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Apr 17
Janice Churchill Elementary celebrates new playground

Janice Churchill playground ribbon cutting.JPG

Janice Churchill Elementary held an official opening for their new playground, which was funded through the provincial government's ongoing Playground Equipment Program. 

"Who's excited about the new playground?" Janice Churchill Elementary principal Daljeet Rama asked her gymnasium full of students.

Their screams of excitement said it all.

Outside, the spring sunshine reflected the bright smiles of students, staff, parents, community members and special guests who were on-hand to officially open a new playground structure at the Surrey elementary school.

After years of parent and community advocacy and support, the long-awaited, universally accessible playground was made possible after the school received a $105,000 grant through the provincial government's Playground Equipment Program.

Prior to an outdoor ribbon-cutting that included Grade 7 students, a ceremony was held inside the gymnasium for all students to celebrate. The audience was also treated to a student choral performance of Show We Care and rendition of Pachelbel's Canon played on recorder and glockenspiel, under the direction of talented music teacher Cheryl Gallagher.

The event was attended by Surrey school trustees Bob Holmes, Laurae McNally and Surrey-Panorama Ridge MLA Jagrup Brar, who each offered congratulations.

Earlier this year, the province announced another round of playground funding, with Goldstone Park, Strawberry Hill and Westerman elementary schools selected to receive new outdoor play equipment.

Apr 15
Surrey Schools named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers


EKOLogy, the outdoor learning program established at East Kensington Elementary, is among the numerous initiatives that placed Surrey Schools among Canada's Greenest Employers for 2019.

The Surrey School District's commitment to sustainable practices, environmental initiatives and eco-friendly workplaces has earned the district a spot among Canada's Greenest Employers for 2019.

This is the third year Surrey Schools has been selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for the honour, which recognizes 75 employers across the country.

"This recognition is one we are particularly proud of," says Surrey Board of Education chairperson Laurie Larsen. "Environmental efforts take place daily on numerous fronts and at all levels in our vast school district, from our senior district staff to our youngest of students and future leaders."

GreenestEmployer 2019.jpgEmployers are evaluated for:

  • the unique environmental initiatives and programs they have developed;

  • the extent to which they have been successful in reducing the organization's own environmental footprint;

  • the degree to which their employees are involved in these programs and whether they contribute any unique skills; and

  • the extent to which these initiatives have become linked to the employer's public identity, attracting new employees and clients to the organization.

The following are some of the initiatives that make Surrey Schools one of Canada's Greenest Employers:

  • actively encouraging students, staff and teaching personnel to get involved and celebrate sustainability initiatives (Surrey Youth Sustainability Network, Green Teacher Network, annual Energy Conservation Cup);

  • establishing the EKOLogy program at East Kensington Elementary, which offers 90 minutes of hands-on outside the classroom education every day focused on environmental stewardship and indigenous history;

  • having energy producing features at its schools including solar walls to preheat outdoor air at four locations and solar panels at one secondary school;

  • use of reusable dinnerware and flatware and compostable take-out containers at head office (and programs to encourage all schools move to compostable food packaging);

  • e-waste, batteries, organics, and single-steam recycling of paper cardboard, glass, plastic and metal.

"As our district continues to expand and we build more facilities for our growing community of learners and educators, we are always mindful of our environmental footprint, and will continue to focus on our long-term energy management and sustainability goals moving forward," says Larsen.

The environmental honour is one the district has won previously, in 2017 and 2016, and comes on the heels of being named one of B.C.'s Top Employers for 2019.

Check here for a full list of Canada's Greenest Employers for 2019. Detailed reasons for Surrey School District's selection are here.

Apr 11
New school catchment boundaries established in preparation for Grandview Heights Secondary opening

Grandview Heights Secondary Rendering.jpg

To prepare for the opening of Grandview Heights Secondary in September 2021, the district has established new catchment boundaries for the South Surrey/White Rock area secondary schools (Earl Marriott, Semiahmoo, Elgin and Grandview Heights) to redistribute enrolment among four schools instead of three.

