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Dec 06
Science challenge accepted – and won – by Fleetwood Park students

Science challenge Fleetwood Park winners.jpg

Fleetwood Park Secondary’s senior team won the 2018 Kwantlen Science Challenge. Pictured (from left to right) are Monica Nam, Ramit Kataria, Amy Chen, Joshua Lee, Terence Sun, Tony Zhao and Henry Huang.  Not pictured are Hank Wu, Ben Ji, Clement Halim and Aaron Wang, who were also involved in the design and building of the hovercraft. 

A team of budding scientists from Fleetwood Park Secondary took first place, out-smarting 29 other senior school teams at the recent Kwantlen Science Challenge.

The competition, which took place at Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Richmond campus, asked students to test their skills in five, one-hour-long, practical laboratory activities in biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology, engineering design, math and physics. The challenges included everything from performing lab tests, to competing in a Jeopardy-style science quiz, to designing and launching a hovercraft.

Fleetwood Park's senior team (Grade 11 and 12s) had perfect scores in the chemistry, Jeopardy and design categories, the latter for their successful hovercraft creation. Team members included students Monica Nam, Ramit Kataria, Amy Chen, Joshua Lee, Terence Sun, Tony Zhao, Henry Huang, Hank Wu, Ben Ji, Clement Halim and Aaron Wang.

"The team worked tirelessly for a month leading up to the event, testing out multiple prototypes of their hovercraft and even 3D printing their own fans to use in the design," said computer science and physics teacher Brianna Stusiak. "The team also met several times to practice for the Jeopardy round and study the concepts for the lab rounds. It was amazing to see all of their hard work pay off in the end."

Fraser Heights, Sullivan Heights, Earl Marriott and Semiahmoo all fielded senior teams in the competition as well. Fraser Heights finished sixth, Earl Marriott was 18th, Semiahmoo was 24th and Sullivan Heights finished 26th.

Fraser Heights and Semiahmoo also had junior teams (Grades 8-10) competing, which finished fifth and 11th, respectively.

Dec 03
Earl Marriott’s senior boys strike gold at volleyball provincials

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Earl Marriott Secondary's AAA senior boys volleyball team are the 2018 high school provincial champions.

After plowing through the competition undefeated, Earl Marriott Secondary’s senior boys ended the Kahunaverse Sports BC Volleyball Championships how they hoped they would – on top. 

The No.1-ranked Mariners AAA squad did not lose a single set over four days of play at Langley Events Centre, continuing their winning streak to top the Van Tech Talismen 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-19) in the final and secure the B.C. banner. 

Earl Marriott defeated Victoria’s Claremont Spartans 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-12) in the semi-final on its way to the gold-medal game, while Van Tech beat the Moscrop Panthers in four to make the final.  

The Claremont Spartans defeated Moscrop to finish with bronze. 

The Mariners’ win was especially sweet following last year’s bronze-medal finish, when the team expected to be in the final. (Semiahmoo Secondary won). EMS also took home boys volleyball banners in 2013 and 2014. 

The tournament’s first team all-stars included Earl Marriott’s Takoda and Talon McMullin.

Nov 29
BC Hockey visits Creekside Elementary, donates equipment

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Creekside high five.JPGCreekside high five.JPGWhile their classmates demonstrated stick-handling, passing and shooting skills, students at Creekside Elementary cheered them on as they learned more about Canada’s national game. 

The event, presented by BC Hockey, was one of 39 stops in various communities on the Road to the 2019 World Junior Championship tour taking place through October and November. The goal of the school visit was to promote sport participation and healthy living, demonstrate basic hockey skills and drum up excitement for the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship. 

As with each stop on the tour, Creekside Elementary received a donation of two sets of floorball equipment, coupled with a curriculum resource for teachers. 

“The kids were thrilled and many said they are going to try and join hockey now,” said principal Margaret Geddes. “Students couldn’t wait to try out the new sticks during PE and intra-murals.” 

The school visits are meant to inspire kids and welcome new participants to hockey as BC Hockey celebrates its 100th Anniversary and the lead-up to the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, which begin Dec. 26 in Vancouver and Victoria.

Nov 26
Semiahmoo Secondary’s junior girls win provincial volleyball title

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Semiahmoo Secondary's junior girls volleyball 2018 B.C. champions.

The final game of the junior girls provincial high school volleyball championship was a tense one to be sure, but one thing was certain: a Surrey secondary school would emerge the winner.

The final saw the Semiahmoo Totem and Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers battling one another for the B.C. title Nov. 24 at Earl Marriott Secondary.

With scores of 25-15 and 25-21, Semiahmoo came out on top after two games, winning 2-0 and securing high school provincial gold.

The provincial win was especially welcome for Semi, after the squad had finished second both at the Fraser Valley and Surrey championships.

