthy, joyful, and effective learning environment.The Headteacher ensures quality of experience at every grade level, and within our extracurricular offerings.
As the ideal candidate, you are a professional teacher with extensive classroom experience. You hold expert knowledge of inquiry-based teaching and learning, and whole-child educational philosophy. You have demonstrated excellent communication skills, and you possess strong emotional intelligence.
As Headteacher, you will be accountable to the Board of Directors through the Chair of the Board.
Your areas of responsibility will include the following:
Curriculum and Teaching Practices
You will seek and maintain an informed sense of our curriculum and extracurricular programming. With that knowledge, you will lead us in assessment and review of our offerings with a view to preserving and pursuing excellence. Your leadership will ensure integrity and innovation in delivery of our curriculum.
Finance and Facilities
Your experience and knowledge of finance and facility management, at an institutional level, will ensure that our school is well-run and positioned to embrace opportunities and challenges. This work, often invisible to many, is supported by the Finance Committee and the administrative staff. The school has benefited from strong leadership in this area. Done well, it frees the teachers, students and parents for the important work of learning.
Supporting Parents and Teachers
You will oversee the hiring of all staff, promotion of their professional growth and personal well-being, and evaluation of their work.
You will serve as an anchor for each family's school experience. Our Headteacher meets with parents and children as a part of our admissions process, and your words and actions will often shape the first impressions of the school for a new family. The relationships that you build will position you as a wise and trustworthy resource for parents and teachers when a challenge arises.
Building Trust and Promoting Our Vision
You will bring strong interpersonal skills to bear, whether in providing an update at our Annual General Meeting, addressing a weighty and sensitive matter with a parent or colleague, or spending some time with a new student just finding their feet. You will bring your best to such interactions, acknowledging the importance and value of each opportunity for connection.
As the new head, you will remain an engaged and hospitable presence as a regular part of the school day and at special events. You will maintain a deep understanding and commitment to the philosophy of the school and communicate that vision with clarity and passion. You will set the tone for our school community, seeking opportunities to help students, parents, and staff feel a sense of belonging.
See our CareerBeacon posting HERE
Are you interested in learning more? We would love to hear from you!
For further information or to arrange a confidential exploration of this opportunity, please contact Valerie Walker (email@example.com).
From time to time Halifax Independent School looks for teachers to join its enthusiastic and dedicated teaching staff. With competitive salaries, a generous benefits package, stimulating curricula and small class sizes, the school is a wonderful teaching environment for creative, hard-working individuals.
Teachers must have a minimum of a B.Ed (or equivalent) with relevant teachables and be eligible to be licensed in the province of Nova Scotia. Teachers in the Pre-primary (Littles) must have a Level 2 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Classification.
We are currently accepting applications for the following position:
We are seeking candidates for the following positions:
Start Date: August 19, 2019
B Ed. with Elementary specialty
Middle School English Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher
Start Date: August 19, 2019
B Ed. with relevant teachable subjects
The successful applicants must provide Vulnerable Sector Search results and Child Abuse Registry Check results issued within the last 12 months.
We also welcome inquiries from qualified teachers interested in substitute teaching opportunities. These experiences occasionally extend into long-term contracts. To express your interest and initiate this process, please submit a résumé, and then plan to spend a morning observing in the school and meeting with teachers before having your name added to our substitute list.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org .
The school day at Halifax Independent runs from 9:00am to 3:15pm (3:25pm for Middle School). Children are supervised from 8:30am to 3:15pm (3:25 for Middle School), lunchtime included. All children in the Pre-Primary and Elementary school have a half hour "snack" time in the mornings and a one hour lunch time. On both breaks children have an opportunity to play outside. Middle School students have a 15 minute break in the morning and a one hour lunch period. Optional hot lunches are served several days per week at a small additional cost.
In addition, the following programmes are offered to Elementary students:
• Early Morning Care: 8:00am - 8:30am, Monday through Friday (except on school holidays)
• After School Care: 3:15pm - 5:30pm, Monday through Friday (except on school holidays)
• Parent Teacher Conference Childcare: 8:30am - 3:15pm on every Parent Teacher Conference Day
• Inservice Day Childcare: 8:30am - 3:15pm on every Inservice Day
The aim of these childcare programmes is to provide an environment consistent with the goals of the school. The focus is on developing social skills, independence, cooperation and respect for oneself and others. The programmes are recreation-based and often involve the adventure of an off-site activity. Childcare staff are selected for their training, skills, experience and love of children. Parental input and participation is encouraged.