As planning and construction move forward for the much-anticipated new Grandview Heights Secondary, a new catchment boundary plan has been established to redistribute students in South Surrey and White Rock among four secondary schools instead of three.

Construction is scheduled to begin this spring on Grandview Heights Secondary, located at 16988 25th Ave. With a targeted occupancy date of September 2021, the state-of-the-art school will have the capacity for 1,500 students and alleviate overcrowding at nearby schools.

To prepare for the opening, new catchment boundaries have been developed for Grandview Heights and the three other area secondary schools: Elgin, Semiahmoo and Earl Marriott.

Last year, the district held a series of public meetings, hosted online forums and invited input from the community on four possible boundary options. More than 1,200 parents, students and staff members engaged in the consultation process.

While conflicting community desires were identified in the community engagement process, Option 2B emerged as the overall preferred approach. The Surrey Board of Education received a report on the public consultation at its April 10th public board meeting. (Details of the plan and all the options and feedback can also be found at

Effective September 2020, the following boundary changes will be implemented:

  • Semiahmoo Trail Elementary will feed into Elgin Park Secondary;

  • White Rock Elementary catchment (currently split between Earl Marriott and Semiahmoo) will feed to Semiahmoo Secondary.

It is important to note:

  • Existing Semiahmoo and Earl Marriott Secondary students are grandfathered. (i.e. past students from either feeder school who currently attend either Semiahmoo Secondary or Earl Marriott Secondary will not be required to move).

  • By policy, the sibling rule will apply.

  • Earl Marriott Secondary and Semiahmoo Secondary will continue to be closed to new in-catchment students for the 2020 school year.

  • Intensive Fine Arts students from White Rock Elementary will be given the option to transition to Earl Marriott Secondary until the regular cross boundary process is restored in 2021.

In September 2021, all students in Grades 8-11 that live in the Grandview Heights Secondary catchment will attend the new school. Grade 12 students will remain at their current secondary school to graduate and the sibling rule will apply. In 2021, it's also anticipated Earl Marriott and Semiahmoo will no longer be closed to new in-catchment students and the regular cross-boundary process will be restored.

The district recognizes this boundary review is a significant undertaking and staff appreciate the extensive and well-considered feedback provided by the school communities. Much thought and care has gone into deliberating the options. The district is committed to working with families to ease the transition to their new catchment schools.

Questions about the process or specific circumstances may be directed to

Apr 10
Surrey students earn trip to Canada-Wide Science Fair after winning gold at regionals

Regional science fair winners 2019 Surrey Schools.JPG

Fraser Heights Secondary's Mohamed Fawzan Hussain, and SAIL's Mikko Lorico, Deven Marrero and Anson Exner have all been selected to attend the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Fredericton in May.

Three science projects created by four students from the Surrey School District have been selected to advance to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in New Brunswick in May.

The students won gold at the 13th-annual South Fraser Regional Science Fair that took place at Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Surrey campus April 4th and 5th

Dozens of Grade 7-12 students from Surrey and Delta's public and independent schools participated, with medals and special awards handed out for an array of unique and innovative projects.

Grand prize winners from Surrey Schools who are advancing to the national fair are:

  • Mohamed Fawzan Hussain, Grade 11, Fraser Heights Secondary, for "BCI-Neurokey - Development and Testing of a Non-Invasive Brain Computer Interface System"
  • Anson Exner, Grade 10, SAIL (Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning), for "The Intra-Urban Grow Box"
  • Mikko Lorico and Deven Marrero, Grade 8, SAIL, for "AutoParkade: Could this solve long parking wait times?"

The grand prize winners not only received medals and a certificate, but a trip to nationals – expenses paid.

Hussain was also among the winners last year, when he was in Grade 10, and attended to the national fair in Ottawa with his project that investigated using EEGs to analyze student attention during math assessment.

This year, the Canada-Wide Science Fair takes place in Fredericton, New Brunswick from May 15-17. About 500 young scientists will attend the event, competing to nearly $1 million in awards, prizes and scholarships.

Apr 09
District to host first-ever Youth With Autism Conference

Youth With Autism Conference.jpgThe Surrey School District is pleased to host its first-ever Youth With Autism Conference.