On the way to the provincial tournament win, Semiahmoo beat Vernon's Seaton Secondary in the semi-final, while Lord Tweedsmuir outplayed Pacific Academy to earn the spot in the final.

Pacific Academy won the bronze-medal game over Seaton, for an all-Surrey podium finish.

Semiahmoo's Tara Wallack was named tournament MVP, while Tweedsmuir's Katherine Eckert and Sydney Wright and Semiahmoo's Nicole Pajic were among those named first-team all-stars.

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Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary's junior girls won silver at the B.C. high school provincials.

Nov 22
Surrey electrical students help light up St. Paul’s Hospital and brighten patients’ lives

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Brock Ooms, Conner Pavan and Skylar Zondag were among 16 Surrey electrical students who helped set up the 2018 Lights of Hope display at St. Paul's Hospital. Below is student Joshua Hiebert (second from right) with his family and instructor Don Zaklan (far left).


Surrey’s electrical students sure know how to brighten someone’s day – and night! 

Sixteen students who attend the Youth Train in Trades program at Princess Margaret Secondary helped set up this year’s huge Lights of Hope display at St. Paul’s Hospital. 

The display is a fundraiser for the hospital, and for more than a decade, students from the Surrey trades program have volunteered their time to the charitable endeavour, spending two weeks wiring lights and electrical panels, in addition to testing and waterproofing 10-kilometres of colourful light strings. 

LIghts of Hope Surrey2.jpgThe electrical program is a partnership between Surrey Schools and BCIT, led by longtime instructor Don Zaklan. Students attend classes at the BCIT satellite campus at Princess Margaret in Grades 11 and 12, earning their pre-apprenticeship training. 

While on site at St. Paul’s, the students – who this year come from nine of Surrey’s secondary schools and learning centres – also have the opportunity to learn about the hospital’s generators, transformers and fire alarms, as well as the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical systems. 

Zaklan, who has been with the program from the outset, is retiring this year, making this his last cohort of students. We have genuinely valued his contribution to our district and students and wish him all the best!

This is the 21st year of the Lights of Hope display, which features about 100,000 bulbs and takes more than 150 volunteers six weeks to build using donated materials. 

Last year, the display raised $3.1 million for the St. Paul's Hospital Foundation, to support patients, residents and families. The hospital is located at 1081 Burrard St. The lights went on Nov. 16 and stay on until Jan. 8.

Lights of Hope 2018.jpg

Nov 19
Unique glass work course offers Surrey students valuable life skills

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Rob Tamboline, a longtime Earl Marriott Secondary teacher, is no stranger to working with his hands.

With a background in the trades, he has been teaching glass work since 2000, when it was known as a "locally-developed course." For the past 18 years, Tamboline has been updating and revising the glass work course; this year, it has been re-worked for the new curriculum.

Surrey Schools Glass1.jpgFew teachers run glass work courses at all, and Tamboline says those who do tend to combine it with Art Metal or Jewelry classes. When he and Krista Robinson, a teacher at Salish Secondary, re-wrote the Glass Work 11 and 12 course outlines, they hoped more tech teachers would take it on. Tamboline's courses at Earl Marriott are currently the only in the district that focus strictly on working with glass.

As per the course outline, students practice the design process, how to safely use and care for the facilities, tools and equipment, while learning the processes, procedures and historical and cultural aspects of glass working.

What the students might not realize, says Tamboline, is that they are learning valuable skills and not just creating art.

Surrey Schools Glass3.jpg"You might think they're just working with glass, but by introducing tile as a way to lead into working with the glass, the tile work is something you can do in your own place, tile backsplashes, tile flooring, or any of that… The measuring and making things fit is very valuable, that's a life skill. They don't know it, but they are learning something they could use later in life."

And when the students are provided with the skills, they can then focus on the design aspect. Typical projects include concrete and glass stepping stones, soldering, wire structures, stained glass and glass etching.

"With glass etching," Tamboline says, "it's about designing with positive and negative space in mind, and etching highlights onto both sides of the glass so the light refracts differently. There's quite a bit of science in it."

Surrey Schools Glass2.jpgThe course also forces students to think both critically and creatively, which aligns directly with the new B.C. curriculum core competencies.

Tamboline notes that over the years he's seen many incredible projects from students who choose to highlight their cultural backgrounds.

"Kids will do a lot these types of projects, so that when they take them home they can share it with you know, granddad or grandma, and that's cool," he says. "I've had a lot of excellent First Nations projects, the students just thrived on that, creating something so cool made of glass."

And although the students who take the glass work courses are enthusiastic, multiple factors have contributed to enrolment declining, such as scheduling conflicts with mandatory academic courses. This semester, Tamboline teaches two blocks of glass work, whereas in the past he has taught five straight blocks, some junior and some senior.