We welcome international students and find that the highly collaborative learning environment, small class sizes and warm school community greatly enhances their English language development and cultural experience. ESL is provided based on the student’s needs and international students are often able to secure a home-stay placement within the school community.
Our Resource specialist assesses the needs of each student at the beginning of each school year and arranges for resource sessions, as needed. This work happens in small groups or individual resource meetings, and can address a specific need in the short term, and provide ongoing support or curriculum extensions. Great care is taken to provide continuity from year to year, and the high level of coordination within the teaching staff allows for synchronization of resource activities with classroom work and smooth transitions. Our thoughtful approach to academic instruction within the classroom emboldens children to meet with areas of struggle unselfconsciously and to embrace extra challenge with enthusiasm. This fosters an invaluable confidence and internal motivation that accompanies our alumni into high school and beyond.
Headteacher - Cate Allen
Deputy Headteacher - Heather Johnson
Department Head for Lower Elementary - Jill Morgan
Department Head for Upper Elementary - Christy Elliott
Department Head for Middle School - Leigh-Ann Fulmore
Music Teacher, Upper Elementary and Middle School
BA Piano Performance with Honours (Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, QC), Master of Music, Choral Conducting (University of Miami, Florida); BMusEd (Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL)
Adam was alerted to an opening at Halifax Independent School by one of his professors from Memorial University, and he jumped at the opportunity. In addition to the Bachelor of Music Education from Memorial, Adam’s teaching preparation included Music degrees from Bishop’s University, in Quebec and the University of Miami, in Florida. In addition, he has attended choral conducting workshops in Halifax; in Jacksonville, Florida; in Dallas, Texas; and Sarteano, Italy.
In high school, Adam’s music teachers created a classroom atmosphere which encouraged he and his classmates to grow. These exemplars inspired him to pursue teaching, and they inform his teaching practice, even today. Adam’s educational philosophy flows from his conviction that music-making is transformative and communicative for people of all abilities, at every age. Adam enjoys the way children think and appreciates their surprising and humorous insights.
Joining the staff in August 2016, Adam immediately appreciated the quality of the attention given to Halifax Independent students. The small class-sizes and student-centred approach allow him to feel confident that students’ needs can be met. Adam is energized and uplifted by bringing people together in song, and outside of music-making at Halifax Independent, Adam loves directing choral groups of all sorts. Originally from New Glasgow, Adam loves being active and being outdoors (and was immediately swept up into our Middle School Hiking Club).
Carol Anne May
Lead Teacher, Pre-Primary Co-Director
Early Childhood Education Diploma (Holland College, Charlottetown) Classification: ECE2
After 18 years as a resource teacher in Bridgewater, Carol Anne took a leap, landed at HIS, and couldn’t be happier. Born in Montreal and raised in PEI, this Early Childhood Education graduate has worked with children throughout her career. From a very young age, she knew that this was her life’s work and passion. Her work with children of all ages has shaped her personal teaching philosophy. She has become convinced that the building blocks of educational success are strong, positive social interaction where children learn how to play, interact, and gain confidence in themselves. The Halifax Independent School’s focus on the whole child— intellectual, emotional, physical and social — is a wonderful fit.
BA (Nottingham), Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK), MEd (Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK), 2 years Doctoral Studies (University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, UK)
After being inspired to have fun and enjoy school by one particularly wonderful teacher, Cate has spent the last few decades working to make that experience happen for others. Originally from the UK and at the Halifax Independent School since 1991, she is now the school’s Headteacher. Both of her daughters attended the school and since graduation, have worked as school monitors. Cate delights in the school community’s emphasis on relationship-building, and respect for children as people, first. She enjoys watching children have the opportunity to relax into who they are and witnessing, daily, the incredible enthusiasm for learning that both teachers and students display.
