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Jan 13
Semiahmoo girls basketball team takes Goodwill Classic crown – again

semi wins Goodwill Classic 2020.jpg

Semiahmoo Secondary's senior girls won the 2020 Surrey Fire Fighters Goodwill Classic banner.

For the third consecutive year, the Semiahmoo Totems senior girls basketball team has won the annual Surrey Fire Fighters Goodwill Classic.

It was also the third year the team faced the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers in the Axe division final.

The all-Surrey invitational tournament featured 20 secondary teams from the city's public and private schools. Semiahmoo defeated Enver Creek in the first round and Southridge in the semi-final, en route to the championship game Saturday (Jan. 11).

The Totems once again defended their title, defeating home team Lord Tweedsmuir 97-46 and bringing home the gold. Semi's Izzy Forsyth was named tournament MVP. Deja Lee was named top defensive player and Tara Wallack was chosen for the all-star team.

Sullivan Heights Secondary (pictured below) won the Ladder (junior) division.

The tournament has been running since 2001 and is held every January. Surrey fire fighters volunteer many hours organizing the event, scheduling games and securing sponsorships – all in the name of "promoting volunteerism, diversity in the fire service, and female sport."

The Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society also gives out several bursaries each year to players who have demonstrated outstanding volunteer service in their community.

Check here if you'd like more information about the tournament.

Goodwill Classic 2020 - Sullivan Hts ladder div winners.jpg

Jan 10
Boys teams shoot to win at Surrey RCMP Classic basketball tourney

Surrey RCMP Classic preview 2020.JPGBoys basketball teams from Surrey secondary schools are competing to be the city's best at the 29th-annual Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic.

The tournament, considered one of the largest high school basketball tournaments in the country, runs Jan. 12-18, with games played at various schools across the district. Approximately 700 student athletes on 48 senior and junior teams from both public and private schools will be vying for the championship banner.

Semiahmoo Secondary will be looking to defend the title, after taking it for the past three years. (photo at right from

This year's junior and senior championship games will take place Saturday, Jan. 18 at Enver Creek Secondary (14505 84 Ave.).

Check here for this year's tournament draw.

Jan 09
Reminder: District winter weather procedures

As winter weather continues, we want to remind parents/guardians, students, and staff of the Surrey School District's severe weather procedures and announcements.

All schools in the Surrey School District will remain OPEN, except under extreme circumstances.

Any districtwide closure or delayed school opening will be announced on the Surrey Schools website and individual school websites, as well as communicated on the district's Twitter and Facebook accounts. Metro Vancouver media will also be alerted.

An announcement will be made by 7 a.m. at the latest, based on the best information available at that time.

Please noteOnly cancellations, closures or delayed schools openings will be announced. Except under extreme circumstances, no announcement will be made that schools are open.

** Student safety is our first priority and a shared responsibility. As always, parents may choose to make other arrangements if they don't feel it's safe to travel to school and students will not be penalized for such absences. **

For more information, please check our information brochure, available in English and Punjabi.

Dec 30
Surrey Schools seeks community member to serve on Board Audit Committee
​The Board of Education of School District No. 36 (Surrey) ('Surrey Schools') is seeking to appoint one external member to its newly formed Audit Committee. Applications are being sought from suitably qualified and experienced members of the public to be appointed as an independent external member of the Audit Committee. The committee will meet at least three times a year in Surrey, BC.

The committee will assist in the supervision of the financial reporting process, internal control, internal audit, external audit, compliance and risk. Key areas of oversight for the committee will be financial accuracy, risk management, and assessment and monitoring of the control environment and systems of internal control.

The external member of the committee will have a strong financial management and/or audit background, with an understanding of accounting and auditing standards in a public sector environment. Legal, governance, risk management, information technology (IT) and business management skills and experience are desirable.

Applicants must be a resident of the Surrey or White Rock region and over the age of 18 years. The applicant should have an accounting designation, as well as sufficient accounting and senior financial management expertise to understand public sector accounting and auditing standards. The applicant must not be a current employee or officer of the Board or of any other school district board or school authority. The applicant must not have a parent, child or spouse currently employed by Surrey Schools.

An information package outlining the required skills and experience of the external community member can be downloaded below.

Surrey Schools invites qualified applicants to submit a written expression of interest and detailed resume by 4 p.m., Jan. 24, 2020. Submissions should clearly demonstrate how your skills, qualifications and experience align with the role and responsibilities of the committee as outlined in the Terms of Reference in the information package (see attached).

Audit Committee - External Member EOI Info Package.pdf

Dec 20
Applications being accepted for youth trades training programs

Trades - piping.jpgThe Surrey School District’s Career Education Department is accepting applications for the following Youth Train in Trades Programs:

The programs are delivered in partnership with local post-secondary institutions and tuition is free. Over the course of a semester, participants earn level one technical training, industry certification and high school course credits.

Applicants should be attending Grade 11 or 12.

Applications will be accepted until Jan. 24 and are available through school-based career facilitators.

For more information, see your Career Facilitator or contact the Career Education Department at 604-595-6175.

