Considering a change of schools is always daunting. Moving away from home to live at school is even more so. You are not alone in wondering what on earth boarding school is like. About a quarter of our students at Brentwood are new each year. For most of them, it is their first time away from family and friends.
Brentwood is a co-educational university preparatory school for students in grades 9 through 12. Our unique orientation process and boarding life programme help students adjust very quickly to life on campus. The Brentwood community is warm and accepting. Within hours of arriving students begin to feel at ease, and in time Brentwood becomes a home away from home. Graduates often tell us that the years they spent living on this beautiful oceanfront campus were some of the happiest and most memorable of their lives. Brentwood is much more than a school; it is a friendly community of people who care about each other.
Brentwood has a Modern, 21st century, contemporary approach to traditional boarding. Students choose to come to Brentwood; they are not sent here. We cherish our philosophy that the experience each student has in the boarding house is fundamental to the success of our school. The Brentwood boarding experience helps each student develop self-discipline, maturity, independence, time management, and leadership skills.
The Boarding Environment
Being away at a boarding school does not mean that students are without mentoring, guidance and adult supervision. In each house, Houseparents, Assistant Houseparents, house staff and Advisors are in daily contact with all students in the house. As well, all senior students hold some kind of peer counseling and leadership role in the house (including hosting weekly "Big Brother" and "Big Sister" evenings). The House Captain and Assistant House Captain and their team of Grade 12s work closely with the Houseparents and house staff to ensure that each student is supported and that supervision and advice is available at all times. Students learn to live in a community where mutual respect and cooperation are key elements of their daily lives.
Residential Life Programme
Brentwood's Residential Life Programme is a complex and vibrant element of our school. It includes everything from ensuring all students are safe and nurtured in our boarding environment, to the advisor system, Houseparenting teams, prep (homework time), house events, outings and activities, and the support and counseling levels within our houses and dormitories. The Assistant Head of School oversees this important area and meets weekly to discuss boarding life with both students and staff members.
Brentwood by Choice
At Brentwood, we will only accept students if it is their choice to be here. Unlike many boarding schools, we will not accept students who are being 'sent' away to boarding school. This philosophy makes all the difference. Brentwood students are happy to be at school because they have chosen to be here themselves. Brentwood is proud of its modern approach to traditional boarding. As a contemporary school, with a unique balance of academics, arts and athletics hosted in superb state of the art facilities, we combine a west coast, university prep setting with the warm supportive atmosphere of living at home. It is a recipe that works.
Each of our eight boarding houses overlook the spectacular Saanich Peninsula, and provides easy access to all of the art, athletic and academic facilities. The houses are modern and comfortable; they each have common rooms, kitchen areas, internet access (including Skype and social media) accessibility, televisions and gaming consoles as well as areas for socializing with people from other houses. But more than the amenities each house provides, there is immense loyalty and pride associated with members of each house. Long after graduation, the experience in the boarding house typically remains very powerful and meaningful.
At Brentwood every boarding student has a roommate, usually in the same grade, with whom they share a spacious 'dorm' (room). Most roommates choose to room together each year of their Brentwood career. The relationships forged in the houses are lifelong and many roommates will even continue to room together even in university! Roommates can arrange their furniture to make it 'their own' and they take great pleasure in decorating their rooms. The school provides all the basic furniture, however many students choose to bring chairs, couches and fridges as well as many other personal items to make it feel more like home.
Houseparents and Assistant Houseparents (and their families) live at either end of each boarding house. The role of the Houseparent and their Assistant is to work in partnership with parents and to oversee the daily life of every student in the house. The Houseparents always have an open door for students to ask for advice or to simply share a laugh after a busy day. Many graduates still stay in touch with their former Houseparents and can attest to the positive role they played in their adolescent development.
Staying in Touch
At Brentwood, we believe we are in a partnership with families. It is essential that families continue to be as involved in the lives of their sons and daughters as possible. Geography no longer hinders daily communication. With Skype, Facebook, Twitter, email and phone, keeping in touch between home visits is easier than ever. Parents can also stay up to date with life at Brentwood through the weekly Brentwood Blog, online news, the Admissions Blog, the Head of School's Blog and our social media postings on Facebook and Twitter.
Brentwood is a University Preparatory School. Rather than build a school that resembled a traditional boarding school, our founders sought to design a school that mirrored a small college. Why? Because we are preparing our students for what they can expect to find when they graduate.
Today, Brentwood stands as a model of contemporary boarding. At Brentwood, our students are seen as young adults, decision makers and contributors to our community. We are a school that is carefully designed as a 'bridge' to university - a place to gain the independence and skills necessary to succeed in the post-secondary world while still in a safe, caring and nurturing community.
Brentwood's unique Tripartite Programme puts academics at the core of the curriculum, while creating extensive opportunities for all students to participate in athletics and the arts. At Brentwood we combine a challenging 21st century curriculum with traditional values and ethics to give students the experience and opportunities that they need to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Ask prospective students about the idea of going to class on Saturday morning and the response is likely to be negative. Ask current Brentwood students about finishing academic classes by 1:15pm every day, and having afternoons free for athletics and the arts and having longer holidays, their response is positive. Even though our students attend classes 6 days a week, they don't attend school more than anyone else; those days are given back to them with extra days off around spring break, midterm, and other holidays. Brentwood's schedule is unique and few Brentonians would change it. They like Brentwood's distinctive rhythm, which is a product of our tripartite programme.
