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May 13
Staff groups pursue “Pro-D” day

Through-out the district, May 6 was a busy day, with virtually all staff groups participating in a variety of professional development day, or Pro-D day learning sessions.

Surrey teachers participated in the annual Surrey Teachers' Association Convention. The STA convention is the largest teacher-led professional development event in B.C. It is fully organized and funded by the Surrey Teachers' Association. Thousands of teachers attended events at Johnston Heights Secondary, Kwanten Park Secondary, K.B. Woodward Elementary, Mountainview Montessori and David Brankin Elementary.

Staff groups Pro-D Richard Wagamese web.jpg

(Photo: Native​ author Richard Wagamese speaking at the STA Convention)

This year, the STA Convention theme was Changing Our Ways​​: Weaving Threads of Truth and Reconciliation Throughout our Practice. The event featured keynote addresses from Richard Wagamese, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, and Susan Aglukark. There were also over 200 workshops on a wide range of educational topics, including embedding Aboriginal perspectives and knowledge into classroom teaching.

For CUPE support staff, several sessions were tailored to the work of specific staff, such as clerical, custodial, maintenance, education assistants, systems support and more.

Training was therefore varied; from time management, software courses and the MyEd student information system, to trauma-sensitive schooling, communication dynamics and connecting with autistic students as presented by autistic guest speaker Alexander Magnussen.

​District school administrators, through the Surrey Principals and Vice-Principals Association (SPVPA) held their own Pro-D day. They heard from renowned developmental psychologist and speaker Dr. Gordon Neufeld. Dr. Neufeld has more than 40 years of experience with children and youth and is a foremost authority on child development.

May 05
School district seeks community views on populating new school

​Thousands of students and parents are being asked for their views as Surrey Schools prepares for the opening of a new state-of-the-art secondary school.

When the school at 7278 – 184 St. in the Clayton area of Surrey opens in 2018 it will ease overcrowding at École Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary and Clayton Heights Secondary. Those schools are running at 149 per cent and 133 per cent of capacity respectively.

Surrey Schools is asking the Clayton and Cloverdale communities for their views as it develops new catchment boundaries to balance student numbers between the three schools. The review will also consider where the secondary French Immersion program for the area should be located.

New Clayton Area School_web.jpg 

(School design and renderings by KMBR Architects & Planners)

A dedicated website – www.placespeak.com/new-clayton-secondary – has been launched to explain the process, to share the options explored by Surrey Schools and to gather public feedback via an online survey. Students at elementary schools in the Clayton and Cloverdale area, and Grade 8 and 9 students at Clayton Heights and Lord Tweedsmuir, have been given information packages to take home.

Furthermore, Surrey Schools is hosting a series of community forums to share information about the potential boundary changes. Each forum runs from 6.30 p.m. to 8 p.m.:

  • May 9 at Clayton Heights (Clayton Heights, Hazelgrove and Katzie families)
  • May 10 at Lord Tweedsmuir (Lord Tweedsmuir families)
  • May 11 at Lord Tweedsmuir (Sunrise Ridge, Martha Currie, Surrey Centre and Cloverdale Traditional families)
  • May 16 at Lord Tweedsmuir (Don Christian, Adams Road, George Greenaway and A.J. McLellan families)
  • May 17 at Clayton Heights (Port Kells, Clayton, Hillcrest and Latimer Road families)

Families are being encouraged to attend the specific evening for their own school in order to balance forum attendance numbers for each meeting. However, as the information presented at each forum will be the same, they can attend another evening if that suits them better.

The consultation period runs until June 14, 2016.

May 03
New secretary-treasurer to lead B.C.'s largest school district

Burnaby School District secretary-treasurer, D. Greg Frank has been chosen by the Surrey Board of Education to succeed retiring secretary-treasurer Wayne Noye, effective August 1, 2016.

Mr. Frank CA, CPA has been secretary-treasurer with the Burnaby School District for 16 years.  Prior to that, he was the secretary-treasurer for Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District.

