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Aug 25
Are you covered if your child is injured at school?

Your daughter had a tooth knocked out while playing hockey in gym class. Your son smashed his glasses on the playground at lunchtime. Your teen broke an ankle after tripping on stairs.

accident ins - broken glasses.jpgAccidents can happen anytime, anywhere at school. And while some may occur in places one might anticipate danger, such as shop class or the science lab, most often, school injuries involve nothing more than a student's own feet.

"I would say the majority of incidents involve slips, trips and falls," says Kelly Thomson, director of risk management with Surrey Schools. "The second most common incident involves running into something, often another student but sometimes a stationary object such as a wall, a door or a fence."

In the past eight years, the number of student accidents reported in Surrey Schools has nearly doubled. During the 2007-08 school year, there were 975 incidents, compared to the 1,845 reported last year.

What parents and guardians may not know is that Surrey Schools insurance does not cover expenses for student injuries that happen on school grounds or during school activities. Parents are responsible for those costs, and provincial coverage (MSP) and group health plans often limit or don't cover things like dental treatment, casts, physiotherapy or eyewear.

Optional student accident insurance is available through private companies and interested parents are encouraged to research which plan suits their family's needs.

Surrey's District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) and the Surrey School District provide the opportunity to voluntarily purchase accident insurance through the Kids Plus Accident Insurance program. The plan provides year-round coverage, whether children are in or out of school, including coverage for costs not fully insured under MSP or group extended health insurance plans. Premiums start at $14.50 per year per student, with discounts available for families with three or more children.

For more information, check kidsplus.ca or visit the "Parents" tab at surreyschools.ca or see the printable parent brochure.

student accident chart.JPG

Aug 22
Registering students who are new to Surrey Schools

StudentRegistration.jpg​​This fall, more than 71,000 students in Surrey and White Rock will be returning to classes in the Surrey School District. About 1,000 new students are expected to enter local schools this year.

Students new to the district must bring documentation to verify age, residency and citizenship (for the student and a parent) to register at their neighbourhood catchment area school.

Registration for new students takes place at secondary schools from Aug. 22 to Sept. 2, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Elementary school registration begins Aug. 29 and continues until Sept. 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information on registration, check here or see our parent information sheet​.

To register in the Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning (SAIL) or Surrey Connect online courses, visit www.sailacademy.ca or call 604-592-4263.

The Welcome Centre (604-543-3060) can provide assistance, information, translation services and assessments for new students who are English language learners.

Non-residents can phone the International Education department at 604-595-6168 or email internationaled@surreyschools.ca for information about registration.

Information about adult education courses and registration can be found here.

Aug 19
August public board meeting cancelled

The Surrey Board of Education meeting tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 25 has been cancelled.

The next scheduled public board meeting is Sept. 22. All meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are held at the District Education Centre, 14033 92 Ave.

For a list of the 2016 meetings, check here​.

Aug 17
Cooking up culinary competence

SuperChefs.JPG

Muskan Mahil, Saveena Rai and Mikayla Ritchie, all entering Grade 8 at Enver Creek Secondary, were among dozens of Surrey students to take part in the SuperChefs program this summer, as did Grade 7 Green Timbers Elementary student Damin Mutti (below).


More than 150 Surrey students have cooked themselves up some tasty kitchen skills this summer.

The students, aged eight to 12, were part of a SuperChefs Cookery for Kids summer camp that provided six weeks of workshops and physical activities.

The workshops, offered in partnership with Surrey Schools, were held at Queen Elizabeth Secondary and Sullivan Heights Secondary.

SuperChefs2.JPGSuperChefs is a non-profit society created by Dr. Greg Chang in an effort to curb the childhood obesity epidemic by encouraging children to learn healthy and tasty cooking skills.

Surrey-based Fresh St. Market donated ingredients to support the SuperChefs summer program, which was offered to Surrey students free of charge.

"Our students benefit in many ways from the SuperChefs Cookery for Kids summer camp, particularly children and families who are challenged to fund activities or trips over the summer break," says Surrey Board of Education chairperson Shawn Wilson. "It's been wonderful partnering with SuperChefs over the last six years to offer such a great learning experience for children that also happens to be so engaging and entertaining."

Aug 15
Time to gear up for back-to-school! Opening day Sept. 6

​After a two-month summer break, students in the Surrey School District will head back to class Sept. 6.

All elementary classes (Grades 1-7) begin at 10 a.m., but will end earlier than usual on the first day. Dismissal times should be confirmed with individual schools.

Kindergarten children are on a gradual entry schedule for the first week, so start dates and times should be verified with schools.

back-to-school.jpgSecondary schools in Surrey also have a shortened day Sept. 6, but again, hours differ from school to school and grade to grade. Opening times and dates also vary at the district's five learning centres.