Middle School Teacher
Elementary Teacher and Department Head for Upper Elementary
BScK (Dalhousie University, Halifax), MSc (Oregon State University), BEd (Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax)
HIS is such a second home to Christy that she has been known to pull out her house key to get in the front door of the school! Originally from Dartmouth, Christy also spent some time in Connecticut, working at a therapeutic boarding school for children with special needs. It was there that she realized that teaching was her calling and, since 2008, has been teaching elementary school at HIS. Christy also heads up the school’s running clubs and in her free time, volunteers with the Girl Guides of Canada.
Middle School Teacher
BSc (Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS), BEd (Memorial University, St. John's NL), MEd (University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB)
Originally from Halifax, “Heather D” joined our school in 2017. Since 2011, her teaching experience has include service in remote areas of Canada, distance learning for with a dispersed student group, and most subject areas. She loves to learn and finds both the process and the possibilities thrilling. A deeply satisfying experience as a part-time ESL instructor during Heather’s university years pointed Heather toward a teaching career. She values her involvement in a community of learners and teaching remains her favourite way to contribute to the well-being of others.
Heather was very grateful for the warm welcome that she received when she first joined the staff, and appreciates the collaborative approach and the sense of community within the classes.
Heather recharges by hiking with her dog. She loves exploring new paths - and soaking up the beauty found in natural landscapes.
Deputy Headteacher, Middle School Teacher
BA (Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB), Certificate in Environmental Education (Algonquin College, Ottawa, ON), BEd (Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS), MEd (Acadia University, Wolfville, NS)
One of Heather's first days at HIS was substitute teaching on "9-11". In the days following, she witnessed how thoughtfully teachers responded to students—some with parents working in New York—and how naturally and intuitively the members of the school community interacted with one another. It is this community's respect for the broader world (including the environment) that Heather most enjoys. The learning garnered from the natural world and animals has prompted Heather to share her farm with the children of HIS. There, students experience the space and beauty of the Valley, where Heather raises sheep and grows vegetables, For Heather, who also directs the senior students in their theatrical productions, some of her best moments come when HIS Alumni drop by for a hug, share their continued achievements, and let her know how fondly they remember their time at the school.
Pre-Primary Assistant Teacher
Elementary Teacher and Department Head for Lower Elementary
BAA, Child and Youth Studies (Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax NS), BEd (University of Calgary, Calgary, AB)
From the minute Jill began part-time work at HIS back in 2004, she knew it was the school for her. Both her own personal learning philosophy and her teacher-training in inquiry-based learning, at the University of Calgary, made the school a logical choice. As someone who has always adored children, Jill considers her job a privilege. Some of the highlights include hearing their full-belly laughter, sharing their eagerness to learn, and reflecting on the many inspiring (and funny) moments that happen each and every day. Jill creates a respectful and caring environment where children are nurtured to become who they fully are and where they feel safe sharing ideas and expressing themselves
Kaitlin Smith (on leave)
BSc, Environmental Science (McGill University, Montreal, PQ ), BEd (Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax, NS)
Positive experiences with teachers in her high school years led Kaitlin to want to study education and contribute to the lives of young people. Since graduating from Mount Saint Vincent University, she has developed a teaching philosophy that encourages students to make their own discoveries through inquiry-based learning methods. Originally from New Brunswick, Kaitlin has also worked in Nairobi, Kenya in literacy education; and in Suzhou, China as a high school science teacher. She especially appreciates the school's emphasis on respect, community, and creativity; and the dedication shared by all staff as they create a nurturing environment for students, parents and staff. Fuelled by a love of children and youth, Kaitlin is daily inspired by the commitment that her students show toward their own learning.
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Kitchen Manager and Nutrition Mentor
BA (University of King’s College, Halifax, NS), BEd (Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax, NS)
Laura’s favourite moment at HIS happened on a field trip to the new Halifax Farmers’ Market. After time spent talking with farmers and tasting delicious food, the class of 6 and 7-year-olds happened upon an accordion player and began dancing their hearts out. It’s this sense of joy that Laura finds most inspiring in children. This native Nova Scotian brings diverse experiences to the school including time as a deckhand on the Schooner Bluenose II, many art and design courses, ukulele playing, and Flamenco dancing! When she teaches, Laura encourages laughter, kindness and the children’s natural inquisitiveness. Her goal is to foster a caring community and to contribute to a lifelong love of learning within her students.
