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Students at Ray Shepherd Elementary cast their ballots for federal candidates in a mock election at the school on Oct. 16.
Hundreds of students in Surrey and White Rock have been researching party platforms, questioning local candidates and discussing issues that matter to them as they participate in Student Vote Canada 2019.
Though most are under the voting age, the Student Vote program provides elementary and secondary students an opportunity to cast a ballot for the official candidates running in the federal election. Registered schools are supplied with free resources and materials geared to Grades 4-12.
More than 100 elementary schools, secondary schools and learning centres in the Surrey School District are taking part, voting during the designated time period of Oct. 15-18. About 9,500 schools (and approximately a million students) nationwide are doing the same.
In an effort typically facilitated by teachers, students not only vote in the mock elections at their schools, but serve as election workers, helping to set up polling stations, as well as supervising the voting process and counting ballots.
Ray Shepherd Elementary Grade 6 teacher Erinn Riley said her students had a great time learning about the party leaders and local candidates.
"It brought out great discussions and debate within the classroom," said Riley. "I think, whether or not they fully understand the platforms as this age, they still walk through the process and it becomes less of an abstract idea. When they turn 18, maybe they will think 'hey, I remember doing this in Grade 6' and it won't be so daunting."
Travis Mackenzie, vice-principal at Fraser Heights Secondary, thanked teacher Hardip Rakkar for organizing the vote at his school, calling participating students "active citizens practicing their right and responsibility to vote."
Watch for the Student Vote results next week. They will be tabulated riding by riding and released publicly after the general election polls close on Oct. 21.
See a map of participating schools across Canada HERE (zoom in to view Surrey and White Rock schools).
Students at Fraser Heights Secondary line up to vote.
Maddaugh Road Elementary (rendering by thinkspace architecture) is one of several new schools being built in the Surrey School Distict in the next few years.
2021 is shaping up to be a banner year for Surrey Schools.
With three elementary schools scheduled to open that year, and more on the way, the district is preparing to consult with school communities in South Surrey and Clayton about potential catchment boundary changes that will best accommodate the new schools and their students.
A new consultation page has been added to our website, which will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
In Clayton, Maddaugh Road Elementary (19406 76th Ave.) is anticipated to open in September 2021. Regent Road Elementary (18711 74th Ave.) has been through the design process and an anticipated opening date will be announced once the tender process concludes. These schools will relieve the enrolment pressures at Katzie, Hazelgrove and Clayton elementary schools.
In South Surrey, Site 180 (17325 2nd Ave.) and Site 206 (16666 23rd Ave.) are scheduled to open in September 2021. Boundary reviews will include the East Kensington, Hall's Prairie, Morgan, Pacific Heights, Rosemary Heights and Sunnyside elementary school communities to relieve enrolment pressures throughout the area.
As parents and guardians of students in Surrey Schools, you will be invited to provide input and feedback on catchment boundary options in Clayton and South Surrey. The district is coordinating an extensive consultation process next month.
Please watch for further information being sent home in those neighbourhoods in early November. A dedicated website will also be available for information and input at that time.
In addition, evening forums will be held in mid-November for Clayton and South Surrey-area school communities to share feedback and ideas about the potential boundary changes. Times and locations of the consultation forums will be included in the information package sent home in early November.
The consultation runs from Nov. 6th to Dec. 18th. Community contributions and comments will be summarized by staff in a report to the superintendent. The report is anticipated to be presented to the Surrey Board of Education in February 2020, with a decision on catchment boundaries expected in March 2020.
We look forward to hearing from you.
The number of students enrolled in 2019 summer programs offered by Surrey Schools increased by more than 1,600 from the year prior.
According to a recent district report, the Surrey School District welcomed 12,265 kindergarten to Grade 12 students and 431 adult learners in Summer Learning Programs this past summer. By comparison, there were 11,052 students in summer 2018 programs.
"Much of the increase was due to the creation of several new programs and securing additional sites for in-demand existing programs," said Shauna Ross, Acting Director of Instruction. "We are always striving to provide more options to meet the expanding learning needs and interests of our students and families."