Students new to the district must bring documentation to verify their age, residency and citizenship to the school to register. Secondary schools will be open for registration from Aug. 22 to Sept. 2, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., while elementary schools are open Aug. 29 to Sept. 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Registration for adult education classes also begins Aug. 29.

More information about registration is available at surreyschools.ca (under "K-12 Schools" and "Adult Education."​

Check HERE for detailed information about opening day for the 2016-17 school year.

Aug 08
Curriculum and exam changes continue to be phased in this fall

The upd​ated curriculum developed for K-12 education will continue to be phased in at Surrey schools in the 2016-17 school year, with changes to assessment and provincial exams also taking hold beginning this year.

Until now, the curriculum has been optional for teachers in kindergarten to Grade 9, but it will be the official curriculum in those grades starting September 2016.

The new Grade 10 to 12 curriculum will be optional for teachers in the 2016-17 school year and full implementation is scheduled for the 2017-18 school year. The draft curriculum can be viewed at https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/curriculum/10-12 and feedback can be submitted by emailing curriculum@gov.bc.ca

Why a new curriculum?

As explained in a May 2016 letter to parents from the education minister, the world has become much different since the original curriculum was developed. New technologies enable access to a wealth of information on virtually any topic. Today's students need to learn skills to successfully locate, analyze and evaluate information, then apply it in a proper and useful way.

The emphasis now is more on understanding concepts and processes, as well as a personalized learning experience and flexibility to better match individual student strengths and needs, as described in B.C.'s Education Plan.

What has changed?

  • There is more flexibility for teachers to tailor learning to a student's needs and passions.
  • There is also increased flexibility for teacher innovation; for example, to take advantage of current topics of interest to students and to develop learning experiences that cross different subject areas.
  • There is greater focus on communication, creative/critical thinking, positive personal and cultural identity and social responsibility as core competencies.
  • Aboriginal perspectives and content are integrated into all subjects.
  • There is an emphasis on core foundational skills while focusing on higher-level conceptual thinking.


Changes to assessment and provincial exams

Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, changes in curriculum, assessment and graduation requirements are being phased in for students in Grades 10 to 12.

The changes include discontinuing the five current secondary school provincial exams and replacing them with two provincial exams that focus on literacy and math skills – the key subjects post-secondary institutions look to for admissions.

Provincial exams for Science 10, Social Studies 11, Language Arts 10 and Math 10 will no longer be used and will be replaced by classroom assessments.

There will be overlap between the previous grad program and the new one, and therefore a transition period to account for students progressing toward graduation under different scenarios. Students entering Grade 10 in the 2017-18 school year will be the first group where the new requirements apply entirely.

In the 2016-17 year only, there will be no changes to the Language Arts/English 12 provincial exams. They will run as scheduled, aligned with the prior curriculum, not the new one.

The provincial government has provided this chart to help clarify requirements for students entering Grades 10 to 12 in the 2016-17 transition school year:

 ​NewAssessmentChart.JPG

To graduate, students will still need to complete 80 credits and write two provincial exams. That hasn't changed.

For younger students, standardized tests of reading, writing and numeracy (called Foundation Skills Assessment or FSAs) will still take place in Grades 4 and 7.

Where can I get more information?

The Ministry of Education has a wealth of plain-language information about the new curriculum on its Building Student Success website. See also a June 2016 letter to parents​ from Surrey Schools Supt. Dr. Jordan Tinney.

Jul 15
Film project aims to bridge the gap between youth and seniors

​The Surrey School District's Safe Schools Department has joined forces with the City of Surrey and Tell Your Story Productions Inc. for a community video and story-sharing project involving youth and seniors in Surrey.

What Generation Gap? aims to bring teens and seniors together to form new bonds. Twelve youth aged 15 to 18 are being supported by the Safe Schools Department to participate in the program, in which they will be strategically paired with a WhatGenerationGap.JPGsenior citizen from the community.

As the participants get to know one another, the teens will each direct and create two videos: one sharing their own story and a second sharing the story of their senior partner.

The final films will be shown at a public gala on July 23 at the Surrey Arts Centre. The films ­– along with a short behind-the-scenes documentary – will made available on the project website (www.whatgenerationgap.com) the same day and will be on Telus Optik Local TV Video on Demand by August 2016.

Mangla Bansal is the owner of Tell Your Story Productions. The concept for What Generation Gap? was inspired by her longtime friendship with 104-year-old Kay Charter. The pair's friendship began after a newspaper article was published about Mangla when she was a teen. Charter responded with an encouraging email and the two quickly became pen pals. They now have a unique friendship where age is irrelevant and they view one another as equals. Both women have learned how much youth and seniors can benefit from such relationships. While young people face many challenges, seniors are an equally vulnerable population.