"As a hobby in the public, [arts and crafts] has declined in favour and people are more into technology stuff rather than working with their hands," Tamboline observes. "The arts and crafts movement was big in the 60s and 70s, everyone wanted to make their own stuff, then it sort of died off and then in the 90s there was little bit of a resurgence."

But courses where students can work with their hands are invaluable to students who need a creative outlet, or to students who might one day work in the trades or go down a non-traditional post-secondary path.

"I think arts and crafts is extremely valuable, for just the different types of connections it makes in your head," explains Tamboline. "I think it's so important. We can't all be talented at things, but we can still be creative. Even if you're not using your own ideas in your designs, there's still a creativity involved in getting it down for other people to see and then sharing it with us. That's important."

~ story and photos by Laura Johnston

Nov 13
Early learning programs provide stepping stones to starting school

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For children aged three and four, the Ready, Set, Learn program is an important stepping stone toward starting school. The sessions feature play-based learning activities and strive to connect caregivers and parents with each other and local resources to create a network of support.

RSL.jpgEach year, the one to two-hour sessions are focused around a book. This year's book pick and theme is I'm Dreaming of… Animals of the Native Northwest, by Melaney Gleeson–Lyall. 

Surrey Schools joins many local partners in connecting participants to resources in the community through the program. Some past community partners have been Surrey LibrariesFraser HealthAwashuk AHS,Newton Early Years CentreCCRR,United Way,Options, and Alexandra House.

The Ready, Set, Learn program is sponsored by the BC Ministry of Education, and takes place at all 101 Surrey elementary schools on specific dates in the new year. Dates and registration for the 2018-19 school year can be found HERE. This past year, more than 450 children participated in the program, along with their caregivers. 

For the past three years, the Guildford area has piloted a Thrive version of the program, which brings together five schools in one session at the Guildford Recreation Centre. This means that children and caregivers who would have visited the individual sessions at Forsyth, Holly, Hjorth Road, MJ Shannon, or Riverdale Elementary schools, have gathered all together to connect and build community through crafts, reading and gaining knowledge of local support systems.

The Thrive model, says district principal Karen Alvarez, has been very successful. Last year, 200 children and 175 caregivers took part in Guildford. The Frank Hurt Secondary family of schools has a Thrive model planned for this year, and Alvarez hopes one will come together in South Surrey as well, so families can join the session nearest them in North, Central and South Surrey neighbourhoods. 

Along with Ready, Set, Learn, Surrey Schools offers many early learning programs for children from birth to age five. The information sheet for all 2018-19 programs can be found here.

The PALS program (Parents as Literacy Supporters) provides caregivers with strategies to support learning at home for three- and four-year-olds at the schools listed here. iPals (PALS for immigrant families) is offered at four schools: Chantrell Creek (Chinese), Hjorth Road (Arabic), Newton (Punjabi) and Strawberry Hill (Somali).

The StrongStart program is also offered in Surrey schools, and is another great way to learn to support children's learning at home. For more information about the locations and calendar, check here.

For resources regarding preschool and daycare centres in Surrey, more information can be found here.

~ story by Laura Johnston.

Nov 08
Newly re-elected Surrey Board of Education inaugurated for 2018-2022 term

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Members of the Surrey Board of Education are led into the inaugural meeting held at the District Education Centre on Nov. 7. Below, board chairperson trustee Laurie Larsen and vice-chair trustee Terry Allen take their Oath of Office.

A boardroom full of Surrey city and provincial politicians or representatives, community and union leaders, and family and friends attended the formal inauguration of the Surrey Board of Education trustees at the Nov. 7 public board meeting. The board was inaugurated for the new 2018-2022 termtaking their Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance. 

Surrey Board of Education 2018 inauguration Larsen oath.jpgWhile the October civic election brought much change to B.C. politics, the Surrey Board of Education remained consistent, with all seven experienced incumbent trustees re-elected for another four years. 

Laurie Larsen, Terry Allen, Bob Holmes, Shawn Wilson, Gary Tymoschuk and Garry Thind were re-elected by Surrey voters, and Laurae McNally was re-elected by voters in White Rock.

At the Nov. 7 meeting, Larsen was again elected board chair by her fellow trustees, while Allen was re-elected as vice-chair.

Surrey Board of Education 2018 inauguration Allen oath2.jpgThe board oversees approximately 72,000 students of all ages who attend more than 125 Surrey and White Rock school facilities, as well as more than 11,000 employees.

Public board meetings are scheduled once a month at 7 p.m. at the District Education Centre (DEC), 14033 92 Ave. Meeting dates can be viewed here, as can agendas, minutes and videos.

As elected officials, trustees are also available by phone and email. See their contact information here.

Oct 31
Five Surrey students win Dhahan Prize for their Punjabi stories

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Manjot Khaira and Prabh Vashisht from L.A. Matheson Secondary are among the five Surrey students to win the 2018 Dhahan Prize Youth Award for Punjabi creative writing.

Surrey students once again dominated the Dhahan Prize Youth Award for Punjabi creative writing.

Five of the eight 2018 prizes awarded went to Grade 11 and 12 students who attend Surrey secondary schools.

Winners include:

Advanced category

Banpreet K. Athwal - Queen Elizabeth Secondary

Manjot S. Khaira – L.A. Matheson Secondary

Joban S. Samra - Princess Margaret Secondary

Prabhjot K. Vashisht L.A. Matheson Secondary 

Intermediate category

Gurkamal Sandhu - Queen Elizabeth Secondary   

The other winning students were from North Delta Secondary and two from Abbotsford's Dashmesh School.

The Dhahan Prize Youth Award is the only one of its kind in B.C. It aims to encourage storytelling and experience-sharing by students, not only to promote literacy and strengthen the Punjabi language among Canadian-born youth, but to foster tolerance and understanding.

The contest invites senior secondary students from across the province to submit their Punjabi-language stories. About 42 short stories were submitted this year and translated into English. An independent jury judged the writing and winners were selected.

Student won a $500 cash prize and their stories are published in an anthology that will also be distributed free to Surrey schools.

The awards were handed out at a ceremony Oct. 21 at UBC.

Oct 25
Adapted physical activity specialist inspires Surrey educators & students

Lauren Lieberman.jpgDuring two full-day workshops held in the Surrey School District this month, adapted physical activity specialist Lauren Lieberman spoke about how to better include children with visual impairments, deafblindness, or multiple disabilities in physical activity. Lieberman (pictured at right) is an American Distinguished Service Professor at The College at Brockport in the area of Adapted Physical Development and frequently speaks at events and conferences about her work in inclusivity.

The event took place at the district Resource and Education Centre, and saw more than 150 attendees from across B.C. and the U.S. Participants included teachers of the blind/visually impaired, teachers of the deaf or hard of hearing, teachers of the deafblind, orientation & mobility specialists, EAs, Surrey College student EAs, deafblind intervenors, administrators of inclusion, parents and students.

The Surrey School District is a leader in inclusion, and has a team dedicated to the support of physically disabled students, led by Director of Instruction Michelle Schmidt. The team includes specialized teachers for students with deafblindness and specialized teachers of students with visual impairments. One of the teachers, Jeanine Pieper, saw Lieberman speak at a conference last year and pushed for her to come to Surrey.

Pieper has experience working with visually impaired students in other B.C. school districts but has stayed in Surrey because of the high level of care for students.

"If you can make a case for something and demonstrate why we need it here for our students, we will most likely make it happen," she explains.

Adapted PE workshop Surrey.jpgFollowing Lieberman's workshop, Schmidt says her team will be committing to further research projects in the area of adapted physical education for Surrey students.

Pieper highlighted the need for more adaption efforts in physical education (PE) classes.

"If you don't have the knowledge, people think it's okay to just pull kids from class and walk around the school with an EA," she says. "It's our biggest goal to stop that from happening, so kids can be included in regular PE class, and we can see kids happy and playing with everyone else."

She says that adapting is often simpler than anticipated. Using sports equipment with brighter colours, or balls that beep or have bells in them can quickly make a class more inclusive. Even putting two hula hoops taped together around a basketball hoop can allow an adapting student score points for his or her team.

There are currently 87 students who are physically dependent in Surrey Schools, and there are 39 students who are blind who get support from a specialized teacher.

adapted game.jpgSchmidt, however, estimates that up to 1,000 additional students in the district would benefit from adapted support services. The district has roughly 1,300 students with autism spectrum disorder, with varying levels of physical dependence and visual impairment. Schmidt also notes that the number of students diagnosed with autism continues to rise by about 100 each year, as more families get their children tested. And for good reason; with diagnosis can come added support – financial and otherwise.

A major resource Surrey already provides is our own adapted physical education specialist, Deb Murin. Murin serves as a physical education teacher at Johnston Heights Secondary, and is also the coordinator of the Adapted Physical Activity program. Teachers in the district are able to request a visit to their classes at the elementary or secondary level, where Murin will tailor the session to meet the student's abilities and demonstrate adaptions to the class.

Find out more about adapted physical activity through BC Blind Sports here.

For resources for children who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or partially sighted, click here or here.

Reach out to Surrey's specialists and teachers of students with visual impairments here.

~Story by Laura Johnston 

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Time: 12/11/2018 12:34:45 PM
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