BA, BEd (Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax, NS)
Watching her students write their first sentences without assistance is akin to watching them take their first step, for Lee-Anne. Helping students achieve this kind of success, within the creative and dynamic environment of HIS, fuels her love of teaching. Many early experiences led Lee-Anne to this career, including a three-year stint as an ESL teacher overseas, a position as a recreation program leader for the YMCA, and time helping struggling readers. as an instructor with SpellRead. She loves the way that HIS helps students to develop confidence and to realize their potential, all the while being mindful of their differences and personal strengths. She is happy to develop new and exciting experiences that enable her students to construct their own knowledge of the world around them.
Leigh-Ann Fulmore (on leave)
Middle School Teacher and Department Head for Middle School
BSc Chemistry (University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB), BEd (Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax, NS)
Leigh-Ann was born into a family of teachers, and knew from a young age that she wanted to follow in her family’s footsteps. She values the maturity and respect that HIS Middle School students bring to their school life, and she loves their daily “aha” moments, as they learn. Originally from Truro, Nova Scotia, Leigh-Ann has a deep appreciation for learning and understands the importance of engaging with students and showing genuine interest and enthusiasm. A former member of the Nova Scotia Institute of Science, Leigh-Ann values interdisciplinary connections and cultivates opportunities for Halifax Independent students to meet role models, exemplars, and mentors within the science community. A life-long outdoor enthusiast, Leigh-Ann gladly offers active leadership to the school’s Hiking, Ski & Snowboard Clubs. Leigh-Ann holds her certification to coach tennis, loves travelling and photography, and is a “mean” cake decorator!
BA, BEd (Saint Thomas University, Fredericton, NB)
Inspired by the kindness and steadfastness of his Grade Three teacher who faithfully delivered assignments and get-well cards to Liam’s house during an illness that kept him from school for half of the school year, Liam decided he wanted to be that kind of teacher. After training in New Brunswick, he taught Kindergarten for two years before coming to HIS in 2011, where he was touched to receive such a warm welcome from teachers and parents alike. Liam is constantly astonished and rewarded by watching children push themselves to their limits in order to accomplish goals. He welcomes these wonderful moments — and experiences them regularly, teaching and learning at HIS.
BA, BEd (Acadia University, Wolfville, NS)
Lori has had many memorable moments as a teacher! Her teaching experience has been rich, from climbing mountains and sitting in a bear cave to travelling by dog sled and sleeping in an igloo, made by her students. After years spent in Canada’s North and in British Columbia, Lori returned to her roots in Nova Scotia and discovered HIS. Lori’s own thoughts about education and development are closely aligned with the school’s philosophy of creating an environment where children can thrive emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. In fact, she was so taken by HIS’s secure, caring, and academically stimulating atmosphere that she immediately brought her own son to the school. Lori is a Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council member and also nurtures her creative side outside the classroom by working as a wood artisan.
Middle School Teacher
B.Sc. (Boston University) M.Ed. (University of Massachusetts, Boston) Completed the Boston Teacher Residency in the Boston Public Schools
During two years of study at Acadia University, as a Math major, Lyssa had the opportunity to work at Math and Science summer camps. She enjoyed the campers from little to big, but discovered that the middle school years were a perfect match for her. Her work with not-for-profit organizations led her to consider student guidance as a possible vocation, but she realized that being a Math and Science teacher presented as the very best combination of her skills, knowledge, and passion.
Lyssa joined our school in March 2019 with 10 years of teaching experience in Middle School Math and Science, and before that, broad experience in the not-for-profit sector. Lyssa has a clear memory of the challenges that she encountered as a student, especially in Grades 5-8. She shares Halifax Independent School’s attention to the development of communication and social skills, and its commitment to caring well for each child.