Extra Curricular Activities
At Brentwood there is no shortage of clubs, groups and activities to choose from. Apart from the 35 arts options and 21 sports options available to our students, we have a host of student-led groups such as SPARC (Student Peer Assistance Resource Counselors), the BEAT (Brentwood Environmental Action Team) and the YPI (Youth Philanthropy Initiative). There are also social events organized by the SAC (Student Activities Council) and Grad class. These groups organize weekly activities on campus such as dances, BBQs, Open Houses, off campus trips and other activities that give students time to relax with their friends. At Brentwood there is always something happening to keep our students busy.
Extracurricular Activities - Clubs and Organizations
Brentwood combines a challenging 21st century academic curriculum with traditional values and ethics. The Brentwood tripartite programme puts academics at the core of the curriculum, while creating extensive opportunities for all students to participate in athletics and the arts.
The pursuit of Academic excellence is a fundamental aim of the School. Students are expected, therefore, to reach levels of achievement that reflect their best in terms of ability, attitude, and effort. To support these goals, class sizes are relatively small, and in subject areas where it is advantageous to do so, students are grouped according to ability. While addressing prescribed BC provincial learning outcomes, our academic curricula in all subjects and at all grades reflect our mission as a university preparatory school. Courses are developed and student programmes are shaped to prepare our graduates successfully for post-secondary education.
Science 9: Biology, Chemistry,
Physics and Space Science
Social Studies 9
Language: French 9, Spanish 9, Beginner
Mandarin or English Enrichment 9
21st Century Studies 9: Environment and
Globalization Strathcona Provincial Park
Foundations of Math 10 and Pre-Calculus 10
Science 10: Biology, Chemistry, Physics,
Earth and Space Science
Social Studies 10
Language: French, Spanish,
Mandarin 11; or Elective
Grade 10 Electives
Beginner's Mandarin Chinese
Biology 11/AP Biology 11
International Relations 11
Natural Philosophy and Ethics 11
AP World History
Software Engineering 11
Music Appreciation, Composition and
Biology 11/AP Biology 11
English 11 or 11AP English Language and
PreCalculus 11 or Foundations of
Social Studies 11: Government, 20th Century
Canadian History (1900-1990)
World Geography: Critical and Changing Times in
the Global Village
Science 11: student choice
Biology 11 or 11AP
Chemistry 11 or 11AP
Physics 11 or AP Physics 1 Honours 11 Electives
Electives: students choose two
Grade 11 Electives
Biology 11 or AP Biology 11
Chemistry 11 or AP Chemistry 11
Physics 11 or AP Physics 1 Honours 11
French 11 or 12
Spanish 11 or 12
Mandarin 11 or 12
Financial Accounting 12
AP Environmental Science 12
Software Engineering 11
English 12 only, or
English12 and English Literature 12, or
AP English Literature and Composition 12
Electives: students choose four or five of:
Grade 12 Electives
French 12 /Spanish 12
AP Human Geography 12
AP World History 12
AP Art History 12
AP Comparative Gov. and Politics 12
AP Macroeconomics 12
AP Environmental Science 12
Financial Accounting 12
AP Biology 12 or Biology 12
AP Chemistry 12 or Chemistry 12
AP Physics 2 Honours or Physics 12
AP Calculus AB 12 or Calculus 12
AP Psychology 12
Foundations of Mathematics 12
AP Studio Art 12
AP European History
English Language and Composition
Comparative Government and Politics
Chinese Language and Culture
Learn to Row
Ice Hockey (Sr.)
Cross Country Running
Field Hockey (girls)
Cross Country Running
Tennis (winter training)
Volleyball skills (girls)
Soccer skills (girls)
Yoga (girls) Cross Training
Girls Weight Training
Learn to Row
Cross Country Running
Girls Weight Training
Design and Engineering
3D Design 3D Animation
Advanced Digital Photography Traditional Photography
Fine Art Photography Drawing and Painting
3D Pottery Hand Built Pottery
Art Foundation Art Rotation 9
Choreography 12 Dance 1012
Advanced Dance 11/12 Beginner Rock Band
Advanced Rock Band Composition Rock Band 1012
Beginner Band Jazz Band
Drama 10 A Cappella Show Choir
Concert Choir Strings Ensemble
Wind Ensemble Guitar Ensemble
Acting 11/12 Musical Theatre
Debate & Model UN
The match between student and university is the most important part of the selection process. Programmes, ambience, size, and location all need to be factored as the student considers where he or she will continue his or her education after Brentwood.
The university counseling team works with students, parents, and advisors to help students apply for admission to universities and colleges. Through self-evaluation, research, and counseling, students are helped to reach sound decisions regarding their future education. Almost 95% of our students proceed to university; the rest begin their post-secondary education at a college or by taking a "gap year" to work and travel.