For example, this was the first year summer classes for adults were available. Invergarry Adult Learning Centre offered a variety of full-credit and literacy/numeracy foundation courses.
Other expansions and new programs included:
A promise made to students by two teachers at Bayridge Elementary has left their heads a little colder this fall – but it was all in the name of charity.
The Surrey school had initially made a fundraising goal of $1,000 for this year's Terry Fox Run. With that goal met in just a few days, a new "challenge" goal of $2,000 was set. Teachers Simon Murti and Shelly Kent-Snowsell vowed if the second benchmark was reached, they would shave their heads.
At a special assembly on Sept. 27, students gathered for an assembly in the gymnasium, waiting to hear how much they had raised.
After a suspenseful countdown, the $3, 837.76 total was revealed and the students burst into a loud, collective cheer, knowing their teachers would have to face the shears.
"I kept the entire school in suspense because I wanted a grand reveal and a genuine surprise reaction," said Grade 7 teacher Simon Murti. "It worked!"
Murti went first, tufts of his black hair falling to the floor as students chanted for him to shave his beard also.
"The beard was $10,000 – we didn't hit that goal," Murti joked, as the hairdresser swept his smooth head clean.
Shelly Kent-Snowsell, a kindergarten/Grade 1 teacher, went next, wide-eyed as her long locks got shorter and shorter.
Murti said he was inspired by a cancer-surviving student many years ago to support Fox's cause. Kent-Snowsell, a cancer survivor herself, didn't hesitate to volunteer when she heard about the head-shave plan.
Funds raised will support cancer research.
Ray Shepherd Elementary Principal Linda Chau, Surrey Board of Education trustee Laurae McNally and Parent Advisory Council president Aimee McDonald cut the cake at the school's 70th anniversary celebration.
Hundreds of people -- including former students, teachers and parents -- showed up to celebrate Ray Shepherd Elementary's 70th anniversary celebrations on Sept. 26.
The school, located at the corner of 16 Avenue and 136 Street in South Surrey, opened in 1949. It is named after John Ray Shepherd, a pioneer in the White Rock area who also served as a school board member for 13 years begining in the early 1930s.
The anniversary event included outdoor activities, food, a cake-cutting ceremony and fundraisers that will benefit a school legacy bench project.
Now that students are settled into school and families are returning to routines, one of our community partners, Fraser Health, has assembled a comprehensive collection of resources to tackle everything from school anxiety to lunches, sleep habits to immunizations.
Ensuring your child is as healthy as possible is an important step in preparing them for success at school That means making sure they are eating and sleeping well, and are able to recharge after school in a healthy way to prepare for the next day.
It also means paying close attention to their mental health, helping them cope with any back-to-school anxiety and supporting teenagers to make good choices in high school when faced with relationship or peer pressure issues. And it includes taking preventative measures like immunization to ensure they are protected from communicable diseases in their classrooms.
Check HERE for an abundance of information about school anxiety; nutrition and exercise; safe travel to and from school; healthy after-school activities; sleep, dental hygiene and immunizations; and personal safety for high schoolers.
The School Health web resource also answers the top health questions of parents, teachers and school administrators.
~courtesy Fraser Health
Dear Parents and Guardians,
We live in an era of global climate change. The signs are all around us. While there are large- scale initiatives around the globe, such as a move to electric cars and alternative forms of energy, it is clear that our efforts are insufficient. It now must be our children who will be the ones to address the issues, to formulate resolutions, and to find the will and dedication to address the complex problems facing our planet. Such will and dedication requires a call to action.
Inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, rallies are being arranged around North America and these rallies, dubbed Global Climate Strike, are timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York in the coming week. Many advocates and groups are communicating under the hashtag #FridaysForFuture and are asking for people specifically to participate in rallies on September 27th, when Greta is intending to participate in the rally in Montreal. There are other events planned across Canada.
