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The state-of-the-art École
Salish Secondary is the latest new school to open in the Surrey School District and welcomes approximately 825 Grade 8-11 students this September. Grade 12 students will be introduced next fall, further reducing space constraints at nearby secondary schools.
The 2018-2019 school year is upon us, and in Surrey, the new year brings the excitement of opening a brand new secondary school.
École Salish Secondary, located near 73 Avenue and 184 Street, is welcoming about 825 students and 60 staff members (approximately 40 teachers and 20 support staff) through its doors this September.
The school is a long-awaited addition to the fast-growing Clayton neighbourhood where nearby secondary schools have felt the pressures of overcrowding for several years.
The opening of Salish has meant the removal of nine portables from Clayton Heights Secondary (two remain), and eight from Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary grounds (10 remain).
Salish, with a capacity of 1,500 students, will welcome Grade 8-11 students in its first year, to allow this year's Grade 12 students to graduate with peers at their existing secondary schools. Grade 12 will be introduced to Salish in fall 2019 and this is expected to further reduce the need for portables at the neighbouring secondary schools.
Salish principal Sheila Hammond (pictured left) says though there are minor details to take care of, the school is ready to go and the custodial crew has been hard at work ensuring the school is "shiny and new" for opening day.
"It's an exciting time here at Salish," Hammond says. "We're thrilled to welcome students, staff and parents to our beautiful new school and look forward to building a strong and vibrant school community."
A second project ready for students this fall is a 200-seat addition at École Woodward Hill Elementary, which will bring the school's capacity to 640. Located in South Newton, the addition will relieve overcrowding at the school and has allowed six portables to be removed from the site. Four remain on the site – three of which will be used as classroom space and one as the music room.
Bear Creek Elementary has also undergone seismic upgrading, the bulk of which will be done by September, with just the gymnasium to be completed by October.
The school district is pleased to welcome roughly 850 new students to Surrey and White Rock schools this September, bringing our total enrolment to more than 73,300 – the largest in the province.
After a provincewide hiring spree last year (as a result of a 2016 Supreme Court decision that changed class size and composition rules), Surrey Schools has returned to a more routine hiring pace to cover annual enrolment growth. We're well on our way to hiring the 66 additional teachers, 24 education assistants and 28 support staff anticipated to be required for the 2018-19 school year.
"Unlike most school districts in B.C., Surrey Schools has successfully managed significant enrolment growth and related pressures year after year. The resulting experience and expertise better prepares us to face sudden change, as we encountered last year," says Surrey Board of Education chair Laurie Larsen (pictured left). "Our city continues to be a popular place for young families to choose to live, and while that sometimes presents challenges for our schools, we welcome the growth and diversity with open arms."