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Dec 06
Winter weather closure information

Sometimes extreme weather conditions or other unusual circumstances can cause class cancellations at a school, or districtwide, on short notice. No announcement will be made that schools are open; only cancellations, closures or delayed school openings will be announced.

In the event of class cancellations, closures or delays, Surrey Schools will post information on its website at as soon as information is available and provide updates to the following radio and TV stations:

• CKNW (980 AM or

• News 1130 (1130 AM or www.

• CBC Radio (690 AM or

• Red-FM (93.1 FM)

CTV News Vancouver

Global News BC

Class cancellation/delayed opening information may also be posted online by the above news media as well as newspapers. Do not call the radio or TV stations as staff members are very busy receiving updates and preparing newscasts. Calling schools and district offices is also impractical since staff members are generally not available to answer telephone calls far in advance of regular school opening time and phone lines typically become congested in any event.

Weather, power, road and safety conditions can change substantially within a few hours, therefore assessments and decisions must be made as close to school opening as possible for the information to be reliable. However, the district will do its best to communicate the status of schools by 7 a.m.

Even if all schools are open, many schools can face conditions and circumstances unique to a neighbourhood. Therefore, the district encourages and respects the importance of parental decision-making regarding accessing a school, based on parents' own location and individual circumstances, their route to school and overall attention to safety. See here for more.

For information in Punjabi, click here

Dec 05
Surrey teachers contribute to South Asian heritage learning project

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L.A. Matheson Secondary teachers Gurpreet Kaur Bains (in red) and Annie Ohana (to right of Bains) have been instrumental in elevating a project meant to bring South Asian heritage and history to B.C. schools. This photo was taken at an event announcing the province is providing a $248,000 grant to Indus Media Foundation to expand its display and create learning resources.

A Surrey school and its teachers are playing a key role in furthering a project to help bring South Asian heritage – through exhibition displays, resources and learning tools – to B.C. schools and community spaces.

Indus Media Foundation's display, 'Duty, Honour & Izzat – The Call to Flanders Fields,' is an interactive guided tour that commemorates the contributions of the Indian army to the First World War, where Punjabi soldiers fought alongside Canadians and suffered enormous losses.

Gurpreet Kaur Bains, Languages Department head at L.A. Matheson Secondary, has used the resource in her classes to elevate lessons about Punjabi culture, history and language.

Annie Ohana, head of the Aboriginal Department at L.A. Matheson and social justice curriculum expert, added social justice understandings and connections to the project. Both she and Bains not only helped form a volunteer corps to assist with the Indus project, but serve as student leaders in bringing it to schools.

The value of the project, they say, goes far beyond a simple narrative from a minority group.

"What elevates it above and beyond another side story…is its potential to empower the stories of others. This resource allows teachers, community members, and veterans to be recognized in new ways, and to be empowered to put forth their stories."

The provincial government awarded Indus a one-time grant of $248,000 in late November to expand the existing display and create learning tools and teacher resources to share in classrooms throughout the province. The contributions of the South Asian communities to B.C. are part of the new K-12 curriculum, which will be fully implemented by the 2018-19 school year.

Dec 01
Student musicians on stage

Hundreds of students took to the Bell Performing Arts Centre stage for the Grade 9-12 Concert Band Revue.

Nearly 1,900 young musicians from 18 schools (most from Surrey School District, plus two private) performed for adjudicators Peter Stigings and John White from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, receiving valuable feedback from the seasoned professionals.

The festival has been running for more than 15 years.

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Frank Hurt picollo.jpgFrank Hurt brass.jpg

At top are members of Elgin Park Secondary's Grade 9 Concert Band, above is the Frank Hurt Secondary Intermediate Band and below are members of Tamanawis Secondary's Senior Band.

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Nov 22
1940s school cupola to be restored by students

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The cupola that sat on top of the original 1940s Semiahmoo High School (which was later White Rock Elementary) is now at Semiahmoo Secondary for refurbishing. Below is a photo of the original high school -- complete with cupola -- from 1943.

A piece of history has landed at Semiahmoo Secondary in South Surrey.

The cupola – a small dome that adorns a roof – was delivered on a flatbed tow truck, much to the delight of Trustee Laurae McNally, who fought to save the structure more than a decade ago.

"We did it!" she shouted as it arrived at the school, with Surrey-White Rock MLA (and Semiahmoo graduate) Gordon Hogg and others looking on.

The structure once sat atop the original Semiahmoo High School, near Johnston Road and Roper Avenue, which was built in 1940. The school laterSemiahmoo High - 1946.jpg became White Rock Elementary when Semiahmoo Secondary moved to its current site on 148 Street.