Climate change and environmental issues are deeply embedded in the BC curriculum. The teachers who collaborated in writing the curriculum did so with full awareness of the challenges ahead. Educators care deeply about these issues and it is very common – from student leadership initiatives, science fair presentations, community gardens, the numerous recycling efforts and many other initiatives – to see how schools embrace the issues related to our planet and the environment every day.
Our Board of Education has always placed a priority on environmental sustainability. Whether it's through sponsoring programs like Surrey's Salmon Habitat Restoration Program or through offering a choice program at our EKOLogy environmental school, our Board believes in the need to care for our planet and in the power of education to shape our future. Our Board also believes strongly that student voice and engagement is valued and again, whether it's in the classroom, at the school or district level, that voice needs to be heard. In schools and classrooms across the district next week, I am certain that climate change will be a topic of many lessons and activities and this is all part of engaging our youth in such an important issue that impacts us all.
Many jurisdictions across Canada are making statements about the rallies and potential student participation. In these statements, districts are reaffirming the priority of student safety. In Surrey, if parents make a choice to excuse their children from school on Friday, September 27th, the district will follow our normal routines of marking students as "excused" for the day. We are also asking our schools to ensure that if any students are excused by their parents for that day, they will be provided the opportunity to make up any missed work or tests without penalty. First and foremost, students would want to speak with their teachers about missing school.
We encourage you to discuss this topic and this global movement with your children. Climate change is real and is a critical issue for our future. This letter is to ensure that parents are informed and to know that we want to place the responsibility for a decision to participate or not in these rallies where it belongs, which is in the hands of our parents with their children. Student advocacy and engagement in civic and global issues is a key to our future. Our vision for learning includes students caring for self, others and society and if we are to accomplish this, it must be done together.
Superintendent of Schools/CEO
Download a copy of this letter
The Surrey School District has won a Surrey Environment & Business Award.
The awards are presented to Surrey-based businesses or Surrey Board of Trade members who "have demonstrated exceptional dedication to environmental leadership and/or issues."
At an event Sept. 17, Surrey Schools was presented the top prize in the Large Business category (at right are former manager of energy management & sustainability Tracy Blagdon and Board of Education Chair Laurie Larsen).
In part, the nomination read: "Environmental sustainability isn't just one project for Surrey Schools. The district strives to incorporate environmental sustainability into day-to-day operations and integrate environmental sustainability into the curriculum taught to students."
The recognition acknowledged the district's many projects, including incorporating low carbon technologies into building designs, the districtwide Rethink Waste program, emissions management, and more. You can read more about the award HERE.
The Surrey School District's Career Education Department is accepting applications for the following Youth Train in Trades Programs:
Youth Train in Trades Programs are delivered in partnership with local post-secondary institutions and industry trainers. Program participants earn level one technical training, industry certification and high school course credits.
The programs run during the second semester of the school year and tuition is free!
Applicants should be in Grade 11 or 12 and applications are available at all secondary schools through school-based Career Facilitators.
For more information, see your Career Facilitator or contact the district's Career Education Department (or 604-595-6175).
You can explore all our trades partnership opportunities HERE.
On behalf of the DPAC Board of Directors, I would like to welcome all parents and students back to school!
This time of the year can be very hectic and on top of it all some of us also have issues and concerns that go above and beyond normal routines which also need to be addressed. At times, these matters can be stressful and overwhelming especially when we don't even know where to start.
DPAC has a legislated role in the School Act to represent parents with children attending a school in the Surrey School District. We are here to support parents seeking advice or guidance on how to advocate for their child.
We encourage all parents to join us at our monthly meetings held on the last Wednesday of each month to learn about the different ways that we as parents can help each other and in turn help our children. We are the best resource when it comes to knowing what is best for our children and that's why we need to come together and make our voices heard.
This years DPAC Board of Directors is still fairly new but is full of passion and is driven by the need for change. Help us make some much needed changes, first to our own humble organization and then to our ever growing district.
Rina Diaz, president
Surrey District Parent Advisory Council