For more information on the project or to get on the guest list for the gala event, email tellyourstoryproductions@gmail.com

Jul 12
After-school sport programs garner Premier's Award

The Surrey School District has been recognized by the provincial government for its commitment to helping vulnerable students participate in sports and arts programs.

The After School Sport and Arts Initiative was selected to receive the 2015 Premier's Award for Innovation in the Interior/North region of B.C. The award recognizes individuals, teams or organizations that have designed or redesigned how public programs or services are delivered so that clients, the public service or citizens benefit.

As part of the initiative, Surrey's Community Schools department has helped plan, deliver and expand programs such as the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Academy and Play On.

Offered in 27 elementary schools, Jumpstart is an after-school sport and recreation program developed to create opportunities for students who don't have the means to participate in organized sport and recreation outside of school hours.

Play On is a weekly adapted after-school program for elementary school children with physical and cognitive disabilities that focuses on physical literacy and expressive art programs and is offered at seven Surrey schools.

"We are proud to support programming that meets the needs and interests of students within your schools who face barriers to sports and arts participation," said Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender in a congratulatory letter to the Surrey School District.

 ​ASSAIPremiersaward.jpg

(Left to right) Community Schools program facilitators Stefan Leslie and Silas Goddard, Community Schools manager Sukh Shergill and District Supt. Jordan Tinney celebrate receiving the 2015 Premier`s Award for Innovation.

Jun 17
Surrey Board of Education adding 160 district jobs in 2016-17 preliminary budget

With 780 more students projected to be attending district schools in September, the Surrey Board of Education plans to hire an additional 70 teachers and 81 education assistants for the 2016-2017 school year. Two school administrators, four professional staff and four support staff are also to be hired, bringing a total of 161 additional staff to the district.

Despite significant increases in enrolment, with a total of 71,115 students projected for September, Surrey Schools expects to continue to have the lowest proportion of its operating budget spent on district administration in the province at just 2.11 per cent.

The board faced a $6.7 million deficit to duplicate existing programs and service levels for next year. However, the board's surplus of $6.3 million this year from unspent funds for snow clearing, unfilled positions and utility costs, as well as district revenues, will cover most of the deficit.

Last month, the Ministry of Education announced $25 million in redirected administrative savings would be returned to schools districts with Surrey Schools receiving $3.1 million. These funds will be used to offset the maintenance costs for the Next Generation Network fees of the same amount applied by the province.

"While we can't depend on surpluses every year in order to balance our budget, I'm pleased the board is in a position to be able to add staff in support of the students of the Surrey School District," says Surrey Board of Education Budget Committee chairperson Terry Allen.

​Operating funds, along with special purpose and other funds, amount to a $722.7 million total 2016-17 preliminary budget. The final school district operating grant will be based on the September 30, 2016 enrolment count and any adjustments to the preliminary budget will be made after that date. All figures have been rounded.

Jun 17
French Immersion program at crowded Woodward Hill Elementary to be reduced in 2017

Due to ongoing school enrolment pressures in the South Newton neighbourhood of Surrey, the Surrey Board of Education has voted unanimously to reduce the French Immersion program at École Woodward Hill Elementary from two kindergarten classes to one, beginning September 2017. Over subsequent years, the effect will be to eliminate one full "stream" of K-7 French Immersion classes.

Woodward Hill, located at 6082 142 St., has both French Immersion and English students. There are currently more than 300 children in the French Immersion program, comprising almost half of the school's student population. Approximately 20 of those students live in the catchment area of Woodward Hill.

The one-class reduction will not affect existing French Immersion students at the school and siblings will be grandfathered in, giving them first priority for new intake into the language program.

The change is being implemented to ensure that in the coming years, there are available spaces at the elementary school for students living within the catchment area, located in one of the fastest-growing neighbourhoods in the city.

French Immersion is one of many programs of choice offered by the Surrey School District. There are now seven elementary schools offering early French Immersion. Cougar Creek Elementary (12236 70A Ave.) is the newest addition. As of this week, there are 16 students registered for the new program, with enrolment expected to increase prior to the start of the 2016-2017 school year in September.

Trustees seek choice program review

At the June 16 public board meeting, the Surrey Board of Education also approved a motion presented by Trustee Laurae McNally to devote the first trustee meeting of the upcoming school year to analyzing all choice programs, considering capacity, boundaries and policy revisions in terms of the school district's long range facilities and education plan.​

Lack of capacity, said McNally, results in ongoing challenges to expanding and sustaining Surrey's programs of choice and the board must continually consider moving programs, which is a disruption to school communities.

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