When White Rock Elementary was deemed structurally deficient and faced demolition in 2004, McNally heard from concerned members of the community.

"People came to me and said 'Laurae, we have to save the cupola.' Every day they were demolishing…and I went and said to the contractor 'we need to save that'," recalls McNally. "I felt really strongly that it was part of the history."

It was salvaged and put in storage in the school district's facilities yard on 144 Street near 64 Avenue.

The cupola, which is made primarily of wood, apart from the metal dome and flashing, is now in the Semiahmoo Secondary shop, where woodwork and metalwork students in Grades 9-12 will have an opportunity to refurbish it.

Applied technologies teacher Tyler Cox, who's also a Semiahmoo grad, is pleased his students will have the chance to be involved in the historical restoration project.

"It's always nice for them to get their hands on and get them connected to the community as well," Cox said.

Bayview Auto Towing donated its truck and staff time to transport the cupola.

It's uncertain where the structure, once refurbished, will end up, but it's anticipated it will be installed in a visible location in the White Rock/South Surrey area.

Nov 18
Everyone wins at Orange Games

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Above, Ayla Young, a Grade 7 student at Sunnyside Elementary, tries her hand at boccia at the Orange Games.Below right, Martha Currie Elementary students Caleb Horan, Jovan Hayer and Liam Brotchie celebrate after making a shot. At bottom, Armaan Buttar tries a fishing game, while another athlete gets his face painted.

Dozens of Surrey elementary students displayed their athletic abilities at the 2016 Orange Games.Orange Games bocce boys.jpg

More than 200 students ­– all wearing their signature orange T-shirts ­– participated in the annual event for children with physical and mental disabilities. The Games, organized by teacher Jim McMurtry, have been running for more than a decade and were held at Panorama Ridge Secondary.

In addition to playing sports such as floor hockey and boccia, students tried out various carnival games, were treated to a performance by Panorama Ridge actors, had their faces and hair painted, participated in relay races and had a scavenger hunt.

The event focuses on inclusion, competition and fairness.

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Nov 14
Views sought to address T.E. Scott Elementary overcrowding


Surrey Schools is proposing moving a portion (outlined in red) of the current T.E. Scott Elementary catchment area to George Vanier Elementary.

Surrey Schools is seeking input regarding a proposed catchment change to address overcrowding at T.E. Scott Elementary.

T.E. Scott, located at 7079 148 St., is currently over capacity by four classrooms. This year, the Surrey School District added two portables to T.E. Scott to accommodate enrolment growth and the school is closed to students who live outside the catchment area.

Meanwhile, Georges Vanier Elementary to the west has some additional capacity.

Surrey Schools is proposing a catchment boundary change that would more evenly distribute students between T.E. Scott and Georges Vanier. Under this proposal, the southwestern section of the current T.E. Scott Elementary school catchment would be moved to the Georges Vanier Elementary school catchment.

The proposed change would not apply to students (and their siblings) already attending T.E. Scott Elementary, though those students could choose to register at their new catchment school if desired.

Feedback received by Nov. 28 will be considered by staff before a final decision is made in early December. If approved, the change would be implemented for September 2017 and new students in the proposed move area would attend their new catchment school.

To give feedback, take the online survey. The resources tab provides more information that has helped shape this proposal.

Nov 10
‘Everyone has to be part of the solution’

They came, they listened, they talked and they learned how to help youth with challenges they might be facing.

The Surrey School District's Safe Schools department presented a series of Conversation Cafés through October and early November. The cafés ­– intended to provide an informal venue to tackle tough issues impacting young people and their families – attracted more than 150 attendees.

Nancy Smith, a Safe Schools Youth Diversity Liaison who helped coordinate the sessions, said the forums focussed on the "intertwined" subjects of mental health and drug use, while relaying an underlying message of staying connected with youth.

"The parents that came were very engaged and appreciative," Smith said.

Conversation cafe mug.JPGEach café involved presentations by mental health professionals and Surrey RCMP drug experts. Other community agencies involved included Pacific Community Resources, YMCA, Early Psychosis Intervention, City of Surrey, START program and Sources.

Smith said a common theme that arose was the growing prevalence of anxiety and depression amongst students.

"The goal was to empower parents as to when and where and how to get help," she said,

Fentanyl, which has been tied to dozens of drug-overdose deaths in B.C. this year, was also discussed, as was the use of other recreational drugs.

Smith noted drug use, or any type of addictive behaviour, is typically a symptom of a bigger problem.

"Underlying all that stuff is making sure your youth attaches to the positive things in their life and not replace that with the negative things."