The Youth With Autism Conference will welcome students in Grades 4-7 to explore and engage with topics of interest and listen to shared and new experiences. The event will include keynote speaker Michael McCreary (The Aspie Comic), break out sessions, and conclude with a discussion panel.

About 112 students from various Surrey and White Rock schools were chosen to attend by integration support teachers and parents. Registration is now closed.

The goal of the conference is to connect students who have autism with positive role models, recreational opportunities and a positive understanding of autism.

The conference takes place May 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Resource and Education Centre (REC), 14123 92 Ave.

For more information, contact integration teacher Marissa Bourke at

(Logo designed by Grade 7 W.E. Kinvig Elementary

student Amina C.)

Apr 03
L.A. Matheson Secondary teacher recognized for anti-racism & multicultural work

Annie Ohana multicultural award.jpgA teacher at L.A. Matheson Secondary is among five people selected to receive a 2019 B.C. Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award.

Annie Ohana was one of two winners in the 'Individuals over 30' category of the awards, intended to honour those addressing racism and promoting multiculturalism.

Seven years ago, Ohana founded Mustang Justice, a youth social justice leadership program at the school that aims to empower youth and give them a strong, positive and compassionate voice in the community. Led by students in Grades 8-12, the program supports cultural revitalization projects, interfaith dialogue and the protection of cultures facing oppression. They engage in a variety of activities throughout the year, such as organizing Indigenous Week celebrations, providing welcome packages for refugees and participating in culturally diverse and inclusive events.

Award recipients, who were nominated by members of the public, received a trophy and certificate at a ceremony on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21).

"I applaud each of you for your leadership in fostering inclusiveness, understanding and mutual respect," said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. "The work you are doing to fight hatred and promote multiculturalism is making life better for everyone in B.C."

Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism and Sport, said the province is at a "critical moment" in history, noting acts of hatred and racism are increasing.

"We must stand together against those who seek to divide us and recognize that we each have the power to create a more inclusive society for everyone," said Kahlon. "The exemplary people recognized by these awards are creating the change that we need for a more just and inclusive society."

Ohana, colleague Gurpreet Bains and the Mustang Justice program were also honoured last year with the inaugural Mayor's Award for Fostering Civic Responsibility.

The full list of Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award winners is available here.

Mar 29
District's Welcome Centre nominated for a Settlement Agency Award

Welcome Centre.pngThe Surrey School District's English Language Learner Welcome Centre has been nominated for a Settlement Agency Award as part of the 2019 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards.

The award was established last year to recognize work settlement agencies nationwide are doing to help newcomers integrate and find success in Canada.

The district's Welcome Centre helps English Language Learner (ELL) students and their families integrate into the Surrey School District and get settled in the community.

Staff provide language assessment, registration support and information about the B.C. education system, as well as school and community programs. Services include:

  • School orientation and registration support

  • Holistic language assessment and placement assistance

  • Community awareness and capacity building

  • Ongoing support relating to multiculturalism and settlement

  • Extensive resource library

  • Settlement and multicultural workers

  • Partnership programs

Settlement workers at the Welcome Centre provide students and families with information about Canadian systems and skills needed to transition into their new community, while multicultural workers with extensive experience dealing with cross-cultural issues can respond sensitively to the academic needs of ELL students.

The winner of the Settlement Agency Award will be chosen through an online voting process.

A list of all finalist settlement agencies can be found HERE – simply scroll to the Surrey Schools logo and click to vote!

Voting takes place until May 16 and a winner will be announced, along with the rest of the Top 25 winners, at the end of June at

Mar 15
Third-annual Dhahan Prize youth Punjabi writing contest launches

Student Jasmeen Kaur.JPG

L.A. Matheson Secondary student Jasmeen Kaur Dhaliwal is grateful for the opportunity to learn more about her culture and mother tongue, and submit a story to the 2019 Dhahan Prize youth Punjabi writing contest.

The Dhahan Prize for youth creative writing has once again launched, inviting students from Surrey and across the province to share their Punjabi stories, win cash prizes and have their work published.