"Mr. Frank was among several talented and knowledgeable individuals presented to the board to evaluate and select from," says Surrey Board of Education chairperson Shawn Wilson.  "In Mr. Frank we have someone who not only has the necessary experience and expertise, but also someone who has vast experience with governance and negotiations with government and various stakeholders. We anticipate that Mr. Frank will be an excellent fit for the district and we look forward to working with him."

​The board's selection concludes an extensive, nation-wide search conducted by an executive recruitment firm.

Apr 28
Fraser Heights Secondary wins district’s 2016 Conservation Cup

District and environment also winners from student energy conservation efforts​

As the largest school district in the province, Surrey Schools has an important leadership role to play when it comes to inspiring future generations. Projects and services to promote sustainability have been part of the Surrey culture for many years, and energy conservation has been a foundational element of the districts sustainability efforts.

One of the annual sustainability projects is called the Energy Conservation Cup, which is a six-month competition between secondary schools to see which one can save the most energy. Each school is rewarded points for both energy savings and participation in conservation programs throughout the year, with the highest scoring school winning the Cup. The "Elite Eight" energy savers compete for the Cup in "Finals Week". This year's competition came down to the wire. Although Queen Elizabeth Secondary saved the most during the final week, Fraser Heights Secondary came out on top as the overall 2016 Energy Conservation Cup winner and Sullivan Heights Secondary placed a close second. Fraser Heights saved an incredible 5.8% of their average energy use.  

"We were surprised that we won! It showed us that the small actions that we take every day really do add up. " said Natasha Zhang, a student leader at Fraser Heights.

Representatives from the Surrey School District, BC Hydro and energy intelligence software provider EnerNOC were all on had to present the Energy Conservation Cup trophy to students and staff at Fraser Heights just in time for Earth Day. In addition to bragging rights for the next year, Fraser Heights will receive $1,000 from the superintendent's office to support ongoing conservation and student leadership initiatives in their school.

Saving energy is becoming part of daily life across the Surrey School District, with many different projects happening at both elementary and secondary schools. The Energy Conservation Cup drives home the message that reducing energy consumption is more than turning off the lights one day of the year. For energy conservation efforts to be effective, they need to be persistent over the long term. Staff and students work together to find creative ways of reaching their peers and showing them how they can change their habits to be more efficient.

"Energy conservation is about innovation and planning for the future, and those two skills are essential for the success of our students in any path they choose." said Jordan Tinney, Superintendent of Schools.

Over the last six months, Surrey Schools has reduced electrical energy consumption by 4.4% compared to baselines using historical data from the previous year. This amounts to a total of 403,800 kWh of energy saved by the schools so far this school year – enough electricity to power 36 homes for year. Simple choices, like unplugging electrical devices when they are not in use, turning down heating and cooling systems along with other actions such as recycling, composting and walking to school, make a big difference in reducing the districts' overall environmental footprint. ​

For inquiries about the Energy Conservation Cup, contact:

Tracy Blagdon, Manager, Energy Management & Sustainability

Ph:  604-595-6303

E-mail:  blagdon_t@surreyschools.ca


Apr 22
Stop development, board requests

​​In response to "explosive" population growth in three regions of the district in particular that has led to several overcrowded schools, the Surrey Board of Education is asking the mayor and council of the City of Surrey to suspend all new development approvals in those regions.

The unprecedented move comes from a motion introduced by trustee Laurae McNally at the board's public board meeting that was unanimously supported by board members.

The motion states:​

Whereas there is explosive population growth in the Clayton, Grandview/South Surrey and South Newton regions of Surrey; and

Whereas the provincial government has been unable to provide adequate capital infrastructure to accommodate the population growth; and

Whereas it takes two to three years after government approvals to provide additional facilities to welcome new students; and

Whereas the Surrey School District is forecasting an additional 1,000 students for the 2016/2017 school year;

Therefore, be it resolved that the board direct the chairperson to communicate to the mayor and council, City of Surrey that they temporarily suspend all new development approvals in the Clayton, Grandview/South Surrey and South Newton regions until the Surrey School District receives adequate provincial capital funding to support the many new students moving into these regions; and that the chairperson also copy the Minister of Education, the Minister of Finance, the local MLA's and the construction industry.

The board also unanimously supported a motion to review the current capital plan's project priorities.

On another issue, trustee Terry Allen introduced a motion regarding the provincial government's proposal for shared services among school districts. The board unanimously passed the motion that the board ask the Minister of Education to ensure any shared services benefits and financial savings be documented and regularly reported to school districts.

The minister is also to be given notice that if there are no clear savings or improvement to services by June 30, 2018, the Surrey School District intends to withdraw from the Employment Practices Liability component of the shared services program.

Apr 22
Surrey School District named one of Canada's Greenest Employers

Surrey Schools is one of just 65 employers nationally "that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness", according to Canada's Greenest Employers​ competition organizers and judges at the Canada's Top 100 Employers project in Toronto.

It is the first time Surrey Schools has submitted an application to be considered for the award, and the honour comes two months after the district was named one of BC's Top Employers.

"This recognition is rewarding in so many ways," says Surrey Board of Education chairperson Shawn Wilson. "The award recognizes many years of ongoing efforts on many fronts by our board to ensure sustainability and environmental sensitivity is a priority in our district.

Each employer is evaluated in terms of:

  • the unique environmental initiatives and programs it has developed,
  • the extent to which it has been successful in reducing the organization's own environmental footprint,
  • the degree to which 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 and whether they attract new people to the organization. ​

"The Surrey School District has long walked-the-talk as a green employer, from establishing a director of Energy Management & Sustainability position six years ago, to building energy efficient buildings, implementing a green procurement strategy, establishing in-house waste reduction and recycling and much more," adds Wilson. "Importantly, our district has been setting a great example for the students we teach, who themselves regularly demonstrate leadership in their environmental and sustainability initiatives."

Apr 19
Views sought to address Kwantlen Secondary School overcrowding

​Students and parents are being asked for input to alleviate overcapacity and the impact of ongoing enrolment growth at Kwantlen Secondary School.

The school currently has 205 more students than its designed capacity and its enrolment is expected to grow to almost a third above capacity by 2017.

Kwantlen Park Secondary_web.jpg 

(Kwantlen Park Secondary)

The Surrey School District has been considering a range of options, including redistributing some of Kwantlen Park enrolment to nearby L.A. Matheson and Queen Elizabeth secondary schools that have room for more students. Options explored include choice program moves and catchment boundary changes.

The district is asking students and parents for their views on the eight options it has explored for managing enrolment at Kwantlen Park beginning in September 2017. The feedback will inform a staff report to the Surrey Board of Education that would likely recommend one or two options for change.

“Kwantlen Park is overcapacity and the district needs to make changes to make more effective use of neighbouring secondary schools,” said Yrsa Jensen, assistant superintendent for the north zone of schools in Surrey. “The district wants to hear what students and parents think about the options to help staff develop a recommendation to the board.”

KPS options summary border.png 

(A summary of the options explored – more details are available online at www.placespeak.com/kwantlen-park-options)

A three-week feedback period began April 19 with a community forum at Kwantlen Park Secondary. A website – www.placespeak.com/kwantlen-park-options – has been set up to share information about the capacity situation at Kwantlen Park and the options for change. The website includes a survey for providing feedback on the options. The feedback period ends on May 9.

Apr 14
District students earn 15 medals at SkillsBC

​Surrey students have picked up five gold, four silver and six bronze medals at the 22nd Annual SkillsBC Provincial Competition.

The annual event involves secondary school students from around B.C. who have won their regional contest competing in one of 25 categories; from Computer Animation to Workplace Safety and Architectural CAD (Computer Assisted Design) to Welding.

Surrey School District medalists are:

Gold – Electrical Wiring
Jatinder Dhaliwal
Princess Margaret Secondary

Gold – Car Painting
Jashan Heera
Enver Creek Secondary


Gold – Job Interview
Kalith Nanayakkara
Johnston Heights Secondary

Gold – Mechanical CAD
Gurpreet Heir
Sullivan Heights Secondary

Gold – TV/Video Production
Jacob Harris & Michael Marr
Semiahmoo Secondary


Silver – 2D Computer Animation
Wendy Lee & Alayna Yan
Fraser Heights Secondary

Silver – 3D Computer Animation
Micki Chan & Naomi Nordin
North Surrey Secondary​

Silver – Architectural CAD
Nick Parsons
Guildford Park Secondary

Silver – Website Design
Serena Chuan
Earl Marriott Secondary

Bronze – 2D Computer Animation
Maria Villacarlos & Bryn Anderson
Clayton Heights Secondary

Bronze – Architectural CAD
Anson Liu
Princess Margaret Secondary

Bronze – Graphic Design
Manveer Basra
Fraser Heights Secondary

Bronze – Masonry
Joel Ransier
Elgin Park Secondary

Bronze – Public Speaking
Charles Balcita
Johnston Heights Secondary

Bronze – Workplace Safety
Jessica Sathi
Johnston Heights Secondary​

 

Also of note is the three medalists in the post-secondary Automation and Control category are all recent grads from the district's "ACE IT" electrical program partnership with BCIT. Mark Francis, Mitchell De Sousa (Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary) and Krystian Maron (Kwantlen Park Secondary) won gold, silver and bronze respectively.

The gold medalists qualify to compete in the Skills Canada National Competition being held in Moncton, New Brunswick in June.

Apr 07
EMS environmental club wins energy prize

Earl Marriot Secondary school has been awarded $1,000 for winning the BC Hydro Energy Prize for its on-going dedication to energy conservation and creative storytelling.

The contest is one of many offered through Science World's BC Green Games that offers prizes for new or on-going action projects committed to environmental stewardship.

The school's Green Giants Environmental Club, led by sponsor teacher Ms. Manning won for its energy conservation, waste reduction and environmental protection project.

The club's project consists of several ongoing initiatives: "Light Patrol", where students turn off lights in empty classrooms after school; "Reusable Mug Mornings", where free hot chocolate is given to students who bring their own mugs to school; a school compost system; and a shore line and park cleanup.​

The Green Giants will also be applying for grants to install energy panels in the school. ​

Apr 05
Surrey Board of Education covers estimated $4 million budget deficit, but highlights ongoing capital needs for its 70,000 learners

​B.C.'s largest school district expects a budget shortfall of about $4 million dollars for the 2016-17 school year. Despite that challenge, the Surrey Board of Education expects to be hiring about 50 more teachers and more than 100 education assistants.

The new positions will be needed to meet a projected enrolment increase in September of 800 full-time students, including approximately 200 Syrian refugees. The total increase is equivalent to the capacity of two mid-sized elementary schools.

"With help from unspent contingency funds such as snow removal, some lower utility costs and unfilled positions, as well as district-generated revenues, our board expects it will not need to reduce district services to meet a budget deficit approaching $4 million," says Surrey Board of Education chairperson Shawn Wilson. "However, trustees remained concerned with the need to take an equivalent $4 million dollars out of our operating budget every year to support the use of 300 portable classrooms around the district. We are already well over 70,000 students and are growing by about 1,000 more every year."

Ongoing enrolment growth for more than two decades has resulted in school overcapacity and the need for portable classrooms, primarily in the Clayton, South Surrey and South Newton areas of the district.

"Our board is grateful to the Ministry of Education for the funding provided for new schools and school additions over the last ten years," says Wilson. "But we are forever playing catch-up with enrolment and approximately $4 million dollars is effectively skimmed off the top from a very tight budget every year to support our portables and this isn't recognized in provincial funding."​

"There has been funding assistance provided to districts in recognition of costs associated with declining enrolment, yet we remain with real and substantial costs of managing growth and overcapacity while waiting for capital funding," Wilson adds.

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