Surrey students returned from the annual Lower Fraser Valley Regional Skills Competition with a haul of 44 medals – including bronze for two elementary students.
Evan McMartin and Colton Hammersley of Laronde Elementary claimed bronze in the Sumo Robot competition, a category where gold and silver went to Princess Margaret Secondary students Aaron Cronwell and Brant Jerace respectively.
Around 130 Surrey Schools students took part in the competition hosted at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s trades campus in Cloverdale and in several secondary schools. The competition celebrates and rewards students for excellence in their mastery of trade and technology skills that are relevant to employers’ needs.
“All competitors displayed a fine degree of sportsmanship and showcased their remarkable skills”, says Susan Chow, principal of career education at Surrey Schools. “A special mention goes to our student medalists from Laronde Elementary School. We hope to see more students from elementary schools participate and compete in future regional skills competitions.”
With the culinary category still to take place, the district already has 14 gold, 12 silver and 18 bronze medals from the 14 categories judged so far.
The gold medalists from the secondary categories will now have opportunity to advance to the Skills Canada BC provincial competition at the Tradex Centre, Abbotsford, on April 15.
The students who won gold are:
Surrey Schools joins the City of Surrey in pursuing a “Power-Free Hour” this Friday and promoting International Earth Hour on Saturday, March 28.
Earth Hour takes place 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. this Saturday to promote awareness of climate change and power conservation. During that hour, people are encouraged to pursue activities that require no power generation. Some examples include turning off all the lights and going for a walk with a friend, reading a book or playing a board game by candlelight, or just star-gazing.
Community events are also being organized for Earth Hour and you can organize one or look up one to join www.earthhour.org.
Staff throughout the school district and the City of Surrey are also being encouraged to participate in Power-Free Hour on Friday, March 27, between noon and 1 p.m. by turning off all unnecessary lights and electronics and perhaps having a “lights out lunch” with colleagues.
Registration for Summer School in Surrey opens in April and this year full credit courses will also be available at Queen Elizabeth Secondary.
This takes the number of locations in Surrey offering full credit courses in July and August for grades 10 through 12 up to five. The other locations are Clayton Heights, Earl Marriott, North Surrey and Princess Margaret secondary schools.
In addition, remedial programs for students in grades 8 through 11 who have failed one or two subjects will be available at Clayton Heights, Earl Marriott and Queen Elizabeth secondary schools.
Also on offer for students entering Grade 10 is Skills Exploration 10, which gives them an opportunity to experience the construction trades of carpentry, electrical, plumbing and welding.
Registration for Summer School opens online for Surrey Schools students in grade 11 and 12 on April 3. Online and in-person registration for all current Surrey Schools students opens April 11. Online registration at www.adulted36.ca and in-person registration at the District Education Centre both close June 26.
Visit the Summer School web pages for more information on the courses available and how to apply.
Nearly 200 elementary school students have been building sumo wrestling robots at Simon Fraser University over the spring break to test their programming and engineering skills.
The Sticks and Stars and Girls in Action outreach programs, led by Surrey Schools in partnership with SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences and HR MacMillan Space Centre, engages young students from inner city elementary schools through hands-on technology and science workshops.
This spring is the first time the Girls in Action program has joined the boys’ Sticks and Stars program in visiting SFU, with 100 girls participating. Through this expanded partnership, SFU and Surrey Schools hope to empower the next generation of female engineers and programmers by allowing girls to explore technology in a new way.
The students work in teams to create moving robots that duke it out in a final sumo challenge. The activities inspire students to think creatively, learn problem-solving skills and build confidence.
“It's important for young girls to have the opportunity to try programming and engineering, and crucially, also develop the self-confidence to pursue these fields,” says program coordinator Tina Tran, an SFU undergraduate computing science student.
The later years of elementary school are pivotal for students to develop positive interests and influences. Encouraging elementary-age students to participate in science, technology, engineering and math programs has also been shown to increase the likelihood they will pursue those areas of study in the future.
“Both the Sticks and Stars and Girls in Action programs were developed to ensure that boys and girls were connecting with positive role models, looking for engaging activities and finding ways to explore their passions,” says Pat Horstead, an assistant superintendent at Surrey Schools.
Girls in Action is made possible by generous donations from Chevron, TD Friends of the Environment and National Bank One for Youth.
Surrey Schools has been shortlisted for a prestigious prize that recognizes innovative educational practices in K-12 schools in B.C.
Making Learning Visible: a 360° transformation initiative uses technology to record student learning through photos, video and notation. The results create a digital portfolio of student work that is shared with parents and reviewed with the student.
Parents in schools where the initiative is being used can follow their child’s progress on a daily basis without waiting for a report card, allowing them to see areas of success or those requiring support. This allows quicker response to individual learning needs. Parents and students can also more readily become part of the solution and work in collaboration with the teacher.
The Surrey Schools entry is joined on the shortlist by two others from the 28 applicants that applied for the annual $50,000
Cmolik Prize for the Enhancement of Public Education in British Columbia.