The key, she said, is to listen and involve everyone from parents and school staff to medical professionals, police and community partners.

 "Everyone has to be part of the solution," Smith said. "The more conversations we have with people in the field, the more ideas we'll have to help your family."

Nov 03
Nature-oriented EKOLogy program invites students

​Surrey Schools is taking the classroom out into nature with a new outdoor learning program in South Surrey.

EKOLogy, the East Kensington Outdoor Learning program, will take advantage of the elementary school's rural environment, offering a unique setting for kindergarten to Grade 7 students to explore and learn. The students will learn about environmental stewardship and indigenous history, engage in place-based inquiry activities and have experiences that nurture social-emotional learning, self-regulation and positive relationships.

Activities will take place both outdoors and inside the classroom,Ekology pic.JPG using a multidisciplinary approach to connect the curriculum to the environment. Students will spend a significant amount of time outdoors – rain or shine – embracing with the natural area.

The program is the latest in the district's lineup of programs for children entering kindergarten and integrates the provincial redesigned curriculum, teaching the curricular Big Ideas and Core Competencies.

East Kensington Elementary sits on a large rural property with a natural ravine and creek, and is in close proximity to Redwood Park, A Rocha, Semiahmoo Fish and Game Society and Hazelmere for nearby outdoor learning opportunities. Students will discover trails, streams, forested areas and aquatic environments within walking distance of the school.

The program will also infuse the First Peoples Principles of Learning and Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives while learning and exploring on the traditional territories of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Qayqayt First Nations.

EKOLogy is a first-of-its-kind program for Surrey, though similar programs are currently running in the Abbotsford and North Vancouver school districts. Nature-based outdoor school programs have been on the rise across the globe, with growing popularity in Europe and Australia.

The program is scheduled to start in September 2017, with registration beginning in January. The program is open to students both in and out of catchment through the cross-boundary application process. Admission is on a first come, first serve basis.

A community forum about plans for the new program will be held Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m. at East Kensington Elementary, 2795 184 St.

For more information, call the school at 604-541-1257, check the website at or view this slideshow.

Oct 18
Students score with HEROS hockey

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Suleyman Eohasan, a Grade 6 student at Prince Charles Elementary, gets fitted for skates at the launch of the HEROS program in Surrey. Below right, Grade 6 Cedar Hills Elementary student Noveleen Dhaliwal tries on a helmet, while Desmond Thompson (below left), a Grade 5 student at K.B. Woodward Elementary, displays his new hockey gloves.

Thirty-six students from four Surrey elementary schools are getting the chance to hit the ice – with brand new equipment ­­­– for a free weekly hockey program.

Grade 4-7 students from Prince Charles, K.B. Woodward, Old Yale and Cedar Hills elementary schools were fitted head-to-toe with gear, from skates to pads, helmets to jerseys, at Sport Chek in Guildford Town Centre. And of course, a big black hockey bag to put it all in.

The opportunity was made possible through HEROS (Hockey Education Reaching Out Society), which is celebrating its 17th season of empowering children through ice hockey.

 "It's like Halloween," said Grade 6 student Noveleen Dhaliwal as she packed her new helmet alongside other gear in her hockey bag.helmet adjust Noveleen Dhaliwal.jpg

She and friend Zaara Rahiman, who both attend Cedar Hills Elementary, said they had never played hockey and were excited to try it.

After getting outfitted on the first day, the three dozen Surrey students headed to North Surrey Arena to test their new gear ­– and skating skills – accompanied by Vancouver Canuck Sven Baertschi.

Norm Flynn, Executive Director and founder of HEROS, is pleased the program for vulnerable youth has come to Surrey.

"The ability to give youth from families who can't afford the cost of minor hockey, for whom our program can provide mentors who can use the game of hockey to impact their lives off the ice, happens only when the community comes together as it has here in Surrey," he said.

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Oct 13
Parent feedback sought on student progress reports

The Ministry of Education is seeking feedback from parents on how student progress is communicated.

The province has re-vamped the curriculum in kindergarten through Grade 9 and is now looking to develop a new approach to reporting student learning. In Surrey, depending on the school and the teacher, progress is currently relayed in several ways, including traditional report cards, student digital portfolios and parent-teacher meetings.

In a letter to parents, Education Minister Mike Bernier says the goal is "to develop a student reporting process that gives families a deeper understanding of their child's progress at school through timely and comprehensive information."

Until Feb. 28, input can be shared at Meetings will also be held in 10 communities, including Surrey, in the coming months.

The province will gather the feedback and unveil a reporting plan in June 2017.

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