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Apr 01
Maddaugh Elementary opens, taking pressure off nearby schools in Clayton Heights

maddaughelementary.jpg

Maddaugh Elementary has now opened its doors to students in Clayton Heights, taking some of the strain off of nearby Katzie, Hazelgrove and Clayton elementary schools.

Following the openings of Douglas and Edgewood elementaries in South Surrey, Maddaugh is the third school in the district to open during the pandemic. The Ministry of Education provided $23.8 million for Maddaugh, with an additional $7.4 million from the district. The new school is expected to ease overcrowding at nearby elementary schools and make way for families moving to the area.

"With so many young families in Clayton Heights, Maddaugh Elementary is a welcome and much needed addition to the neighbourhood," said Surrey Board of Education Chair Laurie Larsen. "This community has been interested in this school for a long time, and it is so exciting that the day has finally come to see it open."

Maddaugh interior.jpgLocated at the intersection of 194 Street and 76 Avenue, Maddaugh Elementary has 25 classrooms and follows the same design as Douglas and Edgewood, with collaboration spaces, a large gymnasium, a library, a learning commons, maker lab and a multipurpose room, as well as an outdoor classroom.

"The outdoor classroom has a dry riverbed, a path that weaves through it, a huge stump from an old maple tree, rocks and boulders that were dug up when excavating, and it's surrounded by forest," said principal Antonio Vendramin. "The natural setting is really going to lend itself to outdoor learning and the wellness of students and staff. It's just a cherry on top for us."

Vendramin said staff involved future students in shaping the school's identity through such efforts as voting on Indigenous animals to feature on the collaboration space privacy film and selecting the school's mascot. Students picked wolves and learned the Coast Salish word "stulqaye" (stul-kaya) for "wolfpack."

"We wanted to make sure we included them in the process," he said. "We took a panel and had all the students sign their name on the back of the panel in permanent ink – their names literally are on the building. It really gives our students a sense of ownership."

Approximately 130 students from Katzie and 170 from Hazelgrove have moved to Maddaugh, leaving room for future growth as families move into new housing developments nearby. Vendramin said staff at both schools have worked hard in coordinating single classroom cohorts with the move to Maddaugh.

"The timing of it is good – spring break was a good reset window for us," he said. "The two school communities have done a really great job of trying to be as normal as possible in our new normal."

While staffing felt a little disjointed in the months leading up to the opening, Vendramin said their efforts have paid off to set roots in their brand new school.

"We spent the past few months community building, connecting classes to each other virtually and in cohorts, and getting our staff to get to know our community," he said. "The community is new, we're all new to each other, and we're so excited to finally open."

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