The prize was endowed to Simon Fraser University by Clifford Russell and Ellen Cmolik to encourage practitioners, researchers, administrators and policy makers to enhance current teaching practices, particularly those that stimulate a desire to learn and develop the real life skills needed to become productive and responsible community members. The winner will be announced on April 2, 2015.
Two Surrey schools will return from spring break with banners proclaiming them provincial basketball champions.
(The victorious Fleetwood Park Dragons)
The Fleetwood Park Dragons roared back from an early game deficit to beat the top-ranked Sir Charles Tupper Tigers 73-65 and claim the B.C. High School Boys AAA Championship at the Langley Events Centre on March 14. Fleetwood Park’s Travis Erikson was named championship player of the game, while teammate Emeka Okuma was named MVP and a first team all-star. The Dragons’ Armaan Khangura was a second team all-star.
(The winning Panorama Ridge Thunder team)
A week earlier, the Panorama Ridge Thunder rolled over the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 54-35 to win the battle of the Surrey schools for the Telus Junior Girls Provincial Basketball Championship. The Panthers’ Maryn Budiman and the Thunder’s Simrat Dosanjh were named championship players of the game. The tournament MVP was Savannah Dhaliwal of Panorama Ridge, while teammate Shelvin Grewal made the first team all-stars and Dosanjh the second team all-stars. Budiman and Ansha Odoom from Lord Tweedsmuir made the first team all-stars.
In the senior girls' AAA, Fleetwood Park came 12th and the Elgin Park Orcas 14th.
Lord Tweedsmuir came 7th in the senior boys’ AAAA in their first appearance back at the provincial championship for 63 years. The Panthers’ Brett Norris was named most inspirational player. The Semiahmoo Totems finished 8th and had Elias Ellison named a second team all-star.
The Tamanawis Wildcats finished 8th in the junior boys and Darius Ballou was named a third team all-star.
Surrey’s youth are being invited to step up and show what they are doing to make positive change in their community.
Elementary and secondary students can submit their entries to the 2015 Youth Surrey Steps Up initiative through a medium of their choice (e.g. video, music, dance, theatre, visual art).
Last year 300 youth submitted 40 projects to the initiative arranged by Surrey Schools, Surrey RCMP and the City of Surrey. Among those projects was a dance club started by École Panorama Ridge student Ali Shabbir to give students who felt they didn't belong a place to go at lunch and after school.
“The Surrey Steps Up initiative provides an excellent opportunity for our students – our youth – to demonstrate, in a very public way, the quality of work and quality of character I have had the privilege to witness close-up as a trustee,” says Shawn Wilson, chairperson of the Surrey Board of Education.
(Inspector Ghalib Bhayani (centre) of Surrey RCMP kicks off the 2015 Youth Surrey Steps Up initiative with local students.)
“Together with our partners, we want to build resiliency and citizenship in youth throughout the city,” says Inspector Ghalib Bhayani, Surrey RCMP community services officer.
Youth have been leading the project from the beginning, with approximately 20 youth involved in the planning process, along with the RCMP, the city, and the school district.
“It was important to all partners that this year’s Youth Surrey Steps Up be youth-led,” says Mayor Linda Hepner. “By having youth involved from the beginning, we are able to mentor students and build leadership in our youth throughout this initiative.”
The 2015 Youth Surrey Steps Up is open to all secondary and elementary schools students in Surrey. Projects can be submitted up until April 2, 2015. They will be featured at the Youth Surrey Steps Up Showcase on April 17, 2015 at City Hall’s Centre Stage.
More information is available at www.psst-bc.ca.
Students from a Surrey school have added their voice to a major discussion about domestic violence.
About 35 students from L.A. Matheson Secondary, plus some graduates of the school, joined police, politicians, academics and other delegates at the Meri Awaaz, or My Voice, event at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus. The aim of Meri Awaaz was to break the silence and stigma associated with domestic violence.
(L.A. Matheson students with teachers and some of the delegates who attended the Meri Awaaz forum)
Among the contributions was a screening of the film Life of Pinky, which was made by Punjabi language students at the school last year.
“Work in our classroom and school district is being acknowledged on a bigger stage,” says Gurpreet Bains, head of modern languages at L.A. Matheson. “A lot of people came up and told the students ‘this is insightful work’ and ‘keep up the good work’. It was very motivating for the students.”
L.A. Matheson was an event partner, but the Punjabi language and social justice students who attended were doing so because it was an issue that was important to them, says Bains. The students took part in the dialogue and many of them made connections with organizations that could lead to volunteering opportunities.
Surrey Schools’ winter campaign urging staff to 'Turn if off before you take off' was a major success with 76 schools and centres taking part.
Overall, Surrey Schools' December 2014 electricity consumption was down 4.6 per cent compared to December 2013, saving the district about $15,000. Efforts to turn off and unplug electrical items made up a significant portion of those savings.
Now, the district is urging to staff to once again turn off and unplug electrical items where possible to reduce phantom power use while schools are closed for spring break. Phantom power is the small amount of energy drawn by electronic devices even when they’re not being used. The same rules regarding what can be turned off and what can be unplugged that applied during the winter break also apply this time. (Link requires staff login)
The following schools and centres took part in the winter break 'Turn it off before you take off' campaign: