October 20, 2021 Duncan MacLeod


PCS Communications

Photo of MOU signing ceremony (front row, left to right: Joe Pierre, ʔaq’am Community Chief; Duncan MacLeod, Purcell Collegiate Incorporated CEO/Head of School; back row, left to right: Arthur Luk, Purcell Collegiate Incorporated Corporate Director; Jaret Thompson, Purcell Collegiate Incorporated Corporate Board Chair; Julie Birdstone, ʔaq’am Community Councillor; Jason Andrew, ʔaq’am Community Councillor)

The ʔaq’am Community and Purcell Collegiate Incorporated (PCI) are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties.

The signing took place on Tuesday, October 12 at ʔaq’am and is the result of 19 months of collaborative discussions and cooperative initiatives.

The MOU articulates the parties’ groundbreaking partnership on PCI’s in-development international boarding school, Purcell Collegiate, and lays the groundwork to expand ʔaq’am’s role to include shares in PCI and a seat on its corporate board of directors.


Purcell Collegiate Incorporated (PCI) is building a world-class international boarding school in Kimberley, British Columbia. The school, Purcell Collegiate, will be licensed as a Group 4 Independent School under the BC Ministry of Education classification scheme.

The school will employ BC-certified teachers and deliver the world-renowned BC curriculum to international and Canadian students in grades 7 – 12. In addition to core academic courses, it will offer specialized elective classes in the areas of sustainability, outdoor education, STEM, business and entrepreneurship, leadership, and fine arts.

There will also be advanced coaching and training opportunities for student athletes in multiple sports academies beginning with hockey and expanding to soccer, golf, and other scholarship-qualifying sports. All aspects of the learning experience at PCS will be informed by and infused with the First Peoples Principles of Learning and Indigenous Ways of Knowing as guided and facilitated by the ʔaq̓am Community of the Ktunaxa Nation.

Other key features and attributes include:

  • the school is targeting LEED GOLD accreditation based on the most applicable LEED rating system version at the time of submitting the application to the Canada Green Building Council;
  • the school will incorporate as many sustainability aspects and amenities as possible. Some examples already included in the design are rain-water collection, living walls/roofs, solar energy production capacity, and food-production capabilities (greenhouse, forest farm, apiaries);
  • the school is targeting Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) Certified Gold status per the foundation’s rating system criteria and toward ensuring the entire campus is as accessible and engageable as possible;
  • the school will include a child-care facility as an extension of Purcell Preschool + Daycare’s existing operations at our Meadowbrook School campus to provide child care for Purcell Collegiate staff and the Kimberley community and to provide learning opportunities for Purcell Collegiate students, particularly those interested in careers in education;
  • the school will foster inclusivity and acceptance for all students regardless of nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, and/or disability and will incorporate design accommodations and enhancements with that in mind;
  • the school will encourage and enable healthy living with physical and intellectual outlets and opportunities already included in the design;
  • the school will highlight Ktunaxa language, culture, and history with design implements and operational participation as guided by ʔaq̓am Community representatives;
  • the school will provide integrated learning and engagement opportunities for community members including but not limited to after-school clubs and sports open to local public-school students, evening classes for adult community members, and publicly-accessible learning and multipurpose spaces for community activities, events and presentations; and
  • the school will foster and support psychological well-being; Purcell Collegiate will be a healthy, productive environment for living and learning.

PCI has chosen to locate Purcell Collegiate School in the centrally-located suburb of Marysville for the express purpose of creating benefit for the local communities of Kimberley, ʔaq’am, and Cranbrook and looks forward to extending and enhancing the opportunities it will produce to maximize its economic and social impact.

PCS’s pioneering engagement model was designed to support and complement the local public-school system. As such, the only local students who will attend PCS will be high-level athletes who would otherwise have to leave the local area to attend sports academy programs in larger school districts or distant private schools. PCS will afford these students (and their families) the opportunity for them to remain at home.

Local students will otherwise not be permitted to attend PCS ensuring enrolment numbers at Selkirk Secondary School in Kimberley and Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook are not negatively impacted. That said, students enrolled in both local public high schools will qualify to participate in PCS’s suite of after-school clubs and sports which will provide learning and training opportunities only found in large metropolitan areas.

This unique engagement model enables and ensures both maximum benefit and minimum disruption while simultaneously enhancing the value proposition afforded to international students whose opportunity to live and learn in Canada will be extended beyond the cohort of students at Purcell Collegiate to include those with similar interests and goals in the other two local high schools.


The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, has repeatedly highlighted education as the key to reconciliation, stating, “Education got us into this mess and education will get us out of it.”

Working together, PCI and ʔaq̓am are taking up this mantle. As such, Purcell Collegiate will not be a traditional or conventional “private school.” It will be a paradigm-shifting Group 4 independent school purpose-built to change the way education is offered and engaged in British Columbia.

The human, social, cultural, and educational capital being contributed by the ʔaq̓am Community distinguishes the school as a learning opportunity for students and elevates it as a social impact incubator and economic development generator in support of the Truth and Reconciliation process and as a lighthouse project toward a decolonized future.

For further information, contact ʔaq’am CAO, Carl Ninine, at or Purcell Collegiate Incorporated CEO/Head of School, Duncan MacLeod, at