Brentwood was first founded in 1923. The original location was in Brentwood Bay near Saanich on Vancouver Island, from where its name was derived. The original school was destroyed by a fire in 1947, leaving only the chapel intact. The current school is located westward directly across the bay from the original site, in Mill Bay. The new version of the school opened in September 1961. In 1972, Brentwood College became the first all boys' boarding school in Canada to gradually integrate girls, starting with 20 grade 12 students, becoming officially co-ed for the fall session.
Brentwood's oceanfront campus has an international reputation that matches its educational profile as one of the world's great boarding schools. Set on pristine oceanfront on the sheltered east coast of Vancouver Island, the 77-acre campus is private, but not isolated. Located just 40km north of Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, the campus sits next to the village of Mill Bay, and is an hour's drive from four major ferry terminals and the Victoria International Airport. Stunning views on clear days to snow capped Mount Baker and Finlayson Arm create cherished memories for Brentonians.
Brentwood has been an energy sensitive school since the 1980s when we began using innovative heating and building control systems. Recent green initiatives have included campus-wide recycling centres, composting programs for each residence and the dining room, the use of Green Seal cleaning products, energy efficient lighting, and low flow plumbing fixtures. Brentwood is a registered ecoActive school through PITCH-IN Canada, the country's largest non-profit organization working to preserve the environment by reducing waste.
All school Facilities are located on our 77-acre oceanfront campus. A full compliment of modern buildings are available to facilitate teaching in academics, athletics and arts. The new Art and Mary Jane Crooks Hall provides students with a one stop shop for food, laundry, supplies and socializing. The T. Gil Bunch Centre hosts a full schedule of performances from our arts students and is also host to many local shows and seminars. The Woodward sportsplex with surrounding fields and tennis courts gives our athletes world class facilities to practice and compete.
The Academic Centre is a modern three-story facility with SMART Board-equipped classrooms, an expanded library, administrative and counselling offices, an art gallery, and exhibition spaces. The classrooms are designed to form distinct teaching areas and include six fully appointed science laboratories, two computer instruction centres, an audiovisual language laboratory, and separate studios for pottery, sculpture, photography, painting, and drawing. This building also has raked lecture theatre, which is equipped for mixed-media presentations, also serves as a recital room and recording facility.
T. Gil Bunch Centre
Our 28,000-square-foot performing arts centre which hosts a 431-seat theatre, dance studio, media arts room, lighting and audio control room, music facilities, centre for business and other supporting amenities is the focal point of Brentwood's performance programmes. Built in 2003, this state of the art venue showcases both our own students' creative talents, expressed through word, music, and dance, and those of visiting performers, local and international.
Visual Arts and Global Studies Centre
Brentwood is very excited about its latest building project: the Visual Arts and Global Studies Centre. This spectacular building promises to be a breathtaking addition to our campus. Situated directly south of the W.T. Ross Academic building and only meters from the ocean, this building will host both academic and visual arts programmes -integrating the latest technologies and sustainability designs available.
Athletic facilities include a world-class boathouse (crew), an indoor rowing tank, 7 sports fields, 8 tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court, and a modern sportsplex with a gymnasium, weight rooms, and squash courts. These facilities are augmented by a sheltered oceanfront and the spectacular natural environment of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Brentwood has one of Canada's only high school indoor rowing tanks. The indoor rowing tank and ergometer room sit right next to Brentwood's world class, 3 bay boathouse; the entire facility would rival any university. Brentwood has more than fifty racing shells, from singles to eights, for use by students. The rowing club equipment, in addition to the motorboats and waterfront facilities, are maintained by a full-time professional boatman.
Student Services Centre
The Art and Mary Jane Crooks Hall is a one stop shop for the bulk of our student services on campus. This building is home to the Dining Hall, Campus Store, Laundry services and Student Centre where students can relax and socialize with their peers. Crooks Hall is also leading example of Brentwood's commitment to the environment built with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold standards featuring a geothermal system linked with the ocean, a grey water recovery system and automatic lighting controls.
Future green initiatives include:
The internationally renowned Brentwood Rowing Club has a highly distinguished history that has produced many Olympians, including gold medalists. More recent results include Malcolm Howard (Class of 2001) who was a member of Canada's gold medal winning men's eight. Scott Frandsen (Class of 1998) teamed up with fellow alum David Calder (Class of 1996) and won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Brentwood's medal total was good enough to finish 54th out of 204 countries.
Brentwood has hosted its own regatta annually since the early 1970s, inviting high schools and junior clubs across Canada and the United States to participate in a 1500 metre sprint. The regatta is held every year in April for three days. The Brentwood regatta is the largest high school rowing regatta in North America, attracting over 1700 athletes and 3000 spectators.
Brentwood College has been continuing to gain a sound reputation in the rowing world. Brentwood College graduates include 2008 Beijing Olympic medalists Scott Frandsen (Class of 1998), Dave Calder (Class of 1996) in the Men's Heavyweight 2- event, and Malcolm Howard (Class of 2001) in the Men's Heavyweight 8+ event.
Brentwood College School
2735 Mount Baker Road
Mill Bay, BC, Canada V0R 2P1
Phone: (250) 743-5521
Fax: (250) 743-2911