BA Music (University of Western Ontario, London, ON), Diploma in Kodály Music Education (Kodály Institute, Hungary), BEd (Dalhousie University, Halifax), Early Childhood Education Diploma (Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education, Halifax)
Maggie wanted to teach music to children for as long as she can remember and has managed to achieve this dream for most of her adult life. Originally from Sudbury, Maggie and her family chose Halifax as home in 1998, the same year she joined HIS. As a mother of four children, now grown, she truly enjoys the hope and daring of young people; how they approach new challenges and their displays of delight and wonder. Teaching at HIS has also enabled Maggie to learn much about herself, life, and others, and she considers it an honour to work in such a caring and respectful environment.
Physical Education Teacher and Athletics Director
BMgmt (Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS), BSc Recreation (Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS), BEd (St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS)
Originally from Amherst, Nova Scotia, Matt wanted to become a teacher. He has much younger siblings, and his experience as an older big brother have allowed him to develop comfort and confidence working and playing with children and youth.
Matt benefited from rich experiences as a student athlete through track and field, hockey, baseball and soccer. He loves the outdoors and has begun to incorporate hiking, camping, and canoeing into his leisure time. Professionally, he works to create an environment that is welcoming and encouraging, always ready to celebrate effort and incremental successes. In 2016, Matt founded Goalball* Antigonish, and has continued to support the Canadian Blind Sports Association as a Goalball volunteer.
*Goalball is a Paralympic sport developed for athletes with blindness or low vision.
BFA (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, NS), Certificate in Accounting (Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax, NS)
Born and raised in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, May’s interest in accountancy grew as she was exposed to the field through summer jobs. May discovered that she truly enjoyed that aspect of her work and set out to achieve formal certification. She first encountered HIS as a parent and appreciated the rich experience that the school was offering to her two sons. May is a perfect fit for the front desk of HIS, with her warm smile, calm demeanour, and love of children. She very much enjoys the strong sense of community, the fact that the school draws so many wonderful people (both staff and parents) together, and the opportunity to contribute to an organization she values.
BA (St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS), Graduate Diploma in Education (Monash University, Melbourne, AU)
Meghan grew up in Nova Scotia, and found her way to Halifax Independent after having studied and taught in Nova Scotia and abroad. Meghan’s desire to work with children developed in her teens, teaching swimming and later, as a volunteer tutor with St. Francis Xavier University’s “X-Project”. Her BA at STFX was followed by career experience in an Early Childhood Education setting and she soon discerned that she wanted to be an elementary teacher. She completed her Graduate Diploma in Education in Melbourne, Australia, and spent the early part of her teaching career there, leading Grades 2, 4, 5 and 6 classes. Meghan has been teaching locally since coming home in 2013. Outside of her profession, Meghan thoroughly enjoys time with her family and she and her husband find deep satisfaction in raising their two young daughters.
Meghan relishes the experience of watching children recognize their individual strengths and strive toward achieving their potential in any area of school life. Dedicated to discerning her students’ learning styles and current capabilities, Meghan sets high expectations for her students, informed by her own growing understanding of what each child brings to their own learning experiences. Meghan gladly accepted the invitation to join the teaching staff in the autumn of 2016. At Halifax Independent, Meghan sees evidence of a true partnership between parents, students and teachers, sustaining a rich and supportive learning environment.
Nelle Callanan (on leave)
BMus, BMusEd (Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL)
Nelle comes to teaching and to music naturally. Her mother, Maggie Duinker. has been the music teacher at HIS for the last 14 years. Nelle ably filled her mom’s shoes during a one-year absence and and on Maggie’s return, the school had grown such that we needed two Music teachers. When she was a first year teacher, Nelle experienced a warm and supportive welcome, and she feels honoured to be a permanent part of the HIS staff team. She participates in all areas of school life and enjoys collaborating with Maggie and the classroom teachers. Nelle most enjoys children’s enthusiasm and passion for music, their fearless sense of wonder in the world, and their ability to overcome challenges in many different and amazing ways. When not at school, Nelle sings in various choirs and plays her ukulele.
BA (St. Mary’s University, Halifax, NS), BEd (University of Calgary, Calgary, AB)
Sandy flew all the way from Calgary for her HIS interview and promptly fell in love with the school. Luckily for all, she was offered a teaching position! Sandy brings her love of children’s energy, honesty, imaginations, and creativity to her work and is grateful for the value HIS places on collaboration, supported by a strong sense of community. She loves that teachers, students, and parents all work together to make the education of the students engaging and meaningful. Working with children on a daily basis continually reminds her of what is important in life: friendships, family, learning about ourselves, and learning about the world around us. On Thursday nights, you’ll find Sandy spending time with her own family - bowling, with two generations!
Visual Arts Teacher
BFA, MEd (Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA)
Originally from Washington State, Sara joined the HIS staff in September 2017.
At university, on the path toward majoring in Art, Sara volunteered with middle school children and discovered a passion for working with youth. Becoming an Art teacher allowed her to combine both pursuits in one vocation. Sara values the pure and fresh approach that children bring to art-making. Early art experiences expose students to materials, processes, and background information that are new to them. The children’s excitement and creativity is evident in their artwork.
Sara’s teaching philosophy is student-centred, and she takes time to develop a solid relationship with each student. She has found that this investment of time and effort creates a learning environment in which students work hard and in which she feels well-equipped to meet the needs of individual students. From her earliest days at H.I.S., Sara has been impressed by the supportive community that students, parents, and teachers provide for one another.
Sara finds a deep joy in her family life. She loves playing with her two boys and her husband at the beach, in the snow, or even just at home.
Lead Teacher, Pre-Primary Co-Director
B. A. (St. Mary’s University); Early Childhood Education Two-Year Diploma (Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education, Halifax)
It was the experience of having her own child that led Shawna to the realization that she wanted to teach children. She went on to study at the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education and was hired in one of their lab schools as a lead pre-school teacher. Since landing at HIS in 2012, Shawna has been most impressed by the sense of community on which the school is built, with parents and teachers working together to create beautiful opportunities for fun, growth, and education. Shawna loves watching children apply what they are learning to their work and play and when she is not teaching, spends cherished time with her partner and their children at their family cottage.
BA Hons (University of King’s College, Halifax, NS), BEd (St. Mary’s University, Halifax, NS)
Tania comes by her profession naturally, as most of her family members are teachers! She has taught French in both Halifax and Fredericton, and English in Lithuania. Since 2004, she has been enjoying the sense of community and collaboration at HIS and is grateful for the way her own teaching philosophy melds with the school’s. Tania loves the opportunities for creativity that permeate the classrooms of HIS. She feels most rewarded when she witnesses students pushing themselves to express thoughts in French, even when they are not confident. In her own life, she continually sets new goals and reaches for more growth, recently adding a half-marathon to her list of accomplishments, which also include playing the French Horn, portraiture, and stained glass work.
BA (Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL), Bachelor of Liberal Studies-Elementary Instruction Honors (University of Maine at Presque Isle, Maine USA ), MEd (Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax, NS)
As a child growing up in Newfoundland, it was not unusual for Tina to come home and find other children, students of her parents, hanging out at her house. For her mother, a Grade Three teacher, and her father, a guidance counsellor, teaching was definitely not a 9-5 job. It was no surprise to anyone when Tina decided to become a teacher, specializing in the area of Resource. Her first stint as a Resource teacher, in 2007, convinced her that helping and supporting children in literacy was her passion. At HIS, she loves that students are encouraged to learn at their own pace and in the ways that best fit them. And she deeply values the commitment of fellow teachers and HIS parents who continually give, helping the school thrive.
BA (Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS), Technical Writing Certificate (Dalhousie University College of Continuing Education, Halifax, NS)
For many, Valerie is the “face” of HIS, working at the front desk, and, daily welcoming adults and children to the school with her warm smile and big heart. She home-schooled her three boys before enroling her eldest child at HIS and quickly fell in love with the school. A job opened up at just the right time and soon, all three boys were enroled. Each one flourished at Halifax Independent and the last graduated in 2011. She loves witnessing a child tackle a personal challenge and feels joyful along with them when they celebrate a triumph. Valerie has two second “homes”: her All Nations Church family and Halifax Independent School, both treasured sources of care and encouragement. In her free time, Valerie enjoys cycling, writing, making music, and spending time with family and friends.
Designed by local architectural firm, Lydon Lynch, Halifax Independent School is a welcoming, bright, two-story structure set on almost two acres of landscaped grounds featuring two playgrounds, a playing field, and picnic area. It sits comfortably in Halifax's residential west end, and is easily accessible from all areas of HRM.
The building is a teaching model of environmental efficiency, and fulfils the goal of "educating our children through example, by taking responsibility for the environment we share". It is heated with geothermal heat pumps eliminating the need for fossil fuels, and is "super insulated." Large, energy-efficient windows capture an abundance of natural light, contributing passive solar energy.
As well as ten classrooms and six co-operative workrooms, the special features of this 16,300 square foot building include a double height music room, a library, a lunchroom with a mini-performance stage, and a teaching kitchen. Every room is fully wired for technology, and the common areas are decorated with student artwork.
In the summer of 2014, with the expansion of our Middle School, a beautiful new stand-alone classroom was added to the campus.
Halifax Independent School is part of an exciting community, locally and beyond. The school values interactions within the community and encourages involvement in a wide range of social, cultural, professional, and ecological activities. Halifax Independent students interact with students from local schools through clubs and other projects.
Being a member of the Atlantic Conference of Independent Schools (ACIS) enables our students to take part in cultural, recreational and sporting events. ACIS also offers our staff professional development opportunities.
Participation in the Duke of Edinburgh programme allows our Middle School students to volunteer in the community in an area of particular interest. HIS is a member of Peaceful Schools International and has supported our students in their participation in Me to We. The students' involvement in a We Act group has led them to support the Solterre Library Build in Ghana, and to contribute to Feed Nova Scotia through the We Scare Hunger campaign.
Opportunities to help close to home often develop naturally, because of community connections. Our students have brought song to a local seniors' residence and a nearby community centre, and participated in Clean Nova Scotia's Great Nova Scotia "Pick-Me-Up" , among other things. Throughout the school's history, students have researched local environmental issues and contributed to local discussions around habitat protection and stewardship of natural resources.
Halifax Independent also encourages children at all grade levels to feel part of the wider global community. Activities such as penpal programmes, supporting community development projects in other areas of the world, hosting exchange students or sponsoring an endangered mammal all help bring the world into our classrooms. A portion of all money raised by the children, for example, through bake sales is designated for a charity to be determined by them.
Halifax Independent School has enjoyed productive relationships with universities in the region. Originally Dalhousie University's laboratory school, we were an important part of its teacher education programme for many years offering a rich learning environment for elementary students and a more intensive practicum experience than could be found in a conventional practicum teaching block. After Dalhousie moved away from teacher education, our school formed a relationship with Mount Saint Vincent University, and there have been few years in which there was not at least one student teacher in our classrooms.
Our school has also been involved in numerous research projects with regional universities and we are proud of our record as a partner in research and to be a member of the International Association of Laboratory Schools. Our students benefit from the extra learning opportunities involved, as well as from the expertise of university personnel.
As part of our enriched curriculum we are also affiliated with or partner with many exceptional organizations.
At the Canada Games Centre, our elementary students receive weekly swimming classes in the Royal Lifesaving Society programme. Our Middle School students benefit from inter-scholastic athletics through the Nova Scotia Schools Athletic Federation (NSSAF). Our senior students experience challenge and adventure in The Duke of Edinburgh programme as well as the Experiences Canada (formerly SEVEC) programme. Brigadoon Village (Camp) is the perfect setting for our Middle School’s annual team-building trip, and our staff were so impressed with the beauty of the site and the quality of the programming that they have identified it as an optimal site for multi-day staff development events. As part of our school’s global and local community-mindedness our senior students plan We Act initiatives and have supported, among other worthy causes, the Solterre Ghana Library Build.
We love local businesses and resources, and are delighted to bring our student productions to the stages at Alderney Landing Theatre and the Scotiabank Studio Theatre. Our north-end neighbourhood is a great place to grow, and allows us to be “regulars” at St. Andrew’s Community Centre. We have an especially soft spot for Ironwood Farm where our students see farming up close, and enjoy the natural wonderland of their delightful wooded acreage.
