City School Educational Streams

City School Vancouver
VSB District 39 Alternative Program
is committed to providing courses that not only fit every skill level and background, but also infuse our supportive and innovative teaching approach. Check out our current course offerings below.

Man Writing

Academic Stream

Getting Things Done

All of our students are interested in their academics, but this stream is for higher learning expectations and students who are interested in applying for a university setting. While there is always the focus on social and emotional learning and growth, the expectations are a little more stringent academically and the student's curriculum is tailored to suit a more academic focus. This is ideal for students who work well to criteria and rubrics. Students focus more on core courses and written output and usually take upwards of two accredited online courses in addition to a full course load at City School to create a strong university application.

Actors Reading Script

Social Stream

Hands-On Learning

Best for students who prefer an academic load with more emphasis on verbal output, hands-on learning and discussion as opposed to an over-emphasis on written output. Students in this stream are expected to sign up for volunteer opportunities and participate in our programs such as Drama, Foods and Active Living as well as their own interests. Students must still attempt all the assignments related to writing but assessment includes social and verbal contributions to each course to support the overall score. Students in this stream must see the value in acquiring good sources and be strong readers and interpreters.

Street Art

Art Stream

Creativity Unlocked

In this stream, students are expected to be leaders in creative ideas. Students here, in addition to the core courses must be heavy contributors to our Art Studio, Yearbook, and Creative Writing program as well as assist with artistic direction of plays, presentations, and events such as annual arts fairs or class art projects. Students in this stream must also choose an IDS that relates to a subject we do not offer and spend time on learning new skills to build an art portfolio that can be used for applications to post secondary. Students in this stream will also be expected to have goals of entering work in contests and/or for publication.

A Frame for a Face

Liberal Studies Stream

Master of All

In this stream, students are expected to try things out generally and may select elective courses from the ones offered at City School. This program is best suited for students who are not sure what they like or need extra credits because there are some missing in their history. Students who are studying generally work more closely with the Student Support Assistant to understand learning needs and create a meaningful education plan.  It is most appropriate for students who need a little confidence in their academic life and perhaps extra time to complete things. Students in this stream are encouraged to choose an Independently Directed Supported Study.



City School, founded in 1971, is a VSB public alternative school servicing the needs of self-motivated and intellectual lower mainland students who are seeking an alternative to their local main school. The group is a maximum of 22, and receives a compassionate cohort learning style en route to graduation. At City School, students, teachers and community members build relationships towards success in personal projects, volunteer opportunities, graduation and post-secondary opportunities.

The vision of City School Vancouver is to provide students in grades 11-12 the core subject skills in conjunction with an exploration of areas of interest that are individual to the student. Subjects are taught with adherence to modern standards but with a focus on collaboration, personal growth, hands on learning and community minded leadership and interpersonal skills. In addition, King George Secondary, City School’s parent school, offers numerous social, academic and athletic clubs and services that are fully available to the City School student.

City School has a long tradition of producing artists, musicians, professionals, academics, thinkers, and artisans. The school, while primarily focused on the Arts is fully supported through a variety of electives and field trips that also contribute to an exciting Science and Math education. Beyond academics, students work with their teachers and support staff to develop group cohesion and social awareness in an effort to develop a strong sense of positive individuality and success for one and all.

City School’s long-standing motto of “learning from the city” has been cultured through exciting field trips in and around our local downtown community including Philosopher’s cafes, Poet’s Lunches, Curling, Archery tag (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt), Aquarium trips, Cycling Stanley Park, Plays, Live Symphony and several outreach programs sponsored by music schools, universities and vocational schools. In addition, a variety of guest speakers and resident scientists and artists are invited to lead City School students through group activities from time to time.

Through shared experiences and discoveries such as these, students adhere to a group class schedule in conjunction with setting their own goals for the individual pursuits which drive them forward into their graduation years and beyond.



Students are expected to attend every day and coordinate their daily assignments and responsibilities according to what is set out by their instructor or agreed upon between student and instructor in the case of individually driven inquiry studies. City School Vancouver is a modern and safe environment which is inclusive and socially conscious. We recognise that we work, learn and play on unceded Indigenous territory and promote the importance of teaching an authentic Canadian present-day rather than what has been taught in Canadian high schools of the past with respect to Indigenous perspectives and realities. In addition to this, gender identity and equality, the diverse and multicultural mosaic that is Canada in the 21st century, and other areas related to social justice are important values we share at City School.

At City School students are expected to exhibit compassion for one another and mutual respect for fellow students, their teachers, guest speakers, staff and/or other students from different schools on site or at venues where field trips take place. Even where a difference of opinion exists, students will focus on finding truth through primary and secondary sources that are good, and focus on understanding and listening to viewpoints in a manner that is respectful and productive rather than intentionally harmful.

In the rare case when a student fails to adhere to City School Vancouver or VSB policy, we work with students and families to find solutions that focus on how we can continue to engage the student academically and socially and try to find creative ways to keep students motivated to attend and contribute the best they know how. We involve families in the concept of education so that when students finally emerge with their diplomas everyone feels like they played a significant role in the individual's growth.