Stratford Hall was founded in the late 1990s by two Burnaby parents, Elaine Lee and Cindy Leung, who wanted a university preparatory option for their own children.
They formed a not-for-profit society, the Burnaby Independent School Society (now the Stratford Hall (School) Society), and in October 1999, they appointed James McConnell as Head of School. They also secured a temporary site, the Italian Cultural Centre, which served the school for its first 9 years.
In September 2000, classes began for 40 students in kindergarten to grade 6. Since then, we have added about 40 new students each year. In 2001, we started a second kindergarten class, and in May 2007, the first set of students graduated from grade 12. Our current enrollment is 511 students in kindergarten to grade 12.
We made the decision to embark on the International Baccalaureate in October 1999, and Stratford Hall was one of the first schools in the world to establish itself using all three IB Programs. In 2003, we were awarded authorization for the IB Primary Years Programme, the first school in Western Canada to do so. In 2005, we achieved authorization for the IB Diploma Programme, ensuring that our first graduating class would be Diploma candidates. We achieved full authorization for our Middle Years Programme in 2009. We are now one of 5 schools in the lower mainland, one of 12 in Canada, and one of 185 in the world to offer the IB Continuum Programme.
Gaining acceptance into the International Baccalaureate was an important step for program design and credibility; as was joining associations that have stringent standards of admission. Stratford Hall was accepted into the Independent Schools Association of BC in 2003, and into the Canadian Association of Independent Schools in 2005.
The search for a permanent site for Stratford Hall included visits to more than 100 possible locations in Burnaby, Vancouver and New Westminster. In 2005, the former Ailanthus Arts Centre in east Vancouver became available and the school purchased it, establishing a permanent presence on Commercial Drive. In September 2005, the grades 6 - 12 program was moved from the Italian Cultural Centre to the new building.
In 2007, Stratford Hall purchased a lot on the same block of Commercial, and in 2008, construction began on our new Primary Years facility. The building, designed specifically for the IB Primary Years Programme, opened in November of 2009. In 2012, we began construction on our new purpose built Middle Years Programme building for grades 6 - 10 students, located at 3150 Commercial drive. This building was opened in January 2014 providing us with additional space. We are now pleased to have three distinct buildings for each of the IB programmes. Each building has been thoughtfully designed for learning today and in the future, rather than learning in the 20th century. We are looking forward to continuing to grow and develop our school.