The close-knit nature of Halifax Independent School means that we keep in touch with our former students long after they have left the school. We are very proud of our graduates; the first class to graduate from grade six graduated from high school in 2004. Of the seven students, 6 graduated with honours or with distinction. All continued on to enrol in university programmes, several with scholarships.
An Alumni Association has held several reunions over the years and was instrumental in fundraising for the new school building. Newsletters keep members up-to-date with the activities of the school and with news of one another.
If you are an alumnus who would like to receive our newsletter, or would like to share news about yourself, please email us at: email@example.com
We love to hear from our former students and their families! They enjoy a standing invitation to our “End of Year Celebration Picnic”, held each year, in June. We lean on recent graduates to visit our Grade 9 class and give them a firsthand reflection on life as a new high school student. We gladly share news of our former students via the school newsletter and have had the pleasure of receiving them back into our immediate school community as B.Ed practicum students, as after school staff, as guest speakers and parents!
If you are a graduate or a former student, your child will qualify for a tuition reduction from Primary through Grade 9. Please contact us for details.
In 2012, Halifax Independent School celebrated 40 years of excellence in education - 40 years of fostering a lifelong love of learning!
HIS started in the early 70s as a tiny laboratory school housed in Dalhousie University's Department of Education. Called the Dalhousie Experimental School, many future teachers received part of their training there. During the 1980s the school was expanded, the word "Experimental" was dropped, and the theme approach to teaching was developed. The school's team of teachers pioneered their own version of theme studies and established four of the five themes we still use today. Many of the activities fundamental to our life today originated then: Mini-Society, the Plays, Fair, and the whole school Meeting. The book "Learning and Loving It: Theme Studies in the Classroom" was written by these same teachers, (Gamberg et al.), and it is widely read in the education field. The school was also designated a Centre for Excellence by the National Council of Teachers of English (USA).
By 1990, there were about 35 students from Youngs (Primary) to Olds (grade 4). It was still operating under Dalhousie's School of Education with one full-time teacher and two part-time teachers. When Dalhousie closed its School of Education as part of the Nova Scotia government’s “rationalization” plan to restructure the province’s universities, teachers and parents began to look for ways to preserve the school and its unique philosophy.
The school was incorporated as a cooperative in 1992 (Dalhousie Co-operative School) and soon moved to rented accommodation on South Street where it expanded to include a Littles class (pre-primary) and an Elders class (grades 5 and 6). During the next decade, it grew to over 100 students, prompting plans for a Middle School. As the school continued to expand, a portable classroom was added, the name was changed again, and staff and parents came together, to plan a permanent home. After several years of intense fundraising and planning, Halifax Independent School obtained land on Connaught Avenue for its present purpose-built structure. Since its September 2004 opening, the school has reached its planned enrolment of 150 students and proudly graduated its first Grade 9 class in June 2006.
Halifax Independent School is enriched by volunteers, both members of the community and parents. From parents who invite classes into their labs or studios, and members of the Board of Directors, to helpers with pizza lunches on Fridays, parents are a valuable resource for the school. We actively encourage them to share their skills and expertise with the students.
Those interested in a career in education hone skills and gain valuable experience through volunteer work at the school. In addition there are opportunities for paid employment in our lunch monitor and after school programmes.
If you are interested in pursuing a volunteer opportunity at the school please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We can't be a community without you!
Halifax Independent School is a registered charitable society in which parents and staff govern the school. Almost from its inception, the school has operated on a cooperative model with the gifts and skills of parents influencing every aspect of school life. Our Board is comprised of elected parents and staff members who meet monthly to oversee the direction of the school. Parents and staff, all of whom are members of the Society, gather together for three general meetings during each school year. These meetings provide an opportunity for parents to be well-informed and to have a voice in important discussions. Policies and practices are set and modified as needed with the input of the membership.
Committees deal with many different aspects of school life and consist of parents and teachers working together. An active Landscape Committee has designed and planted gardens and trees to beautify the expansive grounds. Other committees such as Family Support, Finance, Policy, Governance, Facilities, Public Relations, Information Technology and Library provide volunteer opportunities for parents. All committees report to the Board of Directors. With such a varied selection of committees, every interested parent can find a way and a place to contribute to the life of the school.