At an event held at L.A. Matheson Secondary, teacher Gurpreet Bains said students have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to submit their creative writing.

The contest is open to all B.C. students who are taking Punjabi language classes in Grade 11 or 12. Their stories, between 800 and 1,000 words, must be submitted in both Punjabi and English. As in past years, the eight winners not only receive $500, but have their work included in a printed anthology.

Teacher Gurpreet Bains.JPG"We have kids who are published authors. Happiness is when your students' work is published," Bains (at right) said, noting she uses the anthologies, titled Lofty Heights, as teaching resources in her classroom.

Grade 11 student Jasmeen Kaur Dhaliwal is excited about the opportunity to submit her writing, but also grateful that her Punjabi class at school taught her more about Canadian-Punjabi history and literature.

"I think we are very lucky that we got a chance to learn about our mother tongue," she said.

Dhahan Prize founder Barj Dhahan noted the contest is not restricted to students with Punjabi backgrounds – many participants have been from non-Punjabi backgrounds who are taking Punjabi at school.

"It's not only about inspiring those of you who come from Punjabi families to learn to write and express yourselves in your mother tongue," said Dhahan, "but also in English and maybe by extension, other languages as well."

Principal Peter Johnston lauded the contest for allowing South Asian students to share their experience and understanding within the South Asian and with the community at large.

"That is powerful. That's powerful for our community here at L.A. Matheson, it's powerful for the South Asian community abroad."

Anthology covers.JPGThe youth Punjabi writing contest was established in 2017 as a way to help recognize the richness of Punjabi history and encourage youth to connect to and share their culture through storytelling.

Teacher Annie Ohana said it's key that students feel empowered, as they are through the writing contest.

"We are living in a world where I know of students in the United States that are fighting tooth and nail to see themselves in their curriculum, where doors are shut in their face, where departments of education deny them access to their mother tongues, deny them access to their cultures."

She said only good comes from empowering one another.

"It makes us stronger as a society; it makes us better as a society."

The deadline to submit work is May 31.

For more information about the eligibility requirements and an application form, visit

Mar 12
Applications are now being accepted for District Partnership Programs

Surrey Schools student automotive.jpg

The Surrey School District delivers more than 20 programs in partnership with local post-secondary institutes. These programs provide students in Grades 11 and 12 with an opportunity to begin post-secondary studies and trades training while still attending high school. 

Participants can earn high school and post-secondary course credit, trades certification and save money – the Surrey School District pays the tuition.

Programs offered include everything from baking to welding, automotive to roofing, and many more.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2019-2020 school year.

For more information and to view a complete list of programs, visit Partnership Programs.

District Partnership Applications are available at your school's Career Centre. 

You can also contact the Surrey Schools Career Education Department for more information at 604-595-6175.

Surrey Schools student carpentry.jpg

Mar 11
Comeback nets Lord Tweedsmuir boys the B.C. basketball title

Lord Tweedsmuir boys provincial bball champs BC Sports Hub.jpg

Photo courtesy of BC Sports Hub (

Down by 18 points in the third quarter, some might have thought Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary would have to settle for second place at the B.C. Senior Boys 4A Basketball Championships.

But the Panthers clearly had a different outcome in mind as they battled the Kelowna Owls for the provincial title. The latter part of the third quarter saw the Surrey squad go on an unmatched 25-point run, driving them from an 18-point deficit to a seven-point lead. It was the momentum they needed.

Kelowna pushed back, pulling too close for comfort in the final minutes with a couple of three pointers. Tweedsmuir hung on, however, sinking a pair of free throws to secure the win 91-86.

Seeded ninth entering the tournament, making it to the final was almost a victory in itself for the Panthers. An earlier comeback win over Holy Cross in the quarter-final secured them a spot in the semi-finals, where they defeated the reigning champion Burnaby South Rebels for a shot at the B.C. high school banner.

The win marks Tweedsmuir's first-ever quad-A boys provincial title. Lord Tweedsmuir point guard Arjun Samra was named tournament MVP.

See the full results HERE.

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