To learn about other Youth Train in Trades programs

offered by Surrey Schools click here

Dec 19
New accessible playground celebrated at Westerman Elementary

Westerman kids on playground.jpg

Students at Westerman Elementary were eager to show off their new playground during a celebration to mark the official opening of the new, fully accessible outdoor equipment.

Grade 7 leadership students not only emceed an event at the Surrey school Dec. 19, but explained that they helped design and choose the colour of the structure.

Students in Grades 2 and 3 also talked about what the new playground means to them, including which elements – slides, swings and even benches for parents ­– they liked best.

Terry Allen, vice-chairperson of the Surrey Board of Education, noted the new playground is an important outlet for physical activity and will also impact indoor instruction.

"Playgrounds give students an opportunity to collaborate with others, develop decision-making skills, and successfully take on leadership roles," said Allen. "They also allow students to persevere in the face of distractions, and generate creative ideas."

The Dec. 19 event was also attended by Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh, who joined district officials, students, staff and parents for an official ribbon cutting.

The Ministry of Education announced funding for the new $105,000 playground last March. Surrey's Goldstone Park Elementary and Strawberry Hill Elementary also received $90,000 grants for new playgrounds through the province's Playground Equipment Program (PEP). Goldstone's was recently completed, while Strawberry Hill's is scheduled to be done in March 2020.

Westerman ribbon cutting.jpg

Dec 17
Kindergarten registration opens Jan. 13

Kindergarten registration opens Jan. 13, 2020 in Surrey elementary schools.

Children who turn five before Jan. 1, 2021 are eligible to begin school in September 2020. Registration takes place in-person at your child's neighbourhood school.

See our information flyer.

If you are unsure which school is nearest to you, check HERE. A registration form is available HERE.

If you have further questions, please contact your neighbourhood school.

*Please note that parents applying for a lottery spot in one of our popular 'choice' programs (French Immersion, Intensive Fine Arts, Montessori and Traditional) must still register their child at their local catchment school before Feb. 12. Online application for the kindergarten programs of choice lottery opens Jan. 27.

Dec 16
More classrooms on the way for Coyote Creek and Frost Road elementary schools

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With Surrey Board of Education chair Laurie Larsen and musicians from Coyote Creek Elementary looking on, Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar speaks about a four-classroom addition currently being built at the school.

More Surrey students will soon say goodbye to portables as construction has begun to add a combined 250 new student spaces at Frost Road and Coyote Creek elementary schools.

The Government of B.C. is providing a combined $11.8 million for the two expansions, which will add 10 classrooms to the Fleetwood neighbourhood and eliminate portables at the schools. The projects are part of the province's plan to reduce portables as quickly as possible in Surrey.

An official ceremony to mark the ground breaking of both projects took place outside Coyote Creek Elementary on Dec. 16.

"We are all very excited to see the construction well underway here," said Surrey Board of Education chairperson Laurie Larsen. "The new addition will include four new classrooms that will allow students to move out of the portables and into the school community."

Frost Road's expansion will add six classrooms to that school.

"Our community has been waiting for these additions for years, and I'm so excited to join students and families to celebrate the construction of their new classrooms," said Jagrup Brar, MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood. "I can't wait to see these expansions completed and for the students at these schools to say goodbye to portables."

Both projects are scheduled to be complete by next September.

Since fall 2017, the province has approved nearly $250 million in new schools, expansions and seismic upgrades in Surrey. The investments are helping up to 7,300 students in Surrey move from portables to classrooms between 2018 and 2022.

Following the announcement, officials visited a Grade 3-4 class inside a nearby portable, where they helped students make gingerbread houses. Below, left, trustees Laurie Larsen and Bob Holmes help a student start her construction, while (below, right) Surrey Schools Supt. Jordan Tinney and trustee Laurae McNally work with students to secure their house foundations.

Click here to view all the construction project progress in the Surrey School District

Laurie and bob with students.jpgJordan and laurae with students.jpg

Dec 13
Tips to support students with autism during the holidays

Christmas kid.jpgThe Christmas holidays can be a time of wonder and delight, taking part in family traditions, seeing loved ones, and a break from routine. The holidays can also be a time of stress for those on the autism spectrum who thrive on familiarity and predictability. This can be a difficult time of year, but with some preparation and planning, the holiday season can be enjoyable.

How can holidays be enjoyable for families with children who have autism? Take the holidays one day at a time and in stride. If the day does not go according to plan, that's OK. Respect the needs of the children and don't worry about what others think. It is us, the neurotypicals, that need to adapt to the person with ASD, not the other way around. It is easier for us to change and be flexible.


1) Use Social Stories

Create a social story for any new routine. If grandma is hosting Christmas Eve dinner, tell the child what the breakdown of the evening will be. Anxiety can arise over a change in the schedule. My adult children still worry that they won't be home in time for bedtime during Christmas festivities. If I let them know ahead of time about changes in the routine, they tend to do much better. Usually, what they want to know is when an activity will end and how will they know it is over. We give them a time that we plan on leaving and the kids do well with that.

The school schedule can also be interrupted with plays, concerts and assemblies. Teachers and educational assistants – give lots of warning about changes in the daily routine. Work in special activities into the visual schedule. Create a social story about a concert or a play the children will see. It is often anxiety rooted in fear of the unknown that causes challenging behavior and avoidance of new experiences.

2) Make sure to include quiet time

Allow for some quiet or down time during a day that has new experiences in it. Create a plan B if the school play is too hard for the child to sit through. If a music concert will be loud, perhaps use some noise cancelling headphones to lessen the sound. If the class is planning a Christmas party, walk the child through what it will be like. Maybe the child can also help with organization or suggest a favourite game to play. If a preferred activity is included in the day's events, the child is more likely to be enthusiastic about it. Think about scheduling a favourite activity right after a new experience so that the child knows when the concert ends, there is some computer time, games, or play time with a much loved toy.

3) Keep new foods to a minimum

Be careful about introducing new foods or ones that aren't usually consumed. Some children have food sensitivities and can't tolerate traditional Christmas foods like shortbread, chocolate and other delights. They may be interested in trying them, but check with the parents first to see if they can handle certain foods. The joy in the moment is never worth the aftermath of an upset stomach or GI system later.

4) Surprises aren't necessarily a good thing for those with ASD: this includes visitors and gifts

Some children on the spectrum don't enjoy surprises. If this is the case, don't give a wrapped gift or if you do, put a picture of what's inside the box on the outside of it. Predictability is key to keeping children calm.

For families, limit the amount of visitors to the house. Large groups of guests can be challenging for the person on the spectrum to deal with; so can an invasion of their space. Request that people not drop by without giving notice. This is a rule in our house that we insist people follow. Limit the length of a visit to something manageable. Every family willl differ.

If opening presents all in one day is too overwhelming, spread it out over several days. When our children were young, they took 7 days to open all of their gifts. It made Christmas last a long time because the kids felt they were seeing something new each day and they really explored that new item. Our son struggles with opening presents due to poor fine motor skills so we put his things in gift bags with tissue paper. He then has independence with opening gifts. Clear up boxes and wrapping paper as you go to keep the chaos to a minimum. Our kids needs a lot of alone time after opening gifts because they like to explore them at their own pace. We give them that space.

5) Break with tradition if it means happier children

This can be a hard thing to do, but keep your child's best interests at heart. My parents wanted us to come over on Christmas Eve and all day on Christmas because that's what we did before we had kids. They also expected us to to bring the children to Christmas Eve mass which was about 2 hours long. This was just too much much so we opted for a lunch and gift opening on Christmas Eve and just a dinner on Christmas Day.

Create your own holiday traditions that are meaningful to your child. Find ways in which they can contribute to holiday activities. Maybe they like to put sprinkles on cookies, stamps on Christmas card envelopes, hang decorations, make cards by hand, or create e-cards on the internet. My daughter loved to make a gingerbread house; she did that with her grandma.

6) Stick with one outing a day

Try to choose times that are less busy to do things. Mornings tend to be quieter on the roads. Matinee movies or shows are not as busy as an early evening show. Buy tickets ahead of time to avoid line-ups.

7) Stick with your normal schedule as much as possible

Try to follow normal mealtimes and bedtime. Getting enough sleep is important as are regular meals with preferred foods. If visiting someone, bring snacks in case your child doesn't like what is being served or can't tolerate it due to sensitivities.

8) Create a safe zone for down time

Have a quiet place for children to go both in their own home and in other homes. Ask your host ahead of time if there is an area your child can go to if they need some down time away from the group. Let people know your child's limits and ask that they respect that. Sometimes a simple accommodation like lowering the volume of background music can make a huge difference.

Dec 12
Goldstone Park Elementary celebrates new playground

Goldstone Park Elementary playground opening.jpg

Surrey-Panorama MLA Jinny Sims, Goldstone Park Elementary PAC president Amit Sharma, Surrey Board of Education vice-chair Terry Allen and principal Laura Grills cut the ribbon at the official opening of the school's new playground.

The rainy weather didn't dampen spirits at Goldstone Park Elementary as the Surrey school celebrated the official opening of its new playground.

Grade 7 students Jaya Khattra and Anaya Kumar spoke about how great it is to have the new playground.

Terry Allen, vice-chairperson of the Surrey Board of Education, said playgrounds not only promote physical activity, but help students learn by improving attention and decreasing stress and anxiety.

"It also improves motivation—helping kids try things they might not normally be inclined to try," he said, speaking to students and parents. "I hope you enjoy this new playground and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it has on the local community."

Surrey-Panorama MLA Jinny Sims took the opportunity to explain the role of government to students and helped celebrate the new playground.

An official ribbon cutting took place on the playground prior to students having some time to play on the new equipment.

The Ministry of Education announced funding for the new $90,000 playground last March. Surrey's Westerman Elementary and Strawberry Hill Elementary also received playground grants. Westerman's was recently completed, Strawberry Hill's is scheduled to be done in March 2020.

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