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Community School Association welcoming new members

The next CSA meeting is coming up on March 11
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Helen Wallwork (left), CSA Co-Chair, and Community School Coordinator Sarah Haxby, (both former Bowen Island Community School students), celebrating BICS, BC Heritage Week, and the Community School Association.

The Community School Association (CSA) was first formed in 1974. Almost half a century ago, the school was located at the site on Miller Road, where Howarth Hall/Bowen Court is now located. A group of locals looked into the future to envision a school that would meet the growing needs of the community.

The Community School model was adopted, and BICS (Bowen Island Community School) was built as a joint-use facility on the current site, and opened in the 1980 school year. As a fun-Heritage Week fact: BICS used to be home to the Bowen Public Library (which is now located at the Old General Store in the Cove.) 

Bowen Island Community School is a K-Grade 7 elementary school, that additionally is a site for outside of school-use-time for community and recreational use. The CSA supports the Community School as a hub of the community.

The CSA continues to meet approximately eight times per year, and helps to support the community use and access of the site and all aspects of the community school model, including lifelong learning and assets that improve and activate the use of the site.

A few examples include providing rental subsidy and supports to local, grassroots organization that are investing in the community, such as the inclusive Songwriter’s Circle, safety education, and local neighbourhood and environmental groups.

Outside-of-school (OST) programs are often supported by the CSA, such as parenting, safety and free and low-charge lifelong learning programs. Examples include the Homework Club, the Garden and nutrition programs, Seed Library and more. The Community School Association fundraises through grant writing, Bowen Island Recycling Depot, and the well-known CSA Christmas Craft Fair, which is an island tradition!

BICS has its own stage, lights, a kitchen, portable speakers and mic system, additional playground equipment, special-event folding tables and chairs and many more assets thanks in part to the fundraising and support of the Community School Association, which works independently as a registered charitable association, and in partnership with the BICS PAC and other community partners. 

The CSA needs a few more members to join the board to keep all of its good work going, and to continue to develop the vision of the future of the community school, and all the ways that it will be one of the hubs of the community. 

If you are a former BICS student, a Bowen ‘old-timer’, a high school student wanting grad credits, or a new resident of Bowen who would like to make connections on-island and be part of an important organization, the CSA is welcoming new members willing to give 4-12 hours a year to support the board. 

The next meeting will be on Monday, March 11, from 6 to 7 pm, at BICS in the nonfiction library room. Everyone in the community is welcome to attend for coffee and pizza and a 20 to 30 minute information session and meet and greet, and then are invited to stay to attend the regular meeting. Meetings are usually 40 to 60 minutes. For more information please write to bowencsa@gmail.com