The Early Years of Deep Creek Middle School

In the early years before the launch of The Island School, the Maxey family started a summer camp funded through the Cotton Bay Foundation. Since then, service and outreach in support of South Eleuthera has remained a core component of our mission. Before the Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS) officially opened, Semester students at The Island School worked in the primary schools with the grade 6 students. The program was powerful for all involved; visiting students learned about Bahamian culture through the eyes of their young buddies from South Eleuthera and in turn there were opportunities to learn how to swim and read together and be inspired by the natural beauty of the local environment. Today, DCMS celebrates 20-years! The idea that the most important learning comes through experience continues to drive the curriculum at DCMS. It was the success of these early programs, and the hard work of many, that drove the interest in officially opening the Deep Creek Middle School.  

The early days at DCMS.

Formalizing a Partnership: DCMS at The Island School

The Deep Creek Middle School was founded in the fall of 2001 by The Island School in order to share our educational model with students from South Eleuthera, formalize our community partnerships and provide a strong middle school option for local youth. We are thrilled by the growth–and more importantly the outcomes–we’ve seen in our Deep Creek Middle School students since its inception, and eager to celebrate this impressive 20-year milestone with our many alumni, friends, and supporters over the years.

DCMS began with 17 students in grades 7 and 8. Today, we welcome 45 students to grades 7-9 each year and currently have a waitlist of interested students. The middle school serves as a model for how experiential, place-based learning can offer tremendous gains for students, while still meeting grade-level requirements. 

A class photo from the 00s.

Deep Creek Middle School Today

Today’s curriculum at DCMS meets the requirements of The Bahamas Ministry of Education and inspires lifelong learning through innovative and experiential learning. Students learn about their environment in their environment, and build community through collaborative projects and engagement. Students graduate with life skills (sense of self, community, experience in public speaking, core values and an appreciation for our natural environment) that continue to develop as they move forward through secondary school and beyond.

In 2010, DCMS became the first school in the English speaking Caribbean to earn the Foundation for Environmental Education’s prestigious Green Flag. This distinction recognizes excellence in environmental education and practice. From recycling, composting and gardening to beach and community clean ups, our students take a lead role in protecting our environment. 

DCMS students at a beach clean in Cotton Bay.

True to our Vision: Leadership Effecting Change

The Island School’s vision is to create leaders, and provide positive leadership and effect change in their communities and around the world. At DCMS, our future leaders of The Bahamas graduate with the skills to become leaders effecting positive change throughout their country and beyond. A unique model of education, research, and innovation is at the core of these experiences and South Eleuthera has served as an incredible classroom for DCMS students. 

Students adapted to online and hybrid learning modalities throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Highlights of a DCMS Career

Highlights of a DCMS student career include School Without Walls, learning to SCUBA dive, working alongside professional researchers through The Island School’s Cape Eleuthera Institute, and being part of a diverse community of life-long learners from different parts of the world.

Each year, we assist interested students at the Deep Creek Middle School in preparing for their secondary education and, if interested, applying to boarding schools abroad. Over the years, DCMS graduates have earned more than $10 MM in scholarship dollars toward their education.

DCMS class of 2018 at their graduation.

In the Spring of 2018 former Minister of Education Jefrey Lloyd visited DCMS; he was inspired by the demonstration of student leadership. Minister Lloyd in turn established Deep Creek Middle School as the laboratory school for the nation in the hope that best practices might be further shared across the public school system. Together, Minister Lloyd and MoE launched a partnership with The Island School expanding elements of our DCMS model first with the primary school and eventually toward a pre-k – grade 12 journey that will help inspire more opportunity